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.
Here we have a look at Disneyland. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is in the top left of the photo.
Another view of the Disneyland park, with the area cleared for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at the top center of the photo.
Here is a better look at the area being prepped for Runaway Railway.
A look at Sleeping Beauty Castle, now adorned with Christmas decorations and snow.
A near directly overhead look at Frontierland.
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.
# 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.
Here we have Pixar Pier.
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.
Let’s have a before/after comparison. First up is this photo of the Avengers Campus area from May of this year.
Now photo from this month. You can see a new building has gone up next to the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction.
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.
Another view of the construction with the Spider-Man show building in the direct center.
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.
The Grand Californian has its own entrance in DCA. Here is an overhead view of that fantastic hotel.
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.
Closer view of the parking, with the newly opened pedestrian bridge leading from the garage to Downtown Disney.
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.”)
Ground level view of another new pedestrian walkway being constructed.
# 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.
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.
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.
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.
# 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.
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.
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.
This construction work could be for even more Dockside parking.
# 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.
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.
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.
Below we have track located on site that is being staged for an attraction.
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.
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).
Another view of the amazing amount of work going in to building this attraction in Jurassic Park.
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.
While this one was taken in December of 2018.
Here we have a close up on two construction workers welding.
This arrow points to the very same workers.
In the direct center of this picture you can see the makeshift walkway for guests to walk in the land.
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.
A ground level look at the walkway. At its narrowest point the walkway is 12 feet across.
Going the other direction in the walkway we see pyro shooting of in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade Village.
In this overhead picture you can see the walkway in the center of the photo leading guests to and from Hogsmeade Village.
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.
An aerial look at the entire Islands of Adventure theme park.
Aerial view of IOA’s sister park, Universal Studios Florida, with the iconic USF arches in the bottom center of the photo.
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.
The show building for the Bourne Stuntacular, opening in March 2020.
A second piece of signage was added to the front of the upcoming attraction.
These are the type of photos I personally love. A unique perspective on Diagon Alley.
Closer look at Diagon Alley, with the Gringott’s dragon at the center of the photo.
The giant Universal Christmas tree has been put up.
Another view of the Christmas tree, with Rip Ride Rockit in the right hand side of the photo.
Speaking of Rip Ride Rockit, here is a beautiful photo showing the attraction passing by with the moon in the background.
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.
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:
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.