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.
UNOFFICIAL UNIVERSAL ORLANDO PODCAST
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.
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?
New Transformers Merchandise
More transformers merchandise has been introduced into the Supply Vault store.
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.
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!