Follow TV Tropes


Ride / Universal Studios

Go To

You know, the Back to the Future ride and then there's volcanoes and shit, and then you're ridin' the bike with E.T. and then the—the truck almost comes and hits ya, and then the waterfall, nd then th-th-the T.Rex comes out and then—then fuckin' Jaws is jumpin' out of the water and King Kong is shakin' the tram, and then there's earthquakes and there's other movies (you don't even know what the fuck they are, nobody cares)! It was awesome.
The Angry Video Game Nerd on Universal Studios Theme Park Adventure for Nintendo GameCube

Universal Parks & Resorts note  is a chain of four theme park resorts owned/licensed and operated by NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The studio tour (like the studio itself) dates all the way back to 1912, and the theme park dates to 1964. They are very big competitors with the Disney Theme Parks, and are often regarded as the only theme park group close to its quality. Compared to Disney attractions, Universal attractions tend to appeal more to thrill-seekers than families of all ages, and thus are dubbed to be more "extreme." Most of the rides at Universal parks are centered around movies and television shows; unlike Disney, a good number of them are not from Universal's own library.

The idea of Universal's theme parks surfaced in 1962, following MCA's takeover of Universal Pictures. The idea began as a suggestion by executives to refresh the studio tour, which led to the inclusion of staged events during the tour. This plan was ultimately realized two years later, leading to the birth of Universal theme parks.

The theme parks include:

  • Universal Studios Hollywood: The original park, which opened in 1964. It started as a reimagining of their old studio tour, but soon grew to a giant theme park. It opened a shopping complex, called CityWalk, in May 1993. It also has its own Metro stop.
  • Universal Orlando Resort: The largest and most popular resort, which consists of two theme parks, one water park, CityWalk, and six hotels. It was originally just titled 'Universal Studios Florida', but upon its massive 1999 expansion, it was rebranded as 'Universal Studios Escape'. Due to the massive marketing confusion the title caused, it was swiftly changed again to what it is now in 2000. The resort's parks include:
    • Universal Studios Florida: Opened June 7, 1990, it was created so Universal could compete with the Walt Disney World resort. Disney, however, opened Disney-MGM (now Hollywood) Studios in 1989 in order to compete. Florida, unlike Hollywood, opened as a theme park (although there is a studio complex on-site and some of the streetscapes can easily be converted to sets as needed), exchanging a studio tour for attractions where the guests could "Ride the Movies". It also houses many behind-the-scenes shows about what goes on in show business.
    • Universal's Islands of Adventure: Opened on May 28, 1999, along with a CityWalk and a massive parking structure, it is the only Universal park to not have a studio theme. It opened with five islands (Marvel Superhero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing), each featuring some of the most technologically advanced rides ever built, including the award-winning The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. On June 18, 2010, a sixth island, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (which replaced most of The Lost Continent), opened to tons of excitement from both fanbases and proved so popular that it was expanded into the Studio park in 2014, with the Hogwarts Express connecting the two parks. (The Islands section encompasses the Hogwarts and Hogsmeade locales, while the Studio section features Diagon Alley.) A seventh island later opened in 2016, themed around King Kong's Skull Island.
    • Universal's Volcano Bay: A water park that's centered around a large volcano called "Krakatau". It opened on May 25, 2017.
  • Universal Studios Japan: Universal's first park outside the U.S., it opened on March 31, 2001 with another CityWalk. It follows a very similar layout to Universal Studios Florida, but has some unique-to-Japan attractions based on such properties as Peanuts, Sesame Street, and Hello Kitty. For a long time, the park was not fully owned by Universal (though they were of course involved in its development); instead, the park was owned by a multitude of different companies, most notably Goldman Sachs. That all changed in 2015 when NBCUniversal purchased 51% of the park's shares, making them the majority owner; in 2017, NBCUniversal purchased the remaining 49%, finally giving them full ownership of the park.
  • Universal Studios Singapore: Universal's newest park still keeps the studios theme, but tries to feel like Islands of Adventure. It opened within the Resorts World Sentosa (that's not owned by Universal), on May 28, 2011 after over a year of soft openings. Similar to what used to be the case for Universal Studios Japan, the entire park itself is not fully owned by Universal; it is instead owned by the Genting Group.

The company's former parks include:

  • PortAventura: A theme park resort located in Spain that Universal purchased the shares for in 1997 and eventually rebranded as Universal Mediterranea for a time. They sold their shares for the resort in 2004 to the Criteria company, who continue to run it to this day. Although Universal no longer runs the resort, there are currently still several remnants of its ownership in place, such as the resort's continued use of Woody Woodpecker (via a licensing deal).
  • Wet 'n Wild Orlando: A water park that opened on March 13, 1977, founded by SeaWorld creator George Millay, and considered the first modern water park. Universal acquired the lease for the park in 1998, and in 2013 they purchased all of the land surrounding the location. The park was permanently closed on December 31, 2016, and its former site will be used for a hotel called Universal's Endless Summer Resort, which is set to open sometime in the future. Volcano Bay, which was built closer to the resort, is the water park's Spiritual Successor.

As previously stated, a good number of attractions at Universal parks tend to feature franchises licensed from other media companies, and not from Universal's library. The most common license Universal had was for Nickelodeon characters, as the park was the home to the production facility Nickelodeon Studios. Although the facilities closed in 2005, Universal continues to possess the rights to select Nickelodeon characters (SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer) at the parks in both California and Florida.

In addition, Universal also has licensing agreements with various studios and companies for franchises such as Terminator, Men in Black, Transformers, The Simpsons, The Walking Dead, Popeye, Hello Kitty, Betty Boop, Barney & Friends, Marvel Comics characters (in Florida and Japan only), the aforementioned Harry Potter franchise, Peanuts (in Japan only), Sesame Street (in Japan and Singapore only), and the Dr. Seuss characters. There were also former attractions based on Beetlejuice, the Ghostbusters franchise, and Hanna-Barbera cartoonsnote ; these properties (in the latter case, only Scooby-Doo) are still licensed to the park for meet-and-greets and merchandise.

Shrek, Madagascar, Rocky and Bullwinkle and Dudley Do-Right used to count as this, but Comcast, the owners of NBCUniversal, bought out DreamWorks Animation in 2016, so now the properties won't have to be licensed out for the parks. note 

For certain times of the year, the parks hold their own special seasonal events:

  • A Celebration of Harry Potter (Florida): Held for one weekend in January, the event includes several panels, Q&A sessions with Harry Potter stars, and other events.
  • Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's (Florida): A Christmas parade that utilizes large balloon floats and features characters from Despicable Me, Shrek, and Madagascar. The parade used to feature some of the actual balloons and floats used in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but this aspect was done away with in 2017.
  • Mardi Gras (Florida): Held through February to April, this event includes a parade and several music performances.
  • Grinchmas (Florida and Hollywood): An event based around How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, featuring a show and several other activities that's held during December.
  • Halloween Horror Nights (Florida, Hollywood, Japan, and Singapore): A Halloween event with numerous haunted houses and scarezones.
  • Rock the Universe (Florida): A Christian rock event held during August.
  • Summer Concert Series (Florida): A series of live performances run for several weekends during the summer.
  • Cool Japan (Japan): An event held during the first half of the year that features rotating attractions based on domestic franchises and properties, such as Monster Hunter, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Godzilla.

Not to be confused with Universal Pictures, the film studio that operates the theme parks.

The following attractions have their own sub-pages:

Universal Studios provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Expansion/Expanded Universe: A few attractions qualify as this to their source material, though most of them appear to be set in an Alternate Continuity.
  • Affectionate Parody: Being their main rival, numerous attractions and aspects of the parks in general poke fun at the Disney Theme Parks.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • Even more than at Disney parks, breezing through the queues for most of the continuously-loading big-league rides (as opposed to film-based attractions, like the 3D movies and The Simpsons Ride, where preshows are mandatory) means missing a lot of information that is required to understand them, as well as a lot of jokes and even boarding/safety instructions.
    • Almost literally for the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium restaurant, as you can find the entire backstory for the establishment on the first page of the menu.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent:
    • At Islands of Adventure, Seuss Landing and to a lesser extent Toon Lagoon for the Disney Theme Parks' Toontown areas.
    • Islands of Adventure was meant to be this for Disney World's Magic Kingdom, as was CityWalk for Downtown Disney (now Disney Springs).
    • CityWalk Orlando has Blue Man Group (in part of the former Nickelodeon Studios complex; the other parts are now taken up by Fox Sports Florida and Sun Sports), Universal's answer to Walt Disney World's Disney Springs complex hosting Cirque du Soleil.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Just before exiting Islands of Adventure, guests pass under a stonework bridge with carved letters reading "The Adventure Lives On"
  • Art Deco: Several parts of the parks carry this kind of style, most notably on the big archway that stands at the entrances to them.
  • The Artifact: Universal tends to hold on to outdated attractions longer than Disney. Some examples:
    • There is a large amphitheater in Toon Lagoon (Islands of Adventure) that has consistently failed at maintaining any kind of show in it. It held a cartoon circus show for a few years, then a Mat Hoffman stunt show, THEN the filming location for NBC's iVillage. After a few years of emptiness, Mat Hoffman's Aggro Circus began in March 2010... only to be made into a seasonal show, performing during spring break and the summer. It was then cancelled altogether, leaving the empty ampitheater shut year-round. The location is now rumored to be a possible future site for a The Secret Life of Pets dark ride.
    • The entirety of Woody Woodpecker's KidZone. While the attractions still draw decent crowds, most of the characters the attractions are based off of aren't recognizable to the young audience Kidzone targets. E.T. Adventure is the lone exception, due to its ties to the park's history and the fact that E.T. is a certified classic family film on a par with The Wizard of Oz. Beyond that, An American Tail has become more obscure over the years, the Curious George franchise never exactly became a huge hit for Universal, Barney may still be profitable but nowhere near as popular as it was when the attraction was added to the park, and Woody Woodpecker only lives as the park mascot these days. The only major addition to the area since the '90s is a store themed to SpongeBob SquarePants, replacing the former store themed to the animations of Walter Lantz. It seems the KidZone's days are numbered, as supposed leaks online suggest that the entire area (sans E.T. Adventure) will become the Orlando emplacement for Super Nintendo World.
    • This is partly why The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera was replaced by Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast, and why the latter was also replaced in favor of Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. When Hanna-Barbera closed in 2002, the licenses featured weren't very popular with kids anymore (with the lone exception of Scooby-Doo), and so they were replaced with popular Nickelodeon animated series from the early 2000s. When Jimmy Neutron closed in 2011, the only shows represented in the ride that were still airing were the long-running SpongeBob SquarePants and Fairly OddParents, and so they were replaced with a popular series of animated films from the early 2010s. (It helps that Universal actually owns the rights to Despicable Me, so they don't have to pay licensing fees to operate the ride.)
    • E.T. Adventure and Universal's Horror Make-Up Show are the last two attractions at Universal Studios Florida that were there when the park originally opened in 1990. It's been rumored that the only reason why E.T. hasn't been replaced is due to the personal intervention of Steven Spielberg, who was reportedly furious when the ride was removed from the Hollywood and Japan parks and threatened to end his working relationship with Universal Parks & Resorts if the Orlando E.T. ride were ever to be closed.
    • The Marvel Super Hero Island at Islands of Adventure, as explained in this article. Even after Disney bought Marvel Comics and its associated film studio, Universal's contract with Marvel gave them the exclusive rights in perpetuity to use the Marvel characters in parks east of the Mississippi (i.e. in Orlando), as long as they used them in good faith and didn't misrepresent them. This means that Universal will likely never add any new attractions to the area, as this would give free promotion to one of Universal's competitors as a film studio, but they'll never close any of them down either, lest they risk the rights reverting to their proper owner, who happen to also be their direct theme park rival. Meanwhile, Disney has found legal loopholes to add Marvel material in Walt Disney World: They can't use Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Avengers, the X-Men or the Fantastic Four, but they can freely use the Guardians of the Galaxy who were not implicated in Universal's contract, as long as they don't brand them as "Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy."
    • The original Hard Rock Cafe that was built next to E.T. Adventure was closed when a newer version of the restaurant opened with the CityWalk area in 1999; however, the old structure itself continued to sit untouched and abandoned for well over ten years, and was in clear sight of anyone walking through the KidZone area. It finally came down at the end of 2011, to make way for extra backstage facilities.
    • Men In Black: Alien Attack is the last remaining part of the World Expo area at the park. It was initially designed specially to fit in with the area and complement Back to the Future: The Ride by having it be themed as a World's Fair pavilion that secretly acted as a base for the MIB, but this all fell apart when BTTF was replaced by The Simpsons Ride, with the surrounding Expo theming eventually being converted into a Springfield area. Because of this, Alien Attack is now thematically-isolated.
    • Fear Factor Live in the Florida park has remained despite the original series being cancelled over a decade ago. In California, it was replaced with Creature from the Black Lagoon: The Musical in 2009, which was swiftly cancelled and replaced with a Special Effects Show the very next year. Florida's rumored replacement is an extension of the Diagon Alley area located nearby, themed to the Ministry of Magic.
  • Canon Foreigner:
  • Captain Ersatz: The metro station in the "Earthquake" segment of the Studio Tours is meant to resemble a BART station, from the Brutalist style of the station design to the train's distinct pointed-nose lead car. The system maps on the station walls look similar too and reference real-life San Francisco Bay Area locations (such as the San Francisco International Airport and the East Bay), again with station names and geography mixed up a little bit.
  • Christmas Special: Grinchmas, their sort-of Christmas counterpart to Halloween Horror Nights. They also have Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's, which features a few balloons and floats ported from the New York Macy's Parade, which happens a few days before the Holiday Parade starts up in early December (and which just so happens to be organized partly by NBC, Universal's sister company).
  • Easter Egg:
    • The New York area has a hidden alleyway that you can walk through, providing some nice intimate theming.
    • The Garden of Allah area has a secret shortcut to Woody Woodpecker's KidZone.
    • Port of Entry at Islands of Adventure has many.
      • One of the windows on the buildings advertises a service called "Codiga Adventures", a nod to David Codiga, who was the former Executive Vice President of Universal Creative.
      • Some fun little details in the area include a "firehouse" with a message that it's being relocated closer to the lagoon, and a jailhouse that someone appears to have escaped from, inscribing "See ya!" on it.
      • References to the park's islands can be seen throughout the area, including various props in the Confisco Grille and messages on the buildings. However, these haven't been updated since the park's opening, meaning there are no references to Harry Potter and King Kong, and dated elements referring to the Merlinwood section that Potter annexed.
      • The Backwater Bar has an ad for Seagram's on its facade. Seagram's actually owned Universal for a time in the late '90s.
    • You can find actual working postal services in the Florida parks: there are postboxes near the entrance gates at both parks, and the Owl Post is present at Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure.
    • Marvel Super Hero Island has speakers with buttons on them near Doctor Doom's Fearfall and the Captain America Diner. Push the button a few times, and you'll hear several messages from various Marvel characters. There also used to be one near The Incredible Hulk Coaster, but it was taken out following the 2016 refurbishment.
    • Also in Marvel, there's a pay phone in front of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. If you pick it up and listen, you'll be put on hold for a hotline company dealing in superhero incidents.
    • In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas:
      • Among the many, many examples of this trope: Go into the bathrooms while you're there. You'll hear Moaning Myrtle.
      • Diagon Alley also has, to be expected, a not-so secret hidden version of Knockturn Alley, complete with a small shop that sells merch devoted to Sirius Black, Bellatrix Lestrange, Horcruxes, etc.
      • The maps enclosed with every interactive wand purchase, which show where to go to activate "spells", have an Easter Egg of their own: if viewed under the UV lights in Knockturn Alley, that section of the map will display glow-in-the-dark clues about what objects (e.g. a cursed candle, a skeleton, a key) the "spells" affect.
      • And, there's quite a few references to the previous occupant of the area, Jaws:
      • Next to Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor is a store front that has a pair of shark jaws hidden in the back of its window display.
      • One of the London facades in front of the area is a Music store, which in its window display includes a CD called "Hereís to Swimminí With Bow Legged Women", by "The Quint Trio".
      • Knockturn Alley has a group of shrunken heads that sing various songs, one of them being "Show Me The Way To Go Home".
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Many rides use this principle on its vehicles, including Men In Black: Alien Attack, The Cat in the Hat, and Storm Force Accelatron (the latter two are Islands of Adventure attractions).
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs
  • Excited Show Title!: Done with several past and present attractions:
    • Animal Actors: On Location!
    • Animal Planet Live!
    • Disaster!
    • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!
    • Lights! Camera! Action! Hosted by Steven Spielberg
    • Spider-Man Rocks!
  • Excuse Plot: The rides and attractions typically have a story to go along with them. The stories don't ever make a whole lot of sense, and they rarely ever fit into the continuity of their affiliated franchises (especially when sequels come out), but they do help tie into the films they're based on without getting in the way of the Rule of Fun.
  • Game Show Appearance: Quite a few game shows taped at the Florida park, most of which were Nickelodeon game shows taped at their complex; others included Secrets of the Cryptkeeper's Haunted House, the USA Gonzo Games (for the Universal-owned USA Network; this was Mark L. Walberg's first hosting gig) and the 2002 PAX revival of Beat the Clock. The Hollywood studios, meanwhile, had the final Lifetime-era season of Shop 'Til You Drop taped there (Walberg announced that one).
  • Gender-Blender Name: When the ride staff/actors are communicating with pre-recorded characters on screens, the on screen characters use names that can be applied to staff members of either gender for flexibility in staffing.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: A very common plot element of the parks' attractions involve guests going on what's supposed to be a completely-normal experience until "something goes wrong".
  • Grandfather Clause: The main reason why the Marvel area of Islands of Adventure is still standing even after Disney's acquisition of Marvel. Universal's contract with Marvel states that not only do they have the Marvel license for Orlando in perpetuity, but that the Marvel license can only be used in Orlando theme parks east of the Mississippi, which Universal Orlando Resort is. Walt Disney World is on the west, though it features characters from Guardians of the Galaxy as a form of Loophole Abuse.
  • Halloween Special: As mentioned before, each of the locations around the world has Halloween Horror Nights, a nighttime event where the parks become host to a series of haunted houses, scarezones, and special shows.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover:
    • The Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue show had the title character encountering the Universal Monsters and making them into his own Rock N' Roll band.
    • During the 90's, there was a show at Universal Studios Florida called StreetBusters, which featured Ghostbusters facing off against Beetlejuice. In the show, Beetlejuice at first gains the upper hand and possesses the Ghostbusters into singing various pop songs, until they eventually manage to break free of his control and capture him soon after.
    • Some former 'toon crossovers include The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera and Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast. Toon Lagoon at Islands of Adventure is still around, crossing over King Features Syndicate characters with Jay Ward animations.
    • The walk-around characters at the parks will interact with each other every now and then.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: The former Dragon Challenge (originally Dueling Dragons) roller coaster in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure, where the two roller coasters were actually shaped like dragons. Not to be outdone, the Diagon Alley section of Universal Studios Florida has a giant dragon adorning the face of the Gringotts bank, which breathes fire at regular intervals.
  • Long Title:
    • At Seuss Landing, the The High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!. Even worse, it was originally going to be called Sylvester McMonkey McBean's Very Unusual Driving Machines.
    • Universal's Horror Make-Up Show was for a while called, The Gory, Gruesome and Grotesque Horror Make-Up Show.
    • Universal Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories, a former nighttime show at the Florida park.
    • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
    • The CityWalk restaurant, The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen.
  • Magic from Technology / Magic Wand: Interactive wands, available at Wizarding World gift shops, can be used to activate "spells" in many Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley shop windows and street features.
  • Mascot: The parks' mascot is technically Woody Woodpecker, as hard as he is to find these days. Fievel and E.T. were the unofficial mascots of the early '90s, and the Minions have currently taken up that mantle.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: One of the exhibits in the Jurassic Park Discovery Center allows guests to see what would be the result of their DNA being mixed with that of a dinosaur; the result basically being a dinosaur with the guest's face superimposed on it.
  • Mood Dissonance: This occurred unintentionally when A Day In The Park With Barney was opened, as to make a room for the show, the Bates Motel section of the Psycho IV: The Beginning set was demolished, whereas the Bates Mansion was left standing. As a result, families heading towards the show were treated to the sight of the old house eerily sitting off in the distance. This was later fixed a couple of years later when the Bates Mansion too came down to make way for the Curious George Goes to Town playground.
  • Mouse World: An American Tail's use of this trope is the basis for a playground at Universal Studios Florida — the park visitors are the "mice" sliding down a "sewer pipe" (waterslide), scampering under a giant ten-gallon hat, etc.
  • The Musical: Universal Studios Hollywood had the extremely ill-fated show, Creature from the Black Lagoon: The Musical, which upon opening was met with completely abysmal reception, so bad that the show was pulled in less than a year and replaced with the Special Effects Stage.
  • Mythology Gag: Whenever a former attraction is replaced, there tend to be hidden references to the original ride hidden in the new one. Among the examples:
  • Newscaster Cameo: The King Kong ride at Hollywood had veteran ABC newscaster Sander Vanocur anchoring coverage before throwing to fictional reporter Kelly King. When Kongfrontation opened along with the Florida park, they replaced Vanocur's footage with new footage of real New York anchor Rolland Smith (the "fighting the frizzies" guy), as MCA owned WWOR-TV in New York (well, Secaucus NJ) at the time of the ride opening (they had purchased it from the infamously-corrupt RKO General, which was being forced by the FCC to sell their stations); the footage of King was retained, but overdubbed by Tress MacNeille. Even long after WWOR was spun off by MCA, changed their logo and became a UPN station owned by Fox (it's currently a MyNetworkTV station), the footage was retained until Kongfrontation was closed.
  • Our Founder:
    • The New York area at Universal Studios Florida has a statue and plaque of Lew R. Wasserman, a Hollywood executive that made a tremendous impact on MCA-Universal, doing things such as putting the marketing for Jaws into full-force, which helped make the movie a massive success and in turn began the blockbuster genre. Among many other things, he also served as a producer for films like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Back to the Future, and Jurassic Park.
    • Parodied in the Simpsons area of the park, with a statue of Jebediah Springfield, the supposed founder of the Springfield where the series takes place.
  • Phony Psychic: The "psychic fountain" next to Poseidon's Fury is this, completely intentionally and Played for Laughs, of course.
  • Portmantitle: The CityWalk entertainment district that's connected to each of the locations, except for Singapore.
  • Public-Domain Character: The Lost Continent is notable as the only area of Islands of Adventure to be based around these, drawing from Classical Mythology (Poseidon's Fury) and the Arabian Nights (The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad). Originally, a key section of this land was "Merlinwood", inspired by the King Arthur mythos, but this was subsequently incorporated into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and its two roller coasters were rethemed (Dueling Dragons to Dragon Challenge and The Flying Unicorn to Flight of the Hippogriff).
  • The Real Heroes: The Backdraft attraction that's at Japan and formerly at Hollywood dedicates a large amount of its pre-shows to discussing the horrors of what real-life firemen have to go through and why they deserve our respect.
  • Ribcage Ridge: The Camp Jurassic playground at Islands of Adventure features a Tyrannosaurus skeleton among the other scenery.
  • The Rival: To the Disney Theme Parks.
  • Scenery Porn: A key element of Islands of Adventure, from the general lush landscaping to tons of small visual details in shops, restaurants, and ride queues. Even the streetscapes in the Studios parks are lovely and intimately-themed.
  • Short-Runners: Creature from the Black Lagoon: The Musical at Hollywood's park lasted less than a year due to terrible reviews.
  • Shout-Out: In a very stealthy-kind of Shout-Out, many of the buildings in the New York area at Florida and Japan are made up of loose-recreations of facades from many famous films. Examples include The Kit Kat Klub from Cabaret, Priscilla Hotel from Thoroughly Modern Millie, an alleyway from The Sting, Adrian's Pet Store from Rocky, Louie's Italian Restaurant from The Godfather, the Empire Hotel from Vertigo, the firehouse from Ghostbusters (1984), various facades from The Seven Year Itch as well as Citizen Kane, and even the orphanage from Annie (1982)
  • invokedSpecial Effects Failure: Often joked about in the Studio Tour. After an attack from the shark from Jaws, the host will then point out that it happens to be the only shark in the world that can swim backwards, while the robot shark drifts in reverse to reset to its original place.
  • Stage Magician: The former Rugrats Magic Adventure show at Universal Studios Hollywood had Angelica in this role, as a Call-Back to the "Angelica the Magnificent" episode from the series.
  • Steam Punk: The CityWalk restaurant, Toothsome Chocolate Emporium is more-or-less a steampunk goldmine, being themed as a 19th century chocolate factory that carries a very Jules Verne-style to it.
  • Tagline:
    • Universal Orlando Resort has gone through several, including, "Are you ready?", "A vacation from the ordinary", "Be extraordinary", "Vacation like you mean it", and "Vacation like this."
    • Universal Studios Florida: "Ride the movies." and "Jump into the action!"
    • Islands of Adventure: "Live the adventure."
  • Title: The Adaptation: Back to the Future: The Ride, Transformers: The Ride, Jurassic Park: The Ri— you get the idea.
  • Totally Radical:
    • The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster screams this, which is especially odd given its opening was in 2009.
    • Totally Nickelodeon, a show that used to be at Universal Studios Hollywood.
  • Wolverine Publicity:
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Several of the park's past and present attractions include endings that trick guests into thinking the ride is over, including Revenge of the Mummy, The Simpsons Ride, and Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast.