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Universal Studios Florida, Orlando, Florida

With the long running success of Universal's Studio Tour in Hollywood starting in the 1970's plans began to percolate about building a production facility in Florida to offer the same experience.

Universal Studios Florida, Orlando, Florida

 The concept was pretty simple, build a studios and then have a tram tour through it.  Property was purchased and discussions were held throughout the Universal empire with various executives.

Universal Studios Florida, Orlando, Florida

Fortunately for those of us who love theme parks and rollercoasters, one of those executives left Universal for a gig at Disney.  Before Universal could announce their Florida studios the mouse announced the Disney MGM Studios which was Disney's copy of Universal Studios Hollywood down to the tram tour.

It would be putting it lightly to say that the executives at Universal were pissed off that their concept had been stolen from them.  Their anger turned out for all of us to be a good thing because it got the suits at Universal thinking outside of the box which led the them to create a park where guests could do more than walk around on a set.  They wanted to take guests into the silver screen so that they could "ride the movies".  Thus the spark that brought us Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay and more was lit.

Universal Studios Florida, Orlando, Florida

So in 1990 Universal Studios Florida opened up and Orlando, Florida has never been the same.  When the park opened guests could ride the likes on "Earthquake", "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial", "King Kong", "Jaws" (if you were lucky to ride it before the park closed it to completely rebuild the ride.) and enjoy shows based on "Ghostbusters", "Murder She Wrote" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents".  Those original attractions; with the exception of E. T. are long gone, but in the decades since then Universal has grown and really redefined what it is to create an immersive themed experience.

Universal Studios Florida, Orlando, Florida

My first big taste at what Universal Studios has grown from my childhood visit to Universal Studios Hollywood in 1980, with the tram tour that took guests through the "Six Million Dollar Man" avalanche tunnel and the "Battlestar Galactica" Cylon attack, and my visit to Universal Studios Florida in 1991, was the Despicable Me:  Minion Mayhem.  In this simulator ride you the guest are transformed into a apprentice Minion that has been tasked with keeping track of the kids present for Gru.  Being a Minions adventure everything goes insane and there are lots of explosions, chaos and of course mayhem.  While I'm not the most able to handle simulator rides without getting motion sickness, what of the ride that I saw when I wasn't closing my eyes to keep from getting sick, was extremely fun.



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Copyright 1999 - 2022

Paul B. Drabek


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