There’s a lot of reasons to love Universal Studios Florida. After opening its doors in June 1990, it’s become home to many attractions like Fast & Furious: Supercharged, Halloween Horror Nights, and last but not least, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Sadly, it also saw the closing of many of its other attractions, like The Blues Brothers Show, and Back to the Future: The Ride. But worry not, it is still possible to take a walk down memory lane at Universal Florida as one attraction from its opening days remains—the E.T. Adventure. Wondering what the difference is between Disney and Universal? Here’s the answer.
History of Universal Studios Florida
The plans to open Universal Studios Florida were announced in 1986, to compete with long-time rival Disney. When it opened in June 1990, Universal Florida didn’t exactly have a smooth start. Local and national news were there and so were the guests, but most of the rides didn’t even work yet. Despite the setbacks, Universal decided to persist, offering every guest who visited a free ticket to return for another day in the future, according to Theme Park Insider.
The strategy must have worked, as the following year, Universal added four new attractions to the theme park, The Blues Brothers Show, StreetBusters, The Screen Test Home Video Adventure, and How to Make a Mega Movie Deal, and kept growing ever since. The park now brings in around 10 million visitors a year and has seen the closing of many of its opening-day attractions to make room for newer ones. According to Ashlynn Webb, public relations coordinator at Universal Orlando Resort, the E.T. Adventure is the only opening-day attraction that has withstood the test of time.
What is the E.T. Adventure?
The E.T. Adventure is based on the beloved 1982 sci-fi movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestial, and gives the visitors a chance to feel like they’re in the movie themselves. How? By taking a ride on one of the movie’s iconic flying bicycles! In the attractions early years, guests also had the option of riding in a spaceship modeled after the one that E.T. came to Earth on in the movie, according to The Other Orlando.
The ride takes the visitors through various adventures. They travel past NASA and police officers chasing them, fly over the city into outer space, and visit E.T.’s home, the Green Planet. At the end of the ride, E.T. thanks each of the visitors by name and says goodbye with his iconic line, “I’ll be right here.” Next, find out more about another iconic ride, Universal’s Harry Potter Ride.