Thursday, November 29, 2012

UOR Permit Update 11/28/2012: Toon Lagoon Canopy and JP Doors

Some new notice of commencements up today, both of which will affect onstage areas in some way or another.

The first is for a new canopy in Toon Lagoon from Sundance Architectural Services. They have worked on small and large projects related to canopies in the theme parks, so it remains to be seen what the end product will be.
The second are replacements for Jurassic Park show doors. I have to assume these are the doors at the very beginning of the ride. JP usually goes down for refurb shortly after the holidays, so it's likely that's when the replacement will happen.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

UOR Permit Update 11/28/12: Potter, Simpsons & More

Universal has filed four new building permits this week.

First, they have filed two new permits for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Phase 2; specifically, they are for Buildings 66 and 64.  As you will recall from last week, Building 66 is the Gringotts complex, and Building 64 is Train/Leaky Cauldron complex.  We will find out more as they undergo review.  Note: these building already have foundation permits and foundation work is underway.  These are for other work.

Second, there is a new permit for the replacement of a section of lagoon wall.  The Potter wall work done over the summer is complete save for the elaborate theming that will come (when they are ready.)  This is likely for the Simpsons Springfield expansion work.  A Google search tells me that CMU stands for Concrete Masonry Unit (blocks.)

Third, there is a permit for Building 5 which is set to get interior work and a mezzanine installed.  B5 is not on the park map that we have, but this somewhere near the entrance.

There was also a Notice of Commencement filed for New Horizons Construction Services to "Install New Games Storage Trailer Behind Men In Black."

As always, please follow or continue to follow us on Twitter @Parkscope and @CaptMichael87


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

From all of us at Parkscope, have a happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday, CyberMonday, #PepsiMusicNOW Tuesday, and the newest holiday, Parkscope Wednesday.

Universal Orlando really uploaded this to their Facebook page.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

WWoHP2 Diagon Alley Numbered Map

I have held onto this long enough.  Back in July when Lee sent me the plans for the London Waterfront, he also provided me with a numbered building map of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley expansion.  It really does not give anything away unless you look a permits, but now you can know what I am talking about when I mention certain buildings.

Here is the map:

As you can see, Universal has used 64, 65, and 66 for the three main buildings.  They have added letters to divide up the three areas.

Here is what we know/think we know.  Feel free to fill in the blanks on Twitter, Orlando United, or in our comments.
64E Platfrom 9 3/4
64G Kings Cross

65 Probably Ollivanders (permit talks about stairs for actors)

66 Gringotts

As always, follow us on Twitter for updates @Parkscope and @CaptMichael87

Disneyland Trip Report November 9-13 2012: Day 1

Well, I'm about a week removed from my recent trip to Disneyland resort in Anaheim California, and to be honest, I can't stop thinking and talking about it. Disneyland and the Disneyland resort completely blew away my very high expectations, and that's saying something. Everything they do at Disneyland is the way it should be done. The parks are treated with care and reverence, and they do not cut corners on the small stuff.

But enough about all that, you want all the juicy details!

Day 1-November 9, 2012

I took off from the Philadelphia International Airport around 11:40AM on a Virgin America flight. I need to take a moment to really rave about Virgin America. I flew Virgin Atlantic on my trip to London and Paris in April, and was excited to see if the great service there carried over to the American counterpart. I'm happy to say it does. You don't get the free movies like you do for overseas flights, but you get free satellite TV and unlimited beverages, which is great.

I landed at LAX around 2:30 PM, and since I didn't check any bags, I headed straight for the Disneyland Resort Express pickup. Disneyland doesn't have a Magical Express bus, and this is the main mode of transportation to the resort for those not driving. The motor coach only took ten to fifteen minutes to show up, and about ten minutes after that we were on our way to the resort.

The ride there wasn't terrible, but I wasn't overly fond of our driver. He was dead set on doing this little comedy routine over the mic that was going over like a lead balloon.

But eventually I made it to the Ramada Plaza on Katella Ave, checked in, and grabbed a shower before heading to Disneyland.

Now, I wasn't originally supposed to be at Disneyland solo, but my friend and his wife had some family issues at home they had to fly to and take care of, which left me as a solo DLR adventurer.

I walked the short distance up Harbor Blvd to the Disneyland resort, and as I passed through security, I couldn't help the huge smile that came across my face. Seeing the Main Street USA Railroad Station was just amazing. This is the park that Walt Disney built, walked through, and enjoyed. That alone made this trip special.

Right off the bat I went to the Matterhorn and jumped into the single rider line. Disneyland really uses the single rider approach much better than Walt Disney World, but still not as well as Universal Orlando Resort. Matterhorn was a lot of fun, if not a bit uncomfortable. The bobsleds are definitely awkward to sit in, and could benefit from padding on the seats. But the ride itself is great fun, and I especially enjoyed the snow effect in the first lift hill.

From there, I went to see my old friend Mr. Toad. Toad was always a favorite when I was a kid, and I was ecstatic to take that madcap trip through Toad Hall, and to Hell, yet again. What a great attraction.

From there I walked around the park a bit before grabbing a plate of jambalaya, cornbread, and a mint julep from the French Market. I grabbed a seat outside and started to chow down, and so began my love affair with Disneyland Resort's quick service food. Such great flavor and ingredients. And to top it off, the jazz band started playing on the stage in front of me! How great!

From there, I took in the attractions of New Orleans Square. First up, was Haunted Mansion Holiday, and wow, was this a pleasant surprise. As most of you probably know, the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom is my favorite attraction there, and I found Phantom Manor to be great, but it just made me want to ride the regular mansion.

Not so here. First of all, the exterior and approach to the Mansion here is the best I've seen, and in my opinion, the Florida exterior is the worst I've seen. Walking up to the plantation house is just great. Inside, the portraits, stretch room, and narration was different, but in a nice way for the holidays to be celebrated. I loved some of the new AAs in there like Jack and Oogie Boogie.

From there, I went to check out Pirates of the Caribbean. I really like the building it's located in, and awed at the loading area and the bayou at the beginning. Sure, the queue isn't as good as WDW's, but having a great ride easily makes up for that. The caverns and the drops here are really fun, but the Jack Sparrow storyline still is a detriment to the overall experience, in my opinion. Still a fantastic ride.

Next, I went to the hub for the fireworks. I'll be honest, I've never been a huge fan of Christmas fireworks, and Believe in Holiday Magic did nothing to change that. I just feel like most holiday songs don't fit fireworks, and the colors usually only consists of red/green/white. Just not my cup of tea, but the crowd enjoyed it.

Finally for the night, I went and waited for Fantasmic. Now, I know a lot of people complain about the Fantasmic setup for DHS, but this was no better. You still have to show up an hour early to get a decent seat, and even then you're sitting on the ground rather than benches.

But of course, the show completely blows the suffering DHS one out of the water. The use of the Columbia and the Mark Twain really bring a sense of authenticity, and the finale dragon is seriously great.

After that, I headed back to the room for a good night's sleep, as I was already dragging from the flight earlier.

Monday, November 19, 2012

UOR Permit Update 11/19/12: Mel's Coca-Cola Freestyle

Universal filed a building permit today for the installation of Coca-Cola Freestyle machine in Mel's Diner.  Mel's is quietly undergoing a small-scale refurb.  Last month, permits were filed for renovations of Mel's restrooms.  While the big bucks are being spent all around the resort, it is nice to see that smaller things are not being ignored.

Follow @Parkscope and @CaptMichael87 for your Universal Orlando Resort Permit news.

Friday, November 16, 2012

UOR Permit Updates 11/16/2012: More Potter Steel and Transformers Interior

Two new notice of commencents were released to the Orange County Comptroller site today, both of which are for major Universal Orlando projects.

The first is for steel installation by Coastal Steel for Project 722, which we all know is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion in Universal Studios Florida.

Coastal Steel has been involved with many big projects across the Orlando theme park landscape, including Expedition Everest, Blizzard Beach, Mission: Space's exterior, Astro Orbitor's theming, the Grauman's Chinese Theater facade, and many more great themed projects.

The second is for interior finishes by Adirondack. This is for the Transformers ride, as we reported earlier in the attraction's development. Adirondack has also worked extensively in the themed entertainment business.

As always, stay tuned to @Parkscope for more information.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Triceratops Encounter Going Extinct?

In an interesting turn of events, we’ve received an anonymous tip that Islands of Adventure will be closing and demolishing the Triceratops Encounter and Jurassic Park Discovery Trail by the end of next week. This comes quite suddenly, as there were internal decisions made several weeks ago to reopen the attraction for the holiday rush as late as a month ago. This past week, props and sets were removed and an inventory taken of the facility as the site is being prepped for future development.

Photo by Aaron DelPrince of DIS Unplugged
 Please take all of this with a grain of salt as it comes to us from an anonymous source, but it does fit into Universal’s plans to expand their current offerings in Islands of Adventure.

A few months ago, we came up with the following graphics when rumors of Jurassic Park addition came up:

And a comparison with Seven Dwarves Mine Train

 Stay tuned to Parkscope for the latest.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

UOR Permit Update 11/14/2012: New Project "Project 007"

UPDATE: The following deals with the Monsters Cafe. Which means we will be seeing the building at least rethemed in the coming months.

Two new, and interesting permits, have surfaced today regarding Universal Studios Florida that seemingly include even more building remodels. But what is really interesting is the project's name.

"Project 007"

Now, I have to assume it has nothing to do with Bond at the moment, but still, the on the nose title is curious. It has to do with interior demolition and foundation work for Building 43 at Universal Studios Florida. Since Transformers was Soundstage/Building 44, we would have to assume 43 would be somewhere around there. The permits can be seen below.

Now, again, we're not experts on the building numbers here, but once we get information on the building, we'll make sure to update you here and @Parkscope.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

UOR Permit Update 11/13/12: Potter Track Installation

Exciting times, true believers! Universal has filed a notice of commencement today which I believe is for the Gringotts ride track. It can be seen below.
As you can see, it's for the installation of mechanical equipment by Mosley. Doing some digging, I found Mosley's site, which shows that they are a coaster fabricator and installer. They've worked with all the biggest manufacturers, and were the ones that built/installed Rip, Ride, Rockit.

Here's their official site: http:

So there we have it. We should have track going up inside the building sooner rather than later.

Universal also filed 2 other NoC's, one for the replacing of a kiosk in KidZone, and another that doesn't have an attachment yet. We'll keep you updated on that one at @Parkscope.

Friday, November 9, 2012

UOR Permit Update 11/9/12: Potter Stage & More

Today, a building permit was filed for the new stage coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  This goes with the notice of commencement filed last month.  According to the permit, the new stage will be 2.5 feet off of the ground.

On 10/18/2012, Universal Orlando submitted a notice of commencement for a new stage to be built at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which can be seen below.

One can assume that this will be installed where the Frog Choir and  Triwizard Tournament show take place in order to give spectators a better view of said shows.

Universal is also adding another "Human Dryer" to Jurassic Park.

Stay tuned to @Parkscope and @CaptMichael87 for more details.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Universal Permit Update 11/8/12: Donkey and Shrek Returning

A few notice of commencements were filed today by Universal. T2:3D is receiving new lighting and HVAC controls, CityWalk's escalators are being refurbed, but the only one standing out is the return of the Donkey and Shrek Meet and Greet.

As you can see, it says the Meet and Greet will be moving over to the Shrek Theater. This is an interesting development, as there really isn't any room overall in that building, or next to it now that Transformers is going in. Many have speculated that we may see a smaller, less elaborate area set up for Donkey, similar to the "Waffle Cart" he has in Universal Studios Hollywood. There have also been the beginnings of rumors that Shrek 4-D is not long for this world, so this additions is definitely curious.

We'll have to keep our eyes out, and we'll keep you informed as work progresses at @Parkscope.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

UOR Permit Update 11/6/12: Simpsons about to get underway/Nassal Work

Today's round of Notice of Commencements are another interesting bunch. First, the contractor, HW Davis Construction, and Universal Orlando have finally filed notice of commencements for the beginning of the upcoming expanded Simpsons area, filing for construction services as well as demolition and construction walls, both of which can be seen below. The documents both talk about building 72, which is the International Food Fair, Kwik-E-Mart, and Restrooms that we reported would be partially demolished and changed back in August.

For those unfamiliar with HW Davis, they are very well versed in the creation of themed environments for the theme parks. They built the outside portion of the Simpsons Ride, MIB Alien Attack, as well as multiple themed shops and UOR's Orlando International Airport store.

Also, a notice of commencement has come from Nassal and Universal Orlando for Wall layout and Installation. Nassal is a company that has done a plethora of work for both the first Wizarding World of Harry Potter as well as design work on the second phase coming to Universal Studios Florida. Could the walls inside the Gringotts ride building be coming soon? Or could they also be working on the interior or exterior theming for Transformers the Ride?

Stay tuned to @Parkscope for up to the minute updates on both these continuing projects.

Monday, November 5, 2012

UOR Permit Update 11/5/12 Mummy Queue Modifications

Today has an exciting new Notice of Commencement filed for Universal Orlando Resort.

As you can see, the Revenge of the Mummy coaster will be receiving queue modifications. We've reported in the past that Mummy has been getting some love given to it during third shift, enhancing projectors and fixing up effects, but it looks like we'll finally be seeing some visible construction/changes within the queue building soon.

On top of this, there were also permits filed to replace the catwalks in the Poseidon's Fury show, as well as the refurbishment for the bathrooms in building 56.