The big land grab continues! Universal Orlando has purchased another 101 acres for its new theme-park projects in Orlando, adding to the 475 it has already bought. Universal closed on the purchase for $27.5 million – the new acreage is along Sand Lake Road, giving Universal a new major road frontage for its expansions.
The land is adjacent to the $130 million purchase Universal made in December 2015, north of Universal Boulevard and west of Destination Parkway. The latest acquisition gives Universal more than 570 acres to work with for expansions, which is multiple times larger than the property it currently owns and operates as Universal Orlando Resort — home to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay as well as CityWalk and several hotels.
Currently in Orlando, Universal has built out its existing developments almost completely, after tearing down the former Wet n’ Wild water park and planning two large hotels there. Observers say Universal wants to compete more fully with Disney World in Orlando by having so many attractions that more visitors come to Orlando only to stay on Universal properties. (Story continues below image.)
There’s been a lot of speculation about what kind of new attractions Universal is planning, but Universal hasn’t provided any detail for the properties. Comcast execs say they have a lot of ideas on how to use the land although no firm plans. A Nintendo-themed area is also coming to Orlando, Universal said in November, under a deal with the Japanese video-game giant.
Universal has an aggressive expansion plan. In 2015, executives told analysts that they want to open an attraction every year at each major location. Universal has parks in Orlando, Hollywood, Singapore and Japan. It also plans to open a park in Beijing.