This week we take you to Universal Orlando, where we look at the exciting projects all around the resort. Then we examine the market share that Universal has been stealing away from both Disney and SeaWorld since the opening of Wizarding World phase one. With a second Wizarding World on the way this summer, Uni is poised to capture an even bigger piece of the Orlando tourism pie.
Progress continues on London and Diagon Alley as Universal races towards the summer opening for the Wizarding World Part 2. With massive props being added, trees being planted on the berm that will hide the backstage areas, we are finally getting a real glimpse of what this area will look like in a few short months when it opens to the public. Soon guests will be able to experience this new world and travel by train to Hogsmeade via the Hogwarts Express.
Mid sized trees are being planted atop the new earthen berm. The empty spaces will soon be filled with shrubs and ground cover. When complete, the show building will be obscured.
Over in Islands of Adventure the Hogsmeade station is looking more and more complete by the day! With amazing details added, and landscaping being added, this area is getting ready for its summer debut. Hard to believe that just a few short weeks ago this area looked way behind schedule.
Zonkos, the practical joke store in Hogsmeade, is now officially closed. Universal announced that it would close and that Honey Dukes would expand into this space. The Weasley’s store in Diagon Alley will be the new joke store when it opens this summer. While the shops at Hogsmeade were meant to be small and intimate, a little more elbow room in Honey Dukes will be welcome.
A temporary wall has been installed between the two stores which were once conjoined.
Over in CityWalk, CowFish is making amazing strides as construction is going on inside the big box, and underneath will be Vivo, the new Italian Restaurant. Another new restaurant, Hot Dog Hall of Fame, is being built just around the corner.
Breadbox and TCBY
Upstairs, scaffolding has been added as exterior works begin to bring the new sandwich shop, Breadbox, to resort guests.
Universal Studio Store
Work on the flagship Universal Studio Store continues, as major facade works pushes forward, and construction on the interior starts.
Universal Taking Marketshare from Disney
This past week our pal Jason Garcia at the Orlando Sentinel wrote an amazing article about Disney’s marketshare in Orlando post Potter. The article was notable as it points to the impact that Potter has had on WDW. Since the Wizarding World opened, Walt Disney World’s market share has gone from 74.9% to 71.3% with Universal’s market share increasing from 16% to 20.8%. Universal’s has now opened Cabana Bay Beach Resort with 1,800 rooms. Universal is betting big this year with Diagon Alley, Cabana Bay, and the CityWalk remodel. Looking beyond 2014, Universal has promised a new attraction every year, and there is so much in the blue sky right now that it is dizzying. As Universal continues to grab marketshare, they will continue to give the mouse a run for it’s money.
So what do you think, will Wizarding World Diagon Alley create another market share swap in Orlando? There’s not much threat that Disney will lose their dominance in Orlando, but it looks like Universal’s tide is rising.
That wraps up this weeks update, we now leave you with a new episode of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast.