Universal Orlando Update – Honeydukes Expands and Resort Update

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

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Published on April 29, 2014 at 1:00 am with 5 Comments

We are one week closer to the opening of Phase 2 of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  We will take you into both parks today to look at how each one is rapidly reaching the end of major construction, and we will talk about some of the challenges to get this open on time for the big summer crowds.  Then we take a stroll around the resort to check in on some other projects.

Honeyduke Expansion Opens

This past week, the expanded Honeydukes store opened at Islands of Adventure, expanding into the former Zonko’s location.  Currently, the Zonkos facade has remained and from all indications, it appears that it will be staying for the time being.  Inside, the registers have been moved to the the far end of the shop, allowing guests better access to the store, removing a once painful bottle neck, and overall improving the guest experience.

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Hogsmead Hogwarts Express Station

This week we ventured into the Sinbad Theater to look at the Hogwarts Express station from another point of view.  When you are at the bottom of the theater, you get a real sense of scale for how large this structure is.  Guests will enter on the first floor, and make their way to the second floor where they will board the train.

Outside, work is continuing on the new entrance area along with the outdoor queue portion of this experience.

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Giant Wall in Hogsmeade

Across from the new station entrance, Universal has erected a large wooden wall where the Lost Continent games used to be.  It was shared with us that trees and other foliage will be planted to hide the wall.  But right now, guests can just see a giant fence.

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Diagon Alley

As we venture over to the Studios, we can quickly see that that the new berm is now almost complete, with full trees and foliage now hiding the backstage areas.  While the London facade is mostly complete, work is furiously happening behind the facade to get every nook and cranny of this new Wizarding World in tip top shape!  Over night crews, sleepless nights, continual ride and system tests are going on as Universal Creative and their vendors work tirelessly to open this attraction on time (which is the last two weeks of June).   Universal has yet to announce a date, because they want to make sure that once they pick a date, that they can deliver.

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And this is how it looks this week. The new forested berm hides the show buildings very well.

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They are still finishing up this end of the berm.

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Looks like they are getting ready to add waterfront lamp posts here.

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CityWalk Update

Outside the parks, the CityWalk Update continues to press ahead at a dizzying pace.

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The expanded porch of indecision has opened, and is now serving guests, with fans, misters and outside air.  They have doubled the capacity for the porch so now guests shouldn’t experience as long of waits at night as they are exiting the parks.

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Cowfish and Vivo

Major work continues downstairs in Vivo, as it will be the next venue to open, and upstairs work is moving forward on Cowfish, as they push this unique burger/sushi fusion restaurant to be ready by the time Diagon Alley debuts.

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Universal Studio Store

Next door to Vivo is the Universal Studio Store, where work is progressing much more visually this past week.  Soon this flagship store will reopen and the pop-up store can removed.

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This is a MAJOR renovation. The entire interior was gutted.

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That wraps up this week’s update.  We have a lot to look forward to as the Universal resort gets ready for this summer!  With 2014 looking like another banner year for the Universal Orlando Resort, we can’t help but let our gaze drift towards 2015, 2016 and 2017 where amazing things are being planned for guests traveling to Orlando.  While there are lots of projects moving their way through development, we here at MiceChat are going to be savoring the summer 2014 attractions before we turn our eyes too far forward. Because at the Universal Orlando Resort every year seems to be bringing a massive slate of new offerings.

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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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5 Comments

Comments for Universal Orlando Update – Honeydukes Expands and Resort Update are now closed.

  1. Thanks Eric for all the great photos and info.
    I guess the gray wall beneath the red arches must be hiding the entrance to Diagon Alley.
    Would be great to see beyond the other side of that gray wall.
    Really hard to imagine a company trying harder to give guests some very creative, new experiences with new attractions and lands.
    Someone mentioned, I’m sorry because it might have been you, that the crane is on site for Kong and Skull Island. Then I saw on another site that ground had been broken on Kong and Skull Island.
    Universal didn’t even wait to complete Diagon Alley before starting on Kong and the lazy river half of Cabana Bay hasn’t opened yet either.
    Pretty amazing what a company can do when they are focused on the guests.
    Universal should easily beat the 39% growth they experienced between 2009-2013 in the next few years.

    • It look that the construction that is going at the Kong location actually some rock work for Potter is. There are still a lot of things that need to be done at the IOA side of Potter before they go on to Kong I guess.
      It looks like the Potter side of the Sinbad stadium is getting a more Potter like make over so the theme’s don’t clash.

  2. CAN’T WAIT!!!!

  3. The interior of Honeydukes looks a little cheap and kid of bland for the Wizarding World.

  4. [...] – Diagon Alley development in Orlando, but construction continues to be steaming ahead. MiceChat have posted a series of new pictures that shows how the development is coming [...]