“Little me would have freaked out over a seaQuest ride…Heck, big me would’ve freaked out…”
– Unknown, Twitter
When the ‘Powerhouse property’ that was seaQuest DSV didn’t make as big a splash as anticipated, MCA’s ‘comprehensive licensing program’ would evaporate short of delivering much from the ‘out of this world promotional campaign’ as announced in the 1994 Playmates Toys catalogue.
However it was recently revealed that one project with the formidable backing of NBC, Amblin and Universal in particular came much closer to fruition than once thought –
And now, over two decades later courtesy of the company tasked with the mammoth project’s development we can finally see inside of the bold – but ultimately doomed – theme park venture that was ‘Universal Hollywoodland’.
FROM THE ARCHIVES, we have a very special update –
We’re taking a look back at the never-before-seen plans for UNIVERSAL HOLLYWOODLAND- a Universal theme park developed back in 1996, and planned for the European market.
Soon we’ll reveal what themed zones would have been found in this unique park concept, but in the meantime, can you guess them based upon this beautiful Chuck Cancilier bird’s-eye?
Our team here is blown away by your scrupulous studying of the UNIVERSAL HOLLYWOODLAND bird’s-eye, and by the mostly spot-on guesses as to what would have been included in the park. That said, there are a few IP’s that either no one spotted, or couldn’t have known just from the bird’s-eye.
In case you aren’t able to read the captions, here’s a list of the park’s lands and attractions, starting at the bottom and going around clockwise. (And remember, it was the 90’s)
-Live Music Stage
-Western Stunt Show
-Hercules Wooden Coaster
-Jurassic Park Rapids
-King Kong Tower (Drop Tower)
-Amity Boardwalk (Jaws)
-Back To The Future Timewarp (Coaster)
-Apollo 13 Moonshot (Coaster)
-Spooky Adventures (Casper Dark Ride)
-ET’s Green Planet
-Animal Actor’s Stage
-Bedrock Bomber (Coaster)
As for the SeaQuest Adventure itself, even though the huge pavilion depicted in the concept art above takes up a significant portion of ‘TV Land’, no further details about the attraction were made available. Last year I contacted park designers Legacy GGE (formerly the Goddard Group) for more information –
“From what we can recall, that attraction was meant to be a direct lift of the one operating at other parks (Universal Yokohama Experience and Port Aventura in Spain) if we have things straight) so no additional creative development was done.”
The actual location of Universal Hollywoodland was revealed to be Krefeld in Germany, (go here for more info) but by 1996 seaQuest had already been cancelled so its possible The Goddard Group planned to adapt and rebrand an existing attraction or Legacy’s recollection is inaccurate – I found no reference from either of the two existing sites as stated.
And so, in the absence of anything definitive it’s fun to speculate just what kind of ride the seaQuest Adventure may have been – given the scale and budget one conceives of a motion simulator similar to Disneyland’s Star Tours – where guests would be sent on an ocean sightseeing trip aboard a UEO Launch only to be caught in an underwater earthquake and have to navigate their way through uncharted caves (with the help of Ensign Darwin!) before being rescued by the seaQuest.
Other features would surely be a state-of the-art aquarium and educational activities for kids similar to Epcot Centre’s The Living Seas (Ironically used as location for season 2!) with live shows featuring ‘Darwin’ and his pod performing tricks similar to those of Shamu and co. at Sea World. The mind boggles but can you imagine the treasures awaiting in the gift shop on exit? Of course we’ll never know but as always when it comes to footnotes about seaQuest its always interesting to imagine what might have been…