Harry Potter ExpansionUniversal Orlando: Pics are showing up all over (other theme park enthusiast websites)
From N BI 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.
Posted September 2, 2012 at 11:10 AM
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 PastorWhen it all comes together, Universal Studios will be a fabulous park.
Posted September 2, 2012 at 11:47 AM
From Dominick DWhen I was at the park Friday night they were working a bit, mostly moving dirt around.
Posted September 2, 2012 at 12:13 PM
From Sean HuckelTransformers will open next year. Potter might open in 2014, but it'll be a stretch.
Posted September 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM
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 DSean, I'd like to see these permits on Springfield.
Posted September 2, 2012 at 1:59 PM
From Sean HuckelThey 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.
Posted September 2, 2012 at 2:07 PM
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 DAnyone up for Krusty Burger or Lard Lad?
Posted September 2, 2012 at 2:25 PM
From David L.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.
Posted September 4, 2012 at 9:08 AM
From Dominick DHopefully Transformers is open by September. Every time I looked at it Friday construction was going on.
Posted September 4, 2012 at 8:24 AM
From Terence ThomasI 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.
Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:15 PM
From N BWhen 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.
Posted September 4, 2012 at 3:18 PM
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 PastorNB: 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.
Posted September 4, 2012 at 3:45 PM
From Dominick DCorrection N B: Toontown is a trademark of The Walt Disney Co.
Posted September 4, 2012 at 5:25 PM
From Bryce McGibenyHe meant Toon Lagoon, haha.
Posted September 4, 2012 at 6:14 PM
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 DMaybe an indoor boat ride?
Posted September 4, 2012 at 6:27 PM
From Andrew DoughertyHow about a special effects show or a live show using an original property?
Posted September 4, 2012 at 7:08 PM
From Dominick DChilly Willy?
Posted September 4, 2012 at 8:10 PM
From Gabriel RossWell 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.
Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:42 AM
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 BlassI 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.
Posted September 6, 2012 at 4:26 PM
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 BMaybe they could convert the Fear Factor building into a pin trading store..... and put a giant Sorting Hat on top...
Posted September 7, 2012 at 7:42 PM
From Bob LiebeNice 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! :-)
Posted September 8, 2012 at 2:05 AM
From Andy Milito^^Ha ha ha :P
Posted September 8, 2012 at 6:15 AM
From steve leeGabriel: "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."
Posted September 8, 2012 at 8:55 AM
(cough) American Ninja Warrior? (cough)
From Dominick DI'd like to see FFL get replaced with either America's Got Talent or ANW.
Posted September 8, 2012 at 9:19 AM
From Sean HuckelFear Factor should be replaced by the summer.
Posted September 8, 2012 at 3:42 PM
From Andrew DoughertyFear Factor is being replaced...
Posted September 8, 2012 at 8:11 PM
From Jake Johnsonany pictures of the construction area??.. camera phone to the ready...
Posted October 2, 2012 at 4:59 PM
From Dominick DI have a photo from last week, but I'll upload it later.
Posted October 2, 2012 at 5:40 PM
From N BWe 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.
Posted October 3, 2012 at 11:49 AM
From James TrexenThanks 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.
Posted October 7, 2012 at 11:41 AM
This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.
Theme Park Insider: Orlando 2014
Get all of Theme Park Insider's reader ratings, tips, and advice for planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, or SeaWorld, in our new 2014 Orlando guidebook! It's more than 200 pages of well-tested, insider information that will help you get the most from your vacation.
Order now: Kindle | iBooks | Paperback | Kindle (UK)
Theme Park Insider Guidebooks
Top U.S. Theme Parks
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Other Top International Parks
Readers' Top Themed Rides
Top Roller Coasters
Top Theme Park Shows
Features, News and Advice
2014 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar.
2013 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2012 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2011 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2010 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2009 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2008 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2007 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2006 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2005 Blog PostsDec.
2004-2005Staff column archive