Everything we know about Universals Mardi Gras!

Hey Thrill Seekers!

Starting on Saturday 9th February this years Mardi Gras event looks awesome! For those of you who don’t know, Mardi Gras is a New Orleans style party held at Universal Studios where you can catch countless beads from vibrant parade floats, eat delicious and authentic food and listen to some of the biggest names in music.

Buckle in cos’ i’m going to tell you everything you need to know about this years Mardi Gras including the FOOD you can get during the event! YUM.

Parade

The 20 minute parade is one of my favourite parts of Mardi Gras! This years theme is Party Animals so is right up my street! There will be originan fan favourites as well as new floats themed to lively animals from around the world like the below:

Be prepared to catch tonnes of beads from the floats!!

The parade starts at 5:15 pm on Feb. 21, Mar. 4
It starts at 6:15 pm on Feb. 10-15, 18-20, 22, 24-28, Mar. 1, 5-8
It starts at 7:15 pm on Mar. 3
It starts at 7:30 pm on Mar. 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, Apr. 1-4
It starts at 7:45 pm on Feb. 9, 16, 17, 23, Mar. 2, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31

Food

Another one of my favourite things!!
During Mardi Gras you’ll be able to test out loads of dishes in the French Quarter Courtyard as all dishes can be bought in tasting sizes!

There is also a variety of speciality cocktails!
Mimosa Bar – a new bar dedicated to – you guessed it!- Mimosas! you can try unique flavours such as caramel apple, raspberry rosemary and mojito mint.
Signature Drink – (non alcoholic) ‘Bayou Bog Water’ don’t be put off by the name though it comes complete with gummy worms, fish and blueberry boba beads!
You can also get Carnival Cocktails and Ragin’ Rumbalayas  and then if you’re feeling brave you could go for the Viscous Voodoo which is a combo of the previous two!!

what one would you start your night with?

Live Entertainment and Performances

On select nights, you can watch some of the biggest names in music take to the Music Plaza stage. Here’s the line up:

  • February 9 – BUSH
  • February 16 – Gavin DeGraw
  • February 17 – Dan + Shay
  • February 23 – Macklemore
  • March 2 – Sabrina Carpenter
  • March 9 – Becky G
  • March 10 – Sean Paul
  • March 16 – Steve Miller Band
  • March 17 – Ziggy Marley
  • March 23 – NF
  • March 24 – Pitbull
  • March 30 – Bazzi
  • March 31 – To be announced

If you want to hang around the French Quarter you will be able to see the signature sounds of these authentic Big Easy bands.

  • February 9 – 17: Dirty Bourbon River Show
  • February 18 – 27: Naughty Professor Brass Band
  • February 28 – March 18: Free Agents Brass Band featuring Honey Bannister
  • March 19 – April 4: New Breed Brass Band

So there we have it. Are you visiting Universal Studios between the 9th Feb and 4th April? If not, you should cos’ it’s great time to visit Universal!!

Smiles included,

Abby

Universal temporary attraction closures

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We do usually only have positive vibes here on our award winning blog (disclaimer: this blog has never won an award… but it should) however we do have to write about the less happier stuff from time to time so that you’re in the know with everything happening at the Orlando parks. Don’t worry, they’re not closing down the Wizarding World or only playing classical music on Rip Ride Rockit.. there’s just a few attractions closing down for a short period to allow for seasonal maintenance.

Hogwarts Express – will be closed on the 17th January 2019 for seasonal maintenance.

Jurassic Park River Adventure – will be closed from the 7th January 2019 until the 25th January 2019 for seasonal maintenance (and for the dinosaurs to go on a quick holiday)

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls – Will be closed from the 28th January 2019 until the 22nd February 2019.

Remember all attractions need maintenance from time to time to keep us all safe while having a blast (or getting soaked in the case of Ripsaw Falls!)

Smiles Included,

Abby

Universal’s Fantastic Worlds

Hey Thrill Seekers!

This is VERY interesting.. A photo of a particular slide from what appears to be an internal Universal presentation was leaked yesterday and basically reveals the name of Universal’s 4th gate.

Universal submitted a trademark for this name back in June and the internet has been awash with rumours about Universal’s 4th gate ever since. Universal also carried out guest surveys to see what names the people would prefer! The survey included names like Epic Universe, Legendary Worlds, Epic Worlds, Legendary Lands and Dream Park. ‘Epic Universe’ was also trademarked by Universal but i think if i had to choose out of Fantastic Worlds and Epic Universe i would have gone with Fantastic Worlds too.

When Jamie found out about the trademark for Fantastic Worlds back in July he started to take a look at what could be included in the new park ‘a nod to the Potter franchise Fantastic Beasts. Another suggestion was sighted as Universal’s Epic Universe as a nod to the kind of buzz words being used by Universal employee’s.’ The name definitely does nod towards Fantastic Beasts getting it’s own world and the image pretty much solidifies the fact that Nintendo Land will be a world within the new park and not at KidsZone in Studios as previously rumoured by some sources. Lets take a look at what other worlds we could be seeing in the future;

Star Trek – there was a lot of rumours about this one when the trademark for the name was filed and it is thought that it could be a way to combat Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge. What do you think of a Star Trek world?

Lord of the Rings – This was rumoured as a possible expansion for Islands of Adventure theme park a few years ago so now a new park is opening it could be perfect timing!

Jurassic World – now this one kind of speaks for itself.. a whole Jurassic World would be AWESOME and the possibilities of rides and attractions for this is endless.. especially thrill rides. 😉

Fortnite & other video games – even if you don’t play it, you would have heard of it.. Fortnite – it is the most hashtagged thing on instagram, has attracted over 125 million players in less than a year and was only released in 2017! It is without a doubt the most popular game amongst all ages at the moment which has got us thinking that a ‘video game’ world would be cool and stand out from the other parks. With Nintendo Land thought to be the ‘anchor’ of the new park, it could also include games like Angry Birds (which also has a movie so even more content there) and World of Warcraft.

Dreamworks and Illumination – Think Madagascar, Trolls, Kung Fu panda, Shrek, The Lorax, a whole minion world and even two more by DreamWorks / Paramount: Sonic and How to Train Your Dragon… imagine a ride similar to FOP for that :O 😉

Now it seems to be that the park will be anchored by Nintendo as it features on the leaked image and is of course hugely popular with people of all ages. It will also need it’s own world due to the amount of IP included.. Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Pokemon and many more..

Where is the 4th gate? Now that we still don’t know, there are rumours that it’s around 2 and a half miles from the current resort so maybe it isn’t going to be where we first thought in this blog

What do you think of the name?

Smiles Included,

Abby.

 

What did the creative brains behind Halloween Horror Nights 2018 have to say about this years event?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

As Halloween Horror Nights has come to a close the creative minds behind this years event have shared their thoughts on a HHN that has gone down in Universals record books as the ‘hottest’ and most haunted houses ever created!

Firstly i’ve had a look on twitter and found what Mike Aiello : Senior Director Creative Development of Universal Orlando & HHN Orlando had to say.

I have chosen a few of my favourites:

Although it is sad that HHN has come to a close after another spectacular year we can now get excited and speculate on HHN29!! We’ve already had an idea that Netflix’s new show The Haunting of Hill House would make a great addition and Mike and his team are already considering IP’s and working on original content. Wooop!!

Universal posted some closing thoughts from the creative minds behind this year’s Halloween Horror Nights…

Charles Gray: Show Director.

“On the final night of the event, I like to say my goodbyes to not only cast and crew, but to the sounds of the event. I can see visuals anytime on social media or hanging on the walls of our Art & Design offices. But year after year, the audio tracks of Halloween Horror Nights have become a special memory for me.

  • I want the environmental sounds from Seeds of Extinction and the score from Carnival Graveyard to remain in my head.
  • I will walk through the haunted houses on the final night and absorb my favourite scares.
  • I will smile when I walk through Slaughter Sinema and hear a crazed kid scream, “I’ll eat your guts for dinner!”
  • I will snicker when I hear Loomis yell, “No!  No!  No!” into the night air.
  • Hearing, “They’re heeeere” that final time will induce some melancholy and a sense of pride.

I am so proud of what the entire team has accomplished this year. That pride extends from the tech teams to the scareactors. Everyone should be proud of the heart and soul they poured into this twenty-eighth year of Halloween Horror Nights. 2019 is already shaping up to be a year of surprises. See you next year.”

Blake Braswell: Show Director.

“The end of another Halloween Horror Nights has come. And as it fades away into the fog, I know this terror-filled beast will linger long in my heart. What this talented team of creators, designers, technicians and scareactors brought to life were some of the very first horror stories I experienced as a child.

I couldn’t be more proud to have played a part in this year’s event. I hate to see it go, but the tendrils of next year have already crept into our view, and I am thrilled for the screams yet to come.”

Patrick Braillard: Show Director.

“We are about to close the gates on another incarnation of Halloween Horror Nights. Soon the haunted houses and scare zones that you knew this year will disappear, making way for new experiences next year.

The beast that is Halloween Horror Nights is never satisfied with the status quo. It is always evolving, always changing. Sometimes that change is seen as growth—can you say 10 houses?! Sometimes it means welcoming a group of maniacs inside—Academy of Villains, can you feel me?!

But in all of that growth and change, there are things that remain as steady today as they were during our very first event—the passion. The passion of the teams that develop, operate, and manage the event (truly the best in the world). The passion of the scareactors, who are the lifeblood of the event. And of course, the passion of the incredible fans who devote their time and energy to the promotion of all things Halloween Horror Nights (sometimes that involves tattoos…).”

I already can’t wait for HHN29! What about you?

Screams included,

Abby

Stranger Things Day at Universal Studios!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Universal have just announced one of the coolest things EVER.

Tuesday November the 6th was the day that Will Byers disappeared and on the same day this year you are invited to join the search party for Will by taking on the HHN Stranger Things house during the day! From 11am – 7pm anyone in Universal Studios will have the chance to walk through the house for one last time!

There will also be speciality food and beverage options at Benny’s Burger Tent, San Fran Pastry and Boulangerie.

Step into the shoes of Mike, Dustin, and Lucas as you venture into The Upside Down with the help of Eleven to rescue Will from the clutches of the Demogorgon.

This is such a cool idea!! Who’s going?!

Smiles Included,

Abby

Universals first Expansion Plans

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Universal Orlando have files some site development plans with Orange County which give us a look at an expansion of UOR. Now it still hasn’t been confirmed what Universal are planning on doing with all the land they have recently purchased  but the main rumours are a 4th gate or hotels but this surely goes to show that a project is HAPPENING right?!

Now this isn’t a building plan and doesn’t give us much info on what or where anything is going to be ‘built’ it is a sort of, overall site plan which details grading, paving, drainage and utility plans and you’d need a degree to figure the whole thing out!

I’ve tried to simplify the main overall site plan with references to what could be in each space using the site data that is also posted below:

The expansion site is described as being just over 541 acres. Below you can see that there is a planned 4820 regular parking spaces, 201 handicapped spaces, 68 bus spaces meaning a total of 5089 parking spaces! No-one is too sure if it is a parking lot or structure that is planned but i’m sure someone with a brain larger than mine can work it out 😉

Another interesting part is that the sites maximum height allowed for a building is 400 feet! We can also see that 135 acres of land are required for open space, some of which will be stormwater ponds as this is required in Florida due to the amount of rainfall. Universal can make these both offsite and onsite by making them decorative to fit in with hotels and in parks etc.

The main thing we can see is how cars will move around the site, as there is no details of a park or hotels we can only assume this is what Universal are planning on doing with their land but what else could it be?! I mean we’ve already speculated on Super Nintendo World going to a brand new park or evern a Fantastic Beasts world making an appearance in a new gate but who knows.. We can only wait for Universal to tell us!

What do you think is going here???

Smiles Included,

Abby

 

New Wands at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

There’s some new wands on the block! That’s right, in honour of the upcoming Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Universal have released new wands available at Universal Orlando inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley and they are only available for a limited time from now until January.

The wands are not interactive and are priced at $46 plus tax.

The above photo was taken by Inside Universal and are in order from top to bottom: In order, from top to bottom; Newt, Theseus, Queenie, Porpentina, Flamel, & Leta Lestrange.

The wands available to purchase are from the following witches and wizards:

  • Newt Scamander
  • Theseus Scamander
  • Queenie Goldstein
  • Porpentina Goldstein
  • Nicolas Flamel
  • Leta Lestrange
  • Albus Dumbledore
  • Gellert Grindelwald

Grindelwald’s wand is the Elder Wand that is eventually used by Dumbledore, then followed by Voldemort. Dumbledore’s original wand has not yet been released.

The above photo also taken by Inside Universal and shows the wands on the shelves ready to be purchased.

Don’t forget there’s tonnes of other wands available to purchase at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter including the interactive ones which are awesome!

Who’ll be picking up one of the new wands on their upcoming visit?!

Smiles Included,

Abby

What to expect from Super Nintendo World

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Due to the recent news that Super Nintendo Worlds at Universal Japan and Hollywood are now under construction, an image recently posted by Ladbible has intrigued us here at OAT. Even though the below image looks like a Disney map with stuff added on and the fact it doesn’t have the right logo or name that Universal have released for the Japan version we’ve taken some inspiration from it..

We’re pretty certain that there will be a Mario Kart and Donkey Kong attraction and a little bit confident that there will be a Pac-Man attraction. We have also thought about what other IP would be available such as Animal Crossing, Pokemon and Zelda but the image has nodded toward a Mii Plaza and a lot more attractions based on Super Mario such as a Mushroom Kingdom, Luigi Mansion and a Toad ride – all of which are cool ideas but not yet confirmed.

Universals own words about the 3 worlds coming to Japan, Hollywood and Orlando show that this is a huge project.

  • These will be expansive, immersive and interactive. They’ll be highly themed and authentic environments filled with multiple attractions, shops and restaurants.
  • You’ll feel as if you’re playing inside your favourite games – in real life.
  • There will be something for everyone—regardless of their age or gaming experience level.
  • Planning and creative work on these areas is well underway; they will open separately over the next several years.

The goal of everyone on this project is clear: to bring the characters, action and adventure of Nintendo video games to life within Universal theme parks. And to do so in new and innovative ways that capture what makes them so special. All of the adventure, fun and whimsy you experience through a screen will now be all around you – in breathtakingly authentic ways.

Dan Kilne, when speaking with The Motley Fool raised the same point that has been going around for a few months now about where the Orlando Nintendo world will go.

Right now, at the Universal Studios location in Japan, they’re actually already under construction on what’s called Nintendo Land. It’s a handful of rides. They’ve been very secretive. We know there’ll be a Mario Kart ride. Think of it like the Star Wars expansion at Disney, a very immersive land, a big deal. In Orlando, they’ve said, “We are going to build out Nintendo properties.” But they’ve been very cagey about where. The rumors had always been at the original Universal Studios. There’s a kids’ area that’s a little bit lifeless, it would make sense. But then, about a month ago, it became public that Universal Studios is building a fourth gate, another theme park, and they’ve amassed a big chunk of land to do that. So, it’s very logical to think that Nintendo is going to be the cornerstone, the Harry Potter, of this new theme park. And maybe there’ll be something tying it to one of the other theme parks, like the train ties the two Harry Potter Worlds together to help sell multi-day tickets. This is a risk for Universal and a huge win for Nintendo, because they’re getting the licensing fee whether it’s an instant success or not.

I like the idea of another Hogwarts Express type ride to connect the new park too!

As always, we will keep you updated if Universal release any concrete info 🙂

Smiles Included,

Abby

Everything you need to know about Universal E-tickets!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So there’s a new type of ticket on the block!

OAT are now offering E-tickets for Universal Orlando Resort, why? To make life easier for you lovely lot 😍 oh and because there’s loads of benefits of having them!

  • They’re perfect if you’re making a last minute booking and don’t have time to have tickets delivered.
  • Forget the stress of ever forgetting to take your tickets with you or loosing them on your holiday as they will always be on your phone.
  • You can book and redeem them while on your holiday.
  • You can save money when selecting this option.*

The option to have E-tickets issued instead of posted tickets will become available if you are ordering just Universal tickets on their own.

Accessing your E-tickets

1. Log in to your customer account online using your email address and password given at the time of booking.

2. Click on the ‘wallet’ tab from within your customer account online.

3. Download or print your voucher!

Redeeming your E-tickets

Your Universal 2 & 3 park Explorer tickets can be collected in resort via the ‘Will Call kiosk’ located at the entrance of Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure.
Collecting your tickets is easy – just head to the park entrance and use the ‘Will Call Kiosk’ – your ‘Gate Ready’ Tickets will be printed there and then, all ready to use.

Important – Please note:

You will need to use the credit/debit card you used at the time of the booking as identification when collecting your tickets at the ‘Will Call Kiosk’- Your card will not be charged at the Kiosk. It’s only for identification/verification purposes. You may also be asked for your ‘telephone number’ that you used at the time of the booking for identification purposes and asked to in-put your confirmation number detailed on your print out-if prompted.

Smiles Included,

Abby

* discounts are subject to change

What’s coming to the Universal parks in the future?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Now it’s Universals turn.. What can we expect from them in the next few years?

What? Harry Potter Coaster Where? Islands of Adventure When? 2019

We are sooooo super excited for this one here at OAT! We don’t have too much information on this coaster however we’re just happy that its not another attraction that will make Gavin puke..

What? Terminator 2 3d replacement Where? Universal Studios When? 2019

This is what Universal had to say back in 2017: Terminator 2: 3-D at Universal Studios Florida will run its last shows on Sunday, October 8 to make way for an all-new live action experience based on a high-energy Universal franchise. It will open in 2019. This is one of many exciting new experiences coming to Universal Orlando Resort as we continue our epic growth. Stay tuned – more details will be released soon.

What? Super Nintendo World Where? TBD When? TBD

Now we are 100% sure that Nintendo World is coming to Orlando because that has been confirmed however we do not know where or when! We have our inklings that it its going to be in a new Universal park or KidZone but that’s not yet confirmed!

What? Zelda Where? Lost Continent at IOA When? TBD (rumour)

Check out this blog to see all the rumours surrounding a Zelda land!

What? 4th park Where? Orlando When? TBD

Pic credit: (Adelaide Chen/Orlando Sentinel)

Universal has acquired lots new property for expansion, we know there’s hotels on some of it but the rest is HOPEFULLY going to be a brand spanking new park and at the top of the bets is ‘fantastic beasts’

What do you think of Universals expansions?

Smiles Included,

Abby