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Is the VIP Experience at Universal Studios Hollywood Worth the Price?

What You Need to Know About the VIP Experience at Universal Studios Hollywood

The VIP Experience at Universal Studios Hollywood includes a gourmet meal, unlimited express access to rides and shows (with a guide), and a special VIP Studio Tour with exclusive access that you can't find anywhere else.    

This experience is the most exclusive way to go behind the scenes at the world’s largest movie studio and theme park and is the ultimate way to visit Universal Studios Hollywood.  

Overview

The VIP Experience is a limited capacity product with up to 18 guests per tour, with children needing to be at least 5 years old to attend and at least 17 years old to attend without an accompanying adult.  Pricing for this experience ranges from $349/person to $449/person.  

The VIP Experience is valid for a selected date and time and includes valet parking, 1-Day Park admission and unlimited (per day) express access to each ride, attraction, and seated show.  

You'll start the day at the VIP lounge, where you'll check-in and then have access to light snacks and refreshments, before meeting your guide for the day, where you'll discuss the overall itinerary for the day.  You'll break for an exclusive gourmet meal (lunch or dinner depending on your start time) and then continue on with the day with the guide.

Now that we've discussed a high level overview of what the VIP Experience covers, you're probably looking for more details to see if the VIP Experience justifies the extra price, so let's dive into it:

Exclusive Backlot Access

  • Tour the movie industry’s busiest sets in a special private trolley where you can disembark to explore some of the famous outdoor sets.

Exclusive Theme Park Benefits
Enjoy VIP privileges with escorted express access to rides, shows and attractions, such as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
  • Begin your day in the exclusive VIP lounge with light snacks and refreshments.
  • Savor a gourmet meal in the private VIP dining room, prepared by Universal’s very own executive chef (alcoholic beverages excluded).
  • Unlimited Universal Express access to all open rides and priority seating for select shows.
  • Enjoy complimentary valet parking and VIP entry to the Park.
Expert Tour Guide
The expert VIP guides will immerse you in the past, present and future of Universal’s Backlot during the exclusive Studio Tour.
  • The VIP guide will escort you through the express line at rides and attractions.
  • They will also find you the best seats at seated shows.
Our VIP Experience
We paid for the VIP Experience during our most recent trip to Universal Studios Hollywood in mid-December 2021, during the Holiday Season.  We had visited Universal Studios Hollywood on two previous occasions when the kids were much younger and figured with the anticipated crowds during the holidays, we'd splurge on getting the VIP tickets.

Here is a recap of our day at Universal Studios Hollywood with the VIP Experience:

We stayed at Sheraton Universal, which is an easy 10-minute walk to the front gate of Universal Studios Hollywood.  We arrived to the security checkpoint around 9:30am and made it through pretty fast.  


Next we checked in the VIP Lounge, which is located to the left of the main entrance gate to the park.


After checking in around 9:45am for our 10:30am tour start time, we headed upstairs to the VIP Lounge, where we had a light breakfast and snacks and explored the memorabilia displayed throughout the lounge.







After exploring the memorabilia inside and checking out the outdoor patio, we arrived at our check-in point at 10:15am, where we'd meet Cara, our guide for the day.  For our tour, there were 12 other people, for a total of 16 guests for our VIP Experience.  After meeting everyone and our guide, Cara went over the itinerary for the day, as well as tips for us to use for after the experience ended.


Our itinerary for the day started with the Simpsons Ride and then we'd head down to lower lot to go on all of the rides there, that included Jurassic World – The Ride, Revenge of the Mummy - The Ride and Transformers: The Ride - 3D.  



Next up, we came back up to the upper lot and headed over to the VIP seating section of Waterworld to watch the 20-minute show.


After the show, we met back up with Cara and walked over to a new ride next to Minion Mayhem, The Secret Life of Pets Ride.



Next up was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to ride Flight of the Hippogriff and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  We were able to walk on to both rides even though the lines were long and got front row seats on the Flight of the Hippogriff, which made it even better.



After going on the rides in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it was time for lunch around 1:00pm at Moulin Rouge, where we had approximately an hour and a half to relax and refuel for the afternoon portion of our day.






Lunch was one of the highlights of the day, as this was one of the best lunch buffet spreads I have ever seen and featured a wide variety of selection for even the most discerning eaters. 


After lunch, we met back with Cara and our group to head to a private Studio Tour with Exclusive Backlot Access, where we were able to explore areas not available to the general public on our own private bus and also were able to walk through the sets with Cara giving us the background on what we were seeing and exploring.














The Studio Tour on the VIP Experience covers all of the same areas that you'd experience on the regular tour, as well as the King Kong 360 3D and Fast & Furious Experiences, but also includes many stops along the way to explore the sets and private access to places that the regular tour doesn't go to.

Is it Worth it?
Is the VIP Experience at Universal Studios Hollywood worth the extra cost?  The answer to this question basically boils down to your budget, personal preferences and how you value time and experiences.  

If you're visiting during a busy time of the year with big crowds and want to experience the entire park and not worry about missing out on anything, I would 100% say yes it is worth the extra cost.  

We were able to ride every ride at Universal Studios Hollywood (our favorites multiple times), attend the shows we wanted to see, experience a gourmet lunch (I'd value at ~$50+ per person) and get insider tips throughout the day from our guide Cara.  She gave us tips and tricks to use for later in the day when the VIP Experience ended and overall provided us a pleasant experience during our experience at Universal Studios Hollywood during the busy holiday season.


After the VIP Experience ended (around 4:30-5:00pm that day), we went back on our favorite rides multiple times that included Flight of the Hippogriff, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Minion Mayhem, visited DreamWorks Theatre, and then explored the holiday festivities in Whoville, grabbed some Butterbeer and explored the shops in Hogsmeade ending our night watching The Nighttime Lights At Hogwarts Castle.




Some things I would recommend for improvement to make this VIP Experience even that much better would include having time to visit characters (fun for young kids) or at least get some type of pass to bypass long lines and have some type of photo component included in the price that includes the ride photos and photos throughout the day.

Overall, I can say once you experience the VIP luxury and access this tour provides at Universal Studios Hollywood, there will be no other way you'd want to experience a theme park again.