Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Happy 15th Anniversary to Islands of Adventure! Opening Adventure Guide Map

Happy 15th Anniversary to Islands of Adventure! We have been fans of Islands of Adventure from the start, and were lucky enough to check out the park back when it soft opened. The map scans below were from our trip to Islands on May 10-11, 1999. Click each for larger images.

Retro: 2007 Islands of Adventure Theme Park Guide Map

Happy 15th Anniversary to Islands of Adventure! Here's a pre-Potter, 2007 Islands of Adventure Map

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Diagon Alley Update : Universal Studios Florida (Gringotts Dragon, Kreacher) May 26, 2014

Over the past weekend, the Gringotts Dragon has been installed on the Gringotts Bank building in Diagon Alley.
We spent most of the day at Universal Studios, and checked out the Diagon Alley construction once again. The dragon was installed on this past Saturday, and you can check out Amusement Buzz or the Orlando United forums for pictures of the dragon being installed.
Dragon on top of Gringotts Bank in Diagon Alley

Gringotts Dragon from Battery Park area. The dragon is visible from a few spots around the park.

Shortly after being installed, the scrim was put up around him.

View of the dragon from Springfield

No workers were spotted on Memorial Day. Here's Wyndhams Theater.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Roller Coaster at Magic Kingdom Soft Opens (May 26, 2014)

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster at Magic Kingdom
 As part of the 24 Hour Rock Your Disney Side event over the holiday weekend, the highly anticipated Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Roller Coaster was soft opened to the public. While it's not scheduled to be opened until May 28th, it ran much of the weekend. The wait on the 24 hour day, while long, constantly moved. We got in a line that said 75 minutes and was all the way wrapped around to the Dumbo entrance, and it only took about 40 minutes. On Sunday the 25th, the Mine Train was available to all guests on Fast Pass +, and it took it's toll on the standby line. While we were there, we noticed the standby line crawling, and unfortunately the majority of the queue is out in the hot sun.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Photo Gallery: Rock Your Disney Side 24 Hour Day at Magic Kingdom (May 23-24, 2014)

Rock Your Disney Side Banner welcomes you to the Magic Kingdom

Beast, Gaston, Price Eric and Ursula on the banner for Rock Your Disney Side.
 Side Banners decorate the Magic Kingdom Train Station near the park entrance.
Hades, Hercules, Scar and Simba on the right side banner.
 We were able to catch the pre-parade of Villains "It's Good To Be Bad" prior to the Main Street Electrical Parade. It was a quick, taking less than two minutes to pass.
Big Bad Wolf, Frollo, Anastasia, Drizzela and Lady Tremaine in It's Good To Be Bad parade

Megara & Hades in the It's Good To Be Bad parade.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida Update (May 22, 2014)

A large crane popped up overnight, presumably to install the dragon on top of Gringotts.

Wyndham's Theater at Diagon Alley
Lions heads along the water front

Screed & Sons book store now has books in the windows

Crane over Kings Cross

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Universal Studios Florida Diagon Alley Photo Update (May 19, 2014)

Made a quick stop over to Universal Studios to check out the progress on Diagon Alley. As you can see, all the lights were on and it really made the whole new Harry Potter Diagon Alley section come to life. 
Diagon Alley facades at dusk with lights on.
Once the sun set, the lights of Diagon Alley really showed off just how beautiful the new area will be.
The detail in the facades is amazing.

Here you can see the finished archways at Diagon Alley.

The waterfront area, with new lion head sculptures protruding from the walls under the lamps

The walls were recently pushed backed to open the walkway up a little more.

Here is a lions head that was recently painted.

Monday, May 19, 2014

2014 Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios Week 1 Recap

Darth's Mall merchandise area has been moved for 2014
Darth's Mall has a queue set up outside, as well as inside. It moves fairly quickly mid-day and only takes 10 minutes to get thru.

2014 Duffy Yoda
Bantha & Chewbacca plush
Close-up of the Yoda Duffy bear

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Retro: 1997 Universal Florida Brochure "The Vacation Destination of The 21st Century"

 We recently found a box of old park maps, magazines and other miscellaneous paperwork. We have decided to upload them here, under the retro tag, to share with our readers.

These were brochures that were given out at Universal Studios Florida in 1997 & 1998, touting what was coming to the resort in 1999.

Great promotional artwork for Dueling Dragons at Islands of Adventure

More promotional artwork for Islands of Adventure and Portofino Bay Resort.

Promotional artwork for City Walk.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Universal Orlando reveals details about Harry Potter And The Escape from Gringotts (May 13, 2014)


Grand Opening Date for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley to be Announced at a Later Dat

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 13, 2014) – Today, Universal Orlando Resort revealed details about Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – the revolutionary attraction found in the heart of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. The Grand Opening date for the spectacularly themed environment will be announced at a later date.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Universal Studios Florida Diagon Alley Construciton Update (Working Fountain) May 9, 2014

Working Eros Fountain at Universal Studios Diagon Alley
 Just one week after arriving on Universal Studios property, the Eros Fountain was already working today.
Eros Fountain at Diagon Alley
 The Wyndham's Theatre area is a showstopper, the attention to detail is amazing.
Knight Bus, Eros Fountain in front of Wyndham's Theatre (Universal Studios Florida, Diagon Alley)
 With Diagon Alley opening up sometime in summer 2014, we have our truly last few days of light crowds, for the foreseeable future.
Waterfront view of Diagon Alley.

Diagon Alley waterfront at Universal Studios Florida
 The beautification of Universal Studios Florida continues, here you can see new string lights to authenticate the area.
Stringed lights at Diagon Alley during construction.
 Hopefully we should see the construction walls come down soon, to fully appreciate the beautiful facades that were built.
King's Cross Train Station during construction 5/9/14

Still work going on to hide the giant Gringotts Bank show building back here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Islands of Adventure & Universal Studios Florida Photo Trip Report Gallery (May 4, 2014)

We will start out our update this week at beautiful Islands of Adventure.

Signage for Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop in Hogsmeade

Madam Puddifoot Tea Shop

Inside the widows of Madam Puddifoot's

Inside the widows of Madam Puddifoot's

Inside the widows of Madam Puddifoot's

Inside the widows of Madam Puddifoot's

Outside of Madam Puffifoot's (exterior)

Not terribly busy in Hogsmeade this Sunday.
Window's for Zonko's / Honeydukes

More window detail for Zonkos / Honeydukes