Universal Studios Florida
NBC Universal / Comcast
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(5/11/21) Universal Studios Florida To Open New Tribute Store (MORE...)
(4/8/21) Universal Studios Florida Extends Mardi Gras Celebration (MORE...)
(4/3/21) Ride Company Behind Race through New York Files Lawsuits Against Universal Orlando (MORE...)
(2/12/21) Cinematic Celebration Shows Are Back On Select Nights (MORE...)
(2/7/21) Go Inside the Mardi Gras Tribute Store (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as refurbishments are subject to change.
Other Temporary Closures Include:
Curious George Goes to Town
Fear Factor Live
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 - (5/11/21) The next in a long series of ‘Tribute” stores is on the way to Universal Studios Florida. Based on the theme of this one, I’m guessing it will last throughout the summer season, as this will be the first Jurassic World Tribute Store. A themed entrance portal has already been set up outside the store location, near the Revenge of the Mummy ride, with a “Coming Soon” sign out front.
(4/8/21) Universal Orlando has extended the run of their Mardi Gras celebration event through to May 2, 2021.
(4/3/21) According to a local news report an ongoing dispute between Universal Orlando and the maker of the ride system for the “Race through New York starring Jimmy Fallon” attraction has come to light. Dynamic Motion Rides GMBG (aka: Dymorides of Austria) has filed a lawsuit against Universal Orlando for $5 million in “unpaid invoices with interest”. According to the article the two had a number of disagreements over the development of the attraction, that led Universal to terminate their agreement with Dymorides in the midsts of the project, which was then taken over by a Utah based company, Petersen Inc, who completed the attraction project. Dymorides also claims Petersen took public credit “for the development and construction of the attraction which employs DymoRides’ IP to this day“.
Race through New York opened at Universal Orlando way back in 2017, so it is interesting that Dymorides waited this long to file the official lawsuit, though I assume they could have been working on private negotiations all this time instead. A quick look at Dymorides website reveals more about the company who are the ones behind the “Flyboard Flying Theater” concept which many industry readers may have seen at IAAPA over the past several years, where they have developed a motion platform simulator attraction that riders experience in the standing position instead of seated. Dymorides also provides a line of traditional seated simulator platforms (like Race through New York) as well which they currently market under the “Flying Theater 4.0” name.
Petersen Inc however is not promotored as a ride/attraction company, instead they are a state of the art design/engineering, fabrication and manufacturing company who says they are involved with projects for nuclear, petrochemical, aerospace, mining and industrial projects, where “there’s nothing we can’t build. So the question is, what do you need?” While there is nothing at all about an involvement in the amusement industry on their website, Petersen does look like exactly the kind of problem solvers one might call in to finish a complicated project in mid-development.
Theme park attraction design is a complicated profession, and don’t for a moment think that disputes between manufacturers and the parks don’t happen while projects are in development all the time, even to the point of a formal termination in mid-project. Looking back, you may recall a similar story unfolded between Disney and Environmental Tectonics Corp (ETC), who was contracted to build the ride hardware for Epcot’s Mission: SPACE attraction, who later filed a lawsuit for over $15 million that was later settled. (As I recall, prior to Mission: SPACE, ETC was also the supplier of the Cyberspace Mountain simulator pods for DisneyQuest).
(2/12/21) Good news for Universal Orlando guests coming to attend the Mardi Gras celebration events, it seems Universal Studios Florida is also bringing back nighttime performances of their popular Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration show on the park’s lagoon on select nights (mostly weekends). Check the park schedule to see if the show will be taking place during your visit.
(2/7/21) Universal Studios Florida has released a first-look video inside the brand new Mardi Gras Tribute Store which you can see below. This is the latest in a series of highly themed ‘tribute stores’ Universal has opened in the same site over the past year that started with a Halloween Horror Nights store and then a Christmas one. The popular new Tribute Stores gimmick plays off a sort of offspring between a gift shop and a themed Halloween Horror Night style maze experience with a series of themed rooms to explore with matching merchandise and food options as you go deeper and deeper into the Tribute Store experience.
(2/6/21) Is it a day of celebration or a day of sadness? Universal Orlando has confirmed that they have officially closed the “A Day in the Park with Barney” show. I’m sure there are a number of smaller children who may still be fans of Barney who could be disappointed, but TV show it is based on ended production way back in 2009 and does not have the broadcast reach that it used to when it premiered in the early 90s.
Personally I always found the addition of Barney to the Universal Orlando lineup to be a little odd, especially when mixed into areas of the park with Woody Woodpecker, Curious George and Feivel themed attraction spaces along with the E.T. ride and a Spongebob Squarepants themed gift shop. It still is a bit of an interesting mix, but it works, and Barney was simply a show hidden away in a small indoor theater space along with the occasional character meet & greet session. Barely promoted at all in recent years, it has seemed to me that Universal has likely just been counting down the days until the long-term licensing contract for the IP was ready to expire to come up with something new for the space.
It is interesting now that with the official removal of Barny in the KidZone and the end of the Blue Man Group in the former Nickelodeon Studios building, and ongoing rumors for months that the Fear Factor Live show could also be ended, it sounds like it is time for a grand live entertainment reboot across the entire theme park. Add in that The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad show at Islands of Adventure closed in 2018 and is still awaiting something new along with the long vacant Toon Lagoon theater, one could argue that both parks are primed for new live entertainment opportunities once the need for COVID-19 crowd restrictions have passed.
(1/19/21) Universal Studios Florida has now reopened the Revenge of the Mummy Attraction after a brief rehab, and according to Behind The Thrills, Universal took the time to install some great new upgrades to some of the attraction’s various projection effects. The upgrades mentioned so far include new lighting and better projection in The Treasure Room, upgrades to the Scarab Wall room, a more dramatic upgrade to the projections in the Turntable room and a number of improved lighting effects in the dark high speed coaster section of the ride as well.
It is also likely a few other improvements may also be in the works that were just not finished yet, so look for more tweaks and improvements to come over the days and weeks to follow.
(1/13/21) Mardi Gras is coming back to Universal Orlando in 2021… but in a slightly different way than we’ve seen before. They are calling the event, “Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavors of Carnaval” and it will take place daily from Feb. 6 through to Mar. 28, 2021. According to the official description, “Experience an international food fest with cuisine and entertainment inspired by international Carnaval celebrations. Sample the flavors of Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Germany, Spain and other regions including, of course, New Orleans. Plus enjoy spectacular floats on display, street entertainment, music, beads and more throughout the theme park.”
While the traditional Mardi Gras Parade will be on hold this year, “a fleet of Pirate Treasure themed floats will be on display throughout the park along with a collection of Universal’s classic Mardi Gras floats.” Plus all roving street entertainers and musicians will be found throughout the park.
Nothing has been said about concerts, so I’m guessing those are cancelled this year as well, but they do mention more information about a Mardi Gras Scavenger Hunt event as well as an all new Mardi Gras Tribute Store experience will be coming soon.
???? - 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.