Universal Orlando Resort is in the midst of many exciting projects.
The biggest construction project currently underway at Universal Orlando is an all-new theme park, Epic Universe, which is set to open in 2025. Epic Universe will be Universal’s third theme park– joining Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure– and is set to have several exciting properties, including Super Nintendo World, a rumored Classic Universal Monsters Land, How to Train Your Dragon Land, another addition to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and several hotels.
But, Epic Universe isn’t the only major project happening at Universal Orlando Resort.
5 Universal Orlando attractions closing permanently, but they might not be alone…
Universal recently made a bombshell announcement that five attractions at Universal Studios Florida would be closing soon. A longstanding tradition for many Universal Orlando fans has been visiting the Woody Woodpecker KidZone–which includes classics like the Woody Woodpecker Nuthouse Coaster, Curious George Goes to Town, and Fievel’s Playland– but soon, that option will no longer be available to them.
Universal Orlando recently announced that these attractions, as well as DreamWorks Destination and the Shrek and Donkey Meet and Greet, would be closing permanently in January to make way for “new exciting family entertainment.”
The company shared this statement on social media:
“Universal Orlando Resort will soon begin work on bringing exciting new family entertainment to Universal Studios Florida that will immerse guests in the adventures of beloved animated characters. To make way for these new additions, Fievel’s Playland, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, Curious George Goes to Town, DreamWorks Destination and Shrek and Donkey’s Meet & Greet will close on January 16, 2023 (Thel ast day of operation will be January 15, 2023).
The E.T. Adventure, Animal Actors on Location!, SpongeBob StorePants- including meet and greets with SpongeBob SquarePants and friends- and KidZone Pizza Company will remain open for guests to enjoy.
Stay tuned- more details about the new experiences coming to Universal Studios Florida will be revealed in the months ahead. For the latest updates about the destination, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com.”
There have been many rumors about what might be coming to this area, but nothing has been confirmed at this time. Universal has said that the attraction(s) that take over the area will be animated, which has led many to speculate that we could see Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, the ride at Universal Studios Hollywood, come to the area. Others believe Trolls and other DreamWorks characters might be coming. Still, the possibility of more Minions and a Super Silly Fun Land based on the first Despicable Me movie isn’t out of the question, either.
But, these are not the only Universal attractions that could be closing permanently.
Universal Orlando attraction closed since Hurricane Ian
Guests have been welcomed back to Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure after Universal Orlando Resort shut down for a couple of days during Hurricane Ian, which made landfall on the west coast of Florida as a Category 4 Hurricane and made its away across the state before coming up the Atlantic and running through both South Carolina and North Carolina.
But, one attraction has remained closed since that point: Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls.
Toon Lagoon, where the attraction is located, has been undergoing refurbishments to buildings and shops around the area. The land is also home to Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges.
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls is described as “Part roller coaster and part water flume.” This ride combines the fun of the classic cartoons with edge-of-your-seat action. You’ll slosh your way through twists and turns along with lovably laughable Royal Canadian Mountie, Dudley Do-Right. As you approach a nail-biting 75-foot drop, get ready to whoosh down the track for the biggest splash of your life.
If it wasn’t enough that the attraction shut down and water has been drained, Universal Orlando has now put up construction walls around the ride.
As you can see in this TikTok video, brown walls are now surrounding Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls.
The walls are up. #universal #universalstudios #universalorlando #islandsofadventure #toonlagoon#dudleydoright #dudleydorightsripsawfalls #update
Before the walls went up, Universal Orlando put up a sign that shared Dudley Do-Right was undergoing “seasonal maintenance.” The attraction never had a scheduled closure, however, until the hurricane came.
Rumors swirling Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls may never reopen
Not only is the Islands of Adventure attraction facing an extended closure, there are also rumors swirling that it may never reopen at all.
Several Universal Team Members have noted that they have heard rumblings of permanent closure.
“Can’t tell you much, as I don’t work at that ride. What I can tell you is the ride has been experiencing an extreme amount of problems lately, many of which ended in evacuations happening frequently,” the Team Member said. “The ride was planning an extended refurbishment before the hurricane hit, and then it did and made everything more complicated. No idea when it’s reopening, rumors were starting up that it would be closed for good but no actual confirmation on that yet.”
Another Team Member who says they worked at Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls said that the ride is not closed due to damage from the hurricane, but problems that have already existed. They also confirmed what was being heard that it could face permanent closure.
“All of us team members were sent to different rides, and told we might not open till March maybe even summer, if we open at all” the Team Member shared. “Our leads and management have told us if it costs too much to fix they might just get rid of it. Guess that’s what happens when the only thing done during yearly drys is just them repainting everything instead of fixing what needs to be fixed.”
While the rumors are swirling, it is important to note that these are all rumors and that nothing has been confirmed. It is also worth noting that Universal Orlando is attempting to repair the attraction and it wouldn’t seem that they are planning to close the attraction down, unless the repairs are just too costly.
Though it will be closed down for quite some time, we still expect that Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls will reopen at some point in the future, similar to what we saw with Poseidon’s Fury.
What could replace Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls?
If Universal was to elect to close the attraction, it does lead to an interesting question: What could replace Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls?
Assuming that Universal doesn’t want to completely close down an entire island, the theming for the ride would still be “Toon Lagoon.” Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges seems safe for the time being, so we would need to look at Universal’s bountiful amount of animated characters as options for a replacement attraction.
Much of this could be dependent on what takes over the Woody Woodpecker KidZone next door at Universal Studios Florida.
It wouldn’t make sense for the Minions to have another attraction at Islands of Adventure with them getting their own ride– in addition to Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem– and a cafe at Universal Studios. However, there are some other Illumination projects that could make sense for the spot, if needed, like The Secret Life of Pets or Sing.
It’s not likely that Universal would elect to go “retro,” but a SpongeBob SquarePants “plunge” ride could be fun in that spot.
What other construction projects are currently happening at Universal Orlando?
We’ve already established that Epic Universe is currently under construction and Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls is closed indefinitely as it undergoes updates.
What other construction projects are currently happening?
Shrek 4-D closed down permanently this past January. Since then, Universal has been constructing a new attraction– rumored to be a Minions-themed attraction based on VillainCon– to take over the area. The attraction is expected to be a “moving walkway attraction” where Guests will even have the opportunity to grab a blaster and help the Minions.
In addition, Universal’s Classic Monster Cafe closed permanently after more than two decades. There are construction walls around the restaurant and the expectation is that this will be replaced by a Minions Cafe, similar to what is already at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Revenge of the Mummy is still in “technical rehearsal.” While the attraction isn’t undergoing construction anymore, it hasn’t officially reached “full-time reopened” status just yet.
As we noted earlier, the Woody Woodpecker KidZone will close down in January, and this will be the next construction project to get underway at Universal Orlando.
Would you miss Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls if it closed permanently? Let us know in the comments.
If you want to visit Universal Orlando Resort, you can today! Visit the official Universal Orlando website to get your vacation started! You can go to Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, then eat some dinner and grab a drink at CityWalk. Want to take a splash? Volcano Bay is ready for you. With so many fun events like Mardi Gras, Halloween Horror Nights, and more, Universal will give you an action-packed adventure like you are in the movies and don’t forget about the epic Wizarding World of Harry Potter!