Is Universal Studios Florida about to Transform?
Published: June 15, 2012 at 7:08 AM
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.