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

 

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

Have you survived THE TRILOGY!!!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Have you survived THE TRILOGY…

The Trilogy as named by Gavin, is the 3 water rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. To survive the Trilogy you simply have to ride, Jurassic Park River Adventure, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls® and Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges®.

Check out Gavin & Liz demonstrating it here;

Have you taken on the Trilogy and won?

Smiles included…

Jamie

Are Universal Closing Dragon Challenge?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Who doesn’t love a bit of gossip?! I love it! When there’s rumours around, Jamie and I basically fight over them. I don’t know if you know, but there’s been rumours flying about for quite some time now about Universal looking to replace Dragon Challenge.

I for one am pretty upset about this because I love a roller coaster more than the dark rides and I think Universal should continue to have both amongst their parks. The majority of attractions at Universal Studios are 3D, including Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, Shrek 4-D, Terminator 3D, The Simpsons Ride, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3D and The Escape from Gringotts. Although I absolutely love these attractions, you just can’t beat a good old roller coaster like Rip Ride Rock It or Revenge of the Mummy.

Over at Universal’s Islands of Adventure (IOA), they have a bit of a mixture with a couple of 3D rides, a couple of coasters as well as my 3 favourite water rides: Dudley Do Rights Ripsaw Falls, Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges and Jurassic Park River Adventure.

Here is what my debate is about. Yes, ok, IOA have the Incredible Hulk coaster (which I absolutely love) but it’s always good to have at least a couple of coasters in a park! For starters, the Incredible Hulk coaster keeps you tucked into the cart whereas Dragon Challenge lets your legs dangle in the air..

 

I just love all coasters in general and all the adrenaline however if I had to choose I guess I prefer the coasters with my legs dangling. I feel like it’s a bit more daring!

In my opinion, technology has taken over and, understandably, the parks are making the most of all of their wonderful tech knowledge to wow their customers time after time but what’s wrong with keeping some of the old school coasters instead of replacing them. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing all of the new ideas that come along but I’m still adamant that the way forward is more about coasters.

Overall, if Universal do decide to close Dragon Challenge, I hope they replace it with another coaster rather than a dark ride. Theme parks definitely need more of these about!

What would you like to see replace Dragon Challenge?

Smiles Included…

Louise

Universal drop parking prices after 6.00pm

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We know as well as you do that parking at the theme parks can be a nightmare sometimes. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment realised that offering free parking with selected tickets would help them out and it seems Universal are doing their best to keep up now.

They have announced that if you arrive after 6.00pm you will no longer need to pay any parking charges. If you arrive before 6.00pm, you will still have to pay for your days parking i’m afraid  🙁

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With Universal CityWalk growing immensely, free parking after 6.00pm will make accessing CityWalk so much easier for guests. Universal CityWalk has a large variety of entertainment and restaurants making it a great place to spend your evening!

Parking at Universal covers access for guests visiting Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, CityWalk and soon to be Volcano Bay so this is going to make a lot of guests extremely happy!

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One event that won’t be included within this free, evening parking is going to be Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 🙁

Disney Springs has free parking so maybe this is why Universal have made these changes? Disney Springs is one of their largest competitors when it comes to evening entertainment, especially for tourists. Hopefully we will see some further changes across the board when it comes to parking!

Smiles Included…

Louise

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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.

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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!

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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”

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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!

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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

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New Universal Patents

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Over the weekend we have discovered that Universal City Studios – which is the sister patent-filing division of Universal Orlando Resort have some possible new patents which points toward some really cool things that could mould the future of Universals attractions.

The new patents seem to indicate a strong connection with the Nintendo and Marvel brands. Some even point towards water rides which would make sense seeing as Volcano Bay is due to open in the summer!

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It looks as though Universal have been busy bees when it comes to these new patents, they have filed 5 patents since October to November, all looking at different, unique ways to allow guests to have a better experience.. A lot of them are based around interactivity and how they could maybe base rides around the Mario Kart and Iron Man brands. Now I would LOVE to see a Mario Kart ride!! There is even some speculation that the music aspect of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster may be bought to a water ride at Volcano Bay!

I have taken a look into the 5 patents and what they could involve:

Drift Racers – This patent instantly points straight at Mario Kart. This looks like it would be a two-rider car based attraction with one passenger seated in-front of the other. Each passenger will have a different experience as the front driver would have a steering wheel and pedals which will control some aspects of the ride and the rear passenger will have an array of buttons to use throughout the ride that can affect the car they’re in and also impact other cars on the track. – Imagine attempting Rainbow Road in real life 😉

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Simulator ride – This one looks as though it would be an interactive experience and sort of points towards an Iron Man theme. It looks like it would require guests to get in to a ‘flying simulator’ on a moving track which will look like a suit (probably helmets, chest and arm pieces etc). The patent states examples such as flying through asteroid fields and fighting dragons that may cause sensations in the suit such as heat and vibrations from explosions and dragons. Now I know Iron Man doesn’t have a reputation for fighting off dragons but the images in the patent quite closely resemble Iron Man.

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Functional mat racer – This is one for the water rides. It looks as though it could be equipped with lights, a screen and audio! How hi-tech is that!! The patent suggests that the lights could be used for various reasons such as ‘to illuminate the riders’ path or light up the water beneath them to help set the environment they are in.’ The patent states that the mats could come with display and audio elements that could “show images of other riders in the ride experiencing a thrilling section further along in the ride while a speaker may play captured audio from those riders to build anticipation,” It also suggests that you may be able to save your preferred lighting and music choices to a ‘park identification bracelet.’

Slide entry system – This patent looks as a new entry in to a drop slide – my guess is that this will be effective in Volcano Bay. It looks absolutely terrifying but also pretty thrilling! The glass enclosure will slowly fill with water before the trap door opens. The patent states “Not only is this thrilling for the rider, but the image of the rider being enclosed in a fluid-filled space may also provide excitement to the observers” Now that would be one for true thrill seekers.

Boom coaster – This points towards a ‘arm’ and it’s ability to attach to a vehicle that looks as though it is on a track system (but is actually controlled by a separate arm) If this is confusing just picture yourself on a coaster with a element of the story being that your path has been destroyed or there’s a break in the track that you need to ‘jump’. “Because the passenger may believe that the simulated ride surface controls a path of the passenger vehicle, the passenger may fear or anticipate that the passenger vehicle may crash or otherwise incur damage as a result of the elevated gap” Many people have taken it upon themselves to say this looks like it could be a Donkey Kong themed ride using the mine cart idea’s. What do you think?

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Although these patents seem pretty well thought out, theme parks file patents on a regular basis and many are not acted upon straight away and some not acted upon at all. I thought it was worth having a nose into these ones though as they all seem pretty fitting due to the opening of Volcano Bay and the proposed Nintendo land.

We will definitely be keeping our eyes peeled.

Smiles Included..

Jess

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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.

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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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The Incredible Hulk Coaster Begins Soft Launch

Hey Thrill Seekers,

It’s close… its soooooo close. The return of the lean, green, adrenaline machine is just around the corner. We mentioned last week that the walls had been taken down from around the queue area which was always a good sign of things to come.

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Well yesterday we got reports from across the pond that people were actually riding the beast in what is called a soft launch period. A soft launch is basically a trial period, there aren’t definitive opening dates and the ride can be stopped at anytime for further testing etc. but its great news and really means that a full opening is just around the corner. Here’s what people were saying about the new and improved Hulk;

 

 

These are just a few of the really positive reviews coming out of last nights soft launch. We’ll keep you updated as soon as Universal confirm an official opening date.

Smiles included…

Jamie

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Hulk Coaster Begins Live Testing

Hey Thrill Seekers,

One of Orlando’s most popular coasters has been offline since September last year, regularly consider one of the premier coasters in Florida fans of the lean, green, speed machine have been patiently waiting for its return… and it looks like it might be soon!

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Yesterday at Universal’s Islands of Adventure eagle eyed theme park goers spotted the Hulk being tested with humans in it. Made up of staff members and human dummies the Hulk coaster made several runs of the track which is obviously good news when it comes to a launch date.

The testing of the ride with actual people in is usual the final step before either a soft launch or a media day. I CANNOT WAIT!!!

You can find out more about what to expect from the new Hulk by reading this.

Smiles included…

Jamie

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