This aerial photo from April 2011 shows four spheres in the Universal Studios Florida lagoon. These spheres were removed a few weeks ago and have not returned. The four-story-tall, 360-degree projection “cinespheres” were featured in the seasonal “Universal 360” closing fireworks show. The spheres also were used some years in Halloween Horror Nights, and were nicknamed by Horror Nights characters Bill and Ted as “the movie balls”.
This is the Universal Studios Lagoon last Wednesday night, Oct. 19. Normally all four spheres are visible from this location, stretching into the distance, and adding scale to the height of the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster.
View from the opposite side of the lagoon. In the foreground is a platform used to launch fireballs, as part of this year’s Horror Nights theming.
The sphere fabric was removed from the floating platforms last month, as seen here on Sept. 24. It did not seem unusual at the time that the sphere fabric had been removed. The spheres have had similar maintenance or replacement over the years. The technician seen here is preparing the fireball platform.
Here’s a video from last year of the show:
In the show, parody Lex Luthor threatened to launch nuclear warheads that he had built at Universal. A quick video clip showed the rockets standing, underneath the lagoon surface. The joke was that movie balls were the exposed round nose cones of the rockets, ready to be launched.
It’s unusual that the Cinesphere 360 spheres were removed from the lagoon. Will they return? Will something else take their place? Stay tuned … We’ve heard some good rumors.
UPDATE Oct. 31, 2011: It seems the barges haven’t been removed completely. Three of the four can still be spotted set over to the side of the lagoon.