Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar Report – February 22 to 28, 2015

by on March 3, 2015

Last week the only crowd level that surprised us was Islands of Adventure on Saturday. Other than that, the Crowd Calendar predictions were within one index level every day. The parks were manageable every day with no crowd level reaching higher than a level ‘4’ on our scale – good news for guests of Universal Orlando Resort.

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 – February 15 to 21, 2015

by on February 24, 2015

Last week, a rainy Tuesday kept Universal Orlando crowd levels at bay until Wednesday and Thursday when wait times spiked a couple levels higher than expected. This happens often when guests lose a vacation day to bad weather. The Crowd Calendar did correctly predict the flow of crowds throughout the week however, including the near-maximum crowds levels on Sunday and Monday as guests took advantage of the Presidents Day and Mardi Gras holidays.

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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SATURDAY SIX SPECIAL EDITION: Inaugural 2015 Theme Park Awards (AKA “The Burgys”)

by on February 21, 2015

BurgyStatue

The most coveted theme park award of all… The Golden Burgy.

This week’s SATURDAY SIX presents the Inaugural 2015 Theme Park Awards. This weekend, while the rest of the world is preparing for The Oscars and spending hours watching awards given to films they haven’t even heard of, let alone watched (not to mention the outright Best Picture snubs of Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: Winter Soldier), readers of this column will be able to see their favorite theme park attractions get the attention they deserve. The Golden Burgy, theme park media’s highest award, is being handed out to the rides, shows, restaurants, and experiences that truly stood out over the past year.

Just as the Academy Awards hand out their lesser prizes before the main show, we’d like to present two of our minor awards before we get to the big ones. First, a Golden Burgy goes to the Holy Land Experience in the category of Best Theme Park Food Pun for their Garden of Eaten Chicken Salad Sandwich. Interestingly enough, Holy Land had all the nominees in this category including JerusaLamb, Land of Milk (no honey,and My Cup Overflows Souvenir Refillable Cup. The category of Biggest Theme Park Free Fall experience was the tightest race of all the nominees. Falcon’s Fury at Busch Gardens was the favorite to win, but the coveted Golden Burgy instead went to SeaWorld’s stock price. Now that’s a drop.

With those out of the way, allow us to present to you the Inaugural SATURDAY SIX Theme Park Awards, starting with…

# 6 – Best New Ride Experience – Diagon Alley’s Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts 

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The rotunda inside Gringotts bank includes an incredible view. And this is just the queue! (photo by Tom Bricker)

What else needs to be said about Universal’s newest E-Ticket attraction? The queue for Escape From Gringotts is one of the best in theme park history, loaded with magical details from the Harry Potter films. There are incredible goblin animatronics and million dollar chandeliers hanging above that make the Gringotts Bank lobby almost an attraction by itself.

Unlike IOA’s Forbidden Journey’s “best of” trip through the first four Potter films, Escape From Gringotts places guests directly into events from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. Ingeniously showing a movie scene from another perspective, Escape From Gringotts takes Universal’s motto of Ride The Movies to the next level.

Worst New Ride Experience – Being attacked by bees on Rip Ride Rocket 

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“Oh the humanity!” Swarms of bees attack riders on Universal Studios Florida’s Rip Ride Rockit. (photo by Mike Sperduto and Matt Cleary.)

While just a minor blip on the radar in 2014, the story of Rip Ride Rockit having a minor problem with bees was enough for us to envision the plot of a new horror film.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: February 19, 2015

by on February 19, 2015

201Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’re enjoying meals not just at Kona Cafe, but also Finnegan’s Bar & Grill over at Universal. Of course, we’re also visiting the Universal Orlando Parks, Downtown Disney, and stopping by the Magic Kingdom too. I don’t know how I’m going to fit it all into just one blog! Let’s figure it out together. :)

For Valentine’s Day lunch we couldn’t think of a better place than Kona Cafe. The food is wonderful and the setting is comfy and casual. Traffic was worse than we’d anticipated so we made it to the podium exactly on time for our 12:30pm reservation. Of course, that meant we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. They seemed quite short staffed with several empty tables despite gobs of people waiting outside. It was nice to have the tables next to us open, though. Our appetizer of potstickers ($8.49) were super yummy and came out so quickly they beat our drinks!

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Want to see what we ordered? Be sure to click to read more!

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Universal Crowd Calendar Report – February 8 to 14, 2015

by on February 17, 2015

Each day last week, crowds at Universal Orlando Resort came in at or below levels predicted by our Universal Crowd Calendar. The beginning of the week was particularly slower than expected but then crowds picked up by midweek and continued through the weekend.

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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Menu Monday: Cowfish at Universal CityWalk Orlando Review

by on February 16, 2015

Cowfish Logo

Cowfish Logo

 

Disclosure: Please note that while we were not compensated for our meal, we were seated at Cowfish by management after my husband spoke to someone at corporate office.

Despite the fact that we’ve been driving down the road to party it up at Universal Studios Orlando for nearly eight years now, it’s hard to pry my husband and me away from our beloved outdoor bars and into restaurants. Hey, we like to people-watch… how else would I be able to snobbishly judge passersby on the nerd culture displayed on their clothing? So we were a little disappointed to hear that one of CityWalk’s newest establishments, the sushi-burger fusion place Cowfish, had nixed its outdoor bar food service literally the day before we arrived. Typically, that’s how you get lazy, food-obsessed locals to swear vengeance on your establishment… hey, my name isn’t Inigo Montoya, I take my vendettas where I can. Cowfish’s menu had come so highly recommended, however, and from so many different people, that we had to give it a try. Turns out, it’s a good thing we did, since Cowfish is really, really worth the trip. Enough that we went twice just to tell you about different things!

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Universal Crowd Calendar Report – February 1 to 7, 2015

by on February 10, 2015

Although our Universal Crowd Calendar missed by one level some days last week it perfectly matched the shape of how crowds flowed day-to-day. Our wait time predictions tended to be a little high last week but not by much.

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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Best Worst Attraction: TWISTER… Ride It Out

by on February 6, 2015

We’re so happy to bring you an article from Marc Kleinhenz this week. Marc splits his time as contributing editor at Orlando Informer and staff writer at Theme Park Tourist. Between all that and his day job, Marc will also be writing regularly for the TouringPlans blog.

Maybe you’re looking to take 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.

TWISTER… Ride It Out

Park: Universal Studios Florida
Location: New York
Opening date: May 4, 1998

Twister... Ride It Out concept art

Image © Universal

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Universal Orlando Resort Crowd Calendar Report – January 25 to 31, 2015

by on February 3, 2015

The Universal Orlando Crowd Calendar predicted ‘2’s, ‘3’s and ‘4’s last week and that is exactly what we saw. However each day we seemed to miss by one. Wait times jumped around between the three levels with the only exception being Monday at Universal Studios Park. ‘A Celebration of Harry Potter’ event occurred on Friday and Saturday but wait times were not adversely affected.

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 Orlando Resort Crowd Calendar Report – January 18 to 24, 2015

by on January 27, 2015

As you can see from the graph (right), our Crowd Calendar predictions did very well at Universal Orlando resort last week, missing on two days only and by only one level. Crowds were busiest on the Sunday and Monday as guests flocked to the resort to take advantage of Martin Luther King Jr Day. Then, wait times dropped off significantly and suddenly on Tuesday where they remained low for most of the week.

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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