Universal Orlando Update – Hogsmeade Detour and New CityWalk venues

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

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Published on March 04, 2014 at 2:00 am with 7 Comments

Progress is quick at Universal Orlando Resort, where new venues are about ready to open at CityWalk. We’ll also take you into Islands of Adventure to look at changes coming to Hogsmeade, along with refurbs happening around the park.  Then we travel over to the Studios, where we see new details being added to Diagon Alley.  We finish this weeks article with an all new episode of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast.

Hogsmeade Rerouted

Over where the Lost Continent Games used to be, the entrance to Hogsmeade has been closed as guests are now rerouted through the Jurassic Park blow-out bridge, to enter and exit Hogsmeade from Jurassic Park.  This is being done as the entire entrance to Hogsmeade is being moved up and reworked to accommodate the Hogwarts Express.   Once this is finished, we should then expect Zonkos to close and become the expanded Honeydukes.

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Jurassic Park Refurbishment

Over in Jurassic Park, it is the River Adventure’s turn to close for its yearly refurbishment. This shouldn’t last more than 2 or 3 weeks, as they want this ride back open ASAP for Spring Break crowds.

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Popeys Back Open

Over in Toon Lagoon, Popeye’s has reopened and is now drenching guests daily again. With fresh paint and cleaned up show scenes, the ride looks great.

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Employee Parking Structure Ruin Sight Lines

Over at the Studios in the New York area, you can now see the very grey and dull Employee Parking Structure from inside the park.  While I normally wouldn’t think very many people would notice this sightline error, once the Hogwarts Express train is running guests will be watching the trains move back and forth, which will draw their eyes to the parking structure.  We hope this is a temporary issue, and that Universal has a plan to address this issue as they have done with the parking structures at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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Diagon Alley Details

Over in London, Universal has sadly removed the preview windows that gave us a look on the other side of the fence.  For the time being, we are stuck seeing what is over the wall.  Artists and construction workers continue to add details and elements to the London facade.

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CityWalk

Starbucks and Coldstone Creamery

At the entrance to CityWalk under the bridge, thew new and improved Starbucks is getting very close to opening.  The construction walls have come down, and exterior details are being added.  This industrial chic look should add some life to the area under the bridge that was home to an closed credit card facade and the now extinct, Endangered Species Store.  The Coldstone Creamery next-door is getting signage, and from the looks of it, most of the interior fixtures have been installed.

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Universal Studio Store

In the center of CityWalk is the Universal Studio store.  Currently there is a pop-up store where the CityWalk stage normally is, however with the flagship store ripped out guests.

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Margaritaville

Over in Jimmy Buffett Land, work has expanded out front as they build a new structure where part of the Patio was.

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That wraps up this weeks update!  Now click play below, or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or download it directly to listen to the latest episode of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast where your hosts Lee, Tracey, Darren and Hunter share with you the news, rumors, and stories behind the Universal Parks around the world.

iTunes | Download | Stitcher

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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  • jcruise86

    Thank you for another excellent update, Eric.

    Universal’s work on the Florida London branch of London looks impressive!

    • jcruise86

      ^ ^ delete 1st “London”.

  • Country Bear

    Great update Eric!

    I was hoping for some coverage of the Cabana Bay Hotel, but I assume that will come soon. I agree with your comment about the parkade being visible from inside the park; it destroys the illusion. Of coarse I also thought that when they put the Rockin’ Roller Coaster in on New York Street. Perhaps they have a plan to redo this area at some point and so they’re letting it go for now.
    Do we know if Antojitos is busy since it opened? Just curious.

    Changes with Harry Potter are all very exciting. Can’t wait to see this in action.

  • fnord

    What’s up with the R on Kings cross? Did it fall off?
    Is the theming run down London?
    What’s the red marking on the left side of the theatre
    facade?

  • ralzap

    Well I was at the parks today. Interesting that they decided to lay down pavement during the day from turkey rd.. Took 20 minutes to park. Hmmmmm…..
    Not very professional.
    A few f bombs from the paving crew as I left gave me a nice feeling in my heart.
    Disney’s fast pass plus may have a rival for the worst theme park impressions.

    • jcruise86

      ^ ^ Bad paving crew & supervisor–especially bad around families.

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