Welcome to Extinct Attractions. This week, we’ll be diving into the world of two NBCUniversal television shows brought to life in the Universal theme parks.
Via The Verge
When many people think of the character Hercules in the late 1990s, their minds immediately jump to the 1997 Disney film, Hercules.
Via Study Breaks
However, Herc truly was on a roll at the time because Universal actually beat Disney to the punch with Hercules: The Legendary Journeys debuting in 1995. The show was highly syndicated and even spurred two spinoff shows, Xena: Warrior Princess and Young Hercules. With this track record, Universal Studios Florida made the wise decision to bring the hot property into the park to replace the Murder, She Wrote Mystery Theatre when Murder, She Wrote ended its television run in 1996.
Via Google Docs
Hercules & Xena: Wizards of the Screen opened in the summer of 1997 with the stars Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless showing up to help christen the experience. The attraction itself was basically the same as its predecessor with guests involved in the show, producing sound effects and serving as extras and voices in the show. It’s a Universal parks staple to have shows like these, so you understand what you are getting into any time that you sit down for one.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a video that showed the entire show, but the one above does feature the entire finale where all of the hard work from the previous three rooms in the show is put together into one special effects-laden finale. I’ve got to say, the finale was pretty epic and unique as the characters were consistently breaking the fourth wall and asking the audience for help. And what made it cooler was how well the video merged with the show, with swords falling from the ceiling and lighting and storm effects throughout. Even without catching the rest of the show, I could say this part alone would have made the experience worth it.
It’s a shame that the show never became super popular because I feel like that finale should have been enough for word of mouth to spread. Sadly, that was not the case as the theme park show faced some criticism for not feeling cohesive with the television shows, and there was just less demand for an attraction that showcased the filmmaking process as the park changed its focus on bringing stories to life as opposed to showing how they were made.
Via Trip Savvy
For a few years after Hercules & Xena closed on February 20, 2000, the building sat abandoned before being used for a Halloween Horror Nights maze in 2004. After that event, Orange County health inspectors came in and declared that the building actually needed to be condemned. At that point, it sat abandoned for years until finally being destroyed to make room for Transformers The Ride 3D. While I’m not the biggest fan of that attraction, it certainly fits the parks better in today’s day and age. Still, it’s cool that television shows like Hercules and Xena could find any representation in a theme park as television is often overlooked in favor of films.
Well, that’s all for now, but if you are looking for videos about extinct attractions, I’ve been going more in-depth about some of the ones I’ve talked about in the past with some Laughing Place colleagues on Tuesdays at 4 PM. But outside of that, check back in a couple of weeks for our next attraction following these clues.
- This attraction also incorporated guests in the show.
- This attraction was part of opening day at Universal Studios Florida’s rival park.
- This attraction had references to multiple television shows.
Via Saying Images
Thanks for reading and have a magical day!
Cole Geryak is a college Disney fan making his way through the world. He has ridden every single ride in Disneyland in one day, all while wearing a shirt and tie. Imagination is his middle name, and his heart truly lies in the parks.