Islands of Adventure Top Attraction 2016

Hey Thrill Seekers,

No surprise here with the top attraction at Islands of Adventure, it is of course Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey.

This magical attraction is really out of this world. Your journey will consist of visiting loads of iconic places throughout Hogwarts such as Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room, Defence against the Dark Arts classroom etc.

You will also soar above the grounds alongside Harry Potter and his friends, meeting amazing creatures along the way.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - Credit Universal Orlando

There is so much technology involved in this attraction that it really makes it a one of a kind ride that you 100% shouldn’t miss when visiting Islands of Adventure!!

Second Place: The Incredible Hulk Coaster – This coaster will enable you to actually experience the feeling of being the Hulk himself. This is a quick ride.. you will reach up to 67mph taking on zero gravity rolls, twists and turns.

Third Place: Skull Island; Reign Of Kong – Get involved in the 1930’s expedition which is caught in the middle of a battle, King Kong will beat his chest, roar and make it very, very clear that you are in his home.

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Fourth Place: Dragon Challenge – Choose your dragon, will you go for a Chinese Fireball or a Hungarian Horntail? This is a amazing ride where two coasters will intertwine as they twist and loop, nearly colliding with each other. Three times throughout this ride the two dragons will come within 18 inches of eachother!!!

Fifth Place: Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges –  Be prepared to get wet! As you set sail you will help Popeye rescue Olive from Bluto. You’ll encounter dangerous white water rapids and even a 18 foot tall octopus!

Smiles Included,

Jess

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Universal Studios Top Attraction’s 2016

Hey Thrill Seekers,

I don’t think that there was a doubt in anyone’s mind that the top attraction would somehow be linked to Harry Potter.. The top attraction at Universal Studios is of course..

Harry Potter And The Escape From Gringotts.

This really is a surreal experience. You’ll start your journey by entering Gringotts bank which is where you will encounter goblins working hard in the lobby and then get ready for the mind blowing 3D, multi-dimensional ride.

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You will feel as though you are in the centre of the action whilst manoeuvring through dark passageways and underground vaults. You’ll even meet Harry, Ron and Hermione.. but look out for Voldemort, Bellatrix and all of the other bad creatures and trolls who are the only things standing between you and your safe return!

This attraction is not only absolutely amazing for all hardcore Harry Potter fans but I think even if you have never seen a Harry Potter film you will still enjoy this breathtaking attraction.

Second Place: Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit – Pick a song, climb onto the ride, strap in and then you’ll begin your ascent until you reach the top where you will be 17 stories above Universal Studios. The next thing you know you will be reaching 65mph on your decent. This is a really cool, high-tech ride.

Third Place: Revenge of The Mummy – This ride really throws you in at the deep end. You’ll start in complete darkness, the only things you can see will be lit up by huge fireballs and they won’t be pleasant. You’ll also come face to face with the Mummy himself, a really thrilling ride.
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Fourth Place: TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3D – You will become a N*E*S*T recruit, and find yourself in the middle of a intergalactic war between the Autobots and Decepticons. This 3D ride is so futuristic and great fun!

Fifth Place: The Simpsons Ride – You get to ride along with the Simpsons family encountering surprise after surprise as you travel through Krustyland. Fun Fact.. This is the first ever attraction based on the Simpsons show!

Smiles Included,

Jess

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More Information Released on the Celebration Of Harry Potter

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Universal have just today released some more information about the 4th Celebration of Harry Potter which is taking place from 27th January to the 29th January 2017 and there’s some pretty cool stuff!

Following this years very successful 3 day celebration the January line up looks even better. I’ll get the coolest part out of the way first, which actors will be making guest appearances… Wawrick Davis who played Professor Flitwick and Griphook and Matthew Lewis who played Neville Longbottom in the series of films are going to be showing their faces. These are just two of the celebrity guests who will be taking park in Q&A sessions and signing autographs that have been named. There are more to be announced soon!

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The Expo for next years celebration is going to be huge! Take a look below at some of the wicked stuff Universal have released that is going to be taking place.

  • MinaLima: Graphic designers Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima recently finished production on the new feature film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter:Fans will relive the magic through the eyes of the filmmakers who brought the Harry Potter film series to life.
  • Harry Potter: The Exhibition: Are you a Gryffindor or a Slytherin? A Hufflepuff or perhaps a Ravenclaw? Find out at this experience.
  • Scholastic: Celebrate Harry Potter at Scholastic’s booth by signing the “Muggle Wall” and testing your knowledge of the Harry Potter books at the Trivia Challenge. Fans will also be treated to a meet & greet and signing with Mary GrandPré, famed illustrator for the Harry Potter books.
  • Pottermore: If you’re eager to discover more about J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, Pottermore has a surprise in store for fans attending this year’s celebration.
  • Audible: Bringing fans Audible Recall – the ultimate audio challenge that decides who knows the wizarding world inside-out and who has a bad case of the wrackspurts.
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Get a glimpse into the world of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and see images from the award-winning West End production.
  • Google Daydream VR Experience – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: With Daydream View, Google’s newly launched virtual reality headset, you can experience the magic of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in VR. Wave a wand (via a Daydream controller) to solve puzzles and meet a few of the beasts in Newt’s case.
  • Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment: A magical adventure awaits in the LEGO Dimensions experience, where you’ll be able to explore the Wizarding World and be the first to play as Hermione Granger! Guests will also be given the opportunity to participate in special giveaways and contests.

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There is also going to be loads of interesting new demonstrations and cool panels which will really give potterheads a chance to see how some of the magic was brought to life in the films.

There will be a ‘Behind the Scenes: Harry Potter Film Talent Discussion’ which will enable guests to have an insight into what the set of the harry potter films was really like.

There is also said to be a ‘Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – Creating Creatures for the Harry Potter Films’ with Nick Dudman who is an award winning make-up effects and creature designer for motion pictures and Warwick Davis who plays Professor Flitwick and Griphook. This panel will see to a extremely interesting discussion into things such as: what went into creating creatures such as Buckbeak and Gringotts Goblins and you’ll even get to see some authentic models from the films.

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You will even get to ‘Learn Wand Combat Skills with Paul Harris’ who is the films very own Wand Combat Chorographer so I would get practising your wand skills if I were you! Also don’t forget to do the Fan Art Walk where you will be able to add your own twist to a real art gallery which is going to be on display during the celebration.

There will also be loads of Harry Potter trivia so get revising 😉

Don’t forget that entrance into this annual event is free with your Universal tickets however access to some activities will be on a first come first served basis so be sure to get there early!

Spells Included,

Jess

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Making its return….A celebration of Harry Potter 2017

Hey Thrill Seeking Muggles,

So for all you Potterheads, if you haven’t heard already the 4th annual “A celebration of Harry Potter” dates for 2017 have been confirmed. The 3 day magical event will be starting on the 27th January 2017 and ending on the 29th January 2017. So gather round wizards and witches.

This weekend-long experience is full of fantastic events including a film talent Q&A, demonstrations, exhibits and more.

Universal hasn’t released a schedule or confirmed which movie personalities will show, but it looks like a packed line-up. You may even need a Time Turner to do it all.

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Entry into this amazing event is included within your Universal tickets purchased directly with Orlando Attraction Tickets, but activites are often on a first come first served basis.

If this isn’t enough to get your Potter fix, you can upgrade to one of the event vacation packages. This way you can attend even more activities throughout A Celebration of Harry Potter. Universal offer a range of packages which will have you all Pottered out.

Spells included

Kelly

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‘Wand’erful Wands

Hey Thrill Seekers,

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is rumoured to be one of the best parts of the Universal experience, if you’re into Harry Potter getting yourself a wand is also a HUGE deal and there is soooo much choice.

Both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are home to Ollivanders wand shop. The main store is situated in Diagon Alley and the extra ‘branch’ if you like is over in Hogsmeade. Ollivanders is the “maker of fine wands since 382 BC” the shop is filled with wand boxes that are stacked to the ceiling! You will also have the chance to take part in the magical interactive experience of how a wand chooses it’s user. You’ll have the choice to purchase your own unique wand or choose a replica one, used by everyone’s favourite Harry Potter Characters.

You can choose from either an interactive wand or one that isn’t interactive. There are many places to purchase your wands; Ollivanders, Wands by Gregorovitch, Orlando Gift Shops or even in CityWalk.

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Here’s a fun fact about how J.K. Rowling chose the wood for some of the main character wands: She has written that her choice for Harry’s wand was based on it properties however she later came across a description of the ‘Celtic calendar’ and how they assign different trees to different parts of the year. It Turned out that she had actually assigned the ‘correct’ wood for Harry’s wand and his day of birth. She then decided to do the same for Ron and Hermione’s wands so that they had a little hidden connection between the 3 that only J.K. Rowling knew about. Universal have actually incorporated this into their wand shops, the assistants in Ollivanders will take in to consideration your date of birth to get the most suitable wood when helping you choose your wand!

If you’re wondering what I mean by ‘interactive’ wands then wonder no more. Located all over the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter, spell locations are marked by medallions which are set into the pavement. These medallions indicate where all you wizards and witches with interactive wands should stand to cast a spell.

Each marker will explain all the necessary information such as the direction spell-casters need to be facing, the words that need to be spoken for the spell and of course – the pattern in which you need to swish your wand to cast the spell.  – Most spell locations will have their very own expert spell caster who will always be on hand to help with any tricky spells.

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Every single wand comes equipped with a two sided map – one side for Diagon Alley and the other side for Hogsmeade for you to use to find the spell locations. My top tip for you is to look out for the HIDDEN spell locations! Some locations are not marked on the handy map so keep your eyes peeled and if you spot anything that remotely looks as though your wand can work its magic on then don’t be afraid to cast a spell!

You can either purchase your wands online beforehand or if you’re looking for the full experience and aren’t as impatient as I am you can grab a wand from one of Ollivanders shops inside the parks.

There are 39 replica wands for you to choose from such as Harry Potters, Professor Dumbledores, Death Eater wands and even Lord Voldermort. So are you a good or a bad wizard?? Replica wands are $39.95. There are also 27 interactive wands that you can pick from; there are wands for each of the different woods in the celtic calendar as well as all your favourite characters such as Harry, Hermione and Ron. Interactive wands are $47.95.

Soo not a lot of choice is there?! 😉 After thinking long and hard about it and annoying everyone else in the office discussing the pro’s and con’s for each wand I have come to the conclusion that I would definitely go for an interactive wand and it would have to be the Ron Weasley one!! Which wand would you go for any why?!

Don’t forget to purchase your Universal tickets before you travel to ensure to get to experience the greatness of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!

Spells Included..

Jess
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Universal’s Islands of Adventure close Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey for refurbishment

Hey Thrill Seekers,

It’s not often you hear of a major attraction completely closing for refurbishment besides the water rides, but that is exactly what Universal are going to be doing with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey located at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Universal have confirmed that the attraction will be closed next month from the 1st – 18th.

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Harry Potter and Forbidden Journey is a motion-based attraction that takes you on a journey with Harry and Ron through the towering castle gates and along the corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and and Wizardry. You’ll even get to visit Dumbledore’s office, the Defence Against The Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor common room and many more iconic places.

After you’ve explored the school, you’ll be soaring above the castle on an unforgettable journey coming face to face with some amazing magical creatures from the films. The attraction uses some outstanding technology creating a one-of-a-kind experience.

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Some rumours are floating about saying it could be turned into a 3D attraction whereas other are saying it’s not. I suppose we will just have to wait and hear from Universal as to what the refurbishment will entail.

Smiles Included…

Louise

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New Wand Attraction Heading To The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Those eagled eyed sorts at bizjournals.com have spotted a new patent registered by Universal that seems to suggest a new attraction that might be heading to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Although the patent doesn’t mention the Wizarding World by name it does mention “wands” and the term “wizard themed game” within the filing and Universal would be crazy not to try and capitalize on Harry Potters popularity.

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Here’s what the patent states in relation to the ride vehicle;

configured to receive respective inputs from one or more riders via the vehicle interface circuitry, and wherein the respective inputs are related to one or more game features of a game environment; and a game controller configured to receive information from the vehicle interface circuitry related to the respective inputs; and provide instructions to modify the game environment based on at least one of the respective inputs

The patent seems to suggest that the attraction itself would be similar to the Men in Black ride already at Universal, with riders scoring points however the patent states that riders would be able to make conscious decisions that would shape the narrative.

The interactive game ride may also provide the benefit of a dynamic narrative that changes in response to interest from the game players. For example, if a family with small children is participating in the ride, the game may receive input on the player ages to select appropriate game environments. Alternatively or additionally, the player interactions with the game may also influence the game to provide feedback. In one example, the game is a series of puzzle rooms, and the actions that the players take within each scene or puzzle change the environment and allow different paths to be activated or different physical effects to take place

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Bizjournals also point out that the patent uses the example of a “wizard-themed game” that could have riders use different wands associated with characters and use those wands at specific moments to score points, competing with opposing teams or to accomplish a joint goal.

In certain embodiments, the score input may include input from external sensors that capture player motion, such as wand motion, and provide the motion characteristics as input to a score determination algorithm. If the wand motion is associated with a particular spell that is an effective spell for the game, the player’s score may be updated to indicate a successful ‘freezing spell’ or other spell has been cast

The idea sounds fun and would definitely attract us Muggles back to the park to test our own Wizarding prowess, with Universal’s Nintendo deal I wonder if they’ll be lending a hand to help create this video game style attraction?

We’ll keep you posted when we learn more…

Smiles included…

Jamie

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NBCUniversal Acquires Rights to J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World Franchise

Hey Thrill Seekers,

nbc-uni-logoFor those of you that like to keep up on the latest developments in the theme park world there was a very interesting development yesterday that could have an impact on content within the Universal Orlando Resort theme parks.

NBCUniversal announced an exclusive deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution for broadcast and cable network television rights in the United States to all of the films in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World franchise. Beginning July 1, 2018, all eight HARRY POTTER films can be seen on NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s USA Network and Syfy in a deal that also gives rights to air the films across all NBCUniversal television networks. The agreement includes exclusive basic cable rights to the new FANTASTIC BEASTS films – the first of which releases early November 2016. In addition, the partnership incorporates exclusive content and events for the Universal theme parks.

I’m sure you’re fascinated by this but what exactly does this have to do with Theme Parks I hear you cry?…

Well, In addition to the digital and broadcast tie up this deal will allow Universal Orlando to explore a range of new opportunities including fan events, movie screenings and promotional activities tied to the “Harry Potter” franchise and the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts” film series.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort, along with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando Resort, have become global entertainment phenomena. They offer guests immersive, expansive environments complete with innovative attractions, shops and restaurants. The lands bring the films to life in an entirely new way and immerse guests in the adventures of Harry Potter. Universal worked closely with J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. to create the areas to ensure they are as authentic as possible.

We will keep an eye on this as it develops – we’d love to see some Fantastic Beasts content…hint, hint 🙂

Smiles Included…

Karl

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Sugarplums Sweetshop Now Open At Universal’s Diagon Alley

Hey Thrill Seekers,

I kept meaning to post about this but Star Wars kind of got in the way and then our good friend Geoff but for those of you who love a bit of Harry Potter I’m pleased to be able to share a little bit of information regarding Universal’s new addition to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley.

From today visitors can get there sugar hit by visiting Sugarplums Sweetshop, its sells everything from Chocolate Frogs to Butterbeer Fudge, there’s something every wizard can enjoy!

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Sugarplum’s has many of your favorite sweets from the wizarding world including some new treats like Butterbeer Fudge and Pumpkin Cakes.

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And you’ll definitely want to pick up some Fizzing Whizzbees, Exploding Bonbons and Pepper Imps.

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Sugarplum’s Sweetshop is located where Shutterbutton’s used to be in Carkitt Market behind Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and Quality Quidditch Supplies. You can now find Shutterbutton’s next to Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions.

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I’m practically salivating already!!! Which sweets are you going to try first?

Smiles included…

Jamie

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10 Things You Have To Do When You Visit The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter

Hey Thrill Seekers,

When you head to Orlando there are some bits you have to do… You have to visit Disney and get a picture in front of the castle. You have to visit SeaWorld and visit the Penguins and you have to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is seriously incredible, the attention to detail at both parks is simply breath taking. Here are my top 10 things you have to do when you visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

The original Harry Potter ride is not for the faint stomached, situated in Hogsmeade  this ride continually scores highly with our customers.

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Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

A mixture of coaster and 3D, this ride has proven extremely popular and is a must for any muggle.

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The Hogwarts Express

Linking the 2 Potter lands via the Hogwarts Express was a stroke of genius. Telling two separate stories depending on which way you travel simply sit back and be amazed at how awesome it is.

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Ollivanders

You’ll need a wand and where is the best place to purchase a wand? Well Ollivanders obviously. This experience is so well done, its aimed a children but is equalling entertaining for adults as well. The premise is Ollivander helping a lucky Wizard to pick the wand that suits them best.. .Remember its the wand that picks the Wizard!

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The Dragon

When the Dragon breathes fire everybody stops! Perched atop of Gringotts Bank this fire breathing behemoth is a selfie must!

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Interactive Wands

You’ve been to Ollivanders you’ve got your Wand, well now its time to use it! One of the best things you’ll see at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is children using their wands. At certain places shown on a map, provided with the wand you can cast spells! A flick and a swish and you’re a Wizard Harry.

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Butterbeer

You’re not a Wizard unless you’ve tasted Butterbeer, its definitely not to everyone’s taste but you’ve got to try it in one of its forms be it hot, cold or the original.

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Borgin and Burkes

A favourite of any Slytherin Wizard, Borgin and Burkes offers Wizards everything their dark hearts could desire. Definitely worth a walk around Knockturn Alley.

11082663_981317225213394_2959948556511394403_nTales of Beedle the Bard

Its not just rides at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, this brilliant put together marionette show is well worth watching. The show tells the story of 3 brothers who cheat death as per the Potter books.

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The Knight Bus

One of the more iconic images from the books and films is the flexible Knight Bus. You’ll find the conductor and the Shrunken head in the London part of Diagon Alley, here you can have a chat with both! Its worth experiencing and seeing what the head says to you!

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Universal have truly set the bar high when it comes to immersing yourself into a land. I love both Wizarding parks and could easily spend the day exploring both.

What’s your hightlight?

Smiles included…

Jamie

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