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

 

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

Universals Fast & Furious – Supercharged will Debut in Spring 2018!

Hey Thrill Seekers!

Universal have recently released some exciting news – especially exciting for me as Fast & Furious is my favourite film franchise EVER!!

The attraction is going to be called Fast & Furious – Supercharged and will open in spring next year.

You’ve seen the cars. You’ve seen the ction. And soon, you’ll be able to live it.

Back in 2015 Universal announced that a Fast & Furious attraction will be coming to Universal Studios in the future and we now have a exact-ish release time! Fast & Furious is one of the most successful film franchises of all time and this ride is  going to be one of Universals most action packed experiences!

 You’ll feel like part of the “Fast family” as you embark on a thrilling new Fast & Furious adventure that will put you right in the middle of the action.


The ride is set to fuse everything people love about the films with an original storyline and incredible ride technology. Universal have said that you will be able to check out some of the high-speed, supercharged cars you’ve seen in the films and that you’ll be immersed in the underground racing world made famous in the films. You will even get to explore the headquarters of Toretto and his team. “Then, you’ll board specially-designed vehicles for an adrenaline-pumping ride with your favourite stars from the films.”

This action-packed ride will take guests on a high-octane journey that fuses an original storyline, incredible ride technology, popular characters, exhilarating environments, nonstop action and, of course, high-speed cars. You’ll feel like part of the Fast & Furious family as they join Dom Toretto, Hobbs, Letty and Roman on a thrilling new Fast & Furious journey.

Fast & Furious – Supercharged will also feature the Virtual Line experience. If you haven’t heard of this before it allows you to select a time to ride in advance so you can wait in line, virtually, (not standing getting achy legs)  and allows you to enjoy other experiences throughout the park while the app queues for you.

I, for one, am absolutely bursting with excitement for this one! What do you think?

Smiles Included,

Abby

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 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.

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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!

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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! 😉

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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! 😉

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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

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Jess Predicts Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 27 Houses

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So after Universal accidentally revealed possible dates for this years Halloween Horror Nights I thought it was time for me to start thinking about what houses could or should be coming to Halloween Horror Nights in 2017..

I’m going to start with the obvious, The Walking Dead.. This is such a popular House that has worked brilliantly in the past and I think it is going to stick around at Halloween Horror Nights for a while. With season 7 due to return this winter there is potentially loads of new content to add into this heart racing and hectic house. I think it would be silly to not include The Walking Dead as one of the houses this year, don’t you?

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American Horror Story was the most popular house of HHN16 as voted for by Orlando Attraction Tickets customers. In 2016 it incorporated 3 of the seasons: Murder House, Freak Show and Hotel. Maybe this is a clue that the other 3 seasons could be part of another American Horror Story house this year?! If they do run this house again I think they should use Asylum, Coven and Roanoke to create yet again another terrifying house.

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Lets take a look at what new houses could be making an appearance this year..

2017 looks as though it is going to be a big year for horror films so I have taken it upon myself to delve into the long list to work out which ones I think should or could become Halloween Horror Nights houses this year.

With the eighth SAW film due to be released this year called SAW Legacy I think a SAW house would be an incredible addition to HHN27. Rumours have pointed towards the return of John Kramer, a.k.a. Jigsaw in the new film and this could lead to some great thrills. The last Saw film was in 3D – this could even be incorporated in the house like they used for Lunatics Playground 3D in 2016.

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A hugely popular TV series in 2016 was Stranger Things, now I haven’t personally seen it but a few people at OAT towers have said it would make for a great Halloween Horror Nights house. Houses based on TV series have been huge hits in the past (The Walking Dead and American Horror Story to name a few) and I have heard so much hype about Stranger Things since it started that I reckon it would be a popular addition. Also Michael Aiello (Universal’s King of Horror) is a massive fan of the show as are Universal as a whole as this tweet proves;

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If any of you visited HHN back in 2015 you may remember the Insidious house. Well Insidious 4 is due to be released this year so maybe the Insidious house could be making a return.. Universal Pictures are due to release Insidious Chapter 4 in late October so creating a house based on this IP would help build up hype for the film. I think it would be a perfectly terrifying addition.

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My worst nightmare? Clowns! Universal took a big Chance (pardon the pun) last year with Lunatics Playground 3D and it was a huge hit. No matter what anyone says.. Clowns are freaky and clown or circus themed houses are always disturbing. With the remake of Stephen Kings IT this year I think that Universal will announce a Clown themed house to be added to the list. I don’t think they will have it themed around IT because the creator Stephen King doesn’t like the idea of horror houses being based around his books but who knows?

Lastly, with the release of Leatherface (the prequel to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) scheduled for this year I believe a new and improved Leatherface house could be on the cards. The film is going to be based on Leatherface escaping from a mental hospital with 3 inmates along with a kidnapped nurse being pursued by a deranged lawman.. What better setting for a horror house than a mental hospital?!

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So there are my predictions for Halloween Horror Nights 2017 none of which have been confirmed by Universal. What would you like to see come to HHN this year?

Are you brave enough???

Scares included,

Jess

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Universal announce opening date for ‘Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon’

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Rumours of Jimmy Fallon getting his very own ride at Universal Studios had been flying about for a while and then it was finally announced by Universal and Jimmy himself, back in October 2015! That’s such a long time ago but feels like only yesterday! But now the opening date has been confirmed too, April 6th 2017! Jimmy Fallon also mentioned this on his show (I think he’s rather excited, don’t you?!)

Throughout the ride you will get to see some of New York’s biggest landmarks like the Statue of Liberty as well as sights, sounds and even smells! That’s right, smells! According to Jimmy you’ll get to smell some freshly cooked pizza! 😛

‘The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon’ will be filmed at Universal Orlando Resort between April 3rd – 6th and you will have the chance to become part of the audience! Not only that, but there will be special celebrity guests there too! Talk about a grand opening!

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Not only have Universal announced the opening date for the attraction, they’ve also announced their new virtual queue system to be used, allowing you to spend more time enjoying the thrills in the park and less time queuing up!

‘Race Through New York starring Jimmy Fallon’ will be the first attraction to feature the Virtual Line experience at Universal Studios Orlando. Universal’s app will give you access to this new experience as well as kiosks located outside the attraction entrance. You can book your time to ride and the app will allow you to virtually wait in line while you’re off enjoying the thrills and just head back to the attraction when your time is ready.

Get ready for the race of a lifetime!

Smiles Included…

Louise

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Mardis Gras 2017 Line Up Confirmed

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Every year Universal Studios hosts the annual event, Mardis Gras and this year it will take to the stage from February 4th – March 25th! If you’re thinking of heading to Orlando at this time of year, this is not something that you’re going to want to miss!

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With a cajun cuisine, stunning parades and some of the most well known names in music you’re going to have a ball! Catch the head liners here:

  • February 4: Trace Adkins
  • February 11: Ne-Yo
  • February 18: Collective Soul
  • February 19: X Ambassadors
  • February 25: Fifth Harmony
  • March 4: Kool & the Gang
  • March 5: Olivia Newton-John
  • March 11: UB40
  • March 12: Toby Keith
  • March 18: Jason Derulo
  • March 19: Earth, Wind & Fire
  • March 25: The All-American Rejects

Al of our Universal inclusive tickets include access to the Mardis Gras parade. So grab some beads and dance away!

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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