Abby’s Pre-Orlando Adventure

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Its nearly time…….

If you watch our bi-weekly Facebook Lives you’re bound to know that i’m due to go on a ‘Super Fam’ trip and in particular, how excited I am about it! Well it’s time and i’m finally leaving tomorrow to embark on what is sure to be the best trip EVER.

If you follow our Facebook or Instagram accounts you’ll be seeing loads of videos and photos from yours truly over the next week including all things Disney, Universal and SeaWorld. Before I start packing (yes I know I’ve left it very last minute) I thought I would give you guys a run-down of what my trip is going to involve.

Soooo.. I arrive in Orlando at 5pm -ish on Sunday and by 9.30pm i’ll be at Universals Halloween Horror Nights!! Nothing like throwing us in at the deep end aye?! I’m absolutely terrified but also mega, mega excited for this (I do feel sorry for the people who are going to have to keep picking me up off the floor in the houses though) The house i’m most excited for is SAW: The Games of Jigsaw, SAW hasn’t featured at HHN for 8 years now and i’m pretty eager to see what’s going to be involved this time around.

For the first few days i’m going to be staying at Universals Cabana Bay Beach Resort which I’ve heard is very nice indeed. 😛 On my first full day i’ll be visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley, Hogsmede Village and Universal Studios. I’m absolutely buzzing to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – I’ve heard so many amazing things about it and I just can’t wait to see it all for myself and i’m especially excited for  Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™.

On to the next day.. On this day I will be visiting Volcano Bay in the morning and Universals Islands of Adventure in the afternoon, woooo!!! I can’t wait to ride Krakatau™ Aqua Coaster and teeny bit scared to do Ko’okiri Body Plunge™ I feel like this is going to be a fantastic morning and I can’t wait to get loads of snaps of the Volcano! For Islands of Adventure I’ve been warned not to wear white tops or any denim and this is because i’m bound to get ABSOLUTELY SOAKED on the water rides.. Hopefully it’s a warm day (oh I forgot to mention, the weather forecast for next week is BEAUTIFUL.) Oh i’m also very eager to ride The Incredible Hulk Coaster We have a surprise evening with Universal on this day and i’m super excited to see what this is going to be, of course, i’ll keep you updated!

Day 4 is the day i’m most excited about… anyone who knows me will understand why. Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to swim with a dolphin and now i’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to do it YAY!!! If you haven’t guessed already, i’ll be visiting Discovery Cove in the morning. I’m not going to lie there will probably be some tears buy hey, who cares it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity! After Discovery Cove i’ll be travelling over to Busch Gardens where I cannot wait to ride all the big coasters and ALL of the pressure is on me to ride Falcons Fury.. i’ve got this!

On day 5 i’ll be visiting SeaWorld in the Morning , Aquatica in the afternoon and back to SeaWorld for the evening! 😉 Very excited to ride Manta and Mako at SeaWorld as everyone in the offices always raves about how good they are. Especially excited to be lucky enough to ride them in the dark also! Psyching myself up for Ihu’s breakaway falls at Aquatica!

I’ll be staying over night at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, ready for day 6.. On day 6 i’ll be visiting EPCOT in the morning and Animal Kingdom in the afternoon. Can’t wait to visit all of the different countries at EPCOT and i’m so buzzing for Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom, the reviews i’ve read about Avatar – Flight of Passage have all been great so I cannot wait to experience it for myself too.

On the 7th Day i’ll be off to Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, I am really looking forward to seeing Cinderella’s Castle, meeting all of the characters and getting to experience the iconic rides and attractions such as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. I also hope I get to watch Happily Ever After, could possibly shed a tear or two here as well!

On my last day I get to go SHOPPING at the Orlando International Premium Outlets and the Florida Mall, I’ve got all my pennies saved up for this I’m just hoping i’ll have enough room in my suitcase!! After that it’s home time 🙁 🙁

Only 1 more sleep to go and i’ll finally be off!! If you would like to follow my action packed week make sure you keep checking our Facebook and Instagram as i’ll be trying to post as much and as often as possible.

See you all soon!!

Smiles Included,

Abby

 

Grand Avenue – The Third New Land Coming to Hollywood Studios this Autumn!

Hey Thrill Seekers!

There is so much going on in regards to new Disney attractions and lands that I can’t keep up! Today i’m focused on Hollywood Studios. Two of the main additions heading to Hollywood Studios are going to be Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land but today Disney have announced some information on another part of the park which is going to be transformed.

Muppets Courtyard and part of the former Streets of America, is being re-imagined by the Walt Disney Imagineers to become a new area called Grand Avenue.

Grand Avenue will be inspired by the unique culture of downtown Los Angeles,  where vintage office buildings and warehouses are being converted to exciting new uses. Guests will get to see “merchants” appear in the area, such as music shops, loft apartments, a tailor and more. Disney say that each window on the street will feature ‘charming displays’. It seems as though these will be fake storefronts that guests won’t be able to enter but will add loads of atmosphere and ‘feels’ to the area.

The current Muppets Courtyard is set to become Grand Park ‘an urban square off Grand Avenue surrounded by shops and restaurants like PizzeRizzo and Mana Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano.’  If you are visiting Hollywood Studios in the near future you will already be able to see some changes such as the Muppets Theatre being renamed to the ‘Grand Arts Theatre.’  Don’t worry though – All the favourites such as Kermit and Miss Piggy continue to be stars in the Muppet*Vision 3D show!

More Details On Grand Avenue, Coming Soon To Disney’s Hollywood Studios More Details On Grand Avenue, Coming Soon To Disney’s Hollywood Studios

“California craft ales, lagers and cider are the stars of the drink menu. California wines on tap along with specialty cocktails are not to be missed either. A gourmet non-alcoholic lemonade and soda on tap round out the drink selection. If you’re feeling peckish, try one of the small bites, including a Bavarian pretzel with mustard and beer-cheese fondue, spiced almonds or a charcuterie board featuring California cheeses.”

BaseLine Tap House is something me and Teresa spoke about a few weeks ago on our all girl Facebook Live. The new corner pub will feature Californian beers and wines along with a selection of small bites (and lots of cheese!!) The pictures above are making me seriously hungry!

Grand Avenue will be opening to guests this Autumn, not too far away at all! I for one cannot wait as it sounds right up my street (or avenue should I say 😉 )

Smiles Included,

Abby

Universals Fast & Furious – Supercharged will Debut in Spring 2018!

Hey Thrill Seekers!

Universal have recently released some exciting news – especially exciting for me as Fast & Furious is my favourite film franchise EVER!!

The attraction is going to be called Fast & Furious – Supercharged and will open in spring next year.

You’ve seen the cars. You’ve seen the ction. And soon, you’ll be able to live it.

Back in 2015 Universal announced that a Fast & Furious attraction will be coming to Universal Studios in the future and we now have a exact-ish release time! Fast & Furious is one of the most successful film franchises of all time and this ride is  going to be one of Universals most action packed experiences!

 You’ll feel like part of the “Fast family” as you embark on a thrilling new Fast & Furious adventure that will put you right in the middle of the action.


The ride is set to fuse everything people love about the films with an original storyline and incredible ride technology. Universal have said that you will be able to check out some of the high-speed, supercharged cars you’ve seen in the films and that you’ll be immersed in the underground racing world made famous in the films. You will even get to explore the headquarters of Toretto and his team. “Then, you’ll board specially-designed vehicles for an adrenaline-pumping ride with your favourite stars from the films.”

This action-packed ride will take guests on a high-octane journey that fuses an original storyline, incredible ride technology, popular characters, exhilarating environments, nonstop action and, of course, high-speed cars. You’ll feel like part of the Fast & Furious family as they join Dom Toretto, Hobbs, Letty and Roman on a thrilling new Fast & Furious journey.

Fast & Furious – Supercharged will also feature the Virtual Line experience. If you haven’t heard of this before it allows you to select a time to ride in advance so you can wait in line, virtually, (not standing getting achy legs)  and allows you to enjoy other experiences throughout the park while the app queues for you.

I, for one, am absolutely bursting with excitement for this one! What do you think?

Smiles Included,

Abby

Food, Glorious Food.. New Disney and Universal Menus!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So, Universal have released – intentionally or not – some big announcements regarding plans for a new hotel on the land that used to be home to Wet ‘n Wild, patents that point towards a new Harry Potter ride and now.. the menu for Volcano Bay!

Now we all know that Disney aren’t one to sit back and let anyone steal their thunder and are opening Pandora: World of Avatar on the 27th May – 2 days after Volcano Bays debut and they have recently released the extremely intriguing menu.

A couple of weeks ago we got an insight into the weird and wonderful foods that are going to be on offer in the Satu’li Canteen which is Pandora’s sole restaurant and even more interestingly the way in which you can customise and order your meals. There’s some pretty cool things in there such as Na’vi Blueberry Cheesecake – sounds lovely and looks even better! There are some cool takes on traditional dishes as well such as one from the childrens menu – ‘hot dog wrapped in dough’ this isn’t too different to a normal dish so it shouldn’t scare the kids away too much. 😉 You will also find a vast list of alcoholic beverages on the menu such as Avatar Sangria and Banshee Pinot Noir – Fancy :-p.

Take a look at the menu here:

In my previous blog I also took a look into the new system of how you can pre-order and pay for your meals via the app which I think will really help with the  queues. Thankfully, Disney have released the full menu with pricing so you can even start budgeting and deciding on what you want before you leave the country!

Guests to Disney have been able to begin making FastPass+ reservations for Na’vi River Journey and Flight of Passage from the 24th March.. These are expected to book up very quickly!

I’ve also been taking a look into Volcano Bays menu – we all know swimming makes you hungry so good food inside a water park is essential!

Looking at Universals blog, creating the menu has been a pretty large project in itself.

As a Research & Development Chef at Universal Orlando Resort, I’ve gotten to create some unique food dishes. But it was a whole other experience to help design an entire menu for our third park, Universal’s Volcano Bay.

Said Corporate Executive Chef Steven Jayson, who was very excited to elevate the food and beverage experience at Volcano Bay. ‘From the minute you arrive in the morning until well into the night, you’ll have more than 60 delicious options to choose from, from snacks to entrees to desserts.’

The dishes are all inspired by the islands of the South Pacific and there will be dishes such as Poke Poke Bowl, Mango BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, Island Chicken Salad, Glazed Hawaiian Ribs, Coconut Curry Chicken as well as refreshing cocktails and beers.. Yummaaay!

The dishes will be available to grab a taste of at the following dining locations around Volcano Bay:

  • Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club
  • Whakawaiwai Eats
  • Bambu
  • The Feasting Frog

If you’re a fussy eater or a little less adventurous with your food (a bit like Kelly here at OAT) then don’t panic!! All of your favourites such as chicken fingers, hamburgers and pizza will also be available.

Both menu’s are weird and wonderful – which would do you prefer?

Smiles included,

Jess

 

Pandora: World of Avatar Ride Requirements

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So on our last Facebook Live we had a couple of questions about Pandora: The World of Avatar and in particular, will the rides be included in Fastpass+ and what d’ya know Disney released this exact information yesterday!

Lets start with Avatar Flight of Passage, Disney’s description of Avatar Flight of Passage is making me so impatient.

“Get a banshee’s-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of Pandora on a rite of passage you won’t soon forget! Deep in the heart of the Valley of Mo’ara, discover Avatar Flight of Passage—an all-new expedition that lets interstellar explorers like you climb atop a mountain banshee for a breathtaking, first-person flight over the moon’s incredible landscape. Bonding with a mountain banshee is a crucial step in the life of a Na’vi hunter—and flying on the back of one of these powerful winged creatures represents an important rite of passage.Now, as a visitor to Pandora, you’ll finally have the chance to test yourself in a similar way! “

The height requirement for this ride is 44 inches which is approximately 3.6 feet. The age interest is kids, tweens, teens and adults. Most importantly, can you use FastPass+ for Avatar Flight of Passage? The answer is yes. Wooo!

Next up is Navi River Journey, Disney’s description on their website gives me goosebumps..

 “Glide down a gentle, mysterious river and feel a sense of wonder as the full beauty of Pandora reveals itself. Located within the Valley of Mo’ara, Na’vi River Journey offers explorers an experience that has to be seen—and heard—to be believed! As your expedition begins, climb aboard a reed boat and drift downstream. After coasting through a series of caves, and passing by exotic glowing plants and amazing creatures of the rainforest, you’ll soon find yourself face-to-face with the Na’vi Shaman of Songs. The adventure comes to a conclusion as the Shaman demonstrates her deep connection to the life force of Pandora—and sends positive energy out into the forest through the power of her music!”

Sounds beautiful doesn’t it? What’s better is that there is no height requirement for this ride as well as the age interest being for everyone meaning the whole family can enjoy it together. You can also book your Fastpass+ on the Navi River Journey. 🙂

 

Next is Valley of Mo’ara, this isn’t something that I knew a lot about so looking on the Disney website has really got me excited to have a wander around the valley..

 “Walk about through the Valley of Mo’ara and get ready to discover a world like no other! There’s more to Pandora than expeditions like Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey… much more! All around its enormous floating mountains, you’ll quickly uncover the valley’s one-of-a-kind dining and shopping experiences—along with sights, sounds and experiences that include: Exotic plants that come to life with beautiful bioluminescence each night, A Na’vi-built drum circle containing instruments playable by all, Na’vi totems and other cultural items found throughout the land, Brand-new Wilderness Explorers challenges and badges to collect. You may even come across tour guides from Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE), scientists from the Pandora Conservation Initiative (PCI), or even an eclectic expat or two!”

There is no height requirement and the age interest is for everyone. There is no Fastpass+ available for the Valley of Mo’ara as there will be no queue lines.

With the opening of Pandora: World of Avatar on the 27th May getting closer and closer we are loving any information that Disney are releasing about it.

Welcome to Pandora—a world similar to Earth… but distinctly unique in so many ways!

I don’t know about you but I really can’t wait and i’ll definitely be booking my fast passes for the Navi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage!!

Smiles Included…

Jess

Disney Announce New Nighttime Spectacular Show ‘Happily Ever After’

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Another announcement! We just can’t get enough 😛

A new nighttime spectacular at Disney’s Magic Kingdom called Happily Ever After will debut on the 12th May replacing the long-running Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. Disney have said that it’s going to include a mixture of Disney storytelling, beloved Disney characters, fireworks and loads more!

“Gather ‘round Cinderella Castle for an awe-inspiring show that’s sure to surprise and delight.”

It appears that it’s going to focus on some of the magnificent adventures that different Disney characters have undertaken to achieve their dreams. Fireworks, pyrotechnics, original animation and a ‘heart tugging’ story line – what more can you ask for?

Happily Ever After is going to start with a dream and will continue to take you on a incredible journey that will capture all of the humour and heart of loads of Disney’s animated films including:

  • Aladdin
  • Big Hero Six
  • Brave
  • Frozen
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • The Incredibles
  • The Lion King
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Moana
  • Mulan
  • Tarzan
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • Toy Story
  • Up
  • WALL-E
  • Wreck-It Ralph
  • Zootopia

The show is set to be 18 minutes of lights, laser, projections and fireworks so don’t forget to gather round Cinderellas Castle if you are visiting Magic Kingdom from the 12th May onward.

“It all comes together in a dazzling way—for a fantastical finale to your day at Magic Kingdom park.”

Know Before You Go

  • Don’t forget to check the Times Guide at Magic Kingdom park for schedule and showtimes.
  • It is an outdoor show and subject to cancellation due to inclement weather.
  • Showtimes are subject to change.

So what do you think of the new nighttime show at Magic Kingdom? I for one cannot wait and I LOOOOOOVE the title.

They all lived happily ever after..

Smiles Included…

Jess

 

Disney Announce Rivers Of Light Will Debut on 17th February at Animal Kingdom

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Disney are just spoiling us with announcements this week!! Last night they announced a new nighttime experience at Animal Kingdom called ‘Rivers of Light‘ to add to the variety of nighttime experiences that are currently available at the park.

The new show is set to debut on the 17th February.

“Continuing the grand Disney tradition of innovative, after-dark entertainment, “Rivers of Light” combines live performance, floating set pieces, a soaring musical score, fountains and more in a celebration of animals and nature.”

disneylights

The story of the show will unfold on the Discovery River and will convey the spirit of an ‘ancient and timeless’ lantern ceremony. It will be ‘filled with symbolism, storytelling and plenty of heart.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is already home to amazing nighttime experiences such as Kilimanjaro Safaris after sunset, Harambe Wildlife Parti, Discovery Island Carnivale and of course when the Tree of Life literally comes to life with light and colour to showcase different stories. I’m very excited to see the new show, who doesn’t like pretty lights 😉

Animal Kingdom is a great place to visit in the evenings with so much to see and do and if you’re visiting from the 17th February onward then you’re in for a real treat! We would love to see some pictures if you go to watch the show!

Smiles Included

Jess

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Universal Release More Information On TapuTapu

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Soooo.. Universal have just released some more, exciting news about TapuTapu!

As you probably know by now, Volcano Bay, the new 30 acre home of incredible rides, creative and immersive environments, relaxing scenery and best of all the new technology that ‘eliminates the fuss and maximises the fun’ is now opening on the 25th May (3 months, 16 days, 6 hours, 5mins….. not that i’m counting or anything!)

Universal have just released the first look at the design of the new virtual queuing system that is TapuTapu.. It looks as though the waterproof bracelets will come in a variety of colours – my favourite is the aqua colour ;-P

“It will transform the way guests experience water theme park entertainment at Volcano Bay”

The TapuTapu will give guests to Volcano Bay the freedom to join ‘virtual lines’ and as Jamie described in his last blog about TapuTapu all you will need to do is walk up to the totem in front of the attraction you are wanting to go on and simply waft your wrist (the one with the TapuTapu on it 😉 ) and then a ‘return time’ will let you know when you need to return. This means you can go off and enjoy Volcano Bays four themes area’s while still in the queue. The clever little TapuTapu will then alert you when it’s time to head over to the attraction. – I’m wondering if you can join more than one ‘virtual line’ at once? Hmmmm..

Universal have also let us in on some more information regarding TapuTapu Play experiences.. This is where you can use your TapuTapu wearable to control and play with many things  throughout the park. This will include things such as streams of water squirting from whales or being able to shoot water cannons and unsuspecting guests floating down Kopiko Wai Winding River. The coolest one in my opinion has got to be the lights that you can control within the hidden caves!

Universal's Volcano Bay grand opens on May 25, 2017.

Every guest entering the park will receive a TapuTapu Wearable to use for the day – there will be no extra charge for these and you will be required to return them at the end of your day.

“No Long Lines,

Endless Fun.”

I’m sooo excited about Volcano Bay opening and I really don’t enjoy queuing so i’m equally as excited to try out one of the TapuTapu’s and chill out at Waturi Beach while my TapuTapu does all the hard work and queues for Krakatau Aqua Coaster for me! 😀

Don’t forget to buy one of our Universal 3 park Explorer tickets if you’re wanting to visit Volcano Bay!!

Smiles Included,

Jess

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Behind The Scenes at Pandora – The World of Avatar

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So today whilst having a nose on the Walt Disney World Facebook page I came across this wicked video that not only gives us a sneak preview of what Pandora – The World of Avatar is going to be like but we also get to see what some of the top people dealing with the new world have to say.

Joe Rohde, Walt Disney’s Imagineering Senior VIP Creative says that this is a “crazy thing to try to do” but after watching this video i’m glad they have done it!!

Jon Landau – The producer of Avatar states that this land will literally ‘take guests to Pandora’ and James Cameron – The Creator / Director of Avatar ‘can’t really express how it feels to see something that he imagined in 1995 suddenly made physically real’

The Navi River Journey looks as though it is going to be an absolutely beautiful and serene escape into the bioluminescent forest and the clue towards something ‘amazing’ happening at the end of the ride that has ‘never been seen before’ has got me filled to the brim with excitement. AVATAR Flight of Passage will take you on a once in a life time flight over Pandora and is sure to be very thrilling!

My favourite bit has got to be the floating mountains and the fact you can walk underneath them as they move over your head. This is sure to create the atmosphere of being totally immersed in the world that is Pandora.

I think that this world is going to be absolutely incredible and definitely somewhere to add to your itinerary if you’re visiting from summer onward!

Smiles Included…

Jess

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Animal Kingdom’s Top Attractions 2016

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Coming in at an extremely favourable 1st place for top attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Expedition Everest.

“Careen through the Himalayan mountains on a speeding train while avoiding the clutches of the mythic Abominable Snowman.” 

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest  is a thrilling family ride where you will board a weather beaten train and begin to zoom through a gorgeous scenery of rolling hills and green forests. After whizzing through a ceremonial stone tunnel you will find yourself at the summit. However you can’t stay there forever, one way up, one way down!

As you plunge downwards into the heart of the mountain the train comes to an unexpected stop as the track in front of you is broken! But don’t worry Disney wouldn’t allow you to be caught by the Yeti, not today! The train begins to race backwards, back inside the dark mountain to encounter lots of twists and turns. Keep your eyes peeled for a shadowy figure. Is it the Yeti? I would’t want to hang about to check that’s for sure!

Second Place: Kilimanjaro Safaris – You’ll have the chance to experience a tour of the African Savanna in an open-air vehicle for a day or evening tour. There are over 34 different species of African wildlife that are free to roam around.

Third Place: Festival Of The Lion King – Another unmissable experience at Animal Kingdom. One huge celebration with all your favourite characters and songs all rolled in to one show. (one of my personal favourites)

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Fourth Place: Kali River Rapids – This is a exciting whitewater experience down the Chakranadi River – look out you might get soaked!!

Fifth Place: It’s tough to be a bug – “See the world from a bug’s point of view with a little help from Flik inside the great Tree of Life.”

Expedition Everest is another great and very very popular top attraction for another fantastic park.

Smiles Included..

Jess
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