Transformers: The Ride – Universal Studios Orlando
Opening in June 2013, the Transformers made their third home in Florida, following the additions at the Hollywood and Singapore Universal Studios Parks.
In the summer of 2012 while working as a core employee for NBCUniversal’s Universal Creative division, I was approached to produce a study to determine if the Transformers attraction could fit within the Universal Studios Orlando site. Executives were considering having the attraction added to the park in a location which was previously home to the Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Movie Making and Hercules & Xena: Wizards of the Screen experiences. This building, known as sound stage 44, was mainly left abandoned for 12 years and was used for storage.
After reviewing the attraction AutoCAD drawings produced for Universal Studios Hollywood, I developed a new plan using Orlando’s site plan to determine if the same building footprint could fit within the existing block to replace sound stage 44. The attraction building was larger than the existing block and would require the street to be reduced in width and exits reconfigured. Knowing the attraction had a basement was also something I noted within the study and as it turned out a challenging situation in Florida. The study was completed and forwarded after a day of work to the executives for consideration.
Two weeks later in July 2012, cranes were delivered to the site and demolition on sound stage 44 began. This fast paced project caught the Halloween Horror Nights design team by surprise. Their plans for a haunted house attraction within the sound stage that season had to be scrapped. With construction for the entire attraction lasting less than a year, the attraction opened exactly 12 months after the site study. As I stated to the executives and team on the completion, it was “A monumental achievement”.
These satellite images from Google earth show the location before and after the project.
The new building presence after completion.
Cranes and construction walls were a common sight in the park during 2012.
This photo was taken the morning “Optimus Prime” made his debut on the facade.
Guests await the chance of a soft opening as the attraction queue line is manned by staff in operation wardrobe.
It’s hard to imagine this was only a year long project. Unfortunately I can not provide any of the developmental work for you here as the work remains under common confidential policy with Universal.