Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Crowd Report – December 7 to 13, 2014

by on December 16, 2014

For the second week in a row, as in many weeks this fall, Universal Orlando wait times were low, in the bottom third of our scale all week. No park hit a crowd level higher than ‘4’ and that only happened one day. Guests to Universal Orlando Resort experienced another week of low wait times.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Photos: Kongstruction Project 340 Progress Update

by on December 14, 2014

Construction — or as we say here, Kongstruction — for the officially unannounced (but increasingly obvious) Project 340 continues to advance at an amazing rate. As you can see below in my latest Kongstruction photo update, the framework for this new ride’s show building is beginning to loom large over the land of Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure.

Kongstruction project 340 progress update

Kongstruction progress is full steam ahead at IOA’s Project 340 (photos by Seth Kubersky).

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

SATURDAY SIX: Six MORE Surprises of Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

by on December 13, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six MORE Surprises of Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. We’re taking a quick break from our end-of-year celebration articles, and returning back to Loews Cabana Bay Beach Resort. You may remember we were at the hotel earlier this year during its grand opening and were blown away as it changed the definition of “value” resort within the theme park universe. Since that time the other half of the resort opened up, including the Americana and Continental wings with a combined 900 standard rooms. So today we are going to revisit Cabana Bay and look at six more surprises the resort offers to guests, starting with…

# 6 -The Fire Pits

There are a total of four fire pits throughout Cabana Bay, all within walking distance of the two pool bars (Atomic Tonic and The Hideaway Bar & Grill.) These pits can make for a great place to relax at night, especially after a late swim. As an added bonus, there are S’mores kits available in the Bayliner Diner (complete with sticks to use for roasting the marshmallows) allowing you to have a very unique experience on property.

CabanaBay_firepirt_Sperduto

One of the fire pits at Cabana Bay Beach Resort. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 11: Tongue Tying Lemon Squash at the Leaky Cauldron

by on December 11, 2014

The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY ELEVEN: Tongue Tying Lemon Squash at the Leaky Cauldron (Universal Studios Florida)

25Drinks_lemonSquash1

Tongue Tying Lemon Squash in Diagon Alley. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

When Universal opened Diagon Alley early this summer, we knew there would be a variety of new drinks making their debut, but we didn’t know which ones or how good they would be. One the surprises of the bunch was Tongue Tying Lemon Squash. Filled with fresh lemon pulp along with hints of vanilla, this version of lemonade immediately became the best on property, and let’s face it, nothing beats an ice cold lemonade on a hot day touring the theme parks. Our recommendation is to head into the Leaky Cauldron, grab a Banger Sandwich and a Tongue Tying Lemon Squash, and just soak in the incredible atmosphere.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 9: PBR in a Paper Bag at Cabana Bay Beach Resort

by on December 9, 2014

The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY NINE: PBR in a Paper Bag at Cabana Bay’s Atomic Tonic

25xmasdrinks_pbr1_glover

Pabst Blue Ribbon and its paper bag koozie. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

No one is going to mistake a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer for top shelf alcohol, but in a working man’s terms, it gets the job done. We love the new Loews Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal, and one of the many surprises of the retro-themed hotel was discovering a paper bag koozie for PBR at the Atomic Tonic pool side bar. Cabana Bay is the new standard for what a “value” resort can be, so we have no problem popping the top of a 16 ounce can of American’s “value” beer and enjoying the Orlando weather.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Universal Orlando Resort Crowd Report – November 30 to December 6, 2014

by on December 9, 2014

Post-Thanksgiving week crowds at Universal Orlando Resort were very low, some of the lowest we’ve seen at any theme park this Fall. Guests to Universal last week saw near empty parks in the early morning with lower than average crowds building in the afternoons. Only Saturday saw park levels above a level ‘2’ on our scale.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 7: Pumpkin Fizz at the Three Broomsicks

by on December 7, 2014

The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY SEVEN: Pumpkin Fizz at the Three Broomsticks (Islands of Adventure)

PumpkinFizz_ThreeBromsticks

Pumpkin Fizz at the Three Broomsicks. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

When the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade Village opened in 2010, it brought along several drinks straight out of the pages of the Potter books by JK Rowling. Everyone knows Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice, the latter of which has a very distinctive pumpkin cap to the bottle. While both those beverages have seemingly become a ubiquitous part of experiencing WWOHP, what is lesser known is that another drink from the books is served inside the Three BroomsticksPumpkin Fizz is a carbonated version of Pumpkin Juice and has the taste of pumpkin pie soda. You’ll find hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and even a bit of apple cider in Pumpkin Fizz, making it a great drink to enjoy during the holiday season. 

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

SATURDAY SIX: In Memoriam – Six Things We Lost From the Theme Park World in 2014

by on December 6, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Things We Lost From the Theme Park World in 2014. As theme park fans, we’ve had a lot to be thankful for this year. Unfortunately for us, the theme park business itself seems to be turning into a zero-sum game, where we only get new things if we lose something else. So while it’s fantastic that we’re getting a Frozen attraction, James Cameron’s World of Avatar, and restaurants such as Cowfish, it comes with a sense of sadness as it also means we’re probably saying goodbye to something in the parks and resorts that we have been enjoying. Today we pay our respects to some of those that we lost in the past year, starting with….

 

# 6 – Camp Minnie-Mickey/ Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade (Animal Kingdom)

Regular readers of the SATURDAY SIX know how much we love Animal Kingdom, so it was tough to see two things leave this year: Camp Minnie-Mickey, and Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade. While Camp Minnie-Mickey had no major attractions outside of a stage show and character meet-and-greets, the entire area was wonderfully designed and was delightful to take in while appreciating all the whimsical details. The area of Camp Minnie-Mickey is scheduled to be part of the upcoming Pandora expansion to the park.

campminniemickey_glover

Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Daisy Duck taking a Jr. Woodchuck stroll through Camp Minnie Mickey. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 5: Mai Tai at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop

by on December 5, 2014

The Christmas season, my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave advent calendars in the rear view mirror* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014 we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property. Bonus points award for atmosphere where drink is served. And any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY FIVE: Mai Tai at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop (Royal Pacific Resort)

25xmasdrinks_maitai1

Mai Tai at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Universal’s Royal Pacific Resort. The hotel also has one of my favorite restaurants on UOR property, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop. The signature drink at Tchoup Chop is their 1944 Mai Tai Roa Ae. Ingredients: 3 Star Barbancourt Rum, Myers Dark Rum, Orgeat Syrup, Orange Curacao & Fresh Lime Juice. Mai Tai Roa Ae translates as “Out of this world, the best.” This authentic Polynesian Mai Tai from Tchoup Chop tastes as good as it sounds, and we recommend getting it served in the high quality tiki mug.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 3: Flaming Moe at Moe’s Tavern

by on December 3, 2014

The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY THREE: Flaming Moe at Moe’s Tavern (Universal Studios Florida)

25drinksofxmas_flamingmoe1

“Hey, Homer came up with the drink, but I came up with the idea of charging $6.95 for it.” – Moe Szyslak, The Simpsons (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

Available in Springfield USA, the Flaming Moe became the first signature drink in Universal history that guests wanted to watch before they drank. Based on an iconic episode of The Simpsons, the Flaming Moe uses a unique dry ice effect to simulate the drink being on fire. While the Flaming Moe itself is little more than orange soda, the overall experience of seeing the Flaming Moe in action is more than enough to include it on the list.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print