We have heard rumors going back for over a year now that indicated that Universal was possibly looking to do something with Nintendo in the shorter term before the new Epic Universe opens up. The rumors appeared to be pointing at a brand new seasonal event that would be the same format as HHN but with a Sci-fi theme and at a different time of year.
Simpson’s Disney Already Did It
This “second HHN” is interesting as Disney started doing the exact same thing last year. Since the 90s they have run their family-friendly-extra-ticket-event “Mickey’s Not So Scary” through the months of September, October and November (sometimes starting as early as August!). However, starting last year they debuted Disney Villains After Hours at the Magic Kingdom Park which ran from February to July on select nights, and whilst this was a “diet coke” or slimed down version of their MNSSHP it would enable Disney to have spooky offerings from February through to November – a whopping 10 months of hard-ticket spooky type events!
Already Testing the Water…
So using Disney as a business case, Universal must have thought that they could do a similar action and provide a more horror sided type event outside of their popular HHN; which is exactly what they have tested (read our thoughts here)! Starting this year at the popular Mardi Gras events, they started to test the waters with a little more voodoo than before: more street performers were added, a tribute store (which was arguable creepier than HHN29’s version!) complete with a Voodoo King mannequin and faux bayou shack, revised voodoo art and far more food offerings; sound familiar? It was all well received and I am sure next year’s event will be even spookier.
We wrote an article back in February where we obtained an information request from the BBC as to whether Universal had approached them to use Doctor Who in any of their parks, you can read that lengthy investigation piece here. We were then intrigued to see Doctor Who and a whole host of other sci-fi properties pop-up in a questionnaire that was send out yesterday to select participants. The questionnaire supposedly made references to the following franchises:
· Star Trek
· Doctor Who
· Back to the Future
· Lord of the rings
· The Witcher
· Black Mirror
Additionally, there was another earlier questionnaire sent out in January which referenced a similar event that would be solely based around Pokémon with the following features:
· Hard ticket event to be run in the evenings
· Special tasks
· New Pokestops
· Obtain special event only Pokémon for the app
· Themed lounges
· Special dining opportunities
· Special merchandise
· Beta testing new generation of Pokémon
· And much more!
Provisionally named within the questionnaire as “Universal’s Pokémon GO Fest” it would feature a whole plethora of Pokémon challenges, quests and experience for the fans of the popular video game and movie franchise. One of the questions related to whether it should be a duel event and not just feature Pokémon, so as this might have been a popular option it would appear that Universal are now possibly looking to see what properties could be folded into this event to make its appear more reaching and to a variety of demographics.
When could it be released?
Right now, it is all possibly just blue sky thinking with the survey questions leading the design process. We all know about the widely publicized deal Universal has with Nintendo, so it would be easy to think that any of their properties from Wario to Zelda could easily find their way to any such event. Likewise, The Witcher which is produced by Netflix is a possible as Universal has very good links to that organization. Back to the Future is a Universal property, Doctor Who we have discussed and Star Trek has been loooong rumoured to be appearing in the future at Universal.
Likewise, the calendar does provide some clues as right now on the Marquee Events landing page it only lists Mardi Gras (Spring), HHN (Sept to Nov), Christmas (Nov to Dec) and New Year’s Eve; no other events are listed (though this might be due to Covid-19).
Total possible events include:
· Jan: Rock the Universe
· Feb: Running Universal
· Feb to April: Mardi Gras
· May to June: Summer Concert Series
· July: Fourth of July Celebration Nights
· Sept to Nov: HHN
· Nov to Dec: Holiday Celebrations
Looking at the above, the schedule does seem pretty full, however, Universal wasn’t planning to run the Summer Concert Series (it’s had an on and off history and this is as far as we know), therefore a new sci-fi themed event would be perfect for this window!
So there you have it, a speculative article with some evidence of blue sky thinking. Let’s hope it pulls off and it amounts to something. Would you like to see a “Sci-Fi Summer Nights” event at Universal? Let us know in the comments!
Remember these are just speculative rumors and nothing is confirmed until Universal says otherwise.