Hey Thrill Seekers,
When Universal announced they were building a new water park the internet and our blog exploded. There’s no coincidence that our busiest ever day on attraction-tickets.info happened to be the same day we wrote about Volcano Bay. Rightly so, people are very excited about the park and its promised opening in 2017.
On that day myself and a few colleagues sat down to absorb the official press release. Here’s what the very first paragraph said;
ORLANDO, Fla. (May 28, 2015) – Universal Orlando Resort today announced a project of remarkable vision: to bring to life an entirely new water theme park experience. Called Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort, it will join Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure and become the resort’s third incredibly immersive park.
Sounds awesome we all agreed… but hang on! Third incredibly immersive park?… Third!? Hang on let me just count… 1 – Universal Studios… 2 – Islands of Adventure… 3 – Wet N’ Wild …. 4 – Volcano Bay. Now I’m no Carol Vorderman but I make that 4 immersive parks not 3!? Unless… Dear God no….
Volcano Bay was announced just before the start of IPW, an international event held this year in Orlando where the cream of the theme park industry (among others) get together to chat about commercial, marketing and future projects. Universal were part of this event. Dennis Quinn, Vice President of Destination Sales for Universal (and a lovely man) was actually asked directly about what Volcano Bay meant for Wet N’ Wild. Dennis refused to be drawn into comment.
What was confirmed is that tickets for Wet N’ Wild would continue to be available to the UK market during 2016. Not normally something that would be commented on, it’s been pretty standard for years now, it gives this writer the impression that perhaps 2016 is a deadline!?
So… this is what we think might happen, I stress, this what we think might happen. It’s pure speculation.
Any reference to Wet N Wild will be replaced by Volcano Bay, so for example the Universal 3 park bonus ticket which usually includes Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Wet N Wild, will still exist but the Wet N Wild part will become Volcano Bay. It makes a certain kind of sense, Wet N’ Wild has always felt a tiny bit separate from the Universal Resort.
What will happen to Wet N’ Wild? Well they might sell it on… but I don’t think that will be the case.
Recently I visited Universal and took part in what is called a Hotel Inspection, it’s not what you think, I wasn’t there to judge I was there for a guided tour of the facilities. There were quite a few head honchos who joined us and one of the main topics was demand for rooms outweighing the supply and this was literally while I was stood in Cabana Bay and a week after Universal had confirmed they were building Sapphire Falls Hotel. One of the Universal staff told me that with the rise of the UK and Brazilian market they could easily sell their inventory twice over.
Now I maybe jumping the shark a little early here (Happy Days reference), but could Universal be planning to use that prime location area to build a new hotel. The land is large enough to perhaps cater for a 600 room hotel bang in the middle of International Drive right near their other hotels and parks… The more people you can house the more people visit your parks etc!
So this is my guess; in 2017 Wet N Wild will close and make way for a new hotel. I could be totally wrong, but that of course is the nature of a guess but what I would suggest is if they look to build a new hotel, would only 3 gates (Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure & Wet N Wild) be enough… would Universal require a 3rd theme park?
One things for sure, Universal are the most exciting company in Florida at the moment.