OTPN Reviews: "Universal Orlando: The Unofficial Story"

Our friends over at Theme Park Tourist recently sent us a copy of their latest book, entitled "Universal Orlando: The Unofficial Story." This book takes a look at the history of one of the greatest theme park resorts ever created, the Universal Orlando Resort. It shows the struggles that the company behind this project had to face, and it also highlights the times when Universal Orlando flourished (as we all know, both theme parks, CityWalk, and the hotels are all looking better than ever today). Here's our official review of this book, written by Nick Sim:

Why this Book was Actually Needed

How many books showcasing the history of the Walt Disney World Resort can you find? We are sure that most of you can think of at least one right away, or you can easily find some of them in most bookstores and online. Also, there are countless websites today that put together most of the historic dates, events, and details regarding each of the Disney Parks and Resorts located across the globe (especially for the Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resorts). 

But, what about the Universal Orlando Resort? We cannot think of one single book based on the history of that amazing place, other than Nick's book, of course. Sure, there are many park guides and books for sale, but none of them actually goes in depth relating the Resort's rich history. Of course, we also did not find any book relating the history of the SeaWorld or LEGOLAND Parks, but that's another story...

What's in the Book

As the title states, this book is entirely dedicated in carefully relating all the major (and, sometimes, minor) events that characterized the history of the Universal Orlando Resort. You can easily notice that Nick had to spend countless hours and days to research all of the information that we can read today. While most of them can be found online, it would take us months to put all those pieces together. We really appreciate his hard work on this regard.

As you might expect, the history of that amazing place is not filled with flowers and roses. We actually found ourselves at the edge of our seat while reading about some of the events reported in the book. In fact, we cannot believe that the Universal Orlando Resort actually exists today, and that it is actually a successful business! While it had some difficult times in the 2000s, the parks had even more trouble BEFORE getting built. 

While we do not want to give away any of the information reported in the book, we would like to share this with you: Did you know that the people behind the Universal Studios Florida project actually talked to Michael Eisner? They were ready to drop all of their future projects if Michael allowed them to build some Universal attractions in the yet-to-open Disney-MGM Studios park! Fortunately - as we all know - Michael Eisner did not accept that proposal (thankfully!). Had he agreed to that, today we may not have Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventures, CityWalk, and the on-site hotels. Scary thought, isn't it? And that's just one of the major events that almost killed the Universal Orlando Resort. You NEED to read the book.

The Book Itself

Reading this book was a pleasure. It was divided into easy-to-understand sections, and all the information are report in a chronological fashion. While there is some back-and-forth in a few instances (that was actually needed for the flow of the story, though), it is not something that distracted us.

All of the 300 pages of this book were definitely needed, as all that is included is very interesting. We never felt bored or willing to skip anything, even though we did not focus our attention on the "special events" section of the book, but that's for personal reasons.

In addition to that, there are some additional fun facts placed in random spots of the book, called "Hidden Secrets." They are very interesting, and we definitely encourage you not to skip them (they are very short too).

The book also contains some black-and-white photos that some of you might appreciate. Some are old, others are more contemporary.

The Final Verdict

In conclusion, we definitely recommend any theme park fan to check out this great book. As we stated before, Nick Sim has done a great job gathering all these information. "Universal Orlando: The Unofficial Story" is a truly great - and much needed - book that is sure to keep you entertained and to leave you wanting even more. Who knows, Nick might even be willing to write part 2 of this book (if he is able to find additional information) in the future, or he could focus on other theme park resorts...

Here you are some additional details you might want to know about the book (from Amazon.com):
  • Title: Universal Orlando: The Unofficial Story
  • Author: Nick Sim
  • Print List Price: $17.99 $14.93
  • Kindle Price: $6.65
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1494739860
  • Publisher: Theme Park Tourist
  • Published on: January 14, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
Interested in buying the book? Then make the jump to Amazon.com, or visit the Theme Park Tourist website.

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