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"Old School" Universal Orlando

UNIrd

Premium Member
Jul 18, 2008
6,266
Jaws was my favorite ride, especially at night. Glad we can still experience it at USJ though.
 

belloq87

Veteran Member
Dec 7, 2009
3,911
Universal Exports
I stumbled across this recently, which is a series of guest videos taken at Universal Studios Florida in the early 1990s. Pretty comprehensive coverage of many of the great - and mostly now long-gone - attractions from that era: The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera, Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies, Back to the Future, Earthquake, Ghostbusters, Kongfrontation, and more. No Jaws (probably because - if most of the video was really shot in 1990 - it was not functioning reliably!), and no Murder She Wrote, though the video does show a throng of visitors waiting in line for it!

Some highlights:

- A look at the Phantom of the Opera introduction to the Horror Makeup Show, complete with the very cool way in which the Phantom exits.
- The awesome original ending of the Horror Makeup Show, involving the Telepods and Brundlefly from THE FLY. The current version of the show is still great, but they’ve yet to top the Telepods in terms of a fun climax.
- A glimpse of the countdown billboard for the still-in-development Back to the Future ride, followed by a ride-through from a couple years later.
- The complete Charlton Heston-hosted preshow for Earthquake, which I still think does a great job of laying out pre-digital special effects techniques in concise fashion.
- A partial walkthrough of the terrific subway-esque queue for Kongfrontation, with Kong’s howls and vocalizations echoing through the building and setting the mood before even getting on the ride.

I know the temptation for some modern Universal die-hards is to chalk up the fond memories some of us have of that first version of the park as purely a product of nostalgia, and while nostalgia certainly plays a part, watching this video has really confirmed for me what I’ve always believed about USF in that period -- it was one of the most ambitious and unique theme parks ever designed. And I miss it.

But anyway! Thought this might be of interest for those who fancy a trip down memory lane, or those who never got to experience the Universal Studios Florida of the 1990s!
 

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
3,486
Some truly fantastic footage of the little-seen Phantom of the Opera preshow, a character that's barely acknowledged by the company in his Lon Chaney incarnation these days. Didn't even know about his "surprise" exit.
 

belloq87

Veteran Member
Dec 7, 2009
3,911
Universal Exports
Some truly fantastic footage of the little-seen Phantom of the Opera preshow, a character that's barely acknowledged by the company in his Lon Chaney incarnation these days. Didn't even know about his "surprise" exit.
I think it's because that original PHANTOM film has technically fallen into the public domain, so Universal prefers to emphasize their (still good, but less interesting) 1943 version with Claude Rains, which they still control entirely.

And yeah, that introduction is super cool. They had already done away with it by my first trip in 1993, so it's really neat to see what it involved.

Every time I see it, I keep thinking about how many of those posters they must have had in the back somewhere!

One of my favorite parts of old school Universal was the Earthquake pre-shows.
It's fashionable to rag on them as being too long, but I always thought they were fun. Also the first place I ever learned anything about high-speed photography or matte paintings.
 

WJWS

Newcomer
Feb 9, 2019
25
I can almost smell the Kongfrontation subway from this :lol: and the Earthquake pre-show when the city set is shown (or am I imagining that?). Such great memories of what was an amazing line-up of attractions.

One of my favorite parts of old school Universal was the Earthquake pre-shows.
Did they keep the exit music loop for Disaster? I always enjoyed that.
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
18,823
Pittsburgh area
Anyone remember the old parking lot sections pre-garage? Just a random thought that popped into my head this morning. I can't remember any of them.
It would be interesting if anyone could recall the names of the various lot sections. Were they named after movie terms or characters?
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
18,823
Pittsburgh area
they should look into expanding Marvel and creating an x-men or avengers show of some sort. And if that isn't possible because of the disney thing, maybe expand Toon Lagoon. either way, it's kinda weird walking through that no-mans land in between the 2
Reading this post from 2009, it sounds exactly like some of the threads on MSHI and Toon Lagoon in 2019, ten years later. :lol:
 
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belloq87

Veteran Member
Dec 7, 2009
3,911
Universal Exports
Anyone remember the old parking lot sections pre-garage? Just a random thought that popped into my head this morning. I can't remember any of them.
It would be interesting if anyone could recall the names of the various lot sections. Were they named after movie terms or characters?
I remember the layout and old entrance area, but not the specifics of the lot names.
 
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natespf

--Classified--
Premium Member
Apr 1, 2013
1,647
Did they have names? I'm thinking it was just numbered, maybe color coded. You'd park and walk right in like a mall, etc.

I remember when the garages opened noticing all the names.
 
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