Universal Studios Florida trip report – September 2012 (HHN decor, construction updates, new merchandise)
There have been some interesting and fun changes since my last trip report for Universal Studios Florida.
The PYQ store in Citywalk has opened. I took a quick look inside and found it had a selection of unique, quirky items from toddler shirts to adult themed soap. The store reminded me of a modern boutique version of the Spencer’s Gifts stores from the 1980’s-1990’s.
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Before you enter the gates of Universal Studios Florida you can see the addition of Halloween Horror Nights décor at the entrance. Even in daylight, it helps set the tone of a thrilling yet scary experience for those brave enough to attend HHN22 in the dark.
Throughout the park, HHN22 props and decorations abound including pumpkins in the trees in the Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone, an abandoned car and school bus near Disaster! (Editor’s note: those are from The Walking Dead!) and props set up for photo opportunities. HHN22 merchandise is also available during the daytime at various shops and kiosks. You can even win HHN22 themed items at the carnival games in the park.
As you walk around Universal Studios, construction continues and cranes remind you that new and exciting attractions are coming. In the rumored Transformers: The Ride area (formerly Studio 44), vertical beams are now visible above the fence. You can get a great aerial view of this construction from Rip Ride Rockit and my husband was able to snap a picture.
The street between Shrek and Mel’s Diner is completely fenced off. You cannot access the restrooms on this street from the Shrek side of the wall, but they are accessible from the Mel’s Diner side of the wall.
In the former Jaws and Amity area, construction of the “alleged” Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion continues. There is a very large structure that is visible above the fence. You have to see it in person to appreciate its size. From the third level exit area at the Simpson’s Ride, you get a panoramic view of this construction. Pictures taken from this vantage point at the Simpson’s Ride enable you to see the ground-level work being done including the completed lagoon walls.
At the Simpsons’s ride, the carnival games being built in front of the attraction are almost completed. The Dunk or Flunk basketball games looks finished, the games on the left-hand side look almost ready and the games on the right hand side still need signage.
Last month, Fear Factor Live was closed for HHN22 preparation and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure (open during HHN22) has temporarily replaced this attraction. Fear Factor Live is now scheduled to reopen on November 10.
Another area with carnival games added during the past month is the street along Rip Ride Rockit and Twister, in front of the Universal Music Plaza. Here you can play for various UOR themed merchandise including fun and unique HHN22 items like a Minion Vampire and Minion Mummy.
In the Universal Studios Store, I noticed some new merchandise available, including a Minion Backpack and a larger selection of Minion hats. A new, “hipper” Thing One and Thing Two shirt in black with red Thing One and Thing Two flying a kite was also featured.
The crowds seemed busier to me this day than last month but it could be because of HHN22 starting. They should ease off in the coming weeks. Wait times were moderate with most posted wait times less than 30 minutes and the lines for snacks and drinks were also moderate.
We had a fun day at Universal Orlando Resort and I’m looking forward to seeing what changes will take place in the upcoming month.
Universal Studios Florida trip report – photo gallery
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