What's new for the Studio Tour's 60th anniversary at Universal Studios Hollywood

First opened in 1964, the Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood is celebrating its 60th anniversary this summer with a variety of limited-time experiences and some permanent improvements.

The special event, happening now through August 11, 2024, is included with admission to the park with no extra ticket required and features a chance for every tour guest to get off the tram at an iconic set piece for unmatched photo opportunities. Also on offer are Studio Tour trams decked out as the original red-and-white Glamor Trams from 1964; the newly renovated Earthquake—The Big One experience; a real DeLorean picture car on the Back to the Future courthouse set; special limited-time food, drink, and merchandise offerings; and more. 

1. Ride aboard a modern Glamor Tram

The very first Studio Tours in 1964 were conducted aboard candy-striped Glamor Trams that took visitors around the Universal Studios backlot. In honor of those trailblazing trams, Universal has dressed many of its modern electric trams in full Glamor Tram regalia.

Guests may be lucky enough to board one of these at the start of the tour, but if not, don't worry. During the special anniversary event, you'll have the opportunity to get off the tram on the backlot to take photos, and you're free to wait for a Glamor Tram to board for the rest of the Studio Tour. 

2. Step off the tram onto the backlot for photo ops

The regular Studio Tour usually keeps visitors on the tram for the whole experience, but during the 60th anniversary celebration, you can disembark to explore the famed Bates Motel set on foot. Regular attendees of Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights may already be familiar with it from the annual Terror Tram haunted maze. If you’re not, this is a golden opportunity to see it up close—and, if you’re lucky, Norman Bates himself.

The event also includes the chance to take photos with real movie props and other cool sights near the motel. Among these are:

  • A replica of the Hollywood Sign, the first ever on the Universal backlot, celebrating the original sign’s recent 100th birthday
  • One of the original 1964 Glamor Trams, restored to pristine condition 
  • The theme park’s original hanging Jaws shark
  • A King Kong photo op where your whole group can fit into the palm of Kong’s massive fist
  • Picture cars from the Fast & Furious movies, including Dominic Toretto’s 1970 Dodge Charger doing its iconic wheelie

You can also take your selfies to the next level with 2 Instagram filters available by either scanning a QR code at each photo op inside the park. One filter has you getting scooped up by King Kong; the other puts you neck-deep in the water of the Jaws Lake set while the Jaws shark closes in.

3. Find Doc Brown & a real DeLorean picture car at Courthouse Square

Courthouse Square on the Universal backlot has been among visitors’ favorite sets to visit since Back to the Future came out in 1985. For the 60th anniversary celebration, Doc Brown has brought his time machine (one of the DeLoreans used in the Back to the Future movies) back to the backlot. Want the best shot? Sit on the lefthand side of the tram for a clear view. 

4. Experience a renovated Big One

Earthquake—The Big One, the soundstage experience where Studio Tour riders endure a magnitude 8.3 earthquake in a San Francisco subway station, is open again after an extensive renovation. Nearly every aspect has been updated, from major elements like the sliding fuel truck and hanging electrical cables, to minor fixtures like the movie posters and filming equipment on the “set.”

5. Enjoy limited-time celebratory food & collectibles

The Studio Tour’s 60th anniversary is a celebration for all the senses, including taste and smell. Special anniversary food items include pretzels, donuts, and cookies all in the shape of the number 60, as well as Glamor Tram-shaped cookies and film reel cookie sandwiches.

Pay homage to the former King Kong Encounter on the Studio Tour with Banana Breath popcorn—recalling the banana-scented breath of the animatronic King Kong who once menaced the Studio Tram as it crossed the Brooklyn Bridge.

There’s also a wide array of 60th anniversary-themed merchandise, including T-shirts, sweaters, magnets, pins, and other gifts. Most notable is the limited-edition Glamor Tram popcorn bucket, complete with Woody Woodpecker as the driver. This charming centerpiece comes with unlimited free popcorn refills on the day you buy it—if you’re interested, be sure to get it early in your visit to make the most use of the free popcorn.

6. Spot other additions for the 60th anniversary

There are photo ops outside the Studio Tour, too, one near the park entrance and one near the Studio Tour unloading zone.

On the Studio Tour, keep an eye out for the Runaway Train. In the 1970s and ‘80s, it threatened to ram trams that passed through the Denver Street area of the backlot. It has since taken up permanent stationary residence near the entrance to King Kong 360 3D. For the 60th anniversary, guests can hear its crossing bells and siren ringing again.

An enormous T. rex has also been added to the dinosaur paddock area, previously home to a Spinosaurus and a number of prop cars from the Jurassic Park films. 


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