Universal Studios Florida construction update: Now with The Simpsons
Written by Robert Niles
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.Tweet
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….)
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