Universal Studios Theme Parks Universal studios theme parks, operated by the Universal Studios, an NBC Universal division are based around movies that the company has produced over the years. Currently, open parks include Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Japan theme parks. The idea of Universal Studios theme parks started back in 1981. While Universal had a Studio Tour that was fairly popular back in the days, they wanted something a bit bigger. They wanted a working studio that could double as a theme park and thus the concept of Universal Studios theme parks was born. The first theme park from Universal Studios was opened in 1990. The early days of Universal Studios theme parks were not impressive. The attractions did not prove to be as effective as it had been expected. Long line delays caused many people to vow never to return. In fact the 2 theme parks, Earthquake and Kongfrontation, the most popular attractions at the time of their opening failed. JAWS likewise suffered a similar fate. As a result of these failures, Universal Studios resulted in handing out free passes as apologies to the disappointed fans. However, damage had already been done and it would take a number of years before Universal could recover from these catastrophic failures. By 1996, a massive expansion was taking place with the introduction of a second theme park, a new hotel and an entertainment district that were launched almost simultaneously in 1999. The new theme park that was entitled “Islands of Adventure” made all aware that universal Studios was capable of delivering the same level of excitement to a park as Disney. In fact, some of the creative talent behind the highly successful Disney- MGM studios was responsible for Universal’s Islands of Adventure. The theme park was no “kiddie park” as it was able to deliver high energy coasters and thrill rides that were targeted at an older audience. In the same year 1999, Universal Studios theme parks division came up with the CityWalk, an entertainment district similar to Disney’s Pleasure Island and luxury hotel Portofino Bay. Now, the district has 3 hotel properties, 2 theme parks and an entertainment district that seems to rival Disney. With an additional 2000 acres, Universal is far from finished. They plan to develop 2 additional theme parks and more resorts. If you are looking to experience the world of the spine-tingling excitement of films like Jaws, Twister and out-of-this-world adventure with movies like E.T., Men In Black and Back to the Future, Universal Studio theme parks is the place to relive those fantasies.