Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Universal Orlando Closing Wet 'n Wild at the End of 2016

After the recent announcement of Volcano Bay, a new water park that will be on-property at the Universal Orlando Resort, many speculated about Wet 'n Wild Orlando's long term future.  Turns out there was good reason for that, as the resort announced today that the water park will be closing for good on December 31, 2016.  That gives fans of the park more than a year and a half to get in their final splashes, so no one can say this caught them by surprise!

© Wet 'n Wild Orlando
Wet 'n Wild Orlando is often called the first real water park in the U.S., and opened in 1977.  It was privately owned for decades along with the other Wet 'n Wild parks until being purchased by Universal in 1998.  A couple years ago Universal purchased the 50 or so acres of land that the park sits on, previously only leasing the property.  With the closing of the water park, Universal will have some prime real estate open, located just across I-4 outside the entrance to the resort.

Universal isn't saying anything about what will become of the water park once it closes, when there will be a lot of large water slides sitting unused.  Wet n' Wild Orlando has several large Proslide built rides, a very new water play structure, and even newer mat racing slides added last year.  It might make sense to move some to Volcano Bay, however I'm not sold on the 'look' of these slides being right for what Universal is going for in the new "water theme park."  Instead I think other external water parks might get a chance at some used slides at a good price.

More long term, I'm very interested to see if Universal builds more hotel rooms on the site.  They've openly said they want thousands of additional rooms, but are simply running out of space.  This could be their first step to off-site lodging, one would guess with transportation over to the resort included.  Amazing how Universal isn't afraid to make bold moves to continue to shake up Orlando!