Universal Orlando Resort’s Current Projects

After just opening their New-for-2012 offerings, Universal Orlando Resort has already started on projects for the coming seasons! Lets take a look at what Uni.’s got planned for the future;

Soundstage 44/Transformers

Quite recently, Universal has demolished the vacant Soundstage 44. Due to the rapid demolition, and the recent openings of the famed Transformers rides in Hollywood and Singapore, many think we will see another incarnation of the Transformers ride be built at Universal Studios Florida. Based on aerial imaging, the show building for Transformers would fit, however they would need to dig deeper before putting in the foundation due to the three levels in the current ride.

More Potter?

Remember when Universal announced that they would be greatly expanding the current Wizarding World? Well, that expansion may be coming in the form of a Diagon Alley/London area taking the place of Jaws. Many blueprints and permits have been leaked that suggest this will happen. An additional note on this project is that we may see a Hogwarts Express link the two parks, as one station would be in Hogsmeade at IOA, and another would be in “London” at USF. We’ll just have to wait to see what will become of the Jaws wasteland.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Out of all of these projects, the only one we can confirm for sure is Universal Orlando Resort’s newest resort hotel; Cabana Bay Beach Resort. This will be UOR’s fourth resort hotel, and it has a planned opening date of sometime in 2014.

The theming for Cabana Bay Beach Resort

….will evoke the driving vacations so many Americans grew up enjoying with their families – spending time at sweeping motor courts just off the highway, where families relaxed and played after a long day’s drive. The new hotel’s hip, vintage look will be accented with bold design, dramatic, clean lines, bright, period colors and touches of neon.

The released concept art for the suites reflect the theme;

Presumably, this resort will be built at the intersection of Turkey Lake Road, and Hollywood Way, across from Islands of Adventure, (in the orange highlighted area.)

The resort will feature 1800 rooms; 900 standard rooms, and curiously, 900 family suites. Based on the fact that they say this resort will feature “900 family suites” I think that this is meant to be a direct competitor to Walt Disney World’s Art of Animation Resort. It should be noted that this will presumably be the cheapest hotel on property for Universal, especially if they intend to compete head-to-head with Disney’s value class of hotels.

All three of these projects seem interesting to me, and I’m really excited to continue to watch these projects grow and develop.  Disney’s got some tough competition!

First Photo Credit Inside the Magic

Universal’s Potter Madness

Back in 2007, Universal announced that they would be building a the first new “island” at Islands of Adventure. That island came in the form of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Now Universal took this very seriously, and they worked tirelessly to make this accurately themed, even going so far as to collaborate with the book series author J.K. Rowling. The end result, is by far the new gold standard for theme park lands and attractions. In fact, the land’s biggest attraction Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is often regarded as the world’s best dark ride, surpassing IOA’s own Amazing Adventures of Spiderman.

Now, in a surprising twist, Universal has announced the creation of two more Wizarding Worlds at Universal Studios Hollywood Universal Studios Japan. Both will feature the same high levels of immersion as the one in Orlando, and the famous Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction. The Japan version will be the first to open, because no attractions need to be removed like in Hollywood due to space constraints.

Another point I find interesting is that not only does Universal plan on building these two new Wizarding Worlds, but greatly expanding the current one in Orlando. Rumours point towards this expansion actually linking Universal’s 2 Orlando parks via a Hogwarts Express train attraction that would go backstage from the existing Wizarding World to the supposedly planned Diagon Alley section replacing Jaws in the Studio park.

Is Universal going TOO far with Harry Potter? Now, I understand that it produces massive cash for them, but if it’s in every single Universal park, then it won’t be special. Like Jurassic Park or Revenge of the Mummy, they are just cookie cutter rides placed in each park, even the brand new park in Singapore! If Universal continues at this rate, we may see the Wizarding World being built into new parks like the ones planned in South Korea, and Russia.

Personally, as long as there is some differences between each Wiz. World, I’m okay with it. Like, if the one in Hollywood ends up being the exact same as the one in Orlando, (minus the dueling roller coaster,) I’ll be pretty mad! We’ll just have to see what Universal is going to do with this amazing concept.

Universal Orlando 2012 Attractions/Entertainment

Today, was the big day at Universal Studios Orlando as it was today that they officially named all of the new for 2012 attractions and entertainment that the community has been following since last year. To see the official post click here.

Each of the following topics will be covered in this post:

-Despicable Me

-Daytime parade

-Nighttime show

(I apologize in advance for the insane length of this post.)

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

We already knew this was coming, but we didn’t know much else. Fortunately today they released some concept art and a video giving the world a sneak peek at what’s to come this summer.

Join Gru, Margo, Edith, Agnes—and of COURSE the mischievous minions—on an unforgettable 3-D ride experience! When Gru recruits you for his latest scheme, you’ll become a minion! It’s a hysterical mix of chaos and family fun for everyone!

Begin the adventure in Gru’s super-villain home where you’ll undergo “minion training.” In typical Gru fashion things take a wacky twist, with you and your family landing in a laugh-out-loud adventure that ends with an interactive dance party where you can show off your best moves.

Universal’s Superstar Parade

Here’s something Universal hasn’t done in a while, a parade! Aimed at a younger audience, this parade will feature characters from Despicable Me, HOP, Spongebob Squarepants, Dora, and more!

Sing, dance, and clap along with some of your favorite characters like the minions from Despicable Me, E.B. from Hop and Nickelodeon’s Dora & Diego and SpongeBob SquarePants in this live, interactive parade! Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy performances and character meet and greets prior to the parade at select locations throughout the day.

And now the news everyone has been waiting for….

Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular – 100 Years of Movie Memories

Along the lines of World of Color at Disney California Adventure, this nighttime spectacular involves shooting fountains, vibrant lighting, and of course the thing that made Universal what it is today; movies. Opening this spring, it will be a spectacle not to be missed.

Relive Universal Pictures’ most beloved films during this multi-media nighttime show that projects legendary movie clips onto cutting-edge waterfall screens. Narrated by award-winning actor Morgan Freeman, the experience will take you on a journey through epic cinematic moments filled with heroes, horror, laughter, good, evil and triumph.

Having personally seen World of Color, it will be interesting to see how this compares to it on many levels. Because WOC is focussed on the fountains and less on the movies, using the movies as a backboard for them, and Universal’s looks like the fountains are to enhance the movies.

Between Seaworld, Disney, Universal, and Legoland, 2012 is shaping up to be a VERY big year.