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

 

Universal Confirm A Celebration Of Harry Potter For 2018

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Universal love’s Harry Potter, we love Harry Potter and most importantly you love Harry Potter. So it make perfect sense for Universal to confirm that “A Celebration of Harry Potter” will be returning next year.

Today Universal have confirmed that the event will take place on the 26th January through to the 28th. Here’s what they had to say;

Be a part of this magical 3-day event presented by Warner Bros. and Universal Orlando Resort™. Enjoy film talent Q&A sessions, special panels, demonstrations and new surprises.
As part of the event, you can also explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Hogsmeade™ at Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ and Diagon Alley™ at Universal Studios Florida™. It’s an unforgettable experience where the magic of Harry Potter™ continues, and it’s only at Universal Orlando Resort.

More information will be released and we’ll keep you advised about who will appearing as soon as we know more.

Smiles included…

Jamie

Is Fear Factor Live Closing To Be Replaced By The Ministry of Magic?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Today Universal confirmed that Bill & Teds Excellent Halloween Adventure would not be returning after this year and that HHN27 would be their farewell tour.

This has lead to a lot of speculation regarding the future of Fear Factor Live, the location where Bill & Teds is performed. Fear Factor Live has been continually rumoured to be on the Universal chopping blog and from what we’re hearing it could well be time for the axe to fall.

What could be replacing it?

The strongest rumour and a rumour that has been doing the rounds for a very long time now is the Ministry of Magic. As some of  you may already know, if you head inside the red telephone box outside Diagon Alley and dial MAGIC (62442) you’ll be answered with a message stating ‘the ministry of magic is not open’ which has always led to speculation that Universal maybe considering it.

Ministry of Magic

There has been loads and loads of rumours surrounding “phase 3” and the Ministry of Magic – the largest rumour has always been that Fear Factor Live is going to be demolished to make way for London.. and the centre of the British magical community’s government.

To place it here would mean it would be an expansion of Diagon Alley and not a third Wizarding World attraction. Universal don’t do things by halves though and I would still expect new rides, shops and food places if this were to happen.

I’ve had a little think about what sort of attraction could appear along with the Ministry of Magic and I think it would be something along the lines of battles within the Ministry of Magic, fighting off dementors , watching a duel between Professor Dumbledore and Lord Voldermort or as Jamie mentioned in his previous blog – more interactive wand opportunities and maybe even classes for young Wizard and Witches.

All of the talk and hype about this potentially happening will hopefully give Universal a push to maybe confirming the rumours to be true?

Smiles included…

Jess

 

Is This The New Coaster Replacing Dragon Challenge?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

The news that Dragon Challenges last day would be the 4th September was met with similar feeling as when we announced that Jaws would be closing. The much loved coaster will be making way for a brand new Potter attraction but not much more information has been  released, so we’re working off crumbs.

One potential large crumb came to my attention last night when coaster specialist Dynamic Attractions tweeted this…

Now its not the article that’s the interesting part because like all of us we know nothing Jon Snow. Its the comments section that’s interesting…

Hmm an SFX Coaster, what is this strange device you speak of;

Dynamic Attractions bill the SFX Coaster as The World’s most exhilarating dark ride and state;

Combining a high thrill coaster with new track technologies, high definition storytelling visuals and state-of-the art audio effects. This attraction is filled with ‘firsts’ that will attract theme park enthusiasts from around the globe.

Dynamic Attractions did confirm that “someone” in Orlando had purchased an SFX coaster at IAAPA which does help fuel this rumour.

At first glance it does appear to have similarities to Escape from Gringotts but we’re thinking that this attraction may well have an indoor and outdoor part to it.

Universal are promising a “new generation thrill ride” so we’ll keep you posted when we learn more…

Smiles included…

Jamie

Universal Confirm Dragon Challenge To Close New Coaster To Replace It

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We knew it was on the horizon and now we have confirmation that Dragon Challenge at Universal’s Islands of Adventure will indeed be closing to make way for a brand new coaster!!!

This afternoon Universal confirmed via their blog that brand new thrill ride will take you deeper into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, where you will be able to encounter some of your favorite characters and creatures.

Universal stated that the new ride will be

unlike anything we’ve ever done before and it will be fun for the entire family.

The new attraction will be one of the most highly-themed coaster experiences Universal have ever created. It will combine a new level of storytelling with an action-packed adventure…and a few surprises along the way.

Universal have enlisted the help of their  award-winning Creative team to once again collaborate with Warner Bros. and the production design team from the Harry Potter films to bring this new coaster experience to life.

This ride is going to redefine the category and transport you to thrilling places, drawing you into even more exciting adventures within the wizarding world. It’s going to be the perfect addition to Hogsmeade.

Universal also confirm that they will be permanently closing Dragon Challenge on September 5 to make way for this all-new ride. The last day of operation will be Monday, September 4.

Dragon’s Challenge started life as Duelling Dragons in 1999 and was known for the ride trains being dispatched simultaneously, providing three near-miss encounters along the courses. When the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade opened in 2010 the ride changed name to Dragon’s Challenge and the duelling element was removed.

We believe the new ride (yet to be named) is scheduled to open in the Summer 2019.

Smiles included…

Jamie

Universal Confirm Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Christmas Show

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Just when you think there can’t possibly anymore news to cram in to one day Universal bring out the big guns.

Mike Aiello, Universal legend (not his official title) just dropped this video… hold on to yor hats muggles cos they’re about to get blown off!!!

Starting in November 2017,  celebrate the magic of Christmas  at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Yep that’s right Universal are stepping up to the plate and delivering a Christmas we’ve all wished for! Done in 4 parts Universal will transform both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, here’s what they have planned..

Festive dĂŠcor

That’s right, both parks will be decorated to match the season. Mike uses the would “textured”…. Could it be snow?

Hogwarts Castle

We’ve been speculating about this one for a while but today its confirmed, Universal will be opening up a night time  experience using state of the art map projection. Hogwarts Castle will come to life with Christmas displays, incredible lightening and images inspired by film. As Mike put it, its a “gift to the fans”.

Diagon Alley

It’s not just Hogsmeade that’s getting the make over Diagon Alley at Universal Studios will also feel the love including Christmas food taken directly from the stories and  live entertainment…

Macy’s Parade

Universal will also be teaming up with those parade specialists Macy’s to create their very own Holiday parade featuring Minions, characters from Madagascar and of course SANTA…

All of these holiday experiences will run daily starting Nov. 18, 2017 through Jan. 6, 2018

More to come in the future… but one last take was more Harry Potter news (not related to the above) will come out this year…. OMG

Smiles included…

Jamie

Is a New Harry Potter Ride on the Cards?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Some cool information has emerged today regarding Universal and 2 new patents that have been granted.

One is ‘vehicle transportation room system and method’ and the other is ‘system and method for moving puzzle theatre.’ Both patents appear to be pointing towards bringing more elements for of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to life.. eeekkkk!

I’m going to start with the vehicle transportation system which is the most interesting to me, the patent talks about a retractable ‘launch room’ which would cover ride cars on multiple sided with ‘walls.’ It looks as though the launch room vehicles would include some cool elements like speakers, fog, strobe lights and displays and would move alongside the the car to ensure that guests are immersed in the experience throughout the whole journey.

One of the patent images, (see below) points at a animated figure of a ghost in front of a fireplace which makes me think of the Harry Potter Floo Network – for those of you who don’t know, the Floo Network is a ‘mode of magical transport’ that was used in the Harry Potter series which sees the characters casting a spell  to turn a fireplace in to a portal and then entering it to transport to their the preferred location. Sometimes the characters would get the spell wrong an end up somewhere they didn’t want to be!

Another image shows a retractable wall in a  fireplace leaving enough space for a ride car to propel forwards.

I like the idea of the launch room and the patent states that the launch room could possibly be used to hide upcoming drops / thrills and create more suspense and in turn a more exhilarating ride.

The moving puzzle theatre patent would cover theatres used for shows in parks and areas that include mass seating or performances. You’ve probably all been in the situation where you have been super excited to go watch a performance or show and when you finally get to a seat you’ve got something blocking part of the  stage – not cool!! This new style will allow the seating areas to be manoeuvrable and give people the feeling that the theatre is unified  when actually each section of seating is separate and can move in relation to the others.

Looking at the patent it seems as though Universal will create the movable theatres in a way in which guests will not even notice that the puzzle theatre system is enabled to move the seating areas. It looks like there would be an initial configuration that manoeuvrable seating areas will be connected to a single system so that they can separate and come back together.

Now for some technical stuff (if it wasn’t already confusing enough) The seating area’s appear as though they would be attached to actuator arms!

Yes I’ll admit that I had to google what actuator means..

An actuator is a component of a machine that is responsible for moving or controlling a mechanism or system. An actuator requires a control signal and a source of energy. The control signal is relatively low energy and may be electric voltage or current, pneumatic or hydraulic pressure, or even human power.’

There would be 6 degrees of freedom, for example: pitch, roll, yaw, surge, heave and sway and there could even be more than one centre platform that could allow for one to pass over the other or even pass over the show itself! Perhaps to simulate a Quiddtich match?

Even though not all patents lead to new attractions we can always have a guess, right?

My guess is that the rumours that Dragon Challenge will be making way for a brand new attraction could well be true and that these new patents will be incorporate. I believe it will be some kind of story based attraction, taking Harry through different stages i.e. the Floo system, a quidditch match. I think the ride itself will incorporate different types of ride including dark rides and 3D. An extension of what Universal did with Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

What do you think?

Smiles Included,

Jess

Top Secrets at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We poked our noses in at Universal Studios yesterday so now it’s time to pop next door and nose a little bit more.

We’ll start off in Marvel Super Hero Island where there are red phones dotted around that you can pick up and listen to various options on how to report different crimes.

All the buildings have been designed with all of the Marvel characters. The artist Adam Kubert has secretly signed his first name into each painting with the exception of Storm from X-Men.

hulk

Some of the Marvel characters ride into the park on quad bikes at the top of the hour but quickly disperse to get ready for their character meet and greets.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster has lots of games to keep you entertained throughout the queue on a busy day but don’t forget to listen out for the roar as you shoot out of the slingshot launch tunnel!

Doctor Dooms Fearfall has prints of his victims, the Fantastic Four, on the floor! There’s also a little cubby hole underneath the Osborn Industries sign. If you stand there and listen carefully, you will hear two thugs planning their next stunt!

DDFF

Just across the road at Captain America’s Diner, you will see Thor’s hammer stuck in the glass and if you head inside, Thor will be over the other side, mid-throw.

Time for some Jurassic Park now and if you look carefully just outside the exit of Jurassic Park River Adventure, on the shelf there is a Barbosol shaving cream tin which represents the tin that contains the dino embryos in the film.

We’re gonna jump across back to by the entrance now into Seuss Landing where it all looks a bit different and crazier than the rest of the park! There are no straight lines and all of the buildings are unorthodox.

As you enter into the area, you will see McElligot’s Pool on the right hand side. One of the fish in the pool is special and if you toss a coin into it’s mouth, you’ll see what happens next..

“Young man, young man, you’re sort of a fool. You’ll never catch fish in McElligot’s pool”

pool

Moving swiftly over the The Lost Continent, you will find a mystic fountain which you can talk to. He will tell you jokes and riddles, but you won’t want to get the riddles wrong…!

Let’s go over to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter now but this time we’re in Hogsmeade! Ladies, if you’re wanting a toilet break, now is the time to go. If you listen carefully you will be able to hear Moaning Myrtle!

Olivander’s is the place to be if you want to become a wizard with your very own wand and if you’re lucky, the wand may even choose you! You can then head off to some of the spell locations dotted around the area and cast some of your own spells!

19629_990932850918498_4319727460715200648_n

Just outside of Olivander’s is the Owl Post station where you can post a letter of your own to anywhere in the world with the official Hogsmeade stamp before heading back to Diagon Alley on the Hogwart’s Express. Don’t forget, the journey is a completely different experience this way!

So there we have it, some of Universal Islands of Adventure’s secrets. What else have you found on your travels?

Smiles Included…

Louise

banner-oat-new (00000002)

 

 

 

Top Secrets at Universal Studios

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Most of the parks have their own little secrets which lots of people may know about. If you don’t know about them, I’ll fill you in, but remember…it’s a secret!!

Let’s start off with Universal Studios:

To enter into either of the Universal parks you have to go through CityWalk anyway, once you’re in, head over to Blue Man Group and you will see a little single entrance with barely any queue with staff members there to scan your ticket to head straight into Universal Studios.

img_bmg_tickets_gift_certif_tcm13-54752

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem has real banana trees grown outside..why? Because minions love bananas of course!

Hollywood Rip Ride Rock It allows you to choose your own song from the list each time you ride, but did you know you can play a secret song?! Simply hold down the logo for 10 seconds and enter in any 3 digit code for your secret song to begin!

PG_v_full_2_tcm13-25661

Over at the Revenge of the Mummy, there is a hidden statue of King Kong just inside, paying tribute to the original attraction. So he never actually left, he was just hiding!

Let’s shoot down some of the parade path over to Men In Black: Alien Attack. If you get there on a busy day and end up queuing, try jiggling some of the handles on the laboratories…

If it’s a quiet day, ask a team member for a tour of the ground floor of the immigration room. They may or may not be kind enough to do this with you! 😉

mib

It’s time for the bit you’ve all been looking forward to, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Here at Universal Studios you’re in Diagon Alley representing London. If you’re lucky enough, you might be able to spot Kreacher the house elf peeping out over Diagon Alley.

Traditional red telephone boxes through Diagon Alley have their own little magic trick. You can go in and dial 62442 (MAGIC) and be transferred through to the Ministry of Magic!

If you look closely you might also notice there’s a few references to Jaws throughout Diagon Alley such as the the record shop has a record in the window titled ‘Here’s to swimming with bow legged women’. There’s also telescopes made of jaws and a set of jaws inside the window of the apothecary shop.

If you’re looking to experience Harry Potter and the Escape to Gringott’s then you will get to see all of the goblins hard at work. If you get the chance, talk to Griphook the head goblin and ask him questions. Maybe even ask him about the dragon! 😉

P6194883

Now that you’ve escaped the safest place on Earth, why not take a trip on the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade?!

There’s lots to look out as you walk through the queue area but don’t miss platform 9 3/4 because you can actually walk through the wall!!

So there’s some of the secrets that I know of! Do you have any that haven’t been mentioned?

Smiles Included…

Louise

banner-oat-new (00000002)

More Details About Universal’s A Celebration of Harry Potter Are Out

Hey Thrill Seekers,

A celebration of Harry Potter is becoming a big deal for Universal now in its fourth year the event is going from strength to strength. This years event will take place from the 27th Jan until the 29th.

Below is this year schedule;

CHP17-Header-750x302_tcm13-59648

FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2017

Harry Potter™ Expo
9am – 5pm | Soundstage 33 and 21
Movie in the Park
10am – 12:30pm | Music Plaza Stage
Movie in the Park
1:30pm – 4pm | Music Plaza Stage
Opening Night Event
7:15pm – 8:15pm | Music Plaza Stage

SATURDAY, JANUARY 28, 2017

Harry Potter™ Expo
9am – 3:30pm | Soundstage 33 and 21
Kids’ Dance Like a Beauxbatons, Battle Like a Durmstrang
10am – 10:30am | Music Plaza Stage
WB Studio Tour London – Discover the secrets behind Creature Effects with Nick
Dudman & Warwick Davis
10am – 10:30am | Toon Lagoon™ Amphitheatre
Harry Potter™ Trivia
11am -11:30am | Music Plaza Stage
Learn Wand Combat Skills with Paul Harris (Kids)
11:30am – 12pm | Music Plaza Stage
MinaLima: Graphic Design for the Harry Potter™ Films with MinaLima
11:30am – 12pm | Music Plaza Stage
Harry Potter™ Trivia
1:30pm – 2pm | Music Plaza Stage
Learn Wand Combat Skills with Paul Harris (All Levels)
2pm – 2:30pm | Music Plaza Stage
Stories From The Exhibition: Taking the Audio-Tour Experience to the World
3pm – 3:30pm | Toon Lagoon™ Amphitheatre
Harry Potter™ Film Talent Q&A
4pm – 4:45pm | Music Plaza Stage
An Interview with Mary GrandPrĂŠ
4:15pm – 4:45pm | Toon Lagoon™ Amphitheatre
House Rally Meet-Up (Costume Contest)
5:30pm – 6pm | Music Plaza Stage
Evening Tribute
6:45pm – 7:45pm  | Music Plaza Stage

SUNDAY, JANUARY 29, 2017

Harry Potter™ Expo
9am – 5pm | Soundstage 33 and 21
Kids’ Dance Like a Beauxbatons, Battle Like a Durmstrang
10am – 10:30am | Music Plaza Stage
MinaLima: Graphic Design for the Harry Potter™ Films with MinaLima
10am – 10:30am | Toon Lagoon™ Amphitheatre
Harry Potter™ Trivia
11am -11:30am | Music Plaza Stage
Learn Wand Combat Skills with Paul Harris (Kids)
11:30am – 12pm | Music Plaza Stage
Learn Wand Combat Skills with Paul Harris (All Levels)
2pm – 2:30pm | Music Plaza Stage
Stories From The Exhibition: Taking the Audio-Tour Experience to the World
2:30pm – 3pm | Toon Lagoon™ Amphitheatre
Harry Potter™ Trivia
3pm – 3:30pm | Music Plaza Stage
WB Studio Tour London – Discover the secrets behind Creature Effects with Nick Dudman & Warwick Davis
4pm – 4:30pm | Toon Lagoon™ Amphitheatre
Harry Potter™ Film Talent Q&A
5:30pm – 6:15pm | Music Plaza Stage

Soundstage 21
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter™
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Pottermore

Soundstage 33
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter™
MinaLima
Stories from Harry Potter™: The Exhibition
Scholastic
Universal Parks and Resorts™

Where will you head?

Smiles included…

Jamie

banner-oat-new (00000002)