Ever Done a Secret Tour at Universal Studios Florida?
That’s right, everyone! Universal Studios contains “secret” tours. What makes them secret is Universal just doesn’t advertise them! However, if you go up to the appropriate attraction, and they are properly staffed, the Team Member will be more than happy to take you on the tour. We were able to do two of them, one of which no longer exists. First up was the Men in Black: Alien Attack ride. This tour is called the Immigration Room Tour. The Team Member should know exactly what it is when you mention it to them at the main entrance of the attraction. First, they’ll ask if you had a chance to ride the attraction. If no, they will usually offer you a ride first and bypass the main queue to get right on. Then, you’ll be taken through some back hallways and once you enter through a door, you’re now inside the Immigration Room, which the queue wraps around above.
Pictures were allow and we were allowed to walk anywhere inside the room we wanted to, as well as interact with the desks and computers. The only rule was to not touch the aliens. The room is very spread out and each desk has its own uniqueness to it, being different paperwork or items. Some of the paperwork included tabloid pictures of aliens, a log that you are allowed to sign, and even excerpts from the MIB movie script. It was all very neat.
There is also a seating area on the side, which our tour guide offered to take photos of us sitting in. She was very polite and more than happy to assist us. We were inside the room for about ten minutes, exploring and taking many photos.
Once you are finished exploring the Immigration Room, you will once again be offered to ride the attraction, bypassing the queue once more. The tour guide didn’t offer any fun facts or information about the Immigration Room or attraction itself, if there was any to be given. But it was still a great experience non the less.
We then headed over to the now shuttered Twister: Ride It Out attraction. (Yea, that’s how long it took me to post this!) This tour was much different from the Immigration Room. The Team Member called ahead for approval of the tour and then waited for someone to cover his spot. He was very talkative and offered up any answers to any questions we had. Once back stage, he check in the control booth and saw there was a show currently in progress. So he took us into the room which holds the destroyed house and show us a few extra details, including the flattened Mickey Ears under the tire of the car hanging from the ceiling.
Once the show was finished, he took us into the control booth and began to tell us all about the attraction. How it works, things to look for, and little details I had no idea about. For instance, the twister is always running. It just isn’t visible until the gas is released into it during the show. The screen on the back wall is a giant IMAX screen, the first one to come to Orlando. And, even though the drive-in sign advertises The Shining and Psycho being played, Universal couldn’t get the rights to either, so what is actually being shown is The People Under the Stairs. Very fun facts.
No pictures were allowed at any point of this tour, for understandable reasons. Our tour guide was very informative about the attraction and seemed to know a lot. We watched the next show in the booth, and then were taken inside the show room to watch everything reset. Once we ran out of questions to ask, we were allowed to watch the next show. It was a very interesting tour and a shame it isn’t there anymore. We took the tour just over a week before Universal announced Twister’s closing. It is currently under construction to be changed into “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Fingers crossed that will have a tour as well!
Other tours that are offered include the personal guided tour through the Hogwarts Castle in Hogsmede. The Team Member will direct you to the correct entrance so that you will bypass the queue and be able to walk through the castle at your own pace. The Hard Rock Cafe also offers a “secret” tour in which you will be able to see rock and roll memorabilia throughout the building. I haven’t had a chance to do that yet, but it is on my list. All of these tours are included with park admission, except Hard Rock which is on City Walk. So next time you visit Universal Orlando, don’t forget there are a few extra things you can do which aren’t listed on your park map!