Attractions, Events

Guide to the Studio Tour 60th Anniversary Celebration at Universal Studios Hollywood

April 2, 2024
A candy-striped Glamor Tram in front of the Psycho House on the Studio Tour.

Happy 60th Anniversary to the World-Famous Studio Tour! This beloved attraction isn’t just a fan favorite; it kicked off a series of innovations that completely reshaped the themed entertainment industry. To honor this game-changing tram tour, Universal Studio Hollywood has a whole bunch of vintage-inspired fun in store from April 26 to August 11, 2024.

A (very) quick history lesson: The Studio Tour began in 1964 as Universal Studios’ humble effort to get tourists onto the lot to pay for lunch at the commissary. Guests paid $2.50, hopped aboard a candy-striped “GlamorTram,” and got to peek at film sets, a stunt show, a makeup demonstration and a costume show. In doing so, Universal effectively demystified the movie-making process, as film sets had until then been largely closed off to the public. But beyond that, the Universal Studio Tour birthed a series of innovations that changed entertainment forever. Showcasing practical effects on the Studio Tour led to creating thrill rides based on beloved movies, which led to…well, what Universal Studios Hollywood is today. 

Six decades and over 200 million guests later, the Studio Tour basically invented the modern theme park. So how could Universal not throw a party for it? Here’s everything you need to know about the celebrations for the 60th Anniversary of the Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood.

A Special Edition Studio Tour 

A tram drives by the Flash Flood on the Universal Studio Tour.

Even if you’ve been on the Studio Tour before, you’ve definitely never experienced what the 60th Anniversary of the Studio Tour has to offer. Naturally, the biggest Studio Tour celebrations are happening on the attraction itself. The whole tour is getting a makeover for its anniversary, including updated decor, new scripts for the tour guides, and new media content (featuring new celebrity cameos) you’ll watch on the tour.

The trams themselves are getting in on the fun, too: several will be made up to look like old school, candy-striped Glamor Trams, just like those from the 1960s. Plus, new (and oh-so quiet) electric trams will take guests cruising through the past in modern style. 

Step Onto an Iconic Movie Set 

Guests stepping off the Studio Tour tram for the 60th Anniversary celebration.

The 60th Anniversary Studio Tour is so much more than a makeover. For the first time in decades, guests will get to step off the Studio Tour trams and experience the studio backlot by foot! Once the tram reaches a certain well-known movie set, you’ll get to deboard for some extra special photo ops. Not only will you get an opportunity to get up close and personal with an old-school Glamor Tram, but you’ll get unique photo ops inspired by some of Universal’s most adored blockbusters. Some of those include special, cinematic AR filters, but we’ll keep that as a fun surprise. 

And, just a heads up, you are on one of the creepiest sets in movie history. Keep an eye out for a certain someone lurking around the set. He just might be amenable to a selfie — if you’re lucky. 

Experience Historic Studio Tour Moments

An archival photo of the Runaway Train attraction from the Studio Tour.

The World-Famous Studio Tour is always a fun history lesson, but this special version will really relish in the legacy of this iconic attraction. Several iterations of the Studio Tour have traversed the studio backlot. That means celebrated experiences have come and gone, including the Parting of the Red Sea, the Ice Tunnel, and so many more. This year’s gussied-up tour will give you a taste of those retired moments: as you pass the location of an erstwhile Studio Tour moment, the tram screens will display what Classic Moment used to be there. For history nerds like me, this is huge.

Even better, though: one of those Classic Moments is returning to the World-Famous Studio Tour for this celebratory event! The Runaway Train, which originally ran from 1974-1985, will be in the backlot for the 60th Anniversary of the Studio Tour. (An archival photo of the original is shown above.) If you want to see an old-school attraction up close, you’ll definitely need to take a spin on the Studio Tour this summer. 

A New Look For a Beloved Classic 

One beloved Studio Tour moment has a whole new look for 2024. “Earthquake – The Big One” which replicates an 8.3 Richter scale seismic shift inside a 1989 San Francisco BART station, has been revamped as a modern subway stop, complete with electric bikes and sleek white tiles. Don’t worry, “Earthquake – The Big One” hasn’t lost any of the thrills its namesake promises. Complete with a fire, a ceiling crashing in, a gas tank sliding into the station, a flood — all fabricated with practical effects, of course – the 21st century spin on the crowd favorite won’t disappoint. 

Celebratory Food and Beverage Offerings

Two blue donuts shaped like 6 and 0, menu items for the Studio Tour 60th Anniversary celebration.

What’s a celebration without party food, right? Throughout the festivities, Universal will have special, retro-inspired eats, drinks and desserts available throughout the park. Here’s what you can expect on the food and beverage front:

Special Edition Popcorn Bucket

The Glamor Tram popcorn bucket celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Studio Tour.

Great news for collectors: for the 60th Anniversary of the Studio Tour, Universal Studios Hollywood is rolling out one of its more adorable popcorn buckets ever. Classic Universal cartoon character Woody Woodpecker helms the Studio Tour on this delightful snack vessel. Woody might not actually drive the Glamor Tram in real life, but let us dream, OK?

Festive Drinks

The park has two celebratory drinks on tap to honor the 60th. And they are both, in a word, extra— in the very best way. First is the non-alcoholic Lava Lamp, a swirl of Sprite, alcohol-free blue Curaçao, grenadine and sparkling cranberry juice, topped with blue raspberry Pop Rocks. 

For the 21+ crowd, there’s the Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, a vodka hibiscus lemonade; the Shark Bite, a tequila-based drink with tropical vibes and a shark lollipop; the Old Hollywood, with whiskey, a root beer liqueur and cream soda; and the rum-based Kong Tiki which, appropriately, uses banana and other fruit flavors. When I said extra, I meant it. 

Celebratory Snacks

Two guests holding pretzels in the shape of "60", menu items for the 60th Anniversary of the Studio Tour.

Guests can enjoy 60th Anniversary snacks on-the-go, too. City Snack Shop, a to-go stand flanking Production Plaza on the Upper Lot, is offering giant pretzels shaped like the number 60, special edition Banana Breath Popcorn (that’s caramel + banana chips), and a whole lineup of commemorative sugar cookies — including one shaped like a candy-striped Glamor Tram. Just don’t forget to Instagram it before you take a bite!

Nostalgic Meals

Three friends enjoying retro burgers and shakes as part of the 60th Anniversary of the Studio Tour.

You’ll find the bulk of the Studio Tour 60th Anniversary offerings at Hollywood & Dine and Mel’s, two eateries located on the Upper Lot. Hollywood & Dine will boast a drool-worthy slate of sandwiches — smoked brisket, BBQ cheeseburger, BBQ pulled pork, and BBQ grilled chicken — all on adorable Woody Woodpecker buns. Over at Mel’s, guests will nosh on fried chicken and meatloaf served on throwback combo trays. It’s just so charmingly ‘60s, isn’t it? 

Delightful Desserts

Two Chilly Willy snowballs, part of the 60th Anniversary of the Studio Tour celebration.

If you’re a can’t-skip-dessert person like me, you’ll be particularly amped for the Studio Tour 60th anniversary. Over at Hollywood & Dine, guests can dig into sweets inspired by Woody Woodpecker’s pal Chilly Willy: the Chilly Willy Funnel Cake, and the Chilly Willy snowball. Film Reel Cookie Sandwich, which is a sugar cookie with cream filling shaped, yes, like a film reel. Lights! Camera! Dig in! 

Down on the Lower Lot, Studio Scoop has whipped up some throwback treats for the festivities, too. You might need a buddy to dig into Kong’s Ice Cream Sundae, a gigantic banana split topped with strawberry, chocolate, waffle cone chunks, candy bananas, whipped cream, banana chips and a 60th Anniversary cookie. If you don’t have a Kong-sized appetite, try the Glam Tram Cone: vanilla soft serve with a strawberry flavor swirl, also topped with a 60th Anniversary cookie. 

And don’t miss out on the big daddy of ‘em all: the 60th Donut. It’s technically two donuts covered in blue icing and candy pearls, because we’re just that serious about celebrating. 

PRO TIP: In-between sundaes and donuts, keep your eyes peeled for blue signs reading HERE BACK THEN all throughout the theme park. When you scan the QR code, you’ll get a look at the retired attractions or shows that used to stand in that same spot. 

Limited-Edition Throwback Merch

Three guests wearing Studio Tour 60th Anniversary merchandise.

The Studio Tour 60th aesthetic is looking cute. Inspired by the red and white stripes on the original Glamor Trams, these shirts, jackets, hats, mugs, cups and so much more will be available at Universal Studio Store at CityWalk, Universal Studio Store (inside the theme park) and Production Central (also inside the theme park) all celebration long. Because we all want a piece of history all to ourselves, right? 

That’s what’s on the docket for the Studio Tour 60th Anniversary celebration at Universal Studios Hollywood! What’s your favorite part of the backlot tour? Let us know in the comments below. 

Must be 21 years and older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.

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  • Reply Elise April 2, 2024 at 5:34 pm

    The Studio Tour has always been mine and my husbands favorite ride! It’s so much fun, with so must nostalgia and love for the movies. I absolutely love the back lot tour, the king kong ride, the jaws drive-through, the old Western flooding sequence, and the war of the worlds set. The fact that you can get on with food and drinks too is such a great bonus! I hope they repurpose the fast and furious section (due to making it a ride in the park) into something else. I also which there was more to the “Nope” attraction. Overall – it’s always a highlight of our days in the park and a must-see ride everytime we’re there.

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications April 2, 2024 at 5:38 pm

      We love to hear about how much you enjoy The World-Famous Studio Tour, Elise! Can’t wait to see you again!

  • Reply Gunnar Radisewitz April 2, 2024 at 6:57 pm

    We’ve been to Universal Hollywood before, but I never went on the Studio Tour that time (I was in a different section of the park while the rest of my family went on it). I hope to check it out for the 1st time when we go there again in June. Of course I also hope the “Fast & Furious” section of the tour becomes something different by then.

    Not to mention I’ll most likely buy one of the limited merchandise, considering that I’m a fan of Woody Woodpecker.

  • Reply Crystal April 2, 2024 at 9:00 pm

    Awe we will be there April 25th and miss it by a day. Is there a chance the current studio tour will be closed at all in preparation for this event?

  • Reply Jamie Criscione April 2, 2024 at 11:48 pm

    Does the special 60th tour come with the tram lot tour or is this an extra price?

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications April 3, 2024 at 8:07 am

      Hi Jamie! The 60th Anniversary celebration is included with valid theme park admission.

  • Reply Sheree April 3, 2024 at 1:21 am

    Universal Studios is our, husband and my, favorite amusement park! We often have annual tickets. We always go on the tram tour. Each time it’s different. Each time it’s awesome. The most fun is bringing others along to enjoy what we love. Sharing is caring. I’m not going to miss this event. See you soon!

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications April 3, 2024 at 9:26 am

      We can’t wait to see you!

  • Reply Brett Skinner April 7, 2024 at 8:03 pm

    That’s excellent as coming from Australia and when I got my tickets was yet to be announced. Something to look forward to that’s for sure. See you guys there from the 3rd of May. Will be my 8th visit.

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications April 7, 2024 at 8:15 pm

      We can’t wait to see you there, Brett!

  • Reply Dave April 9, 2024 at 5:06 pm

    I had a Celebrity Annual Pass for the tour every year starting around 1981 (I was eleven) when it was about fifteen bucks and went each spring & summer break over and over and over again — until I finally auditioned to be a guide in 1987, which started my entire career. So this stuff hits me in a very happy place.

    I want one of those popcorn buckets — and I love that they’re adding video content of the tour history on-board. And the return of the Runaway Train!!!

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications April 9, 2024 at 5:10 pm

      The Popcorn Bucket is a must-purchase!

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