Prepare for battle! This week, Megatron attacks downtown Orlando with a spectacular billboard and viral video. The Hogwarts Express train tracks are now visible and a train ride to the school of magic becomes even more possible.  Finally, we’ll bring you an update of the new Harry Potter Phase 2 inside Universal Studios, plus a look at Springfield construction and other bits from around the Universal Orlando Resort.

TRANSFORMERS OPENING JUNE 20th

Mark your calendars, because Universal has announced that Transformers will be opening June 20th, 2013. Annual Pass Holders can already enter a lottery for the Technical Rehearsals starting May 28th, and Universal Orlando is holding a “Battle Readiness” event on May 15th, where employees of the park can get a first look at at the new attraction. We will continue to monitor this ride as it gets closer to debut and will let you know the moment regular guests are able to get into the Technical Rehearsals (what Disney would call a “Soft Opening.”)

This past week Universal Orlando unveiled a guerrilla marketing campaign, in Downtown Orlando, with a giant poster on a building close to Interstate 4, urging Orlando to prepare for battle with a giant cutout of Megatron’s silhouette as if he crashed through the building. This was accompanied by a “viral” youtube video

The viral video is fun and the downtown marketing stunt was well executed.

Meanwhile, back inside the park, progress continues on the new Transformer’s Meet and Greet inside the park. This staging ground will give guests exiting the attraction a chance to meet their favorite Autobot or Decepticon after the ride. We can expect this construction to continue to move at rapid pace so that it can debut with the attraction on June 20th.

HOGWART’S EXPRESS

High above the back stage streets of Universal Studios, tracks have been installed for the Hogwarts Express train which will shuttle guests between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. This is a major milestone in the project and we cannot wait to see how the train will look as it crosses from one park to the other.

The massive Hogwarts Express station in Islands of Adventure continues to grow, as the steel for the roof is now being installed.

 

The gray looking beam under Rip Ride Rock It is the new Hogwarts track.

 

The train itself is fully enclosed, so you’ll never actually see any of these backstage areas from the attraction.

HARRY POTTER PHASE 2

Phase 2 of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is rising quicker each week. The steel structural elements have already created the skeleton for what will be a completely immersive world.

 

SPRINGFIELD

The new additions near the Simpson’s attraction near completion.

A carnival type spinner attraction is going in here.

 

Signage mountings.

 

PORT OF ENTRY DOME

When the dome was painted over last year, it was left a bland burnt orange color. We had heard that more details were coming, but as the months wore on, we accepted that it might just be stuck “burnt orange.” This past week details and texture were finally added. The dome now looks aged and like it belongs in the Port of Entry.

PAVEMENT WORK IN MARVEL SUPERHERO ISLAND

Next to Port of Entry, on Marvel Super Hero Island, some pavement work is happening. While the work will be completed on the 3rd shift, we are happy to see some of the walk ways get some detailed work completed. Now if we could see this in Suess Landing….

CABANA BAY

We end todays article with a look at the progress of Cabana Bay, Universal’s answer to the less expensive resort options over at Disney World.

More Universal Orlando News and Chit Chat

MiceChat’s Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast is a great way to stay on top of all the new news from Orlando. We invite you to listen along with us (stream it below or choose the direct or iTunes link):

Direct Link | iTunes Link

There you have it.  Transformers will be battling at the Universal Orlando Resort beginning June 20th, The Hogwart’s Express is on its way, and Springfield is right around the corner.  We will see you again next week as we follow the last minute mad rush to get everything open in time for the Summer crowds.