Universal Orlando, with an eye to bolstering attendance at the theme park, announced ambitious plans this week for a daily interactive character parade and a nighttime light and pyrotechnics show.
NIGHT SHOW The night show, debuting this spring, will celebrate Universal's movies through the last 100 years and will run 18 to 20 minutes. The three high-definition screens projected on waterfalls in the middle of a lagoon will be surrounded by 70 LED-lit fountains and pyrotechnics.
"This is very much a big end-of-day spectacular," says Jim Timon, Universal Orlando's senior vice president for entertainment.
THE PARADE Also coming this spring, the Universal Superstar Parade will feature characters such as Nickelodeon's Dora & Diego and SpongeBob SquarePants. A spokesman says each float will be set up as a separate show with special effects and musical score that can be featured around the park when not in the parade.
In other Universal Orlando news:
'DESPICABLE ME' RIDE A new ride based on the animated film will open this summer in the Universal Studios park. The ride replaces Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast simulator and will use a sophisticated digital 3-D projection system.
The ride will feature the villain Gru (voiced in the movie and on the ride by Steve Carell), his three adopted daughters and, of course, the not-too-bright minion characters.
Universal says riders will be transformed into minions before embarking on the 3-D adventure and will get to participate in a minion "dance party" at the end of the ride.
SPIDER-MAN Similar high-definition digital technology is being applied to a retooled version of "The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man," scheduled to open in March at Universal's other Orlando property, Islands of Adventure. A combination of the nifty 3-D animation, roving motion vehicles and special effects have made the Spider-Man ride a crowd favorite for more than a decade. The ride will close for several weeks while new equipment is installed, but Universal did not provide specific dates.