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Trivia / Universal Studios

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  • Adored by the Network: Ever since its opening, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has dominated the marketing for all the Universal resorts. Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem also gets this treatment to an extent, especially in Universal Studios Japan, where Minion merchandise manages to outsell even the merchandise for Potter.
  • All-Star Cast: Most of the movie-based attractions incorporate the original actors to varying degrees; since the movies are extremely popular & have very famous stars
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  • Content Leak: Information about almost all of Universal's upcoming attractions tend to get leaked onto the internet way before they get officially announced. Universal Studios Beijing in particular had its entire park layout leaked along with its themed lands and most of its attractions, which may have contributed to it entering Development Hell.
  • Development Hell:
    • Universal Studios Florida was a project that Universal had been trying to get done throughout the entirety of the '80s, but due to a variety of circumstances, including quarrels with Disney, the park wouldn't open until 1990.
    • Plans for Universal Studios Japan went all the way back to the late '80s, but for reasons unknown, it took the park until 2001 to finally materialize.
    • The third theme park in Universal Orlando Resort. It was first thought of during the expansion of the resort in 1998, and they even bought the land to build the park. But the economic fallout of the September 11th attacks along with the initial financial failure of Islands of Adventure made the project less viable and the land was sold off a few years later. Eventually, with the success of the Harry Potter rides and the purchase of NBCUniversal by Comcast, the land was bought back by the end of 2015 for $130 million, leading to many, including local news outlets, to speculate that the third theme parknote  will finally be coming within the next few years. These speculations were confirmed in 2019 when the third park was finally announced as Universal's Epic Universe for an intended late 2023 opening. Once construction began on the park, it was quickly put on a year’s long hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic and is now looking to open between late 2024 and mid-2025.
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    • Universal Orlando had been trying to develop its own water park throughout the 2000s, but like the idea of a third theme park, it was put on hold due to the financial issues they were facing at the time. The water park finally came to be in 2017, under the name Volcano Bay.
    • The High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! did not open until seven years after the rest of Islands of Adventure opened, despite the fact that the track, loading station, and queue line had been at the park since opening day. This is because the ride was built improperly by its original manufacturer, leading to Universal delaying its opening until they could get the money to hire a new manufacturer to properly redo the attraction, something that wouldn't happen until the mid 2000s.
    • Universal Studios Beijing was originally planned to open in 2018, and the project was in talks as early as Hong Kong Disneyland's opening in 2005. Construction only broke ground in 2016, and for one reason or another was delayed repeatedly until opening in late 2021.
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  • Dueling Products: With the U.S. Disney Theme Parks, primarily, as both are in roughly the same areas (southern California and central Florida). Due to their proximity, it is very common for visitors in one area to "double-dip" and visit both resorts, however.
  • Fandom Nod: Universal tends to leave many references to their past attractions around throughout the park, such as a hieroglyphic and golden statue of King Kong in Revenge of the Mummy as well as the Back to the Future and JAWS props still on display in the park.
  • Follow the Leader: During the earlier years of Universal Studios Japan, the park constantly went out of its way to mimic Tokyo Disneyland. Firstly, they put a large amount of focus on making people view Woody Woodpecker as Universal's equivalent of Mickey Mouse, and secondly they featured several fairy tale-based attractions, including a nighttime show for Peter Pan and a nighttime parade that showcased numerous fairy tales such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. In 2006, the park took it even further by adding an entire land for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that contained a shortened version of Wicked, a show centered around Toto, and a carousel. When the 2010s came along, the park began to find its own identity and has since removed all traces of fairy tales, though it still continues to emphasize Woody Woodpecker as a mascot to an extent, at least far more than any of the other Universal parks.
  • Production Nickname: Although this is no longer done, many of the attractions Universal had done in the past had project titles during their development. For example, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was known as "Project Strongarm" (referring to the ride vehicles using the KUKA Arm technology), and The Simpsons Ride was known as "Project Fish" (referring to Blinky the three-eyed fish).
  • Production Throwback: The Simpsons Ride includes a reference to a (bankrupt) Dr. Brown in its queue as a homage to the former occupant of the site, Back to the Future: The Ride.
  • Release Date Change:
    • The opening date for Universal Studios Florida changed a few times. The park was at one point slated to open as soon as 1984, but when it was decided to give the park's plans a massive overhaul, the opening date was eventually pushed back to 1989, and later finally to 1990.
    • Epic Universe, the new park in Florida, was expected to open in late 2023 but has since been pushed back to roughly mid-2024 to early 2025 due to COVID-19 delaying construction.
  • Role Reprise: Thanks to Universal's deep pockets, many rides based on licensed properties manage to bring in the original cast.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers:
    • Thanks to a licensing agreement SeaWorld entered with DreamWorks Classics (owner of the classic 1964 special) and The Rudolph Company in November 2015, it is unlikely Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will appear in Universal's Hollywood and Florida parks for a while as long as the agreement stands despite NBCUniversal acquiring the rights to the namesake special and DreamWorks Classics's parent company DreamWorks Animation in 2016. However, Universal is free to build Rudolph attractions, provided that they receive blessings from The Rudolph Company of course, in their Japan and Singapore parks.
    • This almost happened to the Madagascar series as well, since SeaWorld had a stage show in several of their parks. But SeaWorld Entertainment gave the theme park rights back to DreamWorks Animation in 2015... one year before Universal purchased the studio.
  • Series Hiatus: In an unprecedented move, Universal's parks in Florida and Hollywood closed briefly in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Florida park's relatively early reopening is suggested to be what spurred Disney to reopen sooner than anticipated. The park in Japan also went through a series of closures due to the outbreak.
  • Sleeper Hit: Universal Studios Florida was essentially this when it first opened. It was a project that was openly mocked by all those at Disney, who predicted that it was doomed to fail. However, the park opened to modest numbers and received generally positive reviews (once the kinks of its disastrous opening got worked out, at least), whereas Disney-MGM Studios received more mixed reviews upon opening, and continued to slump through the '90s.
  • Troubled Production:
    • When MCA-Universal announced that they were building in Florida, Michael Eisner over at Disney was furious. He attempted to get them to back down through various means, including proposing a second Disney-MGM Studios park to be built near the Burbank studios, which would've hurt Universal Studios Hollywood's business. It is even believed by many that the original Disney-MGM Studios park was built solely in an attempt to "beat Universal at their own game," though Eisner has repeatedly denied this.
    • At the Hollywood park, the Creature from the Black Lagoon: The Musical show abruptly closed after just a few months due to a phenomenal case of bad luck: a fire breaking out during the Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure show for Halloween Horror Nights in 2009. While nobody was hurt, the fire exposed numerous code violations in the building, forcing them to close it for several months' worth of renovations. The show had trouble connecting with park visitors to begin with, but the fire and the subsequent closure only made the problem worse. It eventually made way for a new version of the Special Effects Stage in 2010.
  • Viral Marketing:
    • Done with Transformers in Florida. One of the buildings in Downtown Orlando had been temporarily made to look like a Decepticon just crashed right through it. Plus an internet video was made to look like an amateur video of someone suddenly filming the appearance of the Decepticon through the building.
    • Was also done with King Kong 360 at Universal Studios Hollywood, with random videos and pictures being posted that depicted areas of Los Angeles looking as if Kong had stormed right through them.
  • What Could Have Been: Has its own page.
  • Working Title:
    • Universal Orlando Resort was originally going to be called 'Universal City Florida'.
    • The CityWalk restaurant, Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, was originally announced as Toothsome Chocolate Factory. The name was changed after several media outlets inaccurately reported that Universal was opening a Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory restaurant, and also to avoid making people think that the restaurant was a ride.