Universal Orlando planning to add water park

Other major attractions also coming to Orlando


ORLANDO, Fla. – Universal Orlando is planning to add a water park, according to a permit application submitted by a geo-technical engineering service for Universal Orlando and filed with the South Florida Water Management District.

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Documents included in the permit applications show a parcel of land south of the Cabana Bay Resort for UO Project 533.

"The project is a proposed water theme park to be constructed to the south of the recently opened Cabana Beach Resort," reads the application. "The site is a vacant tract of land that occupies a plan area of some 25± acres. The site is generally triangular in shape, bounded by Interstate 4 to the south, Turkey Lake Road to the west and the new hotel to the north."

"We understand that new construction will include slides and pools plus various recreational facilities," reads the application. "A tall 'volcano' with slides will be constructed in the southern portion of the site. There will be a series of low-rise buildings constructed throughout the site, with several containing equipment pits."

The application also mentions a wave pool, lazy river and rapids ride.

Local 6 Theme World Blogger Ken Pilcher said the concept sounds more like a theme park than a water park.

"Typhoon Lagoon's theme is typhoon lagoon, a storm hit and there's this beautiful place," said Pilcher. "Blizzard Beach, same thing, a freak snow storm hit and now you have Blizzard Beach. From what I heard at least early on is, the reason they want to call it 'Wonder Sea Island' is to have different-themed areas of the parks. I don't know if it's still true but it's something, an idea Universal has talked about."

Pilcher said Universal has also trademarked the name "Volcano Bay."

Universal also owns the world's first water park -- Wet 'N Wild -- purchased a little more than a decade ago, and the land it sits on, which was purchased in 2013 for $31 million. Wet 'N Wild is located east of the proposed site across I-4.

"The question is, they also bought all the land surrounding the park. What plans do they have?" said Pilcher. "They wouldn't have spent all that money without something at least down the road in mind for the property."

"It's not unprecedented to have two water parks; Disney has two, they used to have three," said Pilcher. "But the problem with Wet 'N Wild is it's far away from the main Universal campus. It's just across I-4, but still you have I-4 right there in the middle."

Visitors told Local 6 that Orlando could always use another water park.

"They'll need both," said Marci and Tom Berthiaume, from Michigan. "We'll be the first in line if they put one on the property over there. You need a variety when you're here. There's some summers we come here for two weeks and that's all we do is water parks."

[READ MORE:  Theme park expert Ken Pilcher's blog]

The water park would be one of many new attractions in the region, including the Orlando Eye, a massive observation wheel on International Drive, and the world's tallest roller coaster, also set to be constructed on I-Drive.

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