Universal Studios has closed one of its most popular attractions that has been in operation for more than 20 years at the Universal Park.
Everybody’s Got a “Favorite”
Fans of Disney Parks and Universal Studios theme parks have certain loyalties–and certain things they love most about their favorite theme park. For some, it’s a favorite restaurant at Magic Kingdom, visiting Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure Park, or enjoying the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at either of Universal Orlando Resort’s two theme parks.
For others, it’s the Jurassic World ride at Universal Studios Hollywood or the Tower of Terror attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Others simply enjoy all the thrill ride options at Universal Islands of Adventure Park.
Those “favorite things” at the theme parks often translate into experiences without which a visit simply feels incomplete.
The Closure of a Fan-Favorite Ride After 20 Years
Such might just be the case for some of the more than 100 million visitors who have enjoyed the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man experience at Universal Studios Japan. The ride opened on January 22, 2024, as part of part of a major expansion at the Japanese Universal Studios resort, which first opened to the public in March 2001.
The Spider-Man attraction at the park closed on Monday, just 24 hours short of its 20-year anniversary at Universal Japan, as Marvel’s 20-year licensing agreement with NBCUniversal, owner and operator of Universal Studios Japan, as the Japanese rights have expired.
Disney Now Has Free Reign With Marvel Characters. Almost.
Now that the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride is closed at Universal Studios Japan, Disney Parks can bring Spider-Man, Avengers, and other Marvel characters to Tokyo Disney Resort without infringing on Universal’s IP rights, per the terms of a contract between Disney and Universal that has been in effect since 2003.
That means that the Walt Disney World Resort remains the company’s only theme park resort that does not enjoy unlimited use of Marvel characters. As of the time of this post, Disney World is prohibited from using a Marvel character that is used at Universal Studios Orlando Resort’s Islands of Adventure Park, including Spider-Man, Hulk, Doctor Doom, and others.
More Than 100 Million Riders
Universal first announced plans for the closure in May 2023, describing the ride as a “very popular” attraction “which has spun so many webs of emotion and memories for the 100 million visitors who experienced the ride in Japan.”
The park continued, saying that the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride “has brought super excitement and awesome thrills to so many park visitors from both inside and outside of Japan for [more than] 20 years.”
A Special Send-Off Event
Because of the ride’s popularity, Universal created a special farewell event in celebration of the attraction’s 20 years at Universal Studios Japan.
As part of the event, which began on July 4, 2023, guests could receive a commemorative sticker inspired by the ride, and new limited-edition themed merchandise was also available for purchase, including a re-issue of themed souvenirs that were previously no longer available.
Fans Wait For Hours to Say Good-bye
Fans lined up in droves for the chance to experience the ride one final time, and on Monday, lines in the queue for the attraction exceeded 220 minutes or over 3.5 hours.
January 22nd will forever mark the final day of operation of the attraction, but Universal has not yet confirmed what might replace the attraction, although fans have no doubt already begun speculating and making their wish lists.
What type of attraction do you think might replace the now-closed Spider-Man-themed experience, and which characters and IP do you think might be featured?