Every year over 10 million people come to Hollywood with the goal of seeing a celebrity or witnessing how a movie is made being one of their number one sight seeing goals. Several studios offer studio tours, however the Universal Studios Hollywood Tour is by far the most comprehensive and educational of them all. Not all do visitors get full exposure to the studio back lot and see everything from the offices writers come up ideas in to the engineering labs that drive special effects, Universal Studios Hollywood is also a theme park spread out on vast amount of land against a hillside that is home to both its movie making business and theme park operations. VIsiting Universal Studios Hollywood is an all day event and encompasses a full studio tour, dozens of rides and roller coasters, shows that highlight stunts and the visual effects studios utilize to enhance movies. In addition there are numerous dining and shopping opportunities and themed displays dedicated to various popular movies.
Universal Studios itself is one of Hollywood's most legendary studios dating back to the 1920s. The studio has produced over 6,000 movies, many that have become household names and movie franchises. These include Jaws, Meet the Fokkers, Birds, King Kong, Back To the Future, The Mummy, Hop, Ten Commandments and many more. In addition to its movie making business, everyday the Universal Studios Hollywood back lot ishome to productions leasing space from the studio for media platforms that include music videos, commercials, tv shows and productions for the internet.
The main attraction at Universal Studios is the back lot tour via the tram tour. The tram a 5-6 car motorized road tram takes visitors through the entire back lot exposing all the ins and outs of how movies, tv shows and commercials are made. The tram passes between narrow allies between sound stages and a tour guide points out the various tv shows and movies that have been or our currently in production in each one. Visitors are then taken into various spots in the hills surrounding the studio lot where they will feel like they have been transported to the middle of nowhere. It is here the tram goes on rickety bridges, explores old west towns and drives through white picket fence neighborhoods where the facades of homes used in some of the highest rated primetime shows stand today-including Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives. The tram also drives through a town center that has been used in numerous movies such as Back to the Future and of course the ever famous Jaws attack shark gives the visitors a thrill when the tram drives along the shores of a small man made lake. Other sights on the tram tour include an earthquake experience, a flood and the ruins of a plane crash.
Universal Studios Hollywood has a variety of rides that are named after many of the movies the studio has produced over the years and are themed after the plots in the movies themselves. Many of the rides are thrill roller coasters that are a bit more exciting than those found at Disney but not as terrifying as those at a Six Flags Theme Park. There is the SImpson's ride which is a six minute long motion simulator of an animated roller coaster found in the show The Simpsons.
Jurassic Park is a water ride that takes visitors on a yellow floating boat through tight canals where they are surrounded on all sides by dinosaurs brought back to life. Riders come face to face with some of the scariest dinos from millenia's past as well as the ruins that have inflicted on the ride. The ride climaxes with a daring escape where the boat makes a steep free fall into a canal below, drenching riders along the way.
Billed as California's fastest indoor roller coaster, The Revenge of the Mummy Ride takes visitors through a variety of drops, turns and fast paced action with all the special effects from the Mummy movie franchise to scare and thrill at the same time.
For those not keen on the thrill rides, Universal offers a variety of shows and exhibits that entertain as well as educate on the intricacies of filmmaking.
There is a sound stage that displays how the movie Backdraft was made exposing guests to the thrill of hot flame. The special effects stages demonstrates how sound effects are made and come to life, how characters fly and how scenery is made to look as realistic as possible.
Waterworld is a live seaworld show highlighting the many stunts in person found from some of the biggest action movies of all time. Plane crashes, explosions and jaw dropping feats from the most talented stunt men and women.
Terminator 3D is the ultimate 3D movie experience as thrills and action leap out of the screen and into your seat.
The Universal Experience is a museum type exhibit that takes visitors on a tour of the props, wardrobes and scenery used to make some of the most popular movies ever made from the 1950s to present day. Some of the movies featured are Gladiator, E.T., Schindler's List, Jurassic Park, To Kill a Mockingbird and All Quiet on the Western Front to name a few.
UNIVERSAL CITY WALK
Upon arriving at Universal Studios, visitors first enter the Universal City Walk. This area is free admission to the public and includes extensive shopping and dining areas. The City Walk is so involved with many activities in itself, it can easily turn into half the day roaming this area. There are fountains that spring up out of the ground, and IMAX theatre, and many themed restaurants serving everything from pizza and shrimp to burgers and burritos. Those interested in casual shopping with find kiosks selling a variety of merchandise on the perimeter and in the evening several live musical acts set up shop in various corners of the City Walk to perform covers of some of the biggest hit songs as well as original music they have written. After passing through the City Walk visitors then enter the main gates of the Universal Studios Theme Park.