Twister and Disaster have long closed to make way for the new attractions Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon and Fast & Furious Supercharged at Universal Studios Florida. More New York facades are being added around the gutted soundstage building for the Jimmy Fallon ride. It'll be nice to have that big bland building blocked by more themed New York building facades. Also, there is what looks to be a big rounded section of steel inside the building. It could be for a big screen, especially if this does turn out to be a Soarin' type attraction as rumored. Lots of digging continues at the site of Fast and Furious, but not much else is happening there. And new picture spot props have been added to the Hello Kitty store. Check out the update video and lots of construction images below!
The Hello Kitty store at Universal Studios Florida has soft opened in the former location of Lucy: A Tribute, welcoming park guests to buy buy buy everything featuring the famous kitty and her trademark bow. While the store itself is now open, we're still looking forward to seeing a permanent character meet & greet for your chance to meet Hello Kitty and her friends, as well as a hair bow customization station, allowing little girls to create their own custom bows. The store features literally everything you can think of featuring the adorable Sanrio characters from shirts, slippers, and hats - to headphones, designer purses, and of course plush dolls.
As promised in the press release back in June of last year, there are a few Universal exclusive items, namely shirts that say 'Universal Studios' on them and a shirt design featuring the Jaws poster with Hello Kitty in place of the woman at the top. The store also features a full candy and baked goods section, offering similar treats as the new Sugarplum's in Diagon Alley, like fudges, cupcakes, and gourmet candy apples. The biggest difference being that these snacks feature a little candy bow on top. At the same time this store opened, Betty Boop's store has returned to its original location as well. The temporary Boop store in the old camera shop on Hollywood Blvd has once again closed. Check out the photos below and my detailed video report. I'm a big fan of Sanrio characters myself, and I think it's a nice addition to the park.
I recently checked out what might be the slowest construction project Universal is currently working on, the Hello Kitty store and experience at Universal Studios Florida. Rumors had this opening back at Christmas late last year, but here we are in month two of 2016 and not much progress can be seen. When I visited today I did get some confirmation that I did not have before, that Betty Boop will in fact be coming back to her original location when the building is done being refreshed. This is something I suspected, but didn't have proof of until now.
Besides the fact that a couple of employees have confirmed it for me, you can see on the awnings for the shop, (as well as some text visible through a window,) that the black and white beauty will be re-claiming her "largest selection of Betty Boop merchandise in the world" location once again. I find this surprising, as it only allows the portion of the building that used to house Lucy: A Tribute to be used for the new Hello Kitty store and meet & greet areas. It's not that small a space, but considering how much Sanrio branded merchandise exists in the world, I find it somewhat shocking how small a space they'll be allocating for it. They could fill the entire main Studio Store with Sanrio twice over and still not run out of Hello Kitty and friends branded merch. Perhaps we'll see products with the famous Kitty in more stores throughout the parks as well. Check out the photo update below and stay tuned this week and next for more theme park updates!
It has been a little while since I've had a chance to visit the parks, so I took a day to catch up on all the goings on at Universal Studios Florida, and grab some video as well! Since my last visit with a camera, Twister and Disaster have closed and themed construction walls have gone up around their locations where Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon and Fast & Furious Supercharged will be built, respectively. Themed construction walls have gone up around the future site of the Hello Kitty store/experience. This is the first actual confirmation that the new Sanrio themed store will definitely be taking over the former site of Lucy: A Tribute.
Some other minor work has been going on as well, including some sort of small building being constructed near Despicable Me, behind the main Studio Store. It looks like it might be storage or a permanent refreshment stand, either way, nothing too intriguing. Two new shops have opened in the park recently: the new Williams of Hollywood Prop Shop featuring props from various attractions and stores, and a new year-round Christmas store. And since it's December, the holidays are in full swing at the parks, with garland strung everywhere and large Macy's balloons littering the park. Check out the video for full coverage or the screenshots below for more details! And stay tuned for Kong coverage next week!
Sanrio, the company that owns the infamous Hello Kitty character, among many other cute money-making characters, has announced a partnership with Universal Parks & Resorts to bring Sanrio retail shops to Universal Orlando and eventually to Universal Studios Hollywood as well. This comes on the heels of the major announcement of the partnership between Universal and Nintendo and adds yet more giant intellectual properties you'll be able to find at Universal Studios parks (and not at Disney). The new retail location is scheduled to open later this year at Universal Orlando, and at a still-to-be determined time for Hollywood. The stores will offer stationery, home goods, apparel, accessories and collectibles. The majority of merchandise will be devoted to Hello Kitty, however Chococat, My Melody, Badtz-Maru, Purin and Keroppi will also have a presence. Exclusive Universal branded Hello Kitty products will be available as well.
Universal already owns the theme park rights to Hello Kitty and friends in their home country of Japan. There is a section of Universal Studios Japan already devoted to Hello Kitty, but this will be the first time Sanrio characters will be found in a theme park stateside.
No word yet on where the new retail stores will be located, but my money is on the Lucy: A Tribute building inside of Universal Studios Florida for the Orlando location. Not only is it near the entrance to the park as well as several kids' attractions like Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem and Shrek 4D, but they have recently filed a permit for a major interior renovation of the Lucy building. See the entire text from today's press release below and let me know what you think of the announcement. Is Hello Kitty something you think does or doesn't belong in the parks? ...continue reading