Universal Orlando ParkHopper – Mardi Gras Preview, Diagon Alley Details and Red Oven

Written by Eric Davis. Posted in Features, Orlando Parkhopper, Universal Orlando, Universal Studios

Tagged: , , , , , , ,

frontpagepic

Published on November 12, 2013 at 1:00 am with 22 Comments

Christmas has come early for MiceChat readers, we have an exclusive preview of the Mardi Gras floats for Universal Orlando’s spring 2014 parade, along with updates from all around the resort. Grab your beads and your Santa Hat as we ride our sleigh to the Universal Orlando Resort.

Mardi Gras 2014

Universal is planning to go big on their Annual Mardi Gras celebration, expanding it from 14 weeks (in 2013) to 17 weeks (in 2014). Universal recently announced that Robin Thicke, the singer of the mega hit “Blurred Lines,” will be performing at the park on February 22nd, which is included with your daily park admission.

A major part of Uni’s Mardi Gras celebration is the amazing street party that is the Mardi Gras Parade.  Each year Universal Creative works with the team in New Orleans who build the actual Mardi Gras floats to build the floats for Universal Orlando.

IMG_5686

Parade concept art with actual production work behind it.

We have gotten some exclusive concept art of the new floats being built this year, along with some photos of the floats currently under construction.

IMG_5687

IMG_5690-2

IMG_5691

IMG_5693

IMG_5694

IMG_5695

IMG_5697

Christmas at Universal Orlando

Before we get too far ahead into 2014, we still have the 2013 holiday season to get through. Decorations have begun going up all around Universal Orlando, and soon the Macy’s Holiday Parade will be making its way through the New York street facades at Universal Orlando.

IMG_1603

IMG_1606

IMG_1608

New York Refurbishment Complete and Another Starts

In the New York section, the scrims have come down and the Finnigan’s refurbishment has left the facade looking beautiful and fresh.

IMG_1618

Across the street the Irish store’s facade is now under refurbishment.

IMG_1620

IMG_1616

Hogwarts Express Trains

When you find yourself in the parks, keep your eyes out for the Hogwarts Express trains now on the the tracks.

IMG_1621

IMG_1622

IMG_1634

Diagon Alley Details

Beautiful details continue to emerge as Diagon Alley get’s closer to its Spring 2014 opening.  With new beautifully sculpted embellishments now visible to guests on the exterior, it is just a tease of what is to come.

IMG_1636

IMG_1637

IMG_1638

IMG_1643

IMG_1646

IMG_1647

IMG_1650

IMG_1652

IMG_1653

IMG_1658

IMG_1660

IMG_1661

IMG_1663

IMG_1670

IMG_1681

IMG_1682

IMG_1689

IMG_1691

IMG_1702

IMG_1703

IMG_1707

 

Refurbs at Seuss Landing

Seuss Landing continues to get more refurbishments, with the area behind Green Eggs and Ham being closed, and the High in the Sky Seuss Trolly Train Ride getting a full refurbishment.

IMG_1565

IMG_1566

IMG_1576

IMG_1581

 

New Circus McGurkus Sign

At Circus McGurkus, a temporary sign has been installed while they refurbish the old sign.

IMG_1568

IMG_1570

IMG_1572

Islands of Adventure Lake Clean Up

Sometimes it is nice to take a moment to contemplate what it takes to maintain these parks.  Making sure that the lakes and lagoons are free of trash is hard job, but we are grateful it is done.

IMG_1578

IMG_1580

Hogwarts Express at Hogsmede

The build out of the Hogsmede Station for the Hogswart Express continues as we draw closer to the Spring 2014 opening.

IMG_1584

IMG_1585

Toon Lagoon Refurbishments

Over in Toon Lagoon, refurbishments have begun on a facade.  This area of the park needs some work, hopefully these refurbishments will continue.

IMG_1595

IMG_1597

IMG_1599

IMG_1601

 

CityWalk

Red Oven Pizza Bakery

Red Oven Pizza Bakery is getting ready to open, with Team Members now inside training and preparing this new quick service location for guests.

IMG_1536

IMG_1543

IMG_1548

IMG_1712

IMG_1717

Starbucks

Not much visible progress has been made this week on Starbucks.  Hopefully that will change in the next few weeks.

IMG_1538

IMG_1533

Don Quixote at CityWalk

The new large facade for Don Quixote is continuing to progress as this restaurant concept moves forward.

IMG_1552

IMG_1554

IMG_1561

That wraps up this week’s Orlando ParkHopper, continue learning more about Universal Orlando by clicking play below on the latest episode of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast with news, rumors and information on the Universal Parks in Orlando, Hollywood, Singapore and Japan with your hosts, Lee, Tracey and Darren.

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.

Browse Archived Articles by

22 Comments

Comments for Universal Orlando ParkHopper – Mardi Gras Preview, Diagon Alley Details and Red Oven are now closed.

  1. The picture of the guy skimming the waterway reminds me of the Jaws ride where the fisherman gets eaten by the shark.

    • lol I could see that. Personally i love seeing stuff like this at the parks. Helps to put things in perspective.

  2. I love seeing those trains on the tracks! They are really moving along quickly on the Potter 2.0 project.

  3. Universal is so well run that their City Walk updates will be open and done by the time WDW even starts constructing Disney Springs.

    Pleasure Island closed five years ago.

    • yeah… I keep thinking about that. Pleasure Island has been a ghost town since 2007. CityWalk is the party that just doesn’t stop! lol

    • i think all the work at citywalk is in response to disney’s plans.

      nice to see them updating a lot of the buildings but i dont know if it will matter. it seems like its a short term fix for a long term solution..

      city walk might have clubs and such but i have never seen a lot of people using city walk as anything but a walk way to the parks..

      • I used to think that too. But on our last trip we made a point of staying late and just hanging out in City Walk. What surprised me was the amount of people that were there and how many of them were actually doing things like shopping, playing the games and eating/drinking. It was actually a lot of fun just people watching (and shopping). It’s a pretty lively place as the night goes on.

  4. Great update. It would be much appreciated if you would present the photo’s in a higher resolution and zoom in more in the details on the construction site because a lot of detailing is hard to see now.

    • Thank you for the feedback. I am currently looking into a new lens for my DSLR camera which will help get photos that look a bit closer.

      • OK, didn’t know it was a technical limitation.
        Look at these photo’s, they show so much more details and get me really excited, but again you are doing a great job. Can’t wait for the next update. So much going on at Universal and the float pictures are amazing!

  5. I can pass on Robin Thicke coming to Universal thanks. I think he’s more well known now days for that Miley performance and not the song. The theme parks are known for having three big seasons. Summer, Halloween and Christmas. So it’s nice to see Universal offering something for the off season. I’m liking the look of the new floats this year.

    I hope we’ll be getting sound effects from the trains as there stop and pass through the Parks. This always adds a touch of magic when done at Disney with the whistle from the trains being heard.

    It’s nice to see pictures of construction walls going up across areas of IOA in places that I myself spotted needing work on my last trip. And also in areas that I didn’t spot. Good to see them keeping up to date on these issues. It doesn’t excuse allowing areas of Toon and Suess to fall behind on upkeep but it does show an effort being made.

    While it’s nice to see them cleaning up the water features should some of this stuff not be done before opening hours.

    • To each their own. I think Robin Thicke will be a lot of fun personally.

      And in the Team Members defense, this was near park opening, so it was still early. But I like seeing boats out on the lagoon.

      • I don’t really have a problem with Robin. I just wanted to slip in a Miley reference. I see the Wanted have also been announced. I like that Universal are using current artist for the event and not Stars from the 80′s and 90′s. Which another Theme Park group does rather frequently. You know the one Eric ;)

        If it’s early morning it’s fine I just felt it was a bit poor show if it was being done during peak Park Hours. I did one of the Backstage Disney Tours and it was really interesting going on to World Showcase before opening and seeing people at work. It gives you a much greater appreciation for the huge amount of work that goes into these Parks on a daily basis.

      • When I went to WDW frequently (years ago) I saw gardeners working at Epcot many times. Nothing wrong with that.

  6. Malin,
    with all the great and FAST work on new rides and attractions all you can really do is try to find things to criticize.
    Kinda like some cowboy is having an excellent ride on a wild bull and you are yelling, “Your shirt is untucked!”
    Transformers, Simpson’s Land, Despicable Me, Gringott’s, Hogwarts train (which will be an E ticket), Diagon Alley, all in LESS THAN 18 months! You are there to say, “Yeah, but I saw a guy in a boat picking up leaves during the day and some paint looked bad at Suess Landing.”

    • I comment on what’s shown in the pictures. If I see criticism then I’m going to mention it! It’s a discussion board after all and we’re here to discuss what is featured. Perhaps you could learn from it and how to stay on topic and not just try and repeat the same nonsense each week. We get your all excited about how quickly Universal are building these new rides. I’m truly happy for you. But unless your going to bring something new to the discussion please leave the talk to adults who want to make positive, fair and at times judgemental comments. What you wish to discuss we spoke about months back. We all agreed Universal was doing some amazing things and were amazed by how quickly the Transformers and Simpsons projects were being built.

      So do you have any thoughts on the Mardi Gras Concept art?

      • As soon as WDW gives me something NEW to comment on then you will have new comments.
        With WDW’s current pace, look for my new comments after Avatar completes Phase 1 in 2019.
        I’m sympathetic to WDW here because we all know how hard it is to get all those plastic light up plants, a mess hall, and a movie up and running.
        Unless you were using the castmembers and budget of Universal, then Avatarland would be completed in September 2014.
        Not a big Mardi Gras or parade guy, just new rides, lands, attractions, etc.

      • But we are not commenting on WDW. I don’t understand why you feel the need to bring them up every five minutes. You are coming across as one very angry and bitter fan who is frustrated with the way WDW is being managed by Disney. It’s like we are talking about oranges and you just want to talk about apples. Stop trying to stir up tension with the whole Disney argument. If your that excited by Diagon Alley and the last 18 months of construction why would Disney even bother you!!! But it’s the same comments each week about New Fantasyland or Avatar and I just don’t get why you need to get these points across each week.

    • It is still crazy to think of all that has been built in the last 18 months! It is truly incredible!

  7. Absolutely and the same with SeaWorld and Antarctica. I just don’t think we need to mention it every week. Not when we have Mardi Gras, City Walk, Diagon Alley, upkeep, and Grinchmas to talk about…

  8. Great update as usual Eric! Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

    I continue to get giddy when I see the construction photo’s for Diagon Alley. It is looking better each week with all of the effort being invested into the details. I only hope the insides of the buildings match what the outsides have teased us with (I suspect they will).

    Mardi Gras Parade looks great and Universal seems to have a winning promotion on their hands with that project. The videos I’ve seen of the parade look like a real party.

    Eric, I hope in an up-coming article you can speak to what the details are for Christmas at Universal Studios. I have not been there at that time of year and I’m curious what the experience is like (shows, parades, etc.).

    Thanks again for keeping us in the loop.

  9. Awesome update as usual. The construction and refurbs are a bit if an eyesore at the moment , but at least they ate doing it a lower crowd time of year . Personally I don’t mind seeing the guy cleaning up the lagoon, it shows they are doing it. As for citywalk, I have said many tines on the podcast since we returned from our last visit, that I could easily spend a full day there and these new editions will only strengthen that. Universal are going through a real renaissance at the moment and I for one am excited for now and for what the future holds at Universal Orlando.