Universal Studios Hollywood is an amazing theme park, but it’s also a real-life movie set too, with dozens of films being shot there over the last 50 years. As part of the park’s Studio Tram tour, you can visit and even walk around some of the most iconic sets in from film history. Check out our guide to some of the films you’ll have definitely seen but may not realise were filmed at the park, and below you’ll find our list of 14 films sets that you can experience as part of the Studio Tour ride.
As with our Florida park tickets, make sure to book your studio tour tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
1. Jurassic Park
This incredible science fiction adventure featured ground-breaking CGI of the time and life-sized animatronic dinosaurs
Despite the title of the film, Brachiosaurus and Dilophosaurus are the only dinosaurs featured that are from the Jurassic period; all other species featured did not exist until the Cretaceous period. Somehow, we think that the film “Cretaceous Park” may not have been as successful!
You can experience a snapshot of Jurassic Park during the Studio Tour, when the tram passes through the Isla Nublar set, watch out! You will be sprayed by the animatronic Dilophosaurus!
2. Jaws and Jaws 2
The Jaws event at Universal Studios Hollywood opened after the release of the 1975 film. During your Studio Tour, you will pass by the huge animatronic shark from the movie. The movie was entirely shot on location at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, but parts of the set were recreated exactly for the Studio Tour.
As you can see, during the tour, Sherriff George the diver is unfortunately eaten by the huge shark. Whilst you hide from the beast behind a row of oil drums, they unexpectedly catch fire. But don’t look to closely into the water as a deadly surprise awaits!
3. King Kong
Pass within feet of the incredible Kong: Skull Island set and experience a scene straight from the blockbuster! Then, as you head into Skull Island, it’s time to put your 3D glasses on, as you will encounter the world’s largest 3D experience. Brace yourself for a 360-degree immersive experience as deadly dinosaurs leap out of the jungle all around you, and an epic fight scene breaks out between Kong and a fearsome T-Rex!
Despite Transformers being released by Paramount Pictures, a substantial part of the climactic battle in Mission City was shot on New York Street at Universal Studios Hollywood. Additional parts of the city were added in with CGI post-production, and you have to look quite hard to spot the New York style buildings but there are there!
For even more Transformers action, experience “The Greatest Battle You'll Ever Ride” with the Transformers™: The Ride-3D. Start off on foot as you walk through the corridors of the military base N.E.S.T, then ride through an incredible battle between the Autobots and the Decipticons.
5. Home Alone 2
Most of the movie was shot on location in New York City, as the film is set there. However, due to the nature of a lot of the stunts and special effects that take place in the house, some exterior scenes were filmed in Brownstone Street at Universal Studios Hollywood.
The New York area of the Backlot has been used many times in different products over the years. It was partly destroyed in the 2008 fire, but Brownstone Street is still available to see during your Studio Tour
You may not know that Donald Trump makes a cameo in the film! He gives Kevin directions to the lobby!
6. The Truman Show
Don’t read on if you’re not familiar with the ending of cult classic The Truman Show as spoilers are coming! The final scene of the film, where hero Truman Burbank sails out on his boat into the waters around the fictional town of Seahaven and bursts the wall of the dome enclosing him in the reality TV programme he wasn’t aware he was appearing in, was filmed on Universal Studios Hollywood’s Falls Lake. Falls Lake is a man-made lake which is used in conjunction with a green screen to shoot much larger and epic water-based shots than it would appear from this tranquil little lake!
7. Back to the Future
One of the places you can explore on the Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour is the Court House Square where some of the most iconic scenes from Back to the Future were set. If you take the VIP tour, you can even get off the tour bus and have a walk around the set, with a stop for a photo on those famous courthouse steps!
The Bates Motel is one of the key location on the Universal Studios Hollywood studio tour, where you’ll spot the sign swinging eerily in the wind and the original car from the movie parked outside. Next door is the set of the Psycho House, with creepy steps leading up to the spooky mansion located on the hill. You’ll have the chance to get up close and personal on all the main sets of the movie…if you dare of course.
9. How The Grinch Stole Christmas
The Grinch set, which was used in 2000 to shoot the film How the Grinch Stole Christmas is still there to visit today if you take the Studio Tram tour. The three Whoville buildings are some of the most brightly coloured and wacky sets featured on the tour and include more than 1,900 candy canes and enough paper snow to cover 9 football pitches! Keep an eye out for the Grinch though, he has a habit of sneaking up on people!
10. War of the Worlds
One of the most iconic sets created at Universal Studios Hollywood was for the aeroplane crash scene in the Hollywood epic War of the Worlds, starring Tom Cruise. To create this set, the Universal creative scene bought a real-life 747 ex-commercial jet for a whopping $60,000, before chopping it into pieces to create the dramatic apocalyptic set. During the VIP tour, guests can exit the tram and check out the crashed 747 up close, walking in the footsteps of stars such as Tom Cruise and director Steven Spielberg.
11. Bruce Almighty
Universal Studios Hollywood was the setting for a lot of the scenes in Jim Carey’s 2003 film Bruce Almighty. A lot of the scenes were shot on Brownstone Street, a set in Universal which aims to look like a generic street in the US and which plays home to Jim Carey’s character Bruce and his girlfriend in the film. There’s also the scene in the film where Bruce walks on water, which is shot on Falls Lake, somewhere Jim Carey will recognise from his time shooting The Truman Show!
12. Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives
Most commonly known now as Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives, Colonial Street is part of the backlot sets at Universal Studios Hollywood. Since the series ended, the street has undergone a small makeover to remove the famous white picket fences and wisteria, in order to allow for filming of other productions.
Colonial street has also been used as a film set for: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Beethoven, Gremlins, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, and music videos from The Offspring’s Why Don’t You Get A Job?, Smash Mouth’s All Star, and Nelly and Kelly Rowland’s Dilemma.
If you opt for the Universal Studios Hollywood VIP Experience, you can even walk along the street rather than viewing it from the tram during the Studio Tour!
13. Pirates of the Caribbean
The incredible swashbuckling epic is based on the ride at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris and premiered at Disneyland California. Released in 2003, the first Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was a huge success despite many journalists predicting it was going to be a flop. Whilst a lot of the film was mostly shot on location across islands the Caribbean namely St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Backlot at Universal Studios Hollywood was used for parts of Port Royal, Wills Workshop and Tortuga. Pictured above is Old Mexico, used for shots of Port Royal, and you can visit this set during your tour!
14. Apollo 13
You can see this Lunar Module from the Apollo 13 set at the middle landing on the escalator to the Upper Lot. There are also models of Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon that you can stand next to for photos.
Mission Control was filmed at Stage 27 at Universal Studios Hollywood despite NASA offering the use of the real Control room for filming. Director Ron Howard declines, choosing to have his own replica created from scratch.
Thinking of visiting Universal Studios Hollywood? Don't miss the Studio Tour and, if you're a huge film buff, make sure you check out the VIP tour which gives you the tour, private guide, the chance to get off the tram and interact with the sets, a peek at the props department and a VIP breakfast and lunch.
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