Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Orlando: A cherished history & our hope for its return

Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Orlando: A cherished history & our hope for its return

Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Orlando: A cherished history & our hope for its return

Universal Studios Florida formerly hosted Nickelodeon Studios when the theme park opened in 1990.

Nickelodeon Studios circa 2004.
Nickelodeon Studios circa 2004. Source

The studio was used for filming popular shows on the network such as Double Dare, Nickelodeon GAS, Guts, and Figure It Out. Other scripted shows were also filmed on the soundstages such as All That, Clarissa Explains It All, and the first two seasons of Kenan and Kel. Later the area was expanded where Slime Time Live was filmed on an almost daily basis.

For all that attended Nickelodeon Studios when it was opened, children and adults alike loved it. The tour of the studios was a favorite and the possibility of being slimed had all of the children excited and on their toes. I was lucky enough to be a contestant on Slime Time Live when I was eight years old, and it is a memory I will never forget.

A younger version of myself with Jonah from Slime Time Live.
A younger version of myself with Jonah from Slime Time Live.

While I did not win the vote to be put in the chair to get slimed on national television, I was able to get slimed on the mini game show hosted inside the studio tour.

 

Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Orlando: A history

In November of 1988, Nickelodeon joined up with Universal Studios and they began to break ground for the building of the Nickelodeon Studios. The construction was completed in June of the following year and filming began on the infamous Stage 21 for their first program filmed in Orlando, Super Sloppy Double Dare. When Universal Studios Florida opened their doors officially in June of 1990, Nickelodeon Studios welcomed the public. In October of 1990, the famous Slime Geyser was unveiled and officially opened. Minimal changes were made between then and 1999 except for some exterior changes to the building and additional shows being taped at the Studios.

[youtube_video]vOrjxXIEjOA[/youtube_video]

By 1999, Universal was expanding to be more as a theme park than a film studio and no new shows were being taped in Orlando. New studios were being added in California and only a few shows were still being taped in Orlando. The studios had minimal finances at the time so many props had to be auctioned off and the studio tour went from a 45 minute long spectacle to a shorter version with less sets and interactivity. Slime Time Live was eventually cancelled in 2003 after a five year run and by 2004, only one show (U-Pick Live) was being filmed in Orlando. In the summer of 2004 they decided to add SPLAT!, which was the final show filmed at Nick Studios. In April of 2005, they did their last tour of the studios and Nickelodeon Studios officially closed. In September of 2006 it was announced that Blue Man Group would take over the former Nick Studios, and exactly 17 years after the Studios grand opening Blue Man Group held their first show.

Today, the Nickelodeon Suites Resort contains some of the last remnants of Nickelodeon in the Universal/Orlando area. The hotel hosts a Double Dare Live! show incorporating audience members described as, “Studio Nick’s modernized LIVE Double Dare combines the exhilaration of the Original Double Dare television show with our new twists and turns, provided by state-of-the-art technology, plus updated content incorporating pop culture like only the Nick Hotel can.”

Nickelodeon Hotel.
Nickelodeon Hotel. Source

The hotel also offers rooms decorated with Nickelodeon themes in the Suites. Character breakfasts are offered featuring SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and other well-known Nickelodeon characters. A favorite at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort is the daily “Orlando Mass Sliming” in which 400 gallons of slime are dumped from their lagoon slide tower directly onto their guests.

 

Why I’d love to see Nickelodeon Studios come back

Nickelodeon was such a huge network in the early 1990’s and 2000’s, and it still is a large enterprise today. While many of the original shows are no longer filmed and the network has moved in a very different direction than their original programming, they’re still a leader in the children’s television industry. The memories of the original Nickelodeon mixed with the contemporary Nickelodeon of today would set up a scenario that would be perfect for Universal. Taking a step into one of the best television channel’s background and learning about the television shows — and being part of them — is what Universal Studios Florida is all about! Bringing back Nickelodeon Studios would bring this happiness to a whole new generation of children.

Advertisement for Universal Studios Florida circa 1994.
Advertisement for Universal Studios Florida circa 1994. Source

There are many movements to bring back Nick Studios including several Facebook pages and petitions. Rumors have circulated over the years of plans to bring the Studios back but nothing has been confirmed — and with the way things look (with Blue Men having taken over the Studios and a lack of interest in the original Nickelodeon), it is doubtful that an entire film studio will reopen. Possibilities for bringing back a retro Nickelodeon themed area or ride is a popular topic of conversation, but nothing has been confirmed by Nickelodeon or Universal Orlando.

Here is one more video. It shows the entrance to Nick Studios while it was open and after it was replaced:

[youtube_video]KOzMPq4pwIs[/youtube_video]

 

If you have memories you’d like to share, please leave a comment below! Or, read more blog posts about Universal Orlando’s history.

 

[sws_author_bio user=”AllyPfeiffer” size=”105″ authorposts=”More OI posts by Ally” name_format=”About the author”] [/sws_author_bio]

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Lillian
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Lillian

My hubby and I were just talking about that last night.  We were discussing how we used to remember Universal Studios.  He never went to Disney as a kid, but did make it to Universal 1x.  We went back in Feb this year and it was not what we were expecting.  We were just saying though it would be neat to see that come back.

Kendall
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Kendall

Yes I do miss the Studios… it seems like every good show they had was during the period of when the Studios were open! I miss old Nickelodeon so much! I wish they would bring back some of our favorite shows on a 24/7 “Classic Nick” channel! That would be awesome. But like the article said, with things going the way they are who knows when these things will happen!

Jewels
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Jewels

Such a great trip down memory lane! Nothing compares to Classic Nick! You can catch some of the old shows on Noggin. I was really sad when I leaned Nick Studios would no long be at Universal Orlando. I used to love going on the tour each time we visited. Another exciting thing is that you never knew who you might catch a glimpse of! During one of the tours we went on they were filming All That and Kel was in the make up room (in his Good Burger gear) so my mom and I hung out towards the… Read more »

Ally Pfeiffer
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Ally Pfeiffer

Yes Julie, it was incredibly fun! It’s a memory I’ll never forget, along with the memory that my parent’s camera died (this is when they look legitimate batteries!) right before. So unfortunately, I don’t have any photos to remember it by, but I still remember it very well! Your memories are amazing! I would have died to meet Kel or Josh, or really anyone from All That or Figure It Out! Good Burger was, and still is, one of my favorite movies from Nickelodeon. I was excited to meet Jonah (I had the biggest crush on him!), but that sounds… Read more »

Jewels
Guest
Jewels

Ally that stinks the batteries died! 🙁 I have some camera fiascoes like that myself from some Orlando vacations, which are the reasons now why I always carry a camera with me no matter where I go! You just never know when you will need it for that special moment. I am glad you have the memories though 🙂 Good Burger is such a classic, LOVE that movie! When we were on the studio tour we only had our video camera, so when we got home from vacation I always tried to pause the video on tv and take a… Read more »

derekburgan
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derekburgan

While I long for the Nickelodeon of my youth, I’m not sure there’s all that much more Universal can do to incorporate the Nickelodeon of today into the parks. They have WONDERFUL floats for Spongebob and Dora, and the new Spongebob StorePants is among the best gift shops in the park. You can’t do much with the Disney Channel-like shows that dominate the network now like Wendell and Vinnie. I have plenty of friends who visit all of the Universal and Disney hotels and the Nickelodean resort gets consistently their lowest scores. That’s not a good sign. All that said,… Read more »

OrlandoInformer
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OrlandoInformer

I was going to say that I thought Nick Hotel was one of the better options in Orlando, but now that I’m looking at Trip Advisor, the ratings are very much… with over 300 ‘terrible’ reviews. That’s too bad, huh?

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g34515-d144437-Reviews-Nickelodeon_Suites_Resort-Orlando_Florida.html

Riley
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Riley

They need to reopen the studio and bring back some of their old writers. Seriously the garbage that is being put out by them is making me sick. what happened to the cool game shows? What happened to all live action tv shows that I loved growing up? What happen to the quality of cartoons? I know my childhood is over and they make cartoons for current generation of kids, but that part of me is still very much alive and still wants it around and to just act like its not there would be a crime. Honestly when I… Read more »

Dally
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Dally

I’ve been nostalgic over this place for the last couple of months. I randomly thought about it while working on my 90’s blog, I remember it from commercials, slime time live, the end of shows, and other ways. I always wanted to go. I am married and have 2 children now, and thought maybe I could take my children since I never got to go, but then to my defeat find out that it’s now ran by Blue Man Group and has little to no resemblance of Nickelodeon Studios. I’ve joined groups on Facebook, signed petitions, the whole 9 yards. But I lost… Read more »

Jacob izreal
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Jacob izreal

Dally, I 100% agree with you. I was born in 91. Loved everything related to Nick! rocket power, kenan and kel, thornberries, rugrats, AHH real monsters! Lol but my daughter doesn’t. Its no longer the same and never will be. It’s time for us to grow up and let it go :-/ haha we had a good run, now we have to let our kids have their fun… My dad used to fuss at me for watching my cartoons, just cause he wanted me to watch his old trash he used to watch. i refuse to do that with my… Read more »

Nicholas Marks
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Nicholas Marks

A piece of Nostalgia that will be back by the people who care about them so dearly.

wegot2wordz4yah
Guest
wegot2wordz4yah

@Riley and all the old shows still going on spongebob and fairly oddparents suck now

wegot2wordz4yah
Guest
wegot2wordz4yah

thank god for nickelodeon for 90’s are all that it sucks though that it is only of like two hours on the channel that it should be on all day (GaS, currently Teen Nick which should be on noggin now nick jr) but i didnt get to know wat the old days were untili was like 4 when they closed down Nick Studios if they bring it back bring everything the original stuff no bs that is why i stopped watching nick once in a while on teen nick for the old shows but if orlando universal is smart they… Read more »

RobertShamelessMyers
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RobertShamelessMyers

When are they going to come out with more Airbender movies or are they going to keep us hanging

DougJenkins
Guest
DougJenkins

Well I can’t agree.  If it was well received (ie. making money), it never would have closed.  Don’t believe it will reopen, but you never know.

KevyB
Guest
KevyB

Who needs the Studios? All we need is SpongeBob! Personally, I never understood why they didn’t just update the kiddie area to Bikini Bottom. He’s popular worldwide! And they have SpongeBob StorePants!

JeremyReed1
Guest
JeremyReed1

I have news for you, nick is going to regret moving the studios to California because, the. New studios is going under the ocean and I hope it happens soon because I thought it was horrible to move nick to California

Pa8rs
Guest
Pa8rs

I totally agree, I was around the same age as you (the final era of the Nestle Wonder Ball, good times) I grew up with the classic shows. Now spongebob doesn’t make me laugh as much anymore. I wish I could travel bake in time to the 90s or even just wake up in the 90s. That would be wonderful!

Pa8rs
Guest
Pa8rs

Daily I also agree too, and about the. Magazine, I got the final issue, I think, in the December of 2009. I just wish I could travel back with Dr. Brown to the 90s and live there as a Teen.

abasti585
Guest
abasti585

alright ally here is the thing it wasn’t COMPLETELY nicks fault (weird right) at the time of their closing nick simply did not have enough money to keep it open because no shows were being filmed there and thats why it REALLY closed