Universal Studios Florida trip report – August 2012 (Transformers, ParaNorman, Back to the Future is back!)
During the last month at Universal Studios Florida, several changes have occurred. Some of these are minor changes for now but will eventually lead to a significant change with the entertainment offerings and services to make your experience at Universal Orlando more enjoyable.
The construction progress at the former Soundstage 44 is noticeable from several vantage points around the park. While Universal has not officially announced what they are building, rumors are constant and steady it will be a Transformers Ride similar to the very popular attraction at Universal Studios in California. Construction in this area has been continuous and includes the use of two large cranes that dominate the skyline of Universal Studios. Riding Rip Ride Rockit you get an opportunity, though a quick one, to see the construction from a higher vantage point.
Another change at Universal Studios is the return of Jules Verne Train from Back to the Future Part III and the DeLorean Time Machine. Both are in their new location in Central Park across from the Animal Actors stadium. It is a good place for photo opportunities while visiting Universal Studios.
Since Jaws and the Amity area of Universal Studios closed several months ago, there has been steady construction in that area of the park and well hidden from the public. If you peak through the construction walls, you can see dirt and heavy equipment, but that’s about it. A good place to see the latest construction is from the exit ramps at The Simpsons Ride across the lake. From the third floor, you get a good view of the construction zone though it is far away. Rumors abound that this area is going to be part of an expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I hope this rumor is true.
Another change at Universal Studios is the Fear Factor show is now temporarily closed in preparation for Halloween Horror Nights, which begins September 21, 2012.
I also noticed that the photo opportunity billboard next to the Horror Make-up Show has been changed to publicize the new movie ParaNorman. The ParaNorman characters are also making appearances throughout the day.
Crowd levels at Universal Studios have eased a bit in the last month and I would consider them moderate. Wait times for the major attractions are now usually under 30 minutes with the exception being the new Despicable Me attraction. Wait times for this ride tend to be 60-75 minutes. Lines at food and drink kiosks do exist but they are not very long resulting in shorter wait times to get your refreshments.
Finally, stepping outside of Universal Studios into CityWalk, I noticed a guitar was added to the outside of the Hard Rock Cafe. With this being such a great photo opportunity for guests visiting Universal Orlando, I wonder if there are more additions coming in the near future to the outside of the Hard Rock. If so, I’ll let you know.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – photo gallery
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