Failing Universal Attraction Makes Last Ditch Effort to Survive, Demolition Imminent

in Universal Orlando, Universal Studios

Hogwarts Castle lights up with Hufflepuff projections

Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Over the past few years, we have seen Universal Orlando Resort continue to take risks and expand as the theme park mogul has now set itself up to be a direct competitor, and worthy contender, against Mickey Mouse, who is located minutes down the highway at Walt Disney World Resort.

Multiple cars attempting to gain access to the Universal Orlando Resort parks
Credit: Universal Studios Florida

Not every risk works out, however, and now, Universal is doing what it can to try and make one of their more unique attractions and offerings prevail.

Universal’s big “glow up” per se, began with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. First, we saw Islands of Adventure add Hogsmeade which allowed guests to ride the all-new Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey which let guests enter Hogwarts for the first time ever, as well as Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure a few years later.

A wide shot of the Hulk Coaster and Suess Landing inside of Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Then, Diagon Alley was added to Universal Studios Florida, knocking out JAWS during its reign in order to gain enough space to host Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, as well as the rest of the land. Now, even Halloween Horror Nights utilizes the space with Death Eaters haunting guests in the evenings.

An empty Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Orlando Florida
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Soon, the Ministry of Magic will also be added to the Universal theme park world when Epic Universe opens in 2025.

One massive announcement made in 2019 would change the competition forever, as Universal announced Epic Universe. This brand-new theme park would serve as the third theme park at Universal Orlando Resort. Epic Universe has been through some tough times, due to the pandemic. At a point in time, Universal’s timeline on when Epic Universe would be complete seemed to be up in the air, as Universal could only note that it would be built “at some point.”

Credit: Universal’s Epic Universe

Although Epic Universe is not being built on the same property as Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, the location close to ICON Park is still visible from the rooftop deck of Aventura, one of Universal’s Resorts. The theme park will house Super Nintendo World, a Universal Classic Monsters section, a How to Train Your Dragon land, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, multiple hotels, and so much more.

Within the theme parks, however, we have seen some complaints as of late on older attractions.

When guests visit a theme park, especially any theme park in the Orlando area, they are expecting world-class thrills with the best ride technology and theming. There should never be anything, for example, at Six Flags that exceeds a ride of a similar nature at Walt Disney World.

Theme Park Truths took to TikTok to share that Rip Ride Rockit, the coaster that takes over the front half of Universal Studios Florida in the streets of New York, is officially the worst in Florida. The video shares all of the positive aspects of the coaster, like the 90 degree lift hill and drop, and the 167 ft height, but also shares that once it begins, the coaster feels like you are stuck in the middle of a EF5 tornado. Read more on that here. 

Universal Studios
Credit: Universal

In CityWalk, we sadly have seen some new locations that were meant to enhance the theme park resort, turn into a complaint zone, much like Rip Ride Rockit.

Universal’s Great Movie Escape can be found in CityWalk, where The Grove used to exist. The attraction is a separately ticketed offering for guests, allowing them to indulge in a highly themed escape room to either Back to the Future or Jurassic Park. The two rooms are named Jurassic World: Escape and Back to the Future: OUTATIME.

universal's great movie escape citywalk
Credit: Spectrum News/Ashley Carter

These experiences are similar to traditional escape rooms in that guests have about an hour to solve various puzzles in different rooms, working together to find the solutions to these challenges and “escape” the room before time runs out. Some rooms even have varying special effects and lighting, including low lighting, fog, loud noises, and small rooms.

Like some escape rooms, guests will watch a pre-show that outlines the story and setting for the escape room. Participants will also be introduced to their virtual guides for this experience. For Jurassic World: Escape, the guide is Riley, and for Back to the Future: OUTATIME, the guide is Nico. These guides show up throughout the experience, either on screen or audibly, guiding participants throughout the experience and offering tips or providing instructions.

universal great movie escape lobby
Credit: @UniversalORL on Twitter

This is a separately ticketed event, and you can buy your tickets on Universal Orlando’s website. Tickets start at $49.99 per person for one of these escape rooms, but prices can change depending on the date. These rooms allow six people maximum per group, but can include multiple parties. However, private group options are available. These tickets start at $300 and can hold up to eight people.

Although this idea seemed very cool at first, the price point, coupled with the non-traditional element of being forced through the escape room at certain timing checkpoints (even if you did not solve the clues to move on) has left the attraction with very low crowds, and not much excitement, so much so that Annual Passholders are even getting 30% off to visit at the moment.

Now, it is being reported that Trip Advisor notifications are popping up for some telling them that they “cannot miss” Universal’s Great Movie Escape.

This is funny. It’s got horrible reviews from what i see
byu/Lost_Disaster3075 inUniversalOrlando

The post has garnered a large response, with many feeling the same thing: “I read reviews when it first came out and I think the biggest issue is they are very different from traditional escape rooms and you get moved through regardless. I’ve heard they are good, just not what most people assume when they hear “escape room””

Another previous guest replied in agreement, “Yeah, that was our biggest issue, clearly there’s a time limit to keep groups moving, and they arguably crammed too many puzzles into that set time limit. It’s awesome theming-wise and was fun to do, but it’s frustrating that they just open the door and tell you to move on, it takes you out of the adventure.

Personally, I’d rather they give you hints or just act like you solved it and open the door, vs. the “sorry we need to keep moving” from a disembodied voice.”

universal great movie escape back to the future
Credit: Spectrum News/Ashley Carter

“After doing real ones, I found them to be horrible. It’s basically button pushing and screens. I’d give it a 3/10,” one other guest said, with many others replying to their comment in agreement.

Others seem to think it is not the rooms that are the issue but the cost. One guest said, “The rooms are fine. WAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY overpriced.”

Overall, Universal’s Great Movie Escape is not even one year old at this point, so its lack of popularity is quite deafening. With Universal striving to be at the top of the theme park game, having a failing location may not be the best option. There have been rumors that the location will shut down, but at the moment, we have not heard of anything.

universal great movie escape
Credit: @UniversalORL on Twitter

We do know that Universal will shut down less popular attractions like Shrek 4-D, which typically never had more than a 20-minute wait, to capitalize on other popular IP such as the Minions with Villain-Con Minion Blast.

Have you experienced Universal’s Great Movie Escape yet? Are you a fan? 

When visiting Universal Orlando Resort, Guests can enjoy attractions such as Rip Ride Rockit, MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack, Transformers: The Ride, and more. Visit Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where you can venture into Gringotts!  Islands of Adventure has some fantastic attractions like the new Jurassic World VelociCoaster, Jurassic Park River Adventure, The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, and more! Volcano Bay is also open for those who want to get their splash on.

 At Universal Studios Hollywood Guests can enjoy WaterWorld, The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Super Silly Fun Land, Silly Swirly Fun Ride, Kung Fu Panda Adventure, Universal’s Animal Actors, Special Effects Show, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, The Simpsons Ride, Studio Tour, Jurassic World — The Ride, Revenge of the Mummy — The Ride, Transformers: The Ride-3D, and more!




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