Universal Orlando readies for Potter


All eyes are on Universal Orlando. They have the most anticipated and probably the biggest transformation in theme park history opening up on June 18th. The competition across the street doesn’t have anything going on for at least two years, and loads of the Disney faithful are cashing in Mouse Ears for Wizard wands. Plus you have one of the busiest times of the year. So Universal is seemingly readying the whole park for the boy wizard.

The weekend is…ending, so you know what that means! Yep, a brand new update from Universal Orlando. Ellen was roaming around the park taping segments for her show which will air this Thursday and Friday on your local networks. The stages were being set, and some cool looking stage in the water with sharks all around was waiting.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157626586785762″]

The rule of thumb for any good park nerd is that the more crowded the park is, the less fun it is, and the more you stay away. So we stayed home today while the rest of the world descended on Ellen. We heard crazy stories like a guy diving into the lagoon to swim towards her stage and pulled out of the water by the OPD. Also we’ve heard that Usher was on stage in CityWalk performing, and that Ellen was spotted going in and out of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can view all the craziness this week, check your local listings.

In other happenings, Disaster made a quiet opening. The rumors were abound that it would have all new effects, new storyline, even a new actor. In the end, they just replaced a train and painted some stuff. Ride looks great, but its the same as it ever was. The reasoning for the replaced train? Word is that the old system completely broke down and the company who built it went out of business, leaving no one to repair it. Again, all rumors.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157626586790796″]

Funny thing, the 360 balls were up as well, but no 360 was being shown, or so we were told. Anyone know more?

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157626586797208″]

Over at Islands things are shaping up all over still. Green Eggs and Ham is now open. Funny thing, there is not a single mention of the a fore mentioned green eggs and ham on the menu, but there is still a sign in the window offering the signature platter. Also over at Moose Juice Goose Juice, the same has happened there. You can still get the drinks, but not the original versions, and they’ve expanded the selections as well.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157626462163201″]

The covers over the Toon Lagoon amphitheater have come off to reveal Matt Hoffmans Agro Circus has returned. And Matt Hoffman himself was there, just chilling watching the show and taking notes.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157626462183109″]

Good to see something return, if only for a little while.

Now onto the boy wizard. Not a lot really happening and going on. Over at the Dragons queue you can see more flags up, and more guards around the various peepholes. Inside the building, the old familiar rock work was replaced with a smoother granite type rock. The dragon signs themselves kept the “Fire and Ice” themes which lends to the rumor that this is all the rehab that Dragons is going to get. The safety signs are now wizard proclamations. And funny thing, Ice was down. It sat all alone in the station, and being on it without the Duel is just kind of pointless.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157626462194981″]

That wraps it up this week. Stay safe when you’re visiting the parks this week, it’s expected to be a madhouse, though a lot of the parks will stay open really late. Big bonus! Only one thing left to do. And now for some random pictures

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157626462203773″]