Theme Park Insider

Hello Kitty is Coming to Universal Orlando and Hollywood

June 8, 2015, 9:48 AM · Sanrio, the company behind Hello Kitty, today announced a partnership with Universal Parks and Resorts to develop interactive Sanrio retail shops at Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Hello Kitty

Universal already owns the theme park rights to Hello Kitty and related characters in their native Japan, where a section of the Universal Wonderland area of Universal Studios Japan is devoted to Hello Kitty.

From Sanrio's press release:

The shops 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, Purin and Keroppi will also have a presence. Hello Kitty confectionery and specialty co-branded Hello Kitty Universal park-exclusive products will also be available.

The Hello Kitty stores at Universal Studios will also offer enhanced interactive retail experiences. Customers can shop for custom designed merchandise, enjoy photo opportunities with Sanrio properties, create souvenir versions of Hello Kitty's signature bow, and even meet Hello Kitty herself.

Hello Kitty merchandise is ubiquitous, and Sanrio stores are not uncommon in the United States. (There's one in the Orlando International Airport, pictured above.) But brands such as American Girl have shown that retail stores can become attraction experiences with appeal beyond simply offering another place to buy branded merchandise.

There was no word in Sanrio's announcement about where in the parks or resorts the stores would be located. But Universal has pulled a permit for major interior renovations in the Lucy: A Tribute location in Universal Studios Florida, making that perhaps the most likely in-park location for the Hello Kitty store, if it is to be located in one of the parks and not in CityWalk.

Replies (13)

June 8, 2015 at 10:51 AM · Great NEWS everyone! :) Can't wait!!!
June 8, 2015 at 11:04 AM · I wonder if that has any effect on the Japan store in Epcot where theres a lot of Hello Kitty items?
June 8, 2015 at 11:20 AM · It shouldn't. That stores sells plenty of Transformers toys, and Universal has a ride for that, too. If anything, if this draws more Hello Kitty fans to Orlando, and they find their way to Disney (likely), then the Mitsukoshi store might even see its sales increase thanks to this move by Universal. Rising tide lifts all boats, and such.
June 8, 2015 at 11:21 AM · I have the feeling Toon Lagoon is going to get an update soon....
June 8, 2015 at 11:33 AM · The agreement doesn't include rides and attractions. A bit disappointing. My kid would love to go on a Hello Kitty adventure ride. Japan has a Hello Kitty theme park in the southern part of the country, very far from Universal and Disney. Anyways, they said Hello Kitty isn't a cat, but a little girl. That was a weird pronouncement.
June 8, 2015 at 6:08 PM · It would be nice if they eventually get some sort of ride or attraction beyond the store. I think Universal needs more things for young/short children. I haven't taken my kids yet because they can't go on many rides. The minimum height requirement is 40" for most of the rides it seems like. I think my youngest may be 10 years old before she gets over 40"......
June 8, 2015 at 8:16 PM · I hope that the retail store is placed somewhere in CityWalk. Lucy-A Tribute is located in the Hollywood section. I Love Lucy is a Hollywood property. Hello Kitty is Japanese. 'Nuff said.

Also, Anon bringing up his kid made me realize that giving Hello Kitty a presence in the resorts wouldn't hurt at all. I'd hate to get stereotypical, but let's face it; Spider-Man, Jurassic Park, Transformers and other such franchises are stuff that appeals more to boys. Sure, some franchises, like Despicable Me and Harry Potter, do strongly appeal to girls, but they're equally enjoyed by boys as well. Since Hello Kitty by far leans more towards girls, they'd finally have something that mostly they will enjoy. Disney already appeals to girls by exploiting their pretty little princesses as much as they humanly can, so I think that Universal really needs this.

Hmmm...Universal really seems to be loving Japanese franchises...first Nintendo and now
this...Hey, um Universal? Have you ever considered making a thrill ride out of a little cartoon known as Dragonball? Would make a lot of people happy, I'm just Saiyan;). Maybe even a stunt show, who knows? (Actually, scratch that, I'm scared to see what a live Dragonball stunt show would look like)

June 9, 2015 at 9:46 AM · Universal is building a critical mass. Meanwhile Disney coasts on the critical mass that Walt built.

Thank you Universal for making aggressive moves that excite your fans. But why not a Hello Kitty ride? And please don't dump Toon Lagoon to do it. Popeye and Duddley Do Right are two of your best attractions.

June 9, 2015 at 10:07 AM · Universal can do only what Sanrio agrees to.
June 9, 2015 at 5:10 PM · @209

I'm sorry, I don't mean to offend you, but I can't resist saying this:

Yes! Universal! Keep making aggressive moves! Oh, just uh, don't remove Toon Lagoon, that's too aggressive.

June 10, 2015 at 10:44 AM · Popeye gets a 9 rating from themeparkinsider fans and Dudley Do Right gets an 8 rating from themeparkinsiderfans.

There are 23 attractions at Universal Orlando resort that are rated 7 or lower. Why should Universal remove two of their most popular attractions? Why not remove unpopular attractions like Twister or Disaster instead?

June 10, 2015 at 1:42 PM · Yeah, I understand (I'm under a different IP address for the time being). Just trying to make a little joke (albeit a bad one) about how you said you were happy with how "aggressive" Universal is being and yet you don't want them to get rid of Toon Lagoon, which would be an aggressive move.

But I'm kinda in the same boat with you, I don't really wanna say goodbye to Popeye or Dudley, either (although poor Dudley is in desperate need of some maintenance). And to this day I'm still baffled that Jaws and BTTF kicked the bucket yet Twister's still around! Although I wanna keep Disaster around. I think that's the hidden gem of Universal Orlando.

June 11, 2015 at 8:21 AM · I haven't been on the Disaster attraction yet, but I'll be sure to check it out next time in Orlando. Thanks for the tip.

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