Universal From Above (2012 Aerials)

The Orange County Property Appraiser website has updated their aerial imagery for 2012. The images were taken sometime between January 20th and 27th, so while they’re not the most recent images, they still provide an excellent overview of the resort, showing off views of the new additions from 2011 and coming in 2012.

We’ll start off in CityWalk, where the Hollywood Drive-In Golf course is set to open by the end of this month. You can see how much this is changing the area underneath the moving walkways into CityWalk in these comparison photos from 2011 and 2012.

Hollywood Drive-In Golf Aerial

Heading into the Studios now, we get a nice view of the work going on at the new 2012 attraction, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. You can clearly see the metal framed structure going up to create a facade in front of the sound stage, a structure that’s very likely to become Gru’s house from the movie. Eagle-eyed poster hatetofly over at the OrlandoUnited message boards even managed to get some pictures of the facade’s roof pieces sitting in the large field behind Men in Black: Alien Attack.

Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem Aerial

Also new for 2012 is Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories. They’ve been hard at work prepping the lagoon for the last several months, and this aerial image offers a nice view of the three barges set in the middle of the lagoon, as well as the plethora of water jets visible just below the surface of the water:

USF Lagoon 2012

Moving towards the back of the studios, we come to Jaws. These aerial photos were taken just before the demolition of the attraction kicked into high gear, so we’re able to get one final view of the attraction fully drained of water and still mostly-intact:

Jaws January 2012 Aerial

Our last stop in the Studios is over by the Parade Building and former Hard Rock Cafe site. We saw permits filed for the addition of a Float Canopy Building late last year, and made mention of it in our “What is Project 3.15?” article. We now know that Universal plans on adding a new daytime parade for 2012, the Universal Superstar Parade, and that the building was added to provide extra space for float storage. They also demolished the old Hard Rock Cafe building in late 2011, likely as a way to open up that back stage road, allowing easier transport of the floats from the park to storage These comparison images show off the location of the new float canopy building, right across from the old Parade Building as well as the area the old Hard Rock Cafe used to occupy:

Float Canopy & Hard Rock Aerial

Venturing over to Islands of Adventure now, we’ll start back in Jurassic Park, where we get to see something quite interesting. Since these aerial photos were taken during Jurassic Park River Adventure’s annual refurbishment period, we get a rare look at the attraction without any water:

Jurassic Park River Adventure Dry

Meanwhile, over in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a new portion of queue was added to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in late 2011. This new queue aimed to help alleviate the crowding problems within Hogsmeade caused by the seemingly never ending line that backed up well beyond the Hogwarts gates during the morning hours. The new queue is highlighted in yellow in the aerial image below, and a comparison shot from early 2011 is included:

New Harry Potter Queue Aerial

And that about wraps it up for this post. We hope you enjoyed these views of the parks as much as us. If there’s anything else you’d like to see aerial images of, or anything we forgot, let us know in the comments!

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