Is USF still a 'Studios' Park? | Inside Universal Forums

Is USF still a 'Studios' Park?

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Is it still a "Studios" park?

  • Yes

    Votes: 42 51.9%
  • No

    Votes: 39 48.1%

  • Total voters

Brian G.

Jan 21, 2008
Orlando, FL
Taking this over from the Minions thread, and think there's still a discussion to be had in the appropriate thread.

Is Universal Studios Florida still a "Studios" Park?
Until they add a studio tour as part of the 30 Rock area, it’s not really. It’s only a “Studio” park due to how many seperate IP’s it features compared to other parks.
It feels like a layered question that can give a somewhat layered answer.

Is it a proper behind the scenes curtain look into the inner makings of the studio, and how NBCUniversal curates films? With the exception of Horror Make-Up show, and the departure of Disaster I'd say no despite the production facilities to the left of the park being visible over by Minion Land/Music Plaza.

Do not mistake me as saying that you wouldn't see production shoots around the park, but it's not like what it was for the time that USF dominated it (And still kind of does for the soundstages).

Is it a Studios park in that it encompasses and celebrates films, music (with HRRR) and television made for the intent and by the intent of NBCUniversal? That I think is a valid outlook and I would warrant in the current case, regardless of NBCUniversal owned IP: that it absolutely does.

Being able to replicate and demonstrate the power of the brands represented with a fine-tooth and nail level of care. I would also say with the external properties at hand, that it is a celebration of the entertainment industry and the various elements represented being proof of that.

I would say a mix, yes and no: but it is a layered aspect. If you were to ask me on USH and if that is, I would be much more definitive even with the departure of Animal Actors and Special Effects Show.
If what people mean by it being a “Studio” is that the park features rides based on IPs from:
  • Universal Studios
  • NBC Television Studios
  • Illumination Studios
  • Dreamworks Studios
  • 20th Century Animation
  • Sony Pictures
  • Paramount Pictures
  • Warner Brothers Studios
Then sure, it’s a “Studios” park. Look at that list of studios! Otherwise, it’s just not even close to being one anymore.

When Nick left it was a big hit and then the removal of all “backstage magic” attractions killed the last remnants of it by the time SS44, Disaster and Twister closed. Even Fear Factor leaving was a hit to the Studio theme.

Really the main thing left in the studio theme is Horror Makeup Show and I guess Mummy can sort of be counted since it still incorporates the studio theme even post-refurb.
If what people mean by it being a “Studio” is that the park features rides based on IPs from:
  • Universal Studios
  • NBC Television Studios
  • Illumination Studios
  • Dreamworks Studios
  • 20th Century Animation
  • Sony Pictures
  • Paramount Pictures
  • Warner Brothers Studios
Then sure, it’s a “Studios”. Look at that list of studios! Otherwise, it’s just not even close to being one anymore.

Hence why to me I consider it on the matter of the industry at large with a promimence towards Universal at the forefront. I think the thing that I wish happened; is the ability to bring back a "Demonstration" show like that of Backdraft, Twister, and even Lights Camera's Action from Universal Studios Singapore.

Enough of a peel back to show that yes, you are inside a working studio park and that there are things that you can't see anywhere else other than there in person. It's similar to my feelings on the Studio Tour, and why it makes Universal Studios Hollywood the definitive "Studio" park.

Not shoving it completely down your throat, but the Studio Tour is a reflection to that of the motion picture studio and allows you to see things that are even if it was for a glimpse; something you can't find anywhere in the theme park space.
So by your definition, it hasn’t been a Studio park since 1995? Lol
Well, no. They’ve had other “studio” or “production” based attractions since the tour itself. Now, everything is a specifically designed ride in its own little world. Villain-Con being set at USF does change things a little bit more though. It’s as much of a studio as DHS is imo. That being said, USF is the far superior park too.
Even ignoring the obvious soundstage showbuildings and productions (sometimes) filmed at the park, there's still a good bit of the park that's themed around production; New York especially, for example, since both of its attractions as well as Louie's and Finnegan's are grounded in that theme somewhat. This aspect was more prominent in the earlier days of the park though, and recent closures such as Fievel and Monsters Cafe illustrate the shift away from the production theming.

Instead, it seems like there are a lot more attractions that aren't studio-themed but rather just take place in the park itself, either obviously (ex: Villain-Con) or through a throwaway line or two (ex: MIB). Also, surprisingly, only a few attractions deviate away from either towards being grounded in their own universes: Gringotts, Ollivander's, Supercharged, and Transformers.

Still, with that in mind, I believe that USF is more studio-themed than not overall, so my vote leans towards "Yes."
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I don't think Universal parks are super limited in what IP goes into which park. King Kong was in USF and is now in IOA, Transformers Land in Studios Beijing is pretty much Marvel in IOA, and Nintendo was going to be in KidZone before moving to Epic.
I don't really mind the "homogenizing" argument many people make even with Disney parks too, I just care if the new individual additions look good, are cool, and well-themed.

I see it more as a movie park rather than a studio park. Even though not all the IP's are movies. Amalgamation park?:p
What made it a Studios park in the first place? The way I see it, there are two realistic criteria:

1.) Production - today, USF isn’t exactly a hub of production activity. Sure, they film commercials and the occasional promotional NBC show, but only marginally more filming takes place on the park grounds than an average Disney park. The real production takes place in the soundstages, but people don’t realize they’re a completely separate entity…the parks have to rent the space out for their use. Not to mention, they’re just as close to IOA, so falling back on the soundstages must make IOA a studio park too. I think this one doesn’t apply anymore…

2.) The Actual Park Theme - before, most rides/shows revolved around backstage filmmaking. They could be educational or they could’ve just evoked the aesthetics of a real backlot (which I’d argue, even with the advent of the behind-the-scenes DVD featurette, is a cool setting). Today, every attraction (minus Horror Makeup, a low-capacity show tucked away in a corner of a deadzone) is an attempt at putting you into an immersive world that evokes the IP it’s based upon…just like at Islands of Adventure, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, etc. The only difference compared to those parks is that USF has the ride buildings (read: “soundstages”) out in the open and a few exposed lighting rigs in a couple restaurants. That in and of itself doesn’t make it a “Studios” park in my opinion…it just marks a lack of commitment to reinventing the park to keep up with the new direction every attraction since Disaster has implemented.
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I think the difference between a classic “studio” park and the modern immersive IP park is fairly clear - a studio park offers the “illusion” of going “behind-the-scenes.” In this way it’s pseudo-educational, somewhat reminiscent of classic EPCOT (not surprisingly, MGM grew out of a planned classic EPCOT pavilion). In tourist studies terms, it offers staged authenticity, a pseudo-backstage, presenting the filmic IPs as explicitly unreal as part of a larger claim of behind-the-scenes realism. The modern IP park, made dominant by Uni’s own Potter lands, dispenses with the behind-the-scenes pretense and treats the world of the IP as absolutely real, taking that realism to extreme lengths.

The elements at Uni that still evoke a “behind-the-scenes” studio aesthetic are remnants of an earlier version of the park - Finnegans, Horror Make-Up, Animal Actors ET, etc. (they’re also some of my very favorite elements of the resort and I hope they remain for a very long time). Those are all opening day or close to it.

The only remaining later addition that pushes any kind of “behind-the-scenes” element is Mummy, which is actually a brilliantly illustrative transitional case - the entire attraction, from queue to unload, is stuck in a confused push-pull between whether it’s “authentic” or behind the scenes, reflecting the confusion surrounding the changes to the parks direction taking place when the ride was being planned and built in the early 2000s. MiB is also part of this transitional period, highlighting and satirizing the “behind-the-scenes” conceit.

Since then, the park has left the “studio” element far behind, with attractions like Bourne going to absurd lengths to create a storyline to make the attraction “real.” New York is no longer a New-York-themed backlot, it’s just New York. Even Fallon isn’t “behind-the-scenes” ala a studio park - guests are a front-of-house audience offered no special access and the attraction abandons the studio at the first opportunity.

So no, Universal Orlando is not in any meaningful way still a classic studio park.
A studio park shows you a peek behind the curtain of how films are made. The only attraction at USF that actually offers that is Horror Makeup. I don't really count Mummy as the storyline leans more toward "film set went wrong" versus actually explaining anything related to the film process.

Just because it has studio theming, doesn't mean it's a true studio park.

As of now, I view USF as a celebration of the movies, not an actual studio park.
I feel like any park that essentially looks like this still is a 'Studios' park.

I guess the way to answer that question is if Universal wanted to build a new behind the scene peek at how movies are made attraction, which of the 3 parks would it go in?
Yes. Studios has always been a park that offered a variety of attractions that took you "behind the scenes" and other attractions that placed you in the middle of the action of movie and show scenes. Now it skews more towards the latter, but shows like Horror Makeup Show and Animal Actors, aspects of New York, Production Central, and a few rides still retain or give nods to the "moving making" gene that I argue is still within the park's DNA. Now does that excuse the ugly "facade" work Villain-Con is getting? No. And that's largely because it's aesthetically unpleasing and only gets uglier when compared to the far fleshed and gorgeously themed Minion Cafe.