All aboard for the Orlando Parkhopper’s Universal Studios Orlando Update.  Today, we have the first pictures of what appears to be initial work on the Hogwart’s Express Train.  The long rumored attraction will connect the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure with the new Harry Potter themed land at Universal Studios next door. There’s also more progress to observe at the Transformers construction site inside the studios park.

We have it on good authority that the long rumored Hogwart’s Express is beginning construction inside Islands of Adventure’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Walls have sprung up recently along the border between Wizarding World and Lost Continent, hiding the clearing of land for the new attraction which will connect the two Universal Orlando Resort theme parks.


Speaking of the Lost Continent, Universal has begun to refurbish one of the domes in the land.

Over in Toon Lagoon, more work is happening as some of the rubberized pathways are being replaced.

The progress continues as the new Transformers ride begins initial excavation work in the former space of soundstage 44.

The monstrous expansion in the far corner of the park continues.  Harry Potter’s London expansion is rolling along as the lagoon side of the work is getting first attention

We also spy some work occurring in front of the Simpsons ride in the “Midway” tents.

Finishing the column, we seek out the ongoing projects in Citywalk to look at their progress.

PYQ is really dragging here.  No real change visible.

The last of the City Walk deck work has been finished.  Looks purdy.

They are still working on the Pink Cadillac that normally adorns the entrance to the Hard Rock Cafe

MICECHAT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS ORLANDO HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHT EVENT SEPTEMBER 28th – Save the date. MiceChat, is planning a meet up at Universal Halloween Horror nights in both Florida AND Los Angeles this year.  The Florida event will be on Friday, September 28th, and the Los Angeles meet up will be on Saturday October 6th.  Information on tickets will be posted soon.

There you have it!  Hogwart’s Express will connect both parks in a magical way, while Transformers will change the face of the Studios park.  Check back next week as we look deeper into the Halloween Horror Nights event coming in September to Universal Studios Orlando!

  • DisneySam

    I wonder how it will work with regards to riding the train between the two separate theme parks. Will they only allow guests to ride if you have a 2-park ticket or pass? I haven’t been to Universal in a few years so I’m not even sure they still sell a 1-park ticket.

    • KingEric

      Right now at Universal Orlando it is SOP (standard operating procedure) to only offer Park to Park tickets. The only time a 1 Day 1 Park ticket is sold is if a person specifically requests it.

  • Brilliant. Connecting the two Wizarding Worlds with a Hogwarts Express is a fantastic idea. Uni is really doing wonderful things these days. I wish WDW had something for us to be this excited about!

    • KingEric

      It seems that all the momentum in Orlando is at the non-Disney parks. Look at Universal, Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Legoland even Fun Spot USA all have large expansions under way or newly completed.

  • SpectroMan

    It amazes me that all of this construction is happening in peak Summer time. Not only are the parks crowded but it’s almost unbearably hot to be doing outdoor work – am I wrong?

    I guess nowadays it’s all about being the first to the party so off season models may have been thrown out the window.

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  • PeaJay18

    Great article, but the link from the front page takes me to SummerInFL’s article about Anna Maria Island.

  • mainejeff

    Universal is kicking Disney’s butt in Orlando. Seems like Universal moves much quicker to make decisions, build new attraction and open them up. Disney moves at the pace of a snail……and even then, sometimes make mis-steps. Maybe too many cooks in the kitchen?

    • KingEric

      I agree 100%. Everyone calls Disney the 900 lb gorilla in Orlando. And I believe it is true. Sure it is the biggest, but it is also the slowest moving. Universal is a spry Spider Monkey that is grabbing all the low hanging fruit now, and leaving the cast offs to Disney.

      Really look at Universal’s current line up of newly opened and soon to open attractions
      1. Despicable Me (open)
      2. Completely redone spiderman (open)
      3. Hollywood Drive-In Mini Golf (open)
      4. Brand new Parade
      5. Brand new night time spectacular
      6. Transformers (2013)
      7. Harry Potter 2.0 (2014)
      8. Brand new Family Suites Hotel

      No to mention stuff that is in the process of development and being green lit:
      Expansion of Seuss Landing
      Expansion of Jurassic Park
      Redevelopment of the Kidzone
      WonderSea Island waterpark
      Replacement for Fear Factor Live

      All of these things translates into added value for the returning guest, and an incentive for new guests to visit.

  • EC82

    And yet Disney’s answer is to reduce attraction hours, cut back on maintenance, add a restaurant or two as an indication they are “expanding,” raise prices and do nothing other than a lackluster (and very delayed) Fantasyland that is even remotely this good. Disney can’t even do maintenance right! Everything is managed by committee and costs five times what it should when Disney does it. Universal has seen an opportunity to be what Disney parks USED to be in terms of show quality, cast member appeal, cleanliness and maintenance. I DO NOT like the rides at Universal, unfortunately, but I will say this: For many people, Universal has become an OPTION, and five years ago it wasn’t even that. And Disney will no doubt continue ignoring this threat, continue to make changes to its parks that are frankly awful (like dumbing them down for kids, adding more and more characters to the point that there is NOTHING that is not “character branded”) until it has to finally take drastic action. I sense that is coming in 3-5 years. We’ll see.

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