We are back this week with another big update from Universal Orlando Resort, where we take a look at the progress that has been made on the Diagon Alley project, CityWalk, Hogsmeade, and we take a special look at the Despicable Me Family Suites at Universal’s Portofino Bay Hotel.
Despicable Me Family Suites
This past year, Universal Orlando quietly opened new Despicable Me Family Suites at the Portofino Bay Hotel.
For those who haven’t been to Universal’s Portofino Bay hotel, it’s a beautiful facility designed to look like a quaint seaside fishing village boats and all.
When first entering your room, you are greeted by elegant decor, with the amazing amenities that come standard at the Portafino Bay Hotel.
As you make your way into the room, you’ll notice a door that will take you into a secret lair. Behind the door is an adorable room with two bomb beds, and fixtures that match what you might find in Gru’s Lair.
These room have proven incredibly popular with guests, and have remained fully occupied since they were completed last year.
This past week Universal sent out invitations to media, letting them know that from June 17th – 20th they will be holding a Diagon Alley press event. At this point, we anticipate both headlining attractions, The Hogwarts Express and Escape From Gringotts, will be ready for the big event. Contractors, engineers, and Universal Creative employees are all working around the clock to get some of the kinks ironed out and get this land opened on time.
Outside, at the London Facade, detail work continues. Lion faces are now being added and painted on the water front, and additional details such as window boxes are being installed.
The construction walls have receded a bit, allowing us to see some steps and other details emerge. We simply cannot wait until the 17th, to experience this new exciting new land.
New York Facades
The facades in the New York area of the Studios park continue to be refurbished and upgraded as every part of this park is being touched up as Universal Orlando approaches it’s 25th Anniversary in 2015.
Hogsmeade Station for the Hogwarts Express
Over at Islands of Adventure, rock work for the Hogsmeade Station of the Hogwarts Express has been installed. Trees have been planted to obscure the giant wall that was erected a few weeks ago. The entrance to the Hogsmeade Station is getting some finishing touches as we make our way towards the debut of this attraction. Universal has been testing ride capacity with Team Members in the evenings, trying to iron out the kinks with the ticketing system, along with loading and unloading.
Over in Jurassic Park, land has been cleared for the project that will follow up potter in 2015 for the 25th Anniversary of the Universal Orlando Resort. While we know what this project is and will have some clues for you in coming weeks, we are waiting for potter to open before we look too far forward to the future… there’s a massive land with 2 amazing attractions about to open, so we are going to live in the now for the next few weeks before casting our eyes to what lies beyond. but rest assured, Universal has monstrous plans for the future.
Over in CityWalk, Vivo continues to move forward, and as we shared before Vivo, and World Famous Hotdogs will be the two dining venues to open next.
World Famous Hot Dogs
The gazebo has now been constructed, and is a bit of a design departure from what was original shown in the concept art, but it is a fun play on a ballpark concept, but we will wait to see the finished product and atmosphere.
Universal Studio Store
The Universal Studio Store is closer to completion, with the glass front now installed, and the interior being worked on, this should be open and ready to go by the time potter crowds descend on the resort this summer.
Breadbox and Menchies
Upstairs at CityWalk, Menchies and Breadbox are under full wraps as crews work on the facades and the interiors to get these two concepts open.
That wraps up this week’s update. So what do you think about the family suites? What do you think about the progress on London?
We will leave you today with the episode of the E-Ticket report with Chris Wakefield and Derek Bergan the Rush Limbaugh and Nancy Grace of theme park podcasts.