The SATURDAY SIX Takes a Look at Current Projects at Disney and Universal (Runaway Railway, Marvel at DCA, Jurassic Park Coaster and more!)

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the latest construction projects at Disney and Universal! We’re riding as a passenger with @bioreconstruct in his high-in-the-sky blogger copter, getting a bird’s eye view of the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, and the Universal Orlando Resort. We’re going to take a look at some of the biggest construction projects currently underway, including Universal’s new attraction in Jurassic Park, the expansion of Marvel out in Disney California, and more! Let’s start it all of by taking a trip out to….

# 6 – Disneyland

First let’s take an incredible look at the entire Disneyland Resort. With this week’s debut of Disney+, one show we can recommend checking out is The Imagineering Story. Episode 1 “The Happiest Place on Earth” includes a section on Walt Disney choosing Anaheim for his new park, and it is just wild comparing the changes between then and now. At the time, Disney’s choice was heavily questioned for being located “in the middle of nowhere,” but as you can see below Walt had the unique type of vision and foresight that very few individuals have.

The Disneyland Resort. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Here we have a look at Disneyland. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is in the top left of the photo.

Disneyland. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Another view of the Disneyland park, with the area cleared for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at the top center of the photo.

Disneyland. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Here is a better look at the area being prepped for Runaway Railway.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

A look at Sleeping Beauty Castle, now adorned with Christmas decorations and snow.

This is the only photo in the article shot on a 1:1 scale. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

A near directly overhead look at Frontierland.

Frontierland. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

A look down at The Matterhorn. I have no idea if the stories of a basketball court at the top of The Matterhorn are true, but I bet if there is one more people have enjoyed shooting hoops there than at the NBA Experience in Disney Springs.

The Matterhorn. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

 

# 5 – Disney California Adventure

Now let’s head right across the plaza from Disneyland and check out DCA. Below is a look down at Hollywood Land.

Hollywood Land. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Here we have Pixar Pier.

Pixar Pier. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

People have been wanting more Marvel at Disney for a while, and it is slowly coming along at DCA. You can see Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout in the bottom right of this photo, and the former Tower of Terror building borders the upcoming Avengers Campus.

Avengers Campus. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Let’s have a before/after comparison. First up is this photo of the Avengers Campus area from May of this year.

Avengers Campus construction from May 2019. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Now photo from this month. You can see a new building has gone up next to the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction.

Avengers Campus construction from November 2019. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

The large building with the light blue on the front will be the home of the Spider-Man attraction. It was the former home of the It’s Tough To Be a Bug’s movie.

Avengers Campus. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Another view of the construction with the Spider-Man show building in the direct center.

Avengers Campus. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Here is a picture of the Spider-Man building when it housed It’s Tough to Be a Bug. The Avengers Campus is being built in the area which formerly was a bug’s land.

Photo of a bug’s land in DCA taken in 2006. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

The Grand Californian has its own entrance in DCA. Here is an overhead view of that fantastic hotel.

Grand Californian. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Before we leave California, let’s take a quick look at what is going on with their parking situation. First up is another overhead view of the entire Disneyland Resort, this time with the parking garages in the bottom center of the photo.

Disneyland Resort. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Closer view of the parking, with the newly opened pedestrian bridge leading from the garage to Downtown Disney.

Disneyland Parking. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Even closer view. The yellow arrow is pointing to the Pixar ball that identifies this as the “Pixar Pals” structure (the other garage is the “Mickey and Friends.”)

Parking. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Ground level view of  another new pedestrian walkway being constructed.

Parking. (photo by @bioreconstruct
(photo by @bioreconstruct)

 

# 4 – Epcot

A lot of projects are currently in development down here in Florida as Walt Disney World inches closer to its 50th anniversary in 2021. Remember a couple years ago when DHS seemed like it was a war zone with all the construction? Epcot is now is a similar place with construction walls seemingly everywhere.

Let’s take a look at what is going on at the France Pavilion in World Showcase for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

France Pavilion. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Several new structures are going up. As a huge fan of the movie Ratatouille, this new attraction is one of the things I am really looking forward to the most.

France Pavilion. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
France Pavilion. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
France Pavilion. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

This photo below shows the Guardians of the Galaxy coaster on the left side, the upcoming Play Pavilion in the center, and next year’s Space 2020 restaurant located next to Mission: SPACE.

Epcot. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Sensitive readers may want to avert their eyes, as we’re going to take a look at the current demolition process of the Fountain of Nations.

Fountain of Nations, you shall be missed. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Current status of the Fountain of Nations. RIP. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

 

# 3 – Universal’s Dockside Inn & Suites

Universal’s began the opening of its Endless Summer resort complex this year with the debut of the Surfside Inn & Suites earlier this year. As you can see in the picture below, Surfside’s sister resort – Dockside Inn & Suites will be MUCH larger. In fact, it is three times larger with over 2,000 guest rooms compared to Surfside’s 700.

Surfside was built on the former home of the Wet ‘N Wild water park, while Dockside was built in Wet ‘N Wild’s parking lot across the street.

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Here’s a look at the construction from the opposite viewpoint. Dockside is in the foreground of the photo, with Surfside behind it. In the distance you can see Universal’s Aventura and Cabana Bay hotels.

Dockside Inn & Suites. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

The check-in and lobby area for Dockside will be the structure in between the two towers. On the bottom right of this photo is Dockside’s parking garage.

Dockside. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Dockside. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

This construction work could be for even more Dockside parking.

Dockside. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

 

# 2 – Universal’s next theme park: Epic Universe

During last month’s Comcast earnings call, it was casually announced that the upcoming Epic Universe theme park resort will open in 2023.  No real details were given other than it would be NBC-Universal’s biggest theme park investment to date. As we’ll see in the photos below, the 750 acre site is ready for construction to be ramped up.

Site for Universal’s Epic Universe theme park resort. We are looking north from Destination Parkway. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

It is speculated that this single palm tree is the direct center of the new property, but only Universal knows for sure. Below the palm tree sits next to heavy equipment.

Epic Universe. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Below is the planned parking site for Epic Universe. The arrow in the planning map that follows it is pointing to the construction entrance from Destination Parkway.

Epic Universe. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Orange County transportation planning map.

Below we have track located on site that is being staged for an attraction.

(photo by @bioreconstruct)

What could this track be for? Well, possibly for an….

 

# 1 -Unannounced Project in Jurassic Park (that’s going to be an awesome roller coaster)

Work is chugging along in Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure. Alicia Stella of Orlando Park Stop has done a great job at keeping up to date on everything we know about the rumored Jurassic Park coaster, so be sure to check out her article on the project.

Jurassic Park. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

To put everything in perspective, the shot below shows Epic Universe in the foreground with the rest of the Universal Orlando Resort in the background. The yellow arrow in the center is pointing at the roller coaster track being staged at the Epic Universe sit. The green arrow is pointing to Jurassic Park in Islands of Adventure. The blue arrow is pointing to Volcano Bay, while the far right yellow arrow is the current end of Kirkman Road (which will be extended).

Universal. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

 

Another view of the amazing amount of work going in to building this attraction in Jurassic Park.

Jurassic Park. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

The next two photos will give you an idea of just how much has changed in less than a year. This photo was taken in November of 2019.

Jurassic Park. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

While this one was taken in December of 2018.

Jurassic Park, December 2018. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Here we have a close up on two construction workers welding.

(photo by @bioreconstruct)

This arrow points to the very same workers.

(photo by @bioreconstruct)

In the direct center of this picture you can see the makeshift walkway for guests to walk in the land.

Jurassic Park. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

A closer look at the walkway. This end is the one closest to Skull Island: Reign of Kong, one of Universal’s most underrated attractions.

Jurassic Park. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

A ground level look at the walkway. At its narrowest point the walkway is 12 feet across.

Jurassic Park. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Going the other direction in the walkway we see pyro shooting of in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade Village.

Jurassic Park walkway. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

In this overhead picture you can see the walkway in the center of the photo leading guests to and from Hogsmeade Village.

Hogsmeade Village. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

While we’re at Hogsmeade, let’s check out an aerial view of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. The attraction was plagued by operational issues during the early parts of the summer, but now the attraction is regularly getting 9 “trains” of guests on to the track at once.

Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

An aerial look at the entire Islands of Adventure theme park.

IOA (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Aerial view of IOA’s sister park, Universal Studios Florida, with the iconic USF arches in the bottom center of the photo.

USF. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

A look at USF from the opposite direction. Now, we see the back side of the USF entrance at the very top center of this photo.

USF. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

The show building for the Bourne Stuntacular, opening in March 2020.

Bourne Stuntacular. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

A second piece of signage was added to the front of the upcoming attraction.

Bourne Stuntacular. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

These are the type of photos I personally love. A unique perspective on Diagon Alley.

Diagon Alley. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Closer look at Diagon Alley, with the Gringott’s dragon at the center of the photo.

Diagon Alley. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

The giant Universal Christmas tree has been put up.

USF. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Another view of the Christmas tree, with Rip Ride Rockit in the right hand side of the photo.

Christmas Tree. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Speaking of Rip Ride Rockit, here is a beautiful photo showing the attraction passing by  with the moon in the background.

Rip Ride Rockit. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Honorable Mention – The Brady Bunch House

Like the Eye Of Sauron, nothing gets by the gaze of @bioreconstruct. While out in California, Bio stopped by to get the latest update on one of the most iconic houses in American TV history. The channel HGTV has been renovating the classic “Brady Bunch house” and using the actual Brady “kids” to help.

Brady Bunch house. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

So there you have it: The SATURDAY SIX joins @bioreconstruct in the high-in-the-sky blogger copter to see the latest updates at Disney and Universal! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following: 

6 Surprising Secrets of the Universal Orlando Resort

The SATURDAY SIX looks at the REAL REASONS that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge “feels” less crowded

SATURDAY SIX SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: An in-depth look at theme park photography

Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will  enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.

Construction on a Super Mario attraction out at Universal Studios Hollywood. Sneak peek of what we will be covering here in Florida over the next couple years. (photo by @bioreconstuct)

One thought on “The SATURDAY SIX Takes a Look at Current Projects at Disney and Universal (Runaway Railway, Marvel at DCA, Jurassic Park Coaster and more!)

  • November 16, 2019 at 10:13 am
    Permalink

    The Basketball court at the Matterhorn mistery was revealed in the Imagineers Episode 1. Spoiler alert!

    Reply

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