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Central Florida Theme Park Construction Round-Up

February 12, 2015, 10:43 AM · We've got a bunch of projects to catch up on today. Magic Kingdom visitors have noticed that Disney has gone ahead and closed the arcade next to Space Mountain. We reported last month that Walt Disney World would be closing the arcade, as part of a resort-wide elimination of prize-paying games, due to a new Florida law. Disney now has filed a Notice of Commencement for construction work on the Power & Light Arcade building. There are no details in that public document that describe the work that Disney will be doing on the building to replace the arcade.

Disney also has filed a construction notice for work on the old Adventureland Verandah restaurant, which has been closed for years, though it's been used for private events from time to time. In this case, cast members have been saying that the park is looking to restaff the Verandah for use as a restaurant again, though not necessarily with that name or the old theme.

Universal Orlando today filed more detailed plans for the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, which reveal that Universal is holding a parcel of land between the new hotel and the expanded waterway for a future restaurant location.

Project 664 plans
From the plans filed today by Universal

Project 664 plans
Here is Universal's concept art, looking at that location from the opposite direction.

Over in Tampa, Busch Gardens is planning a new attraction in the Egypt section of the park, and has filed for permits with the local water authority.

Note to fans on the Tampa story: With Florida's high water table, just about every big construction project ends up going through a water authority for permitting at some point. Just because a park files a permit with a water authority doesn't suggest that it is building a water-based attraction. It simply might need permission for work that would affect drainage in the area. Heck, we found out about the new Frozen meet-and-greet building in Epcot's Norway pavilion due to a public filing with the local water authority for that building.

Finally, developers in the Orlando area are promoting plans for an action sports entertainment center at the intersection of U.S. 192 and State Road 535 in Kissimmee. Lest you get too excited to start skiing, zip-lining and rock climbing just yet, note the final line in that story: "The company is still investigating the property involved, in the 'due diligence' phase and is having discussions with the Osceola County regarding incentives and financing." In other words, they don't own the property yet, and are looking for local government hand-outs to help finance the project. That deserves a...

Phil eyebrow

Update: A couple of bonus construction photos for you, from Southern California today. First, the conversion of Condor Flats to Grizzly Peak Airfield at Disney California Adventure. That's the former Taste Pilots Grill in the foreground and Soarin' in the back.

Grizzly Peak Airfield construction

And here's the current state of the castle in Disneyland:

Disneyland construction

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Replies (5)

February 12, 2015 at 12:57 PM · @Robert: where at Universal is the new hotel going? I see a parking deck, but I'm not sure what this will sit next to or between. Thanks!
February 12, 2015 at 1:47 PM · Between Royal Pacific and Cabana Bay. The groundwork is going on for it now. Nothing vertical the last time I drove by.

If you are looking at the black and white part in the back of that concept drawing, that is Cabana Bay. Those are some of the rooms on the right and I can see the entrance on the left.

February 13, 2015 at 8:38 AM · The Loews Sapphire Falls concept art shows a waterway with boats that looks like a transportation system that should take you to another resort or the theme parks, but the plan looks like it is locked in and it doesn't flow into another waterway. It might just be a short trip around the property. The Universal Orlando property now exceeds that of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. 2 theme parks and more on-site hotels. The only thing not matching Disney in Anaheim is attendance.
February 13, 2015 at 1:35 PM · The Royal Pacific lagoon will be extended to Sapphire and the water taxi will provide transportation to Citi Walk & the parks. Those plans have actually been on some of the Universal fan sites for about 5 or 6 months.
February 13, 2015 at 2:03 PM · I love the Tomorrowland Arcade, as I don't ride Space Mountain with the rest of the family. Like most else at Disney, they do a good job with their arcades. When there in January I discovered a 4-player air hockey game where during the game about 50 pucks came out at once; I haven't seen that before, even at Dave and Busters.

Any word on if DisneyQuest is going to remain open ?

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