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Universal Orlando Resort originally opened as Universal Studios Florida in 1990, thus making it simply a theme park. It was originally opened as a joint venture between NBCUniversal and The Blackstone Group which sold its half in early 2011. Universal Studios Florida opened in direct competition with Disney`s Hollywood Studios (originally Disney-MGM Studios). Over the years, the park saw various changes, however its largest change was the opening of its sister theme park Universal`s Islands of Adventure. In 1994, executives met to discuss a possible expansion of the resort. It was decided that the current theme park would undergo a series of construction projects transforming it into a multi-day vacation destination. In late 1995, Universal`s Islands of Adventure broke ground and construction immediately began. The Islands of Adventure Preview Center opened in May 1997 replacing the Screen Test Home Video Adventure. It was meant to give visitors a preview of the upcoming Islands of Adventure park, along with the rest of the resort. As the new theme park was under construction several new attractions were being built and opened at Universal Studios Florida. Among those new attractions was Woody Woodpecker`s KidZone which opened in the Summer of 1998. Attractions such as Men in Black: Alien Attack and Animal Actors (formerly Animal Planet Live) also opened during the expansion phase.
On May 28, 1999, Universal`s Islands of Adventure opened to the general public. It featured six themed `islands` including Seuss Landing, The Lost Continent, Jurassic Park, Toon Lagoon, and Marvel Super Hero Island. Several new attractions were closed shortly after the opening of the park, such as Island Skipper Tours, due to lack of attendance. Although the park opened to mediocre attendance, the park`s attendance sharply improved making it the only theme park in Orlando to have had an increase of attendance following the September 11 Attacks.
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