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Is Universal Studios Florida about to Transform?

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Published: June 15, 2012 at 7:08 AM
Universal Orlando has filed a slew of construction permits with the City of Orlando for a project in Universal Studios Florida that appears not to be the second Harry Potter land.

There's a contractor attached to the project and approvals are coming in, so this project appears fast-tracked. There's been movement around the old "Murder, She Wrote" soundstage in the park, too, leading to speculation that might be the site of the impending demolition work.

What could this project be? Well, let's start by thinking about franchises for which Universal holds rights, but doesn't yet have in Orlando. There are plenty of such franchises in other Universal parks, especially the international parks in Singapore and Japan. But Universal doesn't hold the US rights to many of those franchises, most notably Sesame Street and Peanuts. And is Universal really all that keen on bringing Space Fantasy to the US?

What does that leave? Waterworld? (Really? Please.) Bringing back Kong, with the 360/3D display from Hollywood? Maybe, but Florida would have to expand that to make it a stand-alone attraction.

That leaves us with... well, something, right?

To be clear, I have no confirmation of this now, just permits in the city building office, some eyewitness reports from the park, and some chitchat flying around Orlando. And Universal could be bringing in a new property, for all we know at this stage. But this element of the picture is clear:

Universal Orlando is staying aggressive. Very aggressive. The Central Florida Theme Park War is on. And that's great news for theme park fans.

Updated, June 17: Reports on the ground in Orlando say that demolition of the old Soundstage 44 has begun, and that height-test balloons were in the park last week on that site, rising several stories in the air.

Readers' Opinions

From 98.250.136.45 on June 15, 2012 at 7:19 AM
Halloween horror nights is probably the only thing if its dealing with soundstages.
From 174.228.130.198 on June 15, 2012 at 7:22 AM
Please let this be either transformers or kong! I am DYING to go on those rides , but I live in Georgia aka Orlando but no Hollywood . If universal creative wants studios to attract as much crowds as ioa , they need to speed up potter , get kong and transformers going , and demolish woodpecker for DreamWorks land.
From Dominick D on June 15, 2012 at 7:39 AM
This is VERY interesting. I would love to see Transformers come to USF, just not in Amity's place. If were talking about Universal's own properties, I would guess it's either Fast and the Furious or King Kong. Only time will tell what we get.
From 63.255.223.58 on June 15, 2012 at 8:19 AM
It's not HHN. This is something much bigger. Documents were filed to knock the building down and build something in its place.
From 173.227.104.102 on June 15, 2012 at 8:29 AM
I've heard chatter about bringing the Wicked stage show that is currently in Japan over to the states. This might be a great opportunity!
From 2.217.117.57 on June 15, 2012 at 8:56 AM
Atleast its not more potter just wish they would say what it is
From 72.204.131.77 on June 15, 2012 at 9:01 AM
Has to be Transformers. Imagine a year from now the opening of Transformers and Potter. That park would be revived in a big way! Were considering Universal summer 2013 but that would make the decision easy.
From Mark Fairleigh on June 15, 2012 at 9:49 AM
This is fabulous if it does turn out to be a new ride! That's a lot of unused space in a prime location...hard to understand why it's take this long to do something attraction-related with it. Would love to see something Kong related myself, but I can do with Transformers. :)
From Amanda Jenkins on June 15, 2012 at 9:53 AM
Very exciting news! We may have to start planning a trip to Universal now that my boys are tall enough for all the rides. If it did turn out to be Transformers, well then, consider the trip booked :)
From robert morris on June 15, 2012 at 10:46 AM
My personal thoughts/preference would be Transformers entrance in between Simpsons and MIB and the ride on the footprint of Curious George or behind it in the staging area. And madgascar crate ride in the old Murder She Wrote area as the Zoo is in New York it fits the theme and brings another family ride to USF to accent the new parade and Desp Me. That creates a nice area also with Shrek near by, and a potential re-theme for T2 for soemthing as well.

On the family note maybe a Lorax and/or Horton "fantasyland stlye" rides for Seuss Landing to help increase that parks capacity, along with seasonal shows beyond winter with Grinchmas

From Tim Mitchell on June 15, 2012 at 11:32 AM
I would love for Transformers to come to Orlando. Personally though, I would rather see a Fast and Furious attraction. I could be wrong, but isn't one of the rumored attractions for the Universal Studios in Russia a Fast and Furious ride? Bringing that to Universal Orlando makes more sense in my mind than Transformers.
From Eric Malone on June 15, 2012 at 1:19 PM
Would love to see this turn into Transformers. I'm not a huge fan of the movies, but the ride seems to be getting positive reviews, so having it as a new addition is hardly a bad choice.
From Aaron McMahon on June 15, 2012 at 2:33 PM
Terminator 2
Shrek 4D
Despicable Me
Gringotts Coaster
and then a Transformers or King Kong 360

That's five 3D attractions in one park. Even James Cameron would make a protein spill after a day at that park.

I really can't see Transformers fitting in the Herc and Xena spot unless they destroy the restaurant next door too. The Hollywood ride used both the Backdraft and Special Effects Show buildings...and then dug up another level underneath them. Which would be impossible to do with Florida's high water table.

My guess would be just leveling the building to put outdoor bar or character meet and greet.

From 98.250.136.45 on June 15, 2012 at 2:45 PM
The "murder she wrote" soundstage (44 across
from Mel's) is definetley being used for hhn, construction has already started.
From 97.104.194.146 on June 15, 2012 at 3:52 PM
I would assume Harry Potter 2.0 is at least 2 years out (best case), what would the turn around time for Transformers be? Would that fill a gap for 2013?

Whomever brought up Wicked is an interesting point as that location does front New York along with Mel's

So it could be "Broadway" and a demo and theater construction could make it viable for 2013

That would allow Universal to possible ammo for the fight for those precious vacation days against Sea World's "Harry Penquin Land" they are building

Since somehow "The year to still be here" doesn't probably work

From 68.200.45.155 on June 15, 2012 at 6:52 PM
So will they still be building the new harry potter section? All of this is just added expansion? Speaking of expansion where exactly would this take place?
From Matthew Malin on June 15, 2012 at 7:17 PM
So they are still building the new harry potter expansion? And where is this Murder she wrote building located? And are they recreating the kids land?
From Dominick D on June 15, 2012 at 8:05 PM
Yes, Next to Shrek 4D, and no.
From Tyler Bell on June 15, 2012 at 8:27 PM
I don't think it's Transformers, because they wouldn't put the same ride system that is located next door in IOA. It would be it's own unique attraction, if it was transformers. I hope it's a king Kong attraction. In some way they would have to make it a stand alone
From 184.1.33.219 on June 15, 2012 at 8:50 PM
It could be Transformers. Universal could make a new ride concept. Different than Hollywood's. Also another big attraction possible The Fast and Furious Ride. Maybe using some of Test Track Technology. Who Knows?
From Matthew Malin on June 15, 2012 at 9:15 PM
This is pretty intense, I've been hoping of late for some kind of Fast and Furious Roller Coaster...Universal needs something a little bigger and a lot smoother than RRR. Revenge of the Mummy is incredible but these dark ride roller coasters (the idea) is getting a little old. Im stoked to see what they're going to do with all of this
From Matthew Malin on June 15, 2012 at 9:16 PM
But I also think Shrek 4d is coming to its final days. Some of us can only hope
From 69.141.65.207 on June 15, 2012 at 10:50 PM
<>

Yes, across from Shrek, and once Potter is done, yes.

And SS44 is not being used for a HHN house anymore. I'm staring at its demolition permit right now.

From 81.70.136.4 on June 16, 2012 at 7:31 AM
As long it's not another 4D movie thing, or they need to get rid of Shrek of Terminator, they are both old.
King Kong is not the movie franchise that is doing great.
Madagascar water ride would be great (somewhere, not in the MSW place, that is to narrow).
But it's great to see they are going to do something with that empty eyesour.
A wicked show, Waterworld, whatever, everything is better then the Fear Factor show, I hate that thing!
Maybe a Van Helsing attraction? I can only wish.
From Panagiota Shaw on June 17, 2012 at 6:23 AM
What would be neat is if they did an entire Universal Monsters themed area. The possibilities for that could be endless. They could do their own version of a dark ride with a haunted mansion. They could move the monster's cafe there. I think the possibilities for that are pretty endless.
From 166.137.88.158 on June 17, 2012 at 9:48 AM
Really does not matter what they do. They will always be number two behind Disney. Disney has something universal dies not have and that is real estate.
From 94.196.24.133 on June 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Good for universal it wight kick disney into gear as most of their parks have not seen a new attraction in quite a few years

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