The Studio Tour (also known as The Backlot Tour) is a ride attraction at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park in California (USA).
Sets from the Universal films Psycho, War of the Worlds, Back to the Future, The Sting, The Great Outdoors and How The Grinch Stole Christmas are visited in the tour. Disney has also used the backlot for movies such as the Pirates of the Caribbean film series and 101 Dalmatians and 102 Dalmatians and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, specifically for town scenes. There are also 'general purpose' sets visited, such as the neighborhood Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives, and a neighborhood that is made to look like an old west town. This neighborhood has six streets, each with the essentials of a saloon and sheriffs station. Before the advent of sound, up to six westerns could be shot at once. The tour also winds through sound stages, and the tour guide explains what movies, television shows, music videos, commercials, and/or still camera photo shoots are currently shooting on the lot. Stage One, where The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien was filmed from June 2009 to January 2010, was added to the tour. O'Brien and announcer Andy Richter staged events outside the studio on occasion as part of The Tonight Show's Tour-ific Tramtacular sketch. The tram also passes by miniature models of the ship and Skull Island from the 2005 film King Kong.
Until June 1, 2008, the tour also passed through a group of facades resembling city streets of New York (used in the filming of Bruce Almighty and some elements in Transformers), Bring It On: In It to Win It, and New England, as well as the Courthouse Square set famously seen in the Back to the Future trilogy. However, these sets were constructed mainly of wood and therefore were highly flammable, and burned to the ground in an early morning fire. All the sets have been rebuilt and a new attraction at the Studio features King Kong: 360 3-D, which opened July 1, 2010.
The area beside the Psycho house (known as Psycho Flats) used to be the site of Falls Lake - a large water-tank and waterfall used in numerous productions. Falls Lake has now been moved, and the area is currently occupied by the huge outdoor airplane-crash set built for War Of The Worlds, directed by Steven Spielberg. Spielberg and crew were on the Universal backlot for three days shooting on the massive outdoor set. A commercial Boeing 747 aircraft was chopped into pieces and transported to Universal, where the full set has been left fully dressed as it was during filming. This set has also been used for the music video of Fly by Nicki Minaj
The Tour is the signature attraction at the park, and goes into a working movie studio, with various film sets on the lot. In recent years, guests have sat in multi-car trams for the duration of the ride. It travels through the Front Lot, Backlot and various attractions, passing sets and props from movies along the way.
The tour inspired a smaller but similar version at Universal Studios Florida, which was removed in 1995.
The Studio Tour includes some special demonstrations, as well as some small segments. For example, a simulated flash flood, an 8.3 earthquake, a short encounter with Jaws, a look inside The Mummy's Tomb, and The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift car stunt show.
When the tram passes through the Isla Nublar set, guests are sprayed by animatronic Dilophosaurus. It is very similar to the end of the Jurassic Park ride.
The Jaws event opened a year after the release of Steven Spielberg's 1975 film. It is an animatronic attraction that features the moving shark and other sets.The shark as seen in the attraction has had cameos in multiple television shows and films including the made for TV film The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island in 1981, the episode "Hooray for Hollywood" from Diff'rent Strokes in 1984, and the episode "Fright Knight" from Knight Rider in 1986. The Amity Harbor/Village area that is associated with the Jaws attraction (minus the moving shark) was the set used in two Airwolf episodes "The American Dream" (Season 2) and "Where Have All the Children Gone" (Season 3).
Whoville Comes To Life (2008)
During the holiday season, at the Whoville set all of the Whos, even Max the dog, perform a musical spectacular for the guests' enjoyment. The songs are remixes of songs from the movie. This is part of Universal's Grinchmas celebration.
King Kong: 360 3-D (2010)
Studio Tour guests do wear 3-D glasses as the tram enters a sound stage dressed as a recreation of Skull Island. Two Venatosaurus creatures attack and begin to chase the tram
The Fast and Furious attraction was located at the former site of the Curse of the Mummy's Tomb tunnel. This ride opened on June 25, 2015