Here's Why Many Believe This Is The Best Spot On Universal's Iconic Studio Tram Tour

The World-Famous Studio Tour, as it's officially known, has been loading theme park guests onto trams at Universal Studios Hollywood since 1964. In that time, many riders have developed opinions about which spot on the tram offers the best vantage point for seeing movie-themed sights like the shark from "Jaws" and the Bates Motel from "Psycho." Universal even weighed in with some direct advice for guests via its Discover Universal Blog. From their lips to your ears, the most recommended seats are in cars 2 and 3. Which side of the car you prefer may depend on what you're most excited to see on the tour.

Theme park bloggers and YouTubers like Attractions 360°, Mouse Vibes, and Undercover Tourist all favor car 3. However, they're sometimes split on whether the right or left side of the tram is better. Two cars you won't hear recommended as much are numbers 1 and 4. This is one instance where being seated up front doesn't necessarily equal the best view, since you'd sometimes be ahead of the action and looking back on it, instead of positioned right in the middle of it. You could try finding the mythical car 5 while boarding, but since most trams top out at four cars, it doesn't usually make an appearance until it's onscreen in 3D and King Kong is saving it from a dinosaur. Whichever spot you choose, it helps to know the specific benefits of each car (and side) on Universal's World-Famous Studio Tour.

The best side to sit in car 2 or 3

If you want to see the shark from "Jaws" bare its teeth alongside a fiery gas dock, go for the right side of car 2 or 3 on Universal's tram tour. The right side is where you'll also have the best view of the Bates Motel and maybe even Norman Bates from "Psycho." This side is additionally good for seeing the big, inflatable cowboy in the authentic Jupiter's Claim set from Jordan Peele's "Nope." You won't be ideally positioned for the tour's flash flood (which happens on the left), but you will see another flood on the right during the "Earthquake" sequence (reopening in spring 2024). The left side of car 3 is generally best for seeing the tanker truck drop down during that sequence and for seeing the crashed plane from Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds."

Depending on your tram route, you may also go "Back to the Future" to see the courthouse set from said movie to the left on the tour. Concerning the screen-based parts of it, King Kong 360 3-D and Fast & Furious – Supercharged, it doesn't matter as much whether you're sitting on the left or right side. Kong first appears on the right side of car 2, but he jumps back and forth between it and the other side, saving car 5 on the left. The nice thing about the 360 concept is that you should be able to see things from either side.

A seat in history

Once you find a good seat on Universal's tram tour, you can sit back and enjoy a ride through movie and theme park history. Now in its 60th year, the tour originated as a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of an operational film studio in Hollywood. Initially, some industry professionals didn't appreciate spectators observing them like zoo animals. Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine reportedly got so annoyed with it that she once mooned a passing tram. However, as "Jaws" joined the tour in 1976, followed by a life-sized, robotic King Kong in 1986, it helped shape it into one of the most influential theme park attractions ever conceived.

As The Los Angeles Times notes, the studio tour effectively ushered in the modern era of IP-driven parks where guests can "ride the movies," per Universal's slogan. The tour predated Disney World's opening in 1971, and it was 25 years ahead of the worst-rated Disney theme park, Hollywood Studios. When that park, then called Disney-MGM Studios, opened in 1989, it pre-empted Universal Orlando by a year with a clone of Hollywood's tour called the Backstage Studio Tour. One stop on Disney's tour was Catastrophe Canyon, which even had a tanker truck and flash flood, just like the "Earthquake" set piece at Universal Studios Hollywood. The Backstage Studio Tour closed in 2014, but Universal's World-Famous Studio Tour is still going strong after six decades. If you want the best seat on arguably the best ride at Universal Studios Hollywood, just remember to aim for car 2 or 3.