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Universal Orlando Resort – History

1987 – MCA (Universal Studios’ parent company) begins construction on Universal Studios Florida

1990 – June 7- Universal Studios Florida opens in Orlando. A much larger area means larger versions of the Hollywood favourites are possible. Among the first attractions are versions of the Earthquake, Jaws and King Kong (‘Kongfrontation’) attractions at Hollywood that are single self-contained attractions rather than being parts of the tram tour.
1990Ghostbusters and The Funtastic World of Hanna Barbara are created by Landmark Entertainment.
1990 – “Fright Nights” debuts at Universal Studios Florida, beginning what will become Universal Orlando’s annual “Halloween Horror Nights” event

1991 – May 2 – Back to the Future: The Ride opens
1991 – Matsushita Electronics buys MCA
1991 – The Wild, Wild, Wild West Stunt Show opens at Universal Studios Florida

1992 – The Beetlejuice Graveyard Review opens at Universal Studios Florida
1992 – Landmark Entertainment develop concepts for Superhero Island and Toon Lagoon

1993 – Universal Studios Florida announces plans to open Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal CityWalk.
1993 – Spiderman 3-D, Dr. Dooms Castle of Fear, X-Men Mindwarp, Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, Popeye’s Island, Silver Surfer Coaster, Avengers Stunt Show concepts developed for Islands of Adventure by Landmark Entertainment.
1993/4Jaws Ride relaunches following a simplification of the ride mechanisms. (Soft opening in September 1993, official opening in 1994)

1995 – The Seagram Company, Ltd. purchases MCA
1995 – A Day In The Park With Barney opens at Universal Studios Florida

1996Terminator 2: 3D opens at Universal Studios Florida and is named “Best New Attraction for 1996” by Themed Entertainment Association (Orlando, Florida)
1996 – MCA is renamed Universal Studios
1996Ghostbusters Spooktacular show closes

1997– Hercules & Xena: Wizards of the Screen opens at Universal Studios Florida in the former Murder She Wrote building (now named Stage 44).

1998Twister: Ride it Out opens in the former Ghostbusters show building.

1999 – Universal’s Islands of Adventure opens with The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman (created and designed by Landmark in concert with Universal Creative) Other Landmark concepts featured at Islands of Adventure include Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges, Comic Strip Lane, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls and Dr. Doom’s Fear Fall.
1999 – Universal CityWalk and the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel (the first of the on-site hotels) are unveiled. The whole complex is rebranded Universal Orlando.
Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone opens at Universal Studios Florida

2000 – Men In Black: Alien Attack opens at Universal Studios Florida
2000 – Flying Unicorn opens in Islands of Adventure’s Lost Continent
2000 – Storm Force Accelatron opens in Islands of Adventure’s Marvel Super Hero Island
2000 – The Blackstone Group acquires a 50% interest in Universal Orlando
2000 – Vivendi merges with Seagram, including its interest in Universal Studios, Inc., creating the new Vivendi Universal
2000 – The Grinchmas “Who-liday” celebration debuts at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

2001 -The Loews Hard Rock Hotel opens as Universal Orlando’s second on-site hotel
2001 – Animal Planet Live! opens at Universal Studios Florida

2002 -The Loews Royal Pacific Resort opens as Universal Orlando’s third on-site hotel
2002 – Halloween Horror Nights XII moves to Universal’s Islands of Adventure for the first time
2002 – The annual Macy’s Holiday Parade debuts at Universal Studios Florida
2002 September – Kongfrontation ends

2003 – Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast opens at Universal Studios Florida, replacing “The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera”
2003 – Shrek 4-D opens at Universal Studios Florida, replacing “Alfred Hitchcock, the Art of Making Movies”

2004 – Revenge of The Mummy – The Ride opens at Universal Studios Florida, in the former “Kongfrontation” building
2004 – General Electric acquires Vivendi Universal’s interest in Vivendi Universal Entertainment, and merges the company with NBC to become NBC-Universal
2004 – Halloween Horror Nights XIV expands to include both Universal Studios Florida, and Universal’s Islands of Adventure

2005 – Fear Factor Live opens at Universal Studios Florida

2006 – June – The High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride opens at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
2006 – June – Red Coconut Club opens at Universal CityWalk
2006 – July – Universal 360: A Cinesphere Spectacular premieres at Universal Studios Florida
2006 – July – The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. opens at Universal CityWalk

2007 March 30 – Back to the Future: The Ride closes to make way for The Simpsons ride in Spring 2008
2007 – June – The Blue Man Group performances begin in the new Sharp Acquos Theatre between the two parks

2008 – January 17 – Earthquake is rethemed and relaunched as Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride… Starring You!featuring ‘holographic’ projection technology.
2008 – The Simpsons Ride opens

2009 – Spring – Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit opens

2010 – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens

2011 – December – Expansion of Wizarding World of Harry Potter announced.

2012 – January: Jaws Ride to close, to be redeveloped as Diagon Alley.
Despicable Me due to open in place of Jimmy Neutron.
Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man digital HD upgrade to debut.
Certain dates from Universal Orlando Media Site