Universal Studios Orlando In Full Expansion Mode

Written by Eric Davis. Posted in Orlando Parkhopper

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Published on November 20, 2012 at 5:01 am with 18 Comments

Is Blue Man Group really on the ropes? Is Wicked still coming to the Universal Studios Orlando Resort?  How is Transformers The Ride 3D coming along?  We have all the answers.  But that isn’t all.  We’ll also update you on the progress of the expanded Springfield area near The Simpsons Ride, and take a peek at the Harry Potter expansion. Oh, and we’ll take a look at the preparations for the Holidays as well.

WICKED ON ITS WAY, BLUE MAN HERE TO STAY (for now)

Last week we ran a rather controversial rumor that Blue Man Group’s show at Universal’s City Walk might be on its way out and that the 30 minute version of Wicked, from the Osaka park, might be on it’s way into the same theater.  Comments flooded in on the boards and via email claiming that Blue Man Group was here to stay.  At the same time, our sources insisted that Wicked was also on its way.  As it turns out, both were correct, but we were a bit off.

According to many close to the Blue Man group, the spectacular is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Still, there are indications that they are struggling with ticket sales.

Aside from sources in the ticket industry who point to soft ticket sales, there’s also the issue of an apparent sponsorship loss.  Sharp electronics was the corporate sponsor for the show when it opened on June 6th, 2007.  That sponsorship was recently removed. Then consider the ease of buying a ticket.  Just how easy it is to grab a ticket to the Blue Man Group show? We were able to put 10 seats on hold that were front and center for this Friday (a holiday weekend no less). To be fair, it is in the splash zone.

Blue Man isn’t the only theme park hosted show having trouble filling seats. Disney World’s La Nouba has the same issue. Again, we were able to nab tickets, during the holiday weekend, in a section very near the front of the stage – 10 seats all in a row.

So it’s not that we are saying that the Blue Man Group show is bad.  In fact, we hear good things about both Blue Man and La Nouba. The larger problem in Orlando is tourists who seem disinterested with night time separate ticket shows.

And what of Wicked? Apparently the 30 minute stage version of the show that enjoyed a successful run in Osaka, is coming to the Orlando park.  But we now know that it will not be replacing the Blue Man Group.

TRANSFORMERS

Transformers The Ride continues to morph into a recognizable shape.  It appears that the entrance to the new mega attraction will be facing the lagoon and the exterior of the building will appear to be drastically different from the other incarnations, as promised.

It appears that that the entrance to the Transformers ride will be here, the shaved corner facing the lagoon.

within the construction, large units wait to be unpacked and installed.

 

SPRINGFIELD

Here we have the latest from the area that will become a Mini-Springfield next year. Soon, in addition to shopping at the famous Kwik-E-Mart, guests will also be able to grab a bite at Krusty Burger or have a refreshing beverage at Moe’s. Let’s peek in at the construction.

They aren’t wasting any time

HARRY POTTER

Of course, we can’t have a Universal Update without checking up on the progress over at Harry Potter.  Currently, all that is visible is the construction of a large show building.

We can see here that the structure is being enclosed now

CHRISTMAS

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Holiday/Christmas season at the Universal Orlando Resort. With that, the final touches are being placed.

Krusty got his Santa hat.

Garland has been wrapped around the polls of the Boulangerie.

Banners are up for the Macy’s Holiday Parade.

CHRISTMAS IN ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE

Islands of Adventure is not to be left out of the Holiday fun.  From the entry over to Suess Landing, the park is a Christmas wonderland.

Wandering over to Suess Landing, we see they have also begun preparing for the Grinchmas show too.

Grinchmas is curvy festive fun

Grinchmas is coming

TOON LAGOON

Ending on a positive note, we see more work has been completed inside Toon Lagoon.  Notice the exact, stark lines and color being maintained.

minor things like this add up and make a park shine.

Hagar’s banana yellow boat once again gleams in the Florida sun.

There’s a lot of construction going on at the Universal Orlando Resort but now is still a great time to visit. We’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you seen Blue Man? Make your best pitch to help them fill those seats. And are you a Grinchmas fan? Looking forward to Springfield, Potter or Wicked? Let us comments below.

Have a happy Thanksgiving folks. By the time all those Black Friday sales are over the theme parks will be in full Christmas frenzy through the end of the year. Lot’s more for us to uncover in the coming weeks. We’ll see you again real soon.

About Eric Davis

By day, Eric is in Marketing and Social Media. But on the weekends, he's a theme park addict. Eric is a frequent contributor to MiceChat's Orlando Parkhopper columns and tends to focus his efforts on what's new and what's news at Universal Studios and SeaWorld.

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  • Disneymike

    Is it me or does the Christmas decorations look odd and out of place on the old looking structures around the entrance to IOA?

    • KingEric

      I agree, it does seem odd. Just like I find it comical to have Christmas trees next to dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. Even my 4 year old nephew thought they were funny.

    • jcruise86

      It works for me.

  • indianajack

    Universal is doing a great job. Going on a Simpsons ride is nice, but visiting Springfield, its watering holes, denizens, etc. is simply amazing. I look forward to dropping some money there on food, drinks and souvenirs. The future of theme parks is unified themed lands around one IP, witness the success of Wizarding World and Carsland. It’s mind-boggling that Disney isn’t putting in a Star Wars Land to DHS right away.

    • KingEric

      I agree. I can not wait to immerse myself in the world of Springfield!

  • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

    It’s sort of hard to wrap your head around the fact that they are building a major E-Ticket, Transformers, as well as a massive new land for Harry Potter, plus an expanded mini-land for the Simpsons all at the same time. And that doesn’t even count the production of Wicked which may be coming soon. Wow.

    Love the Christmas decorations in Suess Landing for Grinchmas. Better still, they are more or less waiting until Thanksgiving to roll it all out . . . fantastic! That’s the way it should be.

    Thank you for the update Eric!

  • jcruise86

    Thanks for the update!

    My friends & family know I’m into Miceage, and I don’t want them to think I’m wasting my time. I’m not expecting the NY Review of Books, and I’ve given up my fight against “very unique,” but please don’t misuse “disinterested” to mean “uninterested,” even if it’s a trend.

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      Really? I think we used it ust fine:

      dis·in·ter·est·ed
      /disˈintəˌrestid/
      Adjective
      Having or feeling no interest in something.
      Synonyms
      indifferent – uninterested – unconcerned – unselfish

  • jcruise86

    It’s only hard to wrap our heads around Universal Orlando’s amazing growth if Walt Disney World is at the center of our thoughts. WDW parks have been improving at a
    G
    L
    A
    C
    I
    A
    L
    pace over the last 13.5 years, since the Animal Kingdom opened in April of 1998.

    Now speaking of glacial, when is our bigger than Orlando’s (please) WWoHP opening in Universal Hollywood? 2015? I want crews working 24/7.

    • KingEric

      Universal Hollywood seems to have had a lot of hands in the pot. I think that because Universal Orlando is one of the biggest games in town, they are allowed to unilaterally move forward on a lot of stuff, where as in Hollywood the size of the production side, and all the other things going on in Hollywood, kind of muddy the water for the theme park operations.

  • Malin

    I’ve seen the Wicked show in Osaka and its ok but was nothing special. I certainly hope Universal will create a new venue for the show and not finish something like the Beatlejuice Show.

    The reason why La Nouba’s popularity is dropping is simply because fans are wanting a new show. Blue Man Group on the other hand might be failing because its not a multi stay Holiday destination like WDW. The people who do stay on site most likely don’t stay for days at a time. Besides City Walk has always appeared to attract the locals more then the Tourist who stick to the Parks more.

    • KingEric

      I am just a fan of keeping the parks fresh. Whether that is a WICKED 30 minute show or something entirely different. I just love it when they add value to the parks!

  • WesternMouse

    Those BMG tix are pricey. Hard to pay $84 a person for an off-Broadway show. Dang.

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      Exactly. It’s almost the cost of theme park admission. The value comparison is obvious. Which would you rather do with your money, a show or a whole day at a theme park?

    • KingEric

      I agree. That is the problem in Orlando right now, that ala cart shows like BMG, Cirque, and dinner shows like Hoop Dee Doo, Spirit of Aloha, Arabian Knights, Medevial Times, Pirates Dinner Adventure and the Makahiki Luau are all having a hard time selling tickets.

      People want all their entertainment within their parks, and they want their dining there too.

  • Bill

    I thought the Makahiki Luau was shut down in late September due to dismal ticket sales…

    • KingEric

      You are correct. It closed down due to poor performance. There also was a Luau at the Royal Pacific Resort at Universal that also closed down a few years ago.

  • JMazz

    Is Casey Jr technically a rollercoaster?