A lot of talk has been going on lately that Universal Studios Orlando may be trying to bulk up their fight against Walt Disney World. Rumor has it that the company is going to be a buying a lot of land, over 450 acres as a matter of fact, and that they are going to be building a third theme park on it.
The Universal Orlando Resort already has Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure as their two main theme parks, but Walt Disney World still outnumbers them by two.
Biz Journals reported that Orange County commissioners Ted Edwards and Pete Clark said that Universal Orlando Resort is rather interested in buying a huge amount of land. That land is located along Universal Blvd. and runs from Sand Lake Road all the way to the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort.
As per Growth Spotter, Universal Orlando Resort is indeed already under contract to purchase the 474-acre property, but they have not confirmed what they plan to do with it. The land for sale is made of 19 different parcels and is the largest undeveloped area in the tourism area of International Drive.
It’s maybe a few minutes drive from the theme parks of Universal Studios Orlando.
For those that may not realize how massive this amount of land is, here’s some perspective. The current Universal Studios Orlando is 107 acres inside, while Islands of Adventure is 101 acres, and CityWalk Orlando is 30 acres.
Universal actually owned this land back in the early ’90s and it was sold off in the 2000s. Nothing ever ended up being done with it by the resort.
While rumors have already started that Universal Studios Orlando will be building a third park, that is a lot of land they would possess. That leaves space for a new theme park, as well as a few more hotels and resorts.
All of this news about Universal Studios comes as the Orange County commissioners unanimously approved the proposed Skyplex Orlando development on I-Drive. Included in that development is a 501-foot roller coaster, which has brought about the anger of Universal.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Universal states that the Skyplex will make traffic worse in the area near their theme parks, and have concerns about the height of the coaster.
Universal Studios has not said anything regarding the possible land purchases as of yet. Hal Kantor, Skyplex attorney, said he believes that Universal is simply looking to oppose the newly approved Skyplex.
“If Universal acquires that site, then they start acting more like Disney. That’s what I think this whole thing’s about. It’s hundreds of acres.”
There are others who are competing for the acquisition of the land, though, and one is Unicorp National Developments. That company is working alongside Skyplex on an I-Drive development nearby that will include shopping locations, 2,000-seat theater, hotels, and restaurants.
One of those restaurants would be a Las Vegas Bellagio-style restaurant and entertainment area.
Universal Studios has experienced a lot of success since the opening of the first Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion back in 2010. Adding onto it in the past couple of years has only drawn in bigger crowds and brought more attention.
Due to their theme parks being landlocked, though, they haven’t been able to expand nearly as much as they would like to.
If Universal Studios Orlando can end acquiring this huge mass of land, in different lots, then it could really build up the theme park wars. This comes at a time as Walt Disney World is getting ready to break ground on their Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land expansions, and Universal would want to answer in a big way.
[Image via Universal Studios Orlando]