The Bates Motel Set was in the KidZone area. It was built for the filming of Psycho IV: The Beginning, then later used to house the haunted house for The Psycho Path Maze for several years during HHN. Later, Barney replaced this.
The original Hard Rock Café at USF was the first one to be built in Florida. And it was the first HRC to be built from the ground up. (The previous 12 were retrofitted into existing buildings). It actually opened 2 months before the park because of park technical delays.
It was built on a giant guitar-shaped platform and the neck served as a walkway/entrance. HRC straddled the border between USF and the main parking lot. It was torn down after the new one was built in CityWalk.
This is the Universal Studios and Hard Rock I remember from my youth! I also remember the Alfred Hitchcock 3 D theatre & getting my picture by the large animatronic jaws (before the ride existed), I think in 1990/91?
I need to get pics from my mom when I visit next. She has all of them in those old-school sticky paged photo albums.
I never went to Universal Studios in Florida until much more recently (well after IOA was built, etc). But, I did go to Universal Studios Hollywood back in the 80s. I doubt there exists any photographic evidence of this…but I remember the highlights of getting to “meet” K.I.T.T., and also “lifting” the A-Team’s van with my own bare hands!
I don’t recall it being a ride, but part of the tram tour. The tram took you into a ship, and you got to watch a laser battle ensue. The same tram also took you to the “river” that floods, and the dock overlooking Jaws, etc.