Theme Parks

Let's take a look around Universal Studios Florida! Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is set to grand open April 6, 2017, but you can already experience the attraction during technical rehearsals, going on now! Virtual Line passes can be redeemed from the nearby kiosks or by using the Universal Orlando app. Some minor changes for the ride since our last visit include Express added to entrance, test seats have been placed out front, as well as a new digital information board.

Fast and Furious Supercharged construction continues at an increasing pace. The themed work walls covered in graffiti have been replaced with plain black walls. The fountain in the Beetlejuice courtyard has now been removed and the nearby refreshment stand has finally been renamed from "Graveyard Snacks" to "San Francisco Snacks." The large show building is being painted to look like an old warehouse and scaffolding has gone up around the queue structure in front. Screen-used vehicles from the newest Fast and Furious film, The Fate of the Furious, are now on display in the park. This is becoming somewhat of a tradition, as almost every film in the franchise has had cars on display in the park.

Also going on in the park, work walls have come down around Doc's Candy store in the New York section, revealing a brand new Auntie Anne's Pretzels window. Work walls have gone up around the drink stand in front of the Universal Classic Monster's Cafe for minor refurbishment. And Mardi Gras has ended, so all the signs, decor, and food booths are quickly being removed. Check out the video and photo update below for more details and stay tuned for more theme park updates coming soon!

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Check out the video below to watch as Twister: Ride it Out is transformed into Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon through photos taken throughout construction, starting all the way back in 2015. The facade for this attraction now looks like 30 Rock in New York City, but it was originally just an unthemed sound stage with a billboard for Twister. See below the video as well for a complete timeline of all construction updates and news stories about the new Fallon ride that we’ve posted. Thanks for joining us through it all!


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Construction is actually underway over at Disney's Hollywood Studios! We're finally seeing some movement on the Star Wars and Toy Story land work. The queue building for Slinky Dog coaster is going up and foundation work is happening at Star Wars land. The Muppets balloon with Kermit's face on it has been removed from the MuppetVision theater tower. This was to prevent it from being seen from within Star Wars land, (although I'm not sure why it had to come down so soon.) See below for more details about these massive new expansions, including concept art and a map outlining the ride placements in relation to the rest of the park.

Elsewhere in the park, Starring Rolls Cafe has closed its doors for good, with many of its baked goods now only available at the Trolley Car Cafe across Sunset Blvd. The tables out front are still present for guests, and signage remains (for now,) but there's no indication that Starring Rolls is ever going to be coming back. And lastly, guests now have a chance to check out a preview for the new live-action Beauty and the Beast at One Man's Dream. Plus, you can see props and Belle's dress used in filming. See the video as well as the extensive photo report below and stay tuned for more theme park news and updates!


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The work walls have come down in front of the entrance to Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon at Universal Studios Florida. We're one step closer to seeing this soft open! Construction is continuing inside the entrance and queue, but there's been plenty of ride testing going on and a private event was held at the ride earlier in the week. We'll keep you posted on when the general public may have their first chance to experience this new attraction, so stay tuned!

Plus, we're taking a look at the nighttime lighting for the new ride as well as some minor changes in the store. The last few nights have seen the marquee entrance sign all lit up as well as windows and accent lights on in the building. Check out the video and photo update below and stay tuned for more #FallonRide updates coming soon!

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Over at Universal Studios Florida, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is officially set to open April 6, but word on the street is that it might actually start soft opens this month. In fact, it might start any day now, if you can believe it. They have just finished construction on the ride exit stairs inside The Tonight Shop gift shop. And it looks like the ride entrance and marquee are very close to being complete as well! We'll keep you posted on soft openings when they happen.

Fast & Furious Supercharged construction continues as new steel is up behind the queue building that went up during our last update. This new structure is separate from the queue warehouse building next to it. Also going on in the park, work walls are still up at the candy store in New York, the free phone chargers that were installed last month are already gone this month (that was fast,) and The Simpsons Ride is back open after a brief refurbishment. Check out the video and photo update below, and stay tuned for more updates coming soon!


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Lots more trees and plants have been added since my last visit to check out Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom. It's beginning to get more difficult to see into the area with all of the new plants and trees being planted, but that's a good thing for full immersion in the new land once it's open. Just one more sign that we're getting closer to the opening! I got video and photos of the bridge leading into Pandora for the first time this update. I was excited to see a flock of Imagineers surveying the area while I was there too.

Kali River Rapids is closed for its annual refurbishment and is scheduled to re-open sometime in the Spring. The water has been drained from the ride as part of this rehab. I saw workers touching up painted designs on the load platform using stencils while I was there. The new monkey enclosure at Maharajah Jungle Trek is now open featuring lion-tailed macaques. And I took some video of the Rivers of Light stadium seating, effects, projectors and boats since I hadn't gotten a good look at it yet myself. Watch the video and check out the photo update below for more details!


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Universal's Volcano Bay will be officially opening May 25, 2017. I wanted to check in on construction this week now that scaffolding has started to come down around the 200 foot tall volcano, named Krakatau. The rockwork looks amazing, and has more color in it than I thought when only viewing it from far away. New ancient ruins have been added along the base of the volcano since I was last here. During my visit, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the water slides already have water running through them for testing!

I also got a good look at the new park's entrance plaza and new title lettering. They were paving the plaza's walk up while I was there. The I-4 entrance and exit lanes have been shifted temporarily for work that continues on the pedestrian tunnel beneath the road. This will lead guests to and from a tram drop-off area on the other side. Check out the video as well as photo report below and stay tuned for more regular Volcano Bay updates in the future as we inch ever closer to the grand opening date!


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Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon may be scheduled to open April 6, but the gift shop, named The Tonight Shop, is already open and selling lots of Jimmy Fallon, NBC, and Universal Studios items. The new shop opened to guests over this previous weekend and will remain open while the ride construction continues.

At The Tonight Shop you can get your very own Hashtag the panda plush, Tonight Show shirts, NBC Studios mugs and so much more. Construction continues as workers get the finishing touches complete for this new ride, including new lettering being added to the entrance marquee, as well as lighting in the sign and more. Check out the video and full photo report below to see construction and everything in the new shop and stay tuned for more updates!


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Construction is moving right along at Universal Studios Florida. Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon may be set to open April 6, but the gift shop, aptly named "The Tonight Shop," is looking more and more ready by the day. It's been my assumption that it will open much sooner than the ride, especially considering work walls are down around the store and we can already see merchandise showing up inside. I bet you can't wait to get your very own Hashtag the panda plush! Fast & Furious Supercharged construction continues as they have started building a large queue structure in front of the giant ride building.

Universal has been testing their new Virtual Line system at Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, (more details about that can be found here.) Also going on in the park, there's minor construction happening at the Candy store in New York, free phone chargers have been installed throughout the park sponsored by Coca-Cola, and The Simpsons Ride is temporarily closed for regular maintenance until January 22nd. Check out the video for full coverage as well as the complete photo update below! And stay tuned for more theme park news and construction updates.


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Back in November, Bob Chapek, the Disney Parks Chairman, announced that Epcot will be getting a "major transformation" that will be making the park "more Disney, timeless, relevant, family-friendly" while also keeping the original vision alive. He told his team of Imagineers to "dream big" when thinking of ideas. As many blue sky bloggers have been openly wishing for for years, we may actually see Epcot be fixed in our lifetimes. Rumors have the budget for this park-wide update to be something like $300-400 million, with a large part going towards Future World in particular.

Future World is in a strange place right now. Rides that were originally informative have become thrilling. Buildings that were meant to show off technologies of the future have become business sponsored expo halls and character meet and greets. The Health Pavilion is rotting away, only being used a couple of times a year for festivals. And Universe of Energy wins the award for most awkward ride re-skinning of all time, forever trapped in 1996, and featuring an outdated 1970s view of dinosaurs.

Last September "The Sum of All Thrills" closed at Innoventions, the last fun thing left to do in that building. Innoventions West is permanently closed already, and East has only two small exhibits remaining. It's only a matter of time before they close as well and the original CommuniCore buildings are completely gutted to make room for something, who knows what. Check out the video and photo report below for the current state of things as well as some of the many rumors floating around the Disney-sphere about what we might see materialize in the near future at the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.


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