Retro Universal Orlando

The Original Days of Universal
September 30, 2007
We all love Universal Orlando, the best theme park on Earth! We all love to ride its great rides like Revenge of the Mummy, Earthquake, The Hulk Roller Coaster, and a bunch others. But let me tell you how it used to be in the 90s. Universal Orlando, well at that time it was called Universal Studos Florida, opened June 7, 1990 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The ribbon was cut open by a man directed a lot Universal films. Who is it, you guessed it, Steven Spielberg. Back then when it first opened, a lot of things were different back then at Universal such as the globe, the entrance, and the logo.

Original globe

Original entrace

Original logo

Original view

Steven Spielberg cutting the ribbon

I'd like to say that retro Universal Orlando lastd from 1990-98 because in 1998 the globe, entance, and the logo changed, they added CityWalk, they destroyed the Bates Motel (which is now Kidzone), and they made the Hard Rock Cafe into a new location. If you want to see a lot of the retro Universal Orlando, you can buy Universal Studios Florida: The Magic of Movies, or you can just watch it on Youtube.

Original Hard Rock Cafe 1990-98

Bates Motel 1990-98

Here are original Universal Studios Florida attractions

Kongfrontation was one Universal's popular attractions. The ride is based on the on 1976 King Kong movie. In the ride you ride on Guests entered a recreation of Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, New York City. The queue line was themed to a New York City Subway station and city block on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, intricately detailed right down to the graffiti covering the walls and the stocked storefronts. Television monitors overhead covered a special report: "Kong On The Loose". The giant ape King Kong has escaped and is wreaking havoc on the streets of New York City. Kong has destroyed two elevated trains and is rapidly approaching the East River with authorities seemingly powerless to stop him. Guests walked up to the Manhattan station of the Roosevelt Island Tramway. The ride consisted of this cable car ride under the pretense of an evacuation of the city during Kong's attack. Traveling through elaborate street sets, the tram had repeated encounters with Kong, first at the 59th Street Bridge and once more as the beast cut the tram off upon arrival at Roosevelt Island. Choppers fired on Kong as he lifted the tram up and subsequently dropped it. Narrowly escaping the enraged Kong, the tram's passengers would then see themselves on a breaking news report. Riders could actually catch a whiff of "banana breath" from Kong's mouth. The ride closed on September 18, 2002 and was repleced by Revenge of the Mummy.

The Funstastic World of Hanna Barbera is a ride based on Hanna Barbera's cartoons. This ride is very similar to the ride that's being taken over this ride, the Jimmy Neutron Nicktoon Blast. When we entered the main theater, we go off in a rocket ship with Yogi as the captain. Our power source is a large rubber band. The force is so strong we end up going back in time to Bedrock. Going through the main city and a construction site. Yogi ends up chasing Fred Flintstone by accident. Then we are on a near-collison near the Mystery Machine that Scooby-Doo and Shaggy are driving, leading into a castle where we encounter ghosts. Scooby and Shaggy are left hanging on a chandeler when we end up in the future into Orbit City where Elroy's family (except Judy who is absent from the ride) chase after Dastardly with us, going into Coney's Skyland where we eventually catch Dastardly and get Elroy back to his family. We crash land back at the station on a giant inflated bumper reading "END". Yogi gives us a farewell message. "So folks, thanks for joining in the ride, I'll see you on the outside!" A lamp comes down from the top, from which Yogi pulls the lamp shade. The screen goes black and the ride ends. The ride closed October 20, 2002.

Afred Hitchcock, The Art Making of Movies was an attraction based on, well, you know, Alfred Hitchcock's movies. Learn the cinematic tricks of the Master of Suspense. This show is located in Production Central and is a must see for Hitchcock or suspense fans. Movie clips and live action are used to explain how one of the most famous scenes in movie history‚ the infamous ”Shower Scene”‚ was shot. Alfred Hitchcock, who made films with Universal for more than 10 years, is the focus of "The Art of Making Movies" attraction. From his early days in England making "The 39 Steps" to the Universal years of "Vertigo" and "Family Plot," fans follow the master's career, learn inside secrets and get a glimpse of never-before-seen film footage, including portions of the 3-D version of "Dial M for Murder." Also a recreation of "The Birds" attacking the soundstage in terrifying 3D. The attraction closed January 3, 2003 and was replaced by Shrek 4-D.

The Wild, Wild, Wild West Stunt Show was , well, a stunt show. At The Wild, Wild, Wild West Stunt Show, they've roped together everything you ever loved about Hollywood's classic westerns and tied it up into a live action, shoot 'em up show-down filled with high falls, dynamite blasts and side-splitting laughs. The attraction closed on September ??, 2002 and was replaced by Fear Factor Live.

Back to the Future the ride was also one of th greatest rides at Universal Orlando. First, Biff leads the riders to Hill Valley in 2015, where they chase him through town. They smash into neon signs, flying over neighborhoods and the town square, the chase culminating at the iconic clock tower. He then departs for the ice age. The riders follow, and slowly lower into the icy caverns of the ice age. Biff honks his horn, causing an avalanche that damages the riders' vehicle. Flying out of the caverns, the car sees Biff shoot away into time, but their own engine has failed, and begins to plummet down a waterfall. Brown manages to restart the vehicle, accelerating backward and through time into the Cretaceous Period. Upon arriving, the clock display on the De Lorean's dashboard blinks 12:00, as a reference to a videocassette recorder that has lost power. The riders follow Biff's vehicle into a dormant, volcano in which a pair of Tyrannosaurus are discovered. Tannen goads one into attacking the riders, who barely escape to discover Tannen facing down another. The dinosaur strikes Tannen's car, sending it flying out of control; the dinosaur then swallows the riders' car, but Brown bucks the car until the dinosaur spits it out mere seconds later. The riders then drop down onto a lava river to see Biff's De Lorean, now damaged and unable to maneuver, moving down an active lava flow toward the edge of a cliff. As both vehicles plunge over the edge, the riders' car accelerates to time travel speed and bumps Tannen's, sending both of them back to the original point of departure - the present, at the Institute of Future Technology, where Biff gets out, thanks us and Dr. Brown, but is soon grabbed by security and taken away. Riders exit the vehicle, as Brown thanks them and admonishes them that "the future is what you make it!" The ride closed March 30, 2007 and will be replced by a Simpsons ride in summer '08.

Dynamite Nights Stunts Spectacular was a show at the lagoon that happens, well, at night. All I can explain is that the drama of the serials, those vanished open-ended cliff-hangers prove to us that every week that good could triumphth over evil. The lagoon live action stunt spectacular at Universal Studios Florida demonstrates daily that herosim is not dead, the good guys still win. And the piro techniques are in living color. In the show there's just a bunch of explosions, that's all I can give. The attraction closed ????????? I think it was replaced by Universal360, not the youtube user, I mean the attaction.

Hercules and Xena was something that didn't last long. Based on an animated film that was in turn based on the popular TV shows starring Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless, this attraction explores the magic of special effects. A preshow area sets the mood for what will be seen in the following three auditoriums. First there's the Creature Lab, which takes the monsters from the film and brings them to life. By manipulating special-effects machines, selected kids move the creatures' eyeballs, hands, arms, and, with adult assistance, the rest of the body. The audience sees the finished product on a large screen. Then it's on to a lesson in digital visual effects, during which an animatronic figure named Sheldon creates a monster warrior. Finally, sound is integrated with the visuals. A child beats on ordinary kitchen utensils, an adult uses a Foley sound-effects machine, and the rest of the audience creates sounds of its own. Everything is then put together to create the finished product--all quite entertaining, especially if you're a participant. It closed ??????? and was replaced by nothing. Sorry but I can't find a picture for this attraction

Murder She Wrote was stage show based on the tv show. It shows behind the Scenes and how the show was made, that's all I can give to you and also can't find a picture for this attraction.

Ghostbusters Spooctacular was also a stage show based on the movie. The show had flying ghosts with an evil lady, but who ya gonna call, that's right, Ghostbusters. They come to stop the ghosts and the evil lady. The attaction closed probably in the mid 90s and was replaced by Twister. Please look at the left side of the photo you see, it was the only photo I could find.

Animal Actors was a show that featured, well duh, animals. See Mr. Ed‚ Lassie & Beethoven perform in this live animal show. This show is very entertaining. They have changed it quite a bit over the years but the same idea is apparent. These are extremely well trained animals. The attaction closed on ?????? and was replaced by Animal Planet Live but closed again and was replaced by Animal Actors on Location.

The Boneyard was a scenery attraction. It featured props from Universal movies. This area is used for a lot of different things now. It´s home to some Macy balloons while the Macys Parade is at USF. It´s where all the great headliners concerts during Mardi Gras are held. It even houses drink‚ food and other stands during Halloween Horror Nights. It´s basically a big area that is easily used for a wide array of activities during different times of the year.

Now we save the best for last, Universal's greatest attraction ever, Nickelodeon Studios. If this was the 90s fight now, I would deninately be a contestant in one of Nickelodeon's game shows. I went to Nickelodeon Studios in August 2002, but I had to go during the not so long tour. This is the long tour, Nickelodeon Studios featured a tour for visitors of the Universal Studios theme park. As you entered the building, you would go up an escalator to the second floor, where you would enter a Blue's Clues themed room. From there, you'd enter the Soundstage 19 viewing tube, in which your tour guide would tell you about the production going on in that soundstage. Then, you would enter the Control Room viewing area, which showed a video on Nickelodeon, and allowed you to see into the Nickelodeon Control Room. From there, you would enter the Soundstage 18 viewing tube, where you would again learn about the production going on below. You would then go down another escalator into the Game Lab area, and bypass it to the hallway with the Wardrobe, Makeup, and Gak Kitchen departments, where you would get a hands on experience tasting gak and slime, and trying on different items for a Nickelodeon production. Then, you would end your tour in the Game Lab, where you may have the chance to participate in games for upcoming Nickelodeon shows, and even have the chance to get slimed! The entire experience lasted around 40 minutes. It operated from 1990-2001, until staffing cuts were made at the studio. The attraction closed April 30, 2005 and was replaced by Blue Man Group.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you liked it.
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