Some thoughts on what might replace Jaws at Universal Studios Florida
The Interwebs have been burning with rumors that Universal Orlando will expand its Wizarding World of Harry Potter by building new Harry Potter-themed attractions and shops on the site of the soon-to-be closed Jaws ride in Universal Studios Florida.
But before anyone goes connecting this week's announcements about the Jaws closure and the Harry Potter expansion, let's also keep a few other facts in mind.
First, the next stage of the Orlando Harry Potter expansion is taking place inside Islands of Adventure, right next to the existing Wizarding World, to the east. I've heard that they're talking just new shops at the moment, but that at least one new additional attraction is planned for the Orlando Wizarding World, even though it might not come in this next phase of expansion.
As for Jaws, well, let's remember that Universal doesn't have a track record of tearing down old attractions to the ground and building something entirely different on the site. If you look at all the new attractions that have been installed at the Universal Orlando Resort since it's opening, all were either built on undeveloped sites, or within existing structures. The Simpsons Ride went into the Back to the Future building. Shrek 4D took over the Alfred Hitchcock show. Revenge of the Mummy took Kong's space. Despicable Me is going in the old Jimmy Neutron building, which went into the old Hanna Barbera building. The only building I've known Universal to tear down to the ground was the old Hard Rock Cafe.
So when we're speculating about what might replace Jaws, I think it's smart to keep in mind concepts that would make use of the existing infrastructure on that site. After all, Universal chose to close Jaws, as opposed to two other adjacent attractions with relatively similar footprints and less fan devotion than Jaws - Disaster! and the Fear Factor theater.
Fortunately, Google Maps has an aerial view of the Jaws site that was taken during a refurbishment, when the water channel was drained, allowing us to see what's under the water:
You can see that the Jaws lagoon is not uniformly deep throughout, but just a single cut channel, with deeper cuts for show elements. That would reduce the cost of infill if Universal wanted to build on a blank site, but let's not forget that Universal probably has a significant infrastructure under the site to support pumping and draining all this water.
So if we're trying to figure out what Universal would build here, if it wanted to add a new water-based attraction, this would be the site where to build it.
Even if Universal didn't want to use water, presumably it would choose the Jaws over Disaster only if it either didn't need a show building, or needed a show building of substantially different dimensions than the Disaster building. Also, I think the selection of Jaws over the Fear Factor theater suggests that whatever the new experience will be, it won't be a show that would have fit in a modified Fear Factor theater.
I don't have any first-hand information about what will be replacing Jaws, but I think that keeping a broader view of Universal's history and what's now on that site, as opposed to others in the park, can help us better focus any speculation on the site's future.
Traditionally, most theme parks use existing structures if they can. However, I don't think it is a big deal to fill in the water and build up in this case. The foot print is huge, and Jaws takes up so much space for such short track that it makes more sense to start from scratch in this one. Fear Factor might still go and Disaster still draws in crowds and has just recently been invested in to tear down. But if Jaws wasn't working, I don't see why they would used what it left.
Universal doesn't start from scratch. Well, so much for Super 8...*starts crying*
Well thought out Robert. I'm riding with you on this one. I don't see Potter Phase 2 being built on this spot either. If it is, that's all fine and dandy with me, but if not, I'm dying to know what will eventually go here. Whatever it is, it will have huge shoes to fill, as JAWS is nostalgic, and very much beloved and based off of one of the most timeless well executed movies in history. Good luck to whatever the successor may be.
I believe it's going to be Harry Potter replace Jaws. The Universal Studio side of the park has had trouble keep it's park pack since IOA got Harry Potter. Making this as a 2 park ticket gives you reason to stay at both Universal and IOA longer then one day. It's sad because Jaws the ride is really a nice competitor to Disney Jungle Cruise. Just wish they could find a way to keep Jaws in the park with some new theme park technology.
I am sorry to see jaws go, but excited for what could come...why not transformers? wish they could do the new kong, as in hollywood...but, why not potter...whatever they plan will have to be big as avatar should open 2015 or 2016...with construction today, to get rid of the underwater pumps no biggie...its all about taking away disney fans and increasing the crowds as to what happened over at islands with potter coming over...I think the attendance went up a good deal and if its a potter theme with a train going to each park, it could be a touchdown...transformers could work as its popular...as for islands and a few more potter stores, that is no biggie and if they do a potter show for sinbad, ok...but, to connect the parks with a train? the lines would be out of sight...a new potter ride in universal?
This is slightly off topic, but they wouldn't remove the Fear Factor stage. They need it for Bill & Ted! But anyway, I'm pretty excited to see what they would replace Jaws with.
I thought the same Lucas, but what would stop them from just using the Animal stage for Bill and Ted? While it may be a smaller stage, we're talking about decisions that are made by people who look at the bottom line as opposed to one show performed during one special event for one month (don't take that as a slight against Bill and Ted - I love the show sometimes too). If they see a greater financial gain in tearing that sucker to the ground, it'll be gone faster than the Creature from the Black Lagoon show over at USH.
Universal Orlando really really needs a big draw on the Studios side. Crowds on that side of the resort are *way* down from before Potter... If they aren't going to do Potter II (with or without Hogwarts Express to connect the parts), they need an equally big draw.
I hope that it will be a Potter expansion. The best bet for Universal would be to build the London side of Harry Potter in Universal Studios and have the Hogwarts Express to take people over to Hogwarts at Island of Adventure. This would spread the crowd out over two parks and increase revenue, since people would have to purchase a two day ticket.
I honestly think that if it's not going to be Transformers, it's going to be a Potter expansion. I know that there are a lot of people going this way and that about what it might be, and there are those of us who agree it'll be Potter and those who don't. However, I would think a closer look at Universal Orlando and IOA's footprint would be in order to see if a railroad track could feasibly fit and be long enough. How many people would pay extra for two park tickets to be able to ride the Hogwarts Express to and from either park?
After taking a look at Google Maps a la Robert, you can see an almost direct line connecting Jaws area with the Sinbad location. However, I don't see Universal using this for a Potter Train idea, as it would mean cutting off main roadways, unless they used an elevated track. I also don't see them routing it down the side roads, as you would encounter the same issue with blocking the roads. Additionally, looking at the map I'm not sure how the will expand to the east(shown as up on the map) from the current Potter area without having to eliminate some of the buildings/road currently there.
I don't like that idea....why not just change the name from Universal to harry potter world?? There are other great movies and ideas out there. While we are at it lets tear down the city walk for London at Harry's home. Then fill the lake at IOA to make a giant quddich match! Re-theme the hulk to voldermort's revenge. To top it off with Ronald Weasley's wild ride to take place of Spider-man! I love the potter at IOA and like the idea of expanding in IOA. Please can we get something new? Am I alone in this? We would need two park tickets to see one themes area?? If that's the case I want Disney to add a new country for Epcot but build it in Hollywood Studios please..
I hope Robert is right on this one. Keep Potter in IOA. Please build phase II over in the Lost Continent. It would make no sense to expand to Universal. As a themepark enthusiast I really don't need a train ride. I crave variety and innovation. As long as the replacement is forbidden journey quality I don't care what it is.
Getting back to Bill and Ted, HHN will definetly have to be at IOA during whatever is being constructed at the Jaws site. The back end of the park is always congested and will basically be a dead end during construction.
Thank the Higher Powers you spoke up Robert, because I was honestly ready to loose my mind with this endless babble over JAWS being turned into a WWoHP expansion. The logistics of doing that would be a completely nightmare, I attempted to point this out but it seems no one really listened.
What is it with all these people wanting more and more Harry Potter ? I am more than hopeful that the good folks down at Universal will do something sensible and ignore all this ridiculous clamour for putting all their eggs into one basket and building all their dreams on one franchise.
I have to believe that this will be the location where Orlando will get its version of the King Kong ride from Hollywood Studios. It would be amazing if they could keep it some type of boat ride so that there won't be two tram rides so close together (the Disaster Studios tram ride).
+1 for Rob P's finish above.
could a water journey to skull island (kong 360) be possible i wonder for old jaws ride. but what about the rest of amity?
Three Stooges – This will be a journey through time with the Three Stooges which will also be premiering a movie from the Farrelly Brothers in 2012…
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hey guys remember, is not only taking jaws the ride, is taking the whole amity boardwalk area, we may have a new mini land coming, just saying
As long as Potter stays in IOA and we get a worthy replacement, I'm fine. If Universal puts Potter in USF, I'm going to rip my hair out.
I can't do that, Dom. It's too late. :(
I hope it's not Harry Potter related. I've seen all the movies, they're good, but I don't recall what 'Diagon Alley' or 'Gringotts' is, so why would they force it upon the rest of us? And as sad as it is to see Jaws go, movie based attractions have to stay up to date to keep new interest thriving. Jaws premiered nearly 40 years ago, it's ok to let it go. While logistically, a Transformers ride makes the most sense, they'd have to build UP to make it work. I'm sure most Floridians wouldn't mind another indoor attraction.
Carrie, I'll happily admit to being wrong if it's not Harry Potter as long as you agree to do the same if it is. And I do say "happily" because it's certainly not something that I want to happen at Studios.
I think whoever mentioned the Kong idea might be onto something, especially if they keep it a river style ride through the forest of Skull Island.
The trouble with brining King Kong 360 3D to Florida is that, like most of the other attractions on the Studio Tour, it's just a minute long. Too short for a stand-alone attraction.
Hey, I noticed something weird. There's alot of non-TPI members posting comments, which means they are only here because of the Potter announcement. -_-
It just seems obvious to me that Universal would keep with a water theme attraction with the infrastructure already there. Upgrading, refurbishing and re-theming equipment and buildings may be a cheaper route that they could go in these days of budget cuts and lean consumer spending. It could be an option for them. Or, if they choose to "pave it over", might they think of building something along the lines of a Lights, Motors, Action! stunt show or spend big bucks and put up a new sound stage for an indoor ride. There is no one saying they can't incorporate the Fear Factor theater as well, but I believe there is a service road between the two areas where the floats for Mardi Gras begin the parade route. I really can't even guess what the new attraction might be, I never thought Despicable Me would become an attraction.
Universal could build a Madagascar show building over the Jaws attraction; they already have the boat's water canal.
It seems to me that you guys are forgetting that beetle juice show that stage is perfect for bill and Ted
Whatever Universal's track record, I'm not sure this applies in these times. The hot button issue is will they build more Harry Potter attractions? This is true in Hollywood and Orlando. If they do raze the Gibson Theater in Hollywood, this means they will try something new. My preference is they build on the undeveloped 200 acres in the Studios Tour.
Theme aside, I'm not a Potter fanatic, the idea of splitting the two "lands" into two different theme parks, I think, is amazing. I hope it's more than just a rumor and that Universal Creative maybe leaked the idea to get some feedback. UO is really lacking so it definitely needs something to keep up with its sister park. The idea of LCD windows on the train is also a great idea - kudos. The Studios can certainly stand a ride that isn't based on something going terribly wrong.
Please take a look at our recent interview with Universal Creative's Thierry Coup, who had a great response to the comment about things "going terribly wrong" and why that's necessary for a great theme park attraction.
I remember doing a survey on the Universal website a while back and answering a bunch of questions about a future waterpark expansion at Universal Orlando. Anyone think this could be replacing the JAWS section of the park or is there not enough room to expand for this attraction?
While I don't think Potter part 2 will replace Jaws, I kinda hope I am wrong. In my eyes, it is what USF needs. If I ask myself if I had 4 days to hit 4 parks, and only 4 parks, which would I pick? And, quite honestly, USF would not be on that list. USF is nice, but for my money, I would rather spend more time in Islands of Adventure.
Interesting comments. I'm wondering if they'll change it altogether. I like the idea of Harry Potter staying in Harry Potter. But what about a Grimm Trail of the Real Fairytales? With NBC hosting GRIMM, with Universal producing Snow White and the Huntsman - they have a lot of potential. Maybe based off Fairy Tale Road in Germany? Since Disney bought Marvel, I'm not sure Transformers will be one of the options either. The movie was produced by Paramount, but the toy rights are owned by Hasbro, a Disney company.Could be a bit sticky with Disney involved. What about something from the SYFY channel? Syfy is an NBC affiliate.
Has to be Madagascar. Family friendly. That with Despicable me, Shrek Simpsons etc would a good marketing stratgegy to bring families to the Studio. Boat ride. Would just be a copy from Singapore so would be cheaper to create but to a new market in US.
Tim exactly what i think although i don't think they will replace jaws with harry potter it would make sense as islands seen a 50% raise in attendance and they will probably want to repeat that. although whatever comes to replace it. it will be good although i will miss jaws
i hope they extend Wizarding world of harry potter its kinda crap that you'd have to buy 2 park tickets but im a true harry potter fan and i'd buy the two tickets ive been to wizarding world of harry potter and its awesome if they add on to it that will be so much more awesome tho the train ride would be abit hard but it would be awesome if they could make it work cant wait to see what they decide!!
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