Monday, April 22, 2013

Universal Orlando- The Third Gate/Water Park Rumor

Rumor: Universal Orlando to build a Waterpark and a Third Gate Theme Park.
Oh man, here we go again.

Looks like the good folks over at Orlando Theme Park News (OTPN) have managed to scrounge up another rumor surrounding Universal Orlando Resort. Apparently over on WDWMagic someone has been prodding the shit pot in regards to the long rumored third gate and waterpark. 

Copy of the original post, Check out OrlandoParkNews.Com to see it yourself!

Wow. Okay, were do I begin with ripping this to tiny pieces?

Let's begin with the most probable of these rumors, the Waterpark.
Now, it's been rumored for years Universal Orlando Resort has wanted a waterpark. This has been a rumor...  forever. As far as I can remember it's been sitting on the back burner since Universal Studios first began making money which was about the same time they managed to get all of their rides really working and people coming in the gates around 1994/1995.  If your not 'in-the-know' of what this really means, this was the gossip from five years before Islands of Adventure opened.  This all started up because Disney World announced their (then) 3rd waterpark, Blizzard Beach.  

Making the jump, everyone just assumed that Universal would also build a waterpark to keep people on the property the way Disney World does. However, you HAVE to keep in mind this is before CityWalk Orlando was built. This is before the Wet'N'Wild Deal. This is before the Parking Garages. This is 1994/1995!

Image from Google Earth 1995. Bad Paintbrush from Yours Truly.

With some help from Google Earth you can clearly see that when this rumor began, Universal Orlando had PLENTY of room. Which leads into the really BIG DAMN PROBLEM with this rumor about the third gate. They had plenty of room for a waterpark, they had land coming out their ears before the new I-4 interchange and before International Drive, Kirkman Road and Major Blvd/Universal Blvd were built up. Today, that really isn't the case. Universal Orlando has really become a resort destination compared to it's 1995 counterpart.  Islands of Adventure and the first Parking Garage opened in 1999. CityWalk in 2000 and then they starting building hotels!

Today Universal Orlando Resort has one very big, very obvious problem...

Universal Orlando is out of SPACE

Image from Google Earth 2012. Bad Paintbush Skills from Yours Truly.
Seriously, they have NO ROOM to build. Maybe they could shoe-horn a smallish water park in someplace.. somehow? I'll grant you that much. Perhaps they'll attach it to the new Cabana Bay resort? Perhaps they could move Human Resources, Employee parking and stuff in the backlot area but it won't be something massive. This mystery space simply doesn't exist and surely not enough to manage a third gate theme park!

The only way I can see Universal Orlando Resort managing a third gate is, to be honest, one hell of a stretch on the imagination and a public relations nightmare. They'd have to buy up the homes and apartments located on Turkey Lake Road or Vineland Road and move whichever road so that it isn't cutting threw the resort. That would really be the only option, their not going to remove the resort hotels. Their not going to remove the parking garages. They are completely OUT of retention ponds to drain away then fill. Kirkman Road can't be diverted. The state of Florida would rather sink into the ocean then move the I-4 corridor, so that's not an option.

The whole concept of trying to squeeze in a mysterious third gate is a complete logistical nightmare. If they tried to move homes, the uproar would cause national media attention. The public outcry would be a serious buzzkill for UOR's current momentum. Simply, I can't see them buying out and demolishing houses for addition space then re-shaping a road. Unless you can find some mysterious space that only exists in Universal own special space-time dimension...

 On the whole, I don't think we have to worry about this mysterious 3rd gate rumor as ever becoming an issue or a reality.  The Waterpark idea, I'll grant you, could happen but I don't think we're looking at something massive. So relax and don't take much stock in those rumors running wild with the start of the theme park and tourist seasons. While they might be fun to speculate on, rumors are just rumors until the theme parks make an announcement!

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