This week we take a dragon’s eye view of construction on the upcoming Hogwarts Express and follow up on the major projects across the Universal Orlando Resort. Springfield’s skyline continues to evolve.  The Transformers building is now, pretty much, complete.  The framing for Kings Cross and Diagon Alley is fully visible too!  Read all the way to the bottom for a special Universal Orlando event and our latest Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast!


As part of Universal Orlando’s STARS program, Middle School and High School groups can perform in the parks, or in CityWalk.



Outside the gate the Automated Ticketing Kiosk has been completed, with beautiful landscaping around it!  This is a nice simple addition that will make printing out your will-call or complimentary passes much easier, and quicker.

Within the ticket kiosks, Universal Team Members are now using Microsoft Surface Tablets to explain ticketing options, features, and pricing to guests in a graphical and easy to understand way that can also be presented in a few different languages.  When walked through ticket pricing, and options via the tablet it was a very positive experience, that removed a lot of the confusion that printouts, signage , and team member spiels seemed to create.




For a few weeks here on the Orlando ParkHopper, we have commented about chipped, cracked and worn sidewalk paint in Seusslanding.  We are thrilled to report that Universal 3rd Shift has gone through and attended to the issue, and now things look as they should!  Big kudos to the after hours crew!




You know it is high season when DJs are set up around Islands of Adventures and Universal Studios.  This DJ was set up outside the unused Toon Lagoon Theater, offering a fun little dance party for anyone who was in the mood to dance!



Today we are going to look at the construction of the Hogwarts Express from a new point of view.  From the sky, we see just how large this structure is going to be.  What is most exciting, is that the new building will provide a new “close encounter” for Dragon Challenge coaster riders.   As parts of the walls for the Hogwart Express station are built to appear dangerously close.


A New game has popped up as part of the new Springfield expansion.  This game compliments the already incredibly themed Simpson’s carnival games.

Foundation work is being completed on what will end up being a flat ride spinner similar to One Fish Two Fish at Islands of Adventure.   Work on the facades for Moe’s Tavern and Krusty Burger also are moving forward and looking like it will be ready to open this summer.


We are on the steady march to the Summer 2013 opening for Transformers 3D!  We cannot wait to experience this attraction, and while a bulk of the exterior is finished, they are now just adding the finishing touches.


The steel construction continues to fly up at an incredible pace.  We can begin to make out architecual features that will be Kings Cross, the Leaky cauldron, Olivanders and other Diagon Alley shops.

There still has been no official announcement of this project and still no known official opening date.  Rumored dates place the opening anywhere from 2014 to 2015; however, Universal has stated officially that they would not be opening a Harry Potter Expansion in 2014.

It’s truly a breathtaking expansion, don’t you think?

Please join the discussion of Universal’s massive construction projects over on the forums HERE.


The mostly closed Café Lambamba has been open for lunch during Spring Break, offering a great Tex Mex menu that is very different from the other Quick Service locations in the park.

And that’s a wrap!  We hope you enjoyed this week in Universal news and information.

Please join the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast in person on August 23rd, 2013 as we celebrate our fandom of two of the greatest theme parks in the world with fun games and activities.  Please RSVP your spot today at

You can also check out the latest Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast here:
You can also find us on iTunes HERE | And here’s the direct feed.
  • Trumpet

    Great Update Eric

    The enire Harry Potter expansion is going to be fricken’ awsome. The train having a close encounter with the coaste will be fantastic. Maybe they will look like Dragomns when the train apsses using a variety of CGOI and motion capture? Who ever knows at the moment, but I can’t wait. The London area is so big now, and they have started to create a new fabtastic land. I cannot believe how fast it has grown. Wht used to be Jaws is now growing to be a fantastic addition to an already solid resort.

    The Simpsons game looks great and really fits into the theme. I cannot beleive how this little area has become its own miniland.

    Overall, USO is going to be the main destination in Orlando. The amount of money that they are investing will pay off in 2014-15. I know that when it opens, I will be there for the first Easter holiday. It is going to be amazing and I praise Universal’s managemnt from the new attractions and for keeping everywhere look so clean and fresh. Dr Suess area needs cponstant touch ups, but they have met the challenge and they are working every night to create the right impression for the parks. WDW needs to look at this to see what they can do, but sadly, they are too late. Universal will be the King of Orlando theme parks for the next decade, and maybe beyond…

    Thanks Again Eric. These updates make you thew King of Micechat… (as if we don’t already know that KingEric)


    • Eric Davis

      The amount of changes happening at the Universal Resort really are staggering. I am personally blown away week after week as I personally visit the parks how much change has happened.

  • jcruise86

    Thanks for the energetic update, ERIC. But please tone down the well-earned enthusiasm for Universal because we were planning on just going to DW on our next Florida trip, and you and Universal are making this a more difficult choice. D&%# their third shift!

    I just had an epiphany. Universal has figured out something Staggs’ Disney doesn’t get. The sooner they build magnificent attractions,
    the sooner people will visit and spend money in their parks.
    An extra year of 29% attendance growth means

    If you’re a Disney exec. who wandered into this Micechat article, please re-read the above paragraph 12 or 40 times.

    • Eric Davis

      I will never apologize for being excited about Universal! lol

    • blondiemouse72

      Whilst it would be foolish to disagree with what you said (as it happens to be correct) I would like to point out had Disney built Harry Potter in say Studios Park re theming 2 old rides people here would have flayed them.Had it become a huge success but had lots of Potter fans just visiting that park for a day and Disney decided to fleece folks by putting an expansion in Epcot with a joining Hogwarts express people would have said it was typical Disney trying to squeeze as much from folks as they can.Lets not pretend Universals Potter expansion is not a dirty trick ‘cos thats what it is.As someone more familiar with Anaheim and USH who’s just got back from 2 weeks at Royal Pacific Resort I must say I was not overly impressed with the Florida Studios Park and honestly these expansions are much needed to make this park even close to the world class destination Universal tout this place as.

  • fnord

    Too bad they didn’t rebuild the Kwik-E-Mart to look like it does
    on the show. It’s not round, and there doesn’t seem to be a garden
    on the roof for Apu and Paul and Linda to meditate in.
    Moe’s looks good, just like the show. The androids dungeon looks ok,
    but without comic book guy it won’t be the same. Same with Moe’s without
    I don’t recall ever seeing inside a Krusty Burger on the show.
    Give me a Flaming Moe and a tofu squishee and I’ll be happy!

    • Eric Davis

      I agree with you. I would loved to see the Kwiki Mart get a full face lift, and become more authentic. But there have been a few times that the inside of the Krusty Burger has been seen, and one of them was the intro to the Simpsons movie. It was pretty bland and plain. But I know that Universal has some cool interactive elements up their sleeves that will make these areas really incredible!

  • Gregg Condon

    Great stuff Eric!!! I know I say this every week but the pace of the construction in Orlando is simply staggering.

    • Eric Davis

      If you miss a week at Universal Orlando, it is like you missed a month! lol

  • I’m glad you do these updates weekly. The pace of change is mindblowing. And great podcast!

  • Ravjay12

    Great update as always! Love what Universal is doing, and can’t wait for it to be done. In Disney’s defense, it just purchased Star Wars, Avatar, and Marvel a while back. It’s going to be a while before things get developed and constructed. There are no more Harry Potter films or books being made, so there is only so much you can do with it. With Star Wars, Avatar, and Marvel continuing with movies, Disney is going to catch up and when they do, it’s going to be incredible! Just look at what they did in Fantasyland and Cars Land. If they do the quality work they’ve done with those projects with their new ones, watch out Universal!

    • Eric Davis

      Well as far as Disney is concerned when they start building I will get excited! lol

  • SafariRob

    Nice update. I hate to say it, but the Transformers building is an eye-sore…at least, from that vantage point in the photo. Are they going to do something to try and blend it in with the rest of the street? Even some trees would help.

    • I’m with you. I think Transformers will be a FANTASTIC attraction at the park, but I’m not a fan of the theme of the exterior. I know it’s supposed to look like NEST, and it does, but it’s ugly. Especially when viewed from the otherwise fantastic NY street set.

  • Director_Guy

    It would have been cool if they themed each side of the Transformers building in accordance to which “land” it faces.

    • Eric Davis

      It would have been nice… sigh

  • danielz6

    I agree transformers is an eyesore, but I guess universal, unlike Disney, is still able to get away with bad themeing choices. Nevertheless its a spectacular attraction. I can’t wait for next year so I can come see the great changes and new HP stuff!

  • Pingback: 2014-2015 Neuheit: Harry Potter Erweiterung @ Universal Studios Florida - Seite 7()

  • AliciaStella

    I’m really hoping for a SPRINGFIELD sign on 2D hills above the new buildings. Some forced Perspective 2D Nuclear Power Plant smokestacks would be nice too.

    • Eric Davis

      That would be awesome, but I would not hold my breath for those elements. But I would love to see it!

  • Lee Mallaby

    That would be an awesome idea having the Springfield sign as a forced pospective element.