The Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando and Hollywood are preparing for new and updated attractions in honor of the movie studio’s 100th anniversary being celebrated this year. While Hollywood focuses its famous Studio Tour on 100 years of movie history, Orlando is set to announce a new experience entirely.
Ongoing projects at the Universal Orlando theme parks include a ride based on Despicable Me, a new Hollywood Drive-In miniature golf course, and an expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. But in honor of the Universal Studios 100th anniversary, the Orlando parks are planning even more.
A press release detailing the studio’s anniversary plans, which include film restorations, releases to Blu-ray, and an updated “globe” logo (seen above), mentions Universal Orlando “will soon announce a specially themed entertainment experience that will celebrate Universal’s heritage.” The wording is notably vague, not calling the announcement an attraction or ride, but rather an experience. And that experience may be Universal Orlando’s upcoming lagoon show featuring movie projections, water effects, and more.
It’s no secret that Universal Studios Orlando has been constructing a new show to replace Universal 360 in their main theme park lagoon. Large riggings ready for projection screens and rows of water fountains have been spotted being added to the water area since late 2011, as seen in the photo below by theme park fan site Orlando United taken a couple weeks ago:
While the new “entertainment experience” could be what’s replacing the recently-closed Jaws ride, it’s likely that Universal Orlando will be celebrating this anniversary utilizing the Studio’s vast film catalog in conjunction with water effects to put on a nighttime spectacular, not unlike Disney’s World of Color in California.
In addition to a nighttime lagoon show, Universal Studios chief Ron Meyer has also mentioned that a new parade is in the works for Universal Orlando. This could also be the “entertainment experience” the 100th anniversary release is referring to, so we’ll have to wait for the official announcement to be sure.
But speaking of California, the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, connected to the movie studio itself, intends to focus its famous Studio Tour on “100 years of moviemaking history on the Universal Studios production backlot.” The popular theme park attraction will be updated to reflect the anniversary, embracing the Studio’s decades of moviemaking history on a daily basis.
Universal Studios will continue its 100th anniversary celebration online, launching a new web site at Universal100th.com, as well as joining social media sites including Tumblr (Universal100.tumblr.com), Twitter (@UniversalPics), and Pinterest (Pinterest.com/Universal) among others.
Surely it’s no coincidence that the above graphic currently featured on the new web site features several movies that have been, are currently, or will be themes for Universal theme park attractions, including Jaws, Back to the Future, E.T., Jurassic Park, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, King Kong, and Despicable Me.
But theme park fans are most interested in the mystery announcement that’s yet to be made for Universal Orlando. Whether the new “entertainment experience” is indeed the lagoon show that’s under construction, a replacement for Jaws, or an entirely new attraction, it’s clear that Universal continues to follow the momentum built by the hugely-successful Wizarding World of Harry Potter to create new and exciting movie-based themed entertainment.