Another long-time show is closing at Universal Orlando

August 18, 2018, 12:51 PM · One of Universal Orlando's long-running shows will close permanently next month. The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad will take the stage for the final time on September 15.

The fantasy stunt show consistently placed among the lowest-rated attractions at the resort, according to Theme Park Insider readers. So it's an addition-by-subtraction situation in that the park's average reader rating will go up once the show closes. Which is a shame, because I hate to see theme parks lose live-action theater shows — even ones as cheesy at Sindbad.

Despite its mix of comedy and action, the show long has gotten a bit lost within its surroundings, never wow-ing audiences in the way that its more ambitious neighbor Poseidon's Fury did, nor thrilling them like the Dueling Dragons/Dragon Challenge coasters on the theater's other side. With The Wizarding World of Harry Potter taking over half of Sindbad's Lost Continent island in 2010, the show's closure will leave Poseidon's Fury and the Theme Park Insider-favorite Mythos restaurant as the only significant elements in what's become the "dead man walking" of the park's lands.

Sindbad is the second major live-performance attraction that Universal Orlando has closed in the past year without announcing a replacement, following the removal of the Terminator 2: 3D show in Universal Studios Florida last fall. As of now, the only new attraction that Universal has confirmed for its Orlando theme parks is the upcoming Harry Potter-themed coaster experience that is replacing Dragon Challenge, which will open sometime next year.

With the Sindbad theater jammed next to Hogsmeade station for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter's Hogwarts Express ride, the space long has been considered by fans as a likely target for an expansion of Islands of Adventure's Harry Potter land. But with Universal developing a fourth gate on its expansion site near the Orange County Convention Center, the resort has plenty of space to build an entire new Potter land there, without having to cannibalize any space in its existing parks. So if Universal just wanted to replace Sindbad with another production in the same theater, fans ought to consider that a possibility, as well.

Replies (22)

August 18, 2018 at 4:45 PM

I dont understand this ‘4th gate’ at Universal trope.

When you talk about Disney you never claim they have 6 gates. Yet whenever you discuss Universal somehow their water park is a ‘3rd’ gate. Either Disney’s next park is their 7th or Universal are now contemplating their 3rd but let’s have some consistency please....

August 18, 2018 at 6:15 PM

Never got around to seeing this myself despite hearing how goofy fun it was annoyed I'll miss my chance.

August 18, 2018 at 6:59 PM

This May sound crazy but bearing in mind it is still very popular at other parks, could they be replacing it with a waterworld show? I highly doubt it as it won't fit the literature theme of IOA nor the theme of the lost continent, but is an idea. I'm would be surprised if Universal is closing the show to replace it with another seeing as the huge show building between Marvel island and toon lagoon has been left unused for a long time. I doubt they would expand hogsmede further in the near future considering the new coaster opening next year and the closure of Fear Factor possibly being due to Ministry of magic. Hopefully something good is added and not just left standing like the aforementioned show building. Also I hear terminator replacement is opening spring 2019 so an announcement is sure to follow shortly.

August 18, 2018 at 8:01 PM

Oh David, you've missed all the spirited discussion over whether or not Disney already has seven gates (if you count the Springs).

I can't believe that after all these shows close, Fear Factor will still be open at USF. After it was announced that Bill and Ted was retiring, I thought that would be the final straw for that lame show.

August 18, 2018 at 10:59 PM

Waterworld won't fit in the Sindbad plot. Hogwarts Express is in the way.

As far the next announcement goes, all the rumors point to T2 being replaced with a new Jason Bourne stunt show. So that will obviously be first on the docket.

August 19, 2018 at 3:57 AM

LOl James Trexen - no I haven't missed it! I'm just 'Old School'. A waterpark is just that - and not a theme park. Volcano Bay or Blizzard Beach both have great theming but they don't have a balance and selection of rides and attractions. They basically have water slides. Drop slides, slow slides, fast slides, powered 'water coaster' slides. But still just ways for you to get wet :) There's no shame in having a water park but it's not a Theme Park. And nor is a lovely area of shops and restaurants!

August 19, 2018 at 5:54 AM

The Lost Continent will surely be lost for good in the near future. Sinbad is the first phase. The "island" offers nothing enticing at all these days, bar the restaurant. Expect bigger announcements on the area in due course. Potter likely to dominate further. Sinbad may have been entertaining when the park opened but our expectations are now far higher and it is a B-Ticket attraction when we all now expect D or E.

August 19, 2018 at 7:56 AM

As someone who has worked in the hospitality industry for the last 15 years I can confirm that people's expectations have risen exponentially in that time and are continuing to rise. What were considered 'luxurious extras' 10 years ago are now assumed to be included and the general level of expectation has gone through the roof. The problem is that people's expectations of what they are prepared to pay for this have not risen. In fact thanks in part to the internet and a plethora of discounting sites they often expect to pay less, but get much more.

This has profound implications for the theme park industry. Woe betide the park who opens a mere C-ticket attraction. Howls of 'disappointment' will greet what, 10 years ago, would have been welcomed as a strong addition to a park's line-up, helping to 'round out' their offering and create a varied and engaging day out. This is a particular problem for the 'Big Two' - Disney and Universal. They themselves have set the bar ever higher with Potter and Avatar establishing a new bench-mark that they now fail to reach at their peril. Witness the overwhelming 'meh' that greeted Universal's Fast and Furious attraction at Orlando, or even the Slinky Dog Coaster at Disney's new Toy Story Land. We've seen better. We want better. We expect better.

And yet parks need C and B and even A-ticket attractions to create a day out that isn't totally overwhelming and isn't spent mostly in lines. How do you judge an E-ticket attraction when there's no B-Ticket to measure it up against? What happens is that soon even E-ticket isn't enough for people. When that happens where do parks go?

August 19, 2018 at 8:46 AM

When they oversell an attraction as E, then they deserve their grief. Rides are pretty much a known commodity. How can the public not tell the difference?

August 19, 2018 at 9:48 AM

Honestly, its next door neighbor the Posidon's Fury or whatever it's called should go too for prime real estate. Universal has put in some great attractions, and both of the ones there now, while high concepts on opening date, could stand to be replaced. I will say I have completely inconsistent viewpoints down the street, however, as I get mad as a hornet when the do minor changes like change the announcer on the Tommowland Transit Authority, so I will not take any issue with an opposing viewpoint. I hope to see the Ministry of Magic, though.

August 19, 2018 at 10:10 AM

David Brown, I don't get your "meh" mention for the Slinky Dog Dash Roller Coaster on here (it's Also Recommended vs. Skip It for Fast and Furious) or any other park ride ranking system. Most reactions seemed to be pleasantly surprised with it. I do agree with you about ever-raising expectations most people are having about the parks. I've already been deluged by comments on sites claiming that if Star Wars Galaxy Edge does not essentially make you feel like you're defeating the Dark Side every second you are immersed in it, it will be a total failure and show the lack of imagination and commitment Disney has for its parks. People have got to stop projecting their fantasies on what parks should provide to them without keeping a realistic eye on construction and maintenance costs and times. They're often failing to see the creativity and emphasis to details that already exist in their rush to see the big shiny new object, and that's going to leave them consistently disappointed and cranky as a result. That's their loss.

August 19, 2018 at 10:27 AM

This makes sense. The only expansion pad left at IoA is the one in Seuss which has limited theming possibilities, so cannibalization was inevitable. I'd expect Potter to consume everything in Lost Continent west of Poseidon/Mythos. My bet would be on a Potter stunt/magic show reusing the theater with some new shops and dining where Fire Eaters Grill, Mystic Fountain and Shop of Wonders stand.

August 19, 2018 at 11:08 AM

I voted that Universal will announce a replacement for Sinbad before Terminator. The reason is 100% due to location. Terminator 3D is not in any kind of prime location. What could go in there except another show?

But Sinbad is in the middle (okay, next door) to Harry freaking Potter. It'll likely be an expansion to the original Big Bang.

But seriously. What can possibly replace Terminator? Perhaps....Terminator?

It's not like that franchise is dead, or they haven't continued making new movies, so why not refresh it?

August 19, 2018 at 1:53 PM

david. I don't know about where you work, but disneys and uni's prices have risen the last 20 years much faster than the price of inflation. if they were not making a good return on their investment, they would not keep refreshing rides nearly as quickly. let alone, adding new ones (while not always closing ones to make up. Although sometimes)..

August 19, 2018 at 3:26 PM

While the show needed to go, I hope this doesn't spell doom for the rest of the area which is beautiful and full of potential. If Universal could put something better in that space (whether repurposing the theatre or replacing it altogether) and re-do Poseidon, which has the bones of an amazing attraction but a dumb plot and script, then the land would be great.

As much as I love Potter, I don't think an expansion outside of Hogsmeade's gates makes sense compared to an expansion of the Ministry in Diagon Alley or an entire new land in the 3rd park. The WWoHP lands are pretty faithful recreations so unless they feel the Shrieking Shack deserves a ride idk what else goes out there.

As far as Terminator goes, I can't be the only one who finds it weird that Universal announced the closure and hinted at it's replacement (a live-action show based on a Universal franchise) almost a year ago and there has since been no new hints. If they didn't sound like they were already working on a replacement I could understand the silence, but why wouldn't they get a jump on promoting an in-house IP? Is there any "insider" knowledge as to how, or even if, work is going in that old show building.

August 19, 2018 at 3:47 PM

Wesley Hyatt. I happen to think the Slinky Dog Coaster looks great and is a perfect family coaster addition but when it opened I saw a heap of ‘meh’ comments from people who basically were complaining that it wasn’t The Hulk... I was just using it as an example of the sort of dis-satisfaction with anything less that Theme Park Perfection that we see so much of these days.

August 19, 2018 at 8:15 PM

Disney’s Hollywood Studios test scores for Slinky Dog Dash have been off-the-charts with the target audience... FAMILIES!

Further evidence that replacing Dragon Challenge with a family Harry Potter coaster was the right move! Universal Resort’s new target audience... FAMILIES!

August 20, 2018 at 6:09 AM

Maybe Gabriel and Florean are both onto something here. There is a new Terminator in the works with some pretty decent talent behind it, and the counterprogramming with more teen to adult shows works pretty good with the other ones being Despicable Me, Terminator, etc. Although the last few attempts to restart the timeline did not exactly take root...

August 20, 2018 at 8:43 AM

Shrieking Shack?

August 20, 2018 at 9:51 AM

I'm glad we took some time to catch this show on our last visit in June. I have to admit, the show has not changed since we first saw it nearly 15 years ago, but it's still pretty entertaining. However, it was growing stale, and with the appeal and number of attractions in The Lost Continent steadily shrinking as the boy wizard elbowed his way into IOA back in 2010, the writing has been on the wall for some time regarding this show's demise. Waterworld looked like it was going to go away to make room for WWoHP, but was somehow spared. I wonder if this may be just a temporary shutdown, or if it is the start of the final death knell for The Lost Continent.

FWIW, the T2 replacement will probably be announced very soon as promised by the park. While the location is not as prominent, Universal had noted last year when that show was taken down that a replacement would be online in 2019.

August 20, 2018 at 12:13 PM


Hyrule (Legend of Zelda) replaces the Lost Continent. The Sinbad area becomes the E-ticket with Poseidon and Mythos going down next year for installation of a minor attraction and re-themed restaurant. Opening for the 2020 season.

Jason Bourne replaces T2 opening next year. Its my best guess given they won't need to re-theme the surrounding area and it would be a relatively quick change to go from the T2 show to a Bourne one.

August 20, 2018 at 5:19 PM

The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad may have been cheesy, but it has always been a good way to get a little entertainment, cool off from the heat, and rest your feet and legs before setting off for another round of rides at IOA. I really hate to see it close, but it seemed inevitable considering how close it was to the Harry Potter area, and looked to be the next logical place for any Potter Expansion.

Poseidon's Fury has been an abomination ever since Universal dumbed it down several years ago with their Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers makeover by moving away from the classical war between Zeus and Poseidon and changing it to a war between Poseidon and Lord Darkenon, his former high priest resulting in everybody being confused by the storyline instead of just those who were ignorant of Greek mythology. A battle between Greek gods made sense. A battle between a Greek god and some guy with the standard hackneyed villain attire and equivalently bad megalomaniac utterances just doesn't cut it. Other than the fantastic exterior façade, I wouldn't miss it at all.

If I had my druthers, I'd take the space occupied by Poseidon's Fury and expand Seuss Island. Let the Boy Wizard have Sindbad, Fire Eater's, and the Mystic Fountain, but let Mythos and Poseidon go to Seuss. Maybe we could finally get a Mount Crumpit attraction and a re-themed Mythos. Who knows.

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