Universal Studios Florida References Only Gen X (or Older Millennials) Will Understand

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Take a trip with us down the Universal Studios Florida memory lane

A visit to Universal Studios Florida is filled with the magic of modern attractions, immersive thematic elements, and beloved characters. But for those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s, there are nostalgic memories of the attractions and experiences that were found in the park’s earlier days that only Gen X and older millennials will truly appreciate. While I frequent Universal Orlando Resort frequently (and love every minute of it!), I often find myself longing to once again experience some of the now-retired attractions that were found in the park during my very first visit back in the 90’s. Let’s take a nostalgic trip down memory lane and revisit some of the iconic, now-retired attractions from Universal Studios Florida that once defined the park.

Related: Beyond the Movies at Universal Orlando’s DreamWorks Land

back to the future universal studios florida

Back to the Future: The Ride

Based on the beloved film trilogy, Back to the Future: The Ride was a groundbreaking simulator that took guests on a thrilling journey through time in a DeLorean. Opening in 1991, the ride featured state-of-the-art technology for its time and captured the imagination of many fans. Sadly, it closed in 2007 and was replaced by The Simpsons Ride. Those who experienced it still fondly remember the excitement of chasing Biff Tannen through the power of 1.21 gigawatts.


One of the original attractions when Universal Studios Florida opened in 1990, Kongfrontation was a must-see for many visitors. Guests boarded a Roosevelt Island tram and found themselves in the midst of a harrowing encounter with King Kong in New York City. The life-sized animatronic Kong was both awe-inspiring and terrifying, leaving a lasting impression on anyone who experienced the attraction. It closed in 2002 to make way for the Revenge of the Mummy ride. While we LOVE The Mummy, we do long for this OG Kong experience.

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Nothing quite compared to the thrill of the Jaws ride. Opening with the park in 1990, this attraction allowed guests to board a boat tour of Amity Island, only to be confronted by the great white shark himself. The suspenseful and immersive experience, complete with animatronic sharks and explosive special effects, was a staple for visitors until its closure in 2012. Today, Harry Potter fans enjoy the area that once hosted Jaws, but fans of the now-closed attraction can still pose for a photo with the shark that still hangs near the Transformers attraction.

The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera

This motion simulator ride, which opened in 1990, was a tribute to the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Featuring characters like Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, and Scooby-Doo, it was a hit among families and fans of the iconic animation studio. The attraction took guests on a wild chase through various cartoon worlds, bringing childhood favorites to life. It closed in 2002 and was eventually replaced by Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast and later Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.

Related: Universal Orlando Releases New Halloween Horror Nights Teaser Trailer

earthquake the big one

Earthquake: The Big One

Simulating a catastrophic earthquake, this attraction opened with the park in 1990 and thrilled guests with its realistic effects and dramatic scenarios. Visitors experienced a simulated 8.3-magnitude earthquake while riding a BART train through a San Francisco subway station. In 2008, the ride was reimagined as Disaster!: A Major Motion Picture Ride…Starring You!, which eventually closed in 2015 to make way for Fast & Furious: Supercharged.

Nickelodeon Studios

For many kids growing up in the 90s, Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios Florida was a dream come true. Opening in 1990, it was the place where many popular Nickelodeon shows were filmed, including “Double Dare,” “Clarissa Explains It All,” and “All That.” Guests could take a tour of the studio, see live tapings, and even get slimed. The studio closed in 2005, and its space was eventually transformed into the Blue Man Group Sharp Aquos Theatre, with the Blue Man Group show eventually closing in 2021. Nickelodeon Studios was a real-life production facility, producing over 2,000 episodes of programming!

Were you able to experience any of these attractions at Universal Studios Florida before they closed? If so, which one would you bring back if given the choice? Leave us a comment to let us know!

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