11 future attractions coming to Universal in 2017 and beyond

11 future attractions coming to Universal in 2017 and beyond

11 future attractions coming to Universal in 2017 and beyond

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It’s a new year! Which means it’s the time of year when any self-respecting theme park website will compile a list of all the new attractions and other assorted developments arriving within the next 12-month period; how else can themed aficionados geek out, and how else could normal families begin to plan their upcoming vacations?

While that’s all fine and dandy, we here at OI HQ find the whole prospect a bit – well, blasé. Not only have we been writing about 2017’s many wonderful developments quite extensively over the past few months, we’ve also been talking about and debating them over at the Orlando Informer Podcast, as well.

So we’ve decided to spice everything up a bit this year and approach it from a slightly different angle. Yes, all of this year’s new attractions and hotel expansions can be found listed below, but that’s only the beginning – we’ve also gone ahead and included every single other development for the next several years after that, whether they be officially announced or simply rumored. Consider this your sneak peek at the entire future of Universal Orlando Resort, offered in bite-sized chunks.

(Just two quick notes before we get started. First and foremost: we’ve included all those rumored items that we believe – at least, at this moment in time – are the most likely to actually materialize [sorry, Ministry of Magic devotees]. Secondly, we really need to stress that this is a snapshot of early 2017; Universal has been known to change its mind about the timetables or, even, the very pursuit of various projects at the seeming drop of a hat.)

Enough with the chitchat. Here are the 11 new attractions coming to Universal, listed in chronological order.

1. Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon at Universal Studios Florida
Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon at Universal Studios Florida

Status: announced
Expected opening: spring/early summer 2017

A small, flying-theater ride, Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon looks to be a fun time-killer and, probably, little else – not unlike how many have already been describing Skull Island: Reign of Kong. The real gem here is Virtual Line, which will allow guests to get a return time and do whatever they want in the meantime – such as mill about various Tonight Show-themed interactive exhibits in the attraction’s “queue.”

Read more: first details

2. Harry Potter nighttime show

Hogwarts Castle's projection mapping at the Universal Studios Hollywood grand opening
The castle comes alive with the sound of magic

Status: rumored
Expected opening: summer 2017

For the first time in Islands of Adventure’s 18 years, it’ll be getting a nighttime show – in this case, a projection-mapped performance that will envelop Hogwarts Castle in various beautiful imagery (our best guess: the four house symbols and mascots, as seen in The Wizarding World’s Hollywood grand opening celebration). Show times should be randomized several times each and every night.

Read more: our blowing the story wide open

3. Volcano Bay

Krakatau at Universal's Volcano Bay
Krakatau at Universal’s Volcano Bay

Status: announced
Expected opening: summer 2017

Universal is promising nothing less than a next-generation water park with Volcano Bay, featuring such advancements as lazy rivers that take you to every ride, amenities spread throughout the whole park, and a virtual queue for each and every attraction. Most exciting of all, however, is the TapuTapu bracelet, which will trigger various interactive experiences as well as serve as a virtual credit card.

Read more: inside look

4. Cabana Bay Beach Resort expansion

South Courtyard pool area – Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
More of this? Yes, please

Status: announced
Expected opening: summer 2017

Universal Orlando’s most popular hotel – Cabana Bay Beach Resort routinely sells out at various points throughout the year – is getting 400 additional rooms, which will be located in two brand-new towers. Better still, these towers will directly face the next-door Volcano Bay, offering spectacular views of the park – especially at night, when some of the water will be made to look like flowing lava.

Read more: first details

5. Harry Potter Christmas event

Harry Potter Yule Ball
The Yule Ball of your dreams

Status: rumored
Expected opening: Christmas 2017

Not much is actually known about Universal’s first-ever hard-ticketed holiday event, but we’re assuming projection-mapping (snow falling on and around Hogwarts Castle) will be involved and hoping that the famed Yule Ball will be somehow included. We’re actually hoping to get an official word (or two) on the subject sometime later this year – keep your fingers and your wands crossed.

Universal just may have the definitive Halloween and Christmas events from this point forward.

Read more: our breaking the story

6. Fast & Furious: Supercharged

Fast & Furious: Supercharged queue concept art
A fast and furious Virtual Line

Status: announced
Expected opening: 2018

Just as Reign of Kong took a tram tour experience from Universal Hollywood Studios and fleshed it out into a full, standalone attraction, expect much the same here (Fast & Furious: Supercharged opened in California back in June 2015). Actually, you should probably expect exactly the same, as it’s been heavily rumored that the Kong ride vehicles will be ported over and made to feel as if they’re going 120 mph instead of lumbering through caves and ancient ruins.

Read more: first details

7. Aventura Hotel

Hey there, beauitful
Hey there, beauitful

Status: announced
Expected opening: 2018

The last plot of land on the main Universal Orlando property, located next-door to Sapphire Falls Resort and across the street from Volcano Bay, will soon be home to Aventura Hotel, the second prime value resort – after Cabana Bay, of course. But unlike Cabana, don’t expect Aventura to feature any kind of theming; instead, it’ll simply be a nice, modern, posh hotel, not unlike a Hilton. This should make it the least expensive of all the properties, but it still features a rooftop bar 16 stories up – not the worst tradeoff.

Read more: first details

8. New Harry Potter dark ride

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal's Islands of Adventure
The Boy Who Never Stops Expanding

Status: rumored
Expected opening: 2019

Dragon Challenge – that massive, intertwining roller coaster – is reportedly going to be torn down later this year, leaving a nice chunk of land open for new developments. The main draw here will be a new dark ride (perhaps the next Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey?), but it’s possible we’ll see one or two other small experiences nestled alongside it, as well, such as new walk-through attractions and/or eateries.

Read more: our suggestions for replacements

9. Eighth hotel

Universal Silverscreen Resort concept art
We want to see this old design be resurrected

Status: rumored
Expected opening: 2020

With Wet ‘n Wild Orlando now officially closed, the 50-acre piece of property that sits some 10 or 15 minutes down the road from Universal Orlando will be converted into the biggest on-site hotel Universal has made yet – think three or four times the room count of Cabana Bay. It’ll still offer theming, despite its distance, and it might even boast a mini-CityWalk of its own.

We fully expect this to be listed as a “value” hotel – a new category and a new low price both.

Read more: our suggestions for replacements

10. Super Nintendo World

Super Nintendo World coming to Universal Studios Japan
Super Nintendo World coming to Universal Studios Japan

Status: announced
Expected opening: 2020 (or beyond)

The concept art for Super Nintendo World is nothing short of stunning, offering the same level of lavish detail – and immersion! – that Diagon Alley currently does. Expect a Mario Kart and Donkey Kong ride, with Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone shutting down later this year to make room for everything.

The bad news? It could open as early as 2020 or as late as 2024 (eep!).

Read more: inside look

11. Third theme park

The map of Universal Orlando Resort and Site B
The map of Universal Orlando Resort and the future Site B

Status: rumored
Expected opening: sometime in the (early) 2020s

In late 2015, Universal purchased 474 acres of land (that’s roughly half of the current Universal Orlando Resort) not too far from the Orange County Convention Center. The first development to go up here should be a third gate, which may or may not include the likes of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and DreamWorks Animation; later on, should the expansion prove successful, expect another CityWalk, more hotels, and, possibly, a fourth park.

Read more: Universal buys the new property

Which attractions are you the most – and least – looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below.

Marc N. Kleinhenz Marc N. Kleinhenz’s first dream in life was to be an astronaut. His second was an Imagineer. While neither completely worked out, he now writes books, flash fiction, and articles for 31 sites and counting (including IGN, The Escapist, and The Huffington Post). He’s co-created two podcasts and has even taught English in Japan. Imagineering school won’t be too far behind.

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