Welcome to a busy week for Orlando ParkHopper! With Independence Day celebrations, Cabana Bay Beach Resort construction, Diagon Alley rising magically in the former JAWS lagoon, the completion of Springfield USA, and MiceChat meet-ups scheduled, we have no time to waste! Let us take you around the Universal Orlando Resort for a quick rundown on the Universal Orlando news!

4th of July Crowds

Every year, big crowds descend on Orlando for the 4th of July.  Often touted as the 2nd busiest week in Orlando, right behind Christmas, this week is when queues are supposed to be full, and parks are generally overflowing.

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While big crowds did descend on Orlando, heavy rain showers during the week dampened what was supposed to be a high energy period for the parks. With the usual afternoon rain extending into late evening hours, many guests either left the parks early or didn’t arrive at all. Guests who braved the storms were rewarded with short ride times.

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Yet, even with the reduced crowds, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, and Transformers The Ride: 3-D still posted triple digit wait times!

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Hogsmede Hogwarts Express Station

Even with the Holiday week, construction continues unabated on the Hogwarts Express station – now sporting more roof and details!  The size and scale of this building is impressive, but dwarfed by its companion on the other end of the line in the Studios park.

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Trashed Trash Cans

Over in Seuss Landing, some of the stunning and beautifully themed trashcans are beginning to show some very visible wear. While some may not think this is a big deal, they are so beautifully themed that it’s a real shame to allow big tears in the paint to remain visible. It really lessens the magic of the area, especially since they can easily be moved backstage and repainted.

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Over in the New York section, the facade for the Priscilla Hotel for Sing Young Ladies from the 1967 Universal movie “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” staring Julie Andrews, is currently getting a face life and will return soon.

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Diagon Alley

Over in Phase 2 of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the London Facades in front of Diagon Alley are getting more interesting by the day.  With sheet rock up on the far right building, we can anticipate the full front enclosure by the end of summer.

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Lard Lads Donuts

This week, Lard Lads Donuts received it’s final color treatment along with windows.

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Duff Gardens

Next door to Lard Lads, Duff Gardens is receiving its final touches. With beautiful brickwork and industrial smokestacks, this outdoor venue is going to be a hit with adults whenever it opens this summer.

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Kang and Kodos Ride Testing

Ride testing continues at the new Kang and Kodos Spinner, with Universal Creative testing the arm reach and ride system.

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Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Construction continues at breakneck speed at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, with the Lobby building and guest facilities building near completion. The main supports for the parking structures now built as well.  There is a lot of work to do as they prepare for a March 2014 opening, but at this pace, it looks like they are going to make it!

Guest Areas

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Room Towers

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It’s simply amazing how quickly this project has come together.

Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast Meet-up

For the fans of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast, you likely already know that Lee & Tracey (hosts of the show from the United Kingdom) will be crossing the Atlantic as they make their pilgrimage to the Universal Orlando Resort this August. The entire UUOP crew will be having a meet-up at Universal Studios on Friday August 23rd, 2013 starting at 4pm. Check out the Facebook page for additional information or to answer questions you might have! UUOP Event. This will be THE event of the year for fans of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast!

MiceChat Halloween Horror Nights Meet-up

This October, MiceChatters from the West Coast will be descending on Central Florida, and will be holding a MiceChat Halloween Horror Night Meet-up.  Stay tuned for details, but save the date of October 17th and get ready to be scared . . . together. Join our Halloween Events email list to be notified of all of our Halloween Events as they are announced:


That wraps up this weeks update!  But if you are looking for more Universal Orlando news, gossip and information, click the play button below, and enjoy the latest Unofficial Universal Podcast with Lee, Tracey and Darren!

Have a great week everyone!