Universal Studios Florida
NBC Universal / Comcast
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(5/14/22) Universal Studios Florida Closes Monsters Cafe For Good (MORE...)
(5/8/22) Universal Studios Florida May Get A Minions Cafe (MORE...)
(5/7/22) Superstar Parade To End Soon and The Possible Replacement (MORE...)
(5/2/22) Hogwarts Express Refurbisment Planned For June (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as refurbishments are subject to change.
Revenge of the Mummy - NOW CLOSED through Late Summer 2022
Fievel’s Playland - NOW CLOSED through TBD
Hogwarts Express - June 9 through June 18
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 - (5/2/22) Universal Orlando has confirmed on their website that the Hogwarts Express attraction that links the Wizarding World areas of Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventures will be closed for refurbishment from June 9 through June 18, 2022.
(4/28/22) While Universal has yet to post an update, the word around the resort is that they are making early preparations to staff Revenge of the Mummy and begin operations re-training on it sometime in mid to late June. This has led to some expectation that they may be trying to reopen the popular dark coaster in time for the busy July 4th holiday period if possible. Previously the reopening timeline was only listed as “late Summer”.
(2/21/22) Our friends at Orlando Experience have posted a new video showing off the new Planet Mardi Gras Parade now performing at Universal Studios Florida as part of this year’s Mardi Gras Celebration. Check it out below.
(1/29/22) The new Universal Studios Monsters Tribute Store is now open inside the Sahara Traders gift shop space. Orlando Experience dropped by to catch a quick look at the fantastic Universal Monsters’ themed decor inside, and it looks utterly fantastic! Plus don’t miss the new Universal Monsters themed merchandise options for all your favorite creatures of the night.
In addition to just being utterly wicked cool, there is likely an alternative reason that Universal has decided to create this awesome but temporary Tribute store to their Universal Monsters. The new Epic Universe theme park now under construction will have an entire dedicated land themed to Universal Monsters, so they can easily use this Tribute store as a mini experiment to see which characters are the most popular with today’s guests, and which kind of Monsters themed merchandise sells the best. This way they are better prepared to offer guests what they like the best when the new Epic Universe park opens in 2025.
(1/25/22) Good news from Universal Orlando this week, as it has been confirmed that the Hogwarts Express attraction that links Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure theme parks has once again reopened after being closed for much of the past week.
(1/23/22) It looks like the Universal Studios Florida “Tribute” store is moving. Well, kinda. Now that Revenge of the Mummy has been closed for an extended rehab, the former Saraha Traders gift shop that served as an exit to the attraction will soon reopen as a Universal Monsters Tribute store. A “Coming Soon” sign has been replaced on the construction wall surrounding the attraction, claiming it will be “A Tribute to the creatures of the night”.
So what’s happening with the old Tribute store location on the opposite side of the Mummy attraction’s entrance? As done the year before, it is slated to become the Mardi Gras Tribute Store. According to a previous release from Universal, it will be themed as a “Float Factory Warehouse”, featuring some details about the process of how a Mardi Gras float is created, from the first sketches to the build-out of the float itself. This will probably open around the start of February, just before the Mardi Gras festivities begin. It should be interesting to have two such “Tribute” stores running at the same time, in the same park.
Meanwhile, if you visit Islands of Adventure I’m told that the former “All Hallows Eve Boutique” store location in Lost Continent that served as a sort of mini HHN Tribute experience has been revamped as the “All Hallows VooDoo Boutique”, offering up a first chance to buy some of the 2022 Mardi Gras merchandise ahead of the event taking place in the other park from Feb. 5 to Apr. 24, 2022.
We’ve also got a note about the Hogwarts Express which has been closed for much of the past week. Screamscape sources tell us that the cable that is responsible for moving the trains back and forth between the parks is in need of replacement, which can be a time-consuming procedure under the best of circumstances. So while the park is dealing with that issue and waiting for whatever parts they need to perform the job, I’d expect the Hogwarts Express to remain closed for a good bit of time. This is assuming they have quick access to get a new cable, otherwise that wait could be extended from a few weeks to a few months due to supply chain issues.
(12/10/21) While Universal will shut down the popular Revenge of the Mummy ride in January for an extensive refurbishment, Universal did make it known that the ride has now hit a major milestone, having serviced 100-million riders since it opened in 2004. Along similar lines, there are now rumors starting to leak about what aspects of the ride may be changed before it reopens again in the later half of 2022.
Some of the rumors are a bit out there, and honestly, as someone who lives and breathes rumors, I haven’t been convinced just yet about any of it. So stay tuned and get your last rides in while you can.
(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.
2023ish - Villain-Con / New Minions Attraction / Minions Cafe - Rumor - (5/14/22) As I warned everyone several days ago, Universal Studios Florida has now officially closed the Monsters Cafe for good. According to the memo sent out to team members the restaurant has been retired after over 20 years of service “serving dreadfully-delicious” offerings, to “make way for a new dining experience”.
While they are not ready to announce what will replacement, our previous rumor stands that the sitte will be transformed into a new Minions Cafe to go along with the yet-to-be-announced Minions themed attraction replacing Shrek 4D next door.
(5/8/22) Fans of Universal Monsters visiting Universal Studios Florida may want to visit the Monsters Cafe sooner than later. Word is that the themed restaurant may be transformed to take on a new Minion theme in the future due to the location being next to the existing Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction and the upcoming rumroed Minions themed attraction set to take over the former Shrek 4D site.
While it will be sad to see the Monsters Cafe leave, the Universal Monsters are supposed to be the theme of an entire land at the upcoming Epic Universe theme park, so I’m sure there will be some fantastic new themed eateries to enjoy there.
(2/11/22) Looks like Screamscape’s rumor about the new attraction planned to replace Shrek 4D is quickly turning out to be rock solid. First the Minion themed construction walls went into place overnight, and now a new building permit uncovered confirms Glidepath Limited as the contractor. Glidepath isn’t a company traditionally known for their work in the amusement park sector, but they are known in the travel industry for their work in building moving pathway systems used to move and sort luggage around airports as well as package sorting systems. From time to time, they’ve also build a moving walkway here and there to move people around as well, with unique systems actually able to move standing guests about complex pathways, including corners.
As we stated previously, the theme of the new ride would place guests on a moving walk-way system that would transport them into the world of the Villain-Con expo, guiding them past various convention booths and displays. The thought was that guests would get to try out various gadgets and super-villain style experimental weaponry along the way. From what I understand the new experience is still looking to open in 2023.
(1/11/22) Shrek 4D is now no more as many guests came to the park last night for one final viewing experience of the 4D theater attraction. The next morning construction walls had already surrounded the building featuring Minions theming, which seems to indicate that our rumor of an upcoming Minions themed replacement attraction is right on the money.
(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.
2023/2024/2025 - New Parade - In Development - (5/7/22) Screamscape sources tell us that the Universal Superstar Parade will be coming to an end sometime around the end of May. Given the crowds that Universal is expecting this summer based on advanced booking, this may be for the best. Many of the themed floats however are expected to be set up in various locations around the park to serve as stages for character meet & greets to take place throughout the summer.
Rumor has it that an all new parade is being developed as a new future attraction experience that will launch sometime before the opening of the new Epic Universe park in 2025. If I had to guess, Universal will likely include a number of new characters and IP’s coming to Epic Universe into this new parade experience to help serve as a sort of preview of the new park. Of course this will also serve as an early gage of guest response to the various characters to help guide the future marketing (and merchandise) efforts of the new park as well.
So if the rumored themes of the lands for the new park hold true, I’d expect to see characters from Nintendo, How to Train Your Dragon in this production along with the expected cast of characters from Minions, Secret Life of Pets and along with maybe some other surprises. But come on… MarioKart in Parade form? Who wouldn’t want to see that.
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.