Rumor round-up for March 28, 2014: Sharpening our thoughts on Diagon Alley’s opening, first glimpses of King Kong & Jurassic World, Universal’s water park

|

Let’s figure out Diagon Alley’s opening date, shall we?

A new source has dropped off an owl to us here at Orlando Informer, and the contents of the letter have us all atwitter. Several different topics were addressed, so let’s get to it in bullet-point-style, shall we?

  • The attractions – the Hogwarts Express is ahead of schedule, but Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is still lagging behind. However, the goblin audio-animatronics have finally arrived at the show building, which is good news.
  • Team Member training – training and wardrobe fitting for internal Team Members is currently set for May, which may indicate that the previously published reports of soft openings beginning later that month are still on-track. Speaking of which…
  • Opening date – Universal Creative still expects to have both rides completed by May 1, delays or no. The big roadblock right now is ensuring that both the Hogwarts Express and Escape from Gringotts reach the magic number of 10,000 cycles (necessary before Universal can confidently allow anyone from the public to hop on).
  • Drop-dead date – there is a point which is considered to be the absolute latest that a new attraction (or, in this case, theme park land) can open, due to various financial reasons. For Diagon Alley, we’ve now learned that the July 4 weekend is that drop-dead date, meaning that Universal will be scrambling like mad over the next several weeks to get everything back on track. After the two rides, the last remaining hurdle is getting all of the area’s facades installed. Please note that this is not a guarantee.
  • Phase three – there has been lots of speculation regarding what the future of the Wizarding Worlds will be in Universal, and our source is able to confirm that the Fear Factor theater looks to be the most likely candidate for the next expansion; a number of Universal Creative employees have been spotted combing over the area, taking pictures and measurements, as they begin the preliminary discussions of how they might build the Ministry of Magic.
Gringotts Bank goblin
These guys are now sitting there waiting for you.

Given all this – and despite our recent concern that the new Wizarding World would open as late as the end of July – we’re now starting to get more confident again that we’ll be skipping down Diagon Alley sometime before, or possibly on, Tuesday, July 1.

 

Our first glimpse(s) of the new King Kong ride

Parkscope has done it again! After first noticing that Universal had started filing permits for Project 340 earlier this month, it’s now picked up the next step in the process: the registering of two maps that show not only where in Islands of Adventure this new project will be heading, but also the exact dimensions of its show building.

So what is Project 340? Why, the new King Kong attraction, of course – and though it’s impossible to discern any specifics about its new home in-between Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park, what we can tell is just how massive it is going to be: a total footprint of four-and-a-half acres and a show building that is roughly twice the size of either Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey or King Kong: 360 3D in Universal Studios Hollywood.

King Kong's Skull Island
This is the area where Skull Island is going…
King Kong's Skull Island
…and this is where the Kong show building will be.

When should we actually start to see this mighty show building take shape? Our guess is very soon now, particularly once work finally finishes on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

It is, in fact, becoming more and more apparent that, after Diagon Alley, this is the new theme-park-defining experience that we should all breathlessly be waiting for.

Hulk verses Kong - this might happen at Islands of Adventure.
Hulk verses Kong – this might happen at Islands of Adventure. Source

 

Welcome to Jurassic World

Concept artist Nathan Schroeder has provided us with our very first sneak-peek at the upcoming Jurassic World, which is the long-in-development fourth installment of the Jurassic Park franchise.

Why should theme park fanatics should take note of the just-leaked concept art? Because of the film’s purported connections to the Jurassic Park expansion at Islands of Adventure, which has similarly been trapped in development hell for the past several years; word from the rumor mill has the opening of the new attraction(s) tied to the movie’s release date of June 12, 2015, at the least, and the whole island being renamed Jurassic World, at the most.

Jurassic World
What if Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure looked like this?
Jurassic World
The Jurassic Park Discovery Center never looked better.

The concept art seems to be of a futuristic Discovery Center, which is supposedly built on the ashes of the old one on Isla Nublar. Now, of course, there is absolutely no guarantee that these renderings will be realized in the finished film or, even, that they were commissioned based off of a real plot point – such is the nature of conceptual artwork. Still, it excites the imagination, particularly when considering whether the construction-happy Universal may want to erect a real-world Jurassic monorail…

To help bide the time until next summer’s (rumored) new rides, you can read everything we know about Jurassic World by clicking here.

 

Making the best damn water park in the world

Last summer, we here at Orlando Informer threw our support behind the speculation that Universal’s legendary third gate would be a water park, and other rumors have trickled out since then (no pun intended) that it would open sometime in 2017 or 2018.

Adding fuel to that fire – just to mix metaphors here – is recent chatter on Orlando United about just what this new gate would entail according to recent scuttlebutt from inside sources. It seems that Universal’s designers are interested in melding traditional theme and water park experiences together, both literally and figuratively; expect to see water-based attractions, presumably slides and lazy rivers, that feature elaborate queues, pre-shows, and audio-animatronic ride scenes, along with some traditional, non-wet attractions, such as spinners or other types of flat rides.

Wet 'N Wild Orlando
Wet ‘n Wild? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Most intriguing of all, however, is the amount of planning and resources that Universal Creative is rumored to be throwing at the project: at one soundstage on property, a giant model is being sculpted at the highly unusual scale of 1”:1’, allowing for the greatest possible level of detail to be included. A large sum of money is clearly already being invested in the water park, which means that immersion on the scale of either Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley could be expected.

There’s still no word on whether this would be going where Wet ‘n Wild already is or in the empty parcel of land in between Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Royal Pacific Resort, but you better believe that more details will be forthcoming, particularly once King Kong’s Skull Island is neck-deep in construction.

 

Keep the conversation going!

Agree or disagree with the latest intel? Think we forgot something juicy? Want to offer your own take on the wildest rumors?

Well, then, join us at the brand-new Orlando Informer Community Forums and tell us – you could even with a free t-shirt this weekend! Learn more and get started.

 

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR

The purpose of our weekly rumor column is to provide a window into what might be happening by collecting the latest speculation from sources across the internet (which we always link to). We take that speculation and condense it into one weekly post as a service to our readers, so you don’t have to spend hours tracking down all the stories yourself.

We rarely claim to be the source for our stories. In reality, anyone can do what we do: Google “Orlando theme park rumors” and see what the darker corners of the theme park community are chatting about. But we know you don’t have hours of free time to seek out this stuff – plus, Marc is really good at analyzing it – so we do the heavy lifting for you. Overall, this is a simple premise, and we’re happy to have been executing it every week for almost two years (this is our 105th rumor post).

View all of our Rumor Round-Ups

 

[sws_author_bio user=”msunyata@yahoo.com” size=”105″ authorposts=”More OI posts by Marc” name_format=”About the author”] [/sws_author_bio]

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Previous

THE BIG 5: Cabana Bay Beach Resort’s top five attractions & amenities

Reader poll: FastPass+ versus Express Pass

Next
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Cassy
Cassy
March 28, 2014 5:45 pm

The Ministry might be coming to Universal?!? That would be so amazing and would most certainly make me need to spend at least 3 days at UOR versus my normal 1-2 day trip.

KevyB
KevyB
March 29, 2014 6:32 am

Well, it’s certain that at least one of those Jurassic World images won’t be realized in the film, since they’re both different. #1 is sort of a modern Bora Bora while #2 is pure theme park on an island. I’m definitely not expecting to see any of it in IOA any time soon. At least not in 2015 when the movie opens. Mainly because Jurassic Park is a beloved movie and nobody knows how well Jurassic World will do. And nobody should expect that it’ll be huge. The Indiana Jones movies were also beloved and look what happened with the… Read more »

james mitchell Jp ranger
james mitchell Jp ranger
March 30, 2014 2:42 am

I really hope they don’t change Jurassic Park to Jurassic World, and does Harry Potter not have enough of a foot hole in the parks already?

Cristen Canavino
Cristen Canavino
March 28, 2014 2:54 pm

Kelcie Canavino Laurie Spivey Joshua Spivey

Abigail Smith
Abigail Smith
March 28, 2014 2:55 pm

Natalie Young … looks like new harry potter land will defo be open for you being there 🙂 xo

Natalie Young
Natalie Young
March 28, 2014 2:56 pm

YAYYYY this is the best news Abigail Smith!! Xx

Maria Cruz Santos
Maria Cruz Santos
March 28, 2014 3:00 pm

No me gusta.. porque king kong siempre pierde y si gana ahora a las personas les gusta hulk. Seria de silucion para muchos. Sin pelean juntos por el bien no hay problema.

Alejandra Hartig
Alejandra Hartig
March 28, 2014 3:05 pm

Muy buena info!!

Chris Sanders
Chris Sanders
March 28, 2014 3:07 pm

I rather something else go where fear factor is not more Harry potter

Abigail Smith
Abigail Smith
March 28, 2014 3:13 pm

haha Natalie Young I thought it may make you just a bit more excited for it 🙂 🙂 xox

Miriam Watson
Miriam Watson
March 28, 2014 3:14 pm

So thrilled things are looking up for this summer.

Ryan Moffett
Ryan Moffett
March 28, 2014 3:15 pm

exciting news. so are we to expect new Jurassic park for 2015 and King Kong for 2016?

Natalie Young
Natalie Young
March 28, 2014 3:18 pm

It’s made my Friday Abigail Smith honest!!! Haha xxx

OrlandoInformer.com
OrlandoInformer.com
March 28, 2014 3:19 pm

Ryan Moffett – To be best of our knowledge, yes. Of course, none of this has officially been confirmed by Universal.

Michael Aaron Futterman
Michael Aaron Futterman
March 28, 2014 3:24 pm

Chris the rumor I have herd is that doctor who may be going were fear factor is

Andy Whelam
Andy Whelam
March 28, 2014 3:41 pm

Lucy Scott Joe Richmond
looking go for you should be amazing xx

Gabriel Mendez Perez
Gabriel Mendez Perez
March 28, 2014 3:43 pm

yess an island for Mighty King Kong that’s fantastic!!!

Mike Wahrer
Mike Wahrer
March 28, 2014 3:50 pm

I have to give it up for universal. All these changes awesome .. I have to give a boo to Disney yes with all the upgrades nothing to cater to the bigger kids teens just don’t want to go to Disney anymore. Anyway Thanks Universal for keeping it real .

Chuck Perry Painting
Chuck Perry Painting
March 28, 2014 3:54 pm

Ok.now I KNOW I have to move back to Orlando!

Bryanna Ortega
Bryanna Ortega
March 28, 2014 3:57 pm

Do you think it’d be a safe bet if I book everything for July 4th weekend, or should I wait until the rumors are confirmed?

OrlandoInformer.com
OrlandoInformer.com
March 28, 2014 4:02 pm

Bryanna Ortega – We make absolutely no guarantees, we’re just reporting rumors. Nothing is official until Universal makes the announcement, so please wait!

Lucy Scott
Lucy Scott
March 28, 2014 4:11 pm

Thanks Andy Whelam!

Jeanette Guzman
Jeanette Guzman
March 28, 2014 4:34 pm

Pierre Nick Rodriguez

Bryanna Ortega
Bryanna Ortega
March 28, 2014 4:49 pm

Thank you! 🙂

Chuck Plagmann
Chuck Plagmann
March 28, 2014 5:34 pm

Another fine report, thanks!

Elise Cooper
Elise Cooper
March 28, 2014 5:34 pm

universal just keeps on getting better and better so so excited to hear all about this 🙂

Marie Broad
Marie Broad
March 28, 2014 5:35 pm

We are goin july 9th for 3 weeks? Please say hp will b open. B gutted if not

Nicola Bell
Nicola Bell
March 28, 2014 5:59 pm

Marie Broad these next few months are going to go SO slow. 🙁 xx

Shannene Murphy
Shannene Murphy
March 28, 2014 6:37 pm

Liam Murphy

Marie Tackett
Marie Tackett
March 28, 2014 8:05 pm

Penny Krusen

Neuzi Martins
Neuzi Martins
March 28, 2014 10:04 pm

nóssa …

Alexander R. Rodriguez
Alexander R. Rodriguez
March 28, 2014 10:29 pm

Ummm….didn’t Craig and Woodbury say that the MoM was TOO BIG to recreate? Or was that a red herring……….

Perla Montiel
Perla Montiel
March 28, 2014 10:30 pm

I’ve very excited for all these chances but I’m afraid universal is going might go up on prices again with their annual pass or regular tickets.

Joanne James
Joanne James
March 29, 2014 4:08 am

David Lewin

KevyB
KevyB
March 30, 2014 3:45 am

james mitchell Jp ranger  If that’s where they’re making the most money, then they HAVE to! Since Diagon Alley has such a small facade on the lake, adding the Ministry of Magic next door will make that corner of the lake a little more of a land. Plus, it’s a genius idea and they really should have opened it with Diagon Alley. A show is one of the best ways to get people out of Diagon Alley for long periods of time. Rides last just a few minutes, so the only thing keeping people out then is the length of… Read more »

RachelHimes
RachelHimes
March 31, 2014 12:48 am

All I can say is DISNEY really needs to get off it’s butt and get to work. I am very intrigued by the new water park and it’s theme.

CaptainAction
CaptainAction
March 31, 2014 9:52 am

I think Universal is just doing so many great things. My concern is about how all these new guests are going to fit in the rather tight looking Diagon Alley. I think the Ministry of Magic would add some area to the footprint so this area could handle all the folks pouring in.
My family was surprised that Universal didn’t remove the Fear Factor area when they removed Jaws for Potter anyway.

iamdollie
iamdollie
March 31, 2014 12:39 pm

When the news came that Jaws was to be no more, I made a comment on another board that I’d love to see a Hogwarts Express connecting the two parks.  It was poo-pooed by most of the others.  Well, looks like I’m getting the last laugh.  Now, I have another one of those “blips”: turning Fear Factor into a Quidditch match.  Vehicles similar to ET only a 3-D ride.  Any takers on this?

About Marc N. Kleinhenz

Marc N. Kleinhenz’s first dream in life was to be an astronaut. His second was an Imagineer. While neither completely worked out, he's now the editor of Orlando Informer, along with being its podcast co-host. He’s also written for 33 other sites (including Screen Rant, IGN, The Escapist, and California Informer [OI's sister site]), has had his fiction featured in several publications, and has even taught English in Japan. Imagineering school won’t be too far behind.