Universal Studios Florida
NBC Universal / Comcast
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(2/2/16) Fast & Furious Construction (MORE...)
(1/23/16) Beetlejuice Demolition (MORE...)
(1/16/16) New Future Attraction Rumor (MORE...)
(1/11/16) Construction Photo Report (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Disaster & Twister - NOW CLOSED for new attraction construction
Wizarding World of Harry Potter - DIAGON ALLEY Media / VIP Preview 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!
General Park News - (1/11/16) A photo update from Universal Studios Florida has been posted by OrlandoParksNews.com showing off all the different construction walls set up all around the park for various projects, ranging from the new Race Through New York attraction, Fast & Furious Supercharged and even a new building going up across the pathway from the entrance to Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.
I don't know if this has opened just yet or not, but it looks like Diagon Alley will be home to a new candy / sweets store called Sugarplum's. According to the person who sent in the photo of the rethemed building, they believe it has taken over the Shutterbutton building behind Weasley Wizarding Wheezes. Shutterbutton has now moved over to the main street area next to Madam Maulkins.
(11/30/15) Universal Studios Florida has decided to extend the run of the Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue show until January 5th. The previously planned final show exclusively for Universal Orlando passholders that was to be held on Dec. 2 has been rescheduled for January 5th, at 5:15pm. Tickets to the final performance are first-come, first served, so follow the link to find out how you can get yours.
(11/27/15) After being on the block for possible removal for so long, it looks like Comcast has a soft spot for Terminator 2: 3D at Universal Orlando. I remember shortly after Comcast took over, the live portion of the show which was showing signs of age received some funding to fix up and repair those ageing elements. Jump ahead to this week and out of nowhere T2:3D has now put a brand-new pre-show video experience into play at the show's extensive pre-show experience room that details new technology products like "Eyes in the Skies" drones, Project Angel, and even Genisys, mixed in with some of the old footage. Be warned though, the old funny contact lens part that allowed NBA star Shaq to make perfect free-throws has unfortunately been replaced with a new soccer segment instead. The video appears to have also dropped some of the more ominous sounding musical score from the SkyNet / Cyberdyne promo that I was always fond of, in favor of a more friendly sounding. While you can check out the video below I'm hearing that there may be more upgrades on the way coming to the main show experience in the near future.
(11/16/15) While the end is coming soon for the Twister attraction at Universal Orlando, an fun to watch tribute video about the history of the Twister attraction has been posted to YouTube. Things get real interesting about a 1-minute-30 into the video when they show off some fantastic old-school footage of the original live-action Ghostbusters attraction that was housed inside the building first. Great video footage of the old Ghostbuster show is kind of hard to find these days, so give the video a watch and enjoy a look back, as they even have a full video of the first-edition of the Ghostbusters show that only lasted until about 1993 before a pre-show was added and the storyline redone to include Louis Tully and a plot involving the power grid being shut down by Peck who allows the ghosts to escape into New York before it too closed down in 1996 to be converted into Twister: Ride It Out.
2016 - Hello Kitty shop - Under Construction - (8/20/15) It has been confirmed that the Lucy Tribute display at Universal Studios Florida has been closed, and I’m told from sources that this will become the site for the new Hello Kitty store. In other fun news, Universal Orlando has posted a new 360º POV ride video of the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster. It’s perfect for a little VR fun if you have a Google Cardboard headset handy to use with your mobile phone.
(7/24/15) According to one source, the future Hello Kitty store coming to Universal Orlando may take over the current spot of the Lucy Tribute walk-through exhibit near the front of the Universal Studios Florida park.
(6/9/15) Sanrio and Universal Parks & Resorts have announced a partnership that will see a Hello Kitty interactive retail store added to the Universal Orlando Resort later this year, and a second one to open in the future at Universal Studios Hollywood.
"This will mark Hello Kitty's official retail debut at theme parks in North America and offer specialty merchandise including stationery, home goods, apparel, accessories and collectibles. The majority of merchandise will be devoted to Hello Kitty; Sanrio properties Chococat®, My Melody®, Badtz-Maru®, Purinand Keroppi® will also have a presence. Hello Kitty confectionery and specialty co-branded Hello KittyUniversal park-exclusive products will also be available."
While the exactly location at Universal Orlando wasn't mentioned, the site will feature photo ops, a meet and greet with Hello Kitty herself, and an area to create custom souvenir versions of Hello's Kitty's signature bow.
Hello Kitty has had a relationship with the Universal brand for some time now through the Universal Studios Japan park which not only features a Hello Kitty shop, but even the Hello Kitty's Cupcake Dream ride, which is like a cupcake themed tea-cups style flat ride, where each cupcake has a "frosting" shaped roof over the spinning riders.
2017 - Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon - Under Construction - (12/9/15) An interesting picture showing off demolition work taking place to the outside of the old Twister attraction building was posted to Twitter. I don't know if this was done simply to remove the Twister themeing from the gift shop facade, of if they are planning on removing more of the soundstage itself, or if they will simply re-theme the exterior.
(7/28/15) For months now I've heard rumors claim that some kind of new attraction that would be themed to "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" was in the works to replace Twister in the near future. To be honest... all this time the concept has never made a lick of sense to me... as I was just having trouble trying to even fathom what kind of attraction Universal could come up with that would be entertaining and fun, while themed to the concept of an evening talk show.
(12/4/15) A few pictures of the themed construction wall around the former Twister building to promote the new Race through New York starring Jimmy Fallon have been posted to Behind the Thrills. Meanwhile one of our readers noticed while riding the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster that much of the old Twister outdoor queue area has already been demolished.
(11/23/15) According to the latest pictures from USF posted to OrlandoParkNews, the construction walls are already up around the Twister building, now that it is closed. Meanwhile they give us a quick look at the other construction walls up around Disaster and the former NBA City restaurant out in CityWalk.
(10/28/15) The latest Universal Orlando attraction announcement didn’t come from Universal themselves, but rather through the star involved with it… Jimmy Fallon.
And before you ask… yes… this is the replacement attraction for Twister that has been rumored forever… though the rumor mill went silent on the project shortly after the announcement of the Fast & Furious attraction coming in 2017 to replace Disaster.
On Tuesday night’s episode of The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon announced a new attraction to be called “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon” would be coming to Universal Studios Florida in 2017. The park’s existing Twister attraction will close for good on Nov. 2nd to make way for it.
The attraction will be themed around the “outrageous celebrity races” that take place from time to time on Jimmy’s version of The Tonight Show. As guests, you’ll make your way into the experience from the park’s New York street sets and into Studios 6B to attend this “very special taping” of the show where Jimmy challenges the audience to the ultimate race through the streets (and skies) of New York City.
2017 is really stacking up to be a huge year for Universal Orlando, as it will see the opening of Universal’s Volcano Bay waterpark, an expansion of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, as well as a new Fast & Furious: Supercharged themed attraction just short walk across the same park.
Immediately the first and pretty much only concept to leap into my head was the second chapter of the infamous "Luxor Trilogy" or "Secrets of the Luxor Pyramid" of attractions built into the famous Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas when it opened. The second chapter attraction was called "Luxor Live" and invited guests to sit in the audience of a live talk show being shot... except it wasn't live at all. Through some projection magic behind a practical set, the actors you are watching live on stage were really just projections. If my memory serves, Luxor Live was the first of the three acts to be closed down due to poor guest satisfaction and the small theater venue was soon turned into a small live performance venue instead.
Still, the rumors of a Jimmy Falon / Tonight Show attraction have persisted, and all the while, no one able to come up with any reasonable speculation as to just what kind of attraction it could be. Until today...
A new post to ThisIsInfamous may have nailed it on the head... or at the very least came up with a far more entertaining concept that I've been able to. You can read their complete theory by following the link, but in essence, they see the Twister building being gutted and turned into something more like a medium sized version of a Soarin style flight simulator system, but themed to being "Inside the Mind of Jimmy Fallon". So yes... this could be seen as a mix of "Inside Out" meets "Soarin"... but at Universal Studios Florida as we go through a day in the life of Jimmy Fallon as he prepares to step out onto the stage of The Tonight Show.
Again... this is just a rumor... but it gives me a better idea of what to think about while we await the announcement from Universal Creative about their latest pet project.
2017 - Fast & Furious: Supercharged - Confirmed - (2/2/16) A great photo posted to Twitter shows that not only is the old Beetlejuice show theater gone, but the demolition crews have torn quite a bit of the old Disaster attraction building as well.
(1/23/16) Curious to see what's going on at Universal Studios Florida? Judging from the photos sent in by a reader this week, they wasted no time at all demolishing the old Beetlejuice show theater to begin work on the Fast & Furious Supercharged project.
(8/25/15) Just as it leaked out, Universal Orlando has confirmed that a new ride called "Fast & Furious: Supercharged" will be added to Universal Studios Florida in 2017, based in part on the attraction of the same name added to Universal Studios Hollywood earlier this summer. According to the description, it will feature an original storyline and new incredible ride technology, and while you wait you'll get to check out a collection of the high-speed supercharged cars you've seen from the Fast & Furious film series inside Toretto's HQ. Just as rumored, Disaster will close forever on September 8th, with Beetlejuice Graveyard Review closing later this year.
While on the subject of Beetlejuice... there was a new rumor sent my way earlier today, claiming there is a rumor that Bettlejuice may not be gone forever. The popular undead and playful spirit could possibly return as part of a rebooted show that would take over the Fear Factor theater venue. Again... this last part is just a rumor, but you never know.
(8/25/15) I'm not sure how true this all is, but people claim to have found a not-yet launched page for the Universal Orlando Blog that was apparently set to go live at midnight that would announce that a new version of the Fast & Furious Supercharged ride would open at Universal Orlando in 2017, replacing the Disaster attraction as well as the Bettlejuice show theater, with Disaster set to close down as early as September. Our friends at Behind The Thrills have a pretty good write up on how the page was discovered and then quickly hidden behind a passworded firewall, but we'll have to wait and see if this comes true with an official announcement.
(3/3/15) With Kong all-but confirmed at this point for Islands of Adventure, many may be wondering what the future could hold for Universal Studios Florida. Certainly the rumor mill has churned out plenty of new ideas, as well as rumored existing attraction on the chopping block for new replacement ideas. Today I’ll add one more to the mix in the form of a Fast & Furious themed attraction.
The Hollywood park has been getting a lot of preview buzz for their new Fast & Furious: Turbocharged attraction that will open later this year, and according to Hollywood rumors the studio side of things intends to make up to three more films before retiring the franchise. So it stands to reason that the Orlando parks could very well get a F&F attraction in the next few years. Earlier rumors suggested that they could try to copy the basic idea being used for the Hollywood attraction, but I’m also hearing a new rumor suggesting that a new kind of ride could also be under consideration.
???? - KidZone Revamp - Rumor - (7/2/15) World of Universal reports that Universal has filed permits to build a Building 79B, described as a new 23,000 sqft warehouse building structure. The rumor going around claims that Building 79B would be a replacement for the current Building 79, also known as the Parade building warehouse which is used each year for Halloween Horror Nights as a home for one of the haunts each year.
While I’m sure Building 79B could and would be put to the same purpose, wherever they build it, another popular rumor says that since Building 79 bumps up right against the existing backside to the Curious George wet/dry play area, this could also be taken as a sign that the site may be put to better use as part of that new Nintendo deal that will bring attractions themed to the popular video game characters to the park, which would be a perfect theme to replace all of the park’s kiddie area.
(5/12/15) My initial gut reaction was to think that the new Universal / Nintendo partnership would likely be used as a possible way to retheme the Marvel comics themed island. However, as time passes, I'm hearing more and more than the actual intent for the IP is to completely replace the current KidZone attraction area, including Fieval's Playland, Barney, Curious George, and such. The fate of E.T. is unknown however, as it could easily be put under the knife as well, though many feel that E.T. is currently "untouchable" as the last remaining E.T. ride and nod to Universal's collaboration over the years with Steven Spielberg.
(6/27/13) I’ve mentioned it before, but the most likely new project coming to Universal Studios Florida once Diagon Alley opens may be a complete renovation and/or re-branding of the kiddie areas of the park. Curious George and Barney the Dinosaur are likely to be retired… and most certainly Fieval’s Playland will get a complete makeover along with rumors of a replacement for the E.T. ride.
What could replace E.T. you may ask? Well in Hollywood they replaced it with their own version of Revenge of the Mummy and in Japan the ride was replaced by the Space Fantasy indoor spinning coaster. So while I would like to think that Universal might try to reuse the massive E.T. building in a similar fashion, the actual rumor going around is that Universal may be in talks with Sony about bringing The Smurfs to Universal Orlando. In fact, one of our own readers was asked to take a survey in the past week which pitched new ride concepts based on The Lorax (for Islands of Adventure) and a “flying” dark ride concept based on The Smurfs that sounded very much like a plan to reuse the E.T. ride system
According to our source, the concept pitch for The Smurfs ride in the survey even mentioned having Papa Smurf say goodbye to the riders by name at the end of the ride… just like E.T. does. Universal has partnered with Sony to build an attraction before (Men In Black) and the Smurf village theme would actually be a good fit as a replacement for Fieval’s Playland as well. All rumors, surveys and concept pitches for now… but as Diagon Alley gets closer to opening we should know more about what the future may hold.
(11/15/12) While Universal Creative has their hands full right now with Transformers and then the Potter expansion, the early rumors for what could be next are already coming down the pipe. According to the latest buzz, the general plan right now is to overhaul the KidZone area in either 2015/2016. Expect Woody Woodpecker to say, but Curious George, Barney and Fieval may be given their walking papers. With the E.T. Adventure right in the middle of it all, it too may be either replaced or given an extensive overhaul.
???? - The Secret Life of Pets - Rumor - In Planning & Development - (1/16/16) If you've read our rumor for Universal Hollywood in 2017, you know that Universal Creative is working on a new dark ride concept themed to the upcoming animated film, "The Secret Life of Pets", from the team behind the Despicable Me film series. Fans of the Universal Orlando Resort were quick to write in to ask, “What about us?”.
This question comes with good reason behind it, as most of the new attractions we’ve seen added to one coast have made their way to the other within a few years such as Despicable Me, Simpsons themed restaurants, Transformers, and construction under way to build a new Skull Island: Reign of Kong, Fast & Furious Supercharged and least we forget the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that will open in Hollywood in a few months. So what about Universal Orlando?
After doing a little digging I’ve been told that the loose plan right now is to build a copy of The Secret Life of Pets in Florida, provided that the Hollywood version proves to be a hit when it opens first. This means we won’t likely see a clone open until 2018 or 2019, which seems just about right as the Orlando resort will have their hands full with already announced projects through to 2017. As for the location of the ride, I’m told they have their sights on a possible location within each of the Florida parks right now.
Over at Islands of Adventure, I’m told that the current site of the Toon Lagoon Amphitheater is being considered for a number of new projects, including this one. With that in mind however, another bigger project is hoping to land that site first, but we’ll discuss that at another date. At the Studios park however, the site of choice is a little more interesting and would see the Shrek 4D attraction close to make way for the new dark ride. This would also put the Secret Life of Pets right across the street from that park’s Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction, creating a nice little themed zone for the Illumination Entertainment properties. Since this project is still several years out, if approved at all, anything can still happen to change it, but I’m leaning towards this going to USF myself over the Islands of Adventure site, which has another important project also wanting that particular site.
???? - 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.