With Universal Studios Florida calling a press conference for August 1st, the interwebs have been rampant with speculation as to what this will entail. I think the conclusion is that it will be the announcement of the 3rd theme park gate (yes, I exclude Volcano Bay from that, it’s a water park people!!)
What is coming to the land just up the road from the current resort, is currently just what is in people’s imagination.
Originally thought to be called Fantastic Worlds, there is a chance that the use of that name may have been blocked
With confirmation that Universal are due to make this announcement, coming direct from Universal themselves, via a tweet, another rumoured name for the park seems to be front and centre.
If I was making a bet I would currently go with the new park taking the name Universal’s Epic Universe
So what do I think will be in this park? well let’s start with the obvious and previously announced Nintendo Land. Originally planned to replace the Kid’s Zone at the back of the Studios park, once the area where the new park will be built, Nintendo was put on hold.
Guaranteed is a Mario Kart attraction, past that I have no clue. I was never a massive Nintendo guy as a youngster, so have no real affinity to any of any of their franchises, though honestly I wouldn’t say no to a Legend of Zelda attraction
Second on the pretty much guaranteed list is the long gestating Universal Monsters. Pretty much any fan of Universal is a fan of the likes of Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolf Man etc. With the plan originally to restart the franchise with the Dark Universe, starting with the Tom Cruise led Mummy in 2017, people may be forgiven for thinking that adding a new land based on these characters may be a mistake. But consider this, despite that failure people are still clamoring to see these characters both on screen and in the parks. With another attempt at bringing them to a new audience via the upcoming Blumhouse produced Invisible Man as well as a Universal Monsters house at Halloween Horror Nights, I don’t see the powers that be leaving this to the side.
Early rumours are pointing towards a dark ride based within the confines of Vlad the Impaler’s Transylvanian castle. (I was one of the few that loved the Van Helsing walk through attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood based on the version of the castle from the film with the same name)
Now we come on to me being a bit more creative and where I think they may go.
The obvious one for me is sticking with JK Rowling’s Wizarding World, but taking a step back from the time of Potter, and join Newt Scamander on his journey to take down Gellert Grindlewald. There is a great scene in the second Fantastic Beasts movie set at MACUSA were Newt, Leta Lestrange and Tina Goldstein get trapped in the archiving which I think would make a great attraction if Universal could pull it off
Next I think needs another more child friendly area, and I would love to see Universal go with one of their Dreamworks properties, How To Train Your Dragon. This popular franchise may have ended, but a new spin off show has been announced for Netflix. This property is prime for a Soarin/Flight of Passage like attraction as you fly your dragon above the likes of Berk and the Hidden World of the 3rd film in the trilogy.
A left field choice on this one, despite the lack of love for the walk through attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood attraction, I see a Walking Dead presence in the new park. After Universal picked up the theatrical rights to the new trilogy of Andrew Lincoln led Walking Dead films, it is the perfect opportunity to get the franchise into the Orlando based parks, with the possibility of actually using characters that people know, unlike the attraction on the West Coast. My guess will be that they expand on the attraction in Hollywood similar to what they have done previously with attractions they have shifted from the Studio Tour in Universal City to the main parks in Orlando.
So that is all I have in my think tank at the moment. I know there will a lot of clamour for the return of certain franchises i.e. Jaws and Back To The Future, but Universal gave up on them once before and I can’t see them going back to these, unless something new relating to them is in the pipeline. Also rumours of Jurassic World making it’s way over, my opinion is they will just re-theme the current Jurassic Park area in Islands of Adventure, like they have in Hollywood recently.
So we wait a few more days for the announcement, and see how wrong I am!!!