Theme Park Insider

Universal Buys Wet & Wild Property

Universal Orlando: Universal Orlando has purchased more than 50 acres of land under and around the Wet 'n Wild water park, giving itself more flexibility for future growth.

From TH Creative
Posted June 28, 2013 at 3:43 PM
The giant theme-park resort, which has been rapidly expanding under new owner Comcast Corp., paid $30.9 million for the properties, based on documentary-stamp tax payments.

The concentration of hotels and the security that comes with land OWNERSHIP (W&W was operating on leased property) will provide attendance. That same security will allow Universal Creative to cut loose and make the water park a much ... um ... classier attraction.

Bottom Line: Aquatica better step it up.

From Rob Pastor
Posted June 29, 2013 at 7:47 AM
The big question may well be, how long will that land remain a water park? Perhaps, it will be used for other expansion purposes.

From TH Creative
Posted June 29, 2013 at 8:16 AM
Step One: Drain the lake. It takes up way too much valuable property.

From Orrin Carstarphen
Posted June 29, 2013 at 5:07 PM
I can see this becoming an offsite "budget" hotel for Universal.

From Brian Emery
Posted July 2, 2013 at 10:34 AM
TH Aquatica is a great Park. My personal favorite water park in Orlando area. So why do they have to watch out and Step it Up?

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted July 2, 2013 at 5:47 PM
Any idea what other land may have been bought around that property?

From TH Creative
Posted July 3, 2013 at 1:37 AM
Parking lot.

From Rob Pastor
Posted July 3, 2013 at 6:45 AM
The lots total apx. 51 acres and include Wet & Wild & as TH said, the parking lots used by the park. Perhaps a new wildcard is the indication that Sea World may be having some financial problems. Interesting how that could possibly impact their water parks down the road....Many possible scenarios here. A lot will have to do with any additional land purchases pursued by Universal. Very interesting times in Orlando and many questions.

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted July 3, 2013 at 7:55 AM
My reason for asking is that I'm hopeful Universal isn't going to settle for just another water park. They've been bold and aggressive and that idea just seems pedestrian and a step back.

We keep hearing the possibility of a third gate. Seems farfetched given that the property in question is across I-4, but still fun to speculate how Universal could make a third park work in that area.

From robert morris
Posted July 3, 2013 at 8:14 AM
Curious to see if Universal continues to try and purchase more land on the North I-Drive section.

Primarily the lower end hotels and upgrading them to make a hybrid Hotel Plaza Blvd

From TH Creative
Posted July 3, 2013 at 1:23 PM
That Walgreen's ain't goin' anywhere.

From TH Creative
Posted July 6, 2013 at 9:23 AM
Brian wites: TH Aquatica is a great Park. My personal favorite water park in Orlando area. So why do they have to watch out and Step it Up?

I Respond: Because The Disney water parks draw their attendance numbers from package deals (hotels/theme park tickets/water park tickets). Universal can do the same (Cabana Bay gives them four hotels to draw guests from). Sea World needs to step up its game if it wants to compete with this approach to marketing.

From Phil B.
Posted July 6, 2013 at 1:40 PM
Universal/Comcast continue to impress with their aggressive efforts to gain a larger share of the theme park market. As much as I would love to see a 3rd gate, the small footprint and the cost of leveling a whole park is just not economically feasible. However, tweaking the park, and reinventing it with a concept/theme much like the Disney and Sea World water parks would be a welcomed improvement over the existing collection of attractions that exist there.

Perhaps if there was a way they could make deals to acquire the other properties in the area of that parking lot (Days Inn, Rodeway Inn, Red Lobster, etc.), then they could have enough land to open a sizeable 3rd gate, while keeping a revamped W&W just across the way, giving them a second resort area comparable to what they already have at USO and IOA. They could even build some form of dedicated transportation system, such as a monorail, to shuttle guests between the two resort complexes for park hopping.

Sure it would take a lot of money, red tape to get through, time to make it all a true reality and it's all fanboy "Blue Sky" kinda talk. But man, I wouldn't put anything past Universal/Comcast at this point. It's almost like they are literally playing Roller Coaster Tycoon in the real world.

From TH Creative
Posted July 6, 2013 at 3:45 PM
Phil B. writes: "Universal/Comcast continue to impress with their aggressive efforts to gain a larger share of the theme park market."

I Respond: Or to at least sustain what they've already acquired.

Related: There is ABSOLUTELY ZERO local buzz in the Central Florida commercial construction community about a third gate.

From Phil B.
Posted July 6, 2013 at 4:19 PM
I wouldn't imagine there being any buzz of a 3rd gate within that community at this point in time, and if anybody on this site would know, I'd double down on you being that person TH. Even if there was internal talks of how it could be accomplished in UniCom, it would take years of planning, and acquiring before solid inside information started to trickle out. No sense in putting the cart before the horse at this stage. Better to let the fan community have fun speculating what may or may not ever happen, as opposed to creating the buzz yourself(UniCom) and then leaving people disappointed if plans happen to fall through. Which we all know happens quite often in the theme park industry.

From TH Creative
Posted July 6, 2013 at 5:44 PM
Oh sir ... My tablespoon of reality is not meant to dissuade anyone's imagination ... I'm simply saying that outside the theme park fan arena (in the very small and tight community that is Central Florida commercial construction) to date, there has been no indication that a third gate is in the works.

To give you some sense of local history, when I was working at WDW in 1983, there was already chatter that Universal intended to build a theme park on the property along Kirkman Road ... Which they did six years later.

From Robert Niles
Posted July 6, 2013 at 5:58 PM
From what I understand, Universal will use the parking lot acreage as a staging site to build a time machine it will use to go back and prevent itself from selling the land it has let go around the Universal Orlando Resort over the years. ;^)

At least Universal's learning from its past mistakes here.

From Phil B.
Posted July 6, 2013 at 7:45 PM
There's a ton of that Lockheed Martin land that still sits there undeveloped. Maybe down the road they'll try to make a move to reclaim some of it for future expansion.

From N B
Posted July 7, 2013 at 11:31 AM
The first thing Universal should do is change the name and that awful logo. Wet n Wild sounds like a waterbed company.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted July 7, 2013 at 2:32 PM

From TH Creative
Posted July 8, 2013 at 7:16 AM
Orlando Business Journal reports that Universal has earmarked $5 million in upgrades for the park.

This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.
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