Sunday, February 9, 2014

From The Vault: Universal Studios Florida 1996 Guide

Here's a fun one, a Universal Studios Florida brochure from February 1996.  My how this park has changed!

There's a lot of familiar faces on the cover of this brochure... but almost all of them are gone from the park in present day!  The mentality of the park was totally different than it is now, this was no resort at the time and they literally gave away a second day's admission if you were willing to come back.  An adult ticket at the time was $37 - currently a single park admission ticket is $92 - right around a 250% increase from '96.

Here's a map of Universal Studios Florida, a bit smaller than we are accustomed to now without the extension to where Men In Black currently is.  Since the resort had not yet been developed, it is super strange to see a Bus/Taxi Pick Up area out front of the gates!  Also the Hard Rock Cafe was still in the old location, where both visitors to the park and outside guests could have a meal.

The center of the brochure has one point and that is to show off all the rides and attractions that were offered at the park.  Nickelodeon Studios was up and running at the park, filming several shows on property.  Specifically during early February The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo was being filmed, featuring Pat Morita!

In 1996 Universal Studios Florida still offered a Production Studio Tram Tour, something brought to the park to mimic the success of the Hollywood version.  Wikipedia says that the Tour closed in 1995, so I'm not quite sure why it is still listed in this brochure!

Other big attractions at the park are featured here as well, including Jaws, Kongfrontation, Earthquake - The Big One, and Back To The Future - The Ride.  Only one of those four is still in operation, though under a different name (Disaster!).

Barney was a recent addition to the park in 1996, having just joined the lineup the year before as part of an expansive area for kids that was also the home to Fievel's Playland.  Kids were also sure to get a kick out of the E.T. Adventure, and the Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera.

Along with plenty of dining and shopping options to fill in a visitor's time, the park also heavily promoted the Dynamite Nights Stuntacular, which took place on the central lagoon in the evening.  Without a second park, Harry Potter, Resorts and CityWalk, guests would often taken a bus back to their hotel in Disney World after spending a part of the day at Universal Studios Florida.  At least my family always did!