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Category Archives: Universal Orlando Resort

Top 5 Ways To Survive Hollywood Horror Nights

If you’ve been to Halloween Horror Nights before, you know how popular it is. If you’ve never been, the people come out in hoards.

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So, to help you make the most of your limited time on earth here, here are a few tips to help you scream your way through the night.

1. Visit the first or the last Bill & Ted Show of the night.
These shows are the easiest to access—and are just as funny as every other show.

2. Come early and stay late.
Wait times are always busiest during the middle of the event. My suggestion is:
Hit the shows first, then the original content houses, then the name-brand houses towards the end of the night.

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3. Specifically, visit Giggles & Gore and Roanoke early.
The big name houses are usually slammed right at event open, while the original content houses have shorter lines. Giggles & Gore and Roanoke are two seriously disturbing houses.

4. Take advantage of waiting areas with your park-to-park ticket.
If you’re here during the day or have an Annual Pass, and you’re staying for Halloween Horror Nights, you’ll definitely want to use the waiting areas. This lets you stay in the park after the front gates are closed between daytime activities and the evening’s fun.

One of the best waiting areas to use is the one between Disaster and Fear Factor Live stage. There’s plenty of space, it isn’t as crowded as other waiting areas, and you get access to the back of park houses first.

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5. Hop on you favorite ride!
Wait times on most rides and attractions are generally much lower than during regular park hours. I know, I know: you’re here for the scares! But if you’re looking to get in a quick thrill between houses, it’s the perfect time to hop on Revenge of the Mummy, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, or defend the earth against giant, rampaging robots. You know, the usual.

BONUS – Know Before You Go


Special Ticket Offer For Military At Universal Orlando

For a limited time,  eligible service members can purchase a 1-Day Park-to-Park Ticket and get 2 days FREE. That is three days enjoying both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida for the price of one.

Universal Orlando Resort celebrated Veterans Day with a special in-park parade featuring its Veteran Network

Here are all of the details and ticket purchasing info:

  • Who is eligible? This special military offer is valid for purchase by active duty, reservist military and retired military service members, Department of Defense employees and/or spouses with valid military photo ID.
  • How many can I purchase? Eligible service members may purchase up to 6 tickets with this offer.
  • When is this offer valid? This offer is available for purchase now through November 30, 2014, and tickets must be used in full by December 14, 2014.
  • How do I use this offer? Tickets are activated at either Universal Orlando theme park, with the eligible service member required to be present with a valid military photo ID to activate the ticket. Admission is valid for up to 14 days from first use.

In addition, active duty and retired military personnel can make it a special vacation or long weekend by adding a stay at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort with a discounted vacation package.

Universal Orlando Resort celebrated Veterans Day with a special in-park parade featuring its Veteran Network

Special military vacation package rates include the 1-Day Park-to-Park Ticket with 2 Days Free and 3 nights at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort starting at $269 per adult, tax inclusive with valid military identification.

This ticket offer and special vacation package can be purchased by visiting participating Base ITT/LTS offices.

Have any questions about this offer or any Universal Orlando Resort Military offers? Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacation’s Travel Planner Today!


Universal Celebrates Annual Passholders Month

There are 365 days in every year that guests can enjoy the playground that is Universal Orlando Resort. And there’s no better way to do it all, all year long, than as a Universal Orlando Resort Annual Passholder.

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Soon, the heat will subside, the annual events will start up, and guests can enjoy year-round what the whole world comes to see during the summer.

To get you going, and to thank all of their long-time passholders, Universal Orlando has kicked off Annual Passholder Appreciation Month, chock full of special benefits.

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Throughout the entire month of September, Universal Orlando annual passholders will enjoy additional benefits including:

  • Early Park Admission to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida, one hour before the theme park opens weekdays throughout September.
  • Experience the Blue Man Group for $49 for adults and $29 for children at 4:00 pm every Sunday in September.
  • Halloween Horror Nights 24 Passholder Nights: September 19, 20, 26 & 27 from 5:15 pm – 6:30 pm. Enjoy early access to Halloween Horror Nights plus exclusive access to three designated haunted houses as well as the first showing of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure.
  • Save $6 on a refillable Souvenir Cup. Just ask for the Passholder special at Louie’s Italian Restaurant, Monsters Cafe, Mel’s Drive-in or Richter’s Burger Company.

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And a whole bunch of Universal CityWalk benefits:

  • Get a FREE CityWalk PartyPass for one Passholder and a guest throughout September.
  • AMC Universal Cineplex 20 with IMAX: Save $1.75 each on up to 5 matinee movie tickets.
  • Bob Marley–A Tribute to Freedom: Buy one adult entrée and get 50% off a second.
  • Pat O’Brien’s: Buy one adult entrée and get 50% off a second.
  • Red Coconut Club: Buy one, get one free martinis. 
  • Dippin Dots carts: Receive 25% off at CityWalk locations.

Universal Orlando To Add 5th Resort Sapphire Falls in 2016

Universal and Loews Hotels & Resorts have announced plans for a 5th hotel to be added to Universal Orlando, Sapphire Falls Resort to open in 2016.

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Located in between the Royal Pacific Resort and the newly-opened Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the new resort will be a colorful Caribbean hideaway built around a lush, tropical lagoon and towering waterfall.

Sapphire Falls will add 1,000 rooms, including 77 suites, which will bring the number of on-site hotel rooms at Universal Orlando to 5,200. Earlier this Summer, Universal announced plans to expand on the adjacent Royal Pacific Resort, which will see the addition of larger meeting and event space.

The expected price point for the hotel should fall between Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Royal Pacific, but that is solely based on speculation and not confirmed by Universal Orlando at this time.

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Inspired by the picturesque rivers and waterfalls of the Caribbean, Loews Sapphire Falls will immerse guests in a highly themed resort environment using traditional island styling with modern touches. A resort-style pool with a water slide, children’s play area, sand beach and fire pit will help form a central courtyard and will be surrounded by the hotel’s guest rooms. There will be water taxi and shuttle access to all of the entertainment and dining options throughout Universal Orlando Resort, however it will not include the Express Pass benefit, similar to the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.

“Loews Sapphire Falls Resort will be every bit as distinctive as the other four on-site hotels and will offer a new option to families looking for a truly special Orlando vacation,” says Jonathan Tisch, Chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts.  “We are excited to continue our growth plans at Loews Hotels by building another hotel with our long-standing partners at Universal Orlando.”

“We look forward to bringing them yet another incredibly themed experience with the opening of Loews Sapphire Falls Resort,” said Tom Williams, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Universal Parks & Resorts.  “Our guests repeatedly tell us that our Universal Orlando on-site hotels provide them a completely immersive vacation experience from the moment they enter our hotels and are transported to another place.”

The new hotel will be full service. Amenities will include Early Park Admission to Universal’s theme parks, a full-service restaurant with scenic views and outdoor dining, a themed lobby lounge, poolside bar and grill, quick-service marketplace, valet service and a fitness center. Booking information and pricing will be announced at a later date, however reservations are slated to begin around the Spring 2015.


The Boxtrolls Are Invading Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando Resort has always been a great place to “ride the movies,” but it has also been a great spot to meet your favorite movie characters. For a limited time, you can get your picture taken with some of the fun loving stars of the upcoming new film, The Boxtrolls!

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From the creators of Coraline and ParaNorman comes a story of a young orphan boy named Eggs raised by a new breed of family called The Boxtrolls, a community of quirky, mischievous creatures! You’ve probably seen the trailers for this really cool-looking animated film from LAIKA and Focus Features.

But for a limited time, you can get your picture taken with some of the fun loving Boxtroll characters themselves!

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The Boxtrolls make daily appearances at the Character Party Zone located just outside The Horror Make-Up Show in Universal Studios. Check your park map for that day’s schedule, but they’re usually out there at 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm and 6:30pm through September 26.

While you’re waiting for this family event movie to come out on Friday, September 26th—including in 3-D, of course—enjoy the trailer below and then head over to Universal Studios to get your picture taken with The Boxtrolls!


New Street Experiences At Halloween Horror Nights

Halloween Horror Nights’ Show Director Lora Wallace revealed some of the ghastly details about the chilling new street experiences at Universal Orlando Resort‘s premier Halloween experience. 

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Original Street Experience – MASKerade; Unstitched

The whole concept is that these people are trapped in an old time period—their skin is falling off, they have stitched their skin back to their faces, but much of it is still peeling off. What I love about the concept is that it is like you’re entering this really surreal dance, but it is very terrifying at the same time.

There is wax holding their skin on, some are sewing their skin back on but they are doing it very poorly, and there are some whose skin is still detached.

It is grand in scale—there are elements above your head while this off-putting yet harsh waltz music plays. Everyone is moving in a really surreal and creepy dance. There is beauty along with the disgust.

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Original Street Experience – Bayou of Blood

Our high priestess is crazy-evil and in a trance, doing numerous spells and sacrifices to get the ultimate power in her. Because she has made these sacrifices, many other voodoo practitioners in the area have come and they are squatting outside of her shack. They feel if they make sacrifices to her, they will get some of that power when she makes the ultimate sacrifice.

You’re going to see her sacrifice someone right in front of you…you will see every gory detail of this ultimate sacrifice. But that’s not the end—once you get past the sacrifice and the high priestess’ shack, you enter into the area inhabited by the voodoo squatters…and they are all looking for something or someone to sacrifice.

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Halloween Horror Nights annually draws hundreds of thousands of horror fans from around the globe. Tony Timpone, Editor of Fangoria Magazine, said, “After visiting scream parks all across the U.S. for the last 20 years, I can easily say that Universal’s is the best in the business… Halloween Horror Nights is the ultimate Halloween experience.”

On select nights September 19 – November 1, your worst nightmares will take shape as Universal Studios Florida theme park is transformed into the award-winning Halloween Horror Nights. See if you can survive all-new haunted houses, spine-chilling street experiences, outrageous live shows, and more. There’s no better way to “end” your day at Universal Orlando than with the winner of Amusement Today’s “Best Halloween Event” Golden Ticket award.


2nd Annual “Celebration of Harry Potter” Announced

We have some exciting Harry Potter news to share with you today! Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. will be hosting the second annual “A Celebration of Harry Potter” event from January 30 to February 1, 2015.

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Park guests were so thrilled by “A Celebration of Harry Potter” last year that Universal Orlando has decided to host another fun-filled opportunity for fans. This special event celebrates the global phenomenon that is Harry Potter as fans from around the world join together at Universal Orlando Resort for three days of everything Potter.

All general admission park guests will have the chance to experience the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo, attend Q&A sessions with Harry Potter film talent, visit the all-new The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and much more!

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For all the super fans out there, a limited number of exclusive event vacation packages—including annual passholder packages.  These packages offer hotel accommodations, theme park tickets, and exclusive benefits including:

Last year, these packages sold out within days, so if you want to be in the center of this celebration, so buy your general admission theme park tickets for those dates now!

Look forward to seeing you in January for this unforgettable event experience!


Halloween Horror Nights Original Houses Revealed

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights are considered one of the best scare experiences in the United States and Universal’s creative team has come up with some incredibly horrifying concepts for this year’s event!

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In a recent interview, Assistant Show Director Charles Gray divulged some details on how the houses are created and even gave us a sneak peek at some of the original houses being created for this year’s event.

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The Dollhouse of the Damned

The word to keep in mind here is ‘juxtaposition.’ When you walk into the house, you find yourself in this old-time morgue. But this little girl has set up shop and now it’s her playhouse. She’s torturing people in there. So you’re taking the sweetness of the dollhouse and childhood and combining it with something completely sinister. That theme remains throughout the maze. Another phrase we use is ‘forced integration.’ You’ll see characters with porcelain doll masks that have been smashed into their faces, and now they’re permanent. They’re victims of this twisted amalgamation. It’s really creepy.

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Giggles and Gore, Inc.

So, we asked ourselves, where do evil clowns come from? And we discovered evil clowns are not born, they’re made. It’s an actual process. We all know that there are countless unsolved disappearances across the country. Where do these people end up? In the clown factory, being stretched, smashed and eviscerated.

Faces are peeled off and voice boxes are torn out. Victims are dropped into a wood chipper, and the gunk that comes out is shoved into other people to create these massive, nasty stuffed clowns.

Toward the end, you encounter the most evil of all evil clowns: The Discarded. These are the surviving clowns that have been cast down for being too dangerous to exist, even with other evil clowns.

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Roanoke – Cannibal Colony

The year was 1587. It was one of the first settlements of the colonial era. The people living here were expecting supplies from Europe, but there was a war going on so they couldn’t make the voyage. Three years later, when the supply ship finally arrived, everyone was gone…except the deranged cannibals who’d managed to survive by eating their fellow settlers.

As a guest, you’re fighting you’re way through this chaotic gauntlet of flesh-hungry man-eaters. What’s cool about the set is that Karen, our décor guru, has traveled up to Virginia to some of these historic settlements and brought back photos for us to use as visual reference. So, the scenery you’re observing throughout the maze is all pulled straight from theses real-life settlements.

If you are looking for a terrifying time and your heart can take it, Halloween Horror Nights may be right up your alley running on select nights in September, October and November. But be warned, you never know what evil is lurking behind the next corner and remember to savor each moment, because it just might be you last.


Halloween Horror Nights Adds Vampires and Aliens

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 24 will be adding 2 additional houses this year based off of Alien vs. Predator and Dracula Untold, a new feature film soon to be released.

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“Dracula Untold: Reign of Blood” (opening in theaters on September 17th) will introduce guests to the sadistic Transylvanian ruler Vlad Tepes, known as “Vlad the Impaler,” who infamously tortured his enemies by impaling them alive with a wooden stake and suspending their bodies. The foreboding maze will also shed an ominous light on the one-time hero, turned blood-thirsty-tyrant, who chose to embrace unholy powers in order to defeat his enemies. “Dracula Untold: Reign of Blood” will spiral guests through Dracula’s eternal damnation, where the thirst for blood is never-ending.

“‘Everyone thinks they know the story of ‘Dracula’,” said John Murdy, Executive Producer of “Halloween Horror Nights.” “But there is much more to the tale than just a dark figure lurking in the shadows, drinking blood. While Dracula Untold will reveal the origin story of the man who became Dracula, our ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ maze will invite guests to experience the atrocities Dracula imposed on his victims in the most frightening and immersive way possible.”

“As a huge fan of the Universal Classic Monsters, my interest is certainly piqued any time a film explores other facets of the classic characters,” said Michael Aiello, Director of Entertainment – Creative Development, Universal Orlando Resort. “Dracula Untold offers a unique perspective on the origin of the world’s most famous vampire. Our maze will place guests within many of the pulse-pounding moments from the upcoming film, offering guests an unprecedented living preview of the horrors that await.”

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The terrifying new “AVP: Alien vs Predator” maze at Universal Studios Hollywood will answer the proverbial question asked by mankind since the beginning of time: Are we alone in this dark, vast universe? “AVP: Alien vs. Predator” will once and for all shed light on the answer when it brings to life the violent creatures cohabitating our world as it pits two rival alien species in a fight to the death with Earth as their battleground. This menacing maze will uncover a dangerous alien spaceship carrying a race of hunter aliens known as Predators and a threatening new alien life form that uses human hosts to propagate its species. After crash landing in a remote section of America and escaping to the countryside, the alien and predator become hunter and prey with guests caught in the crossfire.”

“When attempting to bring two of the most iconic creatures ever put on film to ‘Halloween Horror Nights,’ you need to rely on everything you’ve learned up to this point” said Michael Aiello, Director of Entertainment – Creative Development, Universal Orlando Resort. “We’re employing our full arsenal of tricks and techniques in translating the AVP: Alien vs. Predator brand into an authentic and horrific maze experience. Puppetry, elaborate costumes and unique environments have all been created in close collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox. Our guests are going to be thrown head first into this epic battle where only the strong will survive. This is truly going to be an out-of-this-world maze experience that the fans have been waiting for.”

“‘AVP: Alien vs. Predator’ is by far the most technically complicated and ambitious maze we’ve ever created for ‘Halloween Horror Nights,’” said John Murdy, Creative Director for Universal Studios Hollywood and Executive Producer of “Halloween Horror Nights.” “It’s a monumental undertaking to recreate these massive, iconic characters for a live event. Fortunately, we have the expert assistance of Academy Award®-winning make-up artists, Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis from Amalgamated Dynamic Inc. (ADI), the special effects geniuses behind the original creatures for the AVP film franchise. Tom and Alec and the ADI team are excited about our maze and have graciously allowed us to cast from their original molds so that our maze will be absolutely authentic to the movies.”

Either way guests choose, Dracula or Alien vs. Predator, it is sure to be a terrifying experience for Halloween Horror Nights!


Hogwart’s Express Celebrates One Millionth Rider

Having only been opened a few short weeks, Universal Orlando Resort and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter celebrates the Hogwart’s Express’ one millionth rider!

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As with everything in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it was always about bringing the books and films to life, and Universal Orlando Resort worked tirelessly for several years to make the Hogwarts Express an immersive and authentic experience.

In the books and films, the journey on the Hogwarts Express is an important rite of passage for young wizards and witches. So for us, giving guests that same experience was really critical. From the train itself, handcrafted in Europe, to the immersive window scenes featuring the films’ iconic stars and locations, every detail of the Hogwarts Express was faithfully recreated to deliver a wondrous and memorable experience.

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Now, one million riders happily confirm they got the experience right –– which is wonderful, because all we design, develop and create is for our audience to experience and enjoy. So, a sincere thanks to all our fans and guests for riding the Hogwarts Express and joyfully embracing the world of Harry Potter brought to life here at Universal Orlando Resort.


Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights Adds Major Frights

The most twisted and gruesome character creations featured on Syfy’s hit competition series “Face Off” will be live and “In the Flesh” at Universal Orlando Resort’s “Halloween Horror Nights” events, beginning Friday, September 19. Nightmarish creatures will surround guests as the macabre visions of some of the most talented up-and-coming make-up artists’ from the show are brought to life.

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Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights will feature an all new street experience with ten different character creations inspired by the acclaimed Syfy series, including a look designed by season 5 “Face Off” winner and Universal Orlando make-up artist, Laura Tyler. The hair-raising, horrifying characters will inhabit five unique and immersive environments within the scare zone, from eerie scarecrows that go to great lengths to protect a spine-chilling farmland to ghoulish brutes that haunt dilapidated castle ruins.

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Also, the second house for Halloween Horror Nights 24 has been revealed. From cult horror film to breakthrough television series on El Rey Network, Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series will be taking a bite out of Halloween Horror Nights 24 in an all-new haunted house.

You’ll step into the sinister nightclub located above ancient cursed ruins where serpent-like creatures called Culebras thirst for your blood. And if that’s not enough, you’ll have to try and escape from the grasps of the irresistible Queen Vampire herself, Santanico Pandemonium.

Universal Studios‘  “Halloween Horror Nights” events have a more than 20-year history of creating incredibly entertaining, horrifying Halloween experiences that are consistently rated the nation’s best. The events on each coast feature highly-themed, disturbingly real, haunted mazes based on everything from films to nightmares – and streets filled with hundreds of specially trained “scareactors.” Other announced experiences include “From Dusk Till Dawn” and “The Walking Dead: The End of the Line” haunted mazes.


Hot Dog Hall Of Fame Now Open at Universal CityWalk

Hot Dog Hall of Fame officially opened today at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk, becoming the latest venue to debut as part of this year’s historic expansion to the entertainment complex.

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Hot Dog Hall of Fame, located across from Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, features stadium-style seating and iconic hot dog creations from across the nation, including the loaded Chicago dog and Milwaukee brat.  Universal partnered with Steven Schussler, the global culinary concept creator behind the popular Rain Forest Cafe, to bring his Hot Dog Hall of Fame concept to CityWalk.

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Hot Dog Hall of Fame joins Red Oven Pizza Bakery, Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, Cold Stone Creamery, Starbucks, Menchie’s and VIVO Italian Kitchen as the latest establishments to open as part of the expansion to Universal CityWalk. Breadbox and The CowFish will open later this year.


Top 5 MUST DO’s At Universal Orlando’s New Diagon Alley

Florida News - June 19, 2014

With the grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort,  we thought that we would share our, not to be missed, Top 5 Must Dos At Diagon Alley:

5.  Have a Meal at The Leaky Cauldron

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Not only is the Leaky Cauldron an iconic location from the books/films, it’s a great place to share a meal with your muggle/wizard friends and family!  We strongly suggest the Guinness stew!

4.  Cast A Spell With Your Interactive Wand

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Located throughout Diagon Alley (and also now in Hogsmeade) you can cast your own spell at certain spots and the buildings and decorations will actually animate!  You can purchase your interactive wands at Ollivander’s Wand Shop which is a must do in itself!

3.  Spend Time in Weasleys Wizard Wheezes

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Fred and George Weasleys’ colourful shop offers a cornucopia of magical jokes, tricks and toys including Pygmy Puffs, U-No-Poo, Skiving Snackboxes, and more.  make sure you take time to look at all the details located within Weasleys’ – it’s remarkable!

2.  Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour 

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Are you a fan of Butterbeer?  if so, you will really enjoy the ice cream version.  You may also try any of the other incredible flavors of frozen perfection like clotted cream, earl grey and lavender, and even chocolate chili.  There are also more traditional flavors as well as some continental breakfast items.

1.  Harry Potter and  the Escape from Gringotts

Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts

Once you enter Gringotts bank (under the massive fire-breathing dragon) you meet with several of the Gringotts tellers who usher into the most breath-taking 3D ride we have ever been on.  It was incredible in the movie and even better at Universal Orlando Resort!

Honorable Mention – Ride The Hogwarts Express

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If you have a Park-to-Park admission ticket, you can pass through Platform 9 ¾ and board the Hogwarts Express from King’s Cross Station in London, located inside Universal Studios Florida theme park, and travel to Hogsmeade Station, located inside Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park (right next door to Universal Studios). Or you can ride the train in the other direction! It’s truly an amazing experience.

Those are our Top 5, we would love to hear yours!


Relive Harry Potter Films at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk AMC Cineplex

You’ve probably heard that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley is opening on July 8. And having spent time in this amazing new land, we can tell you that it is simply breathtaking…the iconic locations seen in the films have been replicated and expanded beyond what I could ever imagine.

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So if just thinking about Harry Potter or looking at all the images from Diagon Alley has you itching to go back and watch all the films, AMC Universal Cineplex 20 with IMAX at Universal CityWalk is showing all eight of the films on select dates through mid-July.

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Be there when Harry is chosen by his wand at Ollivanders, inadvertently turns up in Knockturn Alley for the first time or faces dark forces during the epic Battle of Hogwarts—all on the big screen. It’s a great way to get ready for your own adventure and experience the films that inspired The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Harry Potter Show Times & Dates:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Tuesday 7/1 – 1pm & 7pm
Wednesday 7/9 – 1pm & 7pm
Thursday 7/17 – 1pm & 7pm

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Wednesday 7/2 – 1pm & 7pm
Thursday 7/10 – 1pm & 7pm
Friday 7/18 – 1pm & 7pm

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Thursday 7/3 –1pm & 7pm
Friday 7/11 –1pm & 7pm
Saturday 7/19 –1pm & 7pm

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Friday 7/4 – 1pm & 7pm
Saturday 7/12 – 1pm & 7pm
Sunday 7/20 – 1pm & 7pm

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Friday 6/27 – 7pm
Saturday 7/5 – 1pm & 7pm
Sunday 7/13 – 1pm & 7pm
Monday 7/21 – 1pm & 7pm

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Saturday 6/28 – 1pm & 7pm
Sunday 7/6 – 1pm & 7pm
Monday 7/14 – 1pm & 7pm
Tuesday 7/22 – 1pm & 7pm

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Sunday 6/29 – 1pm & 7pm
Monday 7/7 – 1pm & 7pm
Tuesday 7/15 – 1pm & 7pm
Wednesday 7/23 – 1pm & 7pm

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Monday 6/30 – 1pm & 7pm
Tuesday 7/8 – 1pm & 7pm
Wednesday 7/16 – 1pm & 7pm
Thursday 7/24 – 1pm & 7pm


Universal Orlando Keeps Pace with New CityWalk Openings

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CityWalk, the nightlife entertainment area at Universal Orlando Resort, is in the midst of a partial 2014 makeover that is helping the attraction keep pace with the rush of new Universal guests expected for this summer’s openings of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios theme park, and the nearby 1,800-room Loews Cabana Bay Beach Resort on the Universal Orlando campus.

Tom Schroeder, the vice president of corporate communications for Universal Orlando Resorts, introduced some of the restaurateurs involved in the entertainment area’s new look at a CityWalk event during the recent media preview of the upcoming opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

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CityWalk is the entrance to our resort and this year alone we are adding eight new venues,” said Schroeder. Among the new additions is Antojitos, a newly-opened Mexican restaurant that replaced the previous Latin Quarter. The restaurant, with the friendliest staff we encountered during our days at Universal, turned into a winning margarita-and-taco bar Cinco de Mayo-style fiesta during a brief media visit that we were reluctant to end. Already established at CityWalk is Red Box Pizza, which is located close to the CityWalk movie complex. Another is the Hot Dog Hall of Fame, soon to open on a site that was formerly the Galaxy Bar.

A third new restaurant is Vivo, a lively and upscale Italian restaurant that has already taken over the location of the former Pastamore Restaurant. A popular yogurt bar called Menchies is the place to create your own yogurt dessert, an attraction that replaced a former TCBY yogurt store. Opening soon is a unique dining concept called Cowfish, a “sushi burger bar” that has established its name in North Carolina as the place where diners can order sushi or burgers or a popular combination of both from the “Burgushi” menu. Yet another new concept is the Bread Box, a new take on the old neighborhood sandwich deli that replaces the former Cigarz cigar bar.

Steve Schussler, the culinary creator of Hot Dog Hall of Fame, said his outdoor hot dog stand, featuring baseball stadium style seating, will offer nine different hot dogs, 12 types of mustard and five kinds of buns for “best hot dog experience you have ever had.” Preview guests munched on Coney Island dogs, Chicago dogs, Boston dogs and several others that will soon be seen all over the CityWalk plaza. No opening date, however, was announced for the Hot Dog Hall of Fame.

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Guests Want “Authenticity”

Ric Florell, the senior vice president and general manager of resort revenue operations at Universal Orlando Resort, explained the thinking behind the changes at CityWalk. “At CityWalk we needed more focus on what guests wanted,” he said. “The Latin Quarter, for example, was successful but guests were telling us that instead of a Pan-Latin American concept an authentic Mexican Restaurant would be the next step up. Authenticity is very important to our guests.”

Florell noted that Red Box Pizza has already gained popularity for the specially imported Italian tomatoes and flour that have become signature ingredients of the pies on the menu. As for Cowfish, Florell described Universal’s excitement at discovering the hottest new food concept in North Carolina, a restaurant that eliminates the conflict between family members who want a traditional burger menu and those who want more diet-friendly sushi fish items.

“We are taking advantage of new things opening in our parks,” said Florell, noting that he is also responsible for the new Leaky Cauldron Restaurant in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, with its contemporary take on traditional British pub items including Ploughman’s Lunch, Fisherman’s Pie, Bangers & Mash, Fish ‘n Chips, Sticky Toffee Pudding and English Trifles.

“I’m surprised I don’t weigh 800 pounds,” said Florell with a laugh. “We are dedicated to all-natural ingredients and new food concepts are showing up in my office every day.”

Universal management promised that many of those new and “authentic” food concepts will be appearing at Universal CityWalk as the Universal Orlando Resort continues to grow in the months and years ahead.


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