Visit Tinsel Town by way of Orlando with our guide to real Central Florida buildings, towns and unforgettable landmarks that played a starring role in some of your favorite movies (crocodiles at Gatorland pictured).
Cinephiles, it’s time to take this show on the road as we discover some of the top movies filmed right here in Central Florida. From Oscar-winning productions to comedic capers and cult classics, Orlando makes a cameo in a surprising array of movies. Go behind the silver screen for an up-close look at some of your favorite cinematic moments when you visit filming locations in Orlando’s neighborhoods, attractions, theme parks and surrounding areas. Action!
- Movies Filmed in Orlando Neighborhoods & Surrounding Areas
- Movies Filmed at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
- Movies Filmed at Orlando’s Theme Parks
- Map of Central Florida Filming Locations
Additional reporting by Lily Denneen.
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Ernest Saves Christmas
This goofy holiday romp filmed all over Orlando, beginning with Santa’s arrival at Orlando International Airport. Many of the film’s most memorable scenes center around the fictional Orlando Children’s Museum, shot at what was then the Orlando Science Center (OSC). Part of Loch Haven Park in the Ivanhoe Village Main Street district, the Science Center relocated to its current home 1997, but ‘90s film buffs can still walk in Ernest’s footsteps by catching a show at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, steps away from the OSC.
Eagle-eyed fans may also notice familiar stretches of Interstate 4 near our main tourism districts, along with a Christmas Eve cameo by the historic Amtrak station in Orlando’s SoDo Main Street District. Make the station the first stop on your Orlando filming locations tour, then consider taking the SunRail train to some of the other filming locations on this list.
Discover: SunRail Day Trips
A perfect day trip example is My Girl, shot partially on location in the neighboring city of Sanford. Take the SunRail to Sanford’s historic district, where modern art and eateries coexist with historic homes, cafes, streets and businesses. Notable locations include Thomas J’s House, Mr. Bixler’s house, Dr. Welty’s office and The Cafe (now The Breezeway Restaurant & Bar), where one of the final scenes of the movie was filmed.
Other notable Central Florida My Girl filming locations include the Sultenfuss Funeral Parlor (a private residence) in Bartow, Bingo Night at the Ocoee Christian Church in Ocoee, Mr. Bixler’s writing class at the Plant City High School Community Building in Plant City, and the friendship tree, which was created specifically for the film and is now located on private property in Clermont.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
While Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was primarily filmed on location in Sri Lanka and California, the hungry “crocodiles” beneath the film’s rickety rope bridge were filmed right here at Gatorland.
Bonus: Though the park wasn’t used as a filming location in National Lampoon’s Vacation, it is featured on not one, but two postcards that are shown during the comedy classic’s opening credits.
The Water Boy
Though the film’s action is set in Louisiana, The Water Boy was partially filmed in Central Florida. In fact, the film’s Bourbon Bowl, in which Bobby Boucher shows up to lead to the Mud Dogs to victory, was filmed at Camping World Stadium in Orlando’s West Lakes Market Street District near downtown Orlando. Other notable filming locations include Bobby’s Louisiana bayou home in DeBary (also serviced by SunRail), the Mud Dogs’ training ground in DeLand, and the frat party at the Hunter Arms Bed & Breakfast in St. Cloud.
Discover: Orlando Sports
Most of the onscreen action in Passenger 57 centers around an airplane cabin, with our hero John Cutter (played by Orlando native Wesley Snipes) facing off against vengeful hijackers. However, sequences on the tarmac were filmed at Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) — between real airplane arrivals and departures. The scenes at the fair were also filmed in Sanford, though you won’t find a trace of the temporary film set today.
Ron Howard’s Oscar-nominated Parenthood may be set in St. Louis, but the family-friendly flick was actually filmed right here in Orlando. In fact, the movie’s opening scene was shot at Tinker Field, now a popular site for concerts, festivals and other lively events. Most of the film’s suburban homes and streetscapes, meanwhile, can still be found in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood. More noteworthy filming locations include a College Park Publix — which retains its retro facade — a ShowBiz Pizza-turned-Chuck E. Cheese in Altamonte Springs, and a softball field at Delaney Park.
Problem Child 2
The wedding scenes in Problem Child 2 were filmed at Harry P. Leu Gardens in the Audubon Park Garden District. While the Love Rock featured in the film no longer exists, you can still tour the Historic Leu House Museum, stroll the 50-acre gardens, and even stumble across a modern-day garden wedding.
Honky Tonk Freeway
The fictional town of Ticlaw, as seen in the 1981 film Honky Tonk Freeway, is actually Mount Dora, a charming small town just one hour north of Orlando. When a new freeway is built, bypassing Ticlaw altogether, the film’s townspeople go to extreme lengths to attract visitors, painting the town pink, hiring a waterskiing elephant, and even setting off some spectacular pyrotechnic displays. The downtown business section of Mount Dora was actually painted pink for filming, and Bubbles the Elephant was really trained to water ski out on Lake Dora.
The 1998 film Armageddon features several scenes filmed on Florida’s Space Coast, including exterior shots of an actual shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Center and a pre-launch goodbye scene at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Center in Titusville.
While the shuttle launch in Apollo 13 does not feature actual launch footage, the take-off sequences were indeed filmed in front of a Kennedy Space Center launch site. The film also features exterior shots of the iconic 525-foot-tall Vehicle Assembly Building, which you can see aboard a guided bus tour of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Finally, Transformers: Dark of the Moon also included a pivotal scene at Kennedy Space Center. The movie was filmed primarily in urban cities like Chicago, Washington and Detroit, but the squad makes an appearance in Titusville to prep The Xantium and its Autobot passengers for a return journey to the moon.
Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!
A raging tornado of bloodthirsty sharks? We’re in. This comedic action-adventure flick was filmed at multiple locations throughout Universal Orlando Resort, including Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal CityWalk and Universal Studios Florida. Scenes were also filmed on select attractions including Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Twister…Ride It Out (now Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon), and Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride...Starring You! (now Fast and Furious — Supercharged). There’s even a quick Jaws reference that’s sure to tickle movie buffs and theme park fanatics.
Discover: Things to Do at Universal Orlando Resort
Bring It On: In It to Win It
If you’re looking for even more classic theme park nostalgia, Bring It On: In It to Win It was filmed entirely at Universal Orlando Resort, including scenes at Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure, Universal CityWalk and Hard Rock Hotel® at Universal Orlando, along with some sneaky cameos by Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.
The movie features iconic retired attractions like JAWS: The Ride and The Lost Continent’s Enchanted Oak Tavern and nearby Dueling Dragons roller coaster. The film’s cheer squad even models their final competition moves after the dual coasters’ dramatic near-miss elements. While you can’t visit these attractions today, you can still explore other parts of The Lost Continent, or head to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ to see some of the resort’s newer additions. The Three Broomsticks™ is where the Enchanted Oak once stood, and Dueling Dragons ultimately made room for none other than Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™.
Discover: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™
Universal elements and all related indicia TM & © 2023 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s19)
Jaws 3-D follows the children of Chief Martin Brody into careers at SeaWorld® Orlando as the fictionalized park prepares to debut a new “Undersea Kingdom” attraction. When one of the gates connecting the tunnels to the ocean malfunctions, a massive shark finds its way inside the park and wreaks havoc. Many of the scenes were filmed on location at SeaWorld Orlando, including pivotal scenes at Sharks Underwater Grill, Shark Encounter and the stingray feeding pool.
Discover: Things to Do at SeaWorld Orlando
Thunder in Paradise
Thunder in Paradise is actually a TV show starring Hulk Hogan, but with 22 action-packed episodes filmed around Walt Disney World® Resort, we feel it warrants inclusion on this list. Notable filming locations include The Living Seas (now The Seas with Nemo & Friends), Living With the Land, and several World Showcase pavilions at EPCOT®; Cinderella Castle and other Magic Kingdom® Park attractions; and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, complete with dinner at Victoria & Alberts. And that’s just the beginning!
Discover: Things to Do at WALT DISNEY WORLD Resort
- Day of the Dead (1985): Though most of the movie was filmed in Pennsylvania, above-ground scenes were filmed in Fort Meyers and Sanibel Island.
- Edward Scissorhands (1990): The Southgate Shopping Center is one hour southwest of Orlando in Lakeland, while the formerly pastel-hued homes of Edward’s neighbors are in Lutz, a suburb five miles north of Tampa.
- House on Haunted Hill (1999): The opening “Terror Incognita” roller coaster scene was filmed at The Incredible Hulk Coaster in Universal Islands of Adventure.
- Jeepers Creepers (2001): This backroads horror flick was primarily filmed in Ocala and Dunnellon, about 90 minutes northwest of Orlando. You can even take a Jeepers Creepers-inspired road trip, if you dare, and visit the diner filming site in Reddick, Florida.
- Ace Ventura, Jr.: Pet Detective (2009): The film includes extensive footage at both Gatorland and Universal Orlando Resort, including some especially noteworthy scenes at the Jurassic Park Discovery Center.
- Sisters (2015): This movie is set in Orlando, but local filming was limited to scenes at Orlando International Airport and International Drive.
Use this interactive map to track down movie filming locations in Orlando and beyond.
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