Universal Studios Florida Finds New Home for Beloved Characters

Universal Studios Florida is closing a popular attraction, but it will soon return.

Comcast’s  (CMCSA) – Get Comcast Corporation Class A Report Universal Studios Florida regularly updates the theme park to compete with rival Walt Disney  (DIS) – Get Walt Disney Company Report parks at Disney World, removing older rides and attractions and replacing them with new ones.

The most recent major closure at Universal in Orlando, Fla., was Shrek 4-D, which opened in 2003 and permanently closed in January. The guest favorite is expected to be replaced by a Minions-themed moving walkway attraction, according to Orlando Park Stop. The Shrek 4-D attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood closed in 2017, becoming the DreamWorks Theatre featuring a Kung Fu Panda multi-sensory attraction.

Popular Universal Rides Have Permanently Rolled Away

But Shrek 4-D hasn’t been the only attraction that Universal in Orlando has closed and replaced with another popular ride. The Jaws boat ride went down with the ship in 2012 to make room for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, and Back to the Future – The Ride flew away in a DeLorean and was replaced with The Simpsons Ride.

The King Kong ride Kongfrontation was Universal Orlando’s main attraction when the park opened in 1990, but it was eliminated in 2002 and replaced with the Revenge of the Mummy. King Kong has since made his return at Islands of Adventure at Skull Island Reign of Kong.

The Twister…Ride It Out special effects attraction closed in 2015 and was replaced by Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, while Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast closed in 2011 only to be replaced by Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.

Over at Islands of Adventure, the popular Dragon Challenge at Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which previously was the Dueling Dragons rollercoaster with separate Fire and Ice coaster tracks until 2010, closed in 2017 and was replaced by Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride, whose ride vehicles recreated San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit subway system cars, was originally the theme park’s Earthquake ride, but was closed in 2015 to make way for Fast & Furious Supercharged. Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue stage show was discontinued in 2016 to also step aside for Fast & Furious Supercharged.

Popular Attraction is Going Away and Coming Back

Many fans of these previously closed rides and attractions lament their absence, and their memories of the thrilling rides are all that’s left from those fun times. In some cases, however, the closure of an attraction may not mean it’s gone forever. That’s the case of one such ride that is taking a bow and exiting the stage only to return another day. 

Universal Studios Orlando is temporarily closing its Meet Shrek and Donkey encounter attraction on June 7 for a relocation from its current spot at the theme park next to the now-closed Monster Cafe that will make way for a new dining experience, according to the theme park’s website. Shrek and Donkey will be moving to a location in the theme park’s KidZone, Theme Park Tourist reported. The park’s website did not indicate when the attraction will reopen.

At Meet Shrek and Donkey, guests can walk up to animatronic Shrek character Donkey, who will joke with them and be available for pictures. Visitors can also meet Shrek and Princess Fiona to chat and take pictures.

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