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

OAT Live Episode 7 From Universal’s HQ In London

Hey Thrill Seekers,

This was the episode Abby & Gavin were looking forward to the most, a sit down chat with Universal’s own Liz Introno but as with all things in live be careful what you wish for.

Liz was an absolute delight not only was she fun and engaging she also went out of her way to answer as many of your questions as she could. The disappointing part for us was the sound quality which to put it bluntly is terrible.

So we apologise for that, if you get past the enjoying echo, echo, echo there are some amazing insights including the first look a TapuTapu.

The gang also discuss Halloween Horror Nights, Jimmy Fallon and what to do if its your birthday!

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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

Step by Step Guide to Virtual Line for Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Soooo, Universal have just released a very handy step by step guide on how to use the virtual line for Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon – the first of its kind at Universal Orlando Resort!

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon opens tomorrow (April 6) at Universal Studios. The park is actually opening early for the event at 8am so if you’re out in Orlando don’t forget to set your alarms!!

Universal have updated their app and are encouraging you to download the app today to make sure you have the most updated version.

Below is the step by step guide that Universal have provided:

Step 1. Download the Ofiicial  Universal Orlando Resort App 

After you download the app, tap on the image of “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon” from the home screen..

‘Once on the “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon” attraction page, tap on Virtual Line and Reserve. The app will display up to eight times available for the day. Select how many are in your party, and your preferred return time.’

‘If Virtual Line is not available, you’ll proceed either directly into the attraction or into the Stand-By line, if available. The app is the simplest and easiest way to access Virtual Line, but kiosks are also available at the front of the attraction.’

After you select your return time, you can then go and enjoy other areas of the park.

Step 2. Begin Your Race Through New York Experience!

‘When it’s your return time, enter the attraction through the main entrance and receive a coloured Peacock Card. This is where your Race Through New York experience officially begins – the Peacock Cards are designed to move you through the interactive pre-show areas and on to the ride quickly.’

3. Keep an Eye Out for Your Colour
‘The lighting in the two interactive pre-show areas will change colors (along with the iconic NBC chime) to let you know it’s time to ride.

Once the room lighting matches your Peacock Card, you’ll be able to move towards the ride. If you’d like to spend additional time in any of the interactive pre-show areas, just check in with the nearest NBC Page Team Member whenever you’re ready to ride.’

Step 4. Entertainment You Won’t Want to Miss
‘Your Race Through New York experience begins with our two interactive pre-show areas. In the first area, you’ll experience the Memorabilia Hall. Here you’ll find scripts, props and suits worn by hosts of The Tonight Show since the opening of the show in 1954. The second area is themed like Studio 6B, where The Tonight Show is filmed.’

You’ll get to experience all of the following:

  • Replica special-guest couches from The Tonight Show with charging ports
  • Interactive desks with games and Thank You Notes
  • Live performance from The Ragtime Gals barbershop quartet
  • A special appearance by The Tonight Show mascot, Hashtag the Panda

Step 5. It’s Time to Race!
‘When your colour is called, it’s time to ride. Turn in your Peacock Card and receive your briefing from Jimmy Fallon and The Roots. After your briefing, sit down in the studio audience and buckle up for the race of a lifetime. You’ll fly through the streets of The Big Apple, zoom by iconic landmarks and see familiar characters like Sara from “Ew,” Jimmy in “Tight Pants,” and “Tonight Show” announcer Steve Higgins.’

There will always be a team member on hand to assist you if you have any questions about the Virtual Line or the attraction itself.

I’m very jealous of anyone who is getting to experience the opening of Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon as there has been loads and loads of hype around it and it is set to be a pretty incredible experience!

If you get the chance to go on it before me then I would love to know what you think!!

Smiles Included,

Abby

 

Food, Glorious Food.. New Disney and Universal Menus!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So, Universal have released – intentionally or not – some big announcements regarding plans for a new hotel on the land that used to be home to Wet ‘n Wild, patents that point towards a new Harry Potter ride and now.. the menu for Volcano Bay!

Now we all know that Disney aren’t one to sit back and let anyone steal their thunder and are opening Pandora: World of Avatar on the 27th May – 2 days after Volcano Bays debut and they have recently released the extremely intriguing menu.

A couple of weeks ago we got an insight into the weird and wonderful foods that are going to be on offer in the Satu’li Canteen which is Pandora’s sole restaurant and even more interestingly the way in which you can customise and order your meals. There’s some pretty cool things in there such as Na’vi Blueberry Cheesecake – sounds lovely and looks even better! There are some cool takes on traditional dishes as well such as one from the childrens menu – ‘hot dog wrapped in dough’ this isn’t too different to a normal dish so it shouldn’t scare the kids away too much. 😉 You will also find a vast list of alcoholic beverages on the menu such as Avatar Sangria and Banshee Pinot Noir – Fancy :-p.

Take a look at the menu here:

In my previous blog I also took a look into the new system of how you can pre-order and pay for your meals via the app which I think will really help with the  queues. Thankfully, Disney have released the full menu with pricing so you can even start budgeting and deciding on what you want before you leave the country!

Guests to Disney have been able to begin making FastPass+ reservations for Na’vi River Journey and Flight of Passage from the 24th March.. These are expected to book up very quickly!

I’ve also been taking a look into Volcano Bays menu – we all know swimming makes you hungry so good food inside a water park is essential!

Looking at Universals blog, creating the menu has been a pretty large project in itself.

As a Research & Development Chef at Universal Orlando Resort, I’ve gotten to create some unique food dishes. But it was a whole other experience to help design an entire menu for our third park, Universal’s Volcano Bay.

Said Corporate Executive Chef Steven Jayson, who was very excited to elevate the food and beverage experience at Volcano Bay. ‘From the minute you arrive in the morning until well into the night, you’ll have more than 60 delicious options to choose from, from snacks to entrees to desserts.’

The dishes are all inspired by the islands of the South Pacific and there will be dishes such as Poke Poke Bowl, Mango BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, Island Chicken Salad, Glazed Hawaiian Ribs, Coconut Curry Chicken as well as refreshing cocktails and beers.. Yummaaay!

The dishes will be available to grab a taste of at the following dining locations around Volcano Bay:

  • Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club
  • Whakawaiwai Eats
  • Bambu
  • The Feasting Frog

If you’re a fussy eater or a little less adventurous with your food (a bit like Kelly here at OAT) then don’t panic!! All of your favourites such as chicken fingers, hamburgers and pizza will also be available.

Both menu’s are weird and wonderful – which would do you prefer?

Smiles included,

Jess

 

Universal Confirm Wet N’ Wild Site To Become A Hotel

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Now you know me, I’m not one to say I told you so but…back in 2015 I totally told you!

Here’s the article I’m referring to  scroll done to the bottom of the page and you’ll note my prediction in bold!

Yep its official Universal have filed documents with Orlando City confirming that they are looking to add 4000 rooms to the site formally known as Wet n’ Wild.

The Orlando Sentinel which makes a habit of breaking these types of stories has confirmed that within the filing Universal entered a master-plan framework for the area however Universal have revealed little else, no name, not theming. As reported widely a sketch was also provided with the filing which shows three parking structures and shows that Universal require a part of a street, Precision Drive, vacated.

Two things that immediately spring to mind upon looking at these plans, firstly are Universal actually building two hotels? Secondly, how will Universal get visitors from the new hotel(s) to the parks?

We’ll continue to update.

Smiles included…

Jamie

 

Jimmy Fallon Ride To Open With New Queuing System

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So we can now officially say that Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is going to open NEXT MONTH eeeekkk!

With a new ride comes a new way to tackle a challenge, a huge one being reducing queues inside the parks. Universal have recently been testing a Virtual Line system that is apparently going to be incorporated with the Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon which is due to open on the 6th April. They carried out some trial runs on Despicable Me Minion Mayhem recently and are of course going to be using a virtual line queuing system in Volcano Bay.

Universal have announced that the Jimmy Fallon ride will be the first to have a virtual line – with all of the hype surrounding this attraction i’m not surprised that Universal are looking for a efficient way to cut queuing times for visitors!

Basically, guests will be able to reserve a spot in the queue via the Universal Orlando Resort app or resort kiosks and then wonder around the park until they are notified to return to the ride where they, theoretically can then go straight on the ride without having to wait in any line.

If you’re as excited about this ride as some of us here at the OAT towers are then you’ll surely know what while Jimmy Fallon is in Orlando he is planning on taping the  Tonight Show episodes from April 3rd to April 6th. If you’re a huge fan then you could request tickets for the tapings however they did sell out in about 10 minutes! The guest appearances for the shows at Universal have not yet been announced.

What do you think about Universal trying different ways  to reduce queuing inside the parks for attractions?

Smiles Included,

Jess

Universal’s Retired Attractions

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So we’ve already had a look at some of the old Disney attractions that are no longer with us and today we’re going to take a look at some of Universal’s retired attractions!

Back To The Future: The Ride was a simulator ride where you were riding in the DeLorean being chased through town! The ride then closed in 2007 before being replaced by The Simpsons Ride in 2008.

 

Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue was a live stage show that took place throughout the day and is well known as a ‘classic’. This closed in 2016 shortly after Disaster! – A Major Motion Picture Ride…Starring YOU! which closed in 2015. Both of these attractions closed down to make way for the all new Fast & Furious: Supercharged that is due to open in 2018!

Jaws was a legendary attraction in my opinion. I was only small when I went on this and it scared the life out of me when the shark sliced through the waves next to our boat! Sadly, Jaws closed in 2012 to make way for Diagon Alley which opened in 2014.

The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera was a simulator ride that takes on you a wild goose chase to save the characters that had been kidnapped! It closed in 2002 to make way for Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast in 2003. This was also a simulator ride but this time you’ll see Rugrats, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly Odd Parents and Hey Arnold before closing in 2011. Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem then replaced it in 2012.

 

Back in 1990, Universal opened Kongfrontation, which in case you haven’t already guessed, was based on King Kong! A simulator ride that helps you evacuate Manhattan Island but Kong manages to grab your tram before dropping you when he’s fired on by police helicopters. Kongfrontation closed in 2002 and then in 2004 it was replaced with Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride.

Ghostbusters Spooktacular was a 20 minute stage show that began in 1990 before being replaced by TWISTER…Ride It Out which opened in 1998. Twister allowed you to step straight into the action of an action-packed film right in the middle of a tornado at it’s peak! Twister closed in 2015 to make way for Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon due to open this year!

Nickelodeon Studios opened in 1990 and was a great place for the kids to have an in depth tour about different sectors of Nickelodeon and their production. This closed down in 2012 to be painted blue the following year. This was to prepare for Blue Man Group which opened in 2014!

Alfred Hitchcock: The Art Of Making Movies was a part 3-D film, part live action show which closed in early 2003 making way for Shrek 4-D in mid 2003 that still stands today!

The Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show was huge when it opened in 1991, featuring several cowboys performing stunts and explosions. In 2003 the show closed and was later replaced by Fear Factor Live in 2005.

What other attractions are you missing from Universal?

Smiles Included…

Louise

Universal Release More Information On TapuTapu

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Soooo.. Universal have just released some more, exciting news about TapuTapu!

As you probably know by now, Volcano Bay, the new 30 acre home of incredible rides, creative and immersive environments, relaxing scenery and best of all the new technology that ‘eliminates the fuss and maximises the fun’ is now opening on the 25th May (3 months, 16 days, 6 hours, 5mins….. not that i’m counting or anything!)

Universal have just released the first look at the design of the new virtual queuing system that is TapuTapu.. It looks as though the waterproof bracelets will come in a variety of colours – my favourite is the aqua colour ;-P

“It will transform the way guests experience water theme park entertainment at Volcano Bay”

The TapuTapu will give guests to Volcano Bay the freedom to join ‘virtual lines’ and as Jamie described in his last blog about TapuTapu all you will need to do is walk up to the totem in front of the attraction you are wanting to go on and simply waft your wrist (the one with the TapuTapu on it 😉 ) and then a ‘return time’ will let you know when you need to return. This means you can go off and enjoy Volcano Bays four themes area’s while still in the queue. The clever little TapuTapu will then alert you when it’s time to head over to the attraction. – I’m wondering if you can join more than one ‘virtual line’ at once? Hmmmm..

Universal have also let us in on some more information regarding TapuTapu Play experiences.. This is where you can use your TapuTapu wearable to control and play with many things  throughout the park. This will include things such as streams of water squirting from whales or being able to shoot water cannons and unsuspecting guests floating down Kopiko Wai Winding River. The coolest one in my opinion has got to be the lights that you can control within the hidden caves!

Universal's Volcano Bay grand opens on May 25, 2017.

Every guest entering the park will receive a TapuTapu Wearable to use for the day – there will be no extra charge for these and you will be required to return them at the end of your day.

“No Long Lines,

Endless Fun.”

I’m sooo excited about Volcano Bay opening and I really don’t enjoy queuing so i’m equally as excited to try out one of the TapuTapu’s and chill out at Waturi Beach while my TapuTapu does all the hard work and queues for Krakatau Aqua Coaster for me! 😀

Don’t forget to buy one of our Universal 3 park Explorer tickets if you’re wanting to visit Volcano Bay!!

Smiles Included,

Jess

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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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