Rumor round-up for August 9, 2013: Replacing Lost Continent with Willy Wonka, Universal CityWalk developments exposed & more HHN goodies

Rumor round-up for August 9, 2013: Replacing Lost Continent with Willy Wonka, Universal CityWalk developments exposed & more HHN goodies

What should replace Lost Continent? The answer may surprise you…

Let’s update Islands of Adventure, shall we?

With Universal Studios Florida getting a bevy of new attractions – Transformers, Springfield, Diagon Alley – it’s only right to balance out the equation and give Islands of Adventure its first park-wide facelift since it opened all the way back in 1999. And, indeed, we’ve already covered Toon Lagoon possibly being replaced and both Jurassic Park and Seuss Landing getting expansions in previous installments of Rumor Round-Up. That just leaves Marvel Super Hero Island and Lost Continent; the former can’t be altered due to contractual stipulations with Marvel/Disney, and the later has been rumored to be replaced by one license or another ever since Harry Potter literally broke Lost Continent in half for Hogsmeade.

Poseidon's Fury at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

Poseidon’s Fury at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

This biggest, hot-off-the-presses rumor of what will be taking over Lost Continent, though, takes the cake: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The Orlando United forums are abuzz with Universal Creative’s current round of planning for the “island,” which is still reportedly in the blue sky phase. Expect to see Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory dominating most of the area, with a small British village surrounding it and acting as something of a buffer zone. Inside, there will be several attractions, ranging from the chocolate river ferry to the fizzy lifting drink lab to, of course, the glass elevator.

If this all seems too, well, weird to be true, the rationale is said to go something this: it’s a “family-friendly, literary-based IP with a built-in food and beverage component” – exactly the sort of thing that Universal is on the hunt for since the unquestionable success of the Wizarding World (not to mention the growing traction around Springfield).

Don’t get too excited (or disappointed!) just yet, though – according to the reports, this would take a backseat to the imminent Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone overhaul at USF and the expansion work at Seuss Landing and Jurassic Park. We shouldn’t expect construction to begin until late 2015, at the earliest.

 

Walking the CityWalk walk

Did you happen to stop by Orlando Informer’s Flickr page this week and see all those construction walls starting to pop up at CityWalk? And are you perhaps curious as to what, exactly, Universal has planned now?

Pastamore Marketplace demolition - August 9, 2013.

Pastamore Marketplace demolition – August 9, 2013. See more on Flickr

Latin Quarter demolition - August 9, 2013.

Latin Quarter demolition – August 9, 2013. See more on Flickr

Well, faithful readers of RRU will already have a head’s up about what’s going on, but it turns out Park Rumors has a lot more (concrete) info on what’s going down, as well. It turns out that Universal filed the first of several CityWalk-related permits back on June 12, which was for the “interior remodel of existing venue in Space 294 in CityWalk.” That space is, of course, currently home to Pastamore Marketplace, but it’ll soon be called Woodfire Pizza, according to the document. (Note that the full-service section of Pastamore is still open for business.)

The other changes? Project 102 calls for the “demolition of interior and exterior construction in existing venue,” which – surprise! – is for Latin Quarter. What’s interesting to note here is that there’s no mention of a remodel – just a straight demolition job, which means that whatever new restaurant (supposedly a Don Quixote) moves into this lot will have to start from the ground up. Last but not least is none other than “PRJ IOA STARBUCKS 208,” which we now know (thanks, in part, to one our of lovely OI readers, DestroyTheMouse) to be a two-fer: Starbucks moving into the lower level of CityWalk as well as taking over Cinnabon’s location in Islands of Adventure…

Do you see room for a Starbucks at IOA's Port of Entry?

Do you see room for a Starbucks at IOA’s Port of Entry?

As for why all of these construction projects are being started now, at the tail end of the summer season, we’ve been hearing from multiple sources and on multiple sites that Universal wants everything to be done before the holiday season kicks off, which is typically the very busiest part of the vacation year.

But what’s perhaps most interesting about this recent development is simply just how spot-on the inside sources at Universal are: we reported back in June that Latin Quarter would be going down in August, and here we are, right on the dot. When combined with the leaks about Diagon Alley, Transformers, and Springfield, it seems that Universal isn’t able to keep a secret for very long – which is terrific for us rumor mongers and theme park enthusiasts.

 

HHN 23 is starting to ramp up

Are you ready to declare your fealty to one particular faction or another of Halloween Horror Nights? Wait no longer – Universal now has Legendary Truth and Horror Unearthed merchandise available for purchase. Items currently up consist of caps, beanies, and, in the case of Legendary Truth, t-shirts, but there’s plenty of “coming soon” teases at the site for more offerings. The six legions – Baccanoid, Cerebin, Kerezan, Maschorian, Morphan, and Strengoit – are all carry-overs from last year’s HHN, which more than likely means that we can see a similar in-park game, replete with an RFID card for each player, pop up again in the weeks to come.

If horror shopping actually gets you in the mood for some scares, the next two mazes for Horror Nights have been whispered into the cyberspace ether… but only for Universal Studios Hollywood. First up is Black Sabbath: 13-3D, which will feature “horrifying” graveyards, madhouses, and battlefields and which will also incorporate a 3D video that contains elements from the band’s recent album, 13. Universal is promising that this will be the only haunted house to feature 3D elements of this kind, so take that for what it’s worth.

Suffer the curse in Black Sabbath:13-3D.

Suffer the curse in Black Sabbath:13-3D.

And the second one? That’ll be based off of Insidious, the 2010 movie produced by the creator of the Paranormal Activity series. Scare Zone was actually the first to break this story early last month, and now other sources are backing them up, with an official reveal slated for this weekend.

Finally, if you want a HHN fix right this instant, you can always follow its official Twitter feed, which was just taken over by the assistant director of creative development for Universal Orlando’s Art and Design Department, Mike Aiello. Behind the Thrills has a brief but loving write-up of the man, who started off as a part-time employee at Universal Studios Florida (even working HHN himself!) and who is now posting computer mock-ups of the mazes and even some Walking Dead designs.

 

Until next week…

 

DISCLAIMER FROM THE EDITOR

It is tough to imagine that we need to put a disclaimer at the bottom of a blog post called Rumor Round-Up, but the growing popularity of our articles seems to have raised concern in some camps that our rumor reporting is not a 100% accurate forecast of things to come. So here goes nothing: Please remember when viewing this post that a rumor is a piece of unverified information of uncertain origin; a statement whose veracity is not quickly or ever confirmed.

For those who wish we’d only write about “true” rumors, I simply don’t know how to articulate a sensible reply to that request. But I can say, if you possess an algorithm for determining these, you ought to be making millions selling true rumors to sites like TMZ — or the government.

Thanks to Marc for researching the latest rumor buzz from sources across the Internet and condensing it down into a single post for us each and every week!

 

About the author

Marc N. Kleinhenz’s first dream in life was to be an astronaut. His second was an Imagineer. While neither completely worked out, he now writes books, flash fiction, and articles for 22 sites and counting (including IGN, The Escapist, and The Huffington Post). He’s co-created two podcasts and has even taught English in Japan. Imagineering school won’t be too far behind.
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24 comments
lukeliberty
lukeliberty

I really hope that the do not offer up a huge chunk of the park for Willy Wonka, I would rather see a fast and furious section of the park!  and the black sabbath house will only be in Hollywood not Orlando, Orlando will also not be getting anything paranormal activity.

JohnnyNicholls
JohnnyNicholls

crazy though will it have anything to do with charlie and the chocolate factory .johnny depp plays in that one and i dont know if he would be at universal as part of the theme or if they go with the wilder look .....depp could be at both disney and uni crazy....hes already the only person to have to different characters at disney ...tonto .captain jack

Christopher Hindson
Christopher Hindson

Is pastamore staying as a restaurant, we are coming out to universal next month and have always loved eating there.

Natasha Dawn
Natasha Dawn

Now Willy Wonka would be MY Harry Potter! I'm so hoping it happens! (and Gene Wilder inspired too ;) )

Todd Losey
Todd Losey

If done right, might be best attraction there

Kevin Strachan
Kevin Strachan

i nearly had to trip a waiter/waitress then the food was just okay at best

Brandy Meyers
Brandy Meyers

bring it on! that would be fantastic! imagine the possibilities!

Holly Leathley-Andrew
Holly Leathley-Andrew

I would continue my annual pass for decades if they replaced the lost continent with willy wonka!!

Kristen M Eby
Kristen M Eby

Wouldn't that screw up Jurassic Park River Adventure? That's one of my faves

Ashley Licata
Ashley Licata

I think there would be better things universal could come up with then willy wonks

Catie Dugger
Catie Dugger

Willy Wonka?! That would get me back to Universal.

Jorge X. Arnoldson
Jorge X. Arnoldson

There's no Wonka reboot planned in the near future, and Alton Towers has the UK rights to it. Universal would do a great job recreating Willy Wonka, whether it be the 1971 classic or improving the sub-par 2005 remake.

Kevin Strachan
Kevin Strachan

now if they could just make the food and service at pastamore not suck lol

Michael Conda
Michael Conda

Hmmm...not quite sure I'm sold on Willy Wonka. It certainly does meet the literary/food and drink requirements Universal seems to be looking at, but is it an IP that will have guests making trips to Universal Orlando to visit? That's where I am unconvinced. It seems a bit late to jump on the Wonka train, unless there is something new in the works. Not super stoked about the rumored 'smurferization' of Kids Zone, I think Universal has some super incredible attractions/experiences lined up for the next few years, but their 'family' offerings need to be reviewed...Smurfs & Wonka seem out of place. Just my $0.02

CaptainAction
CaptainAction

Wonka is very old. Will that really be exciting? Let's hear some more ideas before you go with this.

Smurfs is a definite mistake! Smurf 2 was the lowest per screen draw of any family friendly film this summer behind Turbo. I haven't heard or read anyone's opinion that Smurfs was a good idea.

Universal you are doing GREAT just slow down and get these things right so you keep your momentum.

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