Universal Studios Florida construction update: Now with The Simpsons
ORLANDO - I took a short break from the 2012 IAAPA Attractions Expo to drop in over at Universal Orlando, to check on the construction and ride a few of the new and refurbished attractions there I hadn't yet experienced.
First, we've got three construction zones at Universal Studios Florida now. The newest construction zone surrounds The Simpsons Ride, which just got its new collection of carnival games this year, replacing the games displaced by Harry Potter evicted Amity and Jaws.
Universal has closed the International Food and Film Festival food court, striking it from the park map. Construction walls started going up today. We're expecting this to be the site of a new Simpsons-themed eatery and possibly a gift shop.
If you look carefully, you can see construction equipment getting ready to go, behind one of the walls in the area. Construction walls also block the lagoon in front of IFFF and Simpsons.
Harry Potter Diagon Alley Construction
Universal's making progress on the Diagon Alley-themed Harry Potter land that's also going into Universal Studios Florida. Here's a look at the show building for the Gringotts coaster, rising above one of the Universal's Cinematic Spectacular show units in the park's lagoon.
And a closer look at the show building.
The rest of Diagon Alley, including the Kings Cross station that will connect the Hogwarts Express to the existing Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Islands of Adventure, has yet to go vertical.
But the new Thames River wall is complete.
Transformers: The Ride 3D Construction
Hey, it's nice to be able to write about a project that Universal's actually confirmed, for a change. I've never seen a theme park build an attraction of this size this quickly. Granted, they had the design ready to go from Singapore and Hollywood, but this is a lot of iron and metal to put up, in less than five months so far.
Here's a view of the Transformers building, viewed from the New York street along the lagoon.
And looking toward New York, from the side of Mel's Diner.
Here's the building, as seen rising behind the Monsters Cafe.
Finally, here's a view from above.
By the way, today I got my first rides on Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem and the refurbished 4K HD Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. Loved 'em both. Minion Mayhem's an action-packed simulator ride that manages to exude much of the cuteness from the end of the movie. And if you get into the spirit of it, the dance party at the end is a nice interlude before the inevitable exit through the souvenir shop.
And Spider-Man? Wow. Universal Creative nailed it on this one, refreshing Spider-Man with a sharp re-do that packs visual detail never seen before in the ride. Even if you thought you'd grown tired of Spider-Man in years past, give this new version a try. You won't be sorry. It's like rediscovering something you thought you'd known, but hadn't.
Now, when do we get some new super high-def effects on Potter? (Yeah, we're greedy, we fans….)
What's rumored to go by the lagoon is a ferris wheel. I have a good question though: does anyone know where the entrance to Transformers will be? There's like three possible areas.
From everything I've read, the entrance for Transformers will be on the lagoon side of the building.
There is so much misconception and bad reporting when it comes to digital projection and misuse of the term high-definition (HD).
I saw the Transformers construction site in September and I cannot believe how quickly this has gone up! (apologies to the family who were wondering what is was when I shouted at my family - oooh thats gonna be Transformers!)
Nice update, thanks (although you did almost lose me by leading with carnival games - ugh!). Most importantly, your pictures highlight one of the best reasons for off-season touring in Orlando: the park is nearly empty! Lucky you!
When I was at Universal a few weeks ago, I took a long look at the building in the former Jaws area. I'm just not buying the rumor that there's a roller coaster going in there. Roller coasters require extensive support systems, columns, foundations, and to top it all off, every indoor roller coaster installation I've ever seen built has the track mostly in place BEFORE the walls of the building go up, unless an existing building is aready being used (Mummy), and in that event the roof is removed to allow for pieces to be dropped into place.
@Eric G: You lost me. You're arguing for more clarity, but how do you sell "4K is better than HD". Do you start marketing "Extreme Definition"?
Russell, Revenge of the Mummy's coaster was placed into a preexisting building.
It was a bit surreal on it's own to see construction going on at Transformers during HHN. Amazingly, other than the bright spotlights, there was little to no distraction really...the noise was minimal to nonexistent with all the ambient noise around.
Gosh, I just love Universal. They are doing all these amazing things at once, such as Transformers, Simpsons, Harry Potter and giving Islands of Adventure a fresh coat of paint. They are relentless recently with everything... It's just amazing.
The wonders Parkscope can teach you kids,
I think Eric is mistaken on the type of projection Spider-Man used originally and what it was replaced with. The projectors and scenes have always been digital. BTTF used actual film, not Spider-Man.
Granted this isn't a high bar to exceed but the Simpsons Carnival games seemed the best quality I've seen at a theme park. They also are the only ones in Orlando that actually fit a theme instead of just being forced.
I'm talking about a Simpsons ferris wheel.
Would prefer a themed squid port waterfront from Springfield but as long as the Ferris Wheel has something to it theme wise...can't complain about an extra ride that wasn't expected
Krusty's Fun Wheel anyone?
I am disappointed now... I was at USF yesterday too and didn't get to meet you Robert! Funny you posted the construction update, I got some night photos of the Transformers building from behind Monsters Cafe as well. Indeed, they have done quite a bit on such short notice.
Having seen blueprints, means signing a non disclosure...usually...
Oh, Edwin, that's only if you see things with permission. But our readers here are wonderful, sharing people. ;^)
The new Potter area in USO will be ready to go in October 2013?! I'm planning my trip and would love to ride it!
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