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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.

  • Trumpet

    Thanks for the Update Etic

    I just love what is happening at both parks. This is the kind of upkeep and investment that WDW needs at the moment to compete. However, at this present time, I think USO And IoA should shine. hope this continues.

    Thanks Again Eric


    • Eric Davis

      My pleasure! I love all the little changes they are making!

  • When you see how many projects of high quality Universal is working on, it makes you realize that Walt Disney World is really just coasting at the moment (even with their lackluster Fantasyland expansion). Yet, even with all those big things (like Potter and Transformers) on the way, Universal has still been making time and freeing up resources to plus the rest of the parks and make little enhancements as well. It’s so invigorating. Very different vibe than you get from Disney World at the moment.

    Once Potter opens, both of Universal’s parks will be in solid shape. Well maintained, filled with fun things to do and feeling fresh. But over at Disney World, all four parks feel dated and all of them have major problems which need to be addressed (Epcot’s Future World needs to be revived, Animal Kingdom and the Studios are only half day parks and the Magic Kingdom needs a DCA sized budget to bring it up to the quality and theme level of New Fantasyland). They are a prime example of what happens when you let accountants run theme parks instead of creatives.

    I wonder how much longer it will be until Bob Iger realizes what’s going on and chops the heads off of the Orlando folks who are responsible for letting WDW get so stale and far behind in the excitement game.

    Universal’s main problem is that years ago, they made the STUPID decision to sell off the land they were holding for a third park. Now that they could really use that land, they are completely boxed in. Just imagine the kind of park Universal’s current creative team could build with their new found mojo?!

    • Eric Davis

      I agree. I think those short sighted management decisions are really biting them in the end now.

      • MickeyFickey

        Where was this land located?

      • Eric Davis


        It was down Universal Boulevard next to where Lockhede Martin’s testing range is.


        the Whole reason why Orlando built Universal Boulevard, as big, and as wide, and as beautiful is because of the old plan.

  • jcruise86

    Thanks for the update, Eric!

    And thank you, Universal, for aggressively improving!

    I hope Universal Hollywood tries to surpass DCA’s Carsland and Buena Vista Street when it creates our west coast Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

    • Eric Davis

      Universal is not sitting still, they are becoming the agile and responsive competitor WDW has needed.

      It is exciting to see what is happening!

  • cruise

    I love that Universal is getting a chance to show their stuff in a big big way on both coasts right now. The next few years at these parks should be incredibly exciting. Everybody benefits from competition, so keep it up Universal!

    All of the Disney apologists who instinctively dismiss Universal may soon have to come to terms with the idea that Disney isn’t immune to competition.

    • Eric Davis

      I think it will be really interesting come 2015 what the Universal Orlando resort looks like as it hits 25 years!

  • UniversalDesi

    Great blog! Question – what do you think is going on in the last 3 pictures? Are we assuming this is part of the Hogwarts express? Thoughts? 🙂

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  • Hogwarts

    Eric, In your opinion when do you think the new Harry Potter world will be completed based on the current development speed you’ve personally witnessed.

    Thanks for this wonderful update and please continue to keep us in the know for this park.

    I will be checking MiceChat continually for your updates throughout 2013.