Here's an interesting find that I happened to notice today...
Seems that Google has updated their satellite images of Universal Orlando, and it just so happens that the updated pictures were taken on January 3rd, 2012, the day AFTER Jaws closed to the public! Some very interesting things to see in these images....
Here's an overview of the Jaws area. As you can see, the walls are up, and some of the show elements seem to be sticking up out of the water.
Here's a closer look at what appears to be the Jaws animatronic on the track that you see just before going into the boathouse.
Here's another look at where you can see some of the shark tracks that are normally under water. I'm assuming that this is during the water drainage process where the water is low enough to see some of the show elements, but not low enough to see the tracks for the boats.
Here's another picture of the walls around Amity. You can see the Jaws shark photo op was still behind the wall, which they quickly moved back out just a couple of days after the ride closed. So these images absolutely were just a few hours after the attraction closed forever. It looks like there are markings on the ground for where to relocate the walls to have the Jaws statue be out in the public area.
Another shot of the Amity area. It's important that the Dippin' Dots location appear on Google Maps. I was just going to put in driving directions to this very location, so I'm glad it's there!
Another another overview...this time in Google Earth which has the date stamp the pictures were taken.
Another Google Earth perspective.
Another one slightly closer in.
And while I personally hate Google Earth's fake angles and things, it does offer kind of an interesting perspective!
If anyone is able to find any more from this set of images, please post them! It's very interesting stuff!
Here's a few pics from that Orange County Property Appraiser site mentioned below... Thanks for pointing this out! Great find!!!
Last edited by robbalvey on Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:53 am.
The Orange County Property Appraiser updated their aerial imagery for 2012 too. Their photos were taken a little bit later in the month of January, showing the Jaws lagoon completely drained, but before any major demolition took place.
A website called ParkRumors also has an interesting article with some of the aerial imagery from the Property Appraiser site showing off various things from around Universal, like the Jurassic Park ride without water and the mini-golf construction. http://parkrumors.com/universal-from-above/
And if you want to see the aerial imagery yourself, here's a link to the Property Appraiser's website: http://paarcgis.ocpafl.org/ Just check the "Aerial Photo 2012" box in the lower left to show the mos recent imagery.
What I find hilarious is that the 7 boats are in the exact same position in the second set of pictures as they are in the first! I'm picturing the last boat came in from the final ride, unloaded the guests, and they literally shut the ride off, and started to drain the water moments later, that night! I don't think those boats ever moved again until they were physically removed from the property!
Last edited by robbalvey on Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:45 am.
I find it interesting to see the tire tracks on the bridge that boats would cross under near the end of the ride. I never thought much about that bridge, just assumed that it was part of the decor. But it looks like it was a functioning bridge, which makes sense when you see how much stuff was connected to that island. They would have needed to have a way to get equipment in there for maintenance and such.
Robb, what you are seeing in the first several pictures is not necessarily the water being drained. All the sharks were on huge platforms that could lift out of the water within minutes. Maintenance could literally walk right on these platforms and service the animatronics without draining any water. That lagoon would take way too long to drain and fill in one night (think about it, that's a lot more water than what's in a rapids ride!).
I think the only exception is the boathouse shark, but I may be wrong.
Interesting that the images would be updated at that time though. Interesting stuff to see for sure!
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