THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS AT HOGWARTS CASTLE

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Get your house scarves at the ready, our mate Mike Aiello has posted some more information over night about Christmas at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and in particular, Hogwarts Castle.

Earlier in the year Universal revealed loads of holiday fun coming to Diagon Alley and Hogsmede and now we have some more details about the Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle. Every night at Universal’s Islands of Adventure you will be able to see the latest projection-mapping technology in use as it brings Hogwarts castle to life. “A spell will be cast on Hogwarts Castle, illuminating it in festive décor, candlelight and moments inspired by the films.”

On top of the Hot Butterbeer, festive garlands, holiday food and new entertainment you can now witness the ghosts of Hogwarts singing carols, students riding broomsticks and creating snowmen and ‘many more surprises’

Mike has advised that the experience is available multiple times throughout the evenings and hints that later shows provide the best viewing experience.

Also in Hogsmeade, you will be able to see the Hogwarts Frog Choir perform, wearing their house scarves they will be singing a brand – new collection of carols

  • “Christmas at Hogwarts” – This wizarding carol casts a Christmas spell that echoes through the halls of Hogwarts.
  • “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” – The choir will bring a new and festive life to this classic holiday song.
  • “The Most Magical Yule Ball of All” – Hosting the TriWizard Tournament also brings with it a magical event known as the Yule Ball. This song captures all the magic, elegance and wonder of this very special night.
  • “I Cast a Spell On Father Christmas” – This fun song is a cautionary tale asking young wizards to be sure of the incantation before casting a spell.

The music doesn’t stop there. Hop on the Hogwarts Express over to Diagon Alley in Universal Studios to see the singing sorceress Celestina Warbeck and her Banshees. They’re conjuring four new tunes from her chart-topping holiday album, Nothin’ Like A Holiday Spell with hits like:

  • “Nothing Like a Holiday Spell” – There are many spells and charms in the wizarding world. But during this time of year, conjuring warm feelings of yuletide cheer is the most magical spell of all.
  • “Accio Christmas” – This calypso inspired song officially brings a Christmas rhythm of the islands to the British Isles.
  • “My Baby Gave Me a Hippogriff for Christmas” – Have you ever received a gift that wasn’t exactly what you were expecting? This song describes one such moment our singing sorceress experienced.
  • “A Witch and Wizard’s Wintry Wondrous Land” – This classic wizarding carol shows there’s nothing more lovely than sharing the Christmas season with family friends—and of course Celestina’s fans.

 

Its only a few days until the Holiday Celebrations at Universal kick off and i’m so excited! Who’s going to experience the Magic of Christmas this year?

Smiles Included,

Abby

Universal Purchase MORE Land

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Sooo Universal have just bought a further 101 acres of land on Sand Lake Road which makes the new total amount of land they now have a whopping 575 acres!

This would be more than enough room for a fourth theme park AND a new hotel. There is no word yet on what Universal are going to fill this space with.

Universal have already got 3 new hotels on the go – Aventura hotel and at least 2 more planned for the site of Wet ‘n Wild and I do think they will be planning to build another hotel on this land also.. they have enough room, so why not?!

We will be seeing a new park for sure and with more hotels comes more guests so maybe even a second City Walk. I’d love to see a new park or two, the amount of land they have is more than the other 3 Universal parks put together so the possibilities are pretty endless.  Of course the biggest speculation is around a whole Wizarding World of Harry Potter park and i’m totally all for that. I’ve been chatting to the other guys here at OAT towers to see what their ideas for new parks / attractions would be and i’ve created a list:

  • The Walking Dead
  • Nintendo Park
  • New Theatre
  • Jurassic Park / World
  • How to train your Dragon
  • Madagascar
  • Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them
  • Convention Center

  • Although very unlikely I would LOVE to see a whole land dedicated to horror, perhaps a year round horror themed land.. Now that would be unlike any other park! (Maybe I just love Halloween Horror Nights too much)

The locations of the newly purchased land and current resort location has left us wondering how Universal plan to move guests to and from parks to hotels. There’s been a few rumours surrounding monorails or buses with dedicated lanes.

The above is purely rumours and speculation as there has been no word or confirmation from Universal surrounding it. What would you like to see built on the newly purchased land?!

Smiles Included

Abby

A Celebration of Harry Potter Confirm Guests

Hey Thrill Seekers,

As we already knew, Universal’s A Celebration of Harry Potter will be returning for its 5th year in 2018. Universal have confirmed that the Celebration will start on January 26th and culminate on 28th.

A Celebration of Harry Potter is open to all Orlando Attraction Tickets customers who have purchased an Explorer ticket and includes Q&A sessions with select Harry Potter film stars, as well as special panels, demonstrations, activities and displays that celebrate J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

Universal confirmed yesterday that Fred and George Weasley AKA James and Oliver Phelps will be attending as will Stanislav Yanevski, who played the role of Viktor Krum.

More information about the event will be released and we’ll be sure to post about it here.

Smiles included…

Jamie

Halloween Horror Nights 27 Team Member Preview

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Tomorrow Universal Orlando Resort will be taken over by the creatures of the night… yup it may only be September but that doesn’t stop Halloween Horror Nights from opening its doors to those who love to be scared.

But before that Universal gave their houses a quick test drive using their very own staff. Last night HHN27 was opened up to Team Members (Universal employee’s & Special guests) and here’s what they had to say about it.

Our mate Mike was also pretty happy too;

Great to see so many different opinions, which seems to suggest that HHN27 has got the correct mix of houses. I can’t wait to read your reviews once the event gets going.

Screams included…

Jamie

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

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

Universal Confirm Volcano Bay Opening Date

Hey Thrill Seekers,

To say we’re excited about Volcano Bay is a mahoosive under statement. The new Universal water theme park was rumoured to be opening on June 1st 2017 however in true Universal style they dropped this bomb last night via their social channels.

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Yup that’s right, this years major opening (sorry Disney) is actually going to open on May 25th 2017… *insert screaming fans*.

Here’s a lowdown on what we can expect;

The Volcano
At the heart of the island stands Krakatau™, the mighty Fire and Water Volcano. Towering 200 feet above the tropical landscape, Krakatau streams waterfalls during the day and fiery lava effects at night. Inside the cavernous volcano the Waturi people dare you to brave a variety of heart-pounding water slides.

Krakatau™ Aqua Coaster
Honorary Waturi can experience the power of Krakatau™ on this amazing ride. Four-person canoes slide upward through the mists and into the dark twists and turns within the volcano before emerging with a plunge through a shimmering waterfall.

Ko’okiri Body Plunge
Join in the centuries-old tradition of honoring the volcano god, Vol, by braving the incredible Ko’okiri Body Plunge. Featuring a 70-degree fall through a drop door and 125 feet of screaming, white-knuckle fun, this dizzying descent ends with a watery tribute from Vol himself.

Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides
Join Kala and Tai Nui where sea and sky meet and take a leap of faith from high atop the volcano. Twin trap doors simultaneously drop two guests down clear, intertwining tubes before sending them joyfully splashing into the turquoise waters below.

Punga Racers
A favorite among Waturi children of all ages, Punga Racers send single riders on their manta ray mats sliding down four lanes through underwater sea caves.

Wave Village
This peaceful escape overlooks the sparkling waters of Waturi Beach at the base of the volcano.

Waturi Beach
Locals know — the surf’s always up at Waturi Beach. Swim, splash and relax right along with them in the sparkling waters and warm waves of this sparkling lagoon at the foot of mighty Krakatau™.

River Village
The scenic River Village has fun for people of all ages, including the very youngest Waturi.

Honu ika Moana
Just like the ancient Waturi people who rode the ocean waves on friendly sea turtles and whales, guests can enjoy these two twisting, turning, multi-person slides. Honu sweeps up two massive walls, while ika Moana sprays water on riders from the center of the raft.

Tot Tiki Reef + Runamukka Reef
The little ones can frolic among the splashy slides and fountains of the Tot Tiki Reef toddler play area, while Runamukka Reef delights older children with its bubbling geysers, water guns, slides and dump cups.

Kopiko Wai Winding River
Take a slow ride on the Kopiko Wai Winding River. Sprays of water surprise along the way, and beneath the lava rocks, Stargazer’s Cavern reveals the magical night sky above.

Rainforest Village
Rainforest Village stretches along the shores of an action-packed river and features the perfect mix of relaxation and exhilaration.

Ohyah + Ohno Drop Slides
Test your mettle and get into the Waturi spirit. Ascend cliff side and plummet down the twisting waters of Ohyah before dropping out four feet above the pool below. To achieve even greater bragging rights, brave the rope bridge and plunge down Ohno, a serpentine adventure that ends six feet above the pool below. Be sure to yell your battle cry on the way down.

Maku Puihi Raft Rides
Ready for the high adventure of the Maku Puihi lava tubes? This six-person rafting adventure is a favorite of Waturi families, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Choose one of two paths or try them both—just be ready for a thrilling ride. Puihi careens through a dark, winding tunnel before the stomach-flipping thrill of zero gravity hang time. Maku slides you through a deep volcanic gorge before spinning wildly around bowl-like formations.

TeAwa The Fearless River
Up for an adventure? Take a thrilling whitewater ride along TeAwa The Fearless River. Race along a roaring, watery onslaught of churning rapids and choppy waves hanging tight to your inner tube.

Taniwha Tubes
There’s a place where the puka trees grow abnormally tall. Inspired by their twisting roots, the Waturi built four twisting water slides called the Taniwha Tubes. Riders can try all four twisting tracks, but beware — mischievous tiki statues spray jets of water when you least expect it.

I can’t wait for this….

Smiles included…

Jamie

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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;

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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 GrandPré
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

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First Look At Super Nintendo World

Hey Thrill Seekers,

‘Tis the season to be jolly and Universal are definitely in the mood to give. Yesterday they dropped some imagery of Super Nintendo World set to open at Universal Studios Japan in 2020 just in time for the Tokyo Olympics.

Super Nintendo World

Here’s what Universal had to say;

Super Nintendo World will be comprised of expansive and multilevel environments filled with unprecedented, state-of-the-art rides, interactive areas, shops and restaurants, all featuring Nintendo’s most popular characters and games.

Universal are definitely committed to providing something amazing and stated;

 Development cost at Universal Studios Japan is currently expected to exceed 50 billion Yen. Super Nintendo World will be developed mainly using the park’s current parking area and part of an area designated for future expansion. Katsuhiro Miyamoto, Professor Emeritus of Kansai University estimates that Universal Studios Japan — after opening Super Nintendo World — will bring economic benefits following its opening of approximately 6.2 trillion Yen for the Kansai region, 11.7 trillion Yen for Japan as a whole, and will create approximately 1.1 million jobs in Japan within a decade after opening. Universal Studios Japan will introduce the wonder of the world-class, Japan-based entertainment brand of Nintendo not only to Japan but to the world.

Although no further details about what we can expect were given the art work does tell a story. The main part being how prominent Mario is, we’re thinking that perhaps other titles such as Zelda and Final Fantasy wont feature at all!?

Just as promised you’ll note colourful, multi-levels that seem to be prime for interactive areas also some character meet and great opportunities (Princess Peach). Obviously it doesn’t mean that Universal Orlando’s Nintendo World will look anything like this and recent patents suggest  rides based on Mario Kart and Donkey Kong games. One appears to be a drifting car racing attraction that can be used as a Mario Kart themed attraction and the other is a  patent for coaster car technology that can potentially simulate runaway mine cars or more.

Whatever happens it definitely looks exciting.

Smiles included…

Jamie

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Universal Confirm Nintendo World For Orlando

Hey Thrill Seekers,

In July 2015 we confirmed that Universal had signed an exclusive agreement with computer giants Nintendo to bring their wealth of IP’s to theme park lovers.

nintendo-characters

Today we received access to a video from Universal featuring Mark Woodbury, Universal Creative discussing the plans for a Nintendo World that will feature at Orlando, Hollywood and Japan. Accompanied by Shigeru Miyamoto from Nintendo we got the chance to hear a little about what they have planned without actually knowing any details.

Here’s the video;

Although there aren’t any real details included, this is what we took away from this small offering.

  • The use of the word World to describe the Nintendo area goes against the norm, usually they state land. The use of world gives it a feeling of being massive!
  • Immersive, Interactive and Involved  Were all words used by Mark to describe the experience they’re looking for. For me this brings back memories of the kind of buzz words they used for Diagon Alley which has interactive elements such as the wands.
  • We noted (as I’m sure you did) that Mario featured heavily in the video. I’ve watched it a few times and I can only see Mario characters.
  • No mention of opening dates or even when ground will be broken. I’m hearing rumours that Japan and Hollywood will get a Nintendo World first but the Orlando offering will be the biggest of the three. Could this be so that Universal can prepare the land they purchased recently.

UPDATED: Universal have also followed up with some written information that mirrors our own feels;

  • These will be expansive, immersive and interactive. They’ll be highly themed and authentic environments filled with multiple attractions, shops and restaurants.
  • You’ll feel as if you’re playing inside your favorite games – in real life.
  • There will be something for everyone—regardless of their age or gaming experience level.
  • Planning and creative work on these areas is well underway; they will open separately over the next several years.

This is the quote that stuck out to me;

The goal of everyone on this project is clear: to bring the characters, action and adventure of Nintendo video games to life within Universal theme parks. And to do so in new and innovative ways that capture what makes them so special.

All of the adventure, fun and whimsy you experience through a screen will now be all around you – in breathtakingly authentic ways.

 

We’ll keep you posted when we learn more?

Smiles included…

Jamie

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