Posts Tagged ‘new’

New Raptor Encounter Now Open at Islands of Adventure’s Jurassic Park

by on May 27, 2015

New Raptor Encounter Islands of Adventure Jurassic Park

Take a dino selfie at the new Raptor Encounter in Islands of Adventure’s Jurassic Park (photos and video by Seth Kubersky)

While Disney was loudly kicking off their Coolest Summer Ever promotion with bicoastal 24 Hour parties, Universal Orlando quietly opened a new attraction over Memorial Day weekend with little fanfare, as the new Raptor Encounter debuted in the Jurassic Park area of Islands of Adventure. Conventional wisdom says that, while Universal makes excellent thrill rides, Disney dominates the meet and greet experience. But much like the Transformers meet and greet in Universal Studios Florida, this innovative dinosaur photo op flips that expectation upside down.

The new Raptor Encounter is located outside of the Jurassic Park Discovery Center, in an unused area that was formerly the entrance to Triceratops Trail, a long-defunct walkthrough attraction. Guests approach a fenced-in holding pen that has been built to contain a live velociraptor, who has been trained just well enough to pose briefly for photographs between snaps and screeches.

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Updated Universal Orlando Content Now Online to Celebrate Upcoming Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando

by on March 16, 2015

I’ve written tens of thousands of sentences in the nearly 5 years I’ve been working for The Unofficial Guide and Touring Plans, but this one is the most exciting: The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando, our first stand-alone guidebook dedicated to the home of Harry Potter, is on its way!

Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando

The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando is on its way! (Not to scale; book not shown actual size).

The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando is available now for pre-order, and is listed on Amazon.com with an August 11 release date. If you know The Unofficial Guides and Touring Plans from our Disney coverage, you may be wondering, “Why create a guide for Universal Orlando?” Well, as the author (along with co-authors Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa) of the new book, I’m glad you asked!

The short answer is that we listen to our readers, and we watch where people are spending their vacation time and dollars. Ever since the opening of the first Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2010, and especially since the debut of Diagon Alley in 2014, interest in and attendance at Universal Orlando has exploded. Every day, more and more Central Florida visitors are choosing Universal as their primary destination, or at making it a significant sideline.

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Seven Dwarfs Mine Train To Open May 28 at the Magic Kingdom

by on May 2, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

This morning was the dedication of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in New Fantasyland, and we FINALLY have the information we have all been waiting for! The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will officially open in the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday, May 28, 2014.

The attraction may see some soft opening any time now; however, do keep in mind that soft openings are not guaranteed and that even if the attraction does open, it may only be open for part of the day.

During the cute ceremony, which was live streamed via the Disney Parks Blog, Snow White joined her friends, the Seven Dwarfs, along with Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts Chairman, Tom Staggs, as they used a golden pickax to officially dedicate the attraction, which is the final piece in the New Fantasyland project.

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Video: Red Oven Pizza Bakery Now Open in Universal Orlando CityWalk

by on November 17, 2013

Red Oven Pizza Bakery Universal Orlando CityWalk Opening Day Video

Opening day at Red Oven Pizza Bakery

Stormy Central Florida skies couldn’t keep Orlando from welcoming a little piece of Italy to town today (Saturday, November 16, 2013), as the new Red Oven Pizza Bakery opened at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk. The new quick-casual al fresco restaurant replaced Pastamore’s counter-service market, and offers a new moderately priced alternative for upscale pizza and salads at Universal Orlando.

This afternoon we were among the establishment’s first day of paying customers, and returned with the following footage to give you a first look. We’ll return to Red Oven Pizza Bakery soon for a full review, but our first impressions were very positive. All the ingredients — which include house-sliced prosciutto and hand-pulled mozzarella — tasted fresh, and the pizza crust had the perfect amount of chew and char.

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First Review: Buena Vista Street Restaurants

by on June 15, 2012

Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café (menu)

Tom Bricker says:

“The menu seems very similar to Jolly Holiday in Disneyland Park, with the addition of Starbucks. The breakfast was better here than at the Cozy Cone Motel in Cars Land.”

  • Quality: Good-Excellent
  • Value: B
  • Portion: Medium
Selections

Starbucks coffee, cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing, hot breakfast sandwiches, sandwiches (including roast beef and Cheddar, turkey reuben, and paneer and roasted vegetable), and soups (such as cream spinach, chicken tortilla, or meat stew)

Comments

This new quick-service eatery — named after both the Three Little Pigs and an imaginary songstress trio whose manufactured mementos hang inside — boasts a large open dining area in the Arts & Crafts style. You can get your morning jolt of Starbucks-brand joe (or a venti half-caff soy latte, if you prefer) and grab-and-go breakfast pastries here. Lunch and dinner selections spotlight soups and sandwiches.

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First Review: Red Car Trolleys on Buena Vista Street

by on June 15, 2012

Red Car Trolleys

Our Rating: 2 1/2 stars

Tom Bricker says:

“The Red Car Trolleys are beautiful!”

  • What it is: Scenic in-park transportation.
  • Scope and scale: Minor attraction.
  • When to go: The first 2 hours the park is open.
  • Duration of ride: About 8 minutes.
  • Average wait time per 100 people ahead of you: 12 minutes.
  • Loading speed: Very Slow

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First Review: Cars Land Overview and Entertainment

by on June 15, 2012

Cars Land

Tom Bricker says:

“Overall, Cars Land was money very well spent. It will be a huge draw for Disneyland Resort for years to come.”

Cars Land is the crowning capstone on DCA’s transformation, and the first major “land” in an American Disney theme park devoted solely to a single film franchise. Tucked in the park’s southeast corner on 12 acres of repurposed parking lot, Cars Land’s main entrance is across from the Golden Vine Winery, though there are secondary gateways in a bug’s land and Pacific Wharf. A massive mountainous backdrop topped with 125-foot-high peaks patterned after 1959 Cadillac Pinnacle tail fins — known as the Cadillac Range — cradles Ornament Valley, home to a screen-accurate re-creation of Radiator Springs. That’s the sleepy single-stoplight town along Route 66 populated by Pixar’s anthropomorphized automobiles.

Along its main drag, in addition to three rides, you find eateries themed to the film’s minor characters such as Fillmore’s Taste-In, serving fruit drinks and snacks; Cozy Cone Motel, with chili, ice cream, and popcorn, all served in conical containers; and Flo’s V8 Cafe, serving creative takes on classic comfort food with a Southwestern twist for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Souvenir shops include Radiator Springs Curios, Ramone’s House of Body Art, and Sarge’s Supply Hut.

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First Review: Buena Vista Street Overview and Entertainment

by on June 14, 2012

Buena Vista Street

From the Esplanade, where huge block letters spelling CALIFORNIA originally stood, you now pass through a new Streamline Modern entrance facade, designed after Los Angeles’s fabled Pan Pacific Auditorium. (If it looks familiar, that’s because it can also be recognized as the entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios park in Florida.)

Once past the turnstiles, you’ll find yourself on Buena Vista Street, a re-creation of 1920s Hollywood as Walt saw it when he first arrived.

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First Review: Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

by on June 14, 2012

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

Our Rating: 3 Stars

Tom Bricker says:

“Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is my third-favorite ride in Cars Land, but it’s still very solid — hilarious and fun for what it is.”

  • What it is: Midway-type whip ride.
  • Scope and scale: Minor attraction.
  • When to go: The first 30 minutes the park is open.
  • Special Comments: Must be 32″ tall to ride.
  • Duration of ride: About 90 seconds.
  • Average wait time per 100 people ahead of you: 8 minutes.
  • Loading speed: Slow

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First Review: Luigi’s Flying Tires

by on June 14, 2012

Luigi’s Flying Tires

Our Rating: 3 stars

Tom Bricker says:

“My second favorite ride in Cars Land was Luigi’s Flying Tires. You’ll want to ride this alone and pay attention to your balance, or you won’t move much. I flew around the area while others barely moved.”

  • What it is: Bumper cars meets human air hockey.
  • Scope and scale: Minor attraction.
  • When to go: The first 30 minutes the park is open.
  • Special Comments: Must be 32″ tall to ride.
  • Duration of ride: About 2 1/2 minutes.
  • Average wait time per 100 people ahead of you: 12 minutes.
  • Loading speed: Very Slow

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