Skyplex Orlando was set to become an incredible retail and entertainment district featuring the world’s tallest roller coaster and the world’s tallest drop tower when it opens in 2018, but recent news today is making this goal more challenging to achieve. Why will this be so hard? The answer, the neighbors of Skyplex Orlando, the Universal Orlando Resort.
With the backing of their parent company Comcast, Universal Orlando Resort fought the developers of the impressive new complex today in front of the Orange County Development Committee. They recommended that the project continue, but with height restrictions. They pointed to complaints from a nearby residential neighborhood while Skyplex’s developers pointed to nearby residents in support of the development. Without the height, the 700 foot tall tower with a 501 foot tall roller coaster would not be the same. The FAA approved the height of the Polercoaster in July.
Skyplex is one of many nearby developments that Universal has opposed recently. The theme park recently filed a lawsuit against the hotels surrounding a lake connected to their waterpark, Wet n’ Wild, because they drain into the lake. In the past, the waterpark had used the lake for recreational activities and shows, but they claim that it is currently un-usable because of the condition of the lake. The waterpark is set to close at the end of 2016, which leads several to believe that they are filing the lawsuit because they want to fill in the lake.
Several members of the theme park community have attributed Universal’s opposition to the project to the fact that the tower will be visible from within the park. It is similar to their complaint at draining into the lake. In my opinion, this is a ridiculous move by Universal Orlando. It prevents the development of another fantastic attraction that would bring people to International Drive and their park. Another problem I have with their opposition is that they used to be the underdogs. Disney developed Hollywood Studios to prevent them from emerging, and they are doing this to prevent Skyplex from emerging. In the past, Disney was portrayed as the “bad guys” for this, but now it seems Universal has done the same. It is definitely a sad day to see Universal doing what they are doing.
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