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UPDATE June 10 - Although there were rumblings earlier in the year that The Simpsons could be leaving Universal theme parks earlier than was once thought, it now looks like Universal has a different plan.

According to a new Universal Orlando update video which has been posted to YouTube by Theme Park Stop, it now looks like Universal may look to try and hang on to The Simpsons for as long as possible which could be until 2028 when the current contract runs out.

As can be seen in the video which is embedded above at time stamp 5:13, The Springfield replacement project is rumored for 2030 meaning it would make sense for Universal to keep The Simpsons right up until 2028 before removing them to create the new area which is still highly rumored to be based on Pokemon although we still await confirmation from Universal on this.

January 13 - Last year it was reported that Universal was looking to potentially phase out The Simpsons Ride at both Universal Studios Florida as well as Universal Studios Hollywood by letting their contract to use the Simpsons license expire in 2028. 

Many speculated that this termination was an amiable one between Universal and Disney, as it would allow Universal not only to build something new to replace this aging ride, but it would also give Disney the ability to start using these characters in their parks, since the company acquired 20th Century Fox in 2019.

And while 2028 is still several years away (Epic Universe will be three years old by then!) rumors online are suggesting that The Simpsons Ride may actually be closing sooner rather than later. 

Is There a Hiring Freeze in Springfield?

Earlier this week a now-deleted social media post claimed that Universal Studios Florida had stopped hiring ride operators for The Simpsons Ride, specifically with all new hires for park operations now being trained elsewhere. While we can't confirm the authenticity of this report specifically, it seemingly backs up another report from Orlando Park Stop, which says a closure could happen as early as this year.

Could another Nintendo property be moving in at Universal Studios Florida?

The aforementioned report from Orlando Park Stop goes a bit further to say that Universal is going to be discontinuing the use of the two sprung tents behind The Simpsons Ride that are used for Halloween Horror Nights, effective this year, which could be an indication that some major construction is about to happen in this area. 

While nothing is confirmed, rumors are swirling that Universal could be considering building a Pokémon-themed area here, with a cloned version of the ride that is currently planned for Universal Studios Japan anchoring the land, as well as interactive areas where guests could catch their own Pokémon

And while this rumor specifically pertains to Universal Studios Florida, Pokémon is such a popular franchise that it could make sense for Universal Studios Hollywood to make it fit in their existing Simpsons land as well. 

What else could replace the Simpsons?

Image: Universal

Though the Pokémon rumors are a very strong candidate for replacing The Simpsons Ride, Universal also has plenty of other properties it could use in this area. At Universal Studios Florida, Springfield's location could be a natural place for Dreamworks land to expand, with characters and attractions inspired by as-yet unused Dreamworks properties like Puss in Boots, Madagascar, The Bad Guys, or Megamind. 

Universal Studios Florida specifically could also receive a clone of the well-received Secret Life of Pets dark ride that has been open at Universal Studios Hollywood since 2021. 

Nothing is set in stone at this point, and of course plans can change, but one thing seems certain: the Simpsons are about to take their final bow at Universal Parks in the US, and will likely soon be on their way to Disney Parks as soon as plans are finalized. 

What are your thoughts on a move for The Simpsons from Universal to Disney? What would you like to see replace The Simpsons at Universal parks? Is Pokémon a good choice? Let us know your thoughts by voting in our poll or by leaving us a comment below.

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