Tick tock, tick tock, Universal’s in a race against the clock. Construction of two major attractions continues at the Universal Orlando Resort as the year winds to a close. Transformers: The Ride 3D is nearly enclosed now as the infrastructure for the attraction and heavy show elements are installed.  Gringott’s Bank Coaster, in the new Harry Potter expansion of the Studios park, is also reaching a point where most progress may become obscured to us. Meanwhile, the Hogwarts’ Express train project continues to roll forward as tall cranes reach for the sky.  Finally, we have more photos from the progress of the expansion of Springfield near The Simpsons Ride.

TRANSFORMERS THE RIDE 3D

Summer 2013 is just half a year away and the Transformers ride careens through the accelerated construction schedule necessary to get it open in time.  As the exterior shell is installed the interior construction will be obscured.  But, for the moment, we cans still see what is going on in there.

The construction walls along the perimeter of the building feature some pretty cool art.
The entrance to the ride will be on this side of the building.

Around the side of the building we get a glimpse of the maintenance bay.

The rest of the building will soon look like this.

The Transformers attraction has proven to be very popular with guests at Universal Studios Hollywood. We have no doubt it will be a big hit with Orlando crowds as well.

SPRINGFIELD EXPANDS AT THE SIMPSONS RIDE

Construction is underway to bring a few more Springfield locations to life near The Simpsons Ride.  The existing structures are now being reworked.  The ground in front is overturned.  We may soon be able to enjoy a Krusty Burger or a Flaming Moe.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, MAGIC!

Universal continues to tinker with their existing nighttime spectacular lagoon show.  They recently debuted the addition of  high-powered laser effects to punctuate certain scenes.  These are rare full color lasers of the type currently used at Disneyland’s World of Color. They add a certain extra pizazz to the show and look really great, especially from water’s edge where you can get the best view of them.

GRINGOTT’S PROGRESS

As with Transformers, the Gringott’s Bank attraction show building continues the enclosure process.  We spotted a bit of the track a few weeks ago.  But this project is shrouded in secrecy.  In fact, Universal has yet to officially announce any of the details.

TOON LAGOON REFURBISHMENT

We continue to be impressed with the upkeep that Universal Islands of Adventure enjoys.  But there are always things to improve. Uni continues to work on the area to get thing back into shap.

The area near King’s Row is now behind refurbishment fences.

The surface paint jobs are particularly striking.

But here, the interactive detonator element remains broken.

POSEIDON’S FURY REFURBISHMENT

The walk-through attraction, Poseidon’s Fury, is back under refurbishment.  Lets hope that it is being given the attention that it deserves.  When all the effects are working this is an impressive adventure.  But the high-maintenance effects have always been a struggle to keep up.  We’re hoping for the best.

SUPER HERO ISLAND PAINT JOB

More of the beautiful paint work over on Super Hero Island has surfaced this week.  The curbs are once again a perfect charcoal grey and the the crosswalks in the area are a blinding blue and yellow combination once more.

Light, bright colors are very hard to keep up, especially when folks walk on them all day. It will be interesting to see how long this stays looking so good.

NEW STAGE IN WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER

A new stage area is being constructed between Hogsmeade and the Forbidden Journey attractions.

HOGWART’S EXPRESS CONSTRUCTION

Cranes loom behind the Lost Continent area of Islands Of Adventure as heavy construction proceeds on Hogwarts’ Express.  The new train attraction will serve as a connector between the two parks, linking them through respective Harry Potter based lands.

The Mythos restaurant in the foreground as Hogwart’s Express construction cranes loom in the background.
Cranes are visible from Hogsmeade
Walls in the Lost Continent.
A look past the construction walls reveals staging for heavy construction.

Slowly, steadily, Universal continues on their path to expanding their offerings to guests.  What the Universal Orlando Resort needs to do is give visitors to the area a compelling reason to stay on property for 3 days or more.  With Transformers halfway done and major expansion of their wildly successfull Potter additions, they are taking the right steps.  However, as we learned a few months ago, this is really only half of what they have in store.  We will keep you posted on what is coming after Potter, Simpsons and Transformers.