Inside the Demolition of Wet ‘n WildBy Amanda Kondolojy, Friday, January 6, 2017 06:42
3. This is all probably being done to prepare for the still-unannounced new theme park at Universal Orlando Resort
While Walt Disney World loves to make announcements about new projects years before shovels hit dirt, Universal has recently taken the exact opposite approach, lining all their ducks in a row before even acknowledging a project even exists. And that's where we are right now with Universal's plans to build an additional theme park.
It has been over a year now, but right before Christmas 2015, Universal quietly made a huge 474-acre land purchase near Universal Blvd. This property (which is actually made up of 19 different parcels, as you can see above) is the largest undeveloped area in the I-Drive tourism area, and is located just a few minutes from Universal Orlando Resorts' current theme parks, and just north of the Orange County Convention Center.
To put this land area’s massive size in perspective, the entirety of Universal Orlando Resort (including all of its on-property hotels and the erstwhile Wet ‘n Wild) sits on 800 acres. This land effectively adds 50% more to Universal's current size, more than enough for an additional theme park (or two) and potentially several hotels as well.
However, building theme parks takes time, and Universal almost certainly wants to add capacity to its resort before it confirms anything about its new plans. Back in September 2013, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke claimed that Universal Orlando could fill 10,000-15,000 on-site hotel rooms, and it looks like with this new tower hotel, it will be very close to that goal. Right now the resort has just over 5,000 rooms, but when the Cabana Bay expansion is complete and the Aventura hotel opens, they'll be closer to an estimated 8000 rooms. Add two tower-style hotels with 1000 rooms each, and they'll have reached that all-important 10,000 room milestone (but will still be quite shy of Walt Disney World's truly massive 30,000 room inventory).
Though it is sad for many to see Wet 'n Wild, the first real water park in the United States, be demolished so that even more hotels can be constructed, the fact is that Universal really had no choice but to demolish this iconic park if they are going to go full steam ahead with their rapid expansion plans. Are you sad to see Wet 'n Wild go? Or are you more excited to experience Universal Orlando Resort's own water park, Volcano Bay, when it opens later this year? Share your memories of this park below!