There’s so much going on at the Universal Orlando Resort that I decided it was time to bring you a unique view. Up up and away for a special Parkhopper from land and air!

Cabana Beach Resort

This past week, the Universal Orlando Resort began accepting reservations for their 4th hotel, Cabana Beach Resort.  Their first hotel since the major resort expansion in 1999 aims to be their moderate/value resort, offering incredible amenities like a lazy river, and bowling alley, without some of the enhanced amenities like complimentary Express Passes that the other onsite Resorts enjoy.   Cabana Beach Resort’s construction is moving fast, and Phase I of this project is slated to begin accepting guests in March of 2014.


When looking above Jurassic Park, we can see that the expansion pad has begun to be cleared out.  Could this be for the rumored Jurassic Park expansion coming?  We will have more details for you soon, as we nail down details and a timeline.


The new stage at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter got some more work, with some improved themed elements that helps it better match the incredible look and feel of the area around it.


The Hogwarts Express Station is in full build mode now, as this building has slipped a little bit behind schedule, Universal is working hard to get the timeline for this structure back on track.



The little project at the front of the park where some backstage infrastructure was improved will also give us a brand new automated ticketing kiosk area, where guests who have bought in advance, or who have complimentary admissions can go to those kiosk and get their tickets printed without any delays.



Dudley Doo Right’s Ripsaw Falls has begun ride testing, as they prepare to reopen this newly refurbished attraction.  Sadly, it seems that most of the improvements were simply cosmetic, so don’t expect any real improvements when the ride opens.



We hate reporting bad news here at the Orlando Parkhopper, but the sidewalks at Suess Landing have entered the dire category, as the remaining paint is now chipping and fading to levels that are just not acceptable for a park of this caliber. We took some ribbing from another site last week who thinks things look just fine. They must need new eye glasses. You be the judge.


On Saturday, in the Port of Entry, the giant letter “A” from the Islands TRADING Co fell off the building. Universal security promptly quarantined the area around the sign in the unlikely event that another piece were to fall.  We give Universal high marks for putting guest safety first and attending to this, but hope they are also examining proactive maintenance policies.


This weekend we took our first Helicopter trip and wanted to share some stunning photos of the Universal Orlando Resort from a vantage point rarely seen.  From this point of view, the sheer size and scale of the construction projects at Universal Orlando become clear. I just can’t help but be excited for what the future holds for this resort!



London and Diagon Alley continue to grow. These new aerial shots show the size and scale of this project as Universal works to connect the two parks .   Construction on the Hogwarts Express train has been moving forward with the installation of track support structures backstage.



The quest for the best theme park bathroom experience continues with the addition of a newly remodeled New York Bathroom next to the Mummy ride exit. 



The quickly approaching opening date of Transformers can be felt as the walls start coming down around Transformers, and the gift shop, “Supply Vault,” opens.

Yesterday, the Supply Vault opened its doors to the public and we got a look at the merchandise.  It’s pretty much the same stuff that they have on the west coast, but with a few variations.

Let’s enter the vault, shall we?
A multi-panel screen loops Transformers graphics.
The cash wrap is adorned with buttons and dials.
Bumblebee will be a huge hit at the store.

The more expensive, collectable items are behind glass.

Why is that mannequin kid pouting? He’s in the cool new Transformers store!
And, of course, there is Decepticon (see Bad Guys) merchandise too.

But wait . . . there’s more! Our latest Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast is now available for your listening pleasure!

And that’s our sorin’ over the Universal Orlando Resort for this week. We’ll see you again soon and look forward to your comments below.