Jebediah Embiggens Springfield and Walkers Invade Universal Orlando Resort

Written by Eric Davis. Posted in Features, Orlando Parkhopper, Other Destinations, Universal Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Orlando, Universal Studios

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Published on July 30, 2013 at 3:00 am with 17 Comments

We have some big Halloween Horror Night News as Walkers will be taking over the Universal Orlando resort. But it’s not all Halloween today. We also have updates from the Simpson’s Springfield USA, Diagon Alley, Cabana Bay and a new episode of the Unofficial Universal Podcast.  So sit back and get ready to see the whirlwind of progress at the Universal Orlando Resort.

Halloween Horror Nights – The Walking Dead

This past week, Universal announced that the Walking Dead would be coming to Orlando for Halloween Horror Nights 23.  This year there will be a house dedicated to the story arc in Season 3, where guests will be thrown into the prison.  Beyond that, The Walking Dead will be taking over ALL of the Scare Zones in the park, with 3 Scare Zones themed to the streets of Atlanta, Hershel’s Barn and the secretly rotten town of Woodbury.  While some might be surprised that the Scare Zones will feature one theme, one cohesive theme might also give HHN 23 a unique vibe all it’s own. We’ll have to wait and see how it pans out.

Walking Dead Merchandise Appears

If you can’t wait for Halloween Horror Nights to roll around, in the Terminator 2: 3-D gift shop, you can now find a wall of Walking Dead merchandise that includes some morbidly adorable vinyl figures that are a must have for any fan of the show.

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Jebidiah Embiggens Springfield USA

Over at Springfield USA, we are at the finish line for this new mini land to finally be complete!  The last little touches are being applied right now. One feature that will delight any Simpson’s fan is a statue of Jebidiah Springfield, the founder of Springfield USA.  From what we can see, the statue looks like a perfect recreation of the statue from the series.

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The sign for Kang and Kodos Twirl N’ Hurl has now been installed, and it fits perfectly with the Krustyland Carnival theme that the Simpson’s Ride and games have addopted.  The interactive elements for the ride have not been installed yet, and we will hopefully see those installed shortly. Expect this area to open up very soon.

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Diagon Alley Update

Over at Phase II of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, sheet rocking of the outward facades is moving forward at a frenetic pace.  Shortly, we will not be able to view into this area any more as everything gets closed up, but that won’t stop us from reporting. We have our spies on high alert for news to share!

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PRISCILLA HOTEL

The entire facade of the Priscilla Hotel is now under wraps, the marquee now removed.   We will keep you posted as this refurbishment progresses.

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Hogsmede Station Update

Over at the Hogsmede Station in Islands of Adventures, progress is moving forward on the internal structure of the building, along with the exterior facilities.  The games across from this area will soon close as they are prepared to make the move from Lost Continent to Jurassic Park.

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Coke Screen Working Again

After a long round of repair and adjusting, the Coke Screen is finally working again in CityWalk. Music videos and ads are once again playing for guests entering and leaving the Universal Orlando Resort.  While not a make or break element, this display adds a lot of energy to CityWalk during the day and night, and we are glad to see it up and working again.

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Cabana Bay Beach Resort

The number of structures being built to support the new Cabana Bay Beach Resort is impressive.  While the 3 rooms towers that will open with the Resort are structurally complete, Universal has been building the support facilities, common guest areas, and the new parking structure.  It is impressive watching all of this come together in such a quick period of time. The resort will open to guests in just 7 months.

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DESPICABLE ME MERCH

With the the Despicable Me sequel a HUGE success, now passing the $600 million mark globally, there has been some new merchandise added to the park.  But if you are looking for a Purple Minion Plush, you can only get one if you win it from a few of the games of chance right now.  We have been told that the purple minions will invade the shelves of the resort sometime in September.

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Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast Fan Meet Up – AUG 23, 2013

If you are in Orlando on August 23rd, we’d love to see you. MiceChat and Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast fans are invited to join myself (Eric Davis), Lee, Tracey and Darren for our first official meet up. The event will start at 4 PM. We’ll chat for a bit and then ride Men In Black together. Then we’ll take on the Kitchen Challenge at the Hard Rock Hotel for Charity as we raise money for Give Kids the World!  If you’d like to join us, please RSVP on Facebook here. We’d really like to meet you, so RSVP today!

That wraps up this week’s update, but there is still more for you to explore!  Lee, Tracey and Darren are back with a new episode of the Unofficial Universal Podcast, where they talk about all the latest news, rumors and updates from Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.  In this episode, they speak with one of the creative minds behind the beautiful Madagascar Great Crate Adventure ride at Universal Studios Singapore.  So click play below and remember to RSVP for our meet up in August!

We’ll see you again next week, as we put the amazing transformation of the Universal Orlando Resort under the MiceChat magnifying glass.

About Eric Davis

By day, Eric is in Marketing and Social Media. But on the weekends, he's a theme park addict. Eric is a frequent contributor to MiceChat's Orlando Parkhopper columns and tends to focus his efforts on what's new and what's news at Universal Studios and SeaWorld.

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17 Comments

Comments for Jebediah Embiggens Springfield and Walkers Invade Universal Orlando Resort are now closed.

  1. Thanks for the update! I still can’t believe how lightning fast Universal is to get stuff up and ready. It seems like only a week ago that I heard news about Springfield, USA.

    I also want that zip up sweater so badly now…

    “DON’T DEAD – OPEN INSIDE”

    • The speed at which Universal is operating is one of the most incredibly surprising and delightful things!

      In order for Universal to keep up this pace, people need to keep visiting the resort!

  2. With the announcement of the Walking Dead taking over Horror Nights I have decided to watch the entire three series. Really enjoying it and can’t wait to see many of the areas recreated for Horror Nights. I’m just happy to see Orlando offerings a fresh new Halloween event each year instead of the repeated offerings down at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

    Simpsons area is really coming together nicely. I can’t believe in a year that offered us the opening of Transformers. We still have more to come. An area which will greatly improve the park experience. And offer us more dining then the whole of New Fantasyland.

    • I am glad you have started to watch. While I am not a horror genre fan at all. I really fell in love with the stories and characters in this show. It is a truly a great series.

    • The Walking Dead is amazing isn’t it? The story and characters they put into it just sucks you in. I too am very excited to see what they have in store for us on HHN. In fact, something about the zombie genre in general is so…something about it is immensely interesting. I really can’t wait until then…

      PS: If you want to give yourself more Walking Dead goodness, I suggest picking up The Walking Dead: Video Game by TellTale Games. It puts a LOT of emphasis on a character and story driven plot and is really easy to pick up and learn how to play. The choices you make affect different aspects of the game later on. In fact, I’m not afraid to say that I started to get teary eyed at the end. Trust me, if one is a Walking Dead TV series fan, they will really love the Telltale Video Game.

  3. Springfield looks great, but I’m old enough to remember when Muppetvision opened at MGM. Over the next decade, I expect the same will happen with the Simpsons… the show will eventually go off the air and its relevance will decline (particularly for younger guests). At least the Muppets are getting a mini-revival… I think a 2-D animated family sitcom will have even less staying power. Don’t get me wrong, this looks really cool. But spending hundreds of millions on a property that is far from evergreen seems a little curious.

    • Muppet Vision opened in 1989. That is 24 years ago. The Muppets while adorable have nowhere near the global recognition that the Simpson’s does. The Simpsons has been on the air since 1989! So for the past 24 years, while the Muppets has gone in and out of cultural relevance, the Simpson’s has been there constantly.

      Today Fox announced that they will probably sell syndication rights (finally) for the Simpson’s http://www.forbes.com/sites/dorothypomerantz/2013/07/29/the-simpsons-could-sell-for-as-much-as-1-billion-in-cable-syndication-deal/

      The Simpson’s characters are globally recognized, and that will not change for decades.

    • The difference is that Muppets had long been off the air before the Muppets 4D was built. However, the Simpsons is one of the longest running programs in the history of television and STILL on! There is no doubt that the Simpsons has a much wider exposure.

      • This is true, however before that, Henson and his Muppets were on TV for around 20 years (starting with their 1st appearance in 1955!). Sure The Muppet Show only lasted 5 seasons, but the characters lived on in successful movies in the late 70s to mid 80s. Sadly when Jim Henson died suddenly in 1990, they were pretty much abandoned by both Disney and the Henson family until Disney finally negotiated a deal with the Hensons to buy them. The 1st of the new Muppet movies was a wild success and the viral videos on YouTube have been bringing the Muppets borderline insanity to new audiences. While I like The Simpsons, I like the Muppets better. Always have.

      • My problem with the Muppets is they are skewing older (8 and over) when they should be attracting younger kids at 2 to 5. The movies and television shows introduce adult characters and celebrities to interact with the Muppets. This doesn’t work. They also have adult-like characters like Miss Piggy who does a Mae West-like impression with innuendo. While the new movie seems to have breathed life into the Muppets, I am not sure sure. It is still a boring mess. The characterizations have not evolved.

        Start over again. Aim younger. Dump the celebrities. Be more optimistic and less cynical. Don’t ever use Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie O’Donnell again.

    • To piggyback on what the other responders have said – this Simpsons land is a fully-themed area with rides, shops, restaurants, etc., that seems like it’s really well-done and will have appeal beyond the fans of the show. I’m a big Muppet fan and would have loved to see something like that at Disney – if they had a couple rides, a nice themed restaurant, and the whole area cohesively done in the Muppet concept at the Disney Studios, I think it would still be popular today. There are only so many times you can see the same movie over and over, no matter how much you love the characters!

  4. Having seen Despicable Me 2 last weekend, I will say this is a huge hit, surpassing Monsters. Universal was wise to add an attraction for Despicable Me. My kid loves the Minions. That’s all she wants.

    • Thank you for offering your opinion on objective box office data.

      • As of today. Monsters University – Worldwide: $577,067,026

        Despicable Me 2 – Worldwide: $661,312,720

        via Box Office Mojo.

    • What impressed me is that Uni managed to open the new attraction BEFORE the sequel came out. That little gamble really worked out for them as the film is a massive hit.

      • And next year they’re releasing a movie solely about the minions, called “The Minion Movie”. I love those silly little yellow guys.

      • And the 120 minute daily wait times agree