Universal Orlando Update: E.T. Adventure Gets a “New” Scent, Minions Villain-Con Construction and More

The biggest news to come out of the E.T. Adventure ride at Universal Studios Florida IN YEARS just happened, as they finally turned the pine tree scent back on, and more!

Plus, work continues on the Shrek 4-D and Monsters Cafe replacements, as well as the new escape rooms at CityWalk. Let’s check in on all of that, and more, in today’s photo update!

Before we get to E.T., I wanted to stop by the Hello Kitty store near the front of the park. Some folks noticed a little bit of construction happening inside this shop recently, so I wanted to see what it was all about.

It looks like one of the dividing walls, which separates the main Hello Kitty section of the store from another part of the store, has been squared off. This pink wall was originally shaped like Hello Kitty’s head with a bow shape. Now it is simply a square opening.

How the wall looks now after recent work being done

How the wall used to look when the store first opened in 2016

The change likely came about because the section on the other side of this particular wall no longer offers Hello Kitty merchandise. Instead it is for Funko and Loungefly merchandise. This part of the store has not offered Hello Kitty products for well over a year, so this change may simply be to better separate sections.

Entry into Funko/Loungefly area of store

Opposite side of the now squared off wall

The floor in the Loungefly area does still feature the Hello Kitty bows, so perhaps that will be removed next from this side of the store?

Bow imagery still seen on floor in non-Hello Kitty area

The remainder of the Hello Kitty store remains fully themed to the Sanrio character, including the iconic rainbow wall in the main area.

Moving on, the Brown Derby Hat Shop is behind work walls next door. It is receiving a much needed refurbishment. I do not believe this retail location has reopened since the Covid-related park closures back in 2020.

No signs of anything happening at the former Prop Shop and MyUniversal Photos locations, despite mysterious work happening inside these two vacant shops. Rumor has it they will be combined into one larger parcel, but no one seems to know for sure what it will be used for.

The biggest news of the day is that the scents appear to be back on at E.T. Adventure!

After what feels like YEARS, we finally have a fresh pine scent in the forest again, as well as the burning scent at the arrival to the Green Planet scene on the ride.

As we had previously reported a couple years ago, the building had been so saturated in the pine scent that many hadn’t even noticed that it was no longer being pumped in! Now, Team Members are saying that many of the scent effects have been fixed and turned back on, not only in the queue, but on the ride as well!

Some are noticing the change and have wondered if the scent in the queue had been replaced with a new version, but it’s possible that we had all gotten used to the predominant scent being the water feature within the queue in recent years, as the residual pine scent that had once saturated the building faded away.

To me, the fresh pine scent seems just as it did more than a decade ago. I don’t know if the forest pine they’re using now is the same one as before, but seems just as subtle and realistic as I remember. You can not only smell the forest scent in the queue, but on the first half of the ride itself as well!

The other scent that has been turned back on occurs as we first arrive the dying Green Planet. This is a burning scent, to accentuate the sad state of the planet without E.T.’s healing touch. This too is not a “new” scent, but just one that is finally being brought back!

For anyone who doesn’t remember the original fresh pine scent for this attraction, and who has become accustomed to the scent of the water feature permeating the building instead, this may take some getting used to! I would suggest checking out the Poseidon’s Fury queue over at Islands of Adventure though, as that still smells exactly like the E.T. queue used to smell for the last decade or so! (They likely treat the water with the same chemicals there as well.)

Moving on to current construction projects we are following at Universal Studios Florida, some patch work seems to be present at the former Shrek 4-D building.

We expect a new Minions Villain-Con attraction to take over this space, although Universal has not yet announced the project officially.

Work continues on the new, beefier, entrance area for the new attraction.

At first glance I thought maybe “Villain-Con” was written on one of the new pieces of steel, but turns out it’s just “Met-Con,” which is a local construction company.

This new Minions themed attraction will be based on the Minions spin-off films, and not the original Despicable Me series, which already has an attraction across from here.

You can learn more about this possible new attraction, which we expect to be interactive in some way, in our recent story!

I do wonder if the flashing red lights from the old “Hot Set” days of the Hitchcock Show will remain, or finally be removed with this new attraction re-do?

It is possible a new Minions Villain-Con themed gift shop may be built directly across from the current Super Silly Stuff Minions gift shop we have now.

Next door to the former Shrek 4-D building, work continues on the former Monsters Cafe building. This area is ALSO covered in Minions-themed work walls, and yet Universal has not announced its replacement either.

It appears that much of the interior of this structure has been gutted, and the exterior is receiving a face lift.

A recent permit for this project, known as Project 210 in documents, is for “roof replacement” and shows P&A Roofing and Sheet Metal as the contractor.

Recent permit related to former Monsters Cafe work, Source: fasttrack.ocfl.net

Revenge of the Mummy is STILL in technical rehearsals, also known as “soft opening,” after first reopening to regular guests at the end of August.

While in Technical Rehearsals some effects may not be working, Express Passes cannot be used, and the attraction may close at any time while they continue to work out any bugs. Hopefully the ride can be officially open soon, after it working more reliably.

And lastly, new banners have been added to the entrance to Universal CityWalk’s upcoming escape rooms since our last update.

The banners show off both of the themed rooms for “Universal’s Great Movie Escape,” based on Back to the Future and Jurassic World.

Universal has not revealed an opening date, but they have said ticket information should be coming soon. It is expected to open before the end of the year.

“Coming Soon” has been added to the doors since our last update as well, so here’s hoping that means VERY soon!

That’s all for now, but be sure to check out our recent story for more details on the rumored Minions Villain-Con attraction. And stay tuned for news and updates!

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  • Brandon


    Yeah, the Mummy ride is having serious issues. It constantly breaks and even when it’s working in the begining when the men pop out when the mummy asks you to join him or die, randomly 1 or two pop up. I think there is 8 so that’s a lot not working. The mummy animatronic at the begining of the ride looks like it has a new skin. Everything has new paint all over. The section with the beetles that drop (there use to be real ones that dropped and right before they closed it I think only one was left, lol) has been redone with a chip experience rather than the real beetles. Also there is a water sprayer above which makes you feel like bugs are crawling , I guess. The ride is much smoother overall and the stops are a little better but still to whiplashy. The second start right after the fire ceiling doesn’t feel as fast as be but maybe they were testing something. I saw some new fog effects but these may have just been old broken ones, I can’t remember. I’m disappointed they didn’t change anything. I still miss the OG Kong even though the mummy is a good roller coaster.

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