Universal Studios Florida
History and photos of the San Francisco area of Universal Studios Florida.
Normally combined with Amity, which is now extinct, the San Francisco section of Universal Studios Florida is located in the back of the park next to New York.
The theming smoothly blends from one area to the next as you walk from the city streets of New York to the coastal city of San Francisco to the small seaside town of Amity. One moment you're grabbing a slice of pizza at Louie's Italian Restaurant, the next you're enjoying The Big One burger at Richter's Burger Co., checking out the seafood options at Lombard's Seafood Grille, and then you're grabbing a hot dog on the boardwalk at Amity Island. At least, you used to be able to do that last part as Amity Island has been removed as of 2012.
When Universal Studios Florida opened on June 7, 1990, the San Francisco section of the park had one ride: Earthquake - The Big One. Earthquake, the ride that the San Francisco area of the park was designed around, was one of the three problematic attractions when Universal Studios Florida first opened, the other two problem attractions being Kongfrontation in New York and Jaws in Amity. It would take a few months before the technical problems were solved and Earthquake was running smoothly.
An American Tail Theatre was the first attraction to be added and also the first to leave San Francisco. The show was added to the park in 1991 and then removed a year later in 1992. An American Tail Theatre was replaced with Beetlejuice's Rock and Roll Graveyard Revue, a live musical show starring Beetlejuice (actually spelled as "Betelgeuse") and some classic Universal monsters.
July 4, 1991 saw the opening of the Wild, Wild, Wild West Stunt Show, a western-themed comedy stunt show. The show closed for good on September 1, 2003. Fear Factor Live took over the covered theater and began grossing out audiences on June 3, 2005.
The next major change to occur to San Francisco happened on November 5, 2007, with the closing of Earthquake - The Big One, the area's primary attraction. The earthquake-themed ride was rethemed to Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride . . . Starring YOU, and it opened on January 17, 2008.
On January 2, 2012, Amity Island and the Jaws ride closed for good. This area would ultimately be demolished and rebuilt as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, an expansion of the incredibly popular The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade area next door at Universal's Islands of Adventure. The odd part of this phase of San Francisco was that Fear Factor Live was still classified as a San Francisco attraction, despite the fact that it was separated from the rest of San Francisco by not only a large distance, but also a massive area of construction.
Today's version of San Francisco at Universal Studios Florida is a fraction of its original size. While San Francisco is still a charming and very well themed section of the park, these days this area seems to be more of a momentary distraction as the park's guests head to and from the bigger (and newer) thrills in Diagon Alley and other parts of Universal.
Additional photo pages for San Francisco include:
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