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Category Archives: Universal Orlando Resort

King Kong Roars To Life In Groundbreaking New Attraction

Over the past 25 years, Universal Orlando has created some of the world’s most incredible entertainment experiences by combining emotional storytelling, timeless characters and innovative ride technologies. Today, we honor one of the most monumental figures in movie history, King Kong, with the announcement of a groundbreaking attraction opening in the summer of 2016 at Universal’s Islands of Adventure – “Skull Island: Reign of Kong.”

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You’ll navigate perilous jungles, explore ancient temple structures and encounter hostile natives – and that’s only the beginning. Throughout the rest of your excursion, you’ll brave foreboding caves crawling with prehistoric creatures, fend off unspeakable terrors – and even come face-to-face with the colossal Kong himself.

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When they began conceptualizing the next great attraction for Universal Orlando Resort, one prevailing thought rose to the top of their minds. How do they make the experience MASSIVE? The sets, the characters and even the story itself. All of it will be larger than life.

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The challenge is also to tell the next generation of the Kong legend, all while delivering an unparalleled, revolutionary theme park experience guests have come to expect from Universal. We have done exactly that with Reign of Kong – you’ll be pulled into a powerful, intense fight for survival as you discover a side of the iconic beast that has never been revealed…until now.


 

Fun, New Facts About the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

You can imagine the excitement when a few months after grand opening, Disney shared some new stats about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

Check out these golden nuggets…or shall I say Galleons!

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Number of bricks in the entrance to Diagon Alley: 7,456 bricks – and together, the bricks weigh more than 37,000 pounds!

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Number of times the Gringotts dragon has breathed fire: The Ukrainian Ironbelly has breathed fire more than 15,000 times since The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley officially opened.

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Temperature of the dragon’s fire: 3,560 degrees Fahrenheit (1,960 degrees Celsius). That’s more than 16 times hotter than boiling water!

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Number of crystals in the chandeliers within the lobby of Gringotts bank: The four chandeliers include nearly 62,000 crystals.

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Number of mythical creature species inside the Magical Menagerie: 13 different types of creatures, including Kneazles (like the one in the photo), Demiguises and Graphorns.

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Number of passengers who travelled aboard the Hogwarts Express: More than 5 million guests have travelled aboard the Hogwarts Express since Diagon Alley officially opened.

What’s your favorite memory to date from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley?


 

Special 25th Anniversary Concerts At Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando Resort recently revealed the lineup for a special concert series taking place later this spring to help mark Universal Orlando’s 25th anniversary year. On select nights May 23 through June 20, Universal Studios Florida will host a diverse lineup of award-winning, chart-topping artists.

On select nights May 23 through June 20, a diverse lineup of award-winning, chart-topping artists will headline a special concert series at Universal Orlando Resort as part of Universal Orlando’s 25th anniversary year. The 25th Anniversary Concert Series features an array of talent with something for everyone, including internationally-renowned artist Pitbull, chart-topping band Goo Goo Dolls, award-winning Latin idol Prince Royce, teen sensation Shawn Mendes and more. The excitement of the concert series is included with admission to Universal Studios Florida. © 2015 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

The concert series features an array of talent with something for everyone, from the internationally-renowned artist Pitbull – whose global hit single, “Timber,” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, to the chart-topping band Goo Goo Dolls, which has sold more than 10 million albums and has 14 Top Ten hits. Also performing is teen sensation Shawn Mendes, and award-winning Latin idol Prince Royce – whose latest album, “Soy el Mismo,” debuted at No. 1 on the Latin Album charts.

Over the past 25 years, Universal Orlando has transformed from a single theme park into an entire theme park entertainment destination. By day, guests can enjoy some of the most popular entertainment experiences in the world – including the spectacularly themed area The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. And beginning May 23, park guests can rock out to a live performance by a top artist at the Music Plaza, a concert venue located in the heart of Universal Studios Florida.

CONCERT SERIES LINE-UP
Concert Dates

May 23
Prince Royce

May 24
Shawn Mendes

May 30
Pitbull

June 6
Kellie Pickler

June 13
Huey Lewis and The News

June 20
Goo Goo Dolls

The excitement of the concert series is included with admission to Universal Studios Florida or with the purchase of an Annual Pass. For more information, visit www.universalorlando.com.

R&B Artist Trey Songz Closes Universal’s Mardi Gras

This Saturday, contemporary R&B artist Trey Songz will take the stage for the final night of Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras. Throughout his music career, Trey Songz has released five albums that reached the Top 20 of the Billboard 200. His album Ready won the 2010 BET Award for Best Male R&B Artist and led to six hit singles, including, “I Need a Girl,” “Successful” and “LOL Smiley Face.”

Trey Songz Coming to Mardi Gras

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
  • 7:45 P.M. – Mardi Gras Parade Starts
  • 8:30 P.M. – Live Concert Begins

Universal Orlando Announces Rock The Universe Line-Up

On September 11 & 12, Universal Orlando will host Florida’s biggest Christian music festival, Rock the Universe, and we’re psyched to announce the star-studded lineup.

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On Friday, mainstays of the Christian rock scene Switchfoot will take to the stage to perform their soul-stirring hits. Later that evening, Christian music giants Newsboys and Crowder will captivate the crowd with powerful hits of their own.

On Saturday, the riding, rocking and rejoicing continues with more of the genre’s biggest stars, including the Grammy award-winning Casting Crowns. Also performing on Saturday are international fan-favorites Jesus Culture and Planetshakers.

Casting Crowns at Universal Orlando

FRIDAY
Switchfoot
Newsboys
Crowder
Kari Jobe
Kutless
Family Force 5
Capital Kings
All Things New
Aaron Gillespie
Waves of Glory winner
SATURDAY
Casting Crowns
Jesus Culture
Planetshakers
Tenth Avenue North
Building 429
Andy Mineo
NF
Nine Lashes
Rapture Ruckus
Shine Bright Baby
Waves of Glory winner

And don’t forget—your Rock The Universe ticket gives you access to all the award-winning attractions offered at Universal Studios Florida. You’ll also have the chance to hear inspirational guest speakers, grab autographs in the FanZone, and experience a special candlelighting ceremony on Saturday night. PLUS, you can be part of a special Sunday Morning Worship service held right here. It’s an entire weekend of faith and fun.


Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras Rock To The Band Perry

Universal Orlando Resort’s Mardi Gras continues this weekend with a musical performance by award-winning country group The Band Perry on Saturday, April 11.

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The Band Perry, comprised of siblings Kimberly Perry, Reid Perry and Neil Perry, rose to fame with their quadruple-platinum song “If I Die Young,” their platinum song “You Lie,” and their No. 1 Billboard Hot Country song “All Your Life.” Combining country, pop and rock sounds, the musical trio has continued their success by winning multiple CMT and CMA awards, receiving Grammy and Billboard award nominations and selling out worldwide tours. Their second album, Pioneer, was released in April 2013 and produced the No. 1 singles, “Better Dig Two” and “DONE.”

Before each 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
  • 7:45 P.M. – Mardi Gras Parade Starts
  • 8:30 P.M. – Live Concert Begins

All-American Rejects To “Move Along” At Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras

This Saturday, Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras continues to rock on with a musical performance by The All-American Rejects. This popular alternative rock band is best known for their hit singles, “Dirty Little Secret,” “Move Along” and “It Ends Tonight,” all of which made it into the top 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. One of their most successful songs, “Gives You Hell,” was No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was certified four times multi-platinum in the United States.

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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
  • 7:45 P.M. – Mardi Gras Parade Starts
  • 8:30 P.M. – Live Concert Begins

Universal Studios Is Fast And Furious This April

Are you a fan of muscle cars? If you are, this will get your motors running, because three vehicles from Furious 7 rolled into Universal Studios Florida last week.

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Head towards Animal Actors On Location! and you’ll find a three sweet rides from the films—including Letty’s Cuda—just waiting for you to drool over. These amazing rides will be on display through July!

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And if you really want to get ready for the next adventures of Domini Toretto and his family, Universal Orlando Resort has got just the thing.

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The AMC Universal Cineplex 20 with IMAX is having a special screening of all six Fast & Furious movies, at discounted prices, between March 27 and the April 3 premiere of Furious 7.

Check out the schedule below and ride on in!

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!


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