Universal Orlando confirms 2012 parade, night show, Despicable Me opening and Spider-Man changes

January 25, 2012, 8:45 AM · Universal Orlando this morning declared 2012 its "Year to be Here."

"Never before have we created this many new experiences across the resort in a single year," said Mark Woodbury, President of Universal Creative during the invitation-only webcast (embedded below) to announce the resort's plans for the year. Here's what's coming to the resort, which we first told you about earlier this month:

  • Blue Man Group debuts a new show in February.

    Blue Man Group, with Mark Woodbury

  • Universal Creative is reanimating The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, with a 4K HD 3D film, to open in March. The Stan Lee cameo is confirmed, but Woodbury wouldn't say where in the show he will appear. (A "Hidden Stan?")

    We asked about down-time in preparation for the new show, but Jim Timon, Senior Vice President of Entertainment, didn't give a specific answer, saying only that there would be a "brief" closure and to check Universal's website for specific dates. Currently, there is no closure for Spider-Man listed. Update: Reader in the comments hears from guest relations that the ride will be closed starting Feb. 8.

    Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

  • Universal Studios Florida will offer two new entertainment shows. Universal Super Star Parade will be a rolling "street show" with four show themed show stages: Despicable Me, Sponge Bob Square Pants, Dora and Diego and Hop. The parade will run once a day and open in "spring."

    Universal Super Star Parade

    Also in spring, Universal will debut its new nighttime show, Universal's Cinematic Spectacular - 100 Years of Movie Magic, a "World of Color"-like lagoon show narrated by Morgan Freeman, with screen projections, fountains and lights.

    Concept art

    Concept art

    So what will be the best place to see the show?

    "It's designed to be see from anywhere around the lagoon, so there's not a bad place to see it," Timon said. "It's the last kiss goodnight at the end of the day."

  • Finally, Woodbury showed some rough animation from Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, the 3D adventure which will open this summer.

    Concept art for Despicable Me

    In addition, Woodbury confirmed that Hollywood Drive-In Golf will open in February, and he plugged a new water play area at Wet n' Wild, to open this summer.

    Universal told reporters before the webcast that there would be no announcements about the new Harry Potter land, but make no mistake. This announcement very much was influenced by Potter. Universal's trying hard to impress visitors with everything else the resort has to offer - to encourage people to visit this year, instead of waiting several years for the new Potter land.

    Update: Domenik was out at Universal today and took these shots of the lagoon. Coupled with the concept art, it looks like we're talking about actual physical screens for the lagoon show, and not the mist projections we saw in World of Color.

    Lagoon screens

    Lagoon screens

    Lagoon screens

    And here's the webcast, now available to all:

    Replies (32)

    January 25, 2012 at 8:55 AM · So when are they closing spiderman?
    January 25, 2012 at 9:20 AM · Just updated the article with that info. Or lack of info, as it turns out.
    January 25, 2012 at 9:21 AM · I believe they are going to upgrade Spiderman outside of opening hours to avoid a closure
    January 25, 2012 at 9:29 AM · I can't wait to see the lagoon show!
    January 25, 2012 at 9:33 AM · Any Chance the Despicable Me Ride is open by June 1st?
    January 25, 2012 at 10:34 AM · Spider-man is my favorite Universal attraction, so I am very excited to see the experience getting an upgrade (and I am sure Disney will continue to enjoy the free publicity and the merchandise sales!). Despicable Me was a very good flick, but the attraction seems kind of "meh". The new "Block Party Bash" parade and cut rate "World of Color" show seem like nice touches but I am not sure there is anyone who goes to Universal for parades and goodnight kisses, is there? I am not a minature golf fan so that is "meh" too. As for Blue Man, never been. So all in all, I think I can wait another year and head to Cars Land this Fall instead.

    Question: Will Universal be extending USF hours for this new nighttime show, or will it be a seasonal offering only during the peak times of the year?

    January 25, 2012 at 10:27 AM · can't wait till september all this is great news. do you think the parade night show will be open during that month too as i think the park shuts about 1800hrs and is still daylight
    January 25, 2012 at 10:59 AM · All the boys here at Disney PR are LIVID about this news!
    January 25, 2012 at 11:13 AM · As for Despicable Me by June 1, let's remember that June 18 (Potter opening day) was "spring," according to Universal, so I'm going to guess the answer is no.
    January 25, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Obviously, the lagoon show can't run on days when USF closes before sundown. But if the show drives attendance during the summer, it's not unheard of for a park to extend its operating hours in order to run the lagoon show. That's what happened with California Adventure and World of Color.
    January 25, 2012 at 11:28 AM · Duncan: Earlier this month I checked the Universal Studio's & Islands hours for May 2012 since we'll be at Universal * Disney for vacation. Both parks were scheduled to be usually open apx. 2 to 3 hours later than the same days we vacationed in May 2011. That's very welcome news since Universal's early closings in the spring were always a bit of a let down. Evidently this is in response to the new night show & higher attendance.
    January 25, 2012 at 11:31 AM · That should have been an "&" instead of an asterik between Universal & Disney. Bad typo day.
    January 25, 2012 at 11:34 AM · Spiderman closes Feb. 8 and will be closed through late Feb. The parade sounds pretty bad (loving the Spongebob floats though), but the new Lagoon show sounds amazing. As for Despicable Me, let's hope it doesn't open in July. I need to renew my AP.
    January 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM · Bleh. Not a fan of WoC, so that Lagoon show doesn't interest me. If it were more like Fantasmic! then I'd be all over that. So on a good note, that's one less person to take up space for the people who do enjoy it!
    January 25, 2012 at 12:15 PM · "A rolling "street show" with four show themed show stages"

    Light Magic, anyone?

    January 25, 2012 at 12:55 PM · good call Rob pastor. i never thought to check may for the park hours i know they were usually similar to sept cause they're the two months i usually travel to orlando (good weather,shorter lines only downside is you usually get those flying love bugs ) hopefully the show does bring the bigger crowds and like robert said they might extend the hours.
    January 25, 2012 at 1:35 PM · I called Guest Services today and they said Spiderman would be down Feb. 8th through the 28th, and that guest services has known about that since December. The woman I talked to also said some media outlets had known about it since then, but would not say which media outlets, but they had not otherwise released the information (!?)

    This is the first I had heard of this closure. When I called Guest Services a couple of weeks ago, they said they did not know if there would be a closure.

    Letting the public know two weeks before a closure for enhancements is very disappointing. Even more disappointing is withholding closure information from the public and the evasive approach to answering customer's questions.

    As you can probably tell, I had planned to visit (all the way from Washington State), and my 5 and 9 year olds will be very disappointed to hear that they can't see their favorite character on their first trip to Universal.

    January 25, 2012 at 2:19 PM · They wont be using screen its a waterfall effect that they will use on those metal stands that are present in the lagoon
    January 25, 2012 at 2:21 PM · Is it water screens or real screens? The picture suggests real screens. The picture makes it look disappointing. I'm not sure it is trying to break any records or expectations. So it will be an after thought and will probably be ignored by most people.
    January 25, 2012 at 2:49 PM · 'Sees screens' Well, my expectations are lower now. A WoC style show would of been amazing.
    January 25, 2012 at 4:06 PM · Man that's a mouthful. 7 new(somewhat) attractions. It's great to see Spiderman get attention(though that's been in the works for a while now). I've never been a big fan of the Blue man group, but I'm sure it will attract more people. Despicable Me seems like a decent C-ticket, but dance thing at the end worries me. I was really hoping the night show would be a high quality show like World of Color, but it seems just as invading as the Globes(if not more so) and it seems like projections on a screen, some pyrotechnics, and some nice fountains thrown in. The new Wet'n'Wild addition looks great for kids. When I first heard of the parade and its characters, I was let down, but the floats look amazing. Then, I saw the announcement part of the video with the Despicable Me dance. REALLY? That looks really lame now despite the nice floats. Then there's the mini golf. I've been watching construction updates on this for quite some time and am really excited! This seems to rival(maybe surpass?) Disney's mini golf courses. I love the themes and the course looks amazing with the House, Monsters, aliens, grounded saucers, and more! Overall, Universal is using its $ wisely. Using these 7 "new" attractions(though minor) will be a great way to entice more families. I expect the Harry Potter announcement to come in the fall so everyone who had a great time over the summer will be even more likely to come again, and soon. Great move by universal.
    January 25, 2012 at 4:31 PM · I don't think it is very professional of Universal to steal Disney's idea. Their "new" lagoon show is way too much like the World of Color. Universal should create their own ideas, they are a big enough company to have a creative team to come up with new ideas.
    January 25, 2012 at 5:35 PM · This all sounds pretty cool. I always liked the 360 show and I am hoping the new lagoon projection is in HD. Seeing that everything will be up and running by the time we visit, it should make for a great trip.

    IOA has been the attention hog for a while, which is why I would think the new HP expansion should be at Universal, but I could be wrong.

    January 25, 2012 at 5:47 PM · "I don't think it is very professional of Universal to steal Disney's idea" - I think you need to look up the history of MGM / Hollywood Studios and Universal....

    Here is the most relevant excerpt: In the planning stages for the park, Universal sought out a partner to help minimize its financial risk – one of the company’s it approached was Paramount Studios, and one its most promising executives – Michael Eisner. While Eisner passed on the project, he remembered what he saw. Once Eisner took over the reins at Disney, he was determined to beat Universal to the punch. Plans for the Disney-MGM Studios were hurriedly assembled, and despite Universal’s year long head start – the Disney MGM Studios opened before Universal was able to open its gates. How you ask? Easy – it’s called the Reedy Creek Improvement District – a quasi-governmental agency that Disney controls that issues all the building and zoning permits that Disney requires when it undertakes any kind of new construction. Not having to go thru the usual channels for permits, it was able to open up its movie-inspired theme park ahead of Universal.

    January 25, 2012 at 8:51 PM · Duplicating ideas is okay, but you should at least try to improve upon them!

    Regardless, these announcements are all just placeholders for the next iteration of Harry Potter, anyway. No one is going to plan a trip to Orlando to see the things Universal announced today.

    But after many years of stagnation at USO it warms my heart to see them at least trying to keep things fresh while the Harry Potter coffers burst at the seams.

    January 25, 2012 at 9:14 PM · NB, DHS wasn't a copy of US. The Great Movie Ride would of been at Epcot, but Michael thought a whole park would be better.
    January 25, 2012 at 9:35 PM · Clarification of movie screen or waterfall screen...For what it's worth, Universal's Orlando website has a description of the screens. Universal states "...multi-media nightime show that projects legendary movie clips onto cutting-edge waterfall screens". So, they are saying they will be waterfall screens...Interesting enough is that the promo screen example includes a scene from ET at the same time that we have another discussion thread rumoring a far fetched ET closure.
    January 26, 2012 at 12:33 AM · Dominick, MGM was a copy of the original plans for Universal in Florida. Yes, The Great Movie Ride was already designed, but most of everything else was a bit ripped-off. The current version of Universal was a redesign after Eisner showed the plans for MGM. Jim Hill has a great article detailing the behind-the-scenes events.


    January 26, 2012 at 7:36 AM · DHS was most certainly built to compete with Universal Studios. It is by no means a 'copy' but it definitely wanted to prevent Disney vacationers from venturing off-site.

    Anyway, I'm happy to hear these announcements even if they are minor. Theme parks should engage with their fans - such as ourselves. I think BGT has had the best approach for that in recent years though.

    January 26, 2012 at 2:18 PM · SPOILER ALERT! Stan Lee is at the beginning of Scene 1 in the backround!
    January 27, 2012 at 8:37 AM · The Universal Orlando website says that it will be closed on 8th Feb for the upgrade until March no to keep checking back as they will announce when it will re-open. I go there 15th Feb from UK, really disappointed Jaws has gone, Jimmy Neutron has gone, Spiderman closed and Dudley Do-Right probably closed as always when I go,yet I still have to pay full price for admittance despite half the park being closed......what a rip off won't be coming again, far too expensive
    January 29, 2012 at 2:46 PM · Cinematic Spectacular may turn out to be a good show, but why such a blatant copy of World of Color? This looks like it's going to be WOC with Universal movies/characters instead of Disney ones.

    P.S.: the only people who are excited about this show are the ones who've never been to Disneyland Resort.

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