Universal Studios Florida trip report – May 2013 (Transformers, Wizarding World & Simpsons updates)

Universal Studios Florida trip report – May 2013 (Transformers, Wizarding World & Simpsons updates)

Universal Studios Florida trip report – May 2013 (Transformers, Wizarding World & Simpsons updates)

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My family and I went to Universal Studios Florida recently for this month’s trip report and had a very enjoyable visit. The crowds were moderate and the weather was warm with one quick afternoon shower.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - May 2013.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – May 2013.

[wptouch target=”non-mobile”]Remember, you can click any image to view it full-screen. And don’t miss the complete photo gallery with 35 images at the bottom of the post!
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I was very excited about visiting USF because this was my first trip since the announcement of the Transformers: The Ride opening day on June 20, 2013 and the expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley (expected to open Summer 2014).

As we walked into Production Central, I decided to “become a Minion” at the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction. I enjoyed walking through Gru’s house, seeing the memorabilia from the movie, and watching the antics of the minions and Gru’s girls.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - May 2013.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – May 2013.

The motion simulator ride was a lot of fun and the dance party afterwards always makes me smile. A costumed minion character was also available for photos in the dance party area as everyone danced to “Boogie Fever”.

Shrek 4D the ride had a posted wait time of only 10 minutes for the standby line. Donkey and Shrek were meeting and greeting guests near the ride exit and Donkey was very engaging and funny with the park guests.

The always popular Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster had a posted wait time of 30-45 minutes in the standby line most of the day. My son and husband used the newly opened express pass queue this trip.

The building and queue for Transformers: The Ride are virtually complete and awaiting “human” guests. I’m really excited about the soft openings that should start any day now. I am concerned, however, about how exposed to the elements guests will be in the regular standby line.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - May 2013.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – May 2013.

Our Florida summers can be brutally hot and quick-forming afternoon thunderstorms occur often. Until this area improves, I suggest you wear a hat or even bring an umbrella to protect yourself from the strong sun and a spray water bottle to help keep you cool if you are standing in the queue line for an extended period of time.

The Transformer character greeting area, just outside the Supply Vault gift shop, is under construction.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - May 2013.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – May 2013.

This area is being built in order to enable the characters to meet guests in a more safe and controlled environment, without exposure to the wind and away from pedestrian traffic.

After walking to the New York backlot of USF, we looked at the cars on display from the summer movie Fast and Furious 6 (opens this Friday). The unique and flashy cars are a great photo opportunity for both car enthusiasts and fans of the film series. Revenge of the Mummy was only a 10 minute posted wait time. We were also able to enjoy the entertaining Blues Brother’s show.

In the San Francisco backlot, several park guests were climbing the wall. The restrooms in the Wharfside Cannery building are enclosed behind construction walls for renovation.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - May 2013.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – May 2013.

Bruce the Shark was hanging around his usual spot and provided a great photo opportunity for guests. As I walked past Disaster!, I was able to connect to the free wifi available in this area of the park.

The construction continues in the newly announced Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley section.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - May 2013.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – May 2013.

I’m surprised at how quickly the construction seems to be moving along and overwhelmed by the imposing structures taking shape, including King’s Cross Station. From Rip Ride Rockit we were able to take some photos of the tracks being built for the Hogwarts Express that will connect USF to Islands of Adventure. Harry Potter fans like me are thrilled that more of the Wizarding World will come to Universal Studios and we can experience additional segments of J.K. Rowling’s extraordinary books in person.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - May 2013.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – May 2013.

On the construction wall in this area, Universal has posted information and instructions about their new app, Universal Screen Play. Hopefully soon this app and free Wifi will be expanded so they can be used throughout the park.

Walking over to World Expo, Men in Black Alien Attack had a posted wait time of 45 minutes for the standby line. The Simpsons expansion continues with work along the lagoon and the various buildings between The Simpsons Ride and Animal Actors stadium. Hopefully guests will be able to enjoy a Krusty burger or a Duff beer soon.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - May 2013.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – May 2013.

In Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone, guests scattered to covered areas when an afternoon rain shower began and lasted for about 20 minutes. The rain also ended the character meet and greets in Hollywood. After the rain stopped, the temperatures cooled to a more pleasant level.

I shopped in the Universal Studios Store at the park entrance, and I noticed the back of the store is sectioned off for renovation.

Universal Studios Florida trip report - May 2013.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – May 2013.

As you walk into the store, the merchandise section to the right is now featuring a variety of Transformers merchandise instead of the Simpsons merchandise it previously featured.

After I finished shopping and my husband and son finished riding Rip Ride Rockit, we stood at the Music Plaza and watched the Superstar Parade at its regular time of 5:00 pm now that Mardi Gras festivities are over. This parade is very entertaining for the entire family. We followed the end of the parade up to the Hollywood parade stop and enjoyed the dancing and singing at the Dora the Explorer float.

After a fun day at Universal Studios Florida, we headed home. It’s very exciting to be able to see the changes and progress made each month to this park, and I’m glad I am able to share these experiences with Orlando Informer readers.

Thanks for reading this trip report. Please leave your questions and comments below! Or, if you’d like to catch up on all our trip reports, click here.


Universal Studios Florida trip – photo gallery

Click any image to view it full-screen. When the full-screen image is open, click to the right or use the right arrow on your keyboard to advance through the gallery.

 

[sws_author_bio user=”MaureenDeal” size=”105″ authorposts=”More OI posts by Maureen” name_format=”About the author”] [/sws_author_bio]

Maureen Maureen is married with a teenage son who has autism. Since she and her family moved to Orlando in 2007, they have visited Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, or SeaWorld almost every weekend. Maureen recently created AutismAtTheParks.com to help vacationers who have a family member with a developmental disability to better navigate and enjoy the theme parks.

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