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

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November 8, 2013
  Starting with Citywalk... 
Something new going into the rotunda  Love the Transformers sign!   
The former Endangered Species store (rumored Starbucks new location) 
Down to the steel structure  Red Oven is almost ready to open. 
Looks really good! 
They were setting up for a preview meal today.  Later everyone was eating! 
The facade of the former Latin Quarter  Christmas decorations are going up all around the property 
Garlands are up  Inside the Universal Store 
In front of Islands of Adventure they are replanting a planter  Garlands up in the stores  Trees up too 

Decorating is well underway
  New video menu screen at Confisco   
Lights have been added
around the dome 
They're still working on the future Starbucks in IOA 
They've changed the guest flow through Croissant Moon  Decorations in Croissant moon 
Garlands up on the stands  The reservations kiosk is really pushing the new dining plans 
The bolts on Hulk have been painted white (primer)  Holiday decor in MSHI 
More trees and garland inside the shops and restaurants 

Some rehab work going on in Toon Lagoon 
More decorations and ornaments in the Toon Lagoon shops 
This is just wrong...    Jurassic Park Christmas 
More Christmas decor  I hear things are going on
behind the scenes here... 
The new JP games look great and look like they've always been there 

More JP decorations

The cooler weather is starting to make the snow and ice of Hogsmeade seem real!
They are really making progress on the exterior of the new station building! Can't wait to see the finished product. 
The Lost Continent games are still open, though they were rumored to close when the JP games opened
The Village Potter is just down the path from the Potter Village :D  Poseidon's Treasures decorations 
The Seuss High in the Sky Trolley trains are parked while the rehab is going on.  
Construction walls are up for the rehab  All the Sneetches are gone
from the beaches! 
A variety of Seuss signs on the construction walls 

Holiday treats are here!

Decorations and ornaments in the Seuss Landing shops  Decorated on the inside but
not the outside yet. 
Outside Circus McGurkus (and all the restaurants) they are really pushing the new meal plan  
If I Ran the Zoo's sign is getting rehabbed apparently    Seuss Landing hasn't started decorating yet 
These lockers are new     
The Studio Store is decorated 
More decorations and Christmas merchandise 
Christmas decorations in Aftermath 
Some rehab on the Irish Shop  Louie's decorations 
    Finnegan's decorations 
The Hogwarts Express is on
the track and was visible
from inside the park today.
It looks so amazing in person!  
  I guess the other train is 10B?  
Christmas cookies     
  New video screen menu
in the Bakery 
Lombard's  Richter's 
The facades of London are looking really impressive now! 
So many great details are starting to emerge 
Lots of decorative trim and other details being sculpted or applied to the facades 
The crews are hard at work all around the site 
Springfield looks really great and seems to be quite popular! 
They added signs to the Seven Duffs since my last daytime visit   Barney is back 
Now exit only to improve traffic flow  This was the first time I've seen Krusty and Sideshow Bob   
  I guess Fear Factor is still being reset after Bill & Ted's run 
Hollywood Boulevard Christmas decorations 
This facade is getting some TLC   

Universal's 7th Annual Veteran's Day Ceremony
This was the annual Veteran's Day parade and ceremony 
It's great the Universal celebrates their team members who served this way! 
Small parade and a nice ceremony in Grammercy Park 
Cabana Bay...     
Impressive progress on Cabana Bay with the interior getting work now.  
The plantings are really filling in now, and they are working on the turn lanes on Turkey Lake Road 
The parking structure is looking good too. 
August 5, 2013
Out on CityWalk Pastamore's counter area is closed for demolition It appears the back sit-down area is staying as it is for now.
Crews are hard at work demolishing for the new Ben & Jerry's location.
Latin Quarter is closed fro remodeling and to turn into something new. Parts of the facade have been marked for demolition.
Lots of little rehab projects are happening all over the park. The new Simpson's area looks great!
Larger than life icons Lard Lad Donuts

The level of detail and the references to the show are really incredible.
The Lard Lad is a great photo op   Jebediah Springfield
Bumblebee Man's Taco Truck Themed trash cans Chief Wiggum and his squad car
Duff Gardens The Seven Duffs (Tipsy, Queasy, Surly, Sleazy, Edgy, Dizzy and Remorseful)
Duff Gardens and Brewery The Brewery is a Duff shop Duff Man!
Twirl-N-Hurl should open any day now Apparently you'll be able to shoot
at the targets on the tentacles
The Nassal crew is on hand
finishing up the details
The ride looks great The facades of Diagon Alley
are coming along nicely
Work is happening all around
the Diagon Alley site
What appears to be King's Cross Station in front and the real station for the Hogwarts Express behind it
The facades are really starting to take shape and begin to
hide the secrets of Diagon Alley behind them.
Universal is selling their own brand
of cookie and brownie mixes
Over in Islands of Adventure the Hogsmeade Station is taking shape quickly and the Lost Continent building is being repaired. The games of Lost Continent are rumored to be closing very soon.
In Jurassic Park, the construction fence is up for work on the rumored new games area which will essentially replace the games being removed over in Lost Continent.
June 1, 2013
May 9, 2013
Jurassic Park River Adventure is under rehab. Looks like the rockwork is getting some love.
Survey markings are now all over the unused overflow queue for JPRA...
...lending credence to the rumor of new games coming to the area. The Hogsmeade Station is
coming along quickly.
More roof trusses are up. The hotdogs are gone and kebabs are in now at the former Oasis Coolers.
Over in Studios they're hard at work on the Transformers photo area (and possible drink stand).
The restrooms are still a work in progress. Interestingly they painted then had to do more stucco work.
Moe's doors. It looks like there was a change of plans on this facade. I had heard it was going to be Kentucky Fried Panda and now it may be the Frying Dutchman (or something else). Duff Gardens is coming along.
The ride area seems to be slow making progress, but wiring is being installed from the look of things.
More of what we think will be Duff Gardens.
And more Duff Gardens? After the announcement it's interesting to see how the frames match the artwork.
They're really making rapid progress. Lots of scaffolding up at this end
There's Kings Cross. Lots of bug roof trusses in the
middle of the project area.
More roofs going up.
I'm guessing the scaffolding going up means facades are about to start taking shape which may explain why they chose to announce now. More dormers going up
along the show building.
Can't wait to see it all get fleshed out over the next year.
The London facades It appears that guests will enter King's Cross up here and go to
platform 9 3/4 in the rear where they will board the actual train.
The speed which they have built so much already is astounding.
View from San Francisco There was a clue in
San Francisco all along!
There's some rehab happening
over at Lombards
New roof going on over here. Working on the facade of Bull's Gym. The Studio Store is still a work in progress as they expand.
April 25, 2013
Great new sign for the
Universal Ride Reservation System
It's cool seeing poinsettias in April The paint on the dome
is finally almost finished.
The paint on the dome has been aged and the flowers are almost completely finished (and look great)
The paint on Croissant Moon
looks nice and fresh as well.
There's stuff for Grad Bash
all over the parks.
This hasn't been open for
months now...or at least I
haven't seen it open.
Cool new look for the display boards. I have to wonder if they will
be customized to each themed section at some point?
Popeye is missing fro the
Grad Bash DJ area.
Those buoys are still out in the lagoon. The snowman is blocked
with plants for some reason.
Work on Hogwarts Station is going full tilt. The steel is going up each morning.
One Fish, Two Fish is closed
for its annual refurb.
I guess this is for
Grad Bash in Studios.
More Grad Bash stuff.
The restroom end of the former IFFF building is getting
wood and brick style stucco on its facade.
Krusty Burger is
looking really good now.
Kentucky Fried Panda? Springfield is taking shape. Moe's now has doors and they
will have round windows.
A look at the ride site. The operator's booth is taking
shape with all of the conduit for
the ride controls in place.  
Still no sign of an actual ride
arriving on site yet.
Duff Gardens is coming together. I assume this will be part
of Duff Gardens.
The roof is now in place on this part.

With all of the Springfield elements coming together and becoming so obviously recognizable, you really have to wonder how long it will be until there is finally some kind of announcement for the new attractions?  
Meanwhile, the facades of the London side of Wizarding World are really starting to get fleshed out and leave very little doubt that it could be anything other than London and more of Wizarding World.
The London buildings will really hide Diagon (and Knockturn) Alley well, and they will hide the show building.
There's just so much to see. The arched facade of what appears to be Kings Cross Station. Behind it is an even bigger version that looks like it will be the real station for the Hogwarts Express.
I imagine guests will enter a queue in Kings Cross (at the front of the area) which will lead to
a portal at platform 9 3/4 and the real station where the guests will board the train.
It's really going to look impressive from San Francisco. Universal is really getting into their own version of Vinylmations with the "Uni-Minis" they are selling.
While on line for Twister we happened to notice our first glimpse of the Hogwarts Express track supports that are visible form inside the park. They have made AMAZING progress in such a short time!
April 23, 2013
The awesome sign for Cabana Bay
is at the corner of Turkey Lake
and Hollywood Way
The retro Universal logo
is really awesome!
Cabana Bay is apparently
"Project 146"
The buildings are really going up fast. The Turkey Lake wing is really starting to come together.
It appears the lobby is starting to get framed in steel in the middle of the courtyard.
The retro aqua colored panels around the windows are cool.
It looks like they should have this wing enclosed soon.
Stairways and are going up on the ends and elevators between sections
There are a LOT of rooms! Here's the wing on Hollywood Way
This is the wing on Adventure Way This is theoretically the area where the new pedestrian overpass will cross over Hollywood Way. There's been some question online as to whether it will lead directly into Islands of Adventure.
My feeling is it will just get people over to the existing sidewalk which is actually a nice, shaded walkway
and it leads to an existing entrance to Citywalk.
The view from the bridge  as you walk to the entrance is great Here's the walkway which leads right to the existing
bag check for pedestrians coming from the Royal Pacific.
The walk from Cabana Bay is about the same distance as
walking from Citywalk to Portofino Bay and most guests will probably
take a shuttle bus to get from the hotel to the parks anyway. 
Trees have been planted along part of the Turkey Lake Road side of the plot
to give them time to fill in before the hotel opens next year. 
The trees have been planted in a berm along the edge of the site. There's still a lot more area where construction is happening.
April 18, 2013
The Minion Blimp was circling over Universal all afternoon.
The blimp is really fun and an unexpected surprise.
The blimp circled for hours giving lots of photo opportunities.
The remodel/expansion of the Studios Store seems to have begun
with a big curtain up across the back of the store now.
The Transformers photo op is HUGELY popular with guests.
The costumes are amazing
to see in person.
Part of the sign is up now. The photo op area is a work in progress right now. The signs for the three lines
are in place as well.
Huge areas of overflow queue are being setup basically taking over the streets on both sides of the building.
The fact that these temporary queues are actually being setup now leads me to believe a soft opening
could be days away, probably before the end of the month. 
It feels like they keep adding more details around the park. The San Francisco restrooms are currently under renovation. All of the parks restrooms have been getting updates and thematic improvements.
Wizarding World II keeps growing by leaps and bounds!
More steel, more roofs, more floors each day. Another poured concrete wall is about to go up here.
Just on the inside of the construction area, tantalizing detail is starting to take shape. If rumors are to be believed this will be the Knockturn Alley area once things are completed, and the alley looks like it will be surrounded by lots of dormered structures. It also appears that the area will be very tight overall, much like the existing Wizarding World, creating a very intimate space. I almost have to wonder if they will be treating the two Wizarding World areas like their own separate park, with limited admission and separate tickets required?
They still seem to be trying to fix the pediments along the waterfront
that have been developing cracks along the top.
There are now Screen Play boards
up along the waterfront path.
Time for some Springfield... This storefront seems to be slower in coming together, but progress is being made. Moe's is definitely looking like Moe's in case there was still doubt.
There's wiring for a sign coming
out of the facade now.
Krusty Burger is definitely Krusty Burger now as well.
The roof is coming along quickly now and really starting to look finished.
The facades on the restroom end are still a work in progress. It might be coincidence, but they have pins for Moe's, Krusty Burger and Tacomat which (along with Kentucky Fried Panda) are rumored to be some of the eateries coming to Springfield.
The new merchandise cart looks really good. I have to wonder if the Kwik-E-Mart is getting a remodel or even getting moved with the new development? There's always some new Simpson's merchandise showing up.
This is rumored to be Duff Gardens coming in along the waterfront.
The basic steel structure is up and it looks like roof panels are stacked and ready to be installed.
The waterfront area is really transforming with all this construction happening. Rumored queue for the
new ride that is coming.
The cantilevered deck for the ride has a new finished looking wall.
There's some rehab going on in the Curious George area. Fresh paint on the facades. Over in IOA, there are some markings now in the queue for the JP ride. Might just be stanchions being relocated but you never know...
The steel for Hogsmeade Station is rising quickly now with Dragons Challenge delaying opening until
noon each day. There are poured concrete walls going up as part of the station as well.
Once Transformers is open maybe there will finally be an announcement and some details about
all this construction to confirm the rumors once and for all!
March 24, 2013
It looks like a DJ area setup for spring break down along the water This afternoon's storms did some damage all around the area and hit all the theme parks hard.
Some cool new Cat merchandise Awesome shirts!
New purple Springfield sidewalks are in place with trees. Krusty Burger is looking really good with some of the paint finished. Moe's is looking good too.
The new 3-d blocks on the
Kwik-E-Mart have been painted.
Another look at Moe's The storm knocked down the construction fence and a couple of the new trees in Springfield
A couple of the banners were destroyed by the wind as well. An awesome new Sledge Homer game has been added!
Work continues on the new ride area including a new steel cantilevered part of the ride platform over the water
Another look at the construction area Here's the photo booth
from Celebrity Apprentice
This tree was badly
damaged by the wind.
There's an odd little lighthouse/cone thing by the Amity restrooms. I think it may be covering/protecting a survey point for the construction crews. There's another one
over in Springfield.
The progress on the "mystery project" is just AMAZING!
The steel frames for the buildings come right up to the pathway.
There are interesting shapes and angles starting to emerge in the steel framework
New arches up...King's Cross
Station roof?
It appears there will be multiple floors in these buildings
Can't wait for an announcement so we finally know what all this is officially
View from San Francisco Looking at Transformers
from New York.
Overview of the building The Supply Vault looks really awesome
The details in the fixtures are really great
All Transformers, all the time! This reminded me of the Simpsons and "Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour"
So cool Must buy Great jacket!
This is where they are building something new They've cut a big tree down already Nice to see the
construction fences down
The overflow queue is set, although the trees got blown over in the storm today
Another look from New York More trees down from the storm,
this time by Shrek.
The new banner on Rockit was destroyed by the wind today
A crew was working to remove the rest so the ride could reopen Fast & Furious 6?
It's a good spot for a display since it's a quiet dead end most of the time.
February 12, 2013
For Mardi Gras a couple of the local new crews were out doing remotes in the morning
It's fun seeing the floats out in the daylight
Lots of Mardi Gras merchandise is available this year.
The voodoo/day of the dead characters go along with the new float.
Mardi Gras kiosks are setup all along the parade route
Everything has been slightly reoriented with the Transformers construction
Mardi Gras beverages are in plentiful supply Aftermath also features the
Mardi Gras merchandise
Cool t-shirts, pseudo vinylmations, and lots of drink ware
Lots of exterior details are going up including lighting Sign brackets going up
It looks like it will stay a big grey box overall, but with little details added The back appears to be nearly complete at this point.
I wonder what the barcode means?   A canopy is now in place for the Shrek/Donkey photo spot

Something unique the park just did was updating the restrooms near Louie's and Mel's with more theme elements added as well as just an overall update of them. A recent  team member newsletter mentioned the remodels.
This was always cool but the new mural makes it even better
New tin ceiling Cool new sinks (but the women's bathroom has even cooler green ones) Cool deco light fixtures
The outside of the Mel's restroom
is still plain
The inside has new murals and updated tiles
The Gringott's building has
been painted beige
The tops of the piers along the new London waterfront seem to be cracking with some patch work taking place.
The Simpsons area facades are really taking shape now
A peek through the fence at Moe's The fences got more paint
with a light blue stripe now.
Interestingly the facade of the
Kwik-E-Mart is getting some enhancements with 3-D blocks
Still a lot of foundation work taking place along the water side That is one DEEP pit!
The overflow queue is set up for the upcoming busy President's Day week Fear Factor is getting some paint Transformers merchandise now is available at a Citywalk kiosk
Each week more Transformers items seem to be arriving This was the calm before the storm on Mardi Gras
January 31, 2013
New lightbox images Mardi Gras decorations are going up.
The Mardi Gras things start next weekend Most of the astroturf has been replaced in the band shell area
There are antennas mounted all along the construction wall in the former Amity area.
Wi-Fi or something else?
Another concrete block tower is going up along the back wall, but this one stands apart from the building. It look like the Kings Cross Station
is coming along quickly
The site is just swarming with workers and equipment!
More views of the station under construction.  The columns are going up fast

We're really struck by the fact that just one year ago this was all still the buildings of Amity! So much progress has been made, but there still has been no official announcement of exactly WHAT is coming.
Overview of the big building   And there's a port-a-potty on the roof!
According to sources these will be Kentucky Fried Panda, Moe's and Krusty Burger's facades
when everything is done. Note the bathroom wall is marked for demolition next.
Still more site prep taking place along the waterfront across from the Simpsons
Lots of excavating for a foundation, but for what? The foundation is a long
narrow trench
I know the rumor is a spinning ride, but that shape... The construction walls around the Simpsons area have all been painted blue at the base like they will be getting some kind of makeover very soon. Maybe the announcement for the Simpsons expansion is coming soon?
Woody's Snacks looks
freshly painted
There's some work happening to
one of the doors to Storepants
Someone is ready for the Transformers to arrive!
There's lots of little detail work happening all over the exterior of the Transformers building.
Working on the entrance roof area Lots of new external wire chases and brackets have been attached
More wire chases on this side So, the new structure seems to be for an air tank. I assume it's for the special effects in the new ride A crew was at work inside the
Shrek photo area today
The little shop at the corner of the plaza has also got Transformers merchandise now.
Good to see some of it is branded as Universal Studios Florida and not just generic Universal Studios.
Love seeing things in bloom in January! Yay Florida! Croissant Moon's big banner/sign
is down right now.
The buoys are still out
on the Lagoon.
The work is done at Moose/Goose Juice and it looks great Hard to see but walls are going up
for the new station over there.
How many people never notice
the owl in the clock?
A crane is up at Bilge Rat Barges The area is closed for the annual rehab.
Lots of workers and equipment
on site.
They're painting everything Strange seeing it dry like this
January 23, 2013
Cabana Bay is coming along REALLY quickly! The first building is already two stories tall and the second has started the first floor. The doors closest to the Theaters
on the surf shop have
been removed.
It means the entrance is
around the corner now.
The covering for the stage has
been lowered for some reason.
The car outside the NASCAR Cafe
is missing
A little bit of paving work
going on in Studios.
Work on the Shrek photo area is slowly happening. Looks like a new higher facade going up.
There's a new little rectangular block structure between the
Monsters Cafe and Transformers, with a steel structure above.
Workers were installing what appear to be cleats for attaching signs or decorative elements on the building.
Those cleats are going up all over the back of the building. Lots of work happening inside.
The building is really solid looking at this point.
We're looking forward to seeing the finished facade. There's a cart outside of Mel's with Transformers merchandise now.
I'm sure this is the tip of the iceberg, but it's already an impressive selection.
Transformers are coming! The statue is back in place now that the Macy's Parade is over.
Not much progress on the outside of the Gringott's building. Lots of work happening inside, with what appear to be
elevator shafts and stairwells being built of concrete block.
Amazing what a difference
a year makes!
Taking a peek over the wall there is a ton of work happening!
Lots of work over at the Simpsons area too, with demolition looking nearly complete.
It appears they are doing real site prep work for the new attraction(s)
Just bare dirt for now The old IFFF building appears to be getting three distinct
facades now for the new Springfield eateries.
The wall has been pushed out even further creating a real pinch point. Over at Islands of Adventure there's also
a cart of Transformers merchandise.
Even more variety over here! Moose Juice Goose Juice is getting some remodeling done.
New roof and drains at this
little stand in Lost Continent.
There's some new concrete wall visible above the construction walls over at the Hogsmeade Station. A big pile of dirt is now right
up to the fence.
Lots of earth moving! Dragon's Challenge is still
down for rehab.
The stone behind the stage
looks complete now.
Good deal on merchandise right now! Out in the lagoon a bunch of little floats are bobbing along.
It appears that there are ten of them all around the middle of the lagoon.
There is no discernable pattern to the floats right now, and no definite sign of what they are for...
...but this fits with the rumor that there will be a new lagoon show coming to IOA next summer,
and the reports that Oceaneering workers have been on site for the past couple of weeks.
January 8, 2013
The exterior of the building appears to be completed now. There are a few of these doors around the building along with vents.
The brackets must be for signs or some other kind of facade embellishments. It is kind of monolithic from all vantage points. Looking towards the entrance.
It's just a big grey blob, but hopefully the facade will be dressed up. Coverings over the walkways
are  taking shape.
They've made amazing progress.
Here's the view down the Streets of New York. Hopefully it will get a facade that fits the area.
Here's the access doors where the vehicles will go into the building. Here's the view of the back of the building behind Monsters Cafe.
Lots of work happening
on the street over here.
Cafe La Bamba is now just doing character breakfasts
again with the busy Christmas season now past.
The Met Life blimp was cruising
over the parks this afternoon.
Lots of work on the former IFFF building roof.
The new framing for the facades is taking shape.
Inside they're still working on
the underground utilities.
Still in the demolition phase along the edge of the lagoon.
The old flag poles are down. The isolated location limits the amount of work that can happen
during the day while the park is open, but its coming along.
Can't wait to see what it will all look like when it's finished.
Some new Kwik-E-Mart merchandise (or at least new to us)
Work on the exterior of the building
 is slowing down, but inside is
a hive of activity with work crews.
The track is visible. Lots of scaffolding in the building as they install the ride components.
The track appears to be
"squared off" with sharp turns.
There's a big concrete block wall going up along the outside. Concrete walls are going up inside
as well where it appears
the station is being built.
The other end of the site has
less visibly happening.
There is work going on EVERYWHERE on the other side of the fence. The station is really taking shape.
Now concrete walls are visible along with the rebar column frames.
Lot's of activity going on when you can peek over the fence from above.
A lot of scaffolding visible through the opening towards Fear Factor. The block walls are rising fast. Another view.
The track ends right at the edge
of the block walls for now.
View from San Francisco. The newly rehabbed Brick Works
end of the Disaster building.
About half of the Christmas decorations are down from the Streets of New York.
The entrance to the Mummy looks so much better
without the frame in front of it.
The new banner on Rocket's
lift looks good.
Having a live band really adds
so much life to the park.
Another new Simpsons shirt. I love winter in Florida. It was
about 80 degrees today.
There's a rehab fence up on the corner between NBA Cafe
and Islands of Adventure's entrance.
About half the decorations are
down in Seuss Landing.
Still just a lot of site prep happening in the Lost Continent construction area.
How many people never notice the owl come out of the tower? Under Dragon's Challenge there's still a lot of site prep going on.
It looks like they have a perimeter fence up now so they
will now be able to work while the coaster is operating.
The new elevated stage is in place and looks good but has become the biggest bench in Wizarding World. There's still a bit of work to complete on the rune stone speakers.
Cute penguin prizes. There are still a few Christmas flowers around the park. After operating for the busy Christmas break, Triceratops Encounter is closed again.
New Despicable Me merchandise. The newly rehabbed areas of
Toon Lagoon look really good.
The former ice cream counter is now the Soda Bar for the Freestyle machines. You can only get Freestyle by buying the new cups now.
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