Universal Orlando Cinematic Spectacular lagoon show to rival Disneyland Resort’s World of Color

in Entertainment, Movies, Music, Special Events, Theme Parks, Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Florida


Answer: This nighttime water spectacular features dancing colorful fountains and classic movie clips projected on to water screens, celebrating decades of filmmaking history. Question: What is Disney’s “World of Color” show? Not this time.

Universal Orlando has announced a strikingly similar nighttime show that will fill its Universal Studios Florida park lagoon beginning Spring 2012. It’s called Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular and both in description and in concept artwork, it bears more than a small resemblance to the show Disney premiered at the Disneyland Resort in June 2010.

The new lagoon show at Universal’s park in Florida has been officially described as:

“Narrated by award-winning actor and recent Golden Globe – Cecil B. DeMille honoree, Morgan Freeman, Universal Orlando’s brand-new nighttime show, Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular, will celebrate the most powerful and emotional moments from Universal Pictures’ most iconic films – all on cutting-edge waterfall screens within the Universal Studios lagoon and surrounded by colorful fountains and pyrotechnics. The experience will take guests on a journey through epic cinematic moments filled with heroes, horror, laughter, good vs. evil and triumph. The new show opens this spring, runs all summer and then on select nights through the end of the year.”

And with Universal Studios (the movie studio) celebrating 100 years of film history, the theme park has plenty of “epic cinematic moments” to feature in the new show.

Here’s the full announcement, featuring Jim Timon Senior VP of Entertainment for Universal Orlando:

Artwork for Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular reveals a rainbow of fountains, lined up within the Universal Studios Florida lagoon in the center of the park. At first glance, the similarities to Disney’s World of Color are uncanny and will surely have Disney fans chastising Universal for “ripping off” the idea.

Compare that artwoto our photo taken on opening night of Disney’s World of Color show:

But there are differences. Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular will feature movie projections on waterfall screens, dripping from large floating rigs. Disney’s show uses mist screens, blowing gallons of water into the air to form a thin “wall” to project onto. Disney’s screens are impressive in the way they appear and disappear seemingly from nothing, but it’s likely that Universal’s solid downward streams of water will result in a clearer, crisper image. Judging from the artwork, it appears that three of these screens will be set up in select locations in the lagoon at a variety of angles, ensuring that guests all around the park will have a good chance to see the show.

Again, compare the screens in Universal’s artwork above to a photo from Disney’s World of Color below:

Disney’s World of Color show includes almost exclusively animated films, with the exception being clips from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” It’s a family show that’s designed to bring out the kid in everyone, pulling heart strings along the way. Universal’s show is likely to feature far more live action clips from its vast catalog of movies, such as E.T. shown in the artwork above. Given Universal’s history, the Cinematic Spectacular is also likely to feature more action, a louder score, and more edgy drama than Disney’s family-friendly spectacle.

Universal’s show also appears to feature around 50 individual fountains, whereas Disney’s show has around 1,200, each individually motorized and computer-controlled.

We won’t know exactly how Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular stacks up against Disney’s World of Color until the new show debuts in a few months. But despite the obvious differences between the shows, no theme park fan will be able to hold back from comparing the two for their many inherent similaries. For now, Disney has not announced any plans to bring World of Color, or any similar shows, to its Orlando theme parks, though they did recently announce a new high-tech castle show for Disneyland Paris that uses many of the same elements. But until they do decide to add something like it to Walt Disney World, come Spring 2012, it will be Universal Orlando drawing fans to see their wonderful world of color.


  1. Alex

    I still somewhat think of the show as a “ripoff idea.” I just can’t help it. It looks interesting, but I would rather see World of Color. I would also like to note that Disney uses the “waterfall” project screens in their Tokyo version of Fantasmic for the mirror.

  2. Universal’s show will not be as elaborate as World of Color — an amazing show that took years to set up. But I am just glad they are doing something, ANYTHING with that lagoon. I remember seeing the nighttime stunt spectacular they did on the lagoon back in the 90’s. Not much of note has happened there since.

  3. victor

    Well before you all jump to conclusion wait till the show actually starts before to start making judgement on it ….oh it copies this so blahh blahh im pretty the sure will be spectacular.

  4. Eric

    Victor, I agree. When it comes the parks, everyone copies Disney is the line. Universal has been quite the innovator over the past decade. Disney still hasn’t built an attraction stateside that competes with “Spiderman.” If you have kids, just put on Disney Channel or Disney Junior and you’ll see that all Disney does is a rip-off of Nickelodeon and PBS’ kids shows.

    If there is any “ripoff” here, the water show concept that Disney has at DCA is lifted from Vegas.

  5. Eric

    Disney actually tested those “waterfall” screens for world of color and decided against them.

  6. OT

    I like the idea and it looks wonderfull but I´m afraid the screens will show the short snippets of movies like on the 360 show and that doesn´t interrest me at all. I know they are classic scenes but if I want to watch a movie I go to the cineme or watch it at home. It doesn´t tell a storie it´s just… nothing. It always felt to me like a commercial and this wil to. They´ll hit us with the 100 Universal logo and a load of snippets. Please Universal, tell a story and don´t show some clips, thats bad show!

  7. Nico

    Also the dutch themepark will debuting a water fountain show this year. The water fountain is build by WET design and will be the third largest in the world. It will be opened at the 60th aniversary of the park at may 31, 2012.
    More info at their website: http://www.efteling.com/aquanura

    Kind regards from the Netherlands,

Add Your Voice