Those who know me and have followed this site since the beginning (before rumors) know a thing or two about permits. What some may not know is the history.
In 2008, Universal posted the permits to the City of Orlando's permitting office as they did any other year. These permits contained the house's theme/name. The"potter law" wasn't in place and any "Average Joe" could view the parcel and find the house names for the year, except no one seemed to take the time to do so or cared to do so (that I know of anyways). Well, I did just that, I found the list, posted it online and thought it was the coolest thing (and it was). I took it one step further, I went down to city hall and actually viewed the blueprints and took pictures of them with my phone MONTHS before the event. I thought for sure this method was golden. After all, it's public record.
Keep in mind, this was my first year investigating the details of the event. Little did I know how active Art & Design and Universal employees were about checking the forums to see what leaked. (I apologize to anyone who was using this method before 2008)
Fast forward to 2009, months before the event, April to be exact, right before the permits normally hit the web, a little law was passed (Read here) to keep blueprints for theme parks confidential. While I don't feel entirely to blame, this sure fire method was now trash. With Potter right around the corner, it's totally understandable why they'd want this method to die. That being said, the 2009 permits hit the web. Since it was a relatively new law, the employees weren't exactly sure what to say/do and I managed to squeeze code names out of them. Although these were in fact the actual working code names for the houses, this was when I knew that the public permits were useless. Universal is required to file a permit for each house, no one said they had to name them on the permits. The code names may have been there as a test to see what leaks or to throw us off, either way this was the last time this method was actually useful.
So now what do you do? You have a list of code names…. well, use that list plus all of the other "leaks" that get out and you have a good idea of what might be happening that year. Luckily for us some key stuff leaked and we were able to figure out the majority of the event. Great, so that was 2009….
2010 permits come around, I call up the permitting office again and speak with the same guy as the year before, Alex, in hopes of getting SOMETHING out of him. He wouldn't budge and I kinda felt bad trying to get any information from him. As it turns out the permits are now cryptic anyways. Uni did a great job and only one of the code names leak out, "zap", how the heck were we supposed to figure that out? We weren't, but! We later found out it meant awesomeness. In 2010, the best we got out of the permits were a couple of scene names and house locations. So what is Universal to do? Universal takes note that the scene names were capable or leaking. Lets guess what happens next…
Today – Permits come out, we gather the locations of the houses which haven't changed in years (legally, they have to put the house locations – next up is aliases for these locations) and I'm willing to bet that the scenes are now labeled as "Scene 1, 2, 3… " thus completely killing this method for information (as it should have been in 2009 when the law passed in the first place)
So as some are excited, it's sort of a moot point with me. This once great method has turned into a waste of time. Construction has already started, if some scene names leak out, great, however I'd take it with a grain of salt. There are new sources upon us, closely guarded but equally great. Get out there and find them 🙂 (Legally of course)