Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Crowd Calendar Report – April 24 to 30, 2016

by on May 10, 2016

How Crowded Was Universal Orlando Last Week?

How Crowded Was Universal Orlando Last Week?

Universal Orlando Resort continues to be the one resort that shows wait times within a reasonable distance of what we have seen historically in April. Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland are trending up sharply throughout April, especially during the week while Universal Orlando is showing the moderate wait times that we would expect for late April. However, wait times are still up at Universal Orlando as well, which each day last week coming in at or above what the Universal Crowd Calendar predicted.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Universal Crowd Calendar Report:

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Universal Orlando Photo Update May 9th, 2016

by on May 10, 2016

Welcome back to the long overdue return of our Universal Orlando photo updates.  Since so much has happened at the resort since our last update, this week’s update will primarily focus on the upcoming 2016 Sapphire Falls Resort, Skull Island Reign of Kong, and re-opening of The Incredible Hulk roller coaster.  We’ll also take a quick look at 2017’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park, as well as the Tonight Show and Fast & Furious attractions.  Let’s get going!

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Vertical construction has really taken off at the Volcano Bay site, now that we’re just one year away from the new theme park’s opening date.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We LOVE Marvel Superhero Island at Universal

by on May 7, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Marvel Superhero Island. This is a big weekend for Marvel. The critically acclaimed Captain America: Civil War hits the theaters in what looks to be a MASSIVE debut. We here at the SATURDAY SIX offices have been counting down the days since the movie was officially announced in October 2014. So to honor this momentous occasion we’re putting the spotlight this week on MARVEL. Despite Disney owning Marvel, the only* Marvel in Orlando right now is over at the Universal Orlando Resort. Now Universal inked their exclusive deal with Marvel back when no one wanted to touch the comic book company with a ten foot poll. Marvel had destroyed their own comic business by catering to speculators along with signing away their characters to awful movie deals out of their control. The recent Fantastic Four movie from Fox – the one that scored  9% on Rotten Tomatoes, wasn’t even the worst Fantastic Four movie ever made (this one is.) But that’s all in the past. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is better than ever (with a Pixar-like run of 13 good-to-great films) and Universal did the characters right over in Islands of Adventure. So sit back, watch your language, and let’s start our countdown with…

*that’s a looooooong story.

# 6 – MEET CAPTAIN AMERICA

We have to start off with the Sentinel of Liberty himself, Captain America. In the last 100 years Captain America has played an important part in our culture. His creators (Joe Simon and Jack Kirby) made a character to fight the growing menace of Nazi Germany. The first Captain America comic book came out in December 1940, a full year before the attack on Pearl Harbor. At the time there was a segment of America that didn’t believe we should enter the war, but the very first issue of Captain American had our star spangled superhero socking it to Adolf Hitler on the cover, making it perfectly clear how Simon and Kirby felt. After World War II ended, the popularity of many superhero titles waned, with Captain America himself getting canceled by 1949.

In the 1960s, when Stan Lee and the rest of Marvel Comics were creating a whole new era of heroes with Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and Iron Man, Captain America was brought back to lead the Avengers. We all know the story now, that he was a man frozen in time, literally, thawed out to lead Earth’s mightiest heroes. Captain America has been a staple of the Marvel comic book Universe ever since.

Remember those awful movie deals Marvel signed back in the day? Well Hollywood also made a Captain America movie, which of course: stunk (and that’s being generous.) The general consensus was that you couldn’t make a good Captain America film. The character was too square, too goody-two-shoes for a world which now wanted anti-heroes like Wolverine and the Punisher. Well, that all changed with the release of Captain America: The First Avenger. The sequel, Winter Soldier, is generally considered one of the best superhero films ever made (in Your Humble Author’s opinion, it’s not even close. #TeamCap)

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The First Avenger. (photo by Brandon Glover)

# 5 – CAP DINER

This may surprise you, because the overall food selection at Cap Diner may make you long for the haute cuisine available at your average counter service restaurant at the Magic Kingdom.  However, Cap Diner has two things going for it that make it a Must Do place for any Marvel fan.

The Million Dollar View. Cap Diner has a lot of seating both inside and outside, with most of the tables having an unbelievable look at the rest of Islands of Adventure. Here you can relax and look out into a picturesque setting that includes Hogsmeade Village, Mythos, and even Sneetch Beach over in Seuss Landing.

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Million dollar view. (photo by Brandon Glover)

It’s actually more of an Avengers restaurant than one based on Captain America. This actually may be heartbreaking for any Disney fan trying to find the loophole for any character not being used by Universal because there are so many just in this restaurant.  You have the big hitters like Thor, Iron Man and Ant-Man, but also a slew of Marvel characters that, up until recently, only hardcore Marvel Zombies would recognize, like the Black Knight. It’s absolutely incredible to see some of these characters outside of a comic book store. Imagine a Disney restaurant filled with characters from The Black Cauldron and Meet the Robinsons – that’s the level of depth the restaurant mines. This is a restaurant which features The Absorbing Man. ‘Nuff said true believers.

CapDinerAntMan_glover

Black Panther and Ant-Man inside Cap Diner. (photo Brandon Glover)

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Best Worst Attraction: Poseidon’s Fury

by on May 6, 2016

Maybe you’re looking to step a foot off the (extremely) well-beaten path to get away from the crowds. Maybe you have an appreciation for the under-valued (or a defiantly contrarian attitude, generally). Or maybe it isn’t your first rodeo, and you and your family need an injection of something different and fresh at the parks.

Regardless of the reason, it’s time for you to enjoy the smaller, more neglected, and – let’s be honest here – less-polished offerings that Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld have to offer. It’s time to experience the Best Worst Attractions.

Poseidon’s Fury

Park: Islands of Adventure
Location: The Lost Continent
Opening date: May 28, 1999

Poseidon's Fury's exterior, at Islands of Adventure

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Universal Crowd Calendar Report – April 17 to 23, 2016

by on April 29, 2016

How Crowded Was Universal Orlando Last Week?

How Crowded Was Universal Orlando Last Week?

Universal Orlando continues to be the most stable property when it comes to predicting crowds. Last week we saw wait times within a few minutes of what the Universal Crowd Calendar predicted most days and when the park level prediction was off it was rarely by more than two index levels. Guests of Universal Parks experienced crowd levels near or below the midpoint of our scale most days, a nice respite from the busy Spring season which now seems to be finally complete.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Universal Crowd Calendar Report:

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Universal Crowd Calendar Report – April 10 to 16, 2016

by on April 21, 2016

How Crowded Was Universal Orlando Last Week?

How Crowded Was Universal Orlando Last Week?

Other than slightly longer wait times than expected on Sunday, last week’s crowds at Universal Orlando were consistent with what the Universal Crowd Calendar predicted. One prediction missed by three levels while most other predictions were within one. Last week was a good sign for guests of Universal parks in April since crowds stayed at or below the middle point of our scale most days, making for easily manageable parks.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Universal Crowd Calendar Report:

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Universal Crowd Calendar Report – April 3 to 9, 2016

by on April 12, 2016

How Crowded Was Universal Orlando Last Week?

How Crowded Was Universal Orlando Last Week?

Last week, like what we saw across town at Walt Disney World, Universal Crowds were way busier than history would suggest for the week after Easter. Beginning this week we have added an indicator for what the crowds were during the equivalent week in the prior year. The Universal Crowd Calendar predicted that crowds would hit a few points higher than what we saw in 2015, in line with the increase in Theme Park attendance figures so far in 2016, but it still was not enough for last week. We haven’t seen post-Easter crowds like that at Universal since we started tracking them in 2009.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Universal Crowd Calendar Report:

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Universal’s Summer Concert Series

by on April 8, 2016

To celebrate warm summer evenings – and to help empty out the rest of Universal Studios Florida during the extremely busy month of June – Universal holds the annual Summer Concert Series. While it’s not as well-known as Halloween Horror Nights, it is still a fun and well-attended event – and considering that it’s absolutely free (well, included in regular Universal Studios park admission, that is), it’s more than worth checking out.

Universal Summer Concert Series banner

Image © Universal

We’re already anticipating this year’s Concert Series; in 2014 it was cancelled, thanks to a little something called The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley opening up (can you imagine two massive crowds vying for space in the park?), and last year’s was temporarily renamed the 25th Anniversary Concert Series, due to Universal Studios Florida, well, turning 25-years-old last summer. That means 2016 should be a return to standard, old-fashioned form, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

There is a caveat we have to issue here, however: although the company doesn’t typically make its Summer Concert announcements until the end of its Mardi Gras annual event (yes, we think that’s cutting it a little too close, as well), there is the small possibility that Universal opts to skip out on 2016, just as it did two years ago; there is a trio of brand-new openings occurring this summer at Universal Orlando, starting with Skull Island: Reign of Kong and the overhauled Incredible Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure and ending with Sapphire Falls Resort, the fifth on-site hotel. If so, then consider this an extremely early bout of vacation planning, and be sure to return here for when the 2017 Summer Concert Series rolls around. (Although it should be noted that we think the concerts will go on as usual. The Diagon Alley opening was at the same park, where this year’s new openings are at Islands of Adventure.)

Where is it?

Like nearly every other Universal Orlando annual event, you’ll find the festivities located at Universal Studios Florida.

Universal Music Plaza Stage

The Universal Music Plaza Stage, where the concerts are held

When is it?

Typically late May to late June, running for select nights (just like with nearly all of the resort’s other annual events). Last year’s Summer Concert Series had six artists performing – you guessed it – on six nights, starting on Saturday, May 23 and ending on Saturday, June 20 (there was one Sunday in there, too, for all those playing along at home).

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Universal Crowd Calendar Report – March 27 to April 2, 2016

by on April 7, 2016

How Crowded Was Universal Orlando Last Week?

How Crowded Was Universal Orlando Last Week?

Last week, the Universal Crowd Calendar predicted a flatter crowd level throughout the week than what we saw. Tuesday and Wednesday were some of the busiest days we have seen at Universal Orlando since the annual peak at Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The misses were due solely to larger than expected crowds at Islands of Adventure, the predictions for Universal Studios never missed by more than one index level all week. Then on Saturday the crowd levels plummeted to one of the lowest we have seen since January, especially at Islands of Adventure.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Universal Orlando Resort Crowd Report:

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Universal Crowd Calendar Report – March 20 to 26, 2016

by on April 5, 2016

How Crowded Was Universal Orlando Last Week?

How Crowded Was Universal Orlando Last Week?

Last week, Universal Orlando Parks were slightly busier than expected in the first part of the week but stayed within close range of predicted levels for the second half. Wednesday through Saturday none of the Universal Crowd Calendar predictions missed by more than one index level and only once was a prediction off by more than two.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Universal Orlando Resort Crowd Report:

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