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.


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!


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”


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!


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…


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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.


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!


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! 😉


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! 😉


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…


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Kings Cross And Hogwarts Express And Diagon Alley, Oh My!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

“Does it look similar?” asked the Universal tour guide, “I’ve never been to London so I can only imagine its pretty close!”


It wasn’t pretty close, it was spot on. The only difference I could see was that Universal’s Kings Cross Station was far cleaner than its UK equivalent. I’d heard it was pretty impressive but standing in front of it surrounded by my fellow Englishmen the majority of them Londoners my mouth almost hit the ground. The attention to detail really stood out, from the busker playing Sweet Child of Mine on a violin to the voice from the tannoy announcing train timetables, Universal had really done their homework.

Our tour guide was taking us for our first ride on the Hogwarts Express, we were heading from London (Diagon Alley) to Hogsmeade which meant we’d need to find Platform 9 3/4 seems tricky hey!? However Universal have thought this through as well and during the queuing experience using a very clever optical illusion you get to walk through the wall and on to Platform 9 3/4.


Universal run’s 2 Hogwarts Expresses to manage the demand, each train running in the opposite direction to the other making sure that wait times are kept to a minimum. The train itself consists of approx. 3 long carriages each section has about 3 rooms which can hold 6 people easily. Again the attention to detail in on the train is amazing right down to the material the seats are made out of.


Depending upon which was you ride the train (Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley or vice versa) determines the story you’ll be shown. I’m not going to spoil the storylines here as a lot of the ride is based around what you see. I will say though that the windows are not the only places to keep an eye out for, although the majority of the stories are depicted via the very clever tv style windows action does also take place on the train. So keep one eye on the compartment door as well.


The Hogwarts Express is an amazing idea, that has been implemented superbly. Any fan of Harry Potter is going to be blown away by this.

The Hogwarts Express requires a park to park ticket to ride. All Orlando Attraction Tickets Universal tickets include park to park privileges, so if you’ve booked with us, its all board!

Smiles included…




I Really Can’t Wait For 2015

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So as you may already know from reading a previous blog of mine, I am going to Orlando next year!! I am so excited I just cannot wait! There is so much I’m looking forward to this time around! The first time I went, I didn’t really know what I was looking for or what to expect. The second time around I sort of knew what was there and a little bit of what to do however now I work at Orlando Attraction Tickets I know so much more about what’s out there than I could possibly need to! I will be chief planner for my family holiday!

I cannot contain my excitement for the Hogwart’s Express. This is an amazing idea! Whoever came up with this one is incredible! I am a bit of a Harry Potter geek, I love it! I’ve wanted to go to Harry Potter World in London for so long but it looks like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal has just taken number 1 spot on my list of things to do. I have done plenty of research into this attraction and the more I read about it, the more I want to do it! The amount of detail that I can only imagine that they have put into this is just incredible.


The Hogwart’s Express replicates the train journey taken by young Wizards to and from Hogwarts just like the journey taken by Harry Potter in the books and films. There are 2 trains, 1 travels from platform 9 ¾  at ‘Kings Cross Station’ in Diagon Alley (Universal Studios) to ‘Hogsmeade Station’ in Hogsmeade (Universal Islands of Adventure). The second train runs the opposite way, both with a completely different ride experience. This attraction is so big that it can take up to 200 passengers at a time!

If you’re a King Kong lover you will love the fact that Skull Island is rumoured to be coming to Universal’s Islands of Adventure! Again, we’re not too sure on what to expect from this but as the rumours go, we should expect to be running away from King Kong himself! Scary stuff!

What else am I fan of? Frozen! Much to my disappointment the Frozen attraction at Disney’s Epcot hasn’t actually opened yet 🙁 but I guess I’ll have to just take this as something else to look forward to next year! We don’t really know what exactly this attraction is going to be so I’ll just have to wait in suspense for a little while longer! I just hope it’s open by the time I get there!

Of course I am eager to ride Falcons Fury! I mean who isn’t?! If you don’t already know about Falcons Fury, it’s the newest attraction at Busch Gardens, standing at 335 feet high. It holds you at the top at a 90 degree angle before you are dropped to the bottom! WOW! I can’t wait to just get there so I can come back and tell you all about it!!


There is nothing better than sitting down with your family at SeaWorld to watch One Ocean! This is a phenomenal show; there is nothing else like it! I still can’t get to grips with how you could possibly train a whale to do exactly what you want it to do! Blue Horizons is another show at SeaWorld full with exciting tricks from dolphins, tropical birds and acrobats! Both years that I’ve visited Orlando I have watched both of these shows! It never gets old and I just hope they release that they are showing these again next year!

Rumours that Disney are set to build a new Star Wars attractions at Hollywood Studios in the summer of 2015 won’t go away! No concrete details have been released but Jamie took some time out last year to speculate on what could be available at a Star Wars Land.

An attraction catching a lot of people’s attention is the new Pandora land from Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I have not seen the film all the way through however Disney’s ideas for Pandora are looking immense! It all lights up of a night time turning Pandora into somewhere magical. We still don’t know much about this attraction as Disney like to keep exact details very close to their chest but we believe it will open in 2017! They are definitely keeping us in suspense with this one!

Which attractions are you looking forward to most?

Smiles included…



Universal’s Hogwarts Express Hits 1 Million Passengers

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Riding the Hogwarts Express was a key part of Universal’s new expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley. The idea of linking Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley via an actual working Hogwarts Express was not only genius, (whoever came up with this concept deserves a massive pay rise) but also the first of its kind at any theme park in the World.

Yesterday just under a month after its official launch the Hogwarts Express welcomed its 1 Millionth rider!


Reviews of the Hogwarts Express experience have been very positive with the majority of people (UK) really impressed with the attention to detail not only on the train but also at the Kings Cross replica.

HogwartsExpress reviewsThe Hogwarts Express offer 2 totally different ride experiences depending upon which way you ride it, which is a great way of really keeping everything authentic. To ride the Hogwarts Express you will require a multi park ticket, Orlando Attraction Tickets only offers multi park tickets so you’re safe in the knowledge that once you’ve booked with us you can ride like Harry and the gang as much as you like.

Have you ridden it yet, what did you think?

Smiles included…




Wondering What Tickets You Require To Ride The Hogwarts Express?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Today is the official launch of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley, it comes almost four years after Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade took the theme park industry by storm and we just can’t wait.


One of the major attractions and a complete stroke of genius in my opinion is how guests can travel from Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios (vice versa) the introduction of the Hogwarts Express not only adds to the whole Potter experience but also introduces a completely new way for visitors to enjoy a theme park! Its pretty easy for me to state that this is a first within any theme park.

What type of ticket do I require?

To ride the Hogwarts Express you’ll need to have purchased a multi park ticket. A multi park ticket is a ticket that allows you access to Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios on the same day.

Here at Orlando Attraction Tickets we only offer multi park tickets so you’re safe in the knowledge that you’ll be able to access the Hogwarts Express as many times as you like 🙂

universal ticketsThe tickets shown above all offer 14 consecutive days unlimited entry into both parks.

The Hogwarts Express ride offers two completely different ride experiences depending upon which way you’re travelling (Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley and Vice Versa). The initial reviews have all remarked on how realistic the train journey feels and looks which is no surprise when it comes to Universal.

This is set to be one of the most popular attractions of 2014, if you’re lucky enough to ride it please remember to let us know what you thought. 🙂

Smiles included…




Universal’s Second Webcast Features The Hogwarts Express

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Universal yesterday broadcast their second Webcast and UK readers will find a lot of it very familiar. Featuring the journey from Hogsmeade to Platform 9 3/4 the landscape and even the train ride is all very British.


The webcast also give you a great look at how the ride works including the tv screen like windows which will tell the story of your journey.

Watch it here;

The 3rd webcast will be hosted by my favourite Neville Longbottom… I’ll post with more details shorly.

Smiles included…



New Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Video – Dreaming

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We’re on the home stretch for the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley including the Hogwarts Express!!!

One giveaway is that the Universal Marketing team has suddenly hit overdrive, today I thought I’d share with you their latest promo video entitled “Dreaming”…

We’re still looking at a late June opening and as soon as we know more we’ll be shouting it from the rooftops.

Smiles included…



Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Video


Hey Thrill Seekers,

Another day, another video. Universal Orlando last night released another new video, hot on the tails of yesterdays Goblin releases, we’ve received another video showing some further details of the Hogwarts Express.


The video shows the pains Universal have gone to in replicating the look and feel of the Hogwarts Express. There are also a few nuggets of information in there, have a watch and we’ll chat afterwards…

So here’s what I took from this video;

Universal are calling the Hogwarts Express the most authentic thing they’ve ever built, actually that anyone has ever built for a theme park. To keep continue to be authentic it very much sounds like you will enter platform 9 3/4 through a “brickwall”!

The video also gives us a look at the two different journeys you’ll experience when riding the Hogwarts Express depending on which way you’re going. From London to Hogsmeade I’m pretty sure they just confirmed that Harry, Ron and Hermione will be on the train with you!

but they will be on the train with you, and you may actually see them there!

The reverse trip offers a totally different experience, and the video shows a great sequence involving the nightbus. Universal are extremely confident about this addition calling it a “game changer”!

When it comes to a firm opening date Universal aren’t as forth coming however their parent company Comcast during a conference call to discuss first quarter earnings confirmed that they expected a stronger results from April through to June due to a late Easter and the opening of Diagon Alley!!!

Comcast Chief Financial Officer, Michael Angelakis stated;

In the second quarter, we are very excited about the opening of Harry Potter 2 in Orlando, as well as having the spring holidays in full swing,

We expect an announcement shortly from Universal confirming the actual date… as always we’ll keep you informed.

Smiles included…



The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Bigger, bolder & now more powerful than ever!

Hi All,

There’s something brewing in Orlando and its getting stronger! 


Universal have today launched a national television campaign in the USA to promote the much anticipated opening of the expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The 30 second commercial bills The Wizarding World of Harry Potter featuring; Hogsmeade, The Hogwarts Express and Diagon Alley. This is the first visual to encompass the whole park experience.

The commercial describes the new features to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as; Bigger, bolder and more powerful than ever! and to be honest its pretty much looking that way 🙂

Still no official launch date has been released the commercial is also pretty vague stating that the expansion will open summer 2014. However, as always we like to speculate on these things and we believe that is will open sometime in June.

We’ll keep you posted on this one 😉