Universal Studios Florida: What Do We Think About It? | Inside Universal Forums

Universal Studios Florida: What Do We Think About It?

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belloq87

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Dec 7, 2009
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It’s been a while since we’ve had a dedicated thread to talk about Universal Studios Florida in a broader sense, and rather than keep letting that conversation bleed into other threads (I have been guilty!), I thought it should have its own place.

NOTE: This is not a catch-all thread to post general updates about the park (refurbishments, new entertainment, shopping, dining). This is meant to be a more philosophical discussion about the overall direction in which the park has been going, and where it might be going in the future. We could discuss how new offerings might tie into that conversation, but this shouldn’t be the place to just drop announcements.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think the park kind of stinks right now, is lacking much-needed variety, and has been on the receiving end of (generally) lower-tier attractions since Diagon Alley opened (in contrast to IOA, which received Kong, Hagrid’s, and VelociCoaster in that time, and is apparently going to be the park that receives the next significant attraction(s) at the existing two parks). That’s not to say that there isn’t anything for me to enjoy there, but when I think of the attractions in that park that I genuinely love, it’s a list that has gotten shorter and shorter, rather than longer.

I’m not particularly interested in business rationales (I think we can all agree to take it as a given that Universal thinks there are compelling financial reasons for every decision they make), but I am interested in the personal opinions of anyone on this forum. Are you, like me, relatively dissatisfied with the last decade (or so) at USF? Or do you think it’s fine? Perhaps still great, even?

I’m genuinely interested to hear from people who think the park is still terrific, or who think Universal’s made more right moves there than not. As much as I feel like I sometimes need a support group for disaffected USF fans, I’m equally interested in hearing more positive takes. As long as we all remain polite and respectful when we disagree, I hope we can have some productive and interesting discussions.

And what do we want the next five to ten years of USF to look like? What would you like to see happen in the park?

The floor is open!
 
Homer Simpson Reaction GIF by MOODMAN
 
I genuinely love and appreciate your passion for this park.

As someone who began vacationing here in 2011, I definitely have a different perspective than most. I wish the Studio vibes were still present. That I miss. I wish Beetlejuice was still there instead of thou who shall not be named. I miss all the shows, it used to really help extend our days here. I also preferred Twister over Fallon, even if I like Fallon.

I’m curious what it’s like now, but when the shows were more frequent this was our hang out park, probably spent most time in it during vacation. It’s relatively peaceful in many areas when not insanity crowds. It has IP’s accessible to any guest, more so than IOA.

The fact is, the Minions, Diagon, and the Universal Studios brand is enough to carry this park so it hasn’t really needed a major boost. It’s the only park to currently have nothing rumored for Nintendo, so I suspect that changes in next decade, which will certainly give it a boost. Upgrade nighttime shows and even better.
 
This is a great topic and I’ll need to flesh out my thoughts later. But I’ll say this, I really care about the theme of a park. Islands has it, Epic has it. At some point, to me, Studios lost it. I grew up in the 90s era and I really felt the movie theme. Heck, one of my favorite attractions was Hitchcock. :lmao:

Today, the park has less of a theme and more of a perception. Publicly, it feels like it’s known as the screen park. I don’t love that. I wish a lot of recent replacements kept the style of the ride the same. Practical to practical for example. But I get why they didn’t; it was rumored that ‘screens’ was a philosophy. Supposedly, that has changed with the new leadership.

All that said, currently I’m hopeful they will work to change that perception by listening to gp. And like @Cup_Of_Coffee said, I do believe that’s coming within the next 10 years.
 
While IOA is my favorite theme park, I still love USF. I find myself going to this park more because of how laid back it is.

USF isn't a bad park at all imo. The park features some of the greatest attractions I've experienced (Mummy, MIB, Diagon Alley/Gringotts, ET). But it also features some of the worst lol (Supercharged and Minion Mayhem).

The park needs more live entertainment and FFL is still standing, so I do not understand why something temporary can't be added. While the attractions I listed are enough to keep USF afloat, the park needs a major addition within the next 5-10 years. Especially with Epic Universe and Zelda at IOA on the way, it just seems bizarre to leave USF in the dark.
 
I think it would help if we approached the subject of USF from what they intended instead of how it played out.

After Potter opened in 2010, IOA was the darling and USF was full of outdated properties and aging rides, so an effort was made to start focusing more on Studios for the next decade.

Minion Mayhem was received positively, the Springfield Expansion was a hit, they brought over Transformers because things are going so well, they added a nighttime show and a parade, and finally opened Diagon Alley, USF's future is looking really good going into 2015.

And well, that's where things get a little muddled with "synergy" and the #Screenz stuff. Universal had the best intentions but obviously got a little too invested with the tech and misread the tea leaves.

Fallon's reaction was passable - but Supercharged's reaction did finally open some eyes. Unfortunately, that's when they were starting to shift focus back to IOA and the new theme park.

As of right now, Universal is fine as there is still a lot of fun around the park.

It doesn't take rocket science to know the areas of future additions/expansion - it's just gotta wait its turn again.
 
I think my frustration is twofold:

1. If Universal (internally) knows USF still needs work, I kind of wish they'd just keep at it instead of turning attention back to the park that is already superior is pretty much every way (IOA). I get why they want to alternate a bit between the parks, but there's no law forcing them to keep adding to its embarrassment of riches in the short term (compared to USF).
2. They were this close to dramatically improving the park with Super Nintendo World. And while I'm not going to claim that decision will come back to haunt them (because I expect the land to do very well at Epic Universe), it's certainly going to haunt me!
 
My predictions/wishlist for USF post EU

Assuming they don't need to fast track a HRRR replacement if it reaches the end of its service life, I am going to guess Simpsons will be the next thing to be addressed at USF with the contract up in 2028. Close Simpsons in 2026 and break ground for a 2028 opening date for the replacement. After recent posts in the MIB thread, I whittled down a Simpsons replacement to either an expansion of DreamWorks or some sort of standalone ride. Next I want to see the spring tent area replaced with a large land, and from there replace F&F will a large scale dark ride.
 
My predictions/wishlist for USF post EU

Assuming they don't need to fast track a HRRR replacement if it reaches the end of its service life, I am going to guess Simpsons will be the next thing to be addressed at USF with the contract up in 2028. Close Simpsons in 2026 and break ground for a 2028 opening date for the replacement. After recent posts in the MIB thread, I whittled down a Simpsons replacement to either an expansion of DreamWorks or some sort of standalone ride. Next I want to see the spring tent area replaced with a large land, and from there replace F&F will a large scale dark ride.

This isn't a wishlist thread. Please stop making every thread a wishlist/blue sky thread.

I think my frustration is twofold:

1. If Universal (internally) knows USF still needs work, I kind of wish they'd just keep at it instead of turning attention back to the park that is already superior is pretty much every way (IOA). I get why they want to alternate a bit between the parks, but there's no law forcing them to keep adding to its embarrassment of riches in the short term (compared to USF).
2. They were this close to dramatically improving the park with Super Nintendo World. And while I'm not going to claim that decision will come back to haunt them (because I expect the land to do very well at Epic Universe), it's certainly going to haunt me!
1. Unfortunately, that's the business side of things. Things are planned in advance, by the time they realized there were needs, they were already neck-deep in Hagrid, VC, and Epic, of course.

2. Only time will tell.
 
I would hope Universal would take USF in the same direction as EU with fully immersive lands like those at said park. But based on the new DW land, I don't think they are ready to go in the direction right now. Maybe for the next large scale addition to USF they will though.
 
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Once the new Parade, new Lagoon Show, and Dreamworks opens, it will be a better, 'slightly' more balanced, park. Dreamworks is a fairly inexpensive retheme, but I think it will be pretty decent and bring some crowds of kids and their families to an area that had deteriorated into a 'Dead Zone' instead of a 'Kid Zone'. The new emphasis of food festivals for the parks' very strong 'events' gives it a mini Epcot narrative. And Diagon is so good it continues to carry the park. The problem is the big hole in the central area of the park, F&F and former Fear Factor. F is not a good letter for Universal. That definitely needs fixed. Minions rethemed 2023 area, like Springfield in 2013, is a nice addition. Even though I've always considered the beautiful, more immersive overall, IOA, the superior ride park, we always find ourselves spending more time in the Studios park because there seems to be more to do, much of it due to the excellent street shows and the entertainment venues (Bourne, Horror Make Up Show, Animal Actors) that eat up a lot more time than the 4 minute rides over at IOA. Studios seems a bit weak without the parade and lagoon show right now, and the empty huge theater, but that will be soon remedied. One or two good new D/E tickets will solve a lot of the park's problem.
 
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One or two good new D/E tickets will solve a lot of the park's problem.
Accompanied by a net decrease in the number of screen-heavy rides.

I think if we had something going either into the Fear Factor plot or the future DreamWorks land PLUS something replacing either Supercharged or Simpsons, I'd feel quite good about the park's balance again.

I would also take a full new land between MIB and Simpsons with an attraction roster similar to Super Nintendo World (a dark ride, a coaster, a PeopleMover/mode of transport/flat ride).
 
I’m of the opinion that literally the only thing needed to bring USF back to being comparable with IoA is a decent replacement of Supercharged. That’s literally it. Mummy, E.T., Gringotts, and MIB can all be considered best in class rides, I enjoy the theming of New York, San Fran, Hollywood, and Diagon a whole lot, and the shows in this park are all good. Sure I’d love to see one less screen ride and one more retro throwback ride as much as the next guy but what we have now is still a very solid park that just happens to have it’s largest showbuilding taken up by it’s worst attraction by far.
 
I mentioned this in another thread, but even though Zelda is slated for 2027, couldn't they get a construction crew in USF at some point in 2026 once the bulk of Zelda is completed and break ground on something for a 2028 addition to USF? At the very least 2028 should the earliest they need to add something to USF. And once we reach 2030, that's when I feel we will see a large, EU style land added to the park.
 
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I’m of the opinion that literally the only thing needed to bring USF back to being comparable with IoA is a decent replacement of Supercharged. That’s literally it. Mummy, E.T., Gringotts, and MIB can all be considered best in class rides, I enjoy the theming of New York, San Fran, Hollywood, and Diagon a whole lot, and the shows in this park are all good. Sure I’d love to see one less screen ride and one more retro throwback ride as much as the next guy but what we have now is still a very solid park that just happens to have it’s largest showbuilding taken up by it’s worst attraction by far.
I think IOA's attraction lineup has so much variety (although slightly less now with Poseidon's Fury closed) that even a great Supercharged replacement will still have USF lagging behind.

I certainly agree that Supercharged is an egregious misuse of space, and it needs to go!
 
Get some replacements for F&F, FF and Simpsons, and I think that really does solve the problem. Honestly, everywhere else (besides DreamWorks of course since that remains to be seen, but I have hope), I think is genuinely in pretty good shape.
  • Minion Land is great.

  • New York has great entertainment, a great ride and a good ride (yes, I like Race Through New York!). HRRR definitely needs a good retracking, if not replacement, sooner rather than later though.

  • San Francisco... yeah I don't think I even need to say anything. We all know what needs to be done here... BRING BACK JAWS! ;)

  • Diagon Alley is one of the best lands in any theme park, even if I personally have a rather large distaste for Gringott's. Just expand into FF already though!

  • MIB is perfect, just needs a solid renovation. Springfield is great, the ride not so much.

  • I think that DreamWorks Land will be good. I very much hope to see a dark ride based around the Dark Forest from PiB2 some day.

  • Hollywood is a perfect entertainment area. Two fantastic shows, and an almost endless-feeling amount of fun and very interactive character encounters.