Michelle Ludke
16 Jan

I can unequivocally say that the VIP Experience at Universal Studios Hollywood is totally worth it!  Here's my review of our day.

Pre-Tour Information: We did the VIP Experience on a Thursday in January 2024, ahead of a visit to Disneyland Resort. We booked the tour in July 2023 and spots were already filling up fast! We had a party of eight, and each tour group held 12 people. We received an email confirmation directly after booking which was the only communication we received from Universal about the tour (so keep that confirmation email in a safe place!) 

We were asked to arrive 30 minutes prior to the tour start time. Valet parking in the Jurassic lot was included in the price of the tour. After dropping our car, we made our way to the VIP Experience entrance located to the right just after entering the park. After checking in and receiving our tour lanyards, we made our way to the second floor and enjoyed a complimentary breakfast including breakfast sandwiches, pastries, assorted juices, water, and coffee. The only thing I didn't like about the breakfast offerings were the egg and cheese croissants. They were COLD... and it was just too weird for me to eat cold eggs.  

There was a phone charging station available while we ate and waited for our tour to start. (There was also one available during lunch). Bottled water was available to take along on the tour, and it was available throughout the tour as well. Just be aware that the first restroom stop isn't until about an hour and a half into the tour. 

At the designated time our tour guide, Ursula (who was amazing!), gathered our group, introduced herself and asked us if there was anything we specifically wanted to see or do on the tour. We all said no and away we went!

The Studio Tour: Our VIP Experience began with a private extended Studio Tour. We piled on a bus with another tour group and basically followed the same path as the regular tour trams took for much of the tour including King Kong 360 3-D and Fast & Furious Supercharged. However, unlike the regular Studio Tour, we were able to go "off-road" and get off the bus for a closer look at some of the movie sets and other non-public areas.

First up was the set of "The Good Place."  Even if you've never seen the show, it was neat to see a real TV show set. 

Next, we got off the bus at the set of the “War of the Worlds” movie plane crash scene. It was truly amazing to see it up close and personal. The level of detail was just incredible.

Our next stop was at the prop warehouse. We were not allowed to take photos or videos inside, but suffice it to say, there were some familiar pieces of furniture and other recognizable props from some popular movies and TV shows. We learned that other studios, including Disney, rent props from the Universal Studios warehouse. 

The Rides: After the Studio Tour and before lunch (more on lunch below) we were able to enjoy The Simpsons Ride, Flight of the Hippogriff, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  Ursula escorted us to the front of the line for all rides so we didn't have to wait at all!

Lunch:  Lunch was a complimentary buffet at Moulin Rouge, which was reserved entirely for VIP Experience guests. The food was delicious and there were characters roaming around the dining room interacting with guests, including Dr. Emmet Brown, Lucille Ball, and Dracula. We were given a leisurely hour to eat which allowed time for multiple visits to the buffet!

More Rides!: After lunch we rode The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash before making our way down to the Lower Lot to ride TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3-D, Revenge of the Mummy - The Ride, and Jurassic World - The Ride (you'll get a  poncho to wear for this when you check in for the VIP Experience). 

We ended the day in Super Nintendo World and we were able to experience Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge which was really neat... a blend of a track ride and virtual reality. I won't give more away, but it's a must do for any Mario fan!

The tour lasted about seven hours overall and ended after we rode Mario Kart, however, our VIP Experience ticket included Unlimited Express Pass that could be used until park close.

Tipping Your Tour Guide: Tips are not expected, but you may want to recognize your guide's excellent service! If you do tip, any amount is fine. A common approach is following the industry standard of tipping 15% to 20% of the tour cost. 

Overall Value of Universal Studios Hollywood VIP Experience: I’m a true Disnerd through and through and a bucket list item for me is to do a VIP Tour at Walt Disney World Resort. But honestly cost is an issue. The Universal Studios VIP Experience is well worth the money. You can book it as an individual or group, and it includes park admission and the express pass for not much more than the cost of a ticket and express pass on their own.

All in all, we really enjoyed the tour and we all agreed that we would do the Universal Studios Hollywood VIP Experience every time! 

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