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Universal Orlando Resort: Vacation Like You Mean It


Universal Studios Orlando Resort
Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Location: Florida


Table of Contents


Overview

History

The Destination: Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Studios Florida
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal's Volcano Bay
Universal's CityWalk
Universal's Lodging

Travel Recommendations


Overview: Let Yourself Woah


Universal Orlando Resort is a multi-themed park and resort complex featuring two theme parks, a water park, a night-time commercial district, and eight hotels. The second-largest resort complex in Florida, the Universal Orlando Resort spans over 500 acres and a multitude of attractions centered on the film and entertainment industries, rivaling the nearby Disney Hollywood Studios theme park. Located in Orlando, Florida, the Universal Orlando Resort is open year-round with special celebrations on major holidays.

The two theme parks are composed on sixteen distinct lands coving a vast array of NBCUniversal’s intellectual property library centered around film and entertainment franchises from Dreamworks, Illumination, and Warner Brothers. The two parks range in attractions from visiting the inside of Hogwarts Castle from the Harry Potter franchise to a live Fear Factor show to a thrill ride from the Mummy franchise. Universal Orlando Resort contains some of the most visited theme parks in the world, with Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure ranked 11th and 12th respectively in total attendance worldwide. With a combined attendance of over 21 million in 2019, Universal Orlando Resort offers a wide selection of entertainment and lodging choices for people of all ages.

Universal Studios Orlando
Universal Studios Orlando (travelingmom.com)

A History of Universal Studios Orlando


The Universal Orlando Resort opened in 1990 as a direct competitor to the behemoth Walt Disney World development. Focused on renowned entertainment, movies, and television, the Universal Orlando Resort aimed to rival Disney’s Hollywood Studios and capitalize on the burgeoning resort and theme park expansion in sunny central Florida. In Central Florida, Universal aimed to produce a hybrid movie and television production area with a tourism-focused “behind the scenes” experience. With a lack of public interest in this approach, Universal shifted the purpose to include staged rides and attractions in the park. Opened as one theme park, Universal Studios Florida, the development soon expanded to include a second park, Islands of Adventure, in 1999 along with cojoining hotels and other amenities like Universal CityWalk, the nightlife district, to make Universal Orlando Resort into a multi-day experience.

Following the success of this immersive experience, Universal acquired the nearby Wet n’ Wild Orlando, now Universal’s Volcano Bay, water park and developed a second on-site hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel. Over subsequent years, new lodging options of varying affordability were constructed along with changing attractions, eateries, and rides and the addition of a Harry Potter-themed district in each of the parks. The establishment of lands with evolving consumer tastes has allowed Universal Orlando Resort to compete with its neighbor, Walt Disney World, as the premier central Floridian theme park escape.

In the future, there are plans to construct a third Universal park called Universal’s Epic Universe, a couple of miles south of the main hub. Construction and planning stalled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic; however, construction resumed in March 2021. While exact details of Epic Universe are not yet confirmed, there are rumors and evidence of a proposed Nintendo land, a third Harry Potter land, and unknown lands tied to Dreamworks and Illumination intellectual properties.


Epic Universe Concept Art
Epic Universe Concept Art (cnntraveler.com)

The Destination: Universal Studios Orlando Resort