Posts Tagged ‘Universal Orlando’

Nintendo Attractions Coming to Universal Theme Parks

by on May 7, 2015

Nintendo characters and attractions are coming to Universal parks world-wide.

Universal might not have shocked anyone with yesterday’s long-awaited confirmation that King Kong is coming to Islands of Adventure, but today’s surprise announcement has certainly caught many observers off guard. A joint press release revealed that Universal has teamed with Nintendo to bring the Japanese company’s iconic video game characters to life at theme parks around the world.

The official statement, which we’ve reproduced below, is very vague, with no specifics on which resorts or intellectual properties are involved, nor a timeline of when the promised attractions might open:

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

American Ninja Warrior Invades Universal Studios Florida

by on May 6, 2015

American Ninja Warrior USF

American Ninja Warrior films at USF on May 10-12, 2015. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

American Ninja Warrior, an NBC and Esquire Network (originally G4) competition show based on the long-running Japanese hit Sasuke, has taken over the New York section of Universal Studios Florida for episode tapings that will take place after park hours on May 10th through 12th.

Tickets to attend the tapings, which will be held at 10:30pm, 12:30am, and 2:30am on Sunday night/Monday morning and Monday night/Tuesday morning, are almost completely sold out at this point, but you may still be able to join the wait list.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

April 2015 Kongstruction Update and Jurassic Park Construction

by on May 1, 2015

Kongstruction

Kongstruction continues as Skull Island takes shape at Islands of Adventure. (photos by Seth Kubersky)

It’s been about six weeks since our last Kongstruction update, and progress on the exterior of Universal Orlando’s newest E-Ticket is still progressing rapidly.

Rumor has it that the yet-unannounced Islands of Adventure attraction may be titled Skull Island: Reign of Kong, and it appears on track for a 2016 debut.

Here’s our latest collection of construction photos, all taken (as always) from guest accessible locations.

First, a look at the King Kong project site from the Toon Lagoon side:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

NBC Sports Grill Brew Replacing NASCAR at Universal CityWalk

by on April 30, 2015

NBC Sports Grill Brew

The new NBC Sports Grill Brew is bound for the site of Universal CityWalk’s former NASCAR restaurant. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Since late last year, the entire theme park community (ok, just Derek Burgan) has been mourning the closure of the NASCAR Sports Grille, and eagerly awaiting news of what’s next for the former restaurant’s prominent footprint along the promenade of Universal Orlando‘s CityWalk. After months of watching NASCAR’s slow-motion demolition, we finally have evidence confirming rumors that an NBC Sports themed restaurant would be the new replacement. User “CatCatCat” on the OrlandoUnited.com forums was the first to share a new State of Florida business license filing that lists “NBC Sports Grill Brew” as the new eatery’s name.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Universal Orlando Tests Mardi Gras Guide App

by on April 19, 2015

Universal Orlando test of a Mardi Gras Guide app could hint at the future of theme park events, for good or ill… (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Easter has been over two weeks, but Universal Orlando‘s annual Mardi Gras celebration only came to an end on Saturday night. Universal Studios Florida’s final parade and concert played on April 18th to a packed park under overcast skies, unlike the previous week’s rain-soaked washout. But in addition to flying beads and Trey Songz’s bass beats, Universal tossed out another surprise to its fans, testing a new Mardi Gras Guide app for smartphones on the party’s last night.

I began by downloading The Official Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Guide App to my iPhone 6 Plus. The app became available on April 15, and can still be downloaded for free (though it doesn’t do much now that the event has ended).

When the iOS Mard Gras Guide app opens for the first time, you’ll be asked to approve access to various services. Interestingly, there is no request to access the camera, which will become an issue later…

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

More Metal Detectors Installed at Universal Orlando Roller Coasters

by on April 10, 2015

universal orlando metal detectors

Be prepared for enhanced security screenings at more of Universal Orlando’s biggest thrill rides. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Remember a few weeks back when Universal Orlando stirred up social media park-stalkers (present company included) by installing electronic security screening devices — a.k.a. metal detectors — outside Universal Studios Florida‘s Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster? Well, hold onto your hat (but NOT your phone, keys, or coins) because UOR sprained the interwebs again with yesterday’s introduction of more metal detector screenings at Islands of Adventure‘s Incredible Hulk Coaster and Dragon Challenge.

As of April 9, 2015, all Universal Orlando guests wishing to ride the resort’s major outdoor roller coasters must deposit all loose and metal objects in a locker before entering the queue. Mandatory airport-style security screenings, including walk-through metal detectors and handheld scanning wands, will be used to ensure that no prohibited items — specifically phones, keys, coins, cameras, and selfie sticks — are carried onto the attractions.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Photo Gallery: 2015 Universal Orlando Spring Break Crowds

by on April 7, 2015

The Easter eggs have all been hunted, and the Passover seder plates are put away, but the 2015 spring break crowds have not yet departed from Orlando’s attractions. While wait times over the weekend weren’t quite as bad as initially predicted, it’s still been a very busy holiday week at Universal Orlando, as Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure both experienced their heaviest attendance since New Year’s Day. In case you weren’t brave or foolish enough to experience Easter Week in person, here is a photo gallery of Universal Orlando spring break crowds to give you a virtual taste of last week’s madness.

Universal Studios Florida Spring Break Crowds

You know its going to be a busy day at USF when the temporary turnstiles in between the entry gates are in use.

Universal Orlando spring break crowds 2015

Spring break crowds descended on Universal Orlando last week. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Menu Monday: The Food of Universal Mardi Gras

by on March 23, 2015

New Orleans, the Big Easy, is known for many things. Jazz, art, voo doo, and of course tantalizing Cajun cuisine. Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras is a popular annual event, but not necessarily because of the special food and beverages offered during this special time of the year. Yet, if you head to Universal Orlando to take part in Mardi Gras, your experience isn’t really complete if you don’t let your taste buds in on the fun.

Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras is held each weekend from the beginning of February to mid-April (specific days and dates vary by weekend) and personally it is one of my favorite things about visiting Universal. The fun is definitely saved for the afternoon and evening. It’s touted as “Florida’s Biggest Party.” While this is one heck of a marketing claim, it isn’t too far off the bulls-eye, in the eyes of this Florida Native. I’ll confess, I am not a fan of most of the in-park counter service food offered here at Universal, but I will say some of the better quick style food can be found during Universal Mardi Gras.

Twisted Taters

What is this creation? Read on.

 

 

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Universal Studios Florida Photo Update: Mardi Gras, Furious 7, and Garden of Allah

by on March 19, 2015

Spring break is shifting into high gear at all theme parks right now, and Universal Orlando is no exception. If you don’t feel like struggling through the crowds, come take a virtual tour with me in today’s Universal Studios Florida photo update, featuring a look at construction on Garden of Allah Villas, the new Furious 7 car display, and last weekend’s Mardi Gras concert.

Garden of Allah Villas Construction

The Garden of Allah Villas complex between Hollywood and KidZone is still behind construction walls, behind which is what permit filings describe as a “NBCUniversal Media Lab.” Leave your thoughts in the comments as to what exactly that means.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print