Where Was Wally World Filmed?

national lampoon vacation(1983)

Wally World is a fictional amusement park from the film National Lampoon’s Vacation. It is visited by the Griswold family as they go on a disastrous family road trip from Chicago to California. Clark Griswold, wanting to spend more time with his better half Ellen and kids Rusty and Audrey, chooses to lead the family on a cross-country endeavor from the Chicago suburbs areas toward the southern California amusement park Walley World is billed as “America’s Favorite Family Fun Park”. National Lampoon’s Vacation, referred to as simply Vacation sometimes is a 1983 American road comedy movie directed by Harold Ramis and featuring Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Imogene Coca, Randy Quaid, John Candydebut with special appearances by Eddie Bracken, Brian Doyle-Murray, Miriam Flynn, James Keach, Eugene Levy, and Frank McRae. The screenplay was written by John Hughes, based on his short story Vacation ’58 which showed up in National Lampoon.

It tells the story of a family that goes on a cross-country outing to an amusement park as funny hi-jinks happen en route. The film was a box office hit, acquiring more than $60 million in the U.S. with an estimated budget plan of $15 million, and got positive reviews from credits. Because of its success, five sequels have been produced: European Vacation (1985), Christmas Vacation (1989), Vegas Vacation (1997), Christmas Vacation 2 (2003) and Vacation (2015). In 2000, readers of Total Film voted the film as the 46th greatest comedy film of all time.

National Lampoon's Vacation

Which Theme Park is Used as Wally World in the movie: Where Was It Filmed?

There are two locations used as Wally World in the film. The parking lot and entry scenes were filmed at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, a part of Greater Los Angeles. Santa Anita is a racing track, but the expansive parking area was ideal for the look of Wally World. The matte painting was used to fill in the Parkkyline, which you’ll see is clear considering the fantastical size of some of the Park’s coasters (and, surprisingly, a Castle).

All of the in-Park Wally World scenes were shot at Six Flags Magic Mountain, which is on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Renowned for its thrill rides even back in the 1980s, two of the Park’s famous rides can be seen in the movie. The first, La Revolución, was known as the Great American Revolution until 1979. The steel Schwarzkopf coaster was the first coaster to feature a vertical loop. The attraction is currently known as The New Revolution after a restoration in 2016.

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The second coaster to be intensely featured was Colossus. The Park’s 70s-period wooden coaster was a work of art and featured noticeably in the film. It ran for a long time at Six Flags Magic Mountain, before shutting forever in 2014. After the closure, Six Flags reported that the ride would come back to life as Twisted Colossus, with the framed Rocky Mountain Construction taking control over the ride to give another experience. Wally World is based on Disneyland, and in fact, the producers wanted to use Disneyland as the Theme Park in the film. That thought was canned, however, you can see the Disney influence all through the sequence took shots at Wally World (counting Park owner Wally’s striking similarity to Walt Disney).

Wally World-National Lampoons Vacation

Things you probably didn’t know about the movie ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’

  • There was a Wally World Water Park in London, Ontario, Canada, which opened quite a while after the film was released. Shooting for “Vacation” required a real-life trip for the cast and crew. The film was shot in more than 15 areas across four states.


  • There were five Wagon Queen Family Trucksters used in rotation during the making of the movie, allowing each to be modified in different ways to account for the wear and tear the car endures all through the Griswolds outing.


  • Christie Brinkley was simply turning into a superstar in the modeling industry when production started and the studio wanted to feature her in the film. While she just showed up in a handful of scenes, she traveled with the cast and crew for a large part of the shoot. Vacation was her first film credit and she would reprise her job for the 1997 sequel “Vegas Vacation.”


  • Imogene Coca, who played Aunt Edna, was reluctant about playing the role since she was stressed she was unable to be mean enough. “She was probably one of the sweetest women in the world,” Chase later said to describe Coca. However, maker Matty Simmons convinced Coca to take the part, guaranteeing her she was a phenomenal actress who could play any part.