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Check Out The Newly Renovated Rooms at Hard Rock Hotel At Universal Orlando Resort

Inspired by music and the hotel’s on-site location at Universal Orlando Resort, the newly renovated guest rooms at Hard Rock Hotel capture the vibe of rock against a backdrop of clean and contemporary surfaces. The new look features a mix of retro-inspired shapes, patterns and colors paired with sleek-lined details in the place where Hotel California became a reality.

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“We are excited to reveal a totally new and distinctive look for our guest rooms and corridors,” says Managing Director Carlton Hudson. “Guests are already telling us the transformation is off the charts.”

Rock fashion inspired the patterned headboard in the bedroom and the tufted wall covering at the vanity. The etched mirror at the headboard features an oversized peace symbol, while the wall mirror features the heights of famous musicians, offering guests of all ages the chance to see which celebrity is their same height.

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Artwork in the new rooms takes literal components of music such as drumsticks and speakers and turns them into multi-colored graphic expressions in the space. The contrast of subtle retro nods and modern execution creates a space that is relevant, inspired and fun. Accents of hot raspberry are used in the corridors while the guest rooms feature a palette of cool gray and light cream with pops of color.

Guests staying at Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando receive an exclusive package of theme park benefits at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure including free Universal Express Unlimited ride access (theme park admission required) and Early Park Admission. The 650-room hotel, operated by Loews Hotels & Resorts, is located just a short walk, complimentary water taxi or shuttle bus ride from both Universal Orlando Resort theme parks. In addition, The Sound of Your Stay is Hard Rock’s free all-encompassing music amenity program that gives every guest access to experiences ranging from a selection of electric guitars to choose from and jam out on to a 15-song curated playlist.

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The property also features an award-winning swimming pool with underwater sound system, a world-class music memorabilia collection and special events including Velvet Sessions, a series of rock ‘n’ roll cocktail parties and lobby concerts, and Wine Riffs, a cutting-edge event exploring the relationship among wine, food and music.

Internationally recognized as a world-class entertainment and lifestyle brand, Hard Rock Hotels offer stylish and contemporary design, unparalleled service and the thread that unites them all – music. Hard Rock’s current Hotel portfolio is located in the world’s most desirable resort destinations, as well as urban gateway cities. The dynamic properties cater to the evolving and distinctive needs of today’s cosmopolitan, modern travelers, who seek a reprieve from traditional, predictable accommodations, whether for business or leisure travel.

Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras To Feature Musical Performances by MKTO, Styx and American Authors

Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebration continues this weekend, featuring live concerts by MKTO, Styx, and American Authors. Best known for their hit single, “Classic,” pop, hip-hop and R&B duo MKTO will rock out on Universal Studios Florida’s Music Plaza stage on Friday, March 13.


On Saturday, March 14, guests can enjoy a live performance by classic rock band, Styx. With their chart-topping hit singles, “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man” and “Fooling Yourself,” Styx was the first band ever to release four consecutive triple-platinum albums.

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American Authors will take the stage on Sunday, March 15. This popular alternative rock band is best known for their multi-platinum single, “Best Day of My Life,” which was named the No.1 most played song in 2014 on Adult Pop Radio.

Before the concert, guests can catch colorful beads by the handful during the festive Mardi Gras parade, which features 12 vibrant floats. Guests can also visit Universal Studios Florida’s very own French Quarter Courtyard to enjoy authentic Cajun cuisine and see performances by bands pulled straight from Bourbon Street.

Postcard From Marvel Super Hero Island


If you find yourself inside Universal’s Islands Of Adventure, standing in Jurassic Park, across the lagoon you see Marvel Super Hero island featuring The Incredible Hulk Coaster, The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, and Doctor Doom’s Fearfall.  At Universal Orlando Resort, you can vacation like you mean it where your story is the stuff legends are made of!

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights Celebrates 25 Years With More Nights and More Scares

By day, guests at Universal Orlando Resort are propelled into some of pop culture’s most iconic and beloved stories – laughing as they experience cutting-edge attractions and screaming as they brave plummeting roller coasters.


But there’s another, darker side to Universal Orlando.

On select nights in September and October, guests sprint away in paralyzing fear. They scream uncontrollably. Their nightmares come to life at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights.

Now, guests can be among the first to book a vacation package that combines the excitement of Universal Orlando’s two world-class theme parks by day and heart-pumping horror of Halloween Horror Nights by night.


Consistently ranked the nation’s best, Halloween Horror Nights is the ultimate Halloween event, attracting guests from around the world. From the moment guests step inside the event’s gates, they become a victim inside their own horror film. The streets of Universal Studios Florida are transformed into highly-themed scare zones, brought to life with elaborate scenery and teams of menacing “scare-actors” that lunge from the shadows and tactically hunt guests as prey.

Multiple haunted houses are erected throughout the theme park, rivaling the most detailed and terrifying of movie sets. Once inside, guests shriek their way through an unpredictable, multi-sensory labyrinth based on anything from iconic slasher films to hit horror video games to haunting original stories created by Universal’s Entertainment team.


This fall, Halloween Horror Nights will mark its milestone 25th year as the biggest, longest and most intense in event history. It will run for a record-breaking 30 nights, including the following event dates:

  • Sept. 18-19, 24-25, 26-27
  • Oct. 1-4, 7-11, 14-18, 21-25, 28-31
  • Nov. 1

Details about the newly-announced Halloween Horror Nights 25 Hotel & Ticket Package are available HERE. Additional details about the event will be announced at a later date.


Trace Adkins to Perform At Universal Orlando Mardi Gras

There’s nothing like eating N’awlins style food, catching some beads and listening to a true Louisianan perform on the Music Plaza stage.

Trace Adkins Coming to Universal Orlando's Mardi Gras

Chart-topping country music star Trace Adkins will be at Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras this Saturday, March 7. Adkins has turned his albums into Platinum plaques, selling more than 10 million albums. Not just famous for his music, Trace Adkins is also known for his many different achievements including:

  • Celebrity Apprentice Winner 2013
  • Appeared in The Lincoln Lawyer and Mom’s Night Out
  • Developed and hosted GAC’s “Great American Heroes”
  • American Country Awards host for four consecutive years.
  • Spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Program and American Red Cross

Trace Adkins has had more than 20 singles on the Billboard country music charts, with hits like, “No Thinkin’ Thing”, “Ladies Love Country Boys”, and “You’re Gonna Miss This.” One thing is for sure, you are NOT gonna wanna miss this.

Before the concert, guests can catch colorful beads by the handful during the festive Mardi Gras parade, which features 12 vibrant floats. Guests can also visit Universal Studios Florida’s very own French Quarter Courtyard to enjoy authentic Cajun cuisine and see performances by bands pulled straight from Bourbon Street.

 Schedule of Events for the Weekend:

  • 4:00 P.M. – French Quarter Courtyard Opens
  • 7:15 P.M. – Mardi Gras Parade Starts
  • 8:00 P.M. – Live Concert Begins

Mardi Gras runs on select nights through to April 18, so let the good times roll and get ready for a rockin’ weekend!

Get The Low Down On Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras Floats

The Universal Orlando Blog recently sat down with TJ Mannarino, Senior Director of Art & Design with the Universal Orlando Resort entertainment team to get all the information on this year’s Mardi Gras parade and floats at Universal’s Mardi Gras happening on select nights from now through April 18.


First, can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind the this year’s line-up of Mardi Gras floats? Every year we first head to New Orleans and meet with Kern Studios, the company who fabricates our floats. We go there to look at a history of Mardi Gras floats and what they just finished doing for the previous year in the Mardi Gras parade. So, essentially, we are inspired by the actual themes, floats and stories that they tell in New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

It sounds like a very inspirational trip
. Yeah, it’s great to really immerse yourself into the world that is Mardi Gras. During that trip we collaborate, pick and choose, and walk away with a skeletal frame of what we makes sense for our Mardi Gras. Then we come back and design our float line-up.

Tell us a little about the process of building the floats. It’s a process that happens pretty much through the summer prior to the next Universal Orlando Mardi Gras.


We develop the designs through the end of the summer and start construction around September with Kern Studios – they send their crews here and they ship all the props in from New Orleans. The floats are built and then, after the main components are painted and constructed, our in-house design teams get a chance to enhance them with glitter, and with what we call soft fabrics and foliage. That process of decorating goes on until Mardi Gras opens in early February.

What is new and different about this year’s Mardi Gras parade? It’s the 20th year of the parade and we actually focused a lot on two main themes that are staples for us – the King Gator float, which is the main float that ends our parade, and the Riverboat float, our southern style Mississippi riverboat. This year we really enhanced them to a level that they haven’t been before. We actually rebuilt a lot of elements within both of those floats and repainted big elements.


How is the parade presented this year? We chose to do it a little bit differently this year and give our audience a new way to experience the parade.

In the past we sprinkled different thematics throughout the parade lineup and you would see floats that celebrated the world of Mexico or India next to floats that focused on different types of fanciful travel. Well, this year, we chose to actually come up with a different type of parade lineup that captures those different themes and puts them together … so you will see mini themes within this year’s parade.

You see a different type of parade — instead of seeing float after float after float, you see groupings of floats and characters, with lighting and music changes that enhance the different themes. So it actually kind of gives you maybe the ability to look at mini-parades as oppose to one themed parade. We’re excited about this as a new way to deliver Mardi Gras and to give our guests as much as we possibly can during your night here at Universal.


From a creative standpoint what are the things what do you love about the parade? We take what is known as Mardi Gras and put a Universal spin on it. For example, we add large amount of decoration to the floats that you don’t see in New Orleans — we make them these sparkling jewels parading down the street. Add in the costumes and stilt walkers, and it’s a high celebration with great thematics and a lot of color … and tons and tons of energy and excitement.

Mardi Gras is so much about tradition also – how do you think you capture that here at Universal Orlando? There is a tradition that has been held within the company that builds our floats that is different from building scenery and large scale theme park environments. Everyone who works on the floats is tied to the history of float building – their dads were artists and their dad’s dad were artists who trained the next generation on down. When you talk to the float artists and the teams it’s like stepping back in time a little bit — its more about art than construction.

Today we’re always looking for how you do it faster and using technology to our advantage, and our floats are all done by hand with each one being unique. I think these things combined with our passion for Mardi Gras is what makes it special, unique and something you can’t see any place outside of the French corner.


You can see the fabulous Mardi Gras parade on select nights now through April 18, but there are two special parade opportunities you should know about:

Ride In the Mardi Gras Parade: If you are a Universal Orlando Annual Passholder you can apply to ride on one of the floats, throwing beads (and having a blast!) along the route. Annual Passholders can apply here. One note – know you must sign up by 12 noon on Friday the week prior to the event date and additional restrictions apply. See sign-up page for details. If you would like to become Annual Passholder (and enjoy every Mardi Gras concert as part of your admission), click on over here to see the annual pass options.

Enjoy A Special Parade Viewing Area: Purchase any Universal Orlando Multi-Day Ticket or Annual Pass with any American Express Credit or Charge Card and receive entry to the American Express Reserved Parade Viewing area.

Hopefully we will see you at Universal Orlando enjoying the Mardi Gras parade – Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Sharknado 3 Set To Wreak Havoc On Universal Orlando Resort

Now Florida will know what it feels like to be hit by a Sharknado!


The eagerly anticipated Syfy and The Asylum production Sharknado 3 will shoot key scenes at Universal Orlando Resort, it was announced today.

Featuring stars Ian Ziering, Tara Reid and Cassie Scerbo, Sharknado 3 will premiere on Syfy in July, causing mass destruction in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., before roaring down the Eastern Seaboard and into Florida. Ziering and Reid will reprise their roles as Fin and April, respectively, while Cassie Scerbo will play Nova, her character from the original 2013 Sharknado movie.


When it aired last July 30, Sharknado 2: The Second One became Syfy’s most-watched Original Movie ever with 3.9 million total viewers.

Now would be a great time to visit Universal Orlando but be careful, the sharks are everywhere!

Create Your Own Moving Photographs At Diagon Alley

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley brings even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life at Universal Orlando Resort. The new area includes a towering dragon that breathes fire, the new mind-blowing ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, and incredible shops like Shutterbutton’s. Visitors can now step inside this photography studio and enjoy creating their own moving photographs.

The main entrance to Shutterbutton’s is located in Carkitt Market nestled in the back of the same building as Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and Quality Quidditch Supplies.


Against a special background, Shutterbutton photographers guide guests through 12 iconic scenes from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade.

Guests can star in lots of photo moments that recreate highlights from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter like riding the Hogwarts Express, cowering from the fire-breathing dragon atop Gringotts bank, and getting scared by one of your friends as they appear on a “Have You Seen This Wizard?” poster.


The entire process takes about 15 – 20 minutes and you’ll get your very own DVD photo album in a collectible Shutterbutton’s tin. Shutterbutton’s should definitely be on your “must-do” list when visiting Diagon Alley.

Check out a few of the scenes that’ll be included in your DVD photo album in the sample below.

Check Out The Mardi Gras Merchandise At Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras 2015 is in full swing! Universal Orlando’s Blog has given everyone a sneak peek at the amazing merchandise available at this year’s event!


Universal’s Creative Director for Merchandise, Brian Beauregard, discussed how he came up with this year’s look. He said, “This year, our artwork was heavily derived from folk art and inspired by the cultural impact of popular music festivals across the country such as Bonnaroo and Coachella”


While you’re enjoying Mardi Gras, you’ll be able to buy a Unisex T-Shirt and a Ladies Fashion Cut-Out Back Tee both with tagline “Rock Your Mojo”, a souvenir shot glass and a lanyard.


A special tip for all you shoppers out there: supplies of special event merchandise is limited, so remember to buy early!

Olivia Newton-John Kicks Off Universal’s Mardi Gras This Weekend

Universal Orlando’s 2015 Mardi Gras celebration begins this Saturday, February 7, featuring a live performance by Australian singer-songwriter Olivia Newton-John.

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With more than 100 million albums sold, Newton-John has won 10 American Music Awards and four People’s Choice Awards throughout her career. She’s recorded 10 No. 1 hits, including “Physical” – which is listed at No. 6 on Billboard’s Top 100 Songs of All Time. She is also known for her breakout performance alongside John Travolta in the iconic musical film, “Grease.”


Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebration runs select nights until April 18 and combines unmatched theme park entertainment with a jazzy New Orleans flare. Along with live concerts by some of today’s hottest artists, guests can enjoy authentic New Orleans bands in the French Quarter Courtyard, mouthwatering Cajun cuisine and an extravagant parade, which features 12 vibrant and dazzling floats.

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Mardi Gras is included with admission to Universal Studios Florida. For more information and details about special ticket offers, visit

Phillip Phillips and MKTO Added To Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Line Up

Universal Orlando Resort announces the addition of pop duo MKTO and hit singer-songwriter Phillip Phillips to the list of popular artists performing at this year’s Mardi Gras celebration.


Best known for their multi-platinum singles, “Thank You” and “Classic,” pop group MKTO will make their concert debut at Universal Studios Florida on Friday, March 13. The group’s name stands for musical duo Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller, as well as “Misfit Kids and Total Outcasts.”


On Saturday, March 28, “American Idol” victor Phillip Phillips will take the stage. His most popular song, “Home,” has endured great success with more than four million copies sold, and he released his newest album, “Behind the Lights,” last May.


Running select nights Feb. 7 to April 18, Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras is a family-friendly version of the famed New Orleans festival. The event features a dazzling parade with thousands of beads, fresh Cajun dishes, bands straight from Bourbon Street and live concerts by some of today’s hottest musical acts, such as Kelly Clarkson, Jessie J and Trey Songz.

A Celebration of Harry Potter Begins This Weekend

Calling all wizards and muggles! It’s time for the second annual “A Celebration of Harry Potter,”  where fans from around the world come together to celebrate Harry Potter’s adventures!

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Hosted by Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros., this weekend’s three-day event will allow fans to enjoy incredible experiences from Q&A sessions with some of their favorite Harry Potter film talent to exploring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and more.

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The event will include unforgettable experiences, such as:

  • Q&A sessions with film talent and other special guests, including Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley) and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood)
  • A special opening event on Friday evening starring the Harry Potter film talent, MinaLima, and award-winning artist Kazu Kibuishi and more.
  • A live duelling demonstration and wand combat masterclass hosted by Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, featuring the world’s only Wand Combat choreographer, Paul Harris
  • A live demonstration with award-winning illustrator Kazu Kibuishi, who will be drawing some of the Harry Potter characters on stage in this interactive panel hosted by Scholastic.
  • A look behind the scenes of the graphic props of the Harry Potter films with graphic designers, MinaLima
  •  “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo with unique and interactive exhibits from Warner Bros., Pottermore, Scholastic, MinaLima, Harry Potter: The Exhibition and Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, including the opportunity to try on the Sorting Hat
  • Special kids’ discussions and interactive experiences such as an exciting duelling demonstration and wand combat masterclass with Paul Harris, an interactive ‘Dance Like a Beauxbatons and Battle Like a Durmstrang’ experience, as well as Harry Potter film trivia
  • Park guests can enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida plus the iconic Hogwarts Express that transports guests between the two lands if they have a park-to-park ticket
  • And more!

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Access to select events within “A Celebration of Harry Potter” is included in regular admission to Universal Studios. Admission to panel events will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Here’s a recent video of the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley to give you a sense of how magical the celebration will be!


To join the conversation, use #HPCelebration. For more information about the event and tickets, visit

Musical Line-Up for Universal’s Mardi Gras 2015

Mardi Gras 2015 is right around the corner at Universal Orlando Resort, and we’re thrilled to announce this year’s awesome talent line-up. Whether you’re into pop, R&B, country or the classics, you’ll be able to enjoy an array of talent with a little bit of something for everyone.


Headliners this year include English pop sensation Jessie J, who’s known for her hits “Price Tag” and “Bang Bang”, American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and reggaeton superstar Yandel.

Also performing is R&B artist Trey Songz, American country group The Band Perry, and the rock group American Authors, known for their hit single “Best Day of My Life”. You can find the complete list of artists down below.


Florida’s biggest party also features a dazzling Mardi Gras parade and more than 1.8 million beads! That’s plenty for you to catch throughout the 16 nights of thrilling concerts and some of the biggest names in music!

Event Dates Headliners
Performing in the Music Plaza
New Orleans Bands
Performing in the French Quarter Courtyard
Feb. 7 Olivia Newton-John Rockin’ Jake
Feb. 14 Jessie J The Big Easy Playboys
Feb. 15 Barenaked Ladies The Big Easy Playboys
Feb. 21 Kelly Clarkson Grady Champion
Feb. 28 Heart Cha Wa
March 7 Trace Adkins Beth McKee & The Sliders
March 13 TBD Mississippi Rail Company
March 14 Styx Mississippi Rail Company
March 15 American Authors Mississippi Rail Company
March 20 Becky G Soul Project
March 21 Yandel Soul Project
March 22 The B-52s Soul Project
March 28 TBD Naughty Professor
April 4 The All-American Rejects Daddy Mack Blues Band
April 11 The Band Perry Big Al and The Heavyweights
April 18 Trey Songz Gravy


And that’s not all—across from the music plaza stage, you can get a taste of authentic N’awlins cuisine at our French Quarter Courtyard . You can count on me heading straight for my absolute favorite sugar-powdered desert: the infamous beignets!

While you’re hanging out in French Quarter Courtyard, you’ll get a chance to see performances by bands brought in from New Orleans itself.

The best news is you can enjoy all of these awesome experiences at Mardi Gras with your admission to Universal Studios Florida.

Festive Holiday Events At Universal Orlando Resort

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Universal Orlando Resort and we wanted to share some of the festive happenings this Holiday season at Universal Orlando’s resort hotels.


Cabana Bay Beach Resort
This will be Universal Orlando’s newest on-site resort’s very first holiday season and continuing in the retro-inspired spirit so many guests have come to love, the entire property is decked-out in glamorous retro Christmas trees and festive décor.

In addition to holiday music and happenings, one of the food-related events is The Hideaway Bar & Grill’s New Year’s Eve Rooftop Dessert Party. Guests will be ringing in the new year with specially prepared desserts, live music, an open bar, and sparkling wine toast at midnight!

But if the outdoor scene just isn’t your thing, there are also other options to eat your way through the holidays and the new year.

Hard Rock Hotel
For those who really aren’t into doing Christmas the traditional way, enjoy delicious food with lots of entertainment including Santa at the Hard Rock Hotel!


Here’s the set list of everything food-related going down at Hard Rock Hotel:

Holidays in The Kitchen | Select nights Now – December 26

  • Fridays – Dinner with entertainment including a magician, visits from Santa and holiday movie screenings.
  • Saturdays – Character dining featuring some of your favorite theme park characters.’
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays – Kids Can Cook Too!

Hanukkah Celebration | December 16 – 24, 6:30 pm

Christmas Eve Dinner in The Kitchen | December 24, 8:30 pm – 12:00 am
Featuring a holiday menu, character dining, holiday movies and more.

Christmas Day in The Kitchen | December 25
Breakfast, brunch and dinner available.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
If you are looking for something a little more romantic this Holiday Season, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel will be stocked with delectable events like Holiday in the Harbor, strolling musicians, and exquisite decorations.

But if food is what you’re in the mood for, swing through Mama Della’s Ristorante, particularly on Christmas day if you’re still undecided on a place to eat and enjoy not having to cook or do the dishes after!

For those seeking a more adult-friendly holiday offering, The Thirsty Fish currently has a handful of seasonal cocktails crafted carefully to warm the soul:


TIP: Try out the Italian Poinsettia for some bubbly goodness. Made with Stellina Di Notte Prosecco, Cranberry Juice, and Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur.

Loews Royal Pacific Resort
if you are looking for an interactive family friendly activity, there will also be holiday cookie decorating activities at Royal Pacific Resort—this year on the 23rd and 24th!

With so much going on at the onsite resorts at Universal Orlando, you are sure to be filled with spirit of season and enjoy an amazing resort at the same time!

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