We have news from all around the Universal Orlando Resort, with updates for Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios and CityWalk. And we also look into the future for both Orlando and Hollywood as we get confirmation on incredible plans for both coasts! So lean in, because we have a lot to share in today’s update!
Steve Burke Speaks to Investors
Steve Burke, President of NBC|Universal and former President of Disneyland Paris, spoke to investors on the 11th of the month, and gave an overview of the current state and future plans of the Universal Parks and Resorts business. During the conference call Burke confirmed that, for the foreseeable future, Orlando AND Hollywood would be receiving a new attraction EVERY year, and that NBC|Universal will continue to invest around $500 Million a YEAR into both resorts. During the Call, Steve also shared that more hotel rooms are on their way to Orlando. They currently have 2,400 rooms with another 1,800 coming online with Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Burke would like to see Universal with 10,000 – 15,000 total hotel rooms in the future.
Burke also said that since Transformers opened the Orlando resort had seen a 20% increase in attendance.
Burke’s plan is to turn Universal Orlando into the leading Orlando resort destination, and not a side trip. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Universal Orlando Resort.
At Islands of Adventure, construction continues at the Hogsmede station as they begin close up the building. Exterior themed elements will be added soon.
Island trading sign
On March 2nd, 2013 signage for the Island Trading Company fell down during park hours.
— Eric M. Davis (@UUOPEric) March 2, 2013
On the date of the incident, Universal’s security team sprung into action, and the sign was quickly removed to prevent any additional letters from falling. However 6 months have passed since the sign was removed, without any indication that it is returning, and bare metal bars. While safety always comes first, it would be nice if the sign was replaced or the ugly brackets removed, especially since this is one of the first things you see when you enter the park.
Across the lagoon from Port of Entry, Jurassic Park is receiving some of it’s first additions since the park opened. With the games of chance soon closing in the Lost Continent, they will now take place over in what was part of the Jurassic Park Rive Adventure’s extended queue.
From the looks of the structures, they have been nicely themed, and like the Simpson’s games they should be designed to fit the Jurassic Park aesthetic.
Port of Entry Starbucks
At the end of Port of Entry, where Arctic Freeze once stood, the building has been completely gutted as IOA makes way for its first Starbucks.
The Triceratops who once guarded the entrance to the Triceratops Encounter’s blank sign is now sporting general Triceratops facts and information. While this attraction was beloved by Universal Super fans, it never really found an audience with daily parks guests.
Next to Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios is hustling to get Diagon Alley ready for a 2014 debut. With windows and other elements being added, guests are getting a peek at what will soon be a beautiful London facade.
Halloween Horror Nights Prep
Halloween Horror Nights begins September 20th, both MiceChat and the Unofficial Universal Podcast will be onsite opening night to cover what is turning out to be one of the most anticipated years for Halloween Horror Nights in a long time. Universal’s entertainment department has been adding props to fill the streets of the Studios with items familiar to fans of The Walking Dead television series on AMC.
Temporary Items Set Up for Halloween Horror Nights
This year Universal has brought out the temporary games which were used when Amity was demolished. they has been placed in a non-scare zone area and should provide an escape to those who don’t want to become part of the hoards of the Undead.
New Despicable Me 2 Merchandise
More Despicable Me 2 Merchandise has begun to show up around the resort. The minions, both yellow and purple, are incredibly popular with guests. I’d suppose that we’ll see even more of these guys showing up soon.
New York Facade Work
More facade work is happening in the New York area of the Studios, with Finnegans under a full wrap. What makes this wrap so special, is that unlike the wrap for the Priscella Hotel, which was recently completed, this wrap has the full facade for the buildings it covers printed on the wrap, allowing guest to not notice the intrusion of the facade work. Magic Kingdom has been doing this for year and we hope Universal keeps this up. Certainly nicer than green scrims or construction walls.
The site formerly known as Latin Quarter continues to be gutted as it prepares for a full remodel into a new Mexican dining concept.
We recently learned that some of our information was a bit off. While Pastamore’s quick service location was recently gutted and removed, this location is not becoming the new Starbucks, this location is going to become a more upscale quick service location, that should have an improved menu and offerings that will entice more families to stay on property as they are leaving the parks at the end of the day.
While Starbucks is currently upstairs at CityWalk, we have heard that they will be moving downstairs into the current location of the Endangered Species Store. This will improve foot traffic and guest satisfaction, as people who want to grab their coffee on the way to the parks have never enjoyed the slow escalator ride to the 2nd floor.
But wait there’s more! Get prepared for Halloween Horror Nights as the Unofficial Universal Podcast team take you on an audio journey with interviews with the Universal Orlando Entertainment team to give you a sneak peek of what is in store for Halloween Horror Nights 23 at the Universal Orlando Resort.
Please share your comments about the updates, and what you think of the $500 million a year investment into Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood?