Universal Studios Florida
NBC Universal / Comcast
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(8/3/22) Summer Tribute Store Closing Soon, New Mummy Hints Appearing In Gift Shop
(7/25/22) Universal May Be Willing To Drop Simpsons IP In About Five Years From Hollywood and Orlando Parks
(7/17/22) Shrek and Donkey Open at Their New Home (MORE...)
(7/10/22) Revenge of the Mummy Update
(7/3/22) Universal Studios Florida - A Celebration of the E.T. Adventure Ride (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
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 - (8/3/22) (8/3/22) Word is that the Summer Tribute Store will close down for good at the end of August 7th to allow for it to be transformed into a new Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store that should be ready to open around the last week of August, just ahead of the HHN kick-off on Labor Day Weekend.
Nearby, lots of new items are appearing in the Sahara Traders gift shop that serves as the exit for the Revenge of the Mummy attraction. While we all still wait for Revenge of the Mummy to actually reopen, a lot of the new theming in the gift shop makes reference to the Museum of Antiquities theming of the building, as well as references to the former Kong attraction and even Carl Denham, the character who brought Kong to New York in the first place. The story being told here seems to indicate that Denham moved on after the loss of Kong to open a new attraction around “The Living Mummy” inside the Museum of Antiquities. Laughing Place has posted a nice collection of photos of these items placed inside Sahara Traders.
(7/25/22) An article posted to CinemaBlend speculates that Universal may be willing to give up on their rights to use the Simpsons characters in the theme parks at the end of the current contract. IP contracts typically will be drawn up for an initial 10-year term with terms pre-set for two more 10-year extensions. The Simpsons attraction opened in 2008, so if the typical term-timelines were used, Universal would be approaching the end of the 20th year sometime between late 2027 and 2028.
At that point they would have to renew for another decade or opt to let the contract expire and release the Simpsons from the parks. It is worth mentioning that prior to this Universal Creative would be neck-deep in finishing up their new Epic Universe theme park slated to open in 2025, but this would give them enough time to come up with a new replacement idea for Simpsons at the Universal parks in Hollywood and Orlando if need be.
While the Simpsons rides still draw a crowd, I don’t think it ever drew in quite the crowd levels that the attraction building did when it was first opened as Back to the Future: The Ride. However, even if the ride itself is just a mild draw, Universal has invested heavily in offering Simpsons themed restaurant experiences and merchandise shops that probably do generate a healthy profit for the parks currently. So the final decision will likely come down to how much profit Universal is actually making compared to the money they would spend to extend the IP license for another 10 year term.
(7/10/22) While there isn’t much to see yet, the construction walls that have been blocking the entrance to Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Florida have come down this week. Things look much the same as you might remember, with the entrance now only blocked by low-level standard park barriers adorned with the Museum of Antiquities logo and scarb icons. Universal is still mum about when the attraction may be ready to reopen, though for awhile now we’ve been hearing that they were shooting to reopen by the later half of July, so the walls coming down certainly does seem to reinforce this timeline.
(7/3/22) Universal Studios Florida has been an interesting park to watch over the years. Since it opened in 1990 the park has spent the last 30 years slowly replacing and upgrading almost every single attraction in the park. Seriously… if you had only visited in the early 90’s and came back for your second visit now the only attractions that still remain from those early days are the Fieval themed playland, the Horror Make-Up Show and one single ride… the E.T. Adventure ride.
The Steven Spielberg film itself that the E.T. ride is based on will celebrate a 40th anniversary this year, complete with a brief return to the silver screen where it will be shown in some IMAX theaters later this summer. With that in mind, what serves as a beautiful love-letter of sorts to the E.T. Adventure ride has just been posted to Gizmodo that is worth a read.
Long time theme park fans will know that at one point there were actually THREE functioning E.T. rides in the worlds, with clones at Universal’s Hollywood and Japan theme parks. The Hollywood version was shut down in 2003 to make way for that’s park’s Revenge of the Mummy indoor roller coaster while the Japanese version of E.T. was closed in 2009 to make way for another indoor coaster, Space Fantasy: The Ride.
When talking about Disney’s theme park rides, many are considered to be untouchable classics that are expected to last forever. At Universal Studios Florida, this has not been the case, as now every single ride in the park that once-was has been replaced other than E.T., but rightly so. While E.T. Adventure may not be as thrilling as the newer generation rides like Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts or Transformers: The Ride it has stood the test of time by offering a unique family ride experience fulls of sounds, full sets full of animatronics, an amazing musical score, and even scents to enthrall the riders along the way. So if there was ever a ride in the Universal line-up that was wrecking-ball proof, I think this last surviving version of E.T. would be it.
(6/18/22) Guests in the queue for the Hogwarts Express departing from Universal Studios Florida may notice something slightly different while they wait. According to posts on social media, Hedwig the animatronic Owl has now been removed from the cage on Platform 9 ¾ and is now sitting on top of some luggage. According to a post from the ProtegoFoundation the decision to “free” the animatronic Hedwig was made jointly by Universal Creative, Warner Bros and The Blair Partnership.
Despite the negative visual image of having the animatronic owl in a cage, we know from a practical standpoint that the cage was primarily meant to be a way to protect the animatronic figure from being touched or damaged by guests. Still, the points made of having Hedwig seen forever in the small cage were compelling enough to change the display for the better. (Now lets just hope the Muggles can keep their hands to themselves...)
(5/28/22) Universal Studios Florida has posted pictures inside the new Summer Tribute Store which features rooms themed to E.T. THe Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws and Back To The Future along with merchandise from even more popular fantastic films from over the years. The case of themed dessert treats is where it is really at however, full of awesome ET, JAWS and BTTF themed treats to enjoy. Check it out!
(5/22/22) As a brief follow-up to our story about the moving of the Donkey, Shrek and Fiona character meet & greet attraction, we are benign told that the current attraction area will close on June 7th to begin the move to a new home in the KidZone section of the park.
On a related note, Universal has now confirmed the end of the park’s Superstar Parade, and has officially set June 4th as the day of the last performance.
(5/21/22) Universal has Tweeted a picture of the new facade just set in place outside the entrance to the ever-evolving Tribute Store at Universal Studios Florida, just to the left of the entrance to Revenge of the Mummy. So far nothing has been announced as far as the theme to this Summer’s Tribute Store, while last year’s store all things Jurassic as a cool side promotion to the resort's incredible new VelociCoaster.
As you can see in the photo, the theme of the entrance this Summer is made to look like a movie theater entrance, complete with a marquee above that simply says, “The Tribute Store”. The tweet also includes emojis of someone with Stars in their Eyes, movie camera, film and popcorn, which all tie into the movie theater theme. The popular assumption is that the Tribute Store will contain rooms themed to either popular Universal films from over the years, of possibly narrowing it down to films that were also popular attractions from the past for the theme park like Jaws, Back To The Future, King Kong, Twister and who knows you might even get a little Alfred Hitchcock or E.T. for good measure.
(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.
2022 - Donkey’s New Home / DreamWorks Zone - (7/17/22) Good news, Shrek and Donkey are back at Universal Studios Florida. As we wrote previously the popular charger meet & greet attraction moved into new digs over inside the KidZone section of the park. The duo will still be joined on occasion by Princess Fiona.
(6/26/22) A new post at Theme Park Tourist mentions that planters and blue construction walls have appeared inside KidZone around the former Barney themed gift shop building. While nothing has been confirmed, we mentioned several weeks ago that Donkey and Shrek would be moving to a new home somewhere in KidZone and this does seem to be a very suitable location for their new home, especially since it sits right at the entrance/exit to the DreamWorks Destination character show.
(5/21/22) So far Shrek 4D and the former Monsters Cafe have closed to make way for the upcoming new Minions themed attraction, leaving many to wonder the fate of one little attraction seated between the two. Donkey’s Photo Finish, a character meet & greet where guests can chat with Donkey and possibly meet up with Shrek or Fiona will also soon be removed, but it has been also confirmed that the group will be moved to a new home somewhere else in the park.
So where will you be meeting Donkey in the not-to-distant future? Would you believe the group will be making the move to a new home somewhere over in the current KidZone section of the park. The overall plan for this kids section of the park is apparently to transform it into an all DreamWorks Animation themed area. This endeavor already begun last year as the DreamWorks Destination character meet & greet officially replaced the former A Day in the Park with Barney attraction which features characters from Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar and Trolls. From what I’m told, don’t expect any major additions to come to this section of the park for now, as they are simply looking to make it a home for the various DreamWorks characters and most of the changes made over time will simply be cosmetic ones.
As for the fate of the non DreamWorks characters in this zone like Woody Woodpecker, Fievel, Curious George or SpongeBob, I really don’t know. While Universal Studios has use of the Woody and Fievel characters of course, and could let them remain, I would imagine that eventually Curious George and even SpongeBob could be phased out over time as their IP contracts come to an end.
Of course, one reason a lot of this effort may come off as seeming to be somewhat temporary could have something to do with all those rumors over the years of hoping to turn this same area of the park into some kind of Pokemon themed zone in the years that follow the opening of the new Epic Universe park. Time will tell, but for now this will be your home for the DreamWorks characters.
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.