Before the Jurassic World: VelociCoaster, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, even before there was a second and soon to be third gate ready to welcome guests into the world of Universal, it all started with one single theme park. June 7th, 1990 began an adventure that would spawn an island, and a universe that would become quite epic, as the doors to Universal Orlando opened for the first time. And the park has celebrated that birthday with a very sweet callback to those early days.
Originally known as Universal Studios Florida, the would-be competitor to the then new Disney MGM Studios, made one gigantic promise. If you wanted to go to “the only place on Earth where you can see the stars, and ride the movies,” Universal’s Orlando theme park was where you were supposed to be. Which makes the following Twitter post in celebration of Universal Orlando’s 31st anniversary all the more nostalgic:
While it’s been years since Universal Orlando ditched the production studios it once operated, and the park has changed its attraction lineup drastically since those early days, the memories of the park’s past are still strong. Once full of rides and shows that showcased movie making magic, Universal Orlando eventually started to branch out into other parks like Universal’s Islands of Adventure, with a renewed focus on immersive experiences and cutting edge thrill rides.
Reinventing itself in the image of its greatest competitor, Universal Parks and Resorts would eventually open more parks around the world, innovating and evolving into the powerhouse that it is today. But those early days can still be felt in the spirit of some of the remaining attractions from the Universal Studios Florida days, such as the E.T. Adventure. And, of course, those vibes are ever present in the original advertising that inspired Universal Orlando’s big birthday tweet. Take a look at this ad for Universal Studios Florida
Universal Orlando has come a long way, both in its own personal history as well as in the aftermath of 2020’s unprecedented events that have finally given way to theme parks opening up in greater capacities. As safety restrictions are being revised to keep up with the proper guidance, the pace of returning to normal seems to be picking up at the park, which is also something to celebrate. After 31 years of operation, with some twists and turns along the way, Universal Orlando is looking at a bright future, built on a tremendous past.
Part of that future is the grand opening of the Jurassic World: VelociCoaster, which is set to open later this week. Though that’s not the only excitement coming on the horizon for Universal Orlando, as Universal’s Epic Universe park is currently ramping up its construction efforts to get fully back on track for opening within the next couple of years. Who knows what things will be like 31 years in the future, as Universal looks back on another chapter of theme park excellence.