ORLANDO, Fla. - Universal Orlando appears to have its sights set on building a water park on its property.
The company filed two trademark applications this summer related to "water park rides" and "[e]ntertainment services in the nature of water parks," according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Possible names included Volcano Bay and Wondersea Island.
Universal is not commenting on the evidence of water park plans, but industry experts are not surprised that one may be in the works.
"I would say, if there's any surprise: Why did you wait so long?" said Dr. Abe Pizam, dean of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida.
"They're interested in keeping the visitors in their own park, rather than having those interested in water parks go elsewhere. So business-wise it makes sense -- they would develop their own themed water park and thus extend the stay of their visitors in their own park rather than contribute to other parks," Pizam said.
Where Universal may build a water park has become the talk of theme park blogs. Some speculate it could go behind Universal's new Cabana Bay resort.
Universal also recently bought Wet 'n Wild's land, causing others to wonder if it will be torn down and combined into a larger, state of the art Universal-themed water park.
Local 6 theme park blogger Ken Pilcher, who writes the Local 6 Theme World blog, is trying to sort out the facts from rumors.
"It's hard to do that because no one is going to go on the record for you," Pilcher said. "I can say they are clearing out a very large plot of land by Cabana Bay. I can say there have been permits from the state that seem to indicate they're looking to build something pretty substantial there."
Whatever Universal has planned, if it causes tourists to extend their stay in Central Florida, Pizam believes it will bring a nice boost for the economy.
"Revenue for taxes, restaurants, gas stations - whatever is connected to the tourism industry will benefit from that," Pizam said.
Tourists in town to visit Orlando's theme parks loved the idea of a water park on Universal's property.
"Universal does everything well. Everything always has to be bigger and better," said Ashley Harman.
Pizam believes creating that attitude among guests is essential for success.
"If you want to have a successful theme park, you have to constantly renovate to constantly reinvent yourself, to add on - you cannot sit on your laurels," he said.
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