Photos: Universal’s Islands of Adventure


Photos: Pointe Orlando 

It’s been over a year, probably close to two, since I’ve been to Pointe Orlando. I can see why. It’s so sad walking past the long stretches of empty storefronts looking for a good angle that doesn’t make it look like the dead mall it is (save for the movie theatre and bowling alley). I left within an hour of arriving.

A new year at Universal

Universal posted a press release to their blog today previewing some off the biggest news stories of 2018. The biggest being the opening of the new ride based on The Fast & The Furious franchise (only 10 years overdue) in a few months, and, while no official opening date was given, we can probably expect a soft open in the coming weeks.

The release also teased various forthcoming announcements. Normally, I hate when organizations do that, but this sounds interesting none the less…

  • The previously-announced ride replacing Dragon Challenge in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade… as well as an additional projection mapping experience at Hogwarts castle.” So much hype, so little space. I didn’t get a chance to see their holiday projection show, but I expect more details will likely be made around the end of the month in time for the Celebration of Harry Potter (Jan 26-28).
  • Something new going in where Terminator 2: 3D was” – UOR is being extremely vague on this, but I’m hoping it’s the rumored The Secret Lives of Pets dark ride to compliment both Shrek 4-D (which needs a newer franchise in there already) and Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem.
  • The continued global expansion of our partnership with Nintendo. Our sister park in Japan has already broken ground on Super Nintendo World; I’m sure you can’t wait to hear what’s next.” Darn straight, I can’t – even clunky PR talk can’t stop this massive train from smashing every pipe in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Misc. Disney news

The Hall of Presidents officially reopens with remarks from Trump.

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge launches next summer at DHS with in-universe retail and food options. The graphics with the article didn’t quite align with the text. Personally the whole thing seems overhyped, but I’m glad construction walls will be down soon.

Flights of Wonder to be replaced by an unnamed “UP” show. Not sure how they’ll pull this one off, but I’ll give it a shot as (unlike Avatar) UP is a natural fit for this park.

Cirque du Soliel has announced they will be debuting a new show based on “classic Disney animation.” No word on a title, opening date or which animated characters will be featured.

Commentary: What should play in this theater?

Nerdist of all sites had a speculation post on Facebook this morning about the new theater under construction behind Main Street USA. They suggested Frozen (based on its success at DHS/DCA), The Lion King (which just finished a year-long run at Shanghai Disneyland), Mary Poppins (from the popular Broadway/touring productions), Moana (from the popular movie and upcoming show at Shanghai DL) and Aladdin (as the previous occupant of DCA’s Hyperion Theater) as possible choices.

From that list, there are only two that seem even vaguely plausible: Moana and Aladdin. As the story suggests, Moana has popular songs by the current “it” songwriter… but Aladdin spent 13 years at the Hyperion – that’s a damn good track record! As for the others, Frozen is already well represented in both DHS and Epcot, whereas The Lion King already has a show at DAK. Mary Poppins, despite her new movie and upcoming addition to the UK pavilion at Epcot, is simply too much of a dark horse for such a high-profile location.

While Aladdin or Moana are two of the most likely candidates, we cannot forget about other shows that could resurrect from their theme park graves like: Tarzan Rocks (DAK, 1999-2006), Pocahontas (DAK, 1998-2008), Tangled (Disney cruise line, 2017-) or even moving Finding Nemo: The Musical to a presumably larger, more prestigious venue.

But while Nerdist wants to see MP, I feel like it’s bit of a reach. There is nothing stopping them from reaching so why not Big Hero 6: The Musical (yes, I know, they have problems with the Baymax suit, but a story focused on Hiro/Tadeshi could work) or even Treasure Planet as that film, like The Emperor’s New Groove, has developed somewhat of a cult following over the years.

Personally, I think they’d be better off rotating the shows on a regular basis with special shows at night to help draw crowds AWAY from the castle, like how they repurposed Theater of the Stars for a “Pixar symphony” over the summer, but they could also do special Disney Villians show for Halloween or a Frozen Holiday Celebration, etc.

I agree with other Mouse watchers that it will likely be Aladdin, Frozen or Moana, but what shows would YOU like to see?