Earlier this month when I was down at Universal Studios Florida for the "Transformers The Ride - 3D" press event, a longtime Universal cast member pulled me aside and suggested that -- as part of that trip -- I make an effort to swing by that theme park's International Food & Film Festival restaurant and get one last look at the place.
Photo by Jim Hill
For those of you don't remember: The IFF was that quick service restaurant at USF which was located between the Animal Actors on Location arena and The Simpsons Ride.Where Universal Orlando visitors had the option of ordering pasta, burgers and (back in the day) chinese food.
So over the course of that November 1st "Transformers" press event, I did step away for a few moments and grab a few quick shots of this restaurant. And I'm so glad that I did. Given that -- when I returned to Universal Studios Florida yesterday -- the International Food & Film Festival was locked up tight & its outdoor menu board had been pulled down.
And in place of that menu board was a sign which read that this restaurant was "Closed for Production."
"What sort of production?," you ask. Well, to be honest, that seems to have a lot to do with what's located right next door to the International Food & Film Festival. To be specific the Kwik-E Mart ...
and The Simpsons Ride.
You see, over the past six months, this part of Universal Studios Florida has been undergoing something of a transformation. With all of those carny games which used to be located in Amity outside of "Jaws The Ride" ...
... being shifted over to the Simpsons side of Universal Studios Lagoon. Where all of these classic games-of-chance were then Simpson-ized.
Well, according to Universal Orlando insiders, The Simpsons will have a significantly larger presence in this theme park come the Spring of 2013. According to permits that UOR officials filed with the Orange County Comptroller's office back on August 31, Building 72 (i.e. the sprawling USF structure which houses the Kwik-E Mart, the International Food & Film Festival as well as the restrooms for the Animal Actors on Location area) will be partially demolished.
Now what's kind of interesting is that -- in addition to this previously announced demolition work -- Universal has just thrown some construction walls up around the Court of Flags that's located in front of The Simpsons Ride ...
... as well around some of the decorative flower beds that are located near one of the exits of this simulator attraction.
"So what's really going on here?," you query. Well, the folks at Universal Studios Orlando are notoriously close-mouthed (Let's remember that these are the same people who had the "Transformers The Ride - 3D" construction site going 24/7 for six months with two enormous cranes looming over this part of this theme park moving massive pieces of steel before they then admitted that this Universal Studios Singapore & Universal Studios Hollywood attraction was actually come to USF). But the current scuttlebutt is that the International Food & Film Festival -- as part of its Simpsonization process -- may actually be turned into two separate restaurants. To be specifc, a Krusty Burger as well as a relatively faithful recreation of Homer's favorite watering hole, Moe's.
What's more, there have been persistent rumors that Krustyland may be getting a brand-new attraction. A ferris wheel that would be built down alongside Universal Studios Lagoon.
Now I'm not by nature a betting man. But if I had a lot of D'oh to spare, I'd bet you that something really cool -- something that Simpsons fans are just going to love -- is about to built in this corner of Universal Studios Florida.
I love construction... especially Universal Studios Florida construction. The Simpsons is a wonderful ride and the fact that what remains of World Expo is being converted into a Simpsons area is, well, just really cool. Universal Studios Florida is going to look like an all new theme park when everything that's currently under construction is complete, and that really excites me as a theme park fan. So, I'm guessing it's safe to say that we can expect major expansion and/or changes at Universal Orlando Resort every decade or so?
I remember you saying on a podcast about the speed at which Universal can get things off the ground and into their parks. This is a remarkably quick turnaround.
The Transformation of the park will put Universal over the top. With Transformers in the summer of 2013 and the new Simspons area it will be the place to be. I hope that they add alot of themed foods to the new area. Duff beer, Donuts and Krusty burgers. A ferris wheel would offer great views of the lagoon show and at the construction site across the water, what ever that could be. LOL
Mmmmm... Duff Beer and Krustyburgers... :)
Here are some of the things you will experience in Springfield at Universal Studios in Mid 2013!
The IFFF will transform into a themed dining experience complete with General Changs Taco Italiano, Krusty Burgers, Kentucky Fried Panda, and Moes Tavern. Moes Tavern will be walled off inside to give it an intimate experience. The IFFF will feature all of these facades. Moes will be straight out of the show all the way down to bar set up and pool table inside.
On the Waterfront will be the only new ride in this transformation. Kodos and Kang, a themed spinner with a themed outdoor queue. Next to that will be Duff Gardens a large outdoor bar with a massive themed structure where you will be able to get yourself a Duff beer on the Waterfront. Last but not least will be VIP seating along the waterfront for Cinespec.
Other eats include a Lard Lads donuts, food trucks, and stands
Unique theming elements will include Homer, Marges, and Apus cars parked outside the Kwik E Mart. Chief Wiggums police car crashed into a fire hydrant with water effect. Krusty's Airstream Camper. Springfield Entrance coming from Kidszone and a Krustyland entrance coming from MIB.
Their will also be a host of unique photo ops for guest to use and for kids to meet characters.
And MUCH MORE!!