Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort Preview — Week of September 2

by on August 31, 2017

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook DestinationsStorybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

Labor Day weekend….the unofficial end of summer is upon us! Let’s make the most of the time we have left and get out and have some fun!

Weekly Crowd Level



Look at these beautiful crowd levels! Hello, back to school! Detailed crowd level information can be found here.

Weekly Weather Report

Check out the latest weather forecast here.

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SATURDAY SIX: The 6 Highest-Rated Attractions at the Universal Orlando Resort

by on August 26, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Six Highest-Rated Attractions at the Universal Orlando Resort! This month we’ve taken the data submitted by TouringPlans readers after they have returned from their Orlando vacations to get an idea of what they liked – and didn’t like – during their trip to the parks. We started with the highest-rated rides at Walt Disney World, followed by the highest-rated shows and spectaculars. Last week we looked at the lowest-rated attractions at WDW and today we are going down the street to the Mouse’s chief competition, the Universal Orlando Resort. Now, two years ago the SATURDAY SIX commissioned a blue-ribbon panel consisting of some of the biggest names in the theme park community to rate Their Favorite Attractions at Universal. It’s going to be interesting to see what the “experts” chose compared to the average family, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey made its debut over 7 years ago and is pretty much the ride which forever changed the fortunes of Universal. The attraction’s Hogwarts Castle facade is impressive enough, but what really blew everyone away was the attention to detail in the queue. In fact, the queue of Forbidden Journey is so incredible that for a while there was a “castle tour” option where guests could walk the queue without riding the attraction. Universal used elements both from the Potter books and film series throughout the queue to create an amazing experience like no other. Creative nailed the “living paintings” concept and even had the debut of the Four Founders of Hogwarts, with the four having a conversation about the guests through their paintings. Fans of the Potter series get to walk through places such as Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor Common Room, and the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom.

The ride itself has guests going through the greatest hits of the first several Harry Potter films, including a stop into the Chamber of Secrets, a fly through of a game of Quidditch, and even a run-in with Dementors. This is all done spectacularly through the use of live-action sets and screens that work seamlessly together to provide an experience like no others. The cherry on top of the sundae is the use of all your favorite Harry Potter stars both in the queue and in the ride.

Overall Score 4.3/5

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey queue. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Universal Orlando Resort Preview — Week of August 26

by on August 24, 2017

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook DestinationsStorybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

How on earth did the end of summer get here so fast?! Before the last bit of summer slips away, it is time to get out there and have some fun! Let’s go!

Weekly Crowd Level

Can we say back to school? Those crowd levels are looking good!! You can see the detailed crowds by park, and the show schedules here.

Weekly Weather Report

It’s still summer, and there’s a good chance of rain for this weekend, so before you leave the house don’t forget to check the latest weather here.

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Universal Orlando Resort Preview – Week of August 19

by on August 17, 2017

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook DestinationsStorybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

Hello again! It looks like a great week to hit the parks, so let’s see what is in store!

Weekly Crowd Level

Oh so slowly, the kids are going back to school and summer is fading, as will the crowds by the end of the week.

Weekly Weather Report

What won’t be fading this week are the temperatures. Like a good scout, always be prepared and check out the most up-to-date forecast here.

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School Schedules and Crowd Levels

by on August 14, 2017

Ed. Note: We frequently get questions to TouringPlans asking how we make crowd predictions. This article provides insight into one of the metrics used when formulating predictions about park attendance.

It comes as no surprise that many families with school-age children take Disney vacations, and most prefer to take their children on vacations when school isn’t in session. To account for these attendance patterns, we track over 100 public school districts. This includes the 100 largest school districts in the country, the largest school districts in each state, and school districts that are close to Walt Disney World and Disneyland. This covers 12 million students. That is more than 20% of all students enrolled in public education. TouringPlans spends a lot of time collecting the school schedules each fall and summer. We put in the effort because school schedules are one of the best indicators for predicting crowd levels. Collecting more school schedules has diminishing returns, however. We would have to collect 100 more school districts’ calendars to cover 5% more of the public school students.

National Center for Education Statistics
CCD public school district data 2014-2015, 2015-2016 school years
http://nces.ed.gov/ccd

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Universal Orlando Resort Preview – Week of August 12

by on August 10, 2017

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook DestinationsStorybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

It’s the middle of August, which means summer is slowly starting to wind down! If you are planning one last hurrah in the Universal Orlando parks, here’s what to expect.

Weekly Crowd Level

Oh so slowly, the kids are going back to school and summer is fading, as will the crowds by the end of the week.

Weekly Weather Report

Summer weather still changes rapidly and often, so check out the latest forecast here before your visit.

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Universal Orlando Resort Preview — Week of August 5

by on August 3, 2017

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook DestinationsStorybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

Hello again! Time to check out what you need to know if you are visiting Universal Orlando Resort this week!

Weekly Crowd Level

Crowds are not dropping just yet…but Sunday sure does look like the best day to visit this week! If a crowd level of 9 intimidates you, create a customized Touring Plan for a stress-free day!

Weekly Weather Report

Weather in Central Florida in the summer changes rapidly – don’t forget to check out the latest forecast before you head out!

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Universal Orlando Resort Preview – Week of July 29

by on July 27, 2017

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook DestinationsStorybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

Before you wonder if you are having a case of deja vu…you aren’t, I promise! Yes, not much is different in the land of Universal Orlando, but let’s look at the details of this week so you can make the most of your visit!

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Universal Orlando Resort Preview – Week of July 22

by on July 20, 2017

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook DestinationsStorybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

Hi again! I’m back with your weekly Universal Orlando update. It’s the dog days of summer, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting out and having fun at the parks.

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Universal Orlando Resort Preview – Week of July 15th

by on July 13, 2017

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook Destinations. Storybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

So you want to go to Universal Orlando, you say?

This week, you say?

Well you’re in the right place!! Each week, I’ll have the most important things you need to know, all in one place, to help you make the most of your time and have the most epic day ever!

Weekly Crowd Level

Overall, crowds will be pretty consistently summer-dense throughout the week. Do I hear a Sunday Funday calling??

Weekly Weather Report

It’s summertime in central Florida! You know the routine….scattered thunderstorms, they come and they go! *Disclaimer: though my name rhymes with weather, I am not in fact a meteorologist. So arm your smartphone with your favorite weather app (Dark Sky is my personal favorite) and check the forecast before you go!

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