Universal Orlando Update – Diagon Delays and HHN Dates

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

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Published on April 08, 2014 at 2:00 am with 10 Comments

Today’s Universal update brings news and details that might push the opening of Diagon Alley back into summer and why Bill Davis, Universal Orlando President, is not going to let that happen. Plus, the new dates for Halloween Horror Nights 24 and a new episode of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast.  Grab your Universal Poncho, because it is raining news today!

Halloween Horror Nights Dates Announced

Universal has already announced that this years Halloween Horror Nights event will run from September 19th – November 1st, adding an additional day over what was offered last year.  Since a whole new Harry Potter land is being added to Universal Studios this summer, and Islands of Adventure continues to pull in huge crowds, it will be interesting to see which park is used for Horror Nights, or even if they will go back to the duel park experience as they did for HHN 16. We should know more soon.

MiceChat is planning a special Halloween Horror Nights 24 event this year and we’ll be announcing the date shortly, along with a Food and Wine Festival event AND . . . wait for it . . .  a GUMBALL RALLY ORLANDO!!!  Add your name to the MiceChat Events list to be notified of all the events just as soon as they are available:

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Diagon Alley

Over in the Wizarding World Part II there are beautiful exterior touches being added, along with greenery, signage, and stamped concrete walkways.  The London facade is coming together beautifully.

Inside however, there are some kinks to be worked out.  With the new Escape from Gringotts ride, Universal Orlando is truly pushing the envelope further than any other theme park attraction in the world.

Getting all of these elements to work together, correctly, and every few seconds has been a challenge.  While there have been rumors of the Wizarding World being significantly delayed into summer, we have heard that Bill Davis, the President of Universal Orlando, will not let this happen.  He is committed to delivering this ride to the world as soon as possible!

Universal Creative has been working around the clock on these elements that will surprise and thrill guests when they get to experience them!  We can’t wait to see Diagon Alley, and we are looking forward to all the industry firsts that will be included in the two new rides.

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There’s a tremendous amount of work being done around the clock.

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Grimmauld Place!!!

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Stunning

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The walls have been pushed in a bit, revealing some of the surface treatment.

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Hogsmeade – Hogwarts Express

Over at Islands of Adventure, the Hogsmead Station for the Hogwarts Express is coming together beautifully, while it was behind schedule for a time, it is now back on schedule.

The Hogwarts Express Ride has been testing at both stations for the past week, allowing guests to hear the train whistle as it leaves the station. Meanwhile, the station itself is rushing toward completion.

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Grad Bash

While The Mouse has given up on Grand Night, Universal Orlando still gives Seniors in High School a place to party and celebrate graduation. With live music, DJs and a 2 Park experience, Graduating Seniors have all night to party

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CowFish

Let’s take a stroll over to CityWalk to check up on the progress of various projects. Vertical construction on CowFish is now visible.

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Universal Studio Store

The Studio Store is slowly moving forward with it’s remodel Hopefully this will be finished soon, so that they can get rid of the pop-up temporary tent store next door.

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Vivo

Underneath CowFish will be the new restaurant, Vivo.  Not much has changed since it was first gutted, except that it has been cleared out and is waiting for the construction on the second story of CowFish to progress before work can really get underway downstairs.

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Margaritaville Porch

Over in Margaritaville, the Porch remodel is moving forward quickly and soon should be completed.

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Parking Garage

Backstage, the new Team  Member parking garage was built in record time!  It is now nearly complete, and soon should be servicing Team Members!

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At Universal Orlando the future is bright, and just when you think one construction project is done, another one is about to begin… and we can look forward to a lot of new projects in the months to come.

I will leave you with a new episode of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast with your hosts Lee, Tracey and Darren.

iTunes | Direct Download | Stitcher Radio

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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10 Comments

Comments for Universal Orlando Update – Diagon Delays and HHN Dates are now closed.

  1. Any idea when Gringotts will open, or are we still assuming it’s anytime from June to July?

    • Some online saying it’ll soft open 6/1, but that’s just more rumors.

  2. I hope they are able to fix all the problems. I would much rather have them wait and get things right rather than open something that is unreliable. The stress levels for everyone involved must be running very high!

    • I am related to the project manager for this project, and it’s really taking a toll on him. There are a lot of little smaller aspects of the project that keep hitting snags for reasons that are out of Universal’s control. He is just looking forward to getting a regular sleep schedule once the calls from England from a very famous author at 3:00am stop.

      • Tell him and everyone involved we are rooting for them! The London Waterfront looks amazing. Their dedication and work is noticed and appreciated!

  3. Bill Davis for head of WDW!

    Thanks for the update!

  4. Eric,
    2004 (HHN14) was the dual park – not HHN 16.

    With Potter 2.0 completing construction before HHN 2014, and the HHN 24 website specifically calling out Universal Studios Orlando as where Horror Nights will take place, it’s pretty much guaranteed IOA will not be part of the event.

    • I think that if they do go back to dual parks for hhn, it will be for hhn 25 next year. It’s 25 years of horror nights and the 25th anniversary of USF.
      Having been to hhn in 04, I hope they do as it was amazing. We haven’t managed to get back for the event since but are heading out next year, so fingers crossed.

  5. Great update Eric, thank you!

    The construction pictures look amazing. It makes me very happy to see all of this detail going into these new attractions. Universal gets an “A” for effort on this one and I hope the same will apply to the new attractions.

    Do we know how successful the new Cabana Bay Hotel is performing? Just curious if they are busy and if people are enjoying its features to date.

    I was also curious if anyone knows how long the wait for the Twirl and Hurl attraction is? Just wondering if it’s as crazy as Dumbo usually is/was.

    • Hey Country Bear. We have been to Universal for a couple of vacations recently and the lines for Twirl and Hurl were about 15 minutes.
      It was funny how many guests were just standing around listening and laughing at all the funny wisecracks. The ride has lots of different jokes and it seems like we always hear a new joke whenever we visit.