With its Jaws attraction a construction zone for the rest of the year, Universal Studios Florida unveiled several new and upgraded attractions Wednesday to assure there's enough to justify a return visit.
"We have never created so many new experiences in one year," said Mark Woodbury, creative president for Universal's theme park unit.
The list of the park's first new attractions since 2010 includes:
-A complete overhaul of the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man that opens in March. The upgrade of the decade-old dark ride includes new special effects synchronized with a new reanimated 3-D film in the latest 4K HD resolution. The detail now zooms down to the threads in Spidey's gloves. Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee makes an appearance in the updated story line.
-A new staging of the Blue Man Group show, which requires a separate ticket, that is set to open in February, although a date was not provided.
-An all-new 3-D interactive Despicable Me attraction that promises to be overrun with thousands of goggled yellow minions opening in late spring. It's on the soundstage that once housed the Jimmy Neutron attraction. The experience has the audience participating as minions in a dance party.
-A new parade filled with costumed cartoon characters from the casts of Nickelodeon's Dora, Diego, SpongeBob SquarePants and more Despicable Me minions. The parade debuts in spring with floats big enough to be parked for stage shows and character meet and greet duty.
-A nighttime fireworks and lighting show over the park lagoon celebrating a century of Hollywood moviemaking by Universal Studios. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, the show features clips of everything from Bogart to Spielberg projected on towering fountains 100 feet tall. Nightly performances begin in spring.
-A wacky 36-hole mini-golf course in Hollywood themes at CityWalk in February. Half the holes honor horror films; the other half, science fiction movies.
-Universal's Wet 'n Wild water park also will get a new family water play area by summer, outfitted with 15 new slides and hundreds of water jets, sprays and cannons.
Universal Orlando closed the headliner Jaws ride Jan. 2 for demolition but has yet to say what will be built behind the barricades to take its place. The park is also designing a major expansion of its popular Harry Potter attractions at the adjacent Islands of Adventure park but has said the work is years from starting.
Mark Albright can be reached at email@example.com.