Universal Studios Hollywood VIP Experience Review


Apr 24, 2013
San Antonio
First I want to apologize for this review being EXTREMELY late... We took this trip back in May of 2016, and I kept saying I would write a review but I kept putting it off and putting it off...So finally here goes….

I'm gonna go into detail about Universal Studios Hollywood's VIP Experience, but I can sum it up in one word: FANTASTIC.

My wife and I are semi-regular visitors to Orlando (last trip was in Sep 16), but we decided in late 2015 that we would take our first trip California and do USH, Disneyland and DCA (as well as all the other touristy stuff people do in LA). As I was purchasing park tickets, I started to read up on the USH VIP experience. It seemed like a great time.... until I saw how much it cost: starting at like $350 per person, with higher prices during peak times of the year. I was initially turned off by that obviously, but then I started to look up reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor... Reviews were filled with almost universal(lol) praise, so I decided to pull the trigger, (I stared at the screen looking at the price total for like 10 minutes before I finally hit PURCHASE lol).. So anyway, we got to the special valet parking lot at our scheduled arrival time, and after getting our VIP lanyards, we were ushered up to the VIP lounge to meet our personal tour guide for the day. A nice quick breakfast was also provided to us while we waited.

There were a good amount of other people there as well, but we were all divided up into groups of about 6-8 so it was really personal experience with your tour guide. After a few minutes our guide, Matthew, greeted us and we were on our way. The first part of the day was the absolute highlight: the VIP studio tour. It's basically the normal tram tour, but much longer (a little over 2 hours) and more personal. We visited several locations the regular guests don't, and every set the normal tour drove by, we got to get off our tram and walk around.

We rode around the backlot for a bit while our guide was explaining everything we were looking at, from Seth McFarlane's office bldg, to where they filmed the truck falling off a cliff scene from The Lost World. And of course we did all the usual tour stuff, Earthquake, Jaws, etc. We also walked around New York street, where the BTTF clock tower is. We were told about the countless movies that were filmed there. There was actually some type of production being filmed while we were there but couldn’t get too close, so we were all peaking around a corner to watch.

Another fantastic spot was Colonial Street, or Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives. We got to talk up and down the street, and even walk into some of the houses. Some of my favorite movies were filmed here (The ‘Burbs!!) It's funny because now we instantly recognize the houses on this street every time they pop up in a new commercial.

Our next stop was a visit to an actual set from a TV show. I believe we were supposed to visit a more well known set, but we had to be diverted as they were currently filming. We walked on to a hospital set from the TV show "Heartbeat". We weren't familiar with the show (I think it was cancelled pretty quick) but the set was actually very cool. Our guide was explaining to us how TV shows are filmed and pointed out some of the tricks used on soundstages.

Another stop was the prop warehouse where tons of movie and TV show props are housed. Hundreds of pieces of props, furniture and costumes. Our guide explained the process of how props and sets are signed out if a company needs it for a production. This is the throne from “Snow White and the Huntsman”

Probably my favorite part of the tour was the War of the Worlds plane crash set. This was absolutely incredible to see up close. Being able to walk around pieces of an actual 747 was amazing. You also see how much work is put into a movie set, as every single piece of it is real. I took like 600 pictures out there lol. Our guide told us that Paramount paid to build the set, but didn't want to pay to have it removed, so they just made it a part of the tour.

In between all of the fun, was a 5 star gourmet lunch buffet. When I say 5 stars, I really mean 5 stars. Their executive chefs made everything from seafood to Italian, and it was all you can eat. It rivaled stuff you'd get at an expensive sit-down restaurant. We were thinking that this is where most of that ticket price comes from lol

Kong 360 was cool, and unlike a lot of people I didn't think Fast and Furious Supercharged was all that bad. Even though the first scenes were corny and some of the lines were cringe worthy, the hologram effects worked beautifully. I actually preferred this 360 scene more than Kong, because it was easier to keep the illusion of speed and movement. On Kong, once your eyes hit the bottom edge of the screen, the effect is lost..(same thing happened when I rode the Orlando version) Plus the FF screens were brighter, lower to the ground, and wrapped around the front so you could look forward and still get the effect. My only real beef with it was that it felt very short. That's fine for the Studio Tour, but it has me worried about the upcoming Orlando version

After the tour, we came back to the park to do the rides (with front of the line access of course). The first stop was Potter of course. Hogsmeade is pretty much a copy of Orlando, even though it sorta looks weird plopped into the middle of the park. Funny story: There was a little boy in our group there with his father, who had issues with motion sickness. He tried to be a soldier, but he managed to do Transformers and after that he was done for the day lol. So my wife and I took his son with us when we rode everything else, it was a great time (even though we got stuck during a Forbidden Journey breakdown). FJ was in 3D at the time we were there. I didn’t hate it, but it definitely didn’t need it.

Quick things: Special Effects show was down so we missed it. Waterworld was a fun show. Springfield Hollywood has Springfield Orlando beat. Revenge of the Mummy Hollywood was extremely disappointing lol

I cannot say enough great things about this experience. The tour guide was very nice and extremely knowledgeable. It was worth the money and its a must-do for Universal fans at least once. My wife who is more of the Disney person in the relationship, said it was her favorite theme park experience ever. Thanks for reading!!

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Premium Member
Jul 18, 2008
I did this last year and absolutely loved it. It's such a great theme park experience and there's so little to compare it to because it's both a VIP working studio experience as well as the traditional park. It'll be hard to go back without it.
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