More Creatures revealed for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Coaster

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We told you Universal would be announcing another creature today and our guess at what it would be was correct… Say hello to the Cornish Pixies!

Cornish pixies are electric blue tricksters who love to create mischief – often at the expense of others. These mischievous creatures fly, and have also been known to seize unwary humans by the ears and deposit them at the tops of tall trees and buildings – poor Neville Longbottom…

In Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, you’ll see these troublesome creatures wreaking havoc on an infamous blue car… and in places you may not expect. They’re about 13 inches tall and you’ll find more than 20 pixies throughout your adventure. Happy hunting!

🙂

Fun Facts:

  • According to Pottermore, Cornish pixies can produce a high-pitched jabbering that’s only comprehensible to other pixies
  • Cornish pixies made their first film appearance in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets during Gilderoy Lockhart’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class

The next creature to be announced is ‘an extraordinary plant with constricting magical abilities. WARNING – STRUGGLING WILL ONLY CAUSE IT TO TIGHTEN ITS GRIP.’ Devils Snare anyone?….

Remember Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure opens on the 13th June!

Smiles Included,

Abby

Bigfire Restaurant to open this summer at CityWalk.

Hey thrill seekers,

A new restaurant is coming to Universals City Walk. Bigfire will take open-fire cooking to the next level, as each dish will be expertly paired with the perfect type of wood, to bring out the smoky taste in each bite.

It will be located between VIVO Italian Kitchen and Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville on the edge of the lagoon – offering incredible views of Universal CityWalk.

You’ll be able to dine on classic American dishes like the Bigfire bison burger, chili and cocoa rubbed steak, delectable freshwater cuisine and mouth-watering smoked salads. At the heart of the venue will be a custom built wood fire grill that will allow you to see your meal being made right before your eyes. Make sure you save room for the best part of any meal – dessert! We guarantee one of the most popular desserts will be the Baked Alaska.

This summer, we’ve got you covered for a relaxing night out with delicious open-fire cooking. Bigfire – the newest, full-service restaurant that draws inspiration from the nostalgia of cooking over open flames during memorable family vacations – will leave you feeling as though you have stepped into a lakeside summer house, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of summer evenings spent by the water, surrounded by family and friends.

THE THEME

This two-story venue will feature natural design elements of mix and matched fabrics and seating, cast iron, twinkling lights, camp lanterns – and even a canoe suspended from the overhead rafters – to complete the outdoor ambience inside the restaurant. We can’t think of a better way to unwind after a fun-filled day in the parks.

THE FOOD

At the heart of the venue will be a custom wood fire grill where chefs will prepare signature dishes inspired by the style of open-fire cooking – but with a significant and modern twist.

Inspired by the way food would be prepared on an open campfire, chefs will carefully match each food with wood species that have been carefully chosen based on the flavor they exude, resulting in delectable dishes, sides, desserts – and even cocktails – that all infuse the smoky spirits. The pairings will add bold flavors to create elevated American fare, including a signature bison burger, coffee, chili and cocoa rubbed top sirloin, delectable freshwater trout, mouth-watering smoked salads and more.

Check out some of the dishes that will be on offer..

Bigfire Signature Bison Burger
Bigfire Smokin’ Salmon and Avocado Toast
Bigfire Outdoorsman Family Celebration
Bigfire Premium Steak – 16 oz Cowboy Ribeye
Bigfire Baked Alaska
Bigfire Farmers Roasted Vegetable Gathering
Bigfire Farmers Harvest

aaaaand now i’m hungry.

Who else can’t wait to check it out this summer?

Smiles included,

Abby

Everything we know so far about the Stranger Thing HHN House

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So after all the excitement of the Stranger Things announcement @HorrorNights (the official HHN account for Hollywood) decided to do an impromptu Q&A session on twitter about the house.. As both Orlando and Hollywood are getting a Stranger Things house I thought it would be worth looking in to..

So lets take a look at some of the questions and answers..

So the house is going to be mainly based on season 2 with a ‘bonus’ section for season 3.. unusual as the majority of people would have finished watching season 3 by the time HHN starts as it airs in July (and if you’re like me you’ll have watched the whole season in the first day!) so I wonder what they mean by ‘bonus’ …

Different 80’s playlist confirmed, I wonder what songs are included?

This is an interesting one but at least we know it’s not going to be too similar to the last Stranger Things house!

😂😂😂😂😂😂

So not LOADS of gore then? 😉

Interesting… Not a definite no on that one!


I love scare zones and knowing that they’re all new concepts is even better! I wonder what it is they’re working on in regard to new elements…

YES!! that’s what we like to hear

Monsterpalooza is on between the 12th – 14th April so lets hope Orlando get an announcement then too!!

The best bit of that Q&A in my opinion is the fact that they realise that a Stranger Things house should be scarier…

Also, don’t forget that we know some scenes that are confirmed.. – Chief Hopper’s cabin – Starcourt Mall – The Upside Down

This year, you’ll experience an all-new haunted house where you will travel back to the small town of Hawkins, Indiana and walk-through some of the most terrifying scenes from Stranger Things 2 and 3.

‘Not only will you come face-to-face with snarling Demodogs, but you will also make your way through iconic scenes and locations, from Chief Hopper’s cabin to the Starcourt Mall.’

Anyone got any questions that they want us to ask HHN Orlando??

Screams included,

Abby

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure NEW Details!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

First of all, check this out (i’m sure you’d rather listen to Draco Malfoy and the Art Director of the Harry Potter films talk about this than me writing about it.. 😉 )

Opening on the 13th June this year I think it’s fair to say that it is going to be one hell of a coaster experience!!!

Here’s what Universal also had to say..

THE EXPERIENCE:

It begins when you join Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class and board magical motorbikes specially designed to make you feel the freedom of flight. For your journey you can either ride the motorcycle or board the adjacent sidecar, providing two unique experiences. For the first time, you will soar through the Forbidden Forest and come face-to-face with some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures… but as often the case with Hagrid, things don’t go as planned.

  • This new experience combines a new level of storytelling and innovative coaster technology with rich environments and sets – including an actual forest with 1,200 live trees!
  • Experience a freewheeling coaster flight where you’ll twist, turn and rush forward – and backward – at speeds of up to 50 mph into the dark forest
  • Encounter some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures, such as a majestic Centaur; a swarm of mischievous Cornish Pixies; Fluffy the three-headed dog; and even one that’s never been seen in the films
  • Hurl past challenging obstacles, drop into an endless pit of Devil’s Snare and so much more …while encountering a few surprises along the way

Back last month we came across a rendering of what the coaster was rumoured to look like and I think it was pretty bang on.. check it out.

This is a image taken from the newly released video showing the track layout!

Some things Universal have still not revealed are the queue and the pre-show experience. Is this going to be a surprise or are we going to find out more soon??
I also wanna know what else we may encounter in the forbidden forest, what are the other ‘challenging obstacles and surprises’? I suppose an element of surprise can make it a lot more thrilling but i’m super intrigued!

Who’s excitement is building the more we get to know this coaster? Mine is!!

Smiles Included,

Abby

New TODAY Cafe coming to Universal Studios

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Universal have just announced that the ‘TODAY’ cafe is coming to Universal Studios this spring. ‘TODAY’ is a morning show on NBC and the cafe will be set out to make you feel like you’re on the TODAY set with unique theming and speciality items.
It will be located just inside the iconic arches, across the street from the Universal Studios Store so it is in a great location to grab breakfast before you start your date or dinner towards the end of your day.

This isn’t just going to be an average cafe, Universals creative and culinary teams got together with TODAY to create this one of a kind experience.
The venue will be designed to look and feel like Studio 1a in NYC where the show broadcasts daily .
There will be orange awnings, floor to ceiling windows, stage lighting and outdoor seating to make it as similar to the real thing as possible.
There will also be a chance to catch up on the days headline as live broadcasts play.

Food & Drink

Now let’s get down to the important stuff, what food and drink will be up for grabs in the cafe..
Universal have said that The TODAY Cafe will offer a specialty coffee blend, made exclusively for the venue, featuring locally-roasted private label coffee. You’ll be able to sip handcrafted cappuccinos, espresso, lattes, iced coffee and more while chowing down on pastries, made fresh on-site daily, for the perfect breakfast and afternoon pick-me-up.

And, inspired by the fourth hour of TODAY, there will be wine and beer on tap, as well as a delicious cheese platter for two. Plus, one of the standout features of the TODAY Cafe menu will be seasonal dishes inspired by a TODAY personality.

Universal haven’t given an exact opening date however they have said spring so this cafe should be opening soon! 🙂

Excited?!

Smiles Included,

Abby

New Potter Coaster opening date and name announced!

Hey Thrill Seekers!

So just after we finish another episode of OAT Live Universal announce the name AND the opening date of the new potter coaster opening in Islands of Adventure… Drum roll pleaseeee..

HAGRID’S MAGICAL CREATURES MOTORBIKE ADVENTURE

Opening on the 13th June 2019

Join Hagrid as you fly far beyond the grounds of Hogwarts castle on a thrilling roller coaster ride that plunges into the paths of some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures.

From the newly released image we can see that riders will have the choice to sit on the bike or in the side cart, having a different ride experience depending on where you sit!
Check out everything we know so far and a cool rendering of the whole ride here.

A coaster where we can meet Hagrid’s Magical Creatures while riding his motorbike is the coolest thing since, well, ever!

It’s pretty much everything we thought and said it would be and more (well a few more words in the name 😉 ) June now can’t come quick enough!!!

Smiles Included!

Abby

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