This week has been chock full of Universal news, from the announcement of Reign of Kong at Universal Orlando on Wednesday to the out of left field announcement of a partnership with Universal Studios and Nintendo yesterday.
And if that wasn't enough, of course Wizarding World continues to grow. Thanks to CoasterMatt for these great pictures. Be sure to check out Matt's Flickr page for more great stuff.
Words by Gregg Condon - Pictures by CoasterMatt (Click on any of the pictures below to see a larger version)
The archway into Hogsmeade, which unsurprisingly has become a very popular photo location for park guests.
Wish we had a Thestral and Invisibility Cloak so we could fly over there without anybody seeing us. =)
The Great Hall!!
As you can see, they are hard at work with all of the rock formations.
A close up of the highest tower in the castle.
Soon to be a Greenhouse
And a look at the rest of the Hogwarts grounds including Hagrids Hut and Flying Hippogriff.
Is it open yet?
That's it for today's update, hope you enjoyed. We'll be back at the park early next week for more Springfield stuff and we'll be sure to get some Potter pictures as well.
Sorry Disney, but your princess is in another castle ...
As if yesterdays Reign of Kong announcement wasn't enough, today Universal announced a new partnership with Nintendo for it's theme parks in Orlando and elsewhere.
Written by Gregg Condon (Images © Nintendo and Universal Parks and Resorts)
Here is a link to the official announcement and some highlights below.
I’m thrilled to share that Nintendo and Universal Parks & Resorts today announced plans to bring the world of Nintendo to life at Universal theme parks.
Together, these two storytelling giants will create spectacular, dedicated experiences based on Nintendo’s wildly popular games, characters and worlds.
The agreement brings two icons of entertainment together and represents a significant partnership for Nintendo as it expands the reach and popularity of its characters and intellectual property.
The immersive experiences will include major attractions at Universal’s theme parks and will feature Nintendo’s most famous characters and games.
More details will be announced in the future, as the Nintendo and Universal creative teams work to create specific concepts.
So what does this all mean? Honestly, as you can see from above, not much was revealed, it's possible this deal is very recent and obviously any specific attraction announcements won't be coming for awhile. And why should they? Universal has enough in the pipeline right now as it is.
But of course, that's not going to stop us all from speculating.
The possibilities for this are endless, the vast amount of Nintendo characters from Mario, Princess Peach, Donkey Kong, Star Fox, Zelda and more are amazing.
But even more than that, individual game franchises like Mario Kart, Super Smash Brothers and more are ripe for doing what Universal does best, a perfect blend of the real and imagined.
Can you imagine a ride like Transformers themed to Zelda as you ride through Hyrule going to rescue the Princess? Hopping through pipes and jumping over Goomba's with Mario ... in 3D? Racing as your favorite character in a Mario Kart Race through a Universal themed track?
The possibilities are endless.
And that's not even considering getting your picture taken with your favorite Nintendo characters. I'm not big on character stuff, but I would be for Nintendo.
Our house is filled with two generations of Nintendo fans, and I know we're not the only ones. We have every single Nintendo console ever made, and yes, they all still work.
This merging of Nintendo and Universal is an absolute no-brainer, one only has to wonder why it took so long.
So what Nintendo characters/franchises would you like to see? Take a look at our polls below and let us know in the comments. Once we get some poll results, we'll post the #1 character and franchise and see if we can't come up with something fun. =)
Today Universal Orlando Resort announced it's new King Kong attraction. Well, announced is kind of the wrong word as anybody who follows the theme park industry already knew this ride was coming.
Today was pretty much an "unveiling" and a showing not so much of what the ride "is", but really, what the ride "is not". Of course, that didn't stop the internet from going crazy.
Written by Gregg Condon (all artwork courtesy of Universal Orlando)
This really is a continuation of our article from this morning regarding Theme Park fans not giving the "other guy" a shot without seeing for themselves. (Click link to see that article if you haven't already)
First, here is the announcement with Mike West ...
Now I'm going to be 100% honest ... not 5 hours ago myself and I'm guessing a large portion of the internet who has been following the Kong construction figured that what Islands of Adventure was getting was pretty much a version of this ...
It's either very scary or incredibly naive that after seeing the video above or the artwork below how many "fans" still think that this is just a port of the attraction from Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour.
Will there be portions of the same film used in Orlando? It's entirely possible. There are a couple of clips from the USH version in the video. As others more intelligent than myself have pointed out, this is also not out of the ordinary when it comes to Universal attractions. Earthquake/Disaster Transport, Kongfrontation/Kong 1.0 on the USH Studio Tour, etc.
Will the new attraction utilize movie screens ... of course it will. Last I checked, Universal is a "movie" company, this should come as no surprise to anybody. This looks to be the perfect blend of the technology we'll be seeing in Fast and Furious Supercharged next month in Hollywood but on a much larger scale and not limited to what can be done on a tram.
I know this is a lot to ask (apparently), but how about let's wait until Summer 2016 to see what this attraction is all about? Or at least until Universal Orlando releases more specifics.
But honestly, I hope they don't. Let everybody wonder what it's going to be and then let the inevitable group of people who will never ride it tear it down while they wait 3 hours to meet the next Princess.