Some of the construction walls were not yet complete on June 16, allowing guests a view of the work in progress. Note the low roof area, which originally was the outdoor queue area for Murder She Wrote. Guests would watch overhead TV screens in line, as the story of the black pearl and “my girlfriend Lelani” began to be told.
Quite a lot has changed at the lagoon in the past eight months. This view is from Dec. 10, 2011. The Stage 44 show building is seen here at left, with a Macy’s balloon on the former outdoor queue. Colored balls in the lake note locations of show elements being installed for Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular show.
There are plenty of rumors about what will replace the soundstage. One is a Transformers attraction, similar to the recently opened one at Universal Studios Hollywood. Here’s a comparison of sites at Universal Studios Hollywood (left) and Orlando (right) from Google Maps at the same scale. Left arrow points to the new Transformers attraction in Hollywood, right arrow points to Stage 44 in Orlando. No announcement has been made yet on what will replace Stage 44. Other rumors suggest a year-round haunted house, a kids play area, or a Madagascar ride.
Another unusual aspect of the demolition is that heavy equipment is travelling through the park during guest hours. This is highly unusual to see in a theme park, and shows the speed at which the building is being torn down. Arrows above and below point to a large jackhammer used to break apart concrete and other heavy items.
Work is starting to go above ground at the unannounced project underway at what used to be Amity Island and the Jaws ride. Rumors suggest this is where the announced Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion will be built.
Another interesting construction detail is blue-tarp covered barrier stretching in front of the water edge. It is probably to keep construction boats and barges from drifting into the lagoon’s underwater show elements. It may also be used as a dam, to push the lagoon back.