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Universal Studios London is a theme park and resort complex owned by Universal Parks & Resorts. It is located at Universal London Resort in the city of London, United Kingdom. It features lands, rides and themed attractions, based on both content in the Universal-owned library as well as third-parties. It opened on July 14th, 1991.


USLentry2

The entrance to the park as of 2020.

Development

EuropaWorld (1976-1981)

After the success of converting Europa Park into an amusement park destination a la via Disneyland, the newly-formed Europa Entertainment decided to create a more, larger version of Europa Park in the United Kingdom. This idea came after the Mack family took a trip to the newly-opened Walt Disney World in the mid-1970s. The resort was to include a massive world's fair-style theme park called EuropaWorld, two on-site hotels, one being themed to a medieval castle (the idea was later revisited for the Universal Castle Hotel), and the other one themed to a hotel of the future. Also part of the plan was a massive shopping mall complex. This was later revisited for CityWalk. However, the plan for EuropaPark UK was simply too ambitious for its time and would have costed a lot of money, so Europa decided to put the project on hold in favor of expanding Europa Park.

Development (1986-1991)

In 1986, Europa Entertainment approached MCA about a potential joint-venture to build a Universal resort in London, England. They also contacted FiddleGriff Studios to help assist with the creation of the resort. Coincidentally, the studio's founder, Theodore Chrisman was an imagineer for WED and had past experience developing theme parks, mostly EPCOT Center.

In 1986, Europa executives visited Walt Disney World for the second time, this time on a top-secret mission to EPCOT Center. Construction of the resort's two hotels began in September 1988 followed by the main park in early 1989, although the planned indoor shopping mall was temporarily put on hold due to budget constraints.

Construction and eventual opening

Unlike the opening at the park in Florida that had opened the same year, the opening at the Universal Studios London was a success. It beat Euro Disney’s opening by a long shot.

Due to the success of the park, they opened Universal CityWalk London in 1994, with a movie theater in 1993 opening called United Artists Theaters (1994-2006, later renamed Odeon Plaza 94, 2006-present)

The Great Escape era (1998-2001)

Despite its initial success, Universal Studios constantly met the challenges of evolving with worldwide progress, an issue that caused the park to lose relevance and become outdated in the late 90s. By this time, many of the IPs represented in the park were no longer popular and had become outdated. Universal decided to replace many of the rides and retheme multiple areas of the park.

TBA

The Resort Era (2001-2010's)

Universal began expanded its resort by adding Universal Islands of Adventure London in 2002, PortAdventura London in 2004 and Universal's Watertopia in 2002, and expanded Citywalk Londen.

However some accidents were making the park not as safe as it usually was, TBA however there where fixed in the 2000's as it was still popular in the early 2000s and 2010s.

Also in the 2000s Universal created some hit attractions like the Toonville area, Revenge of the Mummy and TBA

Around the same time, FiddleGriff Animation was struggling to compete with the rising CGI animation, which was causing a decline of demand for hand-drawn animation. In 2004, FiddleGriff's financial issues forced the company to sell 20% of their stake back to Europa Entertainment and Universal Parks & Resorts. TBA.

2016 Renovation

TBA.

Areas

Current

  • Hollywood/Production Central - The main section of the park that features famous movies and TV shows. It is obviously also based off Hollywood. There are 5 subareas. This area opened alongside the park on 14th July, 1991.
    • Far Far Away - A subarea themed to Shrek. It opened on 29th August 1997, replacing The World of Alfred Hitchcock.
  • New York City  - A section themed after post-modern New York City that features sidewalks and classic landmarks that mimic its cityscape. The area is enhanced by neon lights and flanked by street facades that set the scenes for big city fun and also real-time movie production for most Hollywood blockbuster films. It opened alongside the park.
  • Los Angeles - A section themed after Los Angeles. It opened alongside the park.
  • San Francisco - An area themed after San Francisco. It opened alongside the park.
    • Despicable Me: Gru's Neighborhood - A subarea themed to Despicable Me. It opened on 27th March 2016, replacing the Hanna-Barbera: Yabba Dabba Doo! playground area and Back To The Future: The Ride.
  • Grand Adventure - An area themed after the settings of Universal's adventure and action movies. It opened in 1999, despite the fact that two of the of the subareas, Amity Beach and The Great Valley, opened alongside the park. It replaced a generic section connecting each of the rides with one another.
    • Jurassic Park - A sub-area themed after well, the movie series of the same name. It opened on 10th July, 1998.
    • The Great Valley - A sub-area themed after The Land Before Time. It opened alongside the park.
    • Amity Beach  - A sub-area based off of the setting of the same name in the Jaws films. It opened alongside the park.
  • Toonville - TBA
  • Springfield USA - An area themed after The Simpsons and the town of the same name within the series. It opened on 16th October 2009, in correlation with the 20th Anniversary of the show It replaced the M&M's World store within the park, which had been demolished prior to the construction of Springfield. M&M's World would move to a new store within the resort in 2010.
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - An area based on the Harry Potter franchise. It opened on June 2nd 2011, replacing the Medieval Kingdom/The Lost Content.
  • Universal Wonderland - An area themed to kids' properties, most prominently including Sesame Street. It opened in 2016.

Former

  • Hill Valley - A sub-area themed after Back to The Future. It opened alongside the park. It, alongside the Yabba Dabba Doo area were later replaced by Gru's Neighborhood in 2016.
  • World of Alfred Hitchcock - An area dedicated to a thriller film director, Alfred Hitchcock. It opened alongside the park. Due to complaints by parents about children being scared of the attractions as well as technical issues, it was soon replaced by Far Far Away in 1997. 
  • Medieval Kingdom - An area themed around medieval time. It opened on 16th July 2001. It was replaced with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  • World Expo - An area themed to the various World Expo events over the years from opening to 2005, where it closed.
  • M&M's World - A store themed after the M&M's brand. It closed in 2007, where it was replaced by Springfield. A new store based off the former one was opened in 2009 in the New York section.

Attractions (to be changed)

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EX - Express rides
Universal ImmerseBand icon 2020
IB - ImmerseBand-compatible rides

Hollywood/Production Central

  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (Bolliger & Mabillard 240 feet Hypercoaster) (2010) UEX [54]
  • The Great Animated Movie Ride (1996)
  • Universal's Backlot Studios Tour (1991) (A Tram Tour Ride)  UEX
  • Woody Woodpecker's Nightastic! (!) (USL, IAOL) (1998) UEX
  • E.T. Adventure (1991) (Intamin Suspended Dark Ride) [42] UEX
  • The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera (1991) [42] UEX
  • Universal Gory and Hilarious Horror Make-Up Show (!) (1991) (Due to the sometimes graphic nature of this attraction, parental discretion is advised) 
  • Beetlejuice's Rock and Roll Graveyard Revue (1991) 
  • The Game of Thrones Speical Effects Show (2015) (Replaced: Twister, Ride it Out!)
  • Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular (!) (A Stunt Show Attraction) (1998) (Due to the intense nature of this attraction, parental discretion is advised) (Replaced: Miami Vice Action Spectacular Spectrablast)
  • The Boneyard (1991) (Exhibit area).
  • Transformers: The Ride 3D: Presented by Hasbro (2014) [40’] UEX (Replaced: Apollo 13: The Special Effects 1996-2012)<time>(edited)</time>
  • The DreamWorks Theater (2018) (Replaced: Shrek 4D, The Magic of Alfred Hitchcock)
  • TBA.

New York City

  • Terminator: Battle Thru Time (1998)
  • Revenge of the Mummy (2005)  (SR) [48’] (Premier Rides enclosed launched Coaster similar to the one at Universal Studios Florida) (Replaced: Kongfrontation)
  • A Wild Ride Through New York (1996) (This version is different from Williamsburg because it has two tracks for a wacky and random ride)
  • Jimmy Fallon and The Race Through New York (2018) (Replaced: TBA)

San Francisco

  • Earthquake: The Big One! (1991) [35’] (ATS Systems AGV Dark Ride) EX
  • Fast and Furious: Supercharged [48’] (2018) (Vekoma Indoor LSM Launch Coaster similar to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith) (Replaced: Backdraft)
  • Battlestar Galactica (SR) (2007) [52’] (A Vekoma Dueling Launch Coaster)
  • TBA.

Minion Park (2016-)

  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (2016) [40’] (Intamin Omnimax Dome Motion Simulator) (Replaced: Back to the Future: The Ride) EX
  • Freeze Ray Sliders (2016) [38‘] (Zamperla Orbiter) EX
  • Super Silly Swirl (2016) (TBA) EX
  • Minions Boardwalk Midway (2016) (various Boardwalk Games)
  • Vector's Twist and Spin (2016) [48’] (HUSS Giant Jump) EX
  • Minions Rocket Coaster (2018) [42’] (Zamperla MotorCoaster) EX
  • Super Silly Fun Coaster! (2016) [44’] (Vekoma Inverted Family Coaster) EX

Jurassic Park

  • Jurassic Park River Adventure: Presented by Nestle (SR(1998) [40’] (Vekoma/Dynamic Attractions Shoot-the-Chutes) EX
  • Raptor Chase (2019) [48’] (SR) (an RMC Dueling I-Box Coaster) EX
  • Pterodactyl Flyers (1998) [38’] (ATS Systems/MACK Rides Powered Suspended Coaster) EX
  • The Flying Dinosaur (2014) [54’] (SR) (B&M Wing Coaster) EX
  • Raptor (1998) [48’] (Vekoma Boomerang) (Relocated from Europa Park) EX
  • Camp Jurassic (1998)
  • Raptor Encounter (2016)

The Great Valley

  • Journey Through The Land Before Time: Presented by Coca-Cola (SR) (1996) [40’] (This attraction contains loud noises, dark spaces, and SCARY DINOSAURS) EX
  • Petrie's Flyers (2006) [38’] (Vekoma Steel Coaster/Dark Ride) EX
  • Secrets of the Rainbow Faces (SR) (2020) [44’] (Intamin Blitz Coaster) EX
  • Spike’s Egg-Tastic Spinners (2001) (Zamperla Tea Cups) EX
  • Littlefoot’s Prehistoric SPIN (2003) [40’] (MACK Rides Spinning Wild Mouse Coaster) EX
  • Great Valley River Rapids (1998) [38’] (SR) (Intamin River Rapids) EX
  • Sharptooth Rampage (SR) (1998) [48’] (A B&M Custom-Looper) EX
  • TBA.

Amity Beach

  • Captain Jake's Amity Boat Tours (1996)
  • SeaPort Omega (1996)
  • TBA.

Springfield U.S.A

  • The Simpsons Ride (2009) [40’] (Intamin Omnimax Motion Simulator) EX
  • Stu's Disco Coaster (2009) [42’] (A MACK Rides Launched Indoor/Outdoor Roller Coaster) EX
  • Kang and Kodos' Twirl and Whirl (2009) (A flying saucer themed ride)
  • Bart Simpson's Skatepark Spin  (2009) (Gerstlauer spinning roller coaster)
  • Krusty's Mine Train Coaster  (1999/2009) (A Arrow Dynamics mine train coaster) (Formerly named Red and Yellow's mine train from 1999 to 2007)
  • TBA.

Toonville

  • BlooJ's Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: The Adventure: Presented by Microsoft (!) (2004) [42’] (SR) (an EMV/slot-car/thrill/dark ride attraction) (Due to the sometimes intense nature of this attraction, parental discretion is advised) (This attraction contains loud noises, dark spaces, sharp turns, unexpected drops and stops, pyrotechnic effects, moments in darkness and SCARY CHAOS) (Replaced: World of Universal Movies) EX
  • TBA
  • TBA

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (2011-)

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (2011) EX
  • Flight of the Hippogriff (2011) [35’] (Vekoma Junior Coaster) EX
  • TBA.

Universal's KidZone Wonderland!

  • TBA.

Former Area's/Attractions

Stores

Hollywood/Production Central

  • That's a Wrap (1991)
  • Universal Studios Store (1991)
  • The Darkroom Photo Stop: Hosted by FujiFilm (1991)
  • Universal Studio Tram Pit-Stop (1991) (At The Exit Of Universal's Studio Backlot Tour)
  • The Monster Store (1996)
  • Studio Sweets’ (1991)
  • Universal's Studio Select (1991)
  • Woody's of Hollywood (1991)
  • Hollywood Pit-Stop (1991)
  • Dreamworks SKG Store (2018) (At The Exit Of The DreamWorks Theater) (Replaced: Shrek's Ye Olde Souvenir Shoppe)
  • RipRide Rockit: Music Stop (2010) (At The Exit Of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit)
  • Silver Screen (1998)
  • Hello Kitty (2016) (Replaced: TBA)
  • Betty Boop Store (2004)
  • Studio Gifts East (1999)
  • Studio Gifts West (1999)
  • Beverly Hills Gifts (1991)
  • E.T Toy Store (1991) (At The Exit Of E.T. Adventure)
  • Hershey Tram Treats (1991)
  • PBS Kids Store (2001)
  • Peanuts Corner Store (2002)
  • The Soundstage Store (1991) (Located inside Soundstage 91)
  • Supply Vault (2014) (At The Exit Of Transformers: The Ride 3D) (Replaced: NASA Space Store)
  • Backlot Accessory Trucks (1994)
  • The Action Shop (1994)
  • Backlot Accessories (1991)
  • The Waterworld Shack (1998)

New York City (1991-) 

  • Rosie's Irish Shop (1991)
  • Macy's Balloon Stuff (2002)
  • Sahara Traders (2005) (At The Exit Of Revenge of the Mummy) (Replaced: Safari Gear)
  • Monster Mansion MEGA Store (2009) (At The Exit Of Monster Mansion)
  • NBC Retail (2017) (At The Exit Of Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon)
  • Ghostbusters Paranormal Merchandise Store (1991/2001) (At The Exit Of Ghostbusters: The Ride/Ghostbusters Spooktacular)
  • Universal Studios Souvenirs (1991)
  • Universal Christmas Store (2003)
  • I Heart NY Store (1991)

San Francisco Bay (1991-) 

  • The Aftershock Store (1991) (At The Exit Of Earthquake: The Big One!)
  • Dom's Garage (2006) (At The Exit Of Fast And Furious Supercharged)
  • Amazing Pictures (2003)
  • San Francisco Candy Factory (1991)
  • Beach House (1991)
  • California Confectionery (1991)

Minion Park (2016-)

  •  Banana Cabana (2016)
  • Minions Pop Shop (2016)
  • Fun Store (2016)
  • Minion Cart (2016)
  • Bake My Day (2016)
  • Minion Mart (2016) (Replaced: Institute of Future Technology)
  • Minion Studio Store (2016)
  • Super Silly Stuff (2016) (Replaced: Back To The Future: The Store) (At The Exit Of Despicable Me Minion Mayhem) 

Amity Island (1991-)

  • Amity Beach House (1991)
  • Sunglass Hut (2016-)
  • TBA.

Springfield U.S.A (2009-)

  • Kwik-E-Mart (2009)
  • Krusty-Land Midway Emporium (2009) (at the exit of The Simspons Ride)
  • TBA.

Toonville (2004-)

  • TBA

TBA

The Great Valley (1998-)

  • The Dino Institute Gift Shop (1996) (At The Exit Of Journey Through The Land Before Time)
  • Sharptooth Cave (1998)
  • Great Valley Outfitters (1998) (Next to Great Valley River Rapids)
  • Valley Depot (1996) (At The Exit Of Dino-Vision 3D)
  • The Waterfall (1998)
  • TBA

Jurassic Park (1998-)

  • Jurassic Outfitters (1998) (At The Exit Of Jurassic Park River Adventure)
  • Raptor Hideout (2019)
  • Dinostore (1998)
  • TBA

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade (2011-)

  • Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods (2011) (At The Exit Of Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey) (Replaced: Merlinwood Store)
  • Dervish and Banges (2011)
  • Owl Post (2011)
  • Honeydukes (2011)
  • Gladrags Wizardwear (2011)
  • Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment (2011)
  • Ollivanders (2011)
  • Zonko’s Joke Shop (2011)

Universal's KidZone Wonderland!

  • TBA

Restaurants/Other Food Area's

Hollywood Street (1991-)

  • Mel's Drive-In (1991)
  • Donkey's Waffles (1997)
  • Universal Classic Monsters Cafe (1994)
  • Schwab's Pharmacy (1991)
  • Starbucks/Ben & Jerry's (1991/2014)
  • Beverly Hills Boulangerie (1991)
  • Graveyard Snakes (1991)
  • Universal Studio Stars Restaurant (1991)
  • The Soundstage Restaurant (1991)
  • Backdraft Wings (1993)
  • Hollywood Dine-In Theater Restaurant (1999)
  • Studio Coke-Stop (1991)
  • The PBS Cafe (1996)
  • Cafe La Bamba (1991)
  • TBA
  • Blockbuster Buffet (1999)
  • Cybertron Cafe (2014)
  • Backlot Express (1994)
  • TBA

New York City (1991-) 

  • The Macy's Parade Observatory (2002)
  • Finnegan's Bar and Grill (1991)
  • NBC Commissary (2002)
  • The Monster Bayou (1991/2009)
  • Louie's Italian Restaurant (1991)
  • Johnny Rockets (1997)
  • Doc's Candy (1991)
  • TBA

San Francisco Bay (1991-) 

  • The Aftershock Restaurant (1991)
  • Torreto's Mexican Cafe (2006)
  • San Francisco Pastry Company (1991)
  • Hershey's Ice Cream and Milkshakes (1991)
  • Surf-Boardin’ Pizza (1991)
  • HAPPINESS Café (2001)
  • The Dragon’s Pearl (2002)

Minion Park (2016-) 

  • Gru's Lab Cafe (2016)
  • Bake My Day (2016)
  • POP-A-NANA (2016)
  • Minion Kitchen (2016)
  • Despicable Ice Cream (2016)

Amity Island (1991-) 

  • Chez Alcatraz (1991)
  • Amity Landing Restaurant (1991)
  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Shrimp Co (2001)
  • Boardwalk Snacks (1991)
  • Amity Ice Cream and Refreshments (1991)

The Great Valley (1998-)

  • Treestar Cafe (1996)
  • Chomper's (1999)
  • The Cave Hideout (1998)
  • Great Valley Ice Cream Co. (1998)
  • Ozzy's Egg-Tastic Shack (1998)

Jurassic Park (1998-)

  • Jurassic Gardens Restaurant (1998)
  • Pizza Predattoria (1998)
  • The Burger Digs (1998)
  • The Watering Hole (1998)
  • Thunder Falls Terrace (1998)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade (2011-)

  • Hog's Head (2011)
  • Three Broomsticks (2011)
  • The Leaky Cauldron (2011)

Trivia

TBD.

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