Monday, August 26, 2013

Jurassic Park Expansion Speculation

So, our friends over at Park Rumors have uncovered the first permit for what is believed to be the upcoming Jurassic Park expansion for Universal's Islands of Adventure. The permit is for a staging area and trailer to be set up in the plot of land in between the Cabana Bay Beach Resort and the Royal Pacific Resort, and lasts through April 2015. Obviously, this points to a spring/summer opening for this project as long as everything goes according to plan.

But let's get into what we could actually be seeing in the expansion, and where it could be going. Note, the following is speculation. I'm in no way, shape, or form saying this is what we're definitely going to be seeing in the expansion.

So, first, let's take a look at the plots that will most likely be used in the expansion. First is the plot of land behind Thunder Falls Terrace and the River Adventure. Recently, Orlando United's hatetofly has said survey markers have appeared behind the area in preparation for expansion. The above report from Park Rumors also mentions that Thunder Falls Terrace will close and become part of the new construction. This is the first I've heard of this, but it would not surprise me.
As you can see, it's a sizable plot even without the restaurant included, but I could see the restaurant becoming  the queue building for a new attraction that would likely go back here. I would guess that this is the most likely location for the long rumored Amber Mine family coaster. For a reference, the above plot is only slightly smaller than that of Big Thunder Mountain at the Magic Kingdom. Now, who knows if the ride will be as substantial as Big Thunder, but the potential space is there.

Moving on to another likely location for work is the old Triceratops Encounter area. This long dormant area was rumored to be the original focus of the JP expansion rumors, but that seems to have changed in the recent months, so much so that it seemed like it was forgotten in the shuffle. Personally, I don't see that happening. The land is in too valuable of a location to be ignored and left as is. Not to mention, from the picture below, it's a nice size.
But if the ride is going behind Thunder Falls, then what would this area be used for? My guess would be a Springfiel-like project for the middle of Jurassic Park. If the Thunder Falls restaurant is indeed not long for this world, I could see some options being added here similar to Lard Lad, Duff Gardens, and Bumblebee Man's taco truck. But this is a much larger area than the Springfield waterfront is, so I doubt that's all we'd see. I would hope we'd see some new dinosaur encounters, maybe even keeping one of the Triceratops enclosures that would allow people to wander in and out? Or how about that awesome Raptor meet and greet show from Universal Singapore? It also wouldn't be a bad idea to add some themed flat rides in.

Below, is a picture of the overall areas in question.
As you can see, overall, it's a fairly large section of land. The possibilities really are endless here, and with Universal finishing great project after great project, I have faith this will be another home run for the park.

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