Cancel Preloader

Videos show Universal Studios attraction, not Hilary storm damage in California

Videos that claim to show damage and flooding from Tropical Storm Hilary in Southern California were actually taken during a Universal Studios Hollywood tour.

Southern California is battling flooded roads, mudslides and downed trees after Tropical Storm Hilary drenched the area

Videos shared online on Sunday, Aug. 20 claim to show widespread damage and flooding from Hilary in and around Los Angeles. Another post claims to show video of a plane crash landing in Long Beach, California, as a result of Hilary and an earthquake. The four videos have racked up a combined total of nearly 13 million views on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

Some people in the posts’ comments were skeptical that the videos actually showed damage from Hilary in Southern California. 


Do these videos show flooding and damage from Tropical Storm Hilary in Southern California?



This is false.

The videos do not show storm damage from Hilary in Southern California. They show an attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood. 


All four of the videos shared online show scenes from Universal Studios Hollywood’s “World-Famous Studio Tour” attraction, where visitors to the theme park can see real sets from movies and TV shows. 

The tour takes visitors through a fake flash flood in an area used to shoot “Big Fat Liar” and “Fletch Lives,” an earthquake simulation used in movies and TV shows, and the plane crash set in Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds,” according to Universal Studios Hollywood blog post.

VERIFY used Google’s reverse image search tool to trace the social media posts back to videos of the Universal Studios attraction. 

Two of the online posts falsely claim to show flooding at Universal and in Studio City, California, on Aug. 20. VERIFY found two YouTube videos posted in 2013 and 2018 that show nearly identical scenes from the Universal Studios tour’s flash flood, including the same “Mercado” building and wagon.

Another post falsely claims to show video of a flooded Los Angeles Metro station

In response to the post, the L.A. Metro’s official X account wrote, “This is a ride at Universal Studios. Duh.”

A 2016 YouTube video, a video posted to Google Maps in May 2022 and a photo shared on Google Maps in April 2023 show the same scene of water rushing over a bench during Universal’s earthquake portion of the studio tour. 

The video that falsely claims to show the aftermath of a plane’s crash landing is from the “War of the Worlds” movie set that Universal visitors see on the tour. 

VERIFY found the same scenery at about 25 seconds into this 2016 YouTube video of the attraction. More photos posted to Google Maps in 2023 also show the plane crash scene on the Universal tour.

Universal Studios Hollywood has not posted about storm damage to the theme park on any of its social media accounts.  

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so that you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn More »

Follow Us

Want something VERIFIED?

Text: 202-410-8808


Related post