At Universal Orlando, the Universal Studios Florida theme park is the focus of the bulk of the resort's current construction, with a buzz of activity surrounding the Transformers, Simpsons, and Harry Potter expansion projects. But that doesn't mean all is quiet at Islands of Adventure next door.
Yesterday, I stopped by IoA to photograph progress on three construction projects; one recently completed, and two still in progress:
Here is the now-complete performance stage in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Previously, this was a bare patch of concrete; now, the actors portraying Hogwarts students have a suitable stone and wood stage to stand upon.
The only criticisms I can make is that the integration of the pre-existing stone monolith (which now appears significantly shorter) is awkward, and the wooden flooring needs more aging to look authentic. Otherwise, it's a nice addition that will finally allow shorter guests to see the short shows staged here.
Around the corner, a giant construction crane marks the future location of the Hogwarts Express train station.
It's even visible from the greenhouse in the Forbidden Journey queue.
Guests will embark here for a one-way trip to the Kings Cross station in USF's upcoming London Potter-land, enhanced by simulated windows showing passing scenery (and some magical surprises).
Construction on the IoA end of the route has recently gone vertical; note how close the new block work comes to the Dragon Challenge roller-coaster track.
Perhaps some close encounters with the new train station will return some of the thrill lost when the Dragon trains ceased dueling.
Finally, this mysterious wall has appeared between IoA's entrance plaza and CityWalk's NBA City.
On the other side: not much, other than a dumpster, an old Blue Man Group sign, and some torn-up cement. Possibly this is just minor repair work, but we'll have to wait and see...