It seems like only yesterday that Universal Orlando announced that Nickelodeon Studios would be closing forever. I remember when we would all speculate on what would take its place. The rumors ran rampant from the Simpsons, to office space to even a new hotel. Funny how things play out. The Simpsons will be taking up residence at the former home of Back To The Future, and there are plans for two new hotels, or so it seems.
I have to be honest that I had mixed emotions when Universal announced that the Blue Man Group would be taking over the old building, and even more, it wouldnt be part of Universal Studios but part of CityWalk. How was this going to benefit a park that had pretty much single handedly turned me from a casual theme park goer, to an all out junkie?
That question was answered as the old splats of green slime paint were covered up by new purple and blue splats of paint, with the faces of three odd blue faced men staring out over City Walk.
What was once a secret place where you could enter the park from behind the Hard Rock Cafe is now a wide open pathway with signs, flowers and benches. Its really surprising to see how far an empty plot of land has come in just six months. The side entrance is still there, but now its a lot more visible, as its right in between the Sharp Aquos Theater and Jimmy Neutron. As you make your way in from the Studios, you can see huge Blue Man Statues. At the right angle they are shilloeuttes against the Nickelodeon sign on the Jimmy Nuetron building, almost kind of paying tribute to the former occupants of their new home.
As I walked up you could see crews still hard at work on a few finishing touches, though the box office is fully operational. The only thing that remained of the old Nick building is a single orange handrail on the second floor. Entering the building, it really seems smaller than it is. A concession stand and gift stand flank on the left across from the theater entrance. The new scenery and tile in the lobby really gave the place a touch of elegance and made you forget that just about a year ago it was covered in slime and gak. Upon entering the theater, it kind of overwhelmed me as it was a lot bigger than it seems on the outside. The theater wasnt completely finished, but it still gave you an idea of what to expect.
After setting up the cameras, and figuring the best place to sit, it was time for the show. We were informed that it wasnt going to be the full show, but a set of three songs. The lights went down, and all you could see was the glowing blue of the faces as the three figures ventured out onstage. The furiosity that they played the drums, even when faced with splattering paint everywhere was breathtaking. The thing that surprised me was how intrigued I was at what the guys were doing with their emotionless faces. They seemed to have a curiosity about everything, communicating with their eyes and head movements. It reminded me of watching children discovering something for the first time and figuring out that even though it might have had one intention, its just as easy a new toy.
What we got to see was just a preview of the whole show, and I felt heartbroken that it was over. I wanted so much more, not that what was played wasnt good....it was just so good that I wanted more.
Looking around afterwards you can see several bizarre props that were not used. You couldnt help but to wonder what they're going to be used for....especially the huge white flex pipes tucked neatly in the rafters above.
I was really impressed, and I think that Blue Man Group is a fitting replacement for the Nickelodeon Studio.
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