Universal Parks & Resorts
|Founded||July 15, 1964|
|Headquarters||Orlando, Florida, United States|
|Thomas L. Williams
Number of employees
|Subsidiaries||Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Japan
Universal Parks & Resorts, commonly and also known as Universal Studios Theme Parks or solely Universal Theme Parks, is the theme park subsidiary of NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast. The subsidiary, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, United States, operates Universal theme parks and resort properties around the world. Universal Parks & Resorts is best known for attractions and lands based on famous classic and modern pop culture properties (movies, television, literature, cartoons, comics, video games, music, etc.) from not only NBCUniversal, but also third-party companies, for all of its parks.
It is started as a studio touring attraction in which was originated at Universal's Hollywood location beginning around 1910s, then later in 1964 when it turned into a huge family amusement park destination, where guests can experience the behind the scenes look of the making of motion pictures and television programs, produced by Universal Studios and occasionally others, and ride the attraction based on world's favorite feature films and television shows. The popularity of Universal Studios Hollywood had lead Universal to build another parks in Florida and overseas during the following years. Universal parks had not necessary to be built as entertainment studio-theme, other Universal parks (both current and former) can be themed to other experiences, like Universal's Islands of Adventure (themed to islands of various experiences), PortAventura World (themed to international countries), Wet 'n Wild Orlando (themed to a water playground), and Volcano Bay (themed to Polynesian culture).
In 2014, approximately 40.1+million guests visited Universal Studios theme parks, making it the third-largest amusement park operator in the world. It is a major competitor of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and SeaWorld Entertainment.
- 1 Current theme parks
- 2 Future theme parks
- 3 Marvel and Universal Parks & Resorts
- 4 Former or cancelled parks
- 5 Theme park attractions and lands
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Current theme parks
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood became the first Universal Studios theme park when it opened its doors on July 15, 1964, long after it was originated as a studio tour in 1915, after the Universal original founder, Carl Laemmle, opened Universal City, California. In May 1993, Universal CityWalk opened outside the gates of the theme park, featuring 65 entertainment-themed restaurants, nightclubs, shops, and entertainment spots. It also contains the AMC Universal CityWalk Cinemas, offering 19 screens including an IMAX Theatre and stadium-style seating. Approximately 415 acres (1.7 km²) is within and around the surrounding area of Universal City, including its theme park and the film studio adjacent nearby.
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort (formally called Universal Studios Escape) opened to the public on June 7, 1990, in Orlando, Florida, starting at Universal Studios Florida. It features themed areas and attractions based on the film industry. On May 28, 1999, Universal Orlando had expanded into a vacation resort, with the opening of Islands of Adventure theme park, featuring various themed islands which emphasized adventures and characters embodied in the attractions. Simultaneously, Universal CityWalk was added to accommodate the guests within the resort leading to the two parks. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando hotel opened at Universal Orlando Resort in September 1999, followed by Hard Rock Hotel in December 2000, Loews Royal Pacific Resort in February 2001, Cabana Bay Beach Resort on March 31, 2014, and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort on July 7, 2016.
In 1998, Universal Orlando acquired Wet 'n Wild water park (founded in 1977 by Seaworld founder George Millay) and was the company's main water park until it closed on December 31, 2016, where it was replaced by another water park Volcano Bay, which opened on May 25, 2017. The new water park consists of 18 attractions, including slides and a lazy river and raft rides. The park includes two volcano themed rides: the Ko'okiri Body Plunge, a 70-degree-angle, 125-foot water slide; and the Krakatau Aqua Coaster, a canoe ride traveling among the peaks and valleys of the central volcano in the park. The park also gives each visitor a wristband when they buy their ticket. The wristband allows guests to check in for rides and circumvents having to stand in line.
Universal Studios Japan
After almost three years of construction, Universal Studios Japan opened on March 31, 2001, in the Konohana-ku district of Osaka, Japan, and was the first Universal Studios theme park to open outside of the U.S. It was also the first theme park to operate within the Asian region. The park incorporates attractions from both Universal Orlando and Hollywood and features a CityWalk district, a shopping mall with multiple official Universal hotels and many restaurants and shops, including stores selling Universal Studios merchandise and Osaka souvenirs. The theme park occupies an area of 108 acres and is the most visited amusement park in Japan after its rival Tokyo Disney Resort.
Universal Studios Singapore
Construction of the Singapore park began within Resorts World Sentosa on Sentosa, Singapore on April 19, 2008. Universal Studios Singapore was given a soft opening on March 18, 2010 and later a wide opening on May 28, 2011. It was the second Universal Studios theme park to operate on Asia and also the first in Southeast Asia. Like other Universal theme parks, it features attractions from various Universal and other studio companies' properties, including Jurassic Park, Madagascar, Shrek, The Mummy, Waterworld, Tranformers, and others. It currently sits on is 20 hectares (49 acres) in size, which occupies the easternmost part of the 49-hectare (120-acre) Resorts World Sentosa, and is marketed as a "one-of-its-kind theme park in Asia". However, it has no Universal CityWalk District since it already has a resort shopping map and restaurants adjacent near the park. Unlike other Universal theme parks, Singapore is entirely run by Genting Group with the licensing approval from Universal Parks & Resorts.
Future theme parks
Universal Studios Beijing
Universal Studios Beijing is the upcoming Universal theme park that will open around 2020 in Beijing, China. It will feature rides and attractions themed primarily to Universal-owned movies, TV shows, animation, and music, and as well as licensed properties from other companies (e.g. Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, etc). The project was announced on October 13, 2014, with more than 20 billion RMB being invested into the project. It will be jointly owned by Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment Co., Ltd. (BSH Investment), a consortium of four state-owned companies, and Universal Parks & Resorts. As of 2017, the park is currently in construction.
Universal Studios Moscow
Universal Studios Moscow is an indoor theme-park and shopping complex that has been scheduled to open on 2022 in Moscow, Russia. It will home rides and attractions based on worldwide well-known pop-culture properties, like Universal-owned library and third-party properties. It is to be the first ever indoor Universal theme park, due to the fact that Russia is a country considered to be too cold during winter.
Universal Studios South Korea
Universal Studios South Korea (유니버설 스튜디오 코리아) is a future theme park to be constructed in the vicinity of Hwaseong, South Korea, slated to be open in 2020. The park would become the sixth Universal Studios theme park in the world, and the fourth in Asia, after Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Singapore, and Universal Studios Beijing. On 23 December 2015, Universal Studios Korea consortium led by China’s largest state-run builder, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, and its largest state-run tourist agency, China Travel Services, won the bidding for the project held by K-Water, the owner of the project site.
Marvel and Universal Parks & Resorts
On March 22, 1994, Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc and Universal Parks & Resorts (then parent company MCA Inc.) signed an agreement that would permit Universal to use any Marvel property on its theme parks. The contract allowed the construction of the “Marvel Universe” area at Universal Orlando Resort in their planned "second gate" next to Universal Studios Florida. The agreement remains in perpetuity (aka good faith), or indefinitely, unless Universal decides to close the Marvel Universe area, stop making payments for property usage, or Marvel opts out of the contract providing that it needs a reasonable explanation that Universal is mishandling the usage of their property. On May 28, 1999, Universal Orlando opened its second gate, Islands of Adventure, to overwhelming positive reviews from guests and critics alike. One of the islands featured at Islands of Adventure is "Marvel Super Hero Island", a themed area containing various Marvel attractions, characters, shops, and restaurants in comic-style architecture, with exaggerated stories and angles. Two of the original attractions, The Incredible Hulk and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, are well-received and have been the recipient of many awards from the entertainment industry. The clone of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride has been built and opened at Universal Studios Japan on January 23, 2004.
On August 28, 2009, The Walt Disney Company (Universal's biggest rival in the theme park market) agreed to purchase Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. The deal was finalized on December 31, 2009 in which Disney acquired full ownership on the company. In response to the acquisition, Universal issued a statement about the future of their theme park licensing pact with Marvel:
Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and the Marvel characters are an important part of the Universal Orlando experience. They will remain so. Our agreement with Marvel stands for as long as we follow the terms of our existing contract and for as long as we want there to be a Marvel Super Hero Island.
Disney CEO Bob Iger acknowledged that Disney would continue to honor any contracts that Marvel currently has with Disney competitors. In accordance with the 1994 Marvel agreement with Universal Parks & Resorts in regional terms, Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disney Resort are banned from establishing any presence of a Marvel character in their parks. However, this is limited to the Marvel characters Universal is currently using, other characters in their "families" (e.g., the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Spider-Man, X-Men, etc), villains associated with the heroes being used, and the Marvel name (east and west of the Mississippi River and in Japan). This clause has allowed Walt Disney World to have meet and greets, merchandise, attractions and more with other Marvel characters not associated with the characters at Islands of Adventure, such as Star-Lord and Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy, Baymax and Hiro from Big Hero 6, as well as Doctor Strange.
The Disneyland Resort is not constrained by the 1994 Marvel-Universal agreement, in part that Universal Studios Hollywood terminated the contract with Marvel in 2008, allowing Disneyland Resort to add any Marvel property in its parks. Over the years since the acquisition, both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure have hosted meet and greets with Marvel heroes, mostly based on Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, such as Thor and Captain America. On May 27, 2017, the Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! ride at Disney's California Adventure opened to the public, which replaced The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Hollywood Land. Overseas, Hong Kong Disneyland, Shanghai Disneyland Park, and Disneyland Paris also incorporates meet and greets with Marvel heroes regularly, as well as attractions (e.g., Iron Man Experience at Hong Kong Disney) and themed areas.
Former or cancelled parks
- Universal Studios Dubailand, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (on-hold) (Broke ground 2008, no construction since 2009)
- Costa Caribe Aquatic Park, Salou, Spain (2002–2004)
- Wet 'n Wild Orlando (Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando, Florida, United States; wholly owned) (1977–2016)
Theme park attractions and lands
Universal Studios incorporates replicas of attractions and lands in multiple parks around the world. The pages linked above contain comprehensive lists of the attractions and lands at Universal theme parks. Most of the attractions and lands are based on Universal licenses and other licensed properties.
- Incidents at Universal parks
- List of licensed properties at Universal Parks & Resorts
- Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, Universal Parks & Resorts' well-known competitor.
- Halloween Horror Nights, Universal's chain of seasonal Halloween nightly events, exclusively for Universal Parks & Resorts, which is targeted at mature guests (age 13 and up) and consisting the series of horror-themed attractions and haunted houses, which are based on horror films, television series, urban legends, literature works, along with original contents.
- "Congratulations Universal Studios Hollywood Tram Tour 50 Years Old Today". MiceChat. 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
- Official website
- "Comcast to Buy Rest of Universal Studios Japan for $2.3 Billion". February 28, 2017 – via www.bloomberg.com.
- "Comcast 2011 Annual Report". Comcast.com. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
- Lieberman, David. "Comcast Completes Acquisition Of GE’s 49% Stake In NBCUniversal." Deadline.com (March 19, 2013)
- Rubin, Judith; Au, Tsz Yin (Gigi); Chang, Beth; Cheu, Linda; Elsea, Daniel; LaClair, Kathleen; Lock, Jodie; Linford, Sarah; Miller, Erik; Nevin, Jennie; Papamichael, Margreet; Pincus, Jeff; Robinett, John; Sands, Brian; Selby, Will; Timmins, Matt; Ventura, Feliz; Yoshii, Chris. "TEA/AECOM 2014 Theme Index & Museum Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report" (PDF). aecom.com. Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). Retrieved 4 June 2015.
- Kelly, Jason (2017-05-25). "Volcano Bay: Universal Orlando opens new water park". WFTV. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
- Speck, Emilee (2017-05-25). "Volcano Bay water park opens". WKMG. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
- "Comcast Will Buy 51% Stake in Universal Studios Japan for $1.5 Billion". September 28, 2015 – via www.bloomberg.com.
- "Universal Studios Japan Corporate Information". Universal Studios Japan. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
- "Resorts World Sentosa – Universal Studios Singapore". Resorts World Sentosa. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
- Los Angeles Times (October 13, 2014). "Universal Studios to open Beijing theme park in 2019". latimes.com.
- "Universal Studios Breaks Ground on Beijing Park, Opening Postponed Yet Again". www.thebeijinger.com. 1 November 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- "Universal Theme Park and Resort Planned for Beijing".
- "Marvel Agreement between MCA Inc. and Marvel Entertainment Group". sec.gov. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Donley, Michelle (December 31, 2009). "Marvel Shareholders OK Disney Acquisition". MarketWatch.com.
- "Disney buying Marvel for $4 billion". Los Angeles Daily News.
- "Guardians of the Galaxy theme park characters appear for first time as Walt Disney World welcomes Marvel". Inside the Magic.
- "Exclusive ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Sneak Peek Debuts July 4 at Disney Parks". Disney Parks Blog.
- "The Stars of ‘Big Hero 6′ Are Ready for Their Disney Parks Debut". Disney Parks Blog.
- "Dr. Strange now appearing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios". Attractions Magazine. November 5, 2016.
- "Universal Studios Dubailand: A Case Study on the Rise and Fall of Dubai". Fast Company. 24 August 2009.