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

 

Check Out Honu at Universal’s Volcano Bay

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Volcano Bay is now one month old and one of our favourite rides is Honu (the big blue ride). Check out this video of Gavin and Liz preparing to ride it.

What do you think of Honu?

Smiles included…

Jamie

OAT Live – The Review Of Volcano Bay

Hey Thrill Seekers,

With Gavin just back from Orlando Abby took the opportunity to sit down with him and pick his brains over the Universal’s new water theme park, Volcano Bay.

Gavin visited Volcano Bay 5 times so his review is brutally honest at times. If you’re heading to Orlando this year its  a must watch.

The Universal 3 Park Explorer ticket offers 14 days unlimited access to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay and can be pre-purchased directly from Orlando Attraction Tickets.

Smiles included…

Jamie

What Else Can TapuTapu Do?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

With Universal’s Volcano Bay set to open next Thursday 25th May, we’re beginning to get bombarded with news, YAY!.

This morning we featured the sneak peak around Volcano Bay now we’ve just got some more info on TapuTapu.

Virtual Queues

As we mentioned before you can virtually wait in line for one ride at a time while playing in other areas of the park. The TapuTapu wearable will alert you when your wait time is over. Now for some new stuff…

Locker Access

After you rent your locker, you’ll be able to access it with just a touch of your TapuTapu wearable. No more locker keys!

TapTu Snap/My Universal Photo Access

You’ll be able to take advantage of special interactive photo opportunities and selfie-spots throughout the park. Your TapuTapu will automatically link your photos to your account  so you can view, purchase, and share your photos at your convenience.TapTu Play

You can trigger special interactive effects and surprises throughout Volcano Bay, like revealing hidden images in the volcano’s cave and shooting water cannons at unsuspecting guests.

TapTu Pay

With TapTu Pay, you can make purchases throughout the entire park with the TapuTapu wearable on your wrist.

Gavin recently got his hand on the first TapuTapu in the UK. Check it our here –

Volcano Bay is included in the Universal 3 park explorer ticket and opens on the 25th May.

Smiles included…

Jamie

Sneak Peak At Universal’s Volcano Bay

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Yesterday CNN got a behind the scene look inside Volcano Bay and it didn’t disappoint. Universal’s new water theme park which opens on the 25th May and covers 50 acres is set to be the most immersive experience Universal have every produced.

Getting Started

Universal’s commitment to this immersive experience starts at the turnstile… well when I say turnstile I mean no turnstiles. Yep that’s right replacing turnstiles are totem poles, a concierge area and greeters welcoming guests with a big “Kia Ora” and a TapuTapu.

Obviously the major attraction at Volcano Bay is none other than the Volcano, Krakatau stands at 200-feet  due to its slightly elevated position it dominates the skyline, so much so that it can be seen from Interstate 4.

Dale Mason, Vice President & Executive Art Director of Universal Creative told CNN;

The park is designed to go into the evening and that waterfall will do a show changing from waterfall to firefall to lava flow every night. Actually, the show may happen multiple times a night.

Rides

As cool as all the immersive features are you’ll ultimately be judged by your attractions and Universal have us covered.

  • The Ko’okiri Body Plunge. – Guests experience a 70-degree fall through a drop door and are sent 125 feet through the middle of Krakatau. Universal says it is the world’s first slide to travel through a pool filled with guests.
  • Nearby are the Kala and Ta Nui Serpentine Body Slides, which intertwine and have guests falling freely along 124 feet of twists and turns.
  • Punga Racer, a high-speed ride where guests race along on manta ray-shaped mats.
  • The park’s Krakatau Aqua Coaster propels guests upward with the use of magnetic propulsion and then shoots them downward. It’s all thanks to linear induction motor technology.

There are 4-passenger rafts in line that are pulled along by magnets There is a big steel plate in the bottom of the raft and we cycle magnets through the ride. Unlike all the other slides, which are gravity fed where you have to start at the top and make your way down, this allows you to be pulled up hills and down and around corners. It means you don’t have to climb a ride tower to get to it. It’s very fast and exhilarating

Where’s the Wave Pool?

You can’t have a water theme park without a wave pool and Volcano Bay being Volcano Bay its got one but with a twist. You didn’t know you wanted it but once you’ve tried it you’ll wonder why other parks don’t have a multi-directional wave pool. It pumps out nine different types of waves from traditional rolling waves to choppy waves to crisscross waves that slam into each other.

If Volcano’s, Slides and wave pools aren’t enough for you Volcano Bay also has blowhole geysers, water-drenching photo spots and the Burping Tiki, which when prompted by a TapuTapu band squirts water from its ears, nose and makes a belching sound. There’s also an area near the leisure pool where water turbulence created by spring vents below causes swimmers to get buoyed up and over to the grotto area. Here, guests can take a breather at the base of the volcano and sit beneath waterfalls.

Volcano Bay opens on the 25th May and entry is included when you purchase the 3 Park Explorer Ticket

Smiles included…

Jamie

With No Queuing At Volcano Bay What Do You Do With All That Free Time?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Its a good point! With Universal abolishing queuing at Volcano Bay with the introduction of their TapuTapu technology what will visitors do with all that spare time?

For those not in the know TapuTapu are the new watch devices that virtually queue for you at rides. Here’s basically what you do;

Look for totems marked with the Volcano Bay logo at the entrance to each attraction. Upon touching your TapuTapu to the totems, you’ll be able to hold your place in line with Virtual Line. Explore the park, take a spin in one of two rivers or grab a bit to eat. Your TapuTapu will alert you when it’s time to ride.

Today Universal have given us a glimpse at some of things you might want to consider.

1. Sandy Beaches

Imagine warm sand sinking between your toes while you gaze out at crystal clear waters. This vacation dream becomes a reality at Waturi Beach, where you can relax by the waves of a sparkling lagoon that sits at the base of the mighty Krakatau. You can find Waturi Beach in Wave Village, the first of three villages you’ll encounter at Volcano Bay.

2. Tropical Beverages

Unwind with refreshing tropical cocktails and frozen drinks inspired by fruity island flavors. Try one of our favorites, POG, a non-alcoholic blend of passion fruit, orange and guava juices. Adults can sip on our Toasted Coconut Pineapple beverage, a delicious mix of toasted coconut rum and fresh pineapple juice.

3. Premium Seating

Leave your beach chairs at home and reserve one of our padded loungers instead.* With premium seating around the park, just pick the location of your seat, sit back and soak in your vacation.

This private space includes two padded loungers, an adjustable umbrella and built-in locker storage – which makes it a perfect place to keep your things when you want to take a dip in the crystal waters of Waturi Beach.

*Additional costs apply

4. Private Cabanas

Escape to your own private paradise and rent a cabana for the day.* With options like single units with seating for up to six, or family units, with seating for up to sixteen, there are plenty of options.

Cabanas come with concierge service with exclusive menu options, a fruit and snack basket, a small refrigerator pre-stocked with bottled water, complimentary locker and towel service and more.

*Additional costs apply

5. Island Cuisine

Take a break from the slides to enjoy our unique island-inspired food. There are over 60 options to choose from, including our Pulled Chicken Mole Taco, Poke Poke Bowl or Jerked Mahi Sandwich. Treat yourself to dessert with Chocolate Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Chocolate Lava Cake or Guava Tapioca Pudding.

6. Winding Rivers

At Volcano Bay, it’s okay to be lazy – and at the Kopiko Wai Winding River, you can do just that. Take a slow ride through the tropical landscape, journey beneath the lava rocks and venture to Stargazer’s Cavern to reveal the magical night sky above. Located at the River Village, this is something fun for Waturi of all ages.

7. Leisure Pools

Make sure to check out the Puka Uli Lagoon in the Rainforest Village. In this leisure pool, you can relax while your little ones enjoy fun features like bongo drums and spraying water.

Watch the bravest Waturi take on the Ko’okiri Body Plunge from the comfort of The Reef, a peaceful leisure pool in the Wave Village. A clear plexi tube shoots straight through this 5.5-foot-deep pool, which features its own private waterfall perfect for frolicking.

Volcano Bay opens on the 25th May 2017. Orlando Attraction Tickets offers the 3 Park Explorer Ticket which grants 14 days unlimited access.

Smiles included…

Jamie

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

 

How to use your TapuTapu at Universal’s Volcano Bay

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We looooooooove when Universal give us any information on Volcano Bay, in fact we spend our days anticipating the next influx of information 😉

I’ve been taking a look into some information on how to use the new, exclusive TapuTapu’s. If you don’t already know (I mean, where have you been?!) TapuTapu’s are the new ‘wearable’ queuing system that is set to eliminate waiting in lines by using ‘virtual queues’ in Universals brand, spanking new water park – Volcano Bay. You can also use it to control multiple interactive experiences throughout the park.

Here’s a picture and some steps on how to use the TapuTapu:

  1. Pick up your  TapuTapu wearable as you enter the park. It’s yours for the day.
  2. Look for the symbol in step 2 around the park and use your TapuTapu to get a return time, play and more.
  3. Touch your TapuTapu on the symbol at a ride entry totem. That check you into the virtual line and gives you a return time.
  4. Go play around the park. The TapuTapu will tell you when it’s time to head back to the ride.
  5. Touch the symbol on the totem again and proceed through the ride entrance.
  6. You can also use the TapuTapu to play with interactive surprises around the park.
  7. Don’t forget to return the TapuTapu wearable when you exit Volcano Bay.

So when you arrive you’ll be given a TapuTapu straight away and remember to keep your eyes peeled for totems marked with the Volcano Bay logo which are situated at the entrance to the rides, once you touch your TapuTapu to the totem you will then have a place in the virtual line and will be notified by your wearable when it’s time to ride.

I love the idea of the interactive surprises – a bit like the interactive wands at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! You” be able to  control streams of water spurting from whales in Tot Tiki Reef. Shoot water cannons at other guests snaking down Kopiko Wai Winding River or illuminate images in the volcano’s hidden caves.

Don’t forget to return your TapuTapu at the end of your visit 😉

What are you most looking forward to at Volcano Bay and what do you think of the virtual queuing system?

Smiles Included…

Jess

 

Universal’s Volcano Bay Construction Photo’s

Hey Thrill Seekers,

To say we’re a little bit excited for the opening of Universal’s Volcano Bay is an understatement. Every little bit of information that appears we’re eagerly devouring, so we were delighted to get our grubby little mitts on these construction pics.

WOW!!!!!

Set to open on the 25th May 2017 you can see that the majority of the rides have already been installed and if you look closely you can see where the paths will be. Oh and of course, look how amazing the Volcano looks!!!

So with 3 months left until opening date do you think they’ll do it? Personally I think we could see a soft launch even before the official 25th opening day.

Credit: Chris Johnson (thanks very much to Cheri Lord as well)

Smiles included…

Jamie

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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