Universal temporary attraction closures

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We do usually only have positive vibes here on our award winning blog (disclaimer: this blog has never won an award… but it should) however we do have to write about the less happier stuff from time to time so that you’re in the know with everything happening at the Orlando parks. Don’t worry, they’re not closing down the Wizarding World or only playing classical music on Rip Ride Rockit.. there’s just a few attractions closing down for a short period to allow for seasonal maintenance.

Hogwarts Express – will be closed on the 17th January 2019 for seasonal maintenance.

Jurassic Park River Adventure – will be closed from the 7th January 2019 until the 25th January 2019 for seasonal maintenance (and for the dinosaurs to go on a quick holiday)

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls – Will be closed from the 28th January 2019 until the 22nd February 2019.

Remember all attractions need maintenance from time to time to keep us all safe while having a blast (or getting soaked in the case of Ripsaw Falls!)

Smiles Included,

Abby

Universal Confirm Mardi Gras Line up

Hey Thrill Seekers,

As has become the norm as soon as we either start or finish an episode of OAT Live one of the parks inevitably releases some new information and yesterdays episode was no different.

Universal have confirmed the 2019 Mardi Gras line up and its a good one. Running from Feb. 9th until April 4th at Universal Studios Florida you can expect nightly parades, live concerts, Cajun cuisine and beads, soooo many beads!

Although Universal are rightly proud of the food and parades its the live music that guest generally go mad for, this year the line up currently includes;

Concert Lineup

  • February 9 – BUSH
  • February 16 – Gavin DeGraw
  • February 17 – Dan + Shay
  • February 23 – Macklemore
  • March 2 – To be announced
  • March 9 – Becky G
  • March 10 – Sean Paul
  • March 16 – Steve Miller Band
  • March 17 – Ziggy Marley
  • March 23 – NF
  • March 24 – Pitbull
  • March 30 – To be announced
  • March 31 – To be announced

I mean who doesn’t love a bit of Sean Paul.

New Nighttime Parade Theme

During Mardi Gras you can expect to see a parade like no other including 12 floats, colourful dancers, stilt performers, oh and de we mention beads!!! Soooo many beads! This year’s new theme is right up OAT’s street as its called Party Animals! You’ll see floats and performers dressed as their spirit animals from all over the world like the arctic, jungle, ocean, swamp and more. I think my spiritual animal is probably a Sloth… totally built for parties…

French Quarter Food and Drinks

Universal have also confirmed that The French Quarter Courtyard is getting a new culinary twist this year. All food and drinks will be served in tasting sizes. You’ll now be able to enjoy a variety of the New Orleans dishes during your visit.

To add to the excitement, the culinary team has whipped up new and returning fan-favorite food and drink options. We’re talking beignets, frog legs, crab etouffee, and crawfish! Plus, we’re going to have a signature Mardi Gras cocktail, craft beer flights and more.

French Quarter Entertainment Lineup

You can’t have the French Quarter Courtyard without the beats of the Big Easy. Catch these authentic New Orleans bands performing daily in the French Quarter.

  • February 9 – 17: Dirty Bourbon River Show
  • February 18 – 27: Naughty Professor Brass Band
  • February 28 – March 18: Free Agents Brass Band featuring Honey Bannister
  • March 19 – April 4: New Breed Brass Band

The best bit, if you’ve purchased a Universal 3 park explorer ticket from Orlando Attraction Tickets you’ll have access to this event for FREE….

Smiles included…

Jamie

Universals first Expansion Plans

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Universal Orlando have files some site development plans with Orange County which give us a look at an expansion of UOR. Now it still hasn’t been confirmed what Universal are planning on doing with all the land they have recently purchased  but the main rumours are a 4th gate or hotels but this surely goes to show that a project is HAPPENING right?!

Now this isn’t a building plan and doesn’t give us much info on what or where anything is going to be ‘built’ it is a sort of, overall site plan which details grading, paving, drainage and utility plans and you’d need a degree to figure the whole thing out!

I’ve tried to simplify the main overall site plan with references to what could be in each space using the site data that is also posted below:

The expansion site is described as being just over 541 acres. Below you can see that there is a planned 4820 regular parking spaces, 201 handicapped spaces, 68 bus spaces meaning a total of 5089 parking spaces! No-one is too sure if it is a parking lot or structure that is planned but i’m sure someone with a brain larger than mine can work it out 😉

Another interesting part is that the sites maximum height allowed for a building is 400 feet! We can also see that 135 acres of land are required for open space, some of which will be stormwater ponds as this is required in Florida due to the amount of rainfall. Universal can make these both offsite and onsite by making them decorative to fit in with hotels and in parks etc.

The main thing we can see is how cars will move around the site, as there is no details of a park or hotels we can only assume this is what Universal are planning on doing with their land but what else could it be?! I mean we’ve already speculated on Super Nintendo World going to a brand new park or evern a Fantastic Beasts world making an appearance in a new gate but who knows.. We can only wait for Universal to tell us!

What do you think is going here???

Smiles Included,

Abby

 

What’s coming to the Universal parks in the future?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Now it’s Universals turn.. What can we expect from them in the next few years?

What? Harry Potter Coaster Where? Islands of Adventure When? 2019

We are sooooo super excited for this one here at OAT! We don’t have too much information on this coaster however we’re just happy that its not another attraction that will make Gavin puke..

What? Terminator 2 3d replacement Where? Universal Studios When? 2019

This is what Universal had to say back in 2017: Terminator 2: 3-D at Universal Studios Florida will run its last shows on Sunday, October 8 to make way for an all-new live action experience based on a high-energy Universal franchise. It will open in 2019. This is one of many exciting new experiences coming to Universal Orlando Resort as we continue our epic growth. Stay tuned – more details will be released soon.

What? Super Nintendo World Where? TBD When? TBD

Now we are 100% sure that Nintendo World is coming to Orlando because that has been confirmed however we do not know where or when! We have our inklings that it its going to be in a new Universal park or KidZone but that’s not yet confirmed!

What? Zelda Where? Lost Continent at IOA When? TBD (rumour)

Check out this blog to see all the rumours surrounding a Zelda land!

What? 4th park Where? Orlando When? TBD

Pic credit: (Adelaide Chen/Orlando Sentinel)

Universal has acquired lots new property for expansion, we know there’s hotels on some of it but the rest is HOPEFULLY going to be a brand spanking new park and at the top of the bets is ‘fantastic beasts’

What do you think of Universals expansions?

Smiles Included,

Abby

How similar is Universal Beijing going to be to Orlando?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

I think it’s time to talk about Universal Beijing, said to open in 2021, the Beijing park will be the next Universal park to open and  it’ll be the only other location besides Florida to (eventually) be a proper resort they have confirmed that it will cost $6.5 billion!! Some new information has come to light which seem to confirm some details of this project which give us some nods towards what Universal may have planned for their already existing and new parks in Orlando.

After reading a post on Orlando Weekly I think we should keep a close eye on Universal Beijing as they are not only creating a lot of the same rides, attractions and lands as Orlando but they are adding new rides and ideas which i think gives us clues into what we can expect stateside.

In images found on the web the resort looks a VERY similar layout to the Orlando resort with 3 parks, a hotel that resembles Cabana Bay, a City Walk and a waterway that links everything. Thinking about this, it doesn’t really make sense.. why would Universal basically recreate their Orlando resort in China? Wouldn’t it draw visitors from that part of the world away from Orlando?

Just like Orlando there is what looks like a Universal Studios on the right, what could be Islands of Adventure on the left and a Volcano Bay themed water park too.. One difference we can see straight away is the entrance to Studios which is covered by a hotel which would actually look over the park itself.

Due to some leaked documents we can see what lands will be included. In what looks like a leaked plan, posted on Reddit shows more detail:

What’s the same as Universal Orlando? 

It looks as though there will be a central lagoon, an outdoor performance venue, a coaster the same as the Hulk but themed to Transformers here (YES!) as it looks like there will be a transformers based land so would also include the same Transformers 4d ride that is in Orlando.

Near a rumoured WaterWorld is a Jurassic World where it looks as though there will be 3 attractions.. A water ride, steel coaster and an attraction based on the Gyro-spheres featured in the films. Do we think they’ll move Jurassic to the new Universal park to fit the same attractions or expand on it in IOA?

There is a Hogsmeade with a Forbidden Journey ride and a Flight of the Hippogriff with a piece of land next to it which fits with the shape and size of Diagon Alley. The area is divided into three sections, the middle and biggest section is where Hogsmeade Village, Flight of the Hippogriff and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey will be located. The two smaller sections on either side are designated for future expansions. Based on the size of the bottom section and its location it could be the same coaster as the one currently being built in IOA. The smaller expansion at the top could be a future train station for Hogwarts express.

Whats new / different to Universal Orlando?

It looks like there will be a enclosed land themed to Kung Fu Panda including carnival type rides as well as a dark ride.. This is different to Orlando now but has been rumoured to feature in Orlando’s new Universal park alongside Trolls, and Shrek.

Minion Land – this will most likely have the same simulator rides as the other Universal parks as well as another attraction and even an indoor play area. As the popularity of Minions is still growing there are also rumours that Universal Orlando will create a mini-land.

photo from themeparx.com

How similar to Orlando do you think this is going to be and what new attractions would you like to see?

Smiles Included,

Abby

 

Feast your eyes on this years HHN Food

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Universal have just released all of the new food and drinks we can expect from this years Halloween Horror Nights!

There are five waffle dishes to choose from!! It’s always easier to discuss food when you’re looking at it and not trying to describe it.. With that being said, check these out! (can you guess which house they’re mainly based on 😉 )

Strawberry Shortcake

Location: San Francisco Bakery – two waffles, fresh strawberries, strawberry sauce and whipped cream.

Bananas Foster

Location: San Francisco Bakery – Two waffles with banana cream cheese and hazelnut spread, topped with raisins, walnuts, whipped cream and a bananas foster sauce. This one is a HUGE YES from me!!!

Triple Decker Extravaganza

Location: San Francisco Bakery – If you’re a fan of “Stranger Things,” you’ll recognize this inspired creation. Three waffles filled with layers of whipped cream, chocolate, peanut butter morsels and jelly beans.

Fudge Dipped Waffle on a Stick

Location: Benny’s Burgers, New York Area 

Waffle Ice Cream Pocket Sundae

Location: Louie’s Gelato Window – 2 chocolate chip waffles stuffed with strawberry ice cream. Top it off with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, sprinkles, chopped peanuts, and of course, a cherry!

Christmas Tree Light Cupcakes.

Can you guess which iconic scene from “Stranger Things” these were inspired by?

11 Mini Donuts

(can you guess why 11?) covered in drizzles of red frosting. Choose from powdered sugar or cinnamon donuts.

“If you’re craving something savory, fuel up for the fear by stopping at Benny’s Burgers, named after the diner in season one of “Stranger Things,” in the New York area of the park. Here you’ll find cheeseburgers, hamburgers and chicken sandwiches, all served with a side of tasty fries.”

You can also find the return of the Fiery Onion Ring Burger at Mel’s Drive-In, the Chili Garlic Chicken Sandwich at Richter’s in San Francisco, and yes, Pizza Fries at KidZone Pizza Company.

Halloween Horror Nights 2017 Pizza Fries
Fiery Onion Ring Burger - Halloween Horror Nights 2018
Chili Garlic Chicken Sandwich - Halloween Horror Nights 2018

 Drinks

  • Totally L.I.T. (Long Island Iced Tea) – Vodka, tequila, gin, rum with triple sec, lime, sour and Coca-Cola
  • Wicked Rad Punch – Blueberry vodka, raspberry vodka, triple sec, lemonade and grenadine
  • Gnarly Twist – A perfect sweet and sour combo of both the Wicked Rad Punch and Totally L.I.T.
Totally L.I.T. Drink - Halloween Horror Nights 2018
Wicked Rad Punch Drink - Halloween Horror Nights 2018
Gnarly Twist Drink - Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Syrup & Waffles – obviously inspired by “Stranger Things.” It is a blend of flavors that even has tiny waffles on top.

Syrup & Waffles - Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Candy Corn. – The bottom layer is toasted marshmallow; the middle is your traditional candy corn flavor; and the top is whipped cream with sprinkles.

Candy Corn - Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Lets not forget about the Halloween Horror Nights Tombstone doughnut too!!

Halloween Horror Nights Tombstone Voodoo Dougnnut

 

Well, now i’m hungry! Which one looks tastiest to you?

Smiles Included

Abby

Halloween Ho

First Look Inside Slaughter Sinema

Hey Thrill Seekers,

This years Halloween Horror Nights is fast approaching and Universal have treated us to yet another sneak peek into one of the houses.. 😍

Take a look at this teaser trailer..

This original house will see you enter 3 different 80’s B-movies at a local drive-in. The first stop is the snack bar.. not your usual snack bar though as this one will fill you with dread right from the get go.

Before you enter each movie you will be met with posters that will give you a glimpse into the terror that awaits you..

Be prepared to meet biker werewolves, swamp yetis, deadly barbers and in Universals words ‘a few that you have to see to believe‘ 😯

In Pumpkin Guts, you’ll discover more than the gooey entrails of pumpkins waiting for you. Amazon Cannibals from Planet Hell takes you to a distant planet where you’re the main course on the menu. And Cult of the Beast Baby…I’ll leave that one to your imagination.

It’s not long now.. are you excited or scared? 👀

Screams included,

Abby

The Horrors of Blumhouse is back for HHN28

Hey Thrill Seekers,

YAY! Horrors of Blumhouse is back for HHN28 with a all new scary lineup in store..

This year it will feature scenes from Happy Death Day and The First Purge (which i watched on Sunday and found equally amazing and terrifying!)

Survival is key as you encounter not only Happy Death Day’s Babyface Killer, but also the nation’s very first wave of Purgers.

In the Happy Death Day scene you will encounter a college student trying to break a deathly cycle and will relive her death over and over again.. Can you work out who her killer is before you come face to face?

Can you hear the sirens yet?? You’re about to find out how the first purge came about and see how everyone reacts when all crime is legal for one night only. Last years Purge scarezone was my favourite part of HHN27 as i found it the most jumpy and heart racing as you never knew what to expect next and I think bringing it to a more confined space will make it 10 x scarier!!

In this haunted house, there is no escape.

The Horrors of Blumhouse joins an already incredible lineup:

  • Stranger Things
  • Halloween 4: The return of Michael Myers
  • Poltergeist
  • Seeds of Extinction
  • Carnival Graveyard: Rust in Pieces
  • Slaughter Sinema
  • Trick ‘r’ Treat
  • Dead Exposure: Patient Zero

Screams Included

Abby

Universal announce 2019 Mardi Gras dates

Hey Thrill Seekers,

I was lucky enough to visit Universal Orlando Resort whilst this years Mardi Gras was on and it was incredible! Beads, music and snazzy outfits.. what more can you want?!

Universal have now confirmed that 2019’s Mardi Gras will be running nightly from the 9th February to the 4th April in Universal Studios Florida. At no extra cost you can join in on all the fun of the nightly parade where floats and performers fill the streets with colour (and beads) They’ve also announced that there is going to be new parade floats next year and will be announcing more details on these soon… As well as all the music, dancing and beads that you could ever want there is also a chance to try the Cajun specialities and lots of Mardi Gras treats in the French Quarter Courtyard.

You can also ‘party to the sounds of the Bayou as bands straight from the Big Easy play in the park every day.’  Also, on select nights, Universal will be hosting their annual Mardi Gras concert series featuring today’s top artists. The lineup will be released in the coming months so we will be sure to keep you updated!

Who’s visiting between these dates and can’t wait to get their Mardi Gras on?!

Smiles Included,

Abby

Seeds of Extinction announced for HHN28

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Today Universal have announced a new house for this years Halloween Horror Nights ‘Seeds of Extinction’ 

It is an original story in which the human race has been wiped from existence by a cataclysmic meteor which has struck earth causing a  post-apocalyptic wasteland overgrown with invasive vegetation.

Check out this pic of some of the props being made!

 The virulent growth has swept across the planet, covering everything and choking out civilization within moments, creating a tableau of what once was. What appears to be a lush and green graveyard hides the most terrifying and hungry meat eaters. Predatory plants of all species use strangling vines, razor-sharp thorns, and poisonous pollens to encroach from all sides as you invade this new world.

Universal have mentioned to keep an eye out for hidden hints and nods to past Halloween Horror Nights event years. Here are some pics to ‘wet the appetite’ what past houses / scare zones can you see hints of?

Not long now until HHN starts on the 14th September!! Are you excited for this one??

Screams included,

Abby