On Monday, Universal’s subsidiary SLRC Holdings filed a permit with the South Florida Water Management District for the addition of an office trailer and small parking lot on their new land near the convention center. Unlike their previous filings for the new office and warehouse buildings which are located near Sand Lake Road, this trailer is located roughly in the center of their new, huge tracts of land.
There have been rumors for the past few months about a new attraction (or possibly even attractions) coming to the Jurassic Park section of Islands of Adventure. So far the only apparent additions coming to the island are new themed games, much like the ones added to The Simpson’s area last year. However, a permit recently filed with the City of Orlando could be our first concrete evidence that this expansion is finally coming to fruition:
Over the past month, Universal has filed several new demolition/building permits with the City of Orlando for the renovation of three CityWalk venues. Project 294 was the first project filed on June 12th. It called for:
Interior remodel of existing venue in Space 294 in City Walk
After doing some digging, we discovered that Space 294 is currently home to the Pastamoré Market Café. Reading some of the permit review comments has revealed that the venue will likely be replaced by a new pizza restaurant, likely called “Woodfire Pizza” according to one comment:
A recent filing with the SFWMD for a “Project 609 Addition” calls for a new 1,044 square foot building located between Mel’s Dine-In and Shrek 4D, next to Transformers: The Ride – 3D. This location also happens to be directly across from the current outdoor meet and greet for the Transformers characters.
A new permit filed today with the City of Orlando hints that the Transformers gift shop could be opening in the very near future. The permit calls for a TCO (Temporary Certificate of Occupancy) for the retail space that’s part of Project 609. According to wikipedia, a TCO is “generally sought after and acquired when a building is still under construction, but there is a certain section or number of floors that are deemed to be habitable.”
Universal has been selling Transformers themed merchandise at various stores and kiosks throughout their parks for the past month or so, so getting this shop open sooner would give all that stuff a place to call home, and allow them to offer even more items for sale in a cool, themed environment. Plus, Universal opened Super Silly Stuff, the Despicable Me gift shop, before that attraction officially opened, so the idea of opening an attraction’s retail location early clearly isn’t unprecedented.
To add some more fuel to rumor that Universal Orlando has a Lord of the Rings themed land or park in the works, the The Saul Zaentz Company has recently trademarked the term “Middle-Earth” for use in amusement/theme parks. For those unfamiliar with The Saul Zaentz Company, they own the worldwide film, stage, and merchandise rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Therefor, in the same way Warner Brothers handles the Harry Potter/Wizarding World trademarks, The Saul Zaentz Company are the ones who handle the Lord of the Rings trademarks.
While a generic trademark application like this one is by no means confirmation of a coming themed land or park, it does show that the company has intent of using it’s Middle-Earth mark in the amusement/theme park sector someday. Right now though, there’s no way of knowing how soon, if ever, anything could come to fruition, or what parks, if any, the company is in talks with.
There have been rumors for quite some time now that Universal Studios was looking to build an on-site water park at its Orlando resort, and today, we might have our first glimpse at some of the new technologies they’re looking to incorporate with the rumored project. New patents published this month show off three interesting concepts; an “articulated waterslide”, a multi-directional wavepool, and “beach visual effects”.
The first patent, for an articulated waterslide, details a new waterslide concept “that is flexible or articulated at one or more locations such that features of the waterslide can be maneuvered into different arrangements to provide a variety of flow paths. “ This concept offers many possibilities; for example, a waterslide built with multiple articulation segments and multiple paths could theoretically offer a different ride experience each time. Alternatively, a specific themed waterslide could be built with both “wild” and “mild” paths, and the rider could select which path they’d like to take, that way everyone could experience that particular themed slide, no matter their thrill preference. It’s definitely an interesting concept, and one I’d totally love to see executed in the near future. Included below are a few example drawings, and you can download and read the full patent by clicking here: Articulated Waterslide Patent.
The next patent’s title is pretty self-explanatory. It details a method for creating a wavepool with multi-directional waves. As the patent describes, this would allow for the creation of a circular wavepool, with waves being generated from the center and expanding outwards in all directions. The patent also discusses the possibility of different wave types being generated in different sections of the pool, so guests could choose their preferred wave type and stay in that section, or swim around and experience them all. Special wave types, like spiral waves, would also be possible with this configuration. A massive, circular wavepool would be an excellent centerpiece for a new water park. You can download and read the full patent by clicking here: Multi-Directional Wavepool Patent.
Beach Visual Effects
The final new patent details different visual effects that could be created in a water park beach environment using different sand materials and/or lighting effects from below the beach surface. Examples included multi-colored or rainbow beaches, an illuminated or back-lit beach, or the creation of different shapes or patterns. Special iridescent or phosphorescent sands could also be used to create a visually interesting beach. These concepts would definitely be an exciting way to spruce up the typical, mundane water park beach environment, and could allow for some pretty elaborate effects and themed beach areas. Below are two example drawings from the patent, which can be downloaded by clicking here: Beach Visual Effects Patent.
Overall, these seem to be some pretty unique and interesting new water park concepts, and pretty much right on par with what we’ve come to expect from the creative minds at Universal. Hopefully we see these ideas implemented in a future water park project, and hopefully that project is for Universal Orlando Resort. What do you think of these patents? Be sure to leave your comments in the comment section below!
A new document filed with the Orange County Comptroller today shows off a master plan view of Universal’s 4th hotel, Cabana Bay Beach Resort. While the scan of the plans isn’t very detailed, it still gives us an excellent overview of the resort’s layout.
To the north of the property are the three buildings, A, B, and C. These three buildings consist of phase 1 of the resort’s construction and will likely contain the family suites. In the middle of these three buildings is a large pool, which we saw in the concept art released with the resort’s announcement, as well as various other amenities.
On the other side of these buildings is what appears to be the very large hotel lobby/main building, which was also shown off in concept art. Then, jutting out of that building in an interesting zig-zag pattern is what looks like the remaining two buildings of the resort, likely to contain the standard guest rooms. It’s hard to tell from this image, but it looks like there could also be a pool or some kind of recreation area in the middle of these two buildings as well.
A lot has changed since we first reported on “Project 609” being the codename for the attraction replacing Building 44. For starters, it seems the address for the staging area for 609 was incorrectly recorded, placing it on the wrong side of the road. The staging area for 609 is actually located on the same side of the road as “Project 3429” which is the staging area for the IOA side of “Project 722”. Here’s an updated map showing both staging areas as well as the updated permit with the correct address:
In other news, the first building permit for the foundation and sitework for “Project 609” is well into its review process by the City of Orlando, and as usual, has revealed a few very interesting details about the building and ride within. The most telling of those details was posted today, saying:
“Provide the maximum travel distance to the nearest exit for this occupancy in the ride areas for the 1st and 2nd floor ride areas.”
This clearly confirms that the attraction being built where Building 44 once stood will be a two story ride, very much like Transformers in both Hollywood and Singapore. Not only that, but another note from the review process revealed the ride would feature lifts within the building:
“More information required on the type of waste (oily waste?) discharging into maintenance pit drains and Ride Lift Pit drains.”
Again, the Transformers rides in both Hollywood and Singapore feature elevator lifts to carry ride vehicles to and from the second floor ride areas.
So based on these new details, it’s looking more and more likely that “Project 609” is indeed a clone of the Transformers attraction from Hollywood/Singapore. With the construction still moving at an incredibly quick pace, an official announcement can’t be too far off.