Universal parks have been on quite a high over the past few years, with Universal Studios Hollywood breaking attendance records after opening its west coast Wizarding World of Harry Potter last year, and both Universal Studios Florida as well as Islands of Adventure posting attendance gains last year, while neighbor Walt Disney World suffered big losses during the same time period.
With so much good news bring released for domestic Universal parks, parent company Comcast has gone ahead and made some high-profile announcements regarding the future of both Universal Orlando Resort as well as Universal Studios Hollywood. And we'll actually get this update started with some interesting news from the west coast:
1. So long, Shrek, Hello DreamWorks animation
Shrek 4-D has been on notice for some time, and now Universal has confirmed what many have long suspected: the Universal Studios Hollywood version of this attraction will be closing later this year, and will then transform into a showcase for a series of short films based on DreamWorks animated movie franchises, starting with Kung Fu Panda in 2018.
From there this new DreamWorks Theatre will host a variety of attractions from the animation studio, whose hits include Madagascar, Penguins of Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon and Trolls.
Currently, there are no plans to close Shrek 4-D at Universal Orlando Resort, but considering NBCUniversal shelled out $3.8 billion for DreamWorks in 2016, we'd imagine that a similar development could be in the cards for Universal Studios Florida. And speaking of the Florida resort...
2. Fast and the Furious - Supercharged confirmed to open at Universal Studios Florida next year and use queue-less technology
Over at Universal Studios Florida, it was announced that the new Fast & Furious – Supercharged attraction is now officially scheduled to open in Spring 2018. However, perhaps more interestingly, it was also confirmed that this new attraction will use the Virtual Line experience first pioneered in the Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon attraction, which requires guests to reserve a ride time in advance if they want to experience it. There will not be a standby option.
This is certainly an interesting development, as Universal has already made a big gamble on virtual queues with its new Volcano Bay water park, which was built from the ground up without lines, with mixed results so far. However, it looks like Universal Orlando Resort is going full steam ahead with its plan to offer an experience that echoes that of Walt Disney World's FastPass+, and Fast & Furious – Supercharged will be furthering that goal when it opens early next year.