Universal Orlando Resort
News & Notes from Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure

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December 13, 2012
The construction wall has moved out into the street since yesterday. Still working on the
Shrek/Donkey photo area.
Some decorations went up on the Mummy construction fence.
The bathrooms next to Louie's are closed rehab...maybe something to do with the Mummy queue work. Louie's has their Coke Freestyle machines up and running. You can see the crane with the drill rig setup just behind the fences. This is supposedly part of the Hogwarts Express construction project.
There's even more of the wall up now than there was yesterday. The crane was lowering an arc welding machine into the building. Decorations are up inside
Cafe La Bamba as they prepare
to open this weekend.
They were filming the Blues Brothers for something on Delancey Street this afternoon.
December 12, 2012
Everything is set for the weekend performances. Monsters Cafe is still jumping.

With the rumor that Monsters Cafe is going to become a Transformers themed restaurant, it seems strange they would have spent the time and money installing the new Coke Freestyle machines. Maybe that was all the "foundation work" that was happening as they installed the plumbing for the new machines?
Rumor has it changes are coming. The Coke Freestyle machines have been installed in Monsters Cafe.
Nearly the whole Transformers building is now enclosed now.
This back corner appears to be room where vehicle maintenance
will be done, with the crane now in place.
Here's the "front" of the building.
Here's the entrance to the ride. View from the lagoon. More parts keep arriving all day.
Here's a heavy piece of equipment being delivered.
It appears this is the clutch for one of the rides elevators.
The part was hoisted to the roof where it was lowered through a hatch. Over on the Streets of New York, one of the windows was being refurbed.
The new walls on top of the Mummy show building mirror the lines of the existing structure. Still no word on why they were added. The Mummy entrance has been closed and moved around the corner.
Now guests enter through
the museum doors.
The Gringott's building seems
to have more happening inside
right now than outside.
There's a LOT of track now
inside the show building.
Over on the other side, the station seems to be going up quickly. I'm guessing those are
rebar frames for the columns that will form Charing Cross Station's interior.
There's a lot of site prep work happening along the Simpsons waterfront.
Still taking away the old stuff to build the new. IFFF is down to the steel.
Out front concrete forms are already going in for building the
new elements of the new restaurant.
The building is now an empty shell.
Cafe La Bamba is scheduled to re-open this week for lunch. With the busy holiday season the extra capacity will be needed since IFFF
is closed for remodeling.
With all the construction, some of the inflatables have had to
be relocated. The bear was in Battery Park and the multi-character
display was located on the roof of the sound stage torn down
to build Transformers.
Out on City Walk a new screen
is finally being installed on
the Coke bottle stand.
A couple of last minute rehab projects are happening in Islands.
With the big crowds coming, I guess they'll be done soon.
Long line for Grinchmas show. Circus McGurkus has the new Coke Freestyle machines up and running. Comic Strip Cafe has the
machines now as well.

So, apparently all these new machines are ONLY for use with the all day refill cups. The cups seem to used RFID to activate the machine. Several guests were trying to fill non-Freestyle All Day cups and the machine doesn't let them do it. The existing Freestyle machines in Richters and Lost Continent seem to still do single serve.
Burger Digs has them too, located around the corner. The new machines seem
to confuse guests.
The new stage is going in to Hogsmeade. I've heard it won't be done
until after New Year, but it seems like a simple deck, and I could
easily see it being ready in another week or two for the big crowds.
This was one of two middle aged guests in the park wearing witch
hats today. Good for them!
November 27, 2012
The mini golf course is getting decked out for Christmas.
Lights are going up on a lot of the trees and bushes.
It looks like they're not finished decorating yet. Another great old movie being screened at the theater, this one a charity benefit.
Garlands are up all around City Walk.
  The snowflakes around the walkways are really cool.
More lights and garlands along all of the restaurants.
The new barriers are really cool looking. Lots of poinsettias
around the property.
Trees and banners up at
the Studio Store
The parade route is lined with banners.
The "new" stand locations are
all up and running
Another poinsettia Santa Krusty
Exterior walls are going up very quickly on the Transformers building.
Teams are hard at work all over the inside and the outside of the building.
There are a couple of these curved walls visible inside the building.   Lots of mechanical work and wiring going into the building.
As I had suspected the angled wall will be the ride entrance, with a canopy being framed over the door now.
Concrete block walls are going up abound the queue area.
The Transformers building is going to be really BIG! There's another curved wall.
Monster Cafe looks tiny in comparison to Transformers. Work continues on IFFF, and it looks like the patio roof is being removed.
The globe is gone. While the building has been gutted it looks like
only the patio being demolished.
On the other side, trees are coming down.
Depending on the rumor you hear this could either be a spinning flat ride coming in or a ferris wheel.
It's a long, narrow strip of land, so I would guess ferris wheel,
but we'll know the answer soon enough.
The "Gringott's" building is
really coming along.
Lots of walls up now. oooooh, plans It looks even bigger with
the walls in place.
Lots of earth moving happening on the other side of the wall. The Disaster brick maintenance is now underway.
The mystery framework on the roof of the Mummy continues to rise. It looks like Central Park in fall! The decorations are all up on
the Streets of New York
  Getting ready for
Mannheim Steamroller
Ready for the big lighting this Saturday!  
Islands has switched over to Christmas background music. 
All set for Grinchmas to start on Saturday.
There is FINALLY a real sign
for the Trolley Ride!
I think this sign is new too.  
  Looks like Moose/Goose Juice
was recently repainted.
Poseidon is down for rehab. Just a few touches of Christmas
in Lost Continent.
The light in Wizarding World
was perfect his evening.
The smoking chimneys looked great. The only Christmas decorations in Wizarding World
are on Zonko's and Honeydukes.

Watch for pictures

from the
Macy's Parade
coming soon!
Still amazing to look at no matter how many times I've seen it.   I've been coming to IOA since
it opened in 1999 and I've
never noticed this chandelier
in Jurassic Park.
November 9, 2012
Wow. They're just about to enclose the building at this point. we noticed compressed air tanks
for the ride effects
And interior queue walls going up
There's a second crane on site now.  
Lots of work going on with interior walls going up!
They've started  working on the Shrek & Donkey photo area.
So, the new pavilions are for the stand that were across from IFFF
IFFF is now closed for renovations/demolition to start.
Construction walls just went up on both sides of the walkway
Looks like they ran out of time overnight, and just put up temporary barriers until they can finish the fence tonight. Future home of a ferris wheel?
Maybe the Krusty Eye?
Work is happening all over the "London" construction site. The back and side walls of the "Gringott's" show building
are going up really fast.
    The Hogsmeade side is making progress as well.
It appears all the work on the Hogsmeade side happens overnight so they don't interfere with the operation of Dragon's Challenge. I hear from Universal employees that the supports for the viaduct that will carry the Hogwarts Express have gone vertical in some places already.
Under the Dragon's Challenge it appears foundation work has begun.
The crew was working on
the barges today.
Never noticed one of the
"London" cranes is dead center
on Hollywood Blvd.
The games that had been in the plaza are stored just behind the fence.
Veteran's Day Parade
This was a really nice, low-key salute to veterans and honoring those vets who work for Universal Orlando.
The park's characters were part of the tribute as well.

It was a really nice parade and ceremony.
Christmas Preparations
Decorations are going up all around Universal, inside and outside.
About a third of the Streets of New York have decorations up now.
Islands of Adventure is getting decked out as well.
Seuss Landing gets the most decorations and is getting decked out for Grinchmas.
All of the Islands have nicely themed decor for the holidays.
November 3, 2012
They were filming something in
front of IOA this afternoon.
Christmas cookies have arrived. The decorations have started
going up in Seuss Landing.
More of the Seuss decor More of the holiday treats
Construction is going full speed
over by Dragon's Challenge.
Wonder what's coming? The yellow crane looks like
a pile driver on the site.
They seem to be working
after the park closes
Oh the mystery... More Christmas decorations
in Islands of Adventure

This weekend this huge Transformer statue is out in front of the Studios gates.
Most of the Halloween decor has been packed away. There are still one or two
set pieces still in the park.
This little shop is now all Grinchmas (after being all Halloween Horror Nights stuff).
Garland and wreath up on
the food stand as well.
All the temporary games have been removed.
The progress on Transformers is really amazing! Just two days later there's a lot more done.
They've got lights inside
the building now.
More parts of the HVAC system have been placed.
The crews are hard at work day and night.
The building is going to really dwarf Monsters Cafe.
Lots of work on the lower floor. Interior walls have started going
up around the elevator shaft.
About two-thirds of the
roof framework is up now. 
The back wall is going up on the "Gringott's" building. The inside is black, but the back side
facing the apartment buildings seems to be the same beige color as the soundstages.
Looks like the building should be closed in just a couple of weeks. Across from International Film & Food Festival planters and
benches have been removed along the walkway.
Most of the wood on the bridge has been replaced with fresh timber. The pavilions now have their
roll down walls in place.
The robot is still in scaffolding.
November 1st, Transformers Announcement Night:
The day after HHN all of the decorations on the gates are down. In just a couple of days the roof
has more than doubled in size.
The media arrives for
the big announcement.
As announcement time drew near and it got darker, the crew gathered to watch.
While the preshow was running, interruptions kept happening...
And finally it is official,
Transformers is coming
Summer 2013!
And finally, the broadcast
comes through...
  ...and Transformers is revealed!
People seem REALLY excited by the announcement! On the way out we noticed the light is still out on the Lighthouse (after several weeks), but the mirror is still rotating up there in the dark.
Go to the Fall 2012 News & Notes Page

 Go to the Universal Orlando Resort Official Website