Universal Studios Florida
NBC Universal / Comcast
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(1/11/22) Minions Appear To Be Moving In to Shrek 4D for New Attraction (MORE...)
(12/12/21) Universal Studios Florida Brings Earl the Squirrel To Life!
(12/10/21) Revenge of the Mummy Hits Major Milestone (MORE...)
(11/26/21) Universal Studios Florida Reopens More KidZone Attractions (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as refurbishments are subject to change.
Revenge of the Mummy - Jan. 7, 2022 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 - (12/12/21) After years of being sort of a quiet “legend” character at Universal Studios Florida, the spotlight was put on Earl the Squirrel as part of last year’s Holiday Tribute Store. This year, Earl is back and bigger than ever… like much much bigger. Would you believe… 6 feet bigger?!
For the first time Universal Studios Florida has introduced a full size walk-around Earl the Squirrel character into the theme park, along with a whole dedicated room to Earl in this year’s “Holiday Tribute Store – Earl the Squirrel’s Christmas Curios Museum & Emporium”. As I wrote about for BlooLoop about a month ago, I love seeing theme parks embrace their own IP creations when possible, and Earl certainly is the embodiment of a Universal Orlando original.
For those unaware, the tale of Earl the Squirrel was actually about a real squirrel inside the theme park. Earl had a thing for Christmas lights, especially the blue ones, and one year he would climb up inside the park’s giant Christmas tree, chew up the wires and make himself a comfy nest. This was of course discovered by the tech crews responsible for all the trees and who had been trying to fix the damage and figure out what was going on.
Eventually Earl was discovered, nicknamed and safely rehomed from the tree, but ever since it became a tradition for the tech crews to hide a plush squirrel, complete with blue lights, somewhere inside the giant Christmas tree. It became a bit of a game each holiday season for those in the know to study the tree until they spotted the plush Earl. In later years, I recall seeing a slightly animated version of Earl who would occasionally poke his head out of a section of the tree from time to time. And in 2021… it is pretty glorious to see the evolution come full circle with Earl the Squirrel now presented officially to all the guests in character form for meet & greets as well as on a collection of in-park merchandise.
(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.
(11/26/21) Things are returning to normal at Universal Studios Florida, as it is reported that the Curious George Goes to Town play area, including the Ball Factory area, have reopened once again. While it’s probably too cold for the water portion of the attraction to reopen, the hands-on Ball Factory area that allows guests to engage in a bit of a Nerf-style war with foam balls, has otherwise been closed since the start of the COVID pandemic.
(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.
2023ish - Villain-Con / New Attraction - Rumor - (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.
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.