Seeing where ‘Nick is made’ as a kid is something I’ll never forget, from tours of the stages to being able to be an audience member, the experience will never be replicated in Orlando again.
Not only was I lucky enough to experience Universal Studios Florida during its first year of operation, but I was also lucky enough to be selected to be slimed at Nickelodeon Studios on my very first visit.
Growing up on shows like “You Can’t Do That On Television” in the 1980s, the idea of actually being slimed was so exciting that my 9-year old self couldn’t even muster up any words when the microphone was put to my face to ask how excited I was.
And I’m sure my story isn’t unique. A whole generation (or two) of kids that grew up on Nickelodeon in the 1980s and 1990s got a rare opportunity to see where their favorite shows were actually being made. We got to learn the secrets of the Gak Kitchen. And even got to witness shows being filmed right before our eyes.
Throughout the mid to late 1990s, after actually moving to Central Florida, my family would pay close attention to adverts in the newspaper calling for audience members on various shows that would be filming at Universal Studios Florida. This was, after all, going to be the next Hollywood, right?
Seeing the sets from “Clarissa Explains it All” from the up-high vantage of the Nickelodeon Studios’ production tour was cool enough, but being able to sit in the audience for shows like “All That” and “Kenan and Kel” were next-level awesome.
Nickelodeon wasn’t just a cable network, it was an identity in the 90s. When Nicktoons first hit the airwaves it took over my personality. Being able to get photos with cut-outs of characters from “Ren & Stimpy” and “Rocko’s Modern Life” right by the Slime Geyser were even more reasons to love having Nick right here in my own backyard.
But then, Nick Studios stopped taping shows here. Maybe it was because I had graduated high school, and was starting to venture out on my own. Maybe Nickelodeon programming no longer interested me because I was no longer a kid. But it’s still odd to think that the very same time Nickelodeon Studios itself faded away in the early 2000s, was right when I ceased to be a kid myself.
The days of seeing how TV and films are fading from the Orlando theme parks these days. Other than some lasting gems like the Horror Make-Up Show in Universal Studios Florida, there isn’t much left of the golden era of studio park attractions.
Things change, theme parks change, people grow up—but I will never forget Nickelodeon Studios, and how I was slimed with the green, sticky applesauce-pudding concoction during my first visit to Universal Studios Florida in 1990. It could’ve very well been the moment I fell in love with theme parks.
Leave a comment with your favorite memory from Nickelodeon Studios. I recently talked about my first visit to Nick Studios, as well as what it was like to be a member of the studio audience for shows filmed there, in my latest special Premium Podcast from Theme Park Stop.