Ten days after the first details about the show were briefly posted online, Universal Orlando has confirmed a new nighttime show in the lagoon at Universal Studios Florida will debut sometime this summer.
The show will be called “Universal’s Cinematic Celebration”— ditching the “Epic Cinema Under the Stars” tag included in the earlier post — and will include heavy use of water fountains and effects being constructed on a large platform in the park’s lagoon.
“The show combines an all-new storyline with full panoramic water screens accented by additional multi-layer water screens, pyrotechnics and — for the first time ever — more than 120 dancing fountains and projection mapping to transform the entire waterfront and surrounding buildings into a vivid celebration of epic movie moments and beloved characters,” Universal said in a news release.
Projection mapping, which has become a mainstay of nighttime shows in other Orlando parks, hadn’t been mentioned in the earlier post. It would set the show apart from other shows based around water screens like Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and World of Color at Disney’s California Adventure. The latter has several elements in common with Universal’s new show, though Disney has boasted it has nearly 1,200 fountains, 10 times what Universal is promising.
Like World of Color and Fantasmic, and unlike Universal’s past lagoon shows, there will a single dedicated viewing area. Guests have seen this section under construction in the Central Park area of Universal Studios Florida over the past several months.
When completed, this tiered viewing area will hold up to 6,500 people, according to Universal.
When the first details about the show were accidentally posted (and quickly taken down) earlier this month, Universal-owned franchises like “Jurassic World,” “Fast and Furious” and the Minions from “Despicable Me” were all mentioned. Notably absent from that post was “Harry Potter,” arguably the most popular film property utilized in Universal parks.
Would-be wizards have no reason to fear, however, as Universal confirmed the series would be featured in the new show. In an interview with “Harry Potter” news site The Leaky Cauldron, Universal Orlando’s senior director of entertainment and creative development, Mike Aiello, said this two-minute-long section of the show will feature moments like projecting Hogwarts Castle onto the park’s New York facades, Harry riding on Buckbeak the Hippogriff and other images driven by “spellcasting” from the films.
“During the moment you hear ‘Wingardium Leviosa’ the entire lagoon, all media, will fill with feathers, just like Hermione did in the film,” Aiello told The Leaky Cauldron. “You’re going to hear ‘Incendio’, and the entire lagoon will erupt into media-based flame and pyrotechnics.”
Aiello also mentioned DreamWorks films like “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Trolls” and “Kung Fu Panda” will be featured in their own segment.
One detail Universal wouldn’t confirm is an exact opening date. All it’s saying for now is that the show will run on select nights this summer.