Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Aerial Antics: More New Universal Orlando Shots

Google has added some very recent 45 degree images of the Universal Orlando Resort to their maps.  I know I've had several posts about the resort lately, but since they're new let's take a look, anyway!

Hey look, a Transformers building!  One of the quickest attractions we've ever seen built, the show building for the ride went up in the middle of Universal Studios Florida.  The outside of Transformers is currently complete, but with walls going up in this photo it couldn't have been taken that long ago.

Also walled-off and under heavy renovation are the buildings adjacent to the Simpsons' themed Kwik-E-Mart.  The creation of other Simpsons structures is well underway, including the famous Moe's Tavern.

Starting to seem like the expansion might be about done before they announce it, but here's the 'secret' Potter expansion underway.  Recent shots from the ground show that steel for the buildings that will make up Diagon Alley are going up - and quickly - meaning the open space seen here in front of the huge Gringotts show building is now filled.  Speaking of this expansion, Theme Park Insider has another good scoop on what we may see in the area.

In the backstage area between the two theme parks you can spot the (mostly) completed footers for the train ride that will magically transport passengers between the Wizarding World at Islands of Adventure and the new area at the Studios.  Having an attraction like this connect two similarly themed lands in separately gated parks is both a unique and creative idea, but also a fantastically smart business move.  Who won't buy two park passes?  Imagine Mom and Dad saying 'no you can't take the magic Harry Potter train to see the rest of the area."  Upgraded tickets - cha-ching!

In order for the two-park plan to work out, Islands of Adventure needs a Potter train station, too.  And here is that being built.  A few buildings from the remaining Lost Continent section of the park were demolished to help make room, and an open area between two sections of Dragons will serve as the depot.  Say goodbye to that fake train they have at the entrance next year!

I know this is a boring picture, but this is the new Cabana Bay Beach Resort with ground work just starting.  The buildings for the resort are now up, so a lot has changed since then.

If you'd like to fly around the resort (you can find Gringotts coaster track if you look close) check out the aerials from Google.