Yesterworld: Universal’s Abandoned Hercules and Xena Attraction – Wizards of the Screen
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Yesterworld: Universal’s Abandoned Hercules and Xena Attraction – Wizards of the Screen

>>NARRATOR [Narration: “Universal Studios Florida introduces
Hercules and Xena: Wizards of the Screen.”] In the summer of 1997, during the height of
the popularity of the television shows from which it was based, Hercules and Xena: Wizards
of the Screen debuted at Universal Studios Florida, [People cheering] and while intended to become one of the park’s
signature attractions and long lasting shows, this ultimately proved not to be the case. This
new addition to the Orlando theme park resided within soundstage 44, and had replaced one
of the park’s day one attractions Murder, She Wrote Mystery Theatre, or as later renamed
Murder, She Wrote Post Production, which due to the previous year’s cancellation of the
television show it had been based upon, the attraction had been closed. [Clip: “Now, I’m gonna show you a little
bit of high tech magic right back here.”] Similar to it’s predecessor and the long-standing
special effects show over at Universal Studios Hollywood, this new show was also an interactive
experience, focused on demonstrating aspects of television production. [Clip: “We will take two to three members
out of every audience, bring them into the show, we’ll use a blue screen effect with
them, and through the magical process of cameras and special effects, they become part of the
show with us.”] In this version, it would be for a specially
made 6 minute crossover based on the popular television series: Hercules The Legendary
Journeys, and Xena Warrior Princess, who had actually started out as a side character in
Hercules before getting a standalone television series of her own [TV clip:”Aren’t you even gonna say goodbye?”] [“Ha, you haven’t heard the last of me,
Hercules.” Upon entering the attraction, guests made
their way through a queue featuring props and memorabilia from both of the television
shows, With the experience itself taking place in
3 different rooms within the soundstage, where members of the audience could volunteer to
take part in demonstrations all of which tied in with the production of the Hercules and
Xena crossover [People laughing] In addition to audience participation, team
members would seemingly interact with the iconic characters on screen. [Clip: “Thanks, I, uh, I could use this.”] Ultimately, while Hercules and Xena: Wizards
of the Screen made for a fun time, unlike Murder she wrote mystery theater which tied
in perfectly with the actual production of the series, many felt this version lacked
a level of cohesiveness with the television shows it was based upon, and proved to be
less popular than anticipated. But whether for this reason alone, or in connection
with stars Kevin Sorbo and Lucy Lawless’s eventual lawsuit over withheld television
royalties that may have included merchandise sold at the attraction’s gift shop, On February 20th in the year 2000, the attraction
was closed after just 3 years of operation, and soundstage 44 was left abandoned, until
being used as a haunted house for Halloween Horror Nights in 2004. Though as the following year, The Orange County
Health Department condemned the soundstage and forbid it from being used for further
attractions, it was once again abandoned for nearly a decade. [Clip: “Welcome to the grand opening of
Transformers The Ride 3D.”] In 2012, shortly after Transformers The Ride
3D had opened at Universal Studios Hollywood, which had taken the place of backdraft and
their version of the original special effects stages, Universal Studios Florida demolished
soundstage 44 to make way for a 2nd incarnation of the 3D attraction, And later that year, a tombstone bearing the
name Xena appeared outside one of the houses during that years Halloween horror nights, in addition to one for jaws which had closed
that January, and another for Kongfrontation. [Clip:”Today, we take the next step in defeating
the decepticon incursion.”] In 2013, Orlando’s version of Transformers
the ride made it’s debut, and more than likely due to the lawsuit from the show’s
stars, it would be one of the last years actors portraying Hercules and Xena could be found
within the theme park, Leaving the iconic characters and their short
lived attraction, in the realm of yesterworld. I hope you enjoyed the debut episode of This
Month in History, and I’d love to hear any thoughts or memories you have to share. Thank you all so much for watching, check
out the links in the description to find out how you can follow and support Yesterworld,
and I’ll see you next time. Yesterworld Entertainment


  • Yesterworld Entertainment

    Fact Correction: As pointed out by Jordan Brown, Universal Studios in Singapore got the 2nd incarnation of Transformers in 2011, with Orlando being the 3rd in 2013.

    Hey all! Thanks for checking out the debut episode of “This Month In (Theme Park) History”! I'm still experimenting with the concept, but I'd love to make this an every-other-week-ish series to fill in the void between my longer and more time consuming videos. In addition to theme parks, I’d also like to occasionally do ones about movies, video games, etc. My goal is to find and bring to life lesser-known and smaller scale subjects such as Hercules and Xena: Wizards of the Screen.

    I hope you enjoy and would love to know what you think, or if you have a specific subjects that you’d love to see explored in the coming months. Thanks for watching!


  • wstine79

    I remember seeing this ride attraction on my senior year marching band trip trip to Universal Studios in 1998. Thanks for bringing this up.

  • The JurassicMan

    Very interesting. Didn't know that this was a thing.

    Also, have you heard that Disney now owns most of fox? Especially the alien franchises. Do you think they add it to Alien Encounter? Or just leave it to fox?

  • A. O. A

    Great Fresh Content! I worked at Universal and was in park when the show opened and saw Kevin and Lucy that day. Good times.

  • Rocketfoot7

    LOVED both of these shows as a kid! I had no idea that an "interactive" soundstage show like this had ever existed… really cool! Also, I have to say I really like the idea of this being a series, nice bite size tidbits of lesser-known information in between the bigger material. I can never get enough of this channel, so of course I'm happy for more content in any way I can get it 🙂

  • SuperFlashDriver

    This is actually better then trying to do a lot of history on one subject. Doing a short video (about 4 to 8 minutes long) would be a way to learn something within a short amount of time. And while I do love the long documentary-style videos you make, I do love this idea of "This month in theme park history".

  • Terribleatusernames

    I have this memory of being chosen from the audience for a show at universal when I was 7, and they had me stand with a controller to move a part of an animatronic figure… I have never been able to remember what it was exactly but this was definitely it! This video was great!

  • Wheels&Friends

    This was great! There was no unrelated footage shown, it was very informative and you weren't half bad yourself. Can't wait for more!

  • TheWyman55

    This is a really cool idea! I love learning about even the most unimportant facts about theme parks so I would love to see more of "This month"

  • Alex Z

    I remember this show being such a long wait for some reason and I think that my family went on it because it was raining and the line wasn't over like 40 minutes. It was a good show and I'm kinda upset that we only went to watch it once, since the next time we went to Universal was to go to Islands of Adventure for the first time.

    I hope you do Twister Ride It Out since that show was in the park FOREVER till like maybe a few years ago and I am still mad that it was just a show and not an actual ride.

  • Twiggafinga

    I remember when my family and I went to Disney world when my brother and I were pretty young. My poor little bro got food poisoning really bad and so my dad stayed with him at the hotel (my brother tried to tough it out so they went to Magic Kingdom after a few hours. While my mom and I are out riding everything and enjoying ourselves apparently the little bugger was lucky enough to have a parks manager notice him getting sick and offered a backstage tour of the whole park! (At least the safe parts of backstage)

  • Wayne Booker

    Wow I remember doing this the first time I went with my then GF to Universal and Disney was also pretty much at the same time as it closed,

  • Clarrisani ‍

    Hercules and Xena were what got me into fantasy writing. Damn good those shows. Cheesy and corny, but in a good way.

    Plus half naked Karl Urban. Need I say more?

  • Mark Verstappen

    So the ride close in 2000, but the characters for the ride could be found in the park until 2013? I wonder if many people asked them about a/the ride.

  • Brandon

    I always wondered why that soundstage was there and what ride used to be there lol now I know. Obviously transformers is better than the old shows there

  • Elizabeth Tran

    I remember that show! I got to help control the monster. XD. I wanted to go back but when we did a few years later it was closed. I used to love watching Xena.

  • Theme Park Stop by Alicia Stella

    Great job! Love the new short form video format. I actually really liked the Murder She Wrote attraction, even having never seen the TV show. Like Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies, it was educational and entertaining, even if you were unfamiliar with the source material.

  • AroundIndiana

    Of all the things they could have bad an attraction on, it's funny they chose…Murder She Wrote. I remember going on it as a kid and having no clue what Murder She Wrote even was. It always reminds me of a show that is always playing in the waiting room at a dentist office or something equally as boring lol

  • Maniac536

    Memories. Well, I never got to see the Hercules and Xena show, but I did see the Murder, She Wrote show at universal studios Florida back in 94. In fact I ended up on stage (I had to hit some pots and pans to do some ADR Foley work of walking into a suit of armor). Im really grateful I got to see that show before it closed, not for me but for my mom, who loved Murder, She Wrote. In fact she still watches reruns on television. We got to see an episode of the show very few people got to see. In fact I’m curious what happened to the footage used for the attraction. Did it end up on dvd or get edited into an episode?

  • Kram Sacul

    Great little informative video. Would love to see videos about more extinct Universal shows (Murder She Wrote, Hitchcock, Conan, Beetlejuice).

  • Half_a_Lesbian

    I went on the Transformers ride in Singapore. And it has to be the most smooth and comfortable 3D ride I have EVER been on. Most are clunky and just jerk you around. But the screens in each section take up all your vision and the car your in just moves like butter.
    I'm hoping to go to America soon, can I expect the same out of the one in America? Cause I would LOVE to go on it again.

  • Totes1829

    Your videos are incredible. I wish I had the financial stability to help support you but just know I really enjoy and appreciate the time and effort you put into making these.

  • Sarah Castillo

    So funny story at 4:18 the picture on the left is of our father, Ventura, who passed away two years ago. He always said that he didn't really want to take a picture with Hercules, he just wanted his picture with Xena but they came as a set so he had to get his pic with both. Kinda nice to see his pic as part of theme park history.

  • Marcelo Rodriguez

    I went to visit this Attraction in Universal Orlando.But It was so boring.That I left in the middle of the show.Almost fall sleep….😛😛

  • Fandom Fancy

    Everytime someone mentions the Jaws ride I get really triggered I love Jaws,its my favorite movie and after saving for years I was finally able to go to Universal FL and go on the jaws ride. …I got there the day after it closed forever. 🙁

    Sorry just had to share that. When you mentioned the Jaws tombstone it got me😢🦈

  • Kyle Roman

    yesterworld i love your videos but you forgot something…before it was transformers they turned it into a mini mummy attraction before they opened the mummy!!

  • Kelly McDaniel

    So I want to just state that they LIED in in-park marketing and said you could be Xena, so me a young child clearly wanting to be Xena was obnoxious and got picked to be in this show…the only thing a child could be was a CENTAUR.ONLY A CENTAUR. NOT XENA. I was the angriest baby centaur that there ever was. I am still the angriest baby centaur ever. I've still never gotten over it and this just reminded me of how angry I was. Thanks. (But also keep doing these. I went to Universal, Six Flag over GA, Wild Adventures, and Disney World almost every summer from 1994 – 2010. I love seeing and hearing the history of my childhood. <3

  • Super Bubsy Mario Bobcat

    ever since i watched this video i started watching Hercules Legendary Journeys and ive been obsessed with it since i watched the first episode

  • ToaHannah007

    I went to that with my parents, and brothers when were little.
    My dad wanted to see it. So we all did it as a family. The only things I can remember were all the neat behind the scenes stuff.
    I didn't really watch the tv shows it was based on, but I did like the attraction.

  • MissPimpernel

    This is great. Never knew about this ride! Would also love to see one about the defunct Van Helsing ride/haunted house from the early 2000s that was at Universal Studios Hollywood.

  • KatieVanHelsing

    HOLY CRAP! I remember this attraction! I got to be a volunteer in it! One of the kids who got to operate the giant monster.

  • Nate Sylvester

    So shortly after high school (2010-2012) I used to work as a hand with the Universal ‘design’ team. Basically, we would work 8 PM – 5 AM setting up and tearing down decorations throughout the park based on the season (Christmas, HHN, Mardi Gras, Concert Series, etc.)
    I can confirm that most of the soundstage was condemned completely. The pre-show area and queue were used for storage, however. We kept quite a bit of decorations for the various events in there. Massively unorganized and just strewn about wherever. There were reminance of this and other attractions too! My favorite was when I discovered a bunch of old promo stuff from the Islands of Adventure preview center! This includes a model, and very scary to find in the dark raptor, and the display that allowed guests to use gloves to touch “raptor eggs.”
    Unfortunately I had a crappy flip phone back then, and wasn’t ballsy enough to take anything, though I now wish I had.
    Thanks for bringing back memories of a great time period of my life!:) if you’d ever like to chat about it, feel free to reach out:)

  • MsDboyy

    I was like 8 when I did it & wow u brought back memories with this video for me lol it is a goofy ride but still fun times

  • niceguy63073

    Wow, i remember seeing this so long ago. If you ever get the chance, could you do a video of Hitchcock: Art of Making Movies attraction? I love your content, brings back such good memories!

  • Danielle MaryBell

    I can very faintly remember parts of the attraction. I was born in 1994 so I don't remember a ton but I remember there was 3 rooms. And I remember one Mardi gras we got a picture with "Xena" and I wanted to be just like her

  • Todd Fabyanic

    I used to to work on that attraction along with horror make up show I worked both as an attendant.. great show and wonderful memories….

  • Derpymuffins 333

    My mom's LOVES both of those shows and for both had every single episode and season. I grew up watching both and sometimes we would just marathon them for hours. Both of these were of course also very dark so my mom just skipped those episodes with me. Those are fond childhood memories.

  • Recovery XV

    I can’t tell if the actor for general morshower at the transformers openings is having fun or screaming internally but either way it’s hilarious

  • Lalo Montoya Jr.

    Yesterworld Entertainment Awesome video!! I love Hercules and Xena!! Good shows that I still watch to this day!! Can you do a video of WWF New York??

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