Universal Studios Florida
NBC Universal / Comcast
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(11/25/20) Universal Studios Florida Reopens Fast & Furious Supercharged (MORE...)
(11/20/20) New Holiday Experience featuring Macy's Balloons Video (MORE...)
(11/18/20) Take A Tour of Universal's Holiday Tribute Store (MORE...)
(11/15/20) Universal Studios Florida - Universal's Holiday Experience Featuring Macy's Balloons (MORE...)
(11/7/20) Universal Orlando is Ready To Celebrate The Holiday Season (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate
Temporary Closures Include:
Curious George Goes to Town
A Day in the Park with Barney
Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
Revenge of the Mummy - Jan. 4 through Jan. 15
Hogwarts Express - Jan. 21, 2021 (One Day)
Wizarding World of Harry Potter - DIAGON ALLEY Review!
Screamscape Previews Diagon Alley!! We’ve Got All The Details!
Screamscape Review Part II: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
Screamscape Review Part III: The Hogwarts Express!
Other Features & Reviews
Volcano Bay (2017)
Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s (2017)
Fast & Furious - Supercharged - Offical Review (2018)
General Park News - (11/25/20 - Update) According to social media posts from Universal, the park has reopened Fast & Furious - Supercharged. When Universal reopened over the summer, Fast & Furious and a number of other attractions were closed down a few weeks later as the operations team made cut backs. Early reports indicate long lines to ride, but this is also due to the fact that Universal is only loading every other row with passengers.
So why reopen Fast & Furious now? With the Holiday Season now started, the parks are expecting bigger crowds and could use another ride to help add more capacity in the park. After the holidays are over in January the park is also planning to close down Revenge of the Mummy for a rehab in January, so I’d expect F&F to stay open for that as well. Beyond that, we could see them close it again if the crowd levels fall. We’ll have to wait and see.
(11/20/20) You can go on a virtual walk-through of the entire Universal’s Holiday Experience featuring Macy’s Balloons in the video below from our friends at Orlando Experience.
(11/18/20) Universal gives us a look inside their first ever Holiday Tribute Store in the video below. Enjoy!
(11/15/20) WDWNT has posted a huge photo review of the new “Universal’s Holiday Experience Featuring Macy’s Balloons” walk-through attraction held inside one of the backlot soundstages. The Christmas parade floats and many Macy’s balloon units have been set up inside giving guests the ability to get much closer to them than ever before. You’ll even get a chance to meet Santa before you are done, who is set up on a little stage for social distancing and wearing a matching red face mask for safety.
(11/7/20) Universal Orlando has announced all the details about what’s going on this Holiday season, because as Universal puts it, “Not even The Grinch can steal the Holidays this year.” From Nov. 14, 2020 through to Jan. 3, 2021 special Holiday experiences will be added to the Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure theme parks.
At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas you will notice the addition of “festive decor” and lighting in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. This includes new special Holiday merchandise and seasonal specials, such as Hot Butterbeer which is already on sale now. Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees will be back with a special holiday show in Diagon Alley and don’t miss the holiday edition of the Frog Choir in Hogsmeade.
In Universal Studios Florida the Macy’s Balloons will return as part of a brand new walk-through experience that will get you closer to the balloons and Christmas floats than ever before. And keep and eye out for Santa Claus. Also new this year is Universal’s Holiday Character Celebration, as throughout the day the Minions along with characters from Shrek and Madagascar will make special appearances in the park to spread Holiday cheer.
Back at Islands of Adventure you know who will return once again. No…. not just The Whos… but The Grinch as well. The mean, green one will take over Seuss Landing along with a gaggle of Whos to cast his own kind of special cheer over the Holiday season.
If you are the kind of person whose Holiday visit isn’t complete without trying out some of the sweet treats then Universal has a new challenge for you. New this year in the Holiday Treat Trail experience. If you buy each of five designated treats spread out through CityWalk, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure during your visit, then you’ll get a complimentary sixth treat to enjoy. These are good ones too: a Pumpkin Spice Churro (at Production Central Cart in USF), Holiday Wreath Cake (at the TODAY Cafe in USF), Red Holiday Popcorn (at Marvel Popcorn Cart in IOA), a Holiday Ornament Doughnut from VooDoo Doughnut in Citywalk and try a Cinnamon Coke (at Port of Entry Slush Cart & Fruit Cart at IOA and also at Louie’s Fruit Cart and the Men in Black ICEE Cart in USF).
Universal has one more surprise in store, as the Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store is now in the process of being turned into their first ever Holiday Tribute Store. Given all the fun merchandise and unique food items that they had inside the HHN Tribute Store, I can’t wait to see what they have in the works here. According to the press release, “ A brand-new Tribute Store dedicated to the Holidays will debut at Universal Studios Florida for the holiday season. Located in the New York area of the park, guests will come dashing through the store into a winter wonderland featuring four immersive rooms - including one inspired by Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch - stocked with a variety of new merchandise that will make perfect holiday gifts, plus delicious seasonal food items. Guests can also browse Universal’s assortment of Holidays merchandise and make purchases online by visiting www.shop.UniversalOrlando.com”
(11/1/20) A four-legged runaway made social media coverage at Universal Studios Florida this week as one of the stars of the park’s Animal Actors show escaped from the show venue and took themselves for a brief walk around the park. Trainers quickly caught up with the dog near the Horror Make Up Show and all was well again with minimal chaos.
(10/26/20) Not only did Universal’s Cinematic Celebration night show return to the park on Saturday night, but they also added it to the show schedule for Sunday night and it is slated to perform again on Saturday, Oct. 31st and 9:45pm.
Business has been on the rise for the Universal Orlando theme parks which are said to have reached their reduced capacity attendance cap for the past three weekends in a row. Something to keep in mind if you are planning a visit in the near future, as the weekdays would be a less crowded time to visit.
(10/23/20) Universal Orlando is about to bring back another guest favorite. According to the official website’s show schedule, Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration night show on the lagoon of Universal Studios Florida will finally perform once again on the night of Saturday, October 24 at 9:45pm. No word yet on if this is a one time test, or if they are planning to return the show to some kind of regular performance schedule going forward. Stay tuned!
(10/14/20) According to this news report Universal Orlando has honored famous New Orleans parade float builder Blaine Kern with a window in the second story of the Pantages Theater building inside Universal Studios Florida. Kern, who passed away in June at the age of 93, designed the Mardi Gras floats for Universal for years. The window now features his company, Kern Studios and the words, “Blaine Kern - Mr. Mardi Gras” with the window overlooking the starting point of the parades. Universal’s Jim Timon said, “‘Mr. Mardi Gras’ will continue to be part of the celebration he created and to ensure that the good times continue to roll, for many, many years to come”.
Kern’s wife says she plans to come to the park in 2021 for the annual Mardi Gras celebration, but as of yet, Universal Orlando has not announced any details about how or when it will take place just yet.
(9/7/20) Universal Orlando has posted a great blog report all about the creation of the new Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store. In addition to seeing how it all comes together, you can learn more about the process and team behind the store’s creation.
(8/25/20) Want to see something very cool? Check out this awesome behind the scenes footage video showing off just what Transformers: The Ride looks like from outside the ride vehicle as it roams around the attraction building's two floors.
(8/21/20) The Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store has been growing, and as of today, the final two themed rooms have been opened to the public. In addition to rooms themed after legendary icons and monsters, “guests can now make their way through an incredibly-immersive room themed after one of the original characters from the event’s 1991 debut, “the ghost with the most” – Beetlejuice – as well as another haunting space where they can enjoy a variety of food and beverage options inspired by Halloween staples.” The Bettlejuice room offers a number of retro-themed merchandise items as well as unique decor inspired by the film, including the Graveyard, Stairwell Snake and more.
Meanwhile next door you can get a “taste” or horror from the assortment of nearly 20 “sweet and savory items” including, “Halloween Confetti Cake, Vegan Brownie Skull, the Cherry Gummy Beating Heart and more.”
(8/15/20) Good news for Universal Studios Florida guests… according to Attractions Magazine the new Central Park Crepes stand is now open. All crepes are made to order, so they are fresh as can be and look pretty tasty in the photos.
(8/3/20) Our friends at Orlando Experience has posted a video inside the Halloween Horror Nights Tribue Store, which is the closest thing we’ll get to a true HHN haunt experience in 2020, so enjoy!
(7/30/20) Universal has released details about the new Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store now open at Universal Studios Florida. The new Tribute store is “dedicated to the legany of the world’s premier Halloween event. Although this year’s event is cancelled, the Tribute store gives guests the opportunity to take home specialty, retro-themed merchandise inspired by Halloween Horror Nights history.“ It features a collection of throwback themed HHN merchandise from year’s past along with items that pay homage to some of the event’s more “iconic characters” and experiences from over the years. If you can’t make it to see the themed store in person, you can at least see and purchase many of the items online now.
(7/23/20) The facade for a Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store has now gone up at Universal Studios Florida just to the left of Revenge of the Mummy.
(7/20/20) According to an update posted to WDWNT, a new food stand is about to open at Universal Studios Florida called Central Park Crepes. The new green stand is decorated, but is still in the process of having the hardware and electric installed inside. The menu is also already posted on the stand, offering guests a choice between three different “Savory” crepes (Chicken, Brisket, Vegetarian) and three different “Sweet” crepes (Lemon Blueberry, Strawberry Hazelnut and Cookies and Cream). The options sound fantastic too, especially the Cookies and Cream Crepe.
Keep an eye when in the park for this location in the Central Park area, as it could be ready to open before the end of the month.
(7/3/20) According to a video report from ‘Rix Flix’, which includes some good construction footage of the new coaster going up at IOA near the end, they claim that the park’s Fear Factor show may never reopen.
Of course, I think I’m surprised every year to notice that the Fear Factor show is STILL there, as almost every year the rumor about the show’s inevitable demise resurfaces, usually around the end of summer when they close it for several months to make way for a Halloween Horror Nights show instead. Of course the impact of COVID-19 that is now resulting in layoffs and some cutbacks, as well as the removal of any shows, I do have to agree with the report here and say that it is highly unlikely that Fear Factor will return this time.
(4/20/20) Men In Black: Alien Attack held an online 20th Anniversary Livestream Q&A session hosted by the attractions’ Creative Director, Dave Cobb. The session was recorded and is available to watch on YouTube below, featuring nearly 2 hours of Men In Black ride design insight, so check it out!
(4/5/20) Want another fun blast to Universal Orlando’s past? I came across a great video showing off the pre-show and ride-film for The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera, one of Universal Studios Florida’s original attractions! The unique simulator ride-film mixes together a ton of favorite Hanna-Barbera characters into one crazy adventure featuring Yogi, Scooby Doo, The Jetsons, Flintstones, Dick Dastardly, and more!
Over the years the attraction’s ride system has been repurposed for other new adventures. The original Hanana-Barbera ride ran from 1990 to 2002 and was then replaced by Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast from 2003 to 2011. It then reopened again as the current Despicable Me Minion Mayhem in 2012.
(4/1/20) Want a little Universal Studios flashback fun? Universal Creative’s entertaining Michael Aiello who worked as a JAWS attraction skipper in his early days with the company borrowed some POV footage from the old JAWS ride and re-recorded himself performing once again as a JAWS skipper in a video window. The experience is fantastic, adding his crisp audio performance to some fantastic visuals of the classic attraction, creating an epic virtual experience of what the ride was one like for anyone who missed it. Or for those who still miss it… myself included.
You go Mike! That was awesome! You can be my captain anytime!
(3/17/20) An interesting tidbit was spotted in a Forbes article about Universal Orlando’s night shows, published earlier this month before the big shutdown. Towards the end of the article they talk about Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration show and how a special version of the show was created for Halloween Horror Nights last fall titled Halloween Marathon of Mayhem. I had the pleasure to see it myself and it was pure jaw dropping eye-candy that you did not want to miss. In fact, if you check out my Halloween Horror Nights overview video below you can see footage from it starting at the 1:26 mark.
In any case, the article goes on to mention how the lagoon show was altered again slightly for New Years Eve, and how they are now planning on adding a new festive version of the show that can be played over the Christmas holiday season. In addition to that, given how popular the Marathon of Mayhem show turned out to be, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it revived again and re-themed to fit this year’s haunt slate.
(3/13/20) Universal Orlando has announced that, like Disney, they are opting to temporarily close their theme parks amid concern for the COVID-19 pandemic. The closure will begin at the end of business on Sunday, March 15th and they anticipate staying closed through to the end of March at this point. Universal CityWalk and the Universal Orlando resort hotels will remain open during this time.
(11/18/19) The Holiday season began over this past weekend at Universal Orlando. Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is back with special live holiday musical performances from the Frog Choir, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees and The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle projection show, bringing fun aspects of Holiday Cheer to the Wizarding World in both theme parks. Plus you don’t want to miss out on the limited holiday run of Hot Butterbeer.
In Islands of Adventure you can enjoy the return of Grinchmas with the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular live show.
At Universal Studios you can enjoy Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s as well as performances from Manheim Streamroller on Nov. 23, 24, 30, Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14 and 15.
(7/20/19) I told you back in May to expect this change to happen soon, and now it has been confirmed that the Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem attraction has indeed drops the use of 3D glasses and is now being presented only in standard, but very crisp, 2D projection technology.
Why the change? It seems this is becoming more of an industry trend as theme park guests seem to not only be getting a bit tired of all screen/projection based attractions, but especially so for shown only in 3D. The same trend has been in progress for even longer at your local movie theaters where the patrons have been voting with their wallets, preferring the more higher definition 2D theaters (like Dolby Atmos), over the formerly promoted 3D technology (Real-D, IMAX 3D).
To learn a bit more, I wrote an extended piece on this growing movement away from 3D projection technology for BlooLoop back on May 28, 2019 that is an excellent read if you missed it the first time around.
(4/28/19) Universal Orlando has announced their 2019 Holiday plans for the theme parks. The holiday season will run from Nov. 16 through to Jan. 15th and feature the return of the Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s in the Universal Studios Florida park, the return of the Ginchmas Who-liday Spectacular in Islands of Adventure, as well as all the Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter extra entertainment in both parks, including the awesome night time projection show on Hogwarts Castle itself. Also look for special musical performances by Mannheim Streamroller inside Universal Studios Florida on select nights.
2020 - The Bourne Stuntacular - (8/27/20) Universal Orlando has released a fun behind-the-scenes look at their nee “The Bourne Stuntacular” show. Check it out below.
(7/1/20) Universal Orlando has posted a 10 minute preview video to give you a sneak peek inside The Bourne Stuntacular, both showing off some of what you may see on stage as well as a look at the tech going on backstage, and below.
(6/28/20) Universal Orlando has confirmed that The Bourne Stuntacular, the newest attraction at Universal Studios Florida, will grand open to all guests on June 30, 2020. Fans can also participate in a “virtual sneak peek” event online on June 29 at 7pm EST on Universal’s YouTube channel.
The early word I’ve got from those who saw the sneak previews has ranged from very positive to being completely amazed at the new production, even with certain elements that were not working during the previews. That said, this should be something to watch and unlike anything you have seen before.
(6/16/20) Universal Orlando has confirmed that the Bourne Stuntacular is now in “technical rehearsal”... aka: soft open. So if you are heading to Universal Studios Florida, keep an eye out at the attraction entrance to find out when you can catch this newest attraction.
(3/7/20) I’m told that Universal Orlando will be hosting some VERY EARLY team-previews of their new The Bourne Stuntacular attraction in a few days. That said, I’m told that we probably shouldn’t expect any soft-openings of the attraction to the public just yet, as it sounded as if it wasn’t quite ready for that just yet.
While we’re talking about Bourne, check out the video below! Footage showing off the inside of the main theater were posted as part of an attraction preview given to the Today Show. The interesting thing is they show off how the giant LED screen will be incorporated in with actual set pieces and stunt-actors in front of it to create some amazing looking scenes that will be full of motion and not just a still-backdrop. Even more fun, it looks like the stunt performers may swing out over the audience from the roof at times during the show. Check out the video below for some great action footage that will show you how this new 21st century stunt spectacular is coming together.
(2/19/20) A fun video was posted by Theme Park Shark this week as they went into USF to take a look around the gift shop that serves as the exit to the new “The Bourne Stuntacular” show. The shop is already full of new Bourne themed merchandise items, but while exploring the shop the camera caught some of the audio playing from inside the theater where a test-run of the new show was apparently taking place. Watch through to the end, as they were shooting video of the exit doors just as some kind of epic ‘finale’ effect takes place inside the theater, which displaces enough wind that it actually blows open the exit doors a few inches before they slam shut again. Very crazy stuff, check it out below.
(11/18/19) OrlandoParkStop has posted an indepth update showing off everything they this they know about the upcoming Bourne Stuntacular show that is worth a read,
(11/6/19) The sign for The Bourne Stuntacular has now been placed over the old entrance to Terminator 2: 3D, which can be seen in new photos posted to OrlandoParksNews this week.
(10/15/19) With a brief online leak spotted a few days ago, I figured the big announcement for Universal’s next attraction would imminent, and today is that day. In Spring 2020 Universal Studios Florida will open “The Bourne Stuntacular”, an all new “cuttng-edge live-action stunt show”. According to the description it will “blur the lines between stage and cinema in a hybrid form of entertainment that hss never been seen before.”
As in the film series, you will follow the character “Jason Bourne” around the globe as he is pursued by a variety of “sinister characters”. As in the films, there will be chase scenes, fist-fights, death-defying leaps and danger at every turn, all happening right in front of your eyes with live performers, high-tech props and an immense LED screen that will make it hard to tell where the live action portion ends and the cinema begins.
Stay tuned, as they promise more information will soon follow.
(10/14/19) Screamscape sources tell us that very briefly the name and logo for the new stunt show replacing the former Terminator 2 show was posted to the Universal Orlando website as “The Bourne Stuntacular”. In fact, an even more detailed post can be found at Theme Park University that includes an interesting post made the week before from Action Horizons Stunts instagram page shows off stunt performers working hard in Orlando for a new production. The company is known as the one Universal uses to hire and train all the stunt performers for the various Waterworld shows around the globe, as well as performers for the Raptor Encounters and TriWizard Spirit Rally performances.
It shouldn't be long before Universal is ready to make some kind of announcement about this newest park attraction.
???? - Despicable Minion Christmas - Rumor - (4/28/17) Rumor time… Minions + Christmas Lights… could this be a thing? I’m not quite sure at this time, but I’m hearing rumors of a future Christmas season holiday entertainment proposal for Universal Studios Florida that would take the concept of what would happen if Gru’s Minions were let loose upon the park to decorate for the Christmas season, with the result being something that might have put Disney’s former Osborne Lights display to shame.
While the park did just announce new a new parade for the holiday season in 2017, it could be possible to see a unique light display added over the next year or two to help add-on to the holiday fun and offer a new kind of holiday attraction they’ve never tried to do at Universal before.
???? - Diagon Alley Expansion - Rumor - (8/12/14) About.com Theme Parks has posted a very interesting bit of speculation regarding what might come as the next possible expansion to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Our good friend Arthur Levine went on a guided tour of the new London / Diagon Alley area with Alan Gimore (Art Director for many of the films and for Universal’s Wizarding World projects). Alan led him to the big red british phone booths sitting on the curb just outside Diagon Alley and instructed Arthur to dial 6-2-4-4-2 (M-A-G-I-C) on the phone and he was suddenly connected with a phone recording from the Ministry of Magic informing him that the office was not open that day. Alan went on to tease that perhaps taking Muggles on a trip into the Ministry of Magic might be Universal’s next Potter themed attraction.
This would make a good deal of sense, especially since the current Fear Factor: Live show stadium next door was being eyeballed by Universal Creative as the most likely place to expand Diagon Alley in the future. Of course this is only a tease and perhaps a glimmer of something once talked about in a Blue Sky meeting about future concepts. At this point anything can still happen, but it does give the Muggles something to think about for the next few years.
???? - Super Nintendo World Pokemon - In Development - (1/12/19) Ever since it began to look more clearly that the Super Nintendo World land in Orlando would be saved for a new third full size theme park in development, the rumors began about how the existing KidZone may instead be converted into a Pokemon themed area instead. This along with rumors of a possible Zelda themed land concept that could appear in Islands of Adventure, it looked like Universal Orlando was ready to sprinkle a little Nintendo magic across their entire resort property.
Not so fast though… time to slow down a bit, as just as I had been hearing whispers that Universal Orlando had no intention to open lands or properties themed to other Nintendo IP’s before they can build Super Nintendo World first, a new update from Theme Park University also backs up these same reports, claiming that plans to build Pokemon and Zelda themed lands are being put on hold… for now at least. The corporate bosses have wisely decided to sit on these projects for a bit until they can determine just how well the Nintendo IPs perform in a theme park environment first.
I imagine that they’ll revisit these projects once again when the first Super Nintendo World opens in Japan in 2020. The good news is that with the Nintendo projects on the shelf for the time being, we should see some entirely new and unique plans begin to form at the parks instead as Universal is committed to adding new attractions for guests to enjoy each year.