Universal Studios Florida
World Expo & Springfield
History and photos of the World Expo & Springfield sections in Universal Studios Florida.
Located on the far right side of the park is World Expo, an area of Universal Studios Florida themed to the classic exposition fairs that used to be held around the world.
When Universal Studios Florida opened on June 7, 1990, World Expo (known back then as Expo Center, not to be confused with EPCOT Center, one of the Walt Disney World theme parks right down the road) only had two attractions: E.T. Adventure and Animal Actors Stage. The area's signature attraction, Back to the Future: The Ride, didn't open until almost a year later on May 2, 1991.
World Expo is where Universal Studios Florida saw some of its newest attractions in the early years of operation. Fievel's Playland interactive play area and A Day in the Park with Barney show both opened in the early to mid 1990s. The five attractions in the Expo Center represented a brief period of time where the area reached its largest size. As guests were noticing, the theming in the World Expo clashed with itself when you went from Back to the Future: The Ride to Animal Actors to A Day in the Park with Barney. In 1998, the Expo Center would be drastically reduced in size.
By the summer of 1998, E.T. Adventure, Fievel's Playland and A Day in the Park with Barney had split from the Expo Center and formed a new land called Woody Woodpecker's KidZone. For the next year and a half the Expo Center had only one attraction: Back to the Future: The Ride.
The spring of 2000 saw a major new attraction in Universal Studios Florida with the opening of MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack on April 4, 2000. That time frame also saw the addition of the Roboasis, a futuristic themed place for visitors to cool themselves on a hot summer day. Roboasis is hosted by a small alien in a spaceship who "flies" back and forth to the visitors. On March 30, 2007, Back to the Future: The Ride closed for good.
The Simpsons Ride opened on May 15, 2008, replacing Back to the Future: The Ride. The opening of The Simpsons Ride also included the opening of the Kwik-E-Mart store (it replaced Back to the Future: The Store). Both The Simpsons Ride and MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack were very popular, keeping World Expo one of the busier areas inside of Universal Studios Florida.
In the summer of 2013 World Expo saw significant changes as Springfield (the fictional cartoon town from The Simpsons) began to open. This addition brought a ton of fantastic theming and livelihood into this section of the theme park. The additions included new dining options (such as Bumblebee Man's Taco Truck, Krusty Burger, Moe's Tavern, and even Duff Brewery) and a new outdoor ride, Kang & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl. On top of that, a bunch of carnival games opened around The Simpsons Ride, transforming that area into Krustyland.
Today, World Expo is dominated by Springfield and theming from The Simpsons. The "classic" part of World Expo is strictly limited to MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack and the theater that houses Fear Factor Live. That's it. This makes you wonder if Universal will designate Springfield as its own section in the park instead of being basically a "land within a land." It's also a question of whether or not Universal will do anything with that large theater and try to revamp the concept of World Expo with a new addition. Right now the land has a huge clash in theming between the cartoon world of The Simpsons and the retro / futuristic area around MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack.
Once again, this clash in theming really isn't new here. Take a look at how none of the current attractions in New York have anything to do with New York City, or how the theming for TRANSFORMERS: The Ride - 3D (a great ride) sticks out like a sore thumb.
Welcome to Universal.
Additional photo pages for World Expo / Springfield include:
Back to the Future: The Ride (EXTINCT!)
Note - Each picture may be opened for a larger view. If you choose to download and share these photos, please provide a link back here to Florida-Project.com!