Universal Orlando and the Ever-Expanding Future Plans

Written by MiceChat Staff. Posted in Features, Orlando Parkhopper, Universal Orlando

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frontpagepicUSO

Published on August 27, 2012 at 10:34 pm with 23 Comments

Some brilliant things are afoot in balmy Orlando. Harry Potter’s London extension at Universal Studios is really beginning to take a recognizable shape along the waterfront. And the Hogwarts Express is still rolling forward through a land prep phase as it will be the crucial link between the existing Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure and the new London/Diagon Alley expansion. Plus, we have all sorts of updates, big and small, from Universal Orlando Resort.

HARRY POTTER 2.0
Everyone’s wild about Harry.  So much so, that we are getting excited about all the little details which are starting to emerge from the Wizarding World expansion at Universal Studios park in Orlando.  Notice the cement that is being sculpted below water level.  They are going to great lengths to make this area look like the walk along the River Thames.  Once this frontage is complete, they will allow the water back up to the banks and construction on the rest of the project should go vertical shortly behind the construction fences.

It is fascinating to see how much effort goes in to holding the water back for months so that this construction can take place.

MIDWAY GAMES
After many long weeks of little progress, the new midway games in front of the Simpson’s ride are finally moving forward .Metal brackets have been affixed to the Simpsons Ride facade.

 

WALKING DEAD
One of the most anticipated haunted houses this year, AMC’s The Walking Dead, will put guests into the center of the spooky action at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Haunt.  You can already see the slats on the walls which will soon be the only barrier between the helpless victims and bloodthirsty zombies. Further, we caught a glimpse of the famous Walking Dead Winnebago.

TRANSFORMERS
Last but not least, we round out the visit to USO with a glance at the pit that will soon be Transformers: The Ride 3D.  Not too much has changed since last week.

ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE
In Islands of Adventure, the area bordering Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Lost Continent is being cleared for the Hogwarts Express Station.  This train attraction will connect the two parks and will only be accessible to those who have purchased two-park tickets.

Dragon Challenge swoops perilously close to the dirt lot right now.

LOST CONTINENT
Rounding out the info today, we bring news of more upkeep happening on the storefronts in the Lost Continent section of the park. It is ironic how much upkeep it takes to make something look dilapidated.

The future holds some pretty impressive things for Universal Orlando. Harry Potter is protracting, Transformers is unfurling, Hogwarts is expressing and Midway Games are mushrooming.  But, since we don’t have Doc Brown’s time machine at our disposal, we will have to settle for watching it being built at the current pace.  We think it will be worth the wait.

Be sure to join MiceChat for an evening of frightful fun on Friday, September 28th, as we meet up  at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights.  It’s always more fun to be scared with friends! We’ll have more information about the event very soon.

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  • mratigan

    There moving right along

    • KingEric

      Yeah Potter is going vertical! OH YEAH!

  • ParkerMonroe

    So fun to watch this come to fruition! I had written about the possibility of this very project back in December.

    http://parkermonroe.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/armchair-imagineering-universal-edition/

    • KingEric

      very cool!

  • Gregg Condon

    I may have missed it, but have there been any rumors of possible attractions for the HP extension? I know they haven’t officially announced anything yet just wondering if there have been any rumblings.

    • KingEric

      So what the “word on the street is” that Harry Potter 2.0 will include the following
      - London water front
      - Diagon Alley
      - Kings Cross station
      – Hogwarts Express to Hogsmede
      - Gringotts Bank (the main attraction

  • toonaspie

    Diagon Alley will be the big Harry Potter area at USO methinks. Here’s what I’m hoping to be accesible shops:

    - The Leaky Cauldron (main eatery)
    - Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor (they can experiment with crazy ice cream flavors like Bertie Bott’s beans)
    - Flourish and Blott’s (wizarding book store)
    - Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes

    and also Knockturn Alley – Borgin and Burkes

    I would love to see Hogsmeade get expanded too. So many shops from the books worth exploring.

    • KingEric

      Weasley’s would be AMAZING.

      What I have again “heard on the street” is that Olivander’s will be moved here, and that they are going to fix the capacity issues that the current one has over in Hogsmede.

      I don’t really know what that really means or what it will entail, but I am exited about it none-the-less!

      • jcruise86

        Moving Olivander’s wand shop would better fit the novels, and would let Universal address the space issue by making the wand show like Mickey’s house in Disneyland’s Toontown where more than one Mickey meets with unsuspecting kids at the same time.

        In place of Olivander’s, a meet ‘n’ greet with Fred & George could be funny. I’d like to see other characters too, but the movies may have made substituting face characters less appealing. I might be disappointed to see anyone other than Alan Rickman as Snape, but then again Mark Ruffalo took about two seconds to make me forget about the last Hulk (I actually just forgot his name, and he’s a terrific actor!) in The Avengers.

        Finally, thanks again Universal for raising the bar for Disney World!

      • KingEric

        I agree with you on how they might do Olivanders @jcruise86. I just want people to have a great experience. And the bar has been raised here in Orlando!

  • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

    When you look at the shore line, you realize just what a large space the new Harry Potter land will inhabit. I’m more excited about this project than anything else in the theme park world right now.

    • KingEric

      I agree! While I was heart broken JAWS was killed for this, I am just so excited about the future!

  • mainejeff

    Universal continues to impress……..not only with the quality of their recent additions, but also with the speed at which they plan, construct and open their new attractions (Disney take note!).

    • KingEric

      It is pretty incredible how fast these projects are moving. I am there EVERY week. And I feel like I am missing a lot because of how fast they are moving!

  • Director_Guy

    jcruise86, it was Edward Norton and before him, Eric Bana.

    I’m really excited about both Potter expansions. I wonder when they’ll make an official announcement.

    • KingEric

      I personally think that the offical transformers announcement will come after HHN in November.

      I think that the Harry Potter announcement is still a long time away! I think that they will wait until the end of next year before they officially announce it.

  • BestBeatingHeart

    Dear lord, somebody forgot to turn auto focus on or something.

    • KingEric

      It is on. Just when I snap photos of things in places where I am not supposed to, I have to be quick and stealth, and sometimes that does not make for the best picture taking.

  • Crazee4mm

    When will we start seeing some HP progress out here on the west coast? Still waiting for that first shovel of dirt to be turned. And the announcement seems to have made eons ago too.

    • KingEric

      I have no idea. It seems that Universal Hollywood loves to make announcements and then dillydally on the construction.

      Where here in Orlando, they like to be almost done with construction before they announce what is going to open.

      • mainejeff

        I think with Hollywood……..they have A LOT more planning and permitting to do than in Florida. Just the logistics of demolishing existing structures and closing existing attractions to make way for HP must be quite a process. They don’t want to destroy their business for 2-3 years…….it will be quite a challenge for them!

  • Brandis

    If I remember correctly, JKR has a clause in the contract with Universal which forbids them to have face characters of “famous” people from the books / movies in the parks.

    • KingEric

      @Brandis – I believe you are correct. Universal originally wanted the wants to be able to interact with the whole Wizardaring World, but apparently JKR was adamant that we are muggles invited into the Wizaring World, and so therefore would not be able to conjure magic.