The Future of a few themed worlds at IOA and USF before or after the fourth gate opens?

January 27, 2019, 10:27 PM

I am just curious with the t2:3D replacement coming up with the new Potter coaster opening at IOA and with Jurassic Park getting an overhaul sometime next year with a new roller coaster, what does the future look like for other themed lands both at USF and IOA in terms of replacing them
With new attractions currently or totally replacing a few of the theme worlds in both parks with newer IP’s from other popular film franchises? To name a few what does the future lie ahead for Toon Lagoon, Lost Continent, Marvel Super Hero Island, over at USF future of Shrek, Fear Factor Live, possibly Revenge of the mummy it’s not a very old attraction but just curious on what they could to update it maybe to the newer mummy series, lastly what could be done to upgrade E.T adventure I really don’t want it to leave anytime soon. I hope this attraction is still safe after the fourth gate opens.

Replies (19)

Edited: January 28, 2019, 7:58 AM

There have been rumors regarding all of those. Whether the rumors come to fruition are a completely different ball of wax, but I doubt anything will be announced until work has progressed (like the JW coaster that has started construction despite Universal not announcing anything).

Toon Lagoon has been in dire need for a refresh for a number of years. I've always thought it was the weakest of the islands, but the IP is cheap to license, and it contains two of the best water rides in the world. I've always liked that IOA had their big wet rides all near each other so they could allow guests to have free lockers at the dry attractions while charging for lockers at the water rides (while allowing guests to bring their bags onto the water rides if they don't mind them getting wet). From an infrastructure/utility perspective (water pumping and filtering), having all three main water rides in close proximity makes a lot of sense. When rumors swirl about IOA, Toon Lagoon is always the island least spoken about. I do think Universal has a HUGE white elephant with the Toon Lagoon theater which really isn't used for anything anymore, but I don't think the space could be used for an e-ticket, and I doubt Universal wants to invest more money into a d-ticket based on an IP that doesn't move the needle compared to other franchises Universal already owns or has rights to.

Lost Continent is where the rumors go wild. Since 2010, when WWoHP opened, there really isn't much left of the Lost Continent. Now with Sinbad closed, the only reason to visit the island is to walk through to WWoHP. Poseidon's Fury is always an awesome show, and is worth seeing on almost every visit, but the frequency that it runs now (about every 45-60 minutes) reflects its dwindling popularity. I think guests that have never been to IOA before probably get in line not realizing what they're about to experience, and are likely disappointed that it's not a ride. I don't know how many times I've walked by the entrance to see team members trying to explain what the attraction is and that they have to wait for it to start like a show. The most obvious rumor for Lost Continent is for it to be completely consumed by WWoHP, and I think it's only a matter of time before it happens. The only drawback of such a plan would be the possible loss of Mythos. Could the award winning restaurant survive if the boy wizard elbows his way in? The Legend of Zelda has been kicked around as replacing Lost Continent, but my guess is that UC will want to establish Nintendo at the new park before utilizing any Nintendo IP in IOA or USF.

Marvel Super Hero Island isn't going anywhere. In fact, Universal can't change or modify the land in any significant way or they would void their exclusivity to Marvel east of the Mississippi. That's why the refurbishment of the Hulk resulted in an identical coaster replacing the worn out one. The only way this land changes is if Disney pays Universal a lot of money to give up their Marvel licensing agreement.

Fear Factor Live has long been rumored to be replaced by an extension of the WWoHP themed around the Ministry of Magic. When Universal announced that Bill and Ted were going to end their HHN run in the theater in 2017, the natural reaction was that the WWoHP expansion was imminent. However, I think it's plausible that UC has instead shelved the Ministry of Magic plans for USF to possibly use for the new theme park. Honestly, that's the only thing that could make sense for plans that were reportedly ready to be filed but placed on hold shortly after Universal bought all of the land around the Convention Center. I think Universal is fine limping along until they come up with another WWoHP concept that will work for the tight space (or figure out something else to do with the performance space).

There's absolutely nothing wrong with Revenge of the Mummy, and Universal would be stupid to make any changes to align with the failed Tom Cruise reboot of the franchise. I wouldn't be surprised if UC was working on concepts around the Dark Universe, but the failure of The Mummy and production issues with other planned installments in the franchise have caused Universal to rethink their path forward. In the end, Revenge of the Mummy is still one of the best coaster based attractions in the world (though it's disappointing that the advanced animatronic is a shell of its former self - the Disco Yeti of USF), and it probably has another 5-10 years of operational life before UC has to consider replacing it.

I think the development of the new gate saved E.T. The attraction takes up a big chunk of real estate that probably would have been needed for the rumored Nintendo Land taking over KidZone. However, now that Nintendo is likely to anchor the new theme park, the KidZone renovation is off the table for now. It's still possible that Nintendo takes over KidZone, but the scale of the conversion is likely going to be smaller with the biggest Nintendo attractions being placed in the new theme park. E.T. is definitely long in the tooth, but it's probably safe for now. However, with Universal, you never know.

Edited: January 28, 2019, 1:34 PM

I suspect the big hold up on the development of Universal’s Fantastic Worlds is Universal’s inability to secure one more quality IP for the park, that being Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit. What Universal Creative uses for UFW affects the other developments at Universal Orlando Resort. Why haven’t there been any Nintendo additions to IOA and USO yet? Because UC hasn’t settled on what will be at UFW. Zelda is somewhat of a similar concept to LotR, so spliting them between two parks is a good idea, IF Universal secures the rights to use LotR and The Hobbit at UOR. HaloTheCovenant2691 is right, four IPs is not enough for the new park. A fifth quality IP is needed, and unfortunately it seems as though Universal doesn’t have it secured yet. What to do, what to do?

January 28, 2019, 2:24 PM

Is there a "hold up"on the new park"?

I don't think LOTR is on the table right now. Universal may be trying to attain the rights, but I doubt the development of the new park is dependent on contingent on it.

One of the IPs rumored for the new park is Illumination/Dreamworks. While the animated arms of Universal would likely be combined into a single land or set of mini-lands, I think those IPs provide more than enough material to stock a park. Combined with HP/FB, JW, and Nintendo, the new theme park would be loaded with more than enough attractions to satisfy guests. Certainly, a 5th IP would make the park even stronger, but I have a hard time believing that LOTR will be any part of the new park.

January 28, 2019, 3:50 PM

Not meaning this in an antagonistic way at all, but I have disliked Poseidon's Fury since it opened. I may be in the minority, but I think it needs to go. As to LOTRs, as long as Christopher Tolkien is around, there will not be any theme parks anywhere. The Tolkien Estate is now free to do it, but members of the estate are against it, so it is either years away, or there has been some super secret negotiations (I hope, oh how, I hope). Remember, Amazon negotiated a television series, so any announcement would likely correspond with that.

January 28, 2019, 4:31 PM

So you think more likely after the fourth gate opens we will see a few themed lands either updated, replaced, or have a huge makeover in terms of making the current land if they keep it at either IOA or USF. I just think they need to keep both parks fresh after the fourth gate opens then they will focus their attention I guess with making changes to both parks on the main Universal Orlando property with newer lands replacing old ones. I’m still saying Lost Continent, Toon Lagoon, Marvel Super Hero Island are frontrunners for change,expansion or replaced at IOA. As for USF Kidzone is still on the table, Shrek and Fear Factor Live. Although I want to see Revenge Of the mummy updated eventually or if it’s ever replaced this would be a great building spot for Godzilla! If Legendary and WB work out theme park rights with Universal one day.

Edited: January 28, 2019, 9:45 PM

Jurassic World is replacing/updating Jurassic Park at IOA, so that’s off the table for Universal’s Fantastic Worlds. Fantastic Beasts is not on the same level of popularity as Harry Potter, and I’m sure that has Universal Creative concerned. And UC doesn’t seem to want to pull the trigger on Universal Monsters. So all that’s left for UFW is Nintendo and Dreamworks. With just those two IPs, a 4th Universal park doesn’t look so promising. What other options does Universal have? They NEED the LotR/The Hobbit IP to make UFW work. There is no other choice.

Edited: January 29, 2019, 8:25 AM

"They NEED the LotR/The Hobbit IP to make UFW work. There is no other choice."

UC doesn't seem to think so. If LOTR was needed, then either UC has already negotiated and purchased the rights secretly, or is taking a huge risk starting construction on a property that isn't fully realized yet. Both scenarios are highly unlikely IMHO. LOTR is just not happening, and any notion that UC is going to pull it out of their hat is nothing more than fanboy fodder.

Nintendo could populate an entire theme park by itself if they wanted to (Zelda, Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong, Pokemon, Metroid, etc...), and you seem to diminish the partnership with Illumination (in addition to Dreamworks). Also, there hasn't been any rumor that JP at IOA would be converting to JW. For all we know, the roller coaster currently under construction is based on the original series, saving material from JW (including the gyrosphere concept, which is supposedly a VR experience anyway, not a coaster experience) to be utilized in the new theme park.

@Halo - Universal CANNOT update Marvel Super Hero Island or risk losing the rights, which is why the Hulk renovation was an identical coaster to the original. Why in the world would Universal purchase the rights to Godzilla? They already own Pacific Rim, which is essentially Godzilla anyway. It might make sense to purchase the rights in Japan, but here in the US, people don't understand the difference and such a massive outlay for a name will not generate any more interest or revenue.

January 29, 2019, 11:42 AM

RM: "Universal CANNOT update Marvel Super Hero Island or risk losing the rights, which is why the Hulk renovation was an identical coaster to the original."

I Respond: I guess they weren't as clever negotiating that contract as we assumed.

(Chuckle)

January 30, 2019, 3:29 PM

I'm not convinced by any argument that Universal *needs* LoTR or The Hobbit, or that they're necessarily even trying to get the rights. Between Shrek, Zelda and How to Train Your Dragon, they already have three medieval fantasy franchises. What could they add from LoTR that they couldn't fit into one of those other three?
Honestly, the wealth and breadth of the IPs owned by Nintendo (and now Universal) is enough for it's own park, and combined with Dreamworks, Illumination and the Universal Monsters, is more than enough to make a park better than any current Universal park.
Universal doesn't need the rights to LoTR, and considering how expensive those rights would likely be, probably they probably shouldn't even try to get them. There's more than enough for them to play with in their sandbox.

January 30, 2019, 3:57 PM

As for what will happen to current existing lands at USF and IoA?
Probably not much.
Woody Woodpecker's Kid Zone will likely be gone within the next 5 years, my guess is it'll be replaced by a Despicable Me land similar to what's at USH but larger, with Minion Mayhem relocating there, and MM's old location being converted into a Secret Life of Pets Ride. Shrek 4-D will convert to the Dreamworks Theatre. Otherwise USF is just generally going to be a dumping ground for IP that isn't really big enough to warrant it's own land somewhere else (i.e. Jason Bourne, Fast and the Furious, The Mummy, Men in Black).
Jurassic Park at IoA, may or may not be re-themed to Jurassic World, but any actual changes to the land will be cosmetic. Aside from mild refurbishments, I don't see any changes to rest of the worlds though at either park in the near future.

February 4, 2019, 3:33 PM

I like to see Lost Continent, Toon Lagoon, Marvel Super Hero Island, Kidszone, Shrek 4D and Fear Factor Live to get replaced or expanded with newer attractions. Not Shrek and Fear Factor just the lands I mentioned. I think Amity San Francisco could use an update in the future. Mummy could be returned to the latest Tom cruise mummy film.

February 9, 2019, 2:28 PM

I think Lost Continent is probably a front runner of getting their themed land replaced because the sinbad show is closed and it will be sitting their empty until all of the other IOA projects are done like the potter coaster and JP coaster. I hope toon lagoon will also be replaced too along with an expansion with newer attractions at marvel super hero island. Their are a number of superheroes and villains that deserve to have their own attraction at MSHI don’t you agree? Kidszone of course will be replaced eventually. And Shrek & Fear Factor Live future Is uncertain. How about an update to revenge of the mummy an updated version from Tom cruise’s movie. Those are just my picks down the line after the fourth gate opens before we see any changes to lands at IOA/USF.

Edited: February 9, 2019, 5:28 PM

>>>Toon Lagoon
The IP is cheap enough, it will probably keep going

>>>Lost Continent

Although the IP is cheap/free, it's half gone already. Time "placeholder land" to go

>>>>Marvel Super Hero Island

Absent a big payoff from Disney, or an Al Michael's style swap, it's not going anywhere. The card is too valuable for non-financial reasons.

>>>USF future of Shrek

Depends on whether or not the Reboot is successfl

>>>Fear Factor Live, possibly Revenge of the mummy

These should die a very quick death. FF is a dead IP, and I didn't care for the Mummy ride.

February 9, 2019, 5:30 PM

>>>>Why in the world would Universal purchase the rights to Godzilla? They already own Pacific Rim, which is essentially Godzilla anyway. It might make sense to purchase the rights in Japan, but here in the US, people don't understand the difference and such a massive outlay for a name will not generate any more interest or revenue.

Godzilla is timeless.

I already forgot what Pacific Rim was.

February 10, 2019, 1:14 AM

There’s lots of evidence that Jurassic World is coming to IOA (probably 2020). They’ve filed a trademark for JW Camp Cretaceous. The color scheme for construction walls is the same as JW. They’re putting JW in Hollywood and they like to have their IPs simpatico through all the parks. Jurassic is not expansive enough of a brand for their concept of the new park.

They’re also probably building at Pets ride from the ground up for 2020 in Hollywood so it could easily go in Shrek ‘s building for 2021 in Florida. All Dreamworks would be in the new park

February 11, 2019, 8:45 AM

"I already forgot what Pacific Rim was."

Unfortunately, theme parks don't build attractions for you or me, they build them for the masses. Godzilla may be "timeless" to a number of hard core fans, but it's simply not a far reaching, popular IP that's worth purchasing the rights to when Universal can use Pacific Rim for free. Godzilla to Universal would just be a name, as similar imaging and situations could be executed under the Pacific Rim name. Why spend millions of dollars to license just a name? That's not what smart businesses do.

February 26, 2019, 3:44 PM

I personally enjoy the Mummy ride, the theme and thrill factor is timeless. The Shrek ride is one of many of the same type of 4D ride found in a lot of other places in the park. Toon Lagoon is cheap IP and provides the water rides and bubbly fun for the rest of the park.

March 8, 2019, 12:43 PM

As much as it pains me to admit, a Middle-Earth park or even attraction isn't coming any time soon (Although Chris Tolkien is 94 freakin' years old! So once he goes, the estate [i]may[/i] be more willing to negotiate Theme Park rights).

As it stands, they could fill an entire fourth gate up with Nintendo alone and it would be a smashing success. In fact, apart from HP, I'm going to predict that the Nintendo attractions/lands will have the longest shelf life but that's another matter. In addition to the aforementioned titles, Nintendo also offers F-Zero, Star Fox, Smash, Fire Emblem (not as popular in the states, but INCREDIBLY popular in Japan), Animal Crossing, and Pikmin. I honestly don't think many people understand just how influential this Nintendo thing has the capacity to be. If done right, I suspect Disney would move to snatch up some park rights for another very popular Vidya developer--Square Enix (who already develops the Kingdom Hearts series for Disney).

Regardless, I think there is enough between Illumination, Nintendo, and Dreamworks to at least roll out a Phase 1 fourth gate. UC has to be careful, though, as Illumination is still a (relatively) new player in the field of animation and their only lasting IP so far has been Minions--which is already starting to diminish in popularity. Dreamworks isn't much better off, and though How to train Your Dragon will be a welcome addition, I have to wonder how long its shelf life will be considering they are already on their 3rd film. Most of Dreamworks other properties are slowly fading from public popularity based on the cruel clock of time alone (Shrek, Kung-Fu, Panda, Madagascar). Maybe Trolls will give them a lift, but apart from their heavy hitters of Shrek/KFP/HTTYD, most of the Dreamworks IP's have fallen to the wayside (Seriously, who cares about Home, the Croods, Mastermind, Turbo, etc...i bet you didn't even remember them until i just brought them up huh?)

Honestly, just give me a Master Sword and let me roam around Hyrule or put me behind a Mario Kart and I'll be a happy camper.

March 8, 2019, 3:11 PM

I agree Blake... Nintendo is an IP with lots of untapped potential. The challenge UC has isn't "figure out a great plan", its about deciding which great plan it should build. UC has to decided what awesome ideas will work well together and may use the location as a consideration.

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