After being absent for over a year, Universal Orlando’s daily character parade and attraction preshows have returned to entertain guests just in time for the July 4th holiday.
As social distancing restrictions in the theme park have eased, most of Universal Orlando’s rides and shows have returned to operation, but until very recently two important elements had not returned to the resort. However, the Unofficial Guide is happy to confirm that Universal Studios Florida’s Superstar Parade has resumed daily performances as of June 26, and preshow entertainment has returned to a number of top attractions.
Universal Orlando’s Superstar Parade
Universal’s Superstar Parade features dancers and performers, four large and elaborate floats inspired by cartoons, and a very mixed bag of street-prowling Universal characters. The highlighted franchises include Dora the Explorer; SpongeBob SquarePants; Max, Duke, and their furry friends from The Secret Life of Pets movies; and Gru’s whole Despicable Me crew.
Here’s a complete recording of the Superstar Parade’s reopening day performance, filmed from the park’s New York area:
If you’ve seen Universal Orlando’s Superstar Parade in the past, you may notice that the revived version is slightly different. On opening day at least, there were numerous empty spots where characters had previously been stationed; hopefully this is only a temporary staffing issue, and the cast will soon be back to its full complement.
In addition, the parade previously made two extended stops for an elaborately choreographed dance performance. These show stops have been eliminated for the time being, and the parade now runs continuously, taking a little over 5 minutes to pass by any particular point along its path. There’s no word yet if or when the parade stops might return.
The parade is currently scheduled daily at 7 p.m. (5 p.m. on select weeknights; schedule subject to change) and still follows its usual route beginning at the Esoteric Pictures gate in Hollywood, between Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show and Cafe La Bamba. It turns right, then immediately makes a hard left around Mel’s Drive-In, and follows the waterfront past Transformers toward San Francisco. From there it turns left at Louie’s Italian Restaurant and proceeds along Fifth Avenue, past Revenge of the Mummy. At the end of Fifth Avenue, the parade takes a left onto 57th Avenue/Plaza of the Stars and heads toward the front of the park, where it makes another left onto Hollywood Boulevard, from whence it disappears backstage through the gate where it entered.
Remember, if you don’t feel like lining up along the route at parade time, you can catch all your cartoon favorites and their floats earlier in the day during their Character Party Zone appearances on Hollywood Boulevard; check the Universal mobile app for show times.
Universal Orlando Preshows
In addition to the Superstar Parade’s return, Universal Orlando has also recently reactivated certain attractions’ preshow experiences, which were disabled due to social distancing and capacity restrictions.
For example, at Universal Studios Florida’s MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack, guests once again hear the historical introduction to a fictional World’s Fair pavilion before discovering the “secret” elevator that takes them down to MIB headquarters.
Next door in Diagon Alley, patrons of Gringotts bank can once again meet Bill Weasley and Blordack via hologram projections, before descending 9 miles to the vaults in a simulated elevator.
We expect the remaining absent preshows, such as the Ragtime Gals at Race through New York starring Jimmy Fallon, to return by the time you read this.
Are you happy to see Universal’s parades and preshows return? Which do you feel makes a bigger difference to your enjoyment of the parks? Let us know in the comments below!
For all there is to see and do at Universal Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.