The Universal Orlando Resort has experienced unprecedented success since the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure in 2010. Backed by owner Comcast with its deep pockets, the resort is now going through a major period of expansion. Comcast has promised to spend an eye-watering $500 million every single year at its US theme parks, expanding their attraction line-ups, installing immersive themed lands and building new on-site hotels.
2014 will be a big year for Universal Orlando, which plans to open the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley in the summer. Huge crowds are inevitable as Potter fans line up to experience the Hogwarts Express, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and a host of themed shops and restaurants.
Universal Orlando is yet to confirm what's coming after Potter, but it has made it clear that the spending will continue. A host of rumors have been circulating about potential new attractions for the resort. In reality, it's likely that most of these have at least been considered by Universal Creative - but not all of them will go ahead.
Here are 10 rumored new attractions that could appear at Universal Orlando over the next few years.
1. Jurassic World (Islands of Adventure)
It has been widely rumored for months that Universal is planning to expand the Jurassic Park area of Islands of Adventure with a major new attraction. Now that a fourth Jurassic Park film - Jurassic World - has been confirmed for 2015, an eventual addition to the area does seem likely.
Suggestions have included an on-rails jeep ride similar to that seen in the original film (although this is probably too close in plot to the existing Jurassic Park River Adventure to get the go-ahead), a roller coaster set in an amber mine and an indoor, movie-style attraction. Most of these concepts have been proposed before, but dropped for various different reasons (you can read about them in this article).
2. The Lorax (Islands of Adventure)
One criticism levelled at Universal Orlando, despite its recent successes, is that it offers very little for families with younger children. One exception is the Seuss Landing area of Islands of Adventure - although those with toddlers will find that even the tame attractions located there are off-limits for tiny ones.
Reports suggest that Universal is to expand Seuss Landing's line-up with a high-tech attraction based on The Lorax, the 1971 book that was given the movie treatment in 2012. The attraction would feature scooters that sit on a motion base, along with a mix of 3D effects and physical sets. However, the latest (unconfirmed) rumors suggest that the Lorax project has been put on hold for now.
3. King Kong (Universal Studios Florida OR Islands of Adventure)
In October 2013, we covered rumors that a new ride themed around Skull Island (the home of King Kong) is on its way to Islands of Adventure, sitting close to Jurassic Park River Adventure. The rumors are that the headline ride will not be a simple recreation of King Kong 360 3-D at Universal Studios Hollywood. Instead, it could be a major dark ride with outdoor sections featuring high-capacity, safari-style vehicles.
Will Universal really look to add both a Jurassic World ride and a King Kong attraction to the same area of Island of Adventure, though? Or are alternative rumors that the tired Disaster! is on its way out of Universal Studios Florida to be replaced by a Kong attraction more likely to be on-the-mark? Either way, it seems likely that King Kong will be on his way to Universal Orlando in one form or other.
There have recently been signs of upcoming construction in the Jurassic Park area, and plans have been submitted for an enormous ride building. This has fueled speculation that the Skull Island project at Islands of Adventure is moving ahead. If we were gamblers, we'd put our money on Kong arriving at Islands of Adventure. Given the construction timescales involved, probably in 2016.
4. Whomping Willow spinning ride (Islands of Adventure)
Long-time Disney and Universal correspondent Jim Hill has long suggested that Universal will seek to further expand its Harry Potter offerings once its done with Diagon Alley (after all, Potter fans appear to have insatiable appetite for attractions based on the young wizard's adventures). Those rumors have died down a little recently, but there are still suggestions that the remainder of the Lost Continent area of the park could eventually be consumed into the Wizarding World.
One of the rumored attractions is a spinning flat ride themed around the Whomping Willow, possibly similar in style to the Kang & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl attraction at Universal Studios Florida.
5. Chamber of Secrets show (Islands of Adventure)
If the Lost Continent is to be replaced, then expect Posideon's Fury to undergo a makeover to convert it into a high-tech show set in the Chamber of Secrets, presumably featuring the enormous, snake-like Basilisk.