To a follower of this industry we love, it may seem like Universal Orlando has been around forever. It always surprises me to remember that the first theme park of the current resort, Universal Studios Florida, actually just opened in 1990 - not even 25 years ago. What's even more surprising is to read just how horribly the opening of that first theme park went, and how it struggled to find its footing in the years that followed.
Universal Orlando: The Unofficial Story is a great way of looking back at those years, and all those that followed. The book chronicles the development of the first park all the way through the addition of Harry Potter to Islands of Adventure - and as we've seen lately the resort is no where near done expanding. I especially liked reading about all the issues that took place with the roster of opening day attractions at Universal Studios Florida - I knew Jaws was a dud at first but had no idea so many others gave such trouble!
There's a lot of facts packed into the pages of the book, at time it even feels a tad bit like a wikipedia entry on the park - but a really good one that's super long and filled with details you're interested in. The author even points out that due to a rushed publishing schedule there would probably be some typos, and indeed my eyes spotted several. Still, while there exists a plethora of Disney park related books, it's refreshing to have a good read about Universal now in existence.
It's especially fun for someone to read that's headed to the Universal parks soon, like myself, to be able to remember attractions that are now just a part of history.