Universal Orlando is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, but it has changed a lot over the years.
Since Universal Orlando opened in May 1990 we have seen a ton of amazing attractions come and go. Many of the best were right there when the park first opened 30 years ago.
Here are the attractions we miss the most from Universal Orlando.
Jaws is the ultimate summer beach movie, and if for some reason you haven’t seen it, drop everything and go watch it. We’ll wait.
On the Jaws attraction, a simple boat ride around the lagoon changes quickly when a massive shark emerges from the briny deep to attack the passengers. Growing up this was one of the scariest rides at Universal, but it was also one that you had to ride on every visit. You can still see the remnants of Jaws on the dock where Bruce (that’s the shark’s name) is hanging for photos.
Back to the Future
Back to the Future is a wonderful trilogy that has stood the test of time. Unfortunately the attraction didn’t survive like the films. The ride was a motion simulator that used 3D technology. The story was you were volunteers working for Doc Brown going on a one day trip into the future. The trip turned into chasing Biff Tannen through time and worked as a sort-of sequel to Back to the Future Part III. Even through the ride is no more, the Delorean, Doc’s time train, and Doc Brown can still be found in Universal Orlando.
Twister…Ride It Out
Twister may not be the first movie you would pick to make an attraction out of, but this special effects show had some great moments and a show-stopping finale. The queue had some interesting facts about storm chasing and tornadoes. And in the attraction, guests could see what happens when a tornado hits a small town. At the end of the show there was a tornado on the stage, and it gets set on fire. Yes, a flaming tornado! That is a way to end the show.
There may be a King Kong attraction in Islands of Adventure, but long before Skull Island was in Universal there was Kongfrontation. Located in the New York section, guests would ride on a cable car and come face to face with a giant animatronic King Kong. Like many of the opening day attractions, we wish this one was still around.
Eighth Voyage of Sinbad
Hollywood Studios in Disney World may have the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, but Islands of Adventure had a stunt show of its own a few years ago. The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad was a high flying adventure with sword fights. This stunt show was based on the hero Sinbad from the classic tale from 1001 Nights.
The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera
Before Minion’s Mayhem and before Jimmy Neutron there was the original cartoon cavalcade called the Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera. In this attraction you are told you are going to see an animation demonstration from William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, the creators of some classic cartoons like Yogi Bear, the Flintstones, and the Jetsons. In this 3D simulator you take a trip into the cartoon world and fly through some of the Hanna-Barbera hits. Even though the attraction isn’t there any more, you can still meet a few Hanna-Barbera characters in the park like Scooby Doo and Shaggy.
Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies
Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most iconic filmmakers of all time. When Universal Orlando opened it was only fitting that a section was devoted to him. The attraction was one part live-action show and one part 3D show. It referenced many of Hitchcock’s classic films including The Birds and Psycho. During the show you learn about some of the techniques that were used in making the classic films.
When you’re opening a theme park, in the middle of Orlando, who ya gonna call? That’s right, the Ghostbusters were there when Universal Orlando opened. They had a stage show called Ghostbusters Spooktalcular where they fought some of the iconic ghosts from the film including Slimer and Gozer. After the Spooktacular closed, there were two other Ghostbusters shows in Universal. In one called Streetbusters, in which they tried to catch Beetlejuice. You can still see hints of this long lost show behind the Jimmy Fallon attraction, where sits the shell of the Ghostbusters’ firehouse.
Earthquake: The Big One
Located in the Los Angeles section of Universal Orlando, Earthquake was a 20-minute attraction that gave guests the opportunity to feel what it was like to live through an 8.3 earthquake. Like many attractions from opening day, it was based on a film, 1974’s Earthquake. Later the attraction was changed to the similar Disaster attraction.
Lucy: A Tribute
Lucille Ball was one of the most influential people in the history of television. From her brilliant series I Love Lucy to her help in getting Star Trek on the air (seriously, look it up), there are very few with a larger cultural impact. Lucy: A Tribute was an exhibit celebrating her comedic genius. There were props and memorabilia on display as well as pictures from some of the iconic moments in I Love Lucy‘s history.
There are tons of attractions that have come and gone at Universal Studios. We miss them all.
What are your favorite retired attractions at Universal Orlando? Let us know in the comments.
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