Behind-the-Scenes, News

Behind-the-Scenes | Tribute Store: The Making of the Making of Jurassic Park

June 21, 2023
A view of an archway in the Jurassic Park Tribute Store at Universal Orlando Resort. The arch itself is seemingly made of a brown rock material, and four lanterns sit on the archway, two on the left and two on the right. The text "Jurassic Park" is blocky and orange, with a yellow border. Under the archway sit plants, with leaves extending forward beyond the archway's front. Above the arch is a dimly lit, red-and-orange-hued background, with the silhouettes of trees and bushes.

The newly opened Tribute Store at Universal Studios Florida celebrates 30 years since the release of “Jurassic Park” and is heaven for any super fan of the movies — probably because it was designed by a “Jurassic Park” super fan.

Philip Daley is a project supervisor with the visual merchandise department at Universal Orlando Resort, and he and the Visual Merchandise Project Team have lived up to this immersive shopping experience, paying tribute to the movie and its legacy.

“I was really excited to be able to head a project like this,” Phil says. “Excited, but also a little stressed as well because it’s easy to do a store where there’s no backstory behind it — if the color on the wall is purple, it’s not a big deal. But in ‘Jurassic Park,’ if we paint the kitchen wall purple, people are going to know.”

A man in a brown-ish-gray button up shirt with a white name tag reading "PHIL" over a black undershirt, brown pants, and a brown-ish-gray hat, smiles as he sits with his back against a kitchen counter in a recreation of a scene from "Jurassic Park." His fingers are interlocked, with his hands in his lap. Hanging from the front of the counter, to the man's right, are pieces of kitchenware like spoons and ladles. The kitchenware and counter are both silver. On top of the counter stands a large, brown dinosaur figure. It is surrounded by various silver bots and pans, laying scattered across the countertop. Behind the counter is a kitchen rack leaning over, and silver shelves with various kitchen supplies and containers or cans of food and ingredients.  Near the right of the photo is a silver microwave. Near the top of the visible walls are rectangular windows showing a sunny outside and green plants, and fans with windows to the outside too. The floor is black, and has a white plate seemingly thrown to the ground, and the ceiling is black.

Phil and team put in an incredible amount of work to create the final product guests can see — from ideation to design (both of which started while last season’s Mardi Gras Tribute Store was still open) to construction (which began the day after Mardi Gras closed in mid-April). The team’s involvement in every aspect of the store’s creation gives them the opportunity to go wild and do things like, “drop a freakin T.rex in the room,” as Phil puts it.

A view of the Jurassic Park Tribute Store's front from the outside. The building is primarily off-white, with some brown decorative patches with ornate patterns. In the center, on the marquee, is a yellow circle with an orange border, featuring a dinosaur silhouette. Under the dinosaur, on a black rectangle in a light font, is the text "Jurassic Park." Under the rectangle is a banner, seemingly intentionally put up to look as though it is almost falling off, that reads "30th Anniversary" in orange text with a yellow border against a black background with a white border. Under that is a black, seemingly plastic-canvas sign reading "Tribute Store" in yellow font. Behind this marquee are several green plants. To either side of the marquee, hanging on the building, are identical signs. On each sign is the same "Jurassic Park" logo, though with a red circle instead of a yellow circle. Above that are the words "The making of" in white, and smaller text below, also in white, though it's too small to see from the angle. Above the text is an image of a primarily red sky and a seemingly rising yellow sun, with silhouettes of trees and plants in front of it. There is a red border at the bottom of the signs as well. In front of the building is intentionally placed scaffolding, and other production equipment props. A group of team members pose in front of the building. The team members are all wearing various multi-colored outfits, for the most part, with a couple solid shirts and pants mixed in. In the front and center of the group, one man wears a brown hat. He, as well as the two team members next to him on either side, sit on a bench, while the rest of the group stands behind them. To the group's right is a dark green lampost, and to their left is a tree trunk in a patch of pink flowers and green plants. On the ground is a replica of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with the floor primarily dark and tiled, but with some tiles containing pink stars. The sky can only be slightly seen behind the building, but it is clear and blue.
(Back Row: Adam Hostetler, Kevin Kophamer, Daniel Henke, Martin Green, Stephen Burkett, Dallas Doughney. Middle Row: Sara Hollars, Matthew Alter, Brendan McWilliams, Gregory Duffy, Adrienne Silva. Front Row: Blaine Edwards, Philip Daley, Boyd Goodall)

Harkening back to the vibes of Universal Studios Florida when it first opened, this summer’s Tribute Store is not a recreation of the iconic theme park, but of the moviemaking process behind its big-screen debut. In fact, the store is divided by three rooms representing different parts of the filmmaking process, from pre-production storyboards and blueprints, to production soundstages and sets, then onto post-production advertising and legacy building.

Sara Hollars, a project manager with visual merchandise who also worked on creating the store, says, “Phil, drew us in with his design of a ‘making of ‘Jurassic Park” retail concept. It’s a glimpse behind the scenes, a backstage tour of the sets, and then we end with the legacy of what ‘Jurassic Park’ has meant to people for 30 years.”

A view of the triceratops figure from outside the "Jurassic Park" Tribute Store at Universal Studios Florida laying down in a patch of dirt, hay, and green plants. Behind the patch are beige buildings and the hints of a sunny sky.

The Jurassic Park experience starts even before you walk into the store. You won’t be able to miss the huge Triceratops right by the entrance. The dinosaur was dropped in via forklift at 5 a.m. on opening day of the Tribute Store and has a storied history with Universal. Originally owned by the park, it was donated to Give Kids the World over two decades ago. “I had heard about that story, so when we decided to dedicate this Tribute Store to the 30th anniversary of ‘Jurassic Park,’ I reached out and asked if we could borrow her back for the summer,” Phil says. After extensive refurbishment, it’s now on full display, beckoning guests into an immersive look behind the cinematic hit.

A view of the first room of the new "Jurassic Park" Tribute Store at Universal Studios Florida. In the center of the room, hanging from the ceiling, is a  wooden model of a dinosaur's body, seemingly without arms and legs. It appears to be made of wooden discs, aligned to make the right shape. Below that, on a wooden table with wheels, sits a gray dinosaur head, seemingly made of clay or stone. Throughout the rest of the room stand merchandise displays with T-shirts and trinkets, all themed to "Jurassic Park." The top half of the room, as well as the floor, are off-white, while the bottom half of the walls is turquoise. On the bottom half are primarily shelves of merchandise, but scattered around are bulletin boards with images notes. On the top half, behind a black railing, are doors, windows, and more bulletin boards with drawings, images, and notes. On the far back wall is a white, miniature dinosaur statue.

Guests enter the store into the pre-production room, and will immediately notice the giant dinosaur skeleton in the center. Once you’re done gawking at this display of creative genius, you should absolutely walk around and check out the little nooks and corners throughout the first room. Not only is it full of fantastic movie merch, but you may find some fun “Jurassic Park” and Tribute Store Easter eggs if you pay attention!

A view of a recreation of a "Jurassic Park" set at the Jurassic Park Tribute Store in Universal Studios Florida. The room is dark, with mostly purple lighting illuminating the set pieces and props. On the far left, in between plants and a gated railing with lights on either side, is the giant head of a dinosaur. It sits right above a set of a destroyed bathroom stall, with a closed toilet, surrounded by broken walls with a toilet paper dispenser, a seat cover dispenser, and a bathroom sign with the silhouette of a man and a woman. To the bathroom set's left, to the further left of more trees, is a rock formation. A smaller dinosaur head pops out of the bottom center of the rock structure, next to more plants on its other side. Above the dinosaur head and to its left is a plastic, two-layered sign. The bottom layer is navy, with a white border. The top layer is a lighter blue, also with a white border, with a white silhouette of a boat in the center.

The second room is a recreation of the famous Universal Studios Hollywood Soundstage 28. In here, designers were meticulous in making sure every set piece — built to be exact replicas of the film sets — was precisely what was depicted on screen. This came down to things like the makes and models of kitchen utensils, and the exact sizes of windows.

“There’s a running standard within the team that holds everyone accountable to the highest quality. We often joke ‘No, that’s not screen accurate,’” which means, “it’s not finished yet”. Hollars says. “[Phil] knows the colors of the jeeps and what’s the wrong red, and what’s the right beige, and so I think that gives us a pretty good advantage when we have those team members that very much appreciate a brand or an intellectual property for what it is and want to do right by it.”

A man in a dark gray shirt with a white nametag pinned to his chest, a dark undershirt, and a dark gray hat, stands mid-hand gesture next to a bulletin board, which stands on his right. On the board are various polaroids, notes on yellow or white paper, and drawings. A rock set illuminated in mostly purple is visible behind the man, and shelves of supplies are visible behind the bulletin board.

In fact, both the soundstage and the previous pre-production room are so detailed that polaroid’s of the Tribute Store team building the store’s sets and structures are displayed throughout, replicating the polaroid’s used on movie sets to ensure consistency from one shoot to the next.

The intricate lighting design and special effects work that went into the store are on full display throughout the building, but are particularly impressive in this second room. There is one rain display that especially stands out, setting the tone and offering a fun kinetic energy to the scene. You truly feel as though you’re in a rainy environment, and could be attacked by dinosaurs when you turn any corner!

In between plants and a gated railing is the giant head of a dinosaur. It sits right above a set of a destroyed bathroom stall, with a closed toilet, that a man sits on and a woman stands behind. The man is wearing a brown-ish-gray shirt with a black undershirt, a gray hat, and has a white name tag reading "Phil" pinned to his chest. The woman is wearing a pink shirt, a flowery scarf, and has a white name tag reading "Sara." The woman has her left hand on the man's shoulders, and her right arm bent at the elbow, with her palm facing up. She looks up, with her mouth open. The man looks to his right. Both pretend to be scared. The pair is surrounded by broken walls with a toilet paper dispenser, a seat cover dispenser, and a bathroom sign with the silhouette of a man and a woman.

Throughout the soundstage, there are several photo opportunities with iconic recreations of movie moments. You can sit on the toilet while being attacked by a T.rex, explore the kitchen set from the movie, brave a maintenance shed of Raptors, and so much more. “People love silly stuff,” Phil says. “A lot of our team was like, ‘why do we need this toilet?’ But fans love it and it’s just the best photo op. They’ve gone bonkers over sitting on a toilet taking a picture with a T.rex. It’s great.”

A close-up of a giant raptor figure, with a visible yellow eye, an open mouth full of sharp teeth and a long tongue, and sharp claws, popping out of what looks like a gated cell. Behind the figure are pipes, one of which with a steering wheel and a yellow-and-black striped sticker.

The final room of the store is about the legacy of “Jurassic Park” after its release, from vintage toys to comics to memorabilia to its larger place in today’s culture. Its fan base remains strong, even 30 years after the original debut of the movie. As such, fans are getting excited about the new experience. “What sets it apart is that it’s not just a store, it’s an experience,” Hollars says.

Part of the experience, beyond the immersive sets and scenes, is the merchandise sold. From dinosaur plushies and movie-quote-T-shirts, to toys and trinkets, any “Jurassic Park” fan looking to spruce up their collection will have a field day.

You can even bring home a reminder of all you saw at the store itself, with special anniversary merch celebrating the movie’s 30th birthday. With these items, fans can keep the celebration going even after leaving the experience, and will have a fun story to share for years to come.

A view of a shelf displaying brightly colored "Jurassic Park" merchandise, standing on a wooden floor. Surrounding the shelf on all sides are various plants. On top of the shelf is an orange-ish-red circle with a black border surrounded by a yellow border, featuring a black silhouette of a dinosaur. The wall behind the shelf appears to be made out of a stone or rock, and there is a wooden door and doorframe to the shelf's left. On the far left, the beginnings of a background featuring red sky and a silhouette of plants can be seen.

The store will be entertaining guests all summer, and it’s something you won’t want to miss.

Have you had a chance to explore the “Jurassic Park” Tribute Store? If you have, what was your favorite part? If not, what are you most excited to check out? Share with us on social media or in the comments below.

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3 Comments

  • Reply Jerri Roth July 9, 2023 at 1:36 am

    I haven’t seen the tribute store in person and, unfortunately, won’t get to. I won’t be back to Universal Studios again until September. By then Mr. Daley and his talented group will have come up with an outstanding Halloween Tribute Store. As for the Jurassic Park Tribute Store I have only been able to see the store through pictures and vlogs. I can see how much time, effort, thought, creativity and hard work has been put into a project that has been thrilling people since the day the doors were open. Thank you for such a wonderful tribute to a great movie.

  • Reply Liz Elsten July 14, 2023 at 10:22 pm

    Went today and it was AMAZING. I turned 30 this month and for my 30th birthday my mother in law and I went to universal specifically for this experience. Absolutely worth it for the toilet seat photo op

    • Reply Digital Guest Communications July 14, 2023 at 10:27 pm

      We’re so glad to hear that you had a pterrific time! 🦖

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