Did You Know There’s a MONUMENTAL Piece of World History Hiding in Plain Sight at Universal Orlando?

The Smithsonian… the British Museum… the Orlando Hard Rock?


The Universal Orlando Resort’s CityWalk entertainment district is many things. It’s a place to show, a place to dine, a place to stroll with alcohol. But did you know it’s also a place where you can touch a piece of the Berlin Wall? Seriously, there’s a massive piece of geopolitical world history sitting behind the Hard Rock Cafe.

Before we get to Universal Orlando, a quick history lesson: The Berlin Wall was a 96-mile guarded concrete barrier that separated West Berlin of the then-Federal Republic of Germany from East Berlin and the then-German Democratic Republic during the Cold War.


The Wall, which stood from 1961 until 1989 was one of the most well-known symbols of the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, which dominated worldwide politics from the end of the Second World War in 1945 until the Soviet Union’s fall in 1991. In fact, the wall’s 1989 collapse is often seen as the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. 

Following the wall’s collapse and the reunification of Germany, pieces of the wall became collector’s items, with sections large and small ending up in some of the world’s foremost museums and private collections… and at Universal Studios Florida. 

The Original Universal Studios Florida Hard Rock, ©Orlando Informer

When Universal Studios Florida first opened in 1990, a massive Hard Rock Cafe — shaped like a guitar no-less — opened next to the theme park (it was located outside the park, near where the E.T. Adventure currently resides) complete with a massive piece of the Berlin Wall (complete with layers of graffiti by those on the West German side of the wall) on display. This Hard Rock, wall piece and all, operated next to the park until 1999. 

When Universal Studios Florida expanded into the Universal Orland Resort with the openings of Islands of Adventure, CityWalk, and several hotels in the late 1990s, Hard Rock opted to close its original location. In turn, they opened a newer, larger location in City Walk, complete with a massive music venue. 

A piece of the Berlin Wall, ©Spectrum News 13

The piece of the Berlin Wall made the move as well, only this time instead of being housed inside the restaurant, it was put on display outside the venue and remains to this day. At the base of the wall piece, a plaque reads:

“In August, 1961, this infamous symbol of the Cold War was erected. In order to keep the East Germans from fleeing to the West, the Soviets built a wall between the east and west sectors of Berlin. For the next 28 years, the Cold War raged on and “Checkpoint Charlie” governed passage. The wall stood as a harsh reminder of the chasm between the non-communist west and communist east. On November 9, 1989, the wall was symbolically brought down. Only a few parts of the wall remain. The Hard Rock Café is proud to display this piece of history that symbolizes the fall of oppression.”

In the 25 years since the piece of the Berlin Wall was moved outside, nearly all of the graffiti that once adorned it has disappeared. While it was most likely an effect of the elements, there is an urban legend that a Universal maintenance worker unfamiliar with the historical significance of the wall piece power-washed all of the graffiti off. 

The Current CityWalk Hard Rock

Next time you pay a visit to Universal, take a stroll past the Hard Rock to see an authentic piece of world history on display. Stay tuned to AllEars for more Universal trivia. 

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Have you ever seen the piece of the Berlin Wall on display at CityWalk? Let us know in the comments below. 

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