Universal Studios Florida
NBC Universal / Comcast
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(10/22/21) Universal Studios Florida Confirms Closure of Fear Factor (MORE...)
(10/16/21) More Minions and Villain-Con Expected in 2023 (MORE...)
(10/11/21) Closing Dates For Shrek and Mummy & New AEW Dark Taping Scheduled (MORE...)
(10/10/21) Something Magical May Be On The Way (MORE...) / Macy's Holiday Parade To Return (MORE...)
(10/6/21) Shrek Removal Confirmed and Lengthy Rehab For Another Major Ride in 2022
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 - (10/11/21) We’ve now been sent the dates that Shrek and Revenge of the Mummy will close in January 2022. The last day to ride Revenge of the Mummy before it closes for an extended rehab will be January 6th, after that the Mummy will slumber until “late Summer”.
Shrek 4D and the attached gift shop are both said to be closing forever starting Monday, January 10th, so your last day to ride should be Sunday, Jan. 9th barring any last second change of schedule. According to a tweet from Universal Orlando however, guests can still enjoy the “Meet Shrek and Donkey” experience which will continue to operate daily.
In other news, according to a tweet from AEW President, Tony Khan, the wrestling brand is planning to return to Universal Orlando on October 24th to shoot the next episodes of AEW Dark in one of the soundstages. This followed the planned shooting of an AEW Dynamite episode in Orlando’s “Addition Financial Arena” the night before on Saturday, Oct. 23rd.
(10/10/21) Christmas is returning to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. Soon themed winter holiday decor will appear throughout the streets of Diagon Alley and guests will sip on hot butterbeer while listening to Celestina WArbeck and the Banshees.
Also this year, Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s is also coming back, and this time the fleet of more than 30 giant balloon figures will take to the streets of Universal Studios Florida once again along with hundreds of performers to fill the streets.
Look for all the holiday season fun to take place from Nov. 13 through to Jan. 2, 2022.
(10/6/21) Huge news leaked out from Universal Orlando a few hours ago… some of which ties directly into our rumor on Shrek 4D closing in the near future. The bottom line, not only is it true that Shrek 4-D is closing, but an internal memo at to Universal Orlando team members confirms that Shrek 4-D will close forever in January 2022. Shrek 4-D has hosted nearly 75 million guests over the last 18 years, and the time has come to retire the big green guy for something new.
Oh… remember when I said I was hoping Shrek 4-D would get a home release? Apparently it already did, several years ago it was put on DVD as part of a collection, and then later released as a standalone disc you could also buy. You can still find it on Amazon as “Shrek 3-D” either by itself or in a bundle pack with the original movie, but it’s no Blu-Ray or 4K release, so we can still hope for that in the future.
There is one way you can apparently watch Shrek 4-D from the comfort of your home right now though. Open up your Netflix account and search for “DreamWorks Spooky Stories” and then look for the episode called “The Ghost of Lord Farquaad”. This is actually the Shrek 4-D animation in 2D form, so no glasses required.
As for the other bit of leaked news, Universal confirmed to team members that Revenge of the Mummy will close down for an extended maintenance break in January 2022 as well. How extended you ask? That’s the shocking part… according to the memo Revenge of the Mummy “will remain closed through late summer 2022.” So yeah… best guess is it will be closed for about 8 months and probably not be ready to open until late July or August 2022. That’s one heck of a rehab! But it was pointed out to me that Mummy has pretty much been operating virtually non-stop without any major refurbishments for quite some time now, and has been a serious workhorse for the park, so 2022 will be the time to give it the love and care it needs for future guests to enjoy for years to come.
The unfortunate side-effect of this however is that Universal Studios Florida will be down two major attractions for much of 2022 as the park ramps up towards adding a couple of major new attractions in the next couple years that follow.
(9/11/21) Remember I said AEW Dark was going to start taping matches at the Universal Studios Florida backlot? Would you believe that actually begins TONIGHT? According to various wrestling news sites, they will be taping twice today in Soundstage 19, with the first session from Noon to 3pm and the second from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. Unfortunately it seems that they have already run out of tickets, but you never know, they may allow walk-ins to finish filling up the seats, as they will want it to look like a full house for the taping, so if you are in the park, it can’t hurt to inquire.
(9/5/21) Wrestling will soon be returning to the Universal Studios Florida backlot it seems. Over the years various professional wrestling shows (WCW and TNA Impact) have chosen to tape some of their shows in some of Universal’s soundstages and this history will soon continue with the arrival of AEW Dark. The arrival of AEW Dark matches to Universal Orlando was confirmed by AEW President Tony Khan.
While I haven’t been able to watch AEW myself as someone who has cut the cord, and it doesn’t seem to appear on any of the regular streaming services like HULU, Netflix, Peacock, Paramount+ or HBO-Max, the way I understand it is AEW Dark consists of matches that are usually put out by the promotions YouTube channel and are not included in their regular AEW Dynamite or AEW Rampage TV programs. One great benefit to Universal Orlando guests will continues the tradition of the past wrestling shows that have taped on-site by inviting Universal Orlando guests to attend tapings for free.
Keep an eye out in the future for this, as no exact timeline was mentioned as to when the first AEW Dark events will be shot at Universal Orlando. It is believed that the first tapings could take place either later this month or in October.
(8/30/21) Ready to take a tour through the Halloween Horror Nights Tribute store? Enjoy the video below as Universal Orlando takes us inside the new themed retail zone themed to our favorite event of the year.
(8/10/21) According to the official Universal Orlando Blog, the Jurassic Park/World Tribue Store is now closed as of the end of park hours on Monday. While nothing has been confirmed yet, it is expected that the site will be transformed into another Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store to open the last week of August.
(6/29/21) The word from Universal Studios Florida guests is that the park’s Universal’s Superstar Parade returned to action over the weekend for the first time since shutting down in 2020 due to COVID-19. Check the park schedule or Universal Orlando app to see the current parade times.
(5/30/21) As rumored, Universal Orlando launched a semi-new version of their Cinematic Celebration night show on the lagoon last night. This is actually the same show as before, but what was added is a nearly 5 minute long addition, “A Celebration of the Olympics on NBC” that plays just before the start of the main show nightly through August 8th.
(5/26/21) Universal Orlando has put a walk-through tour of the new Jurassic World Tribute Store online for all to see as the camera travels through the VelociCoaster Control Room, the Raptor Paddock and through the Lab. Several of your favorite dinosaurs may be hiding inside and don’t forget to check out the themed and tasty treats to be had inside.
The Jurassic World Tribute Store officially opens on May 27, but if you’re passing by before then, you never know when they might soft open it, so check it out.
(5/22/21) Universal Orlando has now repurposed the former Barney show building with a new Dreamworks Destination dance party style show featuring many of the popular Dreamworks Animation characters from Shrek, Trolls, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar. You can catch a video below of the new show as seen during a team member preview the other day.
In other news, it certainly sounds like Universal Orlando is beefing up their in park entertainment experiences, as I’ve been told that we should keep an eye on the Lagoon after dark during Memorial Day Weekend for something special. I may be wrong, but If I had to guess, I believe a new updated version of the Universal’s Cinemagic Celebration show could be brewing.
(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.
2023ish - Villain-Con / New Attraction - Rumor - (10/16/21) Ready to know more about what’s replacing Shrek 4D? Then know that the new experience (not your typical new ride from what I understand) will actually tie in closely with those neighbors across the pathway. Yup… the popular Minion presence at Universal Studios Florida will be expanding to include a second attraction in addition to Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.
We don’t have a name for the new project yet, but I’m told it will tie heavily into a theme from the first Minions movie, as park guests will be allowed to visit “Villain-Con” for the first time, the annual convention held in Orlando for supervillains and criminals from around the world. I don’t know if guests will enter through the hidden entrance disguised as a bait-shop or not, but I’m told the overall experience will allow you to visit the trade-show floor and go booth to booth.
I’ve also been told this will be an interactive experience, where I’m guessing you get to try out various super-weapons as you move from booth to booth. So in a way, you can sort of think of this as a Minions themed version of Toy Story Midway Mania… just without the ride cars.
Whaaaaat? Yeah, as crazy as it sounds, you won't be seated in a ride vehicle for this experience. Anyone who has been to a major convention (IAAPA? Comic-Con?) knows that the true experience is found while walking past the endless aisles of trade show booths. But trust me, you’ve got to keep the crowd moving and not just standing there, so guests will take this rapid, and potentially explosive, tour of Villain-Con while standing on some kind of moving walkway.
I know it all sounds crazy… and kinda weird, but those two things fit right into the world of the Despicable Me and Minions films beautifully. I’m also very intrigued by the unique sounding experience this could offer, as something we’ve never quite seen before. So stay tuned, because with Shrek set to go dark in January, I’m told that our trip to Villain-Con will begin sometime in 2023.
(10/6/21) Huge news leaked out from Universal Orlando a few hours ago… some of which ties directly into our rumor on Shrek 4D closing in the near future. The bottom line, not only is it true that Shrek 4-D is closing, but an internal memo at to Universal Orlando team members confirms that Shrek 4-D will close forever in January 10, 2022. Shrek 4-D has hosted nearly 75 million guests over the last 18 years, and the time has come to retire the big green guy for something new.
(10/3/21) Screamscape is sending out a very early warning for fans of Shrek 4-D. Go see it, enjoy it, take it all in as if it was your last time to experience it. After after number of years of living on the chopping block, our sources tell us that it no longer is a matter of "IF" Shrek 4-D will close, but now only a matter of exactly “WHEN” it will close.
A new attraction concept to replace Shrek 4-D is in the works and before you know it, the big green guy will be heading back to the Swamp for good. It was often thought that Shrek 4-D was given an extension on life because a new Shrek feature film was greenlit for production. While prodcution on a "Shrek 5" film has been said to be in the works for a number of years now (the release window was delayed by COVID of course), the new film isn't expected to hit theaters until late 2022 at the earliest, but from the sound of things, Shrek 4-D isn't likely to be around by then.
If would be a nice touch if they could put a 2D version of the attraction film onto a future Blu-Ray and Digital Release in much the same way that the Back To The Future ridefilm was included in a Blu-Ray release of the BTTF Trilogy a few years ago.
2024? - Diagon Alley Expansion - Rumor - (10/22/21) Confirming part of our rumor, Universal has apparently confirmed that the Fear Factor Live show is now closed for good. They aren’t saying anything about what will become of the site, but for now I’m sticking to our rumor report on what is to come.
(10/10/21) Back in July, we posted a story unearthed by Theme Park University regarding some of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions being planned for Universal’s upcoming Epic Universe theme park. In that story (copied below) they reported a rumor that a planned attraction from Universal Creative that would send guests for a ride on a flying broomstick, aided by VR headgear, could possibly be shifted from the delayed Epic Universe park to Universal Studios Florida on the site of the Fear Factor Live show venue.
From what Screamscape is now hearing, this seems to actually be happening. After all, the original intention was to open Epic Universe as early as mid to late 2023, and so if development on this planned VR Brookstick attraction has been ongoing, I’m told we could see it appear as part of a planned Diagon Alley expansion by 2024 if all goes well.
I’ve also heard the theme or storyline may have changed a bit, for the better, to fit in with the new location. That said, I don’t know if the attraction will involve a visit to the Ministry of Magic office or if it will have an entirely different theme. Either way, it is about time that Diagon Alley added a second major attraction to the land to help disperse the crowds a bit more, so this is welcome news indeed.
We should know more once Halloween Horror Nights is over, as they will be clear to begin demolition of the former Fear Factor show venue at that time. Once that begins, we’ll know the project is fully approved and moving forward.
(9/25/21) Universal Orlando fans… be prepared to say goodbye to the former Fear Factor Live show theater, formerly created and used for the park’s Wild, Wild, Wild West Stunt Show before that. While the venue is currently being used for the park’s Halloween Nightmare Fuel show as part of the live entertainment lineup for Halloween Horror Nights 30.
Following the end of HHN30 on October 31st, 2021, the latest rumors say that once the current show is loaded out, the park will begin to pull anything and everything of value out of the show venue (lights, audio, etc…) to make way for the demolition of the show venue for something new.
While we don’t know exactly what we can expect here, the most persistent rumor for the site since the opening of Diagon Alley in 2014 was that the site was earmarked as a position expansion space for Diagon Alley. Lots of ideas have been pitched since then, but given the location I’d say it is a pretty safe bet that we may be looking at the next phase of growth for Universal’s Wizarding World.
This is despite the fact that previously we thought we would have to wait until the new Epic Universe theme park was ready to open in 2025 before we would see more Wizarding World attractions come to Universal Orlando.
More to come as we find out… but whatever this is, it sounds like it will open before Epic Universe does.
(7/11/21) An interesting report from Theme Park University this weekend mentions that Universal Creative was taken by surprise by the announcement that the Harry Potter New York retail location would have a pair of VR attractions, now set to open this week. It’s a good read, but the big thing is that the surprise comes as Universal Creative was working on their on VR based attraction that would place riders on Broomsticks.
I can confirm this as well, as Screamscape sources confirmed to us long ago that one of the intended attractions for the new Epic Universe theme park was to have a Ministry of Magic themed attraction as part of whole third Wizarding World land. The unannounced new land was expected to feature a live show, a major new dark ride experience and the Brookstick ride where riders would fly, aided with the use of VR style headgear. The early word at the time was that the concept in progress was looking pretty amazing and sure to be a guest favorite.
With the launch of Epic Universe delayed from late 2023 to 2025 right now, Theme Park University brought up the return of another rumor, that said Brookstick attraction might be going ahead as planned, but possibly in a new location as an expansion to the London/Diagon Alley land in Universal Studios Florida where it would take over the Fear Factor Live stadium site. This sort of brings the rumor home once again, as rumors of adding a Ministry of Magic themed attraction on this site started as soon as Diagon Alley opened in 2014.
Much like how the early plans for Orlando’s Super Nintendo World would have placed the new land in the Studios park as a replacement for the Kidzone area before being shifted to become a land in Epic Universe, the early plans for the Ministry of Magic attraction also made the jump to Epic Universe as the start of an entirely new land. I’m not sure how confirmed the plans are to bring it back to the Studios as TPU reports, but I don’t think that would harm the overall larger plan for the third Wizarding World land still intended for Epic Universe.
If anything, it might make the overall theme of the new land make even more sense as we had previously heard that the plan for the new land was to feature a look at the French version of the Wizarding World, with the dark ride to be themed around the French version of the Ministry of Magic located in the city of Paris, and possibly involving the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic in the storyline for either the ride or the live show. So moving the rumored Broomstick VR attraction along with a British Ministry of Magic theme from Epic Universe to a location next to Diagon Alley would possibly be for the best.
Of course with the delay added to the new park project, there could be many new changes made to the previous rumored designs.
(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.