Travel Tuesday: Are these Universal Orlando attractions permanently closed?

(Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images,)
(Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images,) /

Some Universal Orlando attractions are closed, but is it permanent?

In a recent announcement, theme park fans learned that some Universal Orlando attractions are closing starting this month. While some people might have seen this change coming, many people are wondering if the change is permanent or just another COVID-19 pivot.

While Universal Orlando has re-opened this summer, the theme park has had major losses. Halloween Horror Nights has been canceled for this year. In another recent announcement, the highly anticipated Epic Universe has been put on indefinite hold. Given that the theme parks have lost huge sums of money in recent months, the changes were not necessarily unexpected.

Starting on August 9, the following Universal Orlando attractions will be closed: Fast and Furious: Supercharged, Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl, Fear Factor Live, A Day in the Park with Barney, Storm Force Acceleration and Poseidon’s Fury.

Looking at these closures, there could be many reasons why these attractions will be sitting idle. Fast and Furious doesn’t allow for good social distancing. While the buses are “moving” they aren’t the best way to keep people safely apart.

Additionally, Fast and Furious has been a controversial ride since it opened. While some people like it, other people rate this attraction low. Personally, this attraction is best experienced when you make it a game. For example, every time the phrase “for the family” is used, you have an adult beverage. It makes the experience quite entertaining.

As for Fear Factor, this attraction hasn’t been open since the theme parks reopened with new safety procedures. It is not really possible to do all the stunts or challenges given the current state of the world.

Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl isn’t a hugely visited attraction. It is a cute ride, but it is often overlooked for other bigger attractions. The same can be said about Storm Force Acceleration.

For families, A Day in the Park with Barney is disappointing closure. This attraction is popular with young kids as well as families with children who have special needs. With the other play areas closed, families have limited options.

Lastly, the closure of Poseidon’s Fury is sad. That Universal Orlando attraction is one of the theme park’s hidden gems. Besides being a great place to cool off on a hot day, the elements in the walkthrough attraction are entertaining. That final scene is always a fun one.

Still, given the current parameters, the attraction is hard to manage. From the darkened rooms to the distance requirements, it is hard to run.

While these closed Universal Orlando attractions are a response to the current conditions, it begs the question, are these attractions permanently closed? It is easy enough to get the Kang & Kodos’ and Storm Force Acceleration attractions back up and running. It seems unlikely that they will be permanently closed.

The closure of Fast and Furious will probably not be permanent. It has such a large presence in the theme park, it cannot sit closed forever. But, people who do not like this ride will spin the closure in various ways.

The changes to Universal Orlando may not stop with these attractions. Although there “might” be a Jurassic Park roller coaster coming (the large tracks built point to a coaster, but it has not been confirmed), the theme park will continue to pivot. Whether it is more cuts to attractions, shorter hours, or other changes, the theme park experience of a year ago is gone and people will need to accept and adapt to that scenario.

Of course, theme parks and attractions will return in time. Given their huge impact on the Florida economy, they need to flourish for the benefit of everyone.

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What do you think of these Universal Orlando closed attractions? Should other attractions have been closed?