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Harry Potter Expansion

Universal Orlando: Pics are showing up all over (other theme park enthusiast websites)

From N B
Posted September 2, 2012 at 11:10 AM
I was doing a little digging tonight and found all sorts of recent construction pics at IOA and Universal. Framework at Gringotts has finally gone vertical, land has been cleared outside the Lost Continent and Soundstage 44 is looking suspiciously like the correct type of building for Spider-Man errr... I mean Transformers.

The waterfront at the former Jaws ride is starting to look like a scenic walk on the River Thames. The Simpsons has all new painted metal framework for the midway games that are being moved there.

Barricades have gone up around some of the Lost Continent in preparation of removing two existing structures.

Lastly, someone snapped a pic of a few hardhat and vest wearing construction workers. One of them happened to be the art director for the Harry Potter films known as Alan Gilmore.

I was talking to my wife earlier tonight. We are kicking around the idea of skipping a 2013 visit to Orlando in favor of a shorter family vacation to Key West. Hopefully, the Summer of 2014 will be the grand opening of HP2 and Transformers.

Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Rob Pastor
Posted September 2, 2012 at 11:47 AM
When it all comes together, Universal Studios will be a fabulous park.

From Dominick D
Posted September 2, 2012 at 12:13 PM
When I was at the park Friday night they were working a bit, mostly moving dirt around.

From Sean Huckel
Posted September 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM
Transformers will open next year. Potter might open in 2014, but it'll be a stretch.

There's also another project that just had permits filed for it on the other side of the lagoon. Expect Springfield to be more represented in 2013.

From Dominick D
Posted September 2, 2012 at 1:59 PM
Sean, I'd like to see these permits on Springfield.

From Sean Huckel
Posted September 2, 2012 at 2:07 PM
They aren't necessarily for Springfield. They're for "Project 971", which call for the demolition, alteration, and surrounding ground work of Building 72 in Universal Studios Florida.

Building 72 is the building that includes the Kwik-E-Mart, the International Food Fair, and the restrooms over there.

The project is rumored to be an expanded gift shop, meet and greet, dining experience, and possibly a play ground.

From Dominick D
Posted September 2, 2012 at 2:25 PM
Anyone up for Krusty Burger or Lard Lad?

From David L.
Posted September 4, 2012 at 9:08 AM
I think 2014 would be a great year to go. Transformers is trying to open by September 2013 (Screamscape), Antarctica is supposed to open some time in 2013(Seaworld), 7 Dwarves will open in 2014 (Disney), maybe early spring (Me guessing), and Harry Potter will hopefully open by summer 2014 (me guessing). Unless the other Disney parks have more to offer between now and then, there will be much less of a reason to go to them.

From Dominick D
Posted September 4, 2012 at 8:24 AM
Hopefully Transformers is open by September. Every time I looked at it Friday construction was going on.

From Terence Thomas
Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:15 PM
I own an annual pass. I know that there are a lot of things going on at those parks right now. For me, these updates (although they seemingly take forever) keep me excited about going back.

From N B
Posted September 4, 2012 at 3:18 PM
When I was there in June, you really couldn't tell what was going on at the new HP area at Universal. Soundstage 44 was still perfectly standing on the day we arrived, but by the time we left, a good portion was flattened.

There was a lot of dirt being graded at HP, but you couldn't make out a shape of things to come. The most recent pics I saw look much different.

My problem with Universal on our most recent visit was all the temporary walls. They cut the park in half and it seemed like the areas you could actually go in were so restricted, at least near Soundstage 44 and the former Jaws area.

Now I hear they are expanding near the Simpsons ride and I am sure the Dragon Challenge will be down for some time while they build a train station under it and drain portions of the lake.

I heard the water will be transported (somehow) to the new waterway for the Cabana Bay. That is a long way to go if you have ever walked from the Royal Pacific to the back of IOA.

Although the massive projects will be really nice when completed, it takes away from a week long visit when they are doing so much at one time. I think we may change things around and visit USF for 3-4 days, then head to Key West.

I am starting to think a week is too long for a resort that has massive construction going on in both parks and a new hotel going up.

I read an article about how Comcast took over majority share of Universal (51%) and they plan on dumping hundreds of millions more into the resort even after the new additions are complete.

They talked about removing Fear Factor (no biggie) and the former Tony Hawk show building (again, no biggie as it is unused) and adding two more signature rides. I am trying to figure out what would work in Toon Town and the World Expo.

I am glad that USF is trying to get rid of its "that other resort in Orlando" image and push Disney to respond. They have come a long way since opening day in 1990.

From Rob Pastor
Posted September 4, 2012 at 3:45 PM
NB: Agree with you on all points. We're actually going to skip Universal for 2013 & instead use our entire vacation for Universal in May or October 2014 when Transformers is operational and HP2 completed or near completion. I didn't like the look of the Studios when you could see the apartment buildings behind the former Jaws. It kind of hurt the ambiance. But I'm all for the end result of the new construction.

From Dominick D
Posted September 4, 2012 at 5:25 PM
Correction N B: Toontown is a trademark of The Walt Disney Co.

From Bryce McGibeny
Posted September 4, 2012 at 6:14 PM
He meant Toon Lagoon, haha.

For Toon Lagoon, another water-ride would be a bit much. Though it is the water-ride area of the park. Hmmm...

No clue what would work there.

From Dominick D
Posted September 4, 2012 at 6:27 PM
Maybe an indoor boat ride?

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted September 4, 2012 at 7:08 PM
How about a special effects show or a live show using an original property?

From Dominick D
Posted September 4, 2012 at 8:10 PM
Chilly Willy?

From Gabriel Ross
Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Well I'm just throwing out ideas (good or bad), but I think maybe a Glee-related show would be an okayish replacement for Matt Hoffman's Aggro Circus only because the show has a pretty big following,and if not Glee, then more or less (a lot less) Smash, but that's just me talking off the top of my head I guess.

Fear Factor DOES need to go. It's had an adequate run. The only problem is that there's really nothing to replace it with that would be interesting. I would say "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" or "Wipeout" if they weren't owned by ABC. I did, however think of a "MasterChef" show, but let's be real; Who goes to a theme park to sit and watch someone cook (even if it's Gordon Ramsay)? But that's just my opinion.

From Teddy Blass
Posted September 6, 2012 at 4:26 PM
I was at the parks on Friday as well. Lots of construction going on. Since my last visit at the beginning of summer, the Jaws area is starting show signs of vertical construction, and the Transformers area is moving quite rapidly. A September 2013 opening seems very possible at this rate.

I hope they delay closing Dragon Challenge for the train station construction as long as they can. Despite the lack of dueling, at this time of year it's great because you can practically walk right on. Plus it gives a great view of construction progress!

From N B
Posted September 7, 2012 at 7:42 PM
Maybe they could convert the Fear Factor building into a pin trading store..... and put a giant Sorting Hat on top...

From Bob Liebe
Posted September 8, 2012 at 2:05 AM
Nice one N B! I almost spit my soda out! I don't know if it was just because it was that funny, or because it's 4am and I only have 2 more hours of my 16 hour shift & I'm tired! Either way, thanks for the laugh! :-)

From Andy Milito
Posted September 8, 2012 at 6:15 AM
^^Ha ha ha :P

From steve lee
Posted September 8, 2012 at 8:55 AM
Gabriel: "Fear Factor DOES need to go. It's had an adequate run. The only problem is that there's really nothing to replace it with that would be interesting. I would say "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" or "Wipeout" if they weren't owned by ABC."

(cough) American Ninja Warrior? (cough)

From Dominick D
Posted September 8, 2012 at 9:19 AM
I'd like to see FFL get replaced with either America's Got Talent or ANW.

From Sean Huckel
Posted September 8, 2012 at 3:42 PM
Fear Factor should be replaced by the summer.

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted September 8, 2012 at 8:11 PM
Fear Factor is being replaced...

From Jake Johnson
Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:59 PM
any pictures of the construction area??.. camera phone to the ready...

From Dominick D
Posted October 2, 2012 at 5:40 PM
I have a photo from last week, but I'll upload it later.

From N B
Posted October 3, 2012 at 11:49 AM
We should start a thread for just Universal constructions pics.... Between Gringotts, Transformers, Hogwarts Express, Simpsons and Cabana Bay (and possibly Fear Factor), we could keep it going for a while.

From James Trexen
Posted October 7, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Thanks to Amusement Pics, Gringott's has installed it's roof, Transformers has started work on the second floor and the new Simpsons midway games are open.

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