Construction continues at a rapid pace at the Universal Orlando Resort. Today, we’ll show you what’s new and hypothesize on a potential new lagoon show for Islands of Adventure.
Cabana Beach Resort Construction
Universal Orlando has wasted no time since the July 9th, 2012 announcement to start construction on the Cabana Beach Resort. Vertical construction is visible from the highways near Universal Orlando, and it is going to be exciting watching this family suite hotel take shape.
Refurbishments can be found inside and outside the parks, with new additions being found in CityWalk.
HardRock Rock Shop under refurbishment
The HardRock Cafe store “Rock Shop” is undergoing a radical redevelopment. We will let you know what the new store looks like when it opens, but as of right now it has been gutted and is empty.
New bar kiosk in CityWalk
The patio kiosks built this past year on the water front have been a huge success during peak periods when the parks are open late, and live music is playing all night in CityWalk. Universal has now added an additional kiosk, not on the water front, but instead just front of a rarely used corridor to the CityWalk clubs.
Transformers Merchandise now available in CityWalk and new “Spend and Get” Shopping incentive.
Transformers might be opening this summer, but Universal is already selling Transformers t-shirts and merchandise in CityWalk!
In January, Universal Orlando introduced the “Spend and Get” where when you buy over $50.00 in merchandise you will be given a $10.00 Universal Orlando gift card. This is a great incentive to shop until you drop! The deal is only valid at Universal owned and operated merchandise locations.
Construction continues on the major redevelopment of the Universal Orlando park, with Mardi Gras right around the corner, we are running into the final stretch that will take us to this summer and the grand openings for the new Springfield area and the epic new Ride Transformers.
Mardi Gras set up has been completed, and similar to Halloween Horror Nights 2012, the decorations are a bit reduced, and the parade route has been shortened.
In past years the parade route started near Jaws and ended in New York after making a giant loop through Hollywood. This year the parade will kickoff in Hollywood next to the Horror and Makeup show, go up Hollywood Boulevard past Despicable Me, and through New York and end near Beetle Juice.
A great group of bands has been lined up for this years Mardi Gras, and the Orlando ParkHopper and the Unofficial Universal Podcast will be there on February 9th to provide exciting coverage, along with getting interviews with people involved with putting on Mardi Gras!
The exterior to the Transformers attraction opening up this summer is beginning to take shape. Walls facing the courtyard are receiving a very industrial treatment with a large “E7” being painted on it. After some sleuthing I discovered that “E7” was the production name while filming Transformers 3: Darkside of the Moon.
I will be nice to see the exterior themeing take shape as we prepare for the summer opening of this blockbusting attraction!
Shrek and Donkey Meet and Greet
While the Transformers takes shape next door, the Shrek and Donkey meet and greet continues to move forward at a steady pace.
Next to the Simpson’s Ride, Springfield USA continues to take shape with the facades for Moe’s Tavern and Krusty burger being easy to identify. Foundation work on the water front area is moving forward. From what I’ve seen of the foundation work being done, I’ve got to wonder if my source was incorrect and there could in fact be an attraction coming to the water front. Though, it will still be a few more weeks before we can definitively say yes or no to whether an attraction is coming to the waterfront. . . Unless some kind soul sends me an email 😉
Additional vertical construction is now visible over at the London/Diagon Alley expansion for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Large beams now visible over the wall, and the outlines for all the building structures can be seen with the orange fence when viewing from above. The sheer scale of this addition is going to be massive. There is plenty of cause to be excited here folks!
Islands of Adventure
Over at the Studios sister park, they are moving forward with refurbishments, and some new projects on the horizon.
Possible Lagoon show for IOA?
Ever since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter became a runaway success, there has been serious talks of a new Lagoon Show for Islands of Adventure. With the recent success (along with merchandise and dining figures) for the incredible Cinematic Spectacular at the Studios park, the talk has turned into action. People living close to Islands of Adventure have noticed flashes of light coming from Islands of Adventure at night, and new buoys have appeared in the lagoon. Could it be that a new lagoon show is on the way to Islands of Adventure this summer? We will keep everyone posted as this story develops.
Work at the entrance to Islands of Adventure continues with foundation being poured and construction work moving forward on this back of the house project.
The location of the Hogwarts Express makes it incredibly difficult to photograph. However, if you will get up close to your monitor (or pull your tablet close) and strain a little, you will see foundation work, and walls for the the station to the Hogwarts Express. We hope to get better photos of this soon to share with everyone soon.
Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges
The seasonal refurbishment of Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rate Barges is continuing, with lots of painting going on around the entire attraction.
TNA Wrestling leaving Universal Orlando
After 8 years of taping at Universal Orlando, TNA Wrestling announced that March 7th would be the last day they would film at Universal Orlando. It is sad to see this consistent production leave the studios. Let’s hope that they put the soon to be vacant Sound Stage 21 to good use this Halloween Horror Nights!
Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast
BUT WAIT! That’s not all, we have a brand new Universal Podcast for you today. And it’s a good one too!
And that’s a wrap folks. So, what do you think is happening on the waterfront at Simpsons and in the water at Islands of Adventure?