Since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in 2010, Islands of Adventure has seen a dramatic 72% increase in attendance. Over that same time period, its next door neighbor, Universal Studios, saw a much less dramatic 12% increase in visitors (Magic Kingdom over that same time period only saw a 1.7% increase). In 2012, Universal began making major park improvements at the Studios park, with the addition of Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, the Super Star Parade, and the nightly firework show, Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular. With the ground work from 2012 laid, it is Summer 2013 that Universal is looking to see some big gains at the Studios park, as it prepares for another banner year in 2014 when Harry Potter and friends expand to the Studios park.
This past year, Universal Studios in Hollywood saw a 15% gain with the opening of Transformers The Ride 3D. And Universal Orlando is hoping for similar results out here in Florida.
Word has gotten out that Universal is now holding technical rehearsals all day, and the locals have started lining up to experience this new, mega attraction. Universal has built a VAST exterior queue, that will absorb the crowds that will descend on this attraction this summer. The queue in the photo was displaying a 90 minute wait time. If this entire queue is utilized, expect to see wait times over 200 minutes.
The interior queue follows the N.E.S.T. base theme, with lots of concrete and military signage. With 3 queue paths (Regular, Fast Pass, and Single Rider), Universal Creative has gone to great lengths to ensure that guests in all 3 lines receive the proper story setup.
Once you make it to the load platform, you are assigned an “Evac” to help get you out of N.E.S.T.
What can I say about this ride? I’d love to tell you all about it…
Except you will have to come back to Orlando ParkHopper on June 20th, when the ride officially opens to the public, for the Official MiceChat review. But if I could use one word to describe this experience, it would be EPIC. And if you just can’t wait until the 20th, here’s MiceChat’s review from the opening of the Hollywood version of the Transformers ride, which is essentially identical.
What would any modern blockbuster attraction be without an exit which leads directly into a properly themed gift shop! We love seeing the exit open, and seeing the excited families getting off this ride!
Transformers Meet and Greet
Crews are working frantically to get the Meet & Greet and Energon Stand open in time for the Grand Opening on June 20th. Details are being added, and this once bland and empty corridor that used to be a quiet bypass from Shrek to Hollywood, will now be a very busy and popular area of the park.
WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER – DIAGON ALLEY
At Diagon Alley, more details are being added by the day! With front facade steel work now happening, we can begin to see windows being outlined, and the facades are beginning to take shape. Things will progress much more quickly from this point as the public facing facades are rushed to completion.
The Hogwarts Express tracks can now be easily seen in numerous areas of the New York and San Francisco sets. It is exciting to see! The reality is sinking in that, in a years time, you will be able to travel to Islands of Adventure via train.
SPRINGFIELD, DUFF GARDENS
Universal’s other big addition for this summer is moving along at a steady pace, as workers from other projects have been moved over to help Springfield finish up before the July 4th weekend. Detail work is being applied to the exterior of Duff Gardens. With other major work still to be completed, this is going to be a close call.
SPRINGFIELD, KANG AND KODOS’ TWIRL ‘N’ HURL
Vertical construction is finally visible for the new Spinner attraction, Kang and Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl. While this won’t make headlines like Transformers, small attractions like this help to fill an entire day and add capacity to the park, keeping people in the parks, buying Flaming Moes and Krusty Burgers is a priority!
We will be back with more coverage next week, and some special LIVE Transformer coverage on June 20th starting at 9:00 AM EST, exclusively on MiceChat’s radio station V24 Radio.
With that, I would like you to sit back and listen to the Unofficial Universal Podcast for a more in depth look at what is happening at the Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood!