Christmas is in full swing at the Universal Orlando Resort.  While the Macy’s holiday parade is performed on a daily basis, construction continues full steam ahead on projects like the Transformers ride, Gringotts bank coaster and the Springfield expansion.  Meanwhile, over in Islands of Adventure, refurbishments are still underway in the high-maintenance areas of Toon Lagoon and Suess Landing.  We’ll show you all this plus a new little procession in the Super Hero Island area, progress on Hogwarts Express and more.  Let’s get to it.

Before we get to today’s update, we have some breaking news.

WE FOUND WALDO!!! And he’s aged quite a bit.


The closure of the show building is almost complete.  We can soon expect to see the exterior facades take shape as we get ready for a June opening of this attraction.

Brackets for exterior details have been installed (very likely for signage)


Construction is quickly moving forward on the Springfield expansion, as concrete pouring begins at the old International Food and Film Festival location.  In order to accommodate the loss of this venue, the long shuttered La Bamba’s, which has recently reopened for the SuperStar Character Breakfast, has now begun to remain open for Lunch and Dinner serving Mexican food.

Construction moves quickly at Universal.


As we reported weeks ago, changes at the Revenge of the Mummy Ride continue as the queue is tweaked. The Arcade and bathrooms receive some much needed attention.  More changes are on the way.



Refurbs continue around Toon Lagoon. This week, the Dog Fountain has gone into refurb and will be getting almost completely rebuilt from the ground up.

Last week, we noted his effect was missing. It has returned.


The Superhero Trikes have become more popular, and now make up a “mini parade” on the Island, where they are taking a much longer route through the island that really gives that area the street entertainment it has always needed.


Moose Juice is getting the new Coke Freestyle Machines.  Universal has installed the Coke freestyle machines throughout both parks. Some locations allow you to drink to your hearts content for 11.00/day on the RFID enabled cups and machines.  The RFID chip allows you to enjoy the Coke Freestyle machines for an unlimited amount ONLY on the day of purchase.  After that, the RFID chips will no longer allow you access the machine.


The new stage is progressing, and should be ready for the Christmas crowds.


Posideon’s fury has reopened after a lengthy refurbishment. We’ll get in there and let you know how it all looks very soon.


An outdoor vending cart is being refurbished, and improved.


Earth is being moved and shaped as vertical construction on the Hogwarts Express is imminent.

Christmas is almost here and crowds will just continue to build in all of the Orlando Parks.  2013 is already shaping up to be a very interesting one for Universal guests. Keep reading, we’ll have more news for you soon.

  • Thank you Eric! There’s so much construction going on at Universal Orlando right now that it’s hard to wrap your head around. Any one of those projects would be enough to be excited about. It reminds me a lot of the major construction that DCA just completed.

    • Eric Davis

      Let me tell you, I get excited every week I go to Universal Orlando, because there is so much going on there. It seems like a new project pops up every week!

  • Trumpet

    Great Update Eric

    I can’t wait for Springfield to be completed

    I dought that the Hogwarts Express will be a real steam train, but I hope it is not like the train in DAK ,as it is clearly a diesel locomotive (As you can tell, I am a train fanatic).

    Have to say they are working fast with the Tranformers project. Can’t wait to see the external facade.

    Thanks Again Eric for this great update. I have to say, they are a highlight of my Tuesday, and I can’t wait to read them every week.


    • mratigan


    • mratigan

      Thanks Eric
      i hope they use a third rail/bus bar system

    • As I understand it, while it will look like a train in the station, it will be a full fledged attraction which just happens to also transport you between the two Wizarding Worlds. What I heard was that it is an advance simulator technology. You will be seated in the train just like Harry and his pals on their way to or from Hogwarts. You’ll see shadows of various wizards and students in the hallway on one side of you and out the windows of the train, you’ll see what’s going on along your journey. You might be attacked by Dementors, or see the Weasley’s car flying by. The experience will be different in each direction. But, what you’ll see from the outside in the the two Wizarding lands will look like a train (even though it really isn’t).

  • Malin

    I recall several years a go that Disney was given an offer by Comcast to buy out the company. The offer was declined. And Comcast ended up several years later buying NBC/Universal. Since the CEO/ President of NBC/ Universal is now Steve Burke who has worked at Euro Disney SCA before and he seems to understand the industry. It makes you think what would have happened to WDW if the takeover did happen all those years before. Would Disney had enjoyed the funding we are now seeing Universal be treated to these days on Refurbishments and new Attractions. What ever the case Universal is receiving the type of funding and care that the Walt Disney Company should be spending on its own Parks. New Fantasyland is a nice start and has provided some nice facilities. But it’s not enough and fans seem to be frustrated.

    Thanks for your weekly updates Eric.

    • Eric Davis

      I at the time CRIED bloody murder when Comcast made a bid for Disney, then when Comcast bought NBC/Universal and then acquired 100% of the Universal Orlando Resort, I wrote some doomsday posts.

      But I must eat A LOT of crow, as it has proven to be the BEST thing for the resort!

      • jcruise86

        I wish Steve Burke were Bob Iger’s successor.

        Or John Lasseter.

        Or Jeffrey Katzenberg, though why would leave a great company he founded?

        Or Matt Ouimet, though he’d need to do a lot of delegating for studio & network business.

  • Ravjay12

    It’s great to see with all the major construction going on they still have time to freshen up everything else. Their parks are going to look good when all the expansions and construction are finished. Disney should be taking notes!

  • doppio

    This makes me want to book at trip to Florida for the very first time.

  • fnord

    I agree- Hogwarts Express will be a simulated train ride. They will even have costumed
    Actors on board to provide personal experiences to complement the views out the
    windows, which sounds really fun.
    I bet from the air it will look like a long narrow building with street underpasses connecting the two parks.
    It will be obvious to most, but some will wonder why they can’t find the train tracks anywhere, as on the ride it will seem like you are outdoors during daytime.

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