We are back this week with news and photos from all around the dynamic Universal Orlando Resort. With updates at Transformers, Springfield USA, Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley and the troubled Superstar Parade.  We also have a new episode of the Unofficial Universal Podcast to share with you, so sit back relax, and enjoy the ride!

Sponge Bob Sinking

We have received troubling news about part of the Super Star Parade.  This past Summer, Universal introduced an incredible daily parade that really proved that Disney did not have the quality family parade market to itself.  The parade debuted with an incredible cast, characters and floats.  However, over the past year of use, Universal is learning that putting on a daily parade introduces a whole new set of challenges – namely, maintenance and safety standards.

The Sponge Bob Square Pants float has been having a difficult time over the past few weeks.  A few months ago, the large seahorse that was mounted at the top of the float fell off mid-parade and almost landed in the audience.  This was cause for concern and prompted Universal to take a closer look at the float.  Structural issues were discovered which caused Universal to remove the Clams and the Jelly Fish stilt walkers from the floats, and consequentially from the parade all together. Allegedly, they also discovered that the acrobat pole was not anchored properly,putting the performers in danger of falling when using it.  This also caused the acrobats to be removed from the parade.  With all the missing performers from the Sponge Bob float ( 2 clams, 2 Jellyfish Stilt walkers & 2 acrobats), if guests happen to be stuck with that unit during the show-stop performance, they’ll see a lot of nothing.


While the rest of the parade might have a few hiccups here and there, overall the rest of the floats are holding together well under daily use.  But we hope that Universal is able to permanently fix the Sponge Bob Square Pants float and bring back the missing elements soon. At the very least, this is an important learning opportunity for them.


Here is the latest Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast from Lee and Tracey. This week the big focus is on the special arrangement between Universal and the amazing folks at Give Kids the World Village.

Direct Link | iTunes Link

Big Bang Theory Merchandise in CityWalk

Attention Sheldon lovers. Big Bang Theory merchandise has appeared at City Walk.

Grad Bash Early Closures

Since Disney stopped offering Grand Night in 2010, Universal has been able to expand their Offering from 3 nights (in 2010) to 6 nights (in 2013).  And with the extra nights, there comes extra days of Grad Bash impacting day guests.  The biggest impact being that Twister: The Ride closes early at 3pm on Grad Bash Nights.  While Twister closing early might not ruin someone’s day (unless you are the president of the Bill Paxton Fan Club), it is a minimally reduced amount of attraction capacity in the park.

The Rise of Harry Potter 2.0

Roofs, chimneys and facades are all beginning to take shape as the 2nd Phase to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter continues to rise above the former home of JAWS. Let us know if you think we need to take another spin in the MiceCopter?

Use the people on the walkways as your point of reference. These buildings are going to be huge!

New Transformers Merchandise

More transformers merchandise has been introduced into the Supply Vault store.

Springfield USA

Over at Springfield USA, new details emerge as we patiently await this summer’s best known secret to open!  Doors have been installed on Moes’ Tavern, and the Android and Dungeons details have started to appear above the bathrooms.  The third façade is taking shape and will offer fried foods. The Duff Gardens area seems to lag the pace of the remainder of this project. However, over the next few weeks, we should see that work get kicked into overdrive as they attempt to open in time for summer crowds.

Transformers Meet and Greet

Concrete has been poured and construction crews are moving swiftly to complete this project, and get rid of this bottle neck in time for the Grand Opening of the ride next door.

Transformers Views

In spite of the parade issues, things are really moving forward at a rapid pace at the Universal Orlando Resort. Don’t forget to listen to the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast, and we hope to see you at the meet up in August!

  • Trumpet

    Great Update Eric

    Potter is looking fantastic, and yes, we need another tour in the Micechatter Helicopter. The details are fantastic, and are can start to see how the area will look. Once again, it is amazing how fast the project is coming along. Can’ wait until they start to get the skins on the buildings, so we can see the richness of the details that Universal will provide.

    Also, The Big Bang Theory Merchandise at Universal is just awful! BAZINGA!

    Finally, The Simpson area is looking great, but what about a Futurama themed area… The show has been cancelled, but I would love to visit the Planet Express offices and have a check up with Doctor Zoidberg.

    Thanks Again Eric


    • KingEric

      Thank you Trumpet! I personally do not watch the Big Bang Theory, but I know a lot of people do watch it. I often watch the merchandise Kiosks in CityWalk because they are sometimes a testing ground for popularity for Universal.

  • clewandowski

    Another great read! I love being kept up to date, when I can’t travel to see on my own! I think another Helicopter tour is due, however can wait for a few more weeks. Universal really seems to get a lot of work done, in such a small period of time. I can only imagine what a view from the sky will look like in two or three weeks.

    Love your work,

    • KingEric

      I am trying to schedule out the Helicopter tour right now with all of the reporting we have going on! Just so much is happening here in Orlando, it is insane!

  • More MiceCopter!!!

    Thank you for bringing us the news about the Sponge Bob float. I hope Universal learns that everything needs to be inspected regularly. Especially heavily used items like parade floats. Disney has had this issue with several parades over the years. In fact, the Pixar Play Parade at California Adventure had to modify the Bugs Life float early on for similar reasons.

    • KingEric

      Maybe when you are in town Dusty we can take the MiceCopter for a spin!

  • Fukai

    Love The Big Bang Theory, hate The Simpsons. That whole area, plus its nausea-inducing ride, is just a waste of space for me. Too bad!

    • KingEric

      well hopefully when you see the area when it is finished you will fall in love with it! lol

  • kburford

    Thanks for the update.

    Definitely would love another MiceCopter tour! Would like to see if there’s any Hogwarts Express progress from the skies.

    • KingEric

      There has been a ton of progress, that only an incredible MiceCopter trip could show!

  • Rex Dopey24

    awesome pictures. universals is doing good for itself and thats good.

  • RSZero1

    Actually Futurama was brought back after cancellation. I forget what the current schedule is, but you can most likely find info online – Comedy Central I believe.

    • KingEric

      I love Futurama! And personally I would love to see a Futurama ride, attraction, show, restaurant. But sadly that will probably never happen.

  • renderman7

    it is a real shame that universal creative could not theme the transformers building better.

    They could have done it like it appeared in the 3rd film, it would have look in place with most of the areas around it..

    • MickeyFickey

      I personally like the look of the new Transformers building. It may seem a bit “out of place” compared to the surrounding areas, at least it’s not just a generic soundstage! Many folks have complained that they should have just themed each side of the building to the area it faces. I don’t think those complainers realize how absolutely RIDICULOUS that would have looked. 🙂

      Regardless, I’m just thrilled that Universal is working on EXPANDING ride capacity with quality attractions, as opposed to simply yanking out older rides to put in new ones. This makes me happy!