January used to be ‘off season’ in Orlando, but thanks to an increase in international visitors, and growth in domestic travel, all the parks in Orlando have been experiencing record January crowds. Even with the influx of visitors, Universal Orlando has moved forward with refurbishments, and construction is still going 24/7 as they prepare for what should be another banner summer!
HOGWART’S EXPRESS VERTICAL
The deep drainage and underground plumbing work has commenced between the Lost Continent and WIzarding World of Harry Potter. This is, of course, for the Hogwart’s Express train station that will connect Islands of Adventure to the Universal Studios park. Vertical construction is also visible further away from the construction walls.
Behind the trees, you can see the walls of the Hogsmede Station rise.
The whole entrance to Wizarding World Of Harry Potter is going to be reconfigured in the next year to accommodate the new station area.
POPEYE and BLUTO’S BILDGE-RAT BARGES
The fantastic water raft ride in Islands of Adventure has gone down for its annual refurbishment Universal Orlando is also taking the time to repaint the paths, railings, and Me Ship the Olive, as the whole area around Popeye’s gets some TLC.
Construction continues at the front of Islands of Adventure as they expand the infrastructure backstage.
Last year, we reported that Seuss Landing’s walk ways got a beautiful new coat of paint. However it seems this new paint job, is not enduring well. Only 3 months later, and much of the paint has worn off, or is very faded.
A new wall was installed next to the Jurassic Park store and the Express Pass line. I believe this wall was added to prevent confusion, and non-express pass guests from accidentally entering the express pass queue.
The big construction projects continue over at Universal Studios where Transformers and Springfield near their Summer 2013 completion dates, meanwhile Diagon Alley continues to take shape in the new Harry Potter land.
Over the next few weeks, we will begin to see the exterior themeing of Transformers show building take shape. There will be an industrial look on two sides of the wall and themed wrap on the other sides.
Springfield USA is taking shape as Moe’s Tavern can now be discerned (the middle facade) with Krusty’s and the third facade also taking shape. Foundation work has begun on the Duff Gardens area, and for those of you hoping to see a flat ride installed here our sources say that no such ride is coming.
Moe’s Tavern is going up fast!
Duff Gardens area.
SHREK MEET AND GREET
Ever since Sound Stage 44 was demolished, Shrek and Donkey have been homeless, greeting guests out on the streets. A new Meet and Greet for Shrek and Donkey has begun to take shape next to where their old one was located.
HARRY POTTER 2.0
With each passing day, the excitement levels rise for the Harry Potter expansion at Universal Studio. Kings Cross and Gringotts Bank are now beginning to take shape.
This is only the beginning of what is in store for the Universal Orlando property. There are a number of rumors of some great new developments which we are working on confirming for you on our future updates.