TPU Exclusive: Universal Orlando Tentative Future Project Timeline Through 2023

We have been closely following Universal Parks and their strategy for opening new attractions in the coming years and recently published a timeline for new attractions coming to Universal Studios Hollywood in the next several years. While this is indeed still locked in and true, Universal Orlando has changed things up a bit. Let’s dive in!

Before we start, we need to emphasize that most of the following information isn’t public yet. Therefore, until Universal Orlando gives an official announcement, consider the following to be rumors until they say otherwise. Keep in mind, plans can change “epically” right up until the last minute and, as of the writing of this article, this is what we believe is coming.

Remember how we mentioned that Universal was taking an aggressive approach to add new attractions to all of their parks every year starting in 2019? Well, that has taken a backseat. However, Universal Hollywood is getting a major new attraction every year at least through 2022.

Universal Orlando is getting a major addition to the resort, but not every park. Why, you may ask? Well, in short, they were biting off more than they could chew. Looking at the bigger picture, they are indeed working on a new park (Fantastic Worlds) currently slated to open in 2023. In addition, they just signed a deal to expand Universal Studios Singapore by adding Nintendo and other attractions in the coming years. Plus you’ve got Universal Studios Beijing under construction and some pretty big plans for Universal Studios Japan beyond Super Nintendo World opening in 2020. If all that isn’t enough, there are even more/bigger plans that they are kicking around that we are chasing, but they are not ready to chat about just yet.

As we reported on several months ago, Nintendo plans at Universal Orlando has received several shuffles. First, it was only going into Kid Zone, then got pushed into Fantastic Worlds. Then plans for a Pokemon and Zelda lands were being put into place in addition to the Mario Kart/Donkey Kong area going into Fantastic Worlds.

While the Pokemon land actually got pretty far along that was slated for Kid Zone at Universal Studios Florida, it eventually was cut. Initial contracts even went out to various vendors for rides and it seemed as if Pokemon was a go. Then in late 2018, the rug was pulled out from under that project and it hit a brick wall for the reasons I stated above. One day we will talk about what that Pokemon land would have been like. And who knows? Maybe they’ll circle back around to it one day. Never say never!

All of this is to prime you for what is coming in the next few years for Universal Orlando. So let’s start with what’s officially been announced.

2019 – Hagrid’s Roller Coaster at Islands of Adventure

As we know, Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure will officially open on June 13, 2019. The project has been years in the making and will be a fantastic addition to the Wizarding World over at Islands of Adventure.

Unfortunately, this will be the only major attraction to open in 2019. Aside from temporary/seasonal enhancements (like the Dark Arts projection show on Hogwarts Castle). While you may know of construction going on over at Universal Studios Florida, that won’t open until 2020.

2020 – Bourne Identity Show at Universal Studios Florida

We have said it before and we still stand by it, the Terminator 2: 3D show is being replaced by another indoor stunt show based on the Bourne franchise.

Originally slated to open just before the holiday season at the end of 2019, the new show has been pushed back to 2020 and will most likely open before the summer season. The former T2 theater has been under renovation for quite some time.

You may have noticed a new “horror” theme being added to the gift shop at the exit of the new Bourne theater. That’s only temporary until the new show is up and running. However, expect that horror movie theming to stick around for about a year until the Bourne show opens.

2021- Jurassic World Coaster at Islands of Adventure

Originally slated for late 2020, the coaster currently under construction behind the Jurassic Park Discovery Center has also been pushed back a bit. Now Universal is going to push for a spring/summer 2021 opening date depending on weather and a few other factors.

Keep in mind, 2021 was when (as of last year) Pokemon was going to open at Universal Studios Florida. However, since that project got shelved, this gave the construction crew at the Jurassic Park coaster site some breathing room. Not to say that you won’t see construction ongoing for the next two years, but the pace won’t be as frantic trying to get it up and running on a tighter schedule.

2022 – Possible New Parade for Universal Studios Florida

Right now 2022 is up in the air. Based on a few murmurs, the current idea is to run a new parade at Universal Studios Florida. While we believe that the current Universal Super Star Parade will come to an end sooner than 2022, this new parade wouldn’t exactly “replace” that one.

Instead, I think we could see a new nighttime parade that would be a recreation of the amazing Universal’s Spectacle Night Parade that debuted in Universal Studios Japan in 2018. The parade brings in rave reviews and may be the magic bullet the resort needs in order to keep guests in the park after the sun goes down year round.

2023 – Fantastic Worlds

As we have stated before here at TPU, 2023 is the target date for Fantastic Worlds to have their grand opening. This would also be the same year that the new CityWalk 2.0 would open as well as another hotel that would flank the back of the theme park.

This is all heavily detailed in an article we recently wrote here. Click this link to find out what intellectual properties are going to be used, park layout and more. However, if Universal can’t make 2023 work to get Fantastic Worlds open, then they will most likely have to come up with something to fill that gap. Which leads us to…

What About….?

You may be wondering, why aren’t certain rides being cloned from Universal Studios Hollywood to be brought over to Universal Orlando? That’s a great question with some complicated answers.

For starters, some of the new offerings will indeed be going to Universal Orlando. The new Mario Kart attraction that’s currently under construction next to Jurassic World: The Ride will be cloned for Fantastic Worlds when it opens in 2023 (along with other Nintendo attractions the other parks won’t be getting).

However, Jurassic World: The Ride and The Secret Life of Pets attraction are only slated for Universal Studios Hollywood as of right now. That said, if the response to either of them is strong enough, they could be duplicated for Universal Orlando.

There was a time when The Secret Life of Pets attraction was going to be cloned and put into Universal Studios Florida where Shrek 4-D sits now. However, due to the cut backs mentioned at the start of this article, that’s also been taken off the table for now.

I think that about does it for today. We haven’t even come close to going in-depth about what these new attractions like Bourne or the Jurassic World coaster. Don’t worry, we will do that in future articles. For now, what are your thoughts with the revised timeline? Are the new attractions exciting enough to not have one in every park moving forward? Or should they put in more capital to compete with Disney? Would love to hear your thoughts.

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