What’s new around the Universe?

There are exciting new things happening every day at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida! Join us every week to read about what’s new “Around the Universe.” This week’s Universal Orlando Resort News update features: Halloween Horror Nights 24 updates, Rock the Universe Christian Music Festival, live concerts and events and more!

What’s New This Week?

Halloween Horror Nights Alen Vs. Predator

New! “AVP: Alien vs. Predator” house coming to Halloween Horror Nights 24: You will find yourself caught in the middle of the epic battle between the Aliens and Predators as you visit one of Weyland-Yutani’s secret facilities to assist with a critical situation. This Central American bio-weapons research facility houses several divisions that deal in extra-terrestrial technologies, specifically the Alien xenomorph species. Recently received surveillance shows the facility has been compromised by the Yautja—commonly known as Predators—who are relentlessly hunting the Aliens AND any thing in their path.

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New! Rock the Universe Tickets on Sale Now: Rock the Universe is Florida’s biggest Christian Music Festival. It’s an entire weekend of great music, real faith, best friends, fist-pumping rock, praise songs, autographs, shouts of joy, lifted hands and lifted hearts—and you can be a part of every second of it, from the very first scream to the final amen. Grab your friends and join thousands of other believers for a weekend of soul-stirring concerts from some of Christian rock’s brightest. In-between the concerts, scream and spin and laugh on action-packed rides in Universal Studios. This year’s event is September 5-6, 2014. Tickets start at $41 per day.

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New! Power Pass Summer Blockout Dates Reduced: This summer’s blockout dates for Universal Studios Florida were originally noted to continue through August 14, but Universal has lifted the blockout starting August 1. You can now experience Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express earlier than planned.

Reminder! Changes to Park Operating Hours: August 1 through August 16, Universal Islands of Adventure will open at 8:00am to the general public (7:00am for Early Park Admission), while Universal Studios Florida will open at 9:00am to the general public (8:00am for Early Park Admission). Due to the differences in opening times, the Hogwarts Express will not be available until 8:00am, and from 8:00am to 9:00am, it will only be available to guests with Early Park Admission (and park-to-park tickets, as always). Universal CityWalk operating hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., 365 days a year.

Reminder! Diagon Alley is OPEN! July 8th marked the official grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. Universal Orlando welcomed thousands of excited guests into the spectacularly themed land for the very first time with confetti, fireworks and a red carpet lined with dozens of cheering Diagon Alley team members.

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Reminder! Halloween Horror Nights Announcements Released: Step right into some of the most pulse-pounding moments in horror history at Universal Orlando® Resort’s Halloween Horror Nights®, the nation’s premier Halloween event. Select nights Sept. 19 – Nov. 1, you can explore eight terrifying haunted houses, multiple street experiences, two outrageous live shows, and many of your favorite rides and attractions. You’ll be completely immersed in the worlds of the biggest names in horror including: The Purge: Anarchy, Syfy’s Face Off, From Dusk Till Dawn, Alien vs. Predator and AMC’s The Walking Dead. More announcements to come.

Universal Orlando Resort Hotels

Wine Riffs Event at Hard Rock Hotel: Wine Riffs featuring Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars will take place Friday, August 8 at 6:30pm at The Kitchen. Listen to Elizabeth Delouise-Gant tell the stories of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, taste the culinary pairings from our chefs and feel the emotions of the soundtrack that tie them all together. Five Course Dinner + Pairings: $125 + tax and gratuity.

New! Florida Resident and Annual Passholder Discount at Cabana Bay Beach Resort: Experience Universal Orlando® for less at the retro-themed Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, now open. This moderate and value priced property offers guests their choice of family suites complete with kitchenettes, or standard rooms, plus a wealth of recreation. With two huge pools, a lazy river, bowling alley, and more, it’s unforgettable family fun at a great value, right in the heart of Universal Orlando’s theme parks and non-stop nightlife. Special Summer Savings for Florida Residents and Annual Passholders – Rates Starting From $79 for Travel July 26 – August 31, 2014. Must Book by Aug 16, 2014.

Reminder! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ Exclusive Vacation Package Dates Extended: Experience all the magic and excitement with this exclusive vacation package including admission to both Universal Orlando® theme parks, hotel accommodations, Early Park Admission? to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ one hour before the theme parks open, breakfast at the Three Broomsticks™ and the new Leaky Cauldron™, receive an Owl Post Welcome Gift and more! Purchase now – December 10, 2014 with select travel through December 18, 2014. Prices starting from $109 per adult, per night, tax inclusive.

Universal CityWalk

DJ Ideal

New! DJ Ideal Appears Saturday, Aug 16 at the groove: He’s a fixture at Miami Mansion and has spun private events for Jay-Z and Beyonce, Usher and Eminem, and he’s in Orlando for one night only. Don’t miss it! Admission $7 per person. VIP Table Service available. Call 407-224-2166 for details.

Reminder! K92.3 All Star Jam with Big & Rich to Perform at Hard Rock Live Aug 15: Some of the most popular acts in country music right now will gather under one roof for what’s sure to be a night of incredible music. The K92.3 All-Star Jam takes over the Hard Rock Live Orlando stage, on Friday, August 15th 2014, featuring performances by Big & Rich, Chase Rice and Jamie Lynn Spears! $65 Reserved Balcony $39 GA Standing Floor. Doors open at 7:00 pm. Show starts at 8:00 pm. Tickets available at the Hard Rock Live box office and all Ticketmaster locations. For more information call 407-351-LIVE.

Reminder! The Wayans Brothers to Perform at Hard Rock Live Aug 16: The prodigiously talented Wayans Brothers are getting together for a 2014 tour! Keenan Ivory, Shawn, Marlon and Damon are heading out on what’s been called a sketch comedy/stand-up hybrid. They will appear at the Hard Rock Live Orlando stage, on Saturday, August 16th 2014. Doors open at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $75.50 First 2 Rows and Balcony Tables $65.50 Advance $72.50 Day of Show. Show starts at 8:00 pm. Tickets available at the Hard Rock Live box office and all Ticketmaster locations. For more information call 407-351-LIVE.

Reminder! Classic Albums Live Featuring Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon at Hard Rock Live Aug 22: Classic Albums Live is a group of studio musicians and vocalists that perform the albums LIVE using the instrumentation used on the original recording…cut for cut…note for note. August 22, 2014. Doors open at 7:00 pm. Tickets: $25 Advance, $30 Day of Show for Reserved Seating and $15 Advance, $20 Day of Show GA Standing Perimeter. Tickets available at the Hard Rock Live box office and all Ticketmaster locations. For more information call 407-351-LIVE.

Reminder! CityWalk Expansion Plans: Hot Dog Hall Hall of Fame opened most recently to join Red Oven Pizza Bakery, Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, Cold Stone Creamery, Starbucks, Menchie’s, Breadbox and VIVO Italian Kitchen as the latest establishments to open as part of the expansion to Universal CityWalk. The CowFish will open later this year.

Closures and Refurbishments

Universal’s Islands of Adventure
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Universal Studios
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Minion Mayhem and more at Universal Orlando!

Universal Orlando Resort is home to many of our favorite movie characters, and most of them have an attraction based on the film. There will always be a place for ET The Ride on every visit, it’s just a throwback to my childhood and a simple little attraction. However Universal has come a long way since then with attractions!

My Top 3 Movie Based Rides

The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, Islands of Adventure- this ride takes everything you love about the Spiderman movies and puts it all in one building. Get set to soar with your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man like never before! This groundbreaking attraction has raised the bar.

Transformers The Ride 3-D, Universal Studios- there really are no words to describe how awesome this ride is. You must go an see for yourself. It’s like no simulator I have ever experienced. Prepare for the greatest battle you’ll ever ride!

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Universal Studios- who doesn’t love Gru and his crazy Minions. Join Gru, his daughters, and the mischievous Minions on a heartwarming and hilarious 3-D ride. Start your adventure in Gru’s home, where you’re recruited for his latest scheme – one where you’ll become an actual Minion. After the ride join the Minions for a dance party!

I have a prize pack to giveaway that is an homage to my favorites at Universal Orlando! Just COMMENT on this blog post with your favorite attraction and you will be entered to win. Winner will be chosen via random.org. Contest ends 7/11/14

Prize pack includes: Transformers tin, Dave the Purple Minion, Spiderman Magnet and Marvel body sticker

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Universal Orlando Resort Updates!! July 4th Edition

There are exciting new things happening every day at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida! Join us every week to read about what’s new “Around the Universe.” This week’s update features: Diagon Alley previews, grand opening Hot Dog Hall of Fame, … Continue reading

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

No visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure is complete without a ride on the Forbidden Journey.   Hogwarts is the center of all that encompasses Harry Potter. I imagine that all Harry Potter fans who enter these walls are filled with a joy they cannot describe. It is quite possibly the most amazing attraction I have ever seen.  There is not a single detail missing on this adventure from the moment you step inside Hogwarts to the moment you depart the building.

For those of you that may get a little queasy on car rides I would say take a dramamine and go on it! You will be sorry you missed out if you don’t. I do not want to go into a large amount of details about the ride because I think the Magic you experience for yourself should not be ruined.  But there is a short video that offers a sneak peek into the Forbidden Journey…

Jennifer is a Universal Specialist with Destinations in Florida Travel. Contact her for your FREE quote today and get started on your next adventure.

http://www.destinationsinflorida.com/jennifergreene

2014 is the year for Universal-book now and get the best rates

Universal Orlando is expanding in 2014–new hotel and new attractions opening.

This will be a great year to Vacation Like you Mean It!!

First about the hotel

Photo: Book your retro stay at Cabana Bay Beach Resort for 2014! Low rates now. And there wil be great new attractions :)

Cabana Bay Beach Resort will be opening in Early 2014. This will be a “value” priced hotel and will still offer all of the great perks and amenities you get when staying on-site at Universal Resorts. If you love the Retro Era of the 50’s and 60’s this is the resort for you! It will also boast the LARGEST pool in Central FL.

Splash back to the 1950’s and 60’s for endless family fun at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, opening early 2014. From the moment you arrive, you will be taken back to the iconic beach resorts of the era. Go for a swim or relax in the lazy river, grab a burger and a milkshake or take the family for a game or two at the bowling alley.

GUEST ROOMS (all rooms are non-smoking)

Courtyard Family Suite

Courtyard Family Suite Poolside

Tower Family Suite

Tower Family Suite Poolside

Standard Room

Poolside Room

Total Number of Rooms 1800

50% Connecting.

All rooms feature two queen beds.

Standard Rooms accommodate up to 4.

Family Suites can accommodate up to 6 and also include 1 full-size pull-out sofa.

*No Rollaways will be available.

 

FAMILY SUITE IN-ROOM AMENITIES

  • Two (2) 40” flat panel television with HD channels and On demand in-room movies (fees apply)
    • One in bedroom and one in living room
  • Kitchenette
    • Mini Refrigerator
    • Microwave
    • Small Sink
    • Cuisinart Double Coffee Pod Brewer
    • 4 disposable coffee cups
    • 6 disposable plastic glasses
    • Individually Wrapped Plastic flatware
    • Plastic ice bucket with liner
    • Bar Counter with 2 stools
    • Wired Internet Access at bar (fees apply)
    • Electrical outlets, phone jack and data port
    • Charging station at bar
  • Living Room
    • Sofa which pulls out into Full-size bed
  • Bedroom
    • Two queen size beds
  • Bathrooms HVAC controls connected to Smart Room technology, allowing guests to set desired temperature
    • Three compartment, four fixture bathroom wall mounted hairdryer
      • Compartment one contains tub/shower combination containing a retractable clothesline and single, vanity sink
      • Compartment two contains a sink and vanity
      • Compartment three contains the toilet
  • Iron, ironing board
  • In-room safe large enough for laptop and camera
  • In-room wireless high-speed internet access (fees apply – complimentary wireless high-speed internet access in public areas)
  • Two telephones – single line and voice mail

STANDARD ROOMS IN-ROOM AMENITIES

  • One (1) 40” flat panel television with HD channels and On demand in-room movies (fees apply)
  • Cuisinart Single Coffee Pod Brewer
  • 2 disposable coffee cups
  • 4 disposable plastic glasses
  • Small cooling unit for food and beverage
  • HVAC controls connected to Smart Room technology, allowing guests to set desired temperature
  • Small dining table with two chairs2 Queen Size beds
  • Wall Mounted Hairdryer
  • Iron, ironing board
  • In-room safe large enough for laptop and camera
  • In-room wireless high-speed internet access (fees apply – complimentary wireless high-speed internet access in public areas)
  • One telephone – single line and voice mail

FOOD & BEVERAGE OUTLETS

  • Bayliner Diner Food Court offering quick-service, casual dining consisting of different meal food stations, all serving quality, efficient and familiar, family-friendly food selections. An additional center piece station will offer salads, yogurt and candy by weight. Splits of wine and individual servings of beer will be available in the grab and go; limited selection available at the bar.
  • Station 1: grill (burgers, shakes, chicken sandwiches)
  • Station 2: international (seasonal selections)
  • Station 3: pizza/pasta
  • Station 4: bakery
  • Center Station (salad, candy, frozen yogurt)
  • Open daily 6:00 am* – 11:00 pm*
  • Hideaway Bar & Grill – Tropical bar and grill located by the south courtyard pool (lazy river), featuring a simple grill menu with 5 – 6 options and a full bar serving signature frozen and non-frozen drinks, smoothies, wine by the glass, bottle & draft beer ; walk-up service. Entertainment includes music and recreation staff that will host activities such as hula hoop contests and bingo throughout the day.
  • Atomic Tonic Poolside resort casual bar located by the north courtyard pool (dive tower) featuring a full bar serving signature frozen and non-frozen drinks, smoothies, wine by the glass, bottle & draft beer and limited prepackaged snacks; walk-up service. Entertainment includes music and recreation staff that will host activities such as hula hoop contests.  Also ping pong, and volleyball equipment will be available.
  • Swizzle Lounge – Resort casual lobby bar that provides window views of the north courtyard, moderate bar options with no food service.
  • Coffee Shoppe – might be a Starbucks, TBD. Coffee Shoppe located in the lobby offering quick service items such as Panini’s, sandwiches and yogurt parfaits. Social Media and internet connectivity to be incorporated into design.
  • Limited Room Service allows guests to eat in the privacy of their room. Limited pizza and side item room delivery service will be available

 

RECREATION & AMENITIES 

  • North Courtyard Pool – Located at the north courtyard (exterior family suites), this pool will feature an iconic dive tower feature with water slide and 17 Cabanas available for rental.  Stop by the ‘Atomic Tonic’ for a quick snack or signature frozen drink.
  • South Courtyard Pool – Located at the south courtyard (interior tower), this pool will feature a lazy river surrounded by botanical gardens. Stop by the ‘Hideaway Bar & Grill’ for a burger and draft beer.
  • Game-O-Rama – is the game room
  • Galaxy Bowl – Bowling Alley with 10 lanes
  • The Cabana Bay Beach Resort offers everything needed for a boisterous bowling experience for children and adults. Features Include:
    • Food and Beverage options including Sodas, Draft Beer, Wine, Energy Drinks, Soft Pretzels, Popcorn, Candy, Hot Dogs, Churros, and select snacks
    • Entertainment atmosphere including music and video screens
  • The Bowling Alley will be open from 12:00 PM* to 10:00 PM*, hours may adjust seasonally.

*Hours of operation subject to change

  • The Cabana Bay Beach Resort Fitness Center
    • The Cabana Bay Beach Resort Fitness Center is complimentary to guests and will feature aspects of Jack LaLanne* era (*still to be finalized).  The fitness center will offer all equipment needed for a cardio- vascular workout routine:LaLanne merchandise will be available for purchase in the bowling alley
      • Treadmills
      • Bicycles (up-right and recumbent)
      • Elliptical machine
      • Variable resistance weight machines
      • Stretching area
    • Locker rooms with showers are provided for changing for resort facility use, on pre-arrival and post-departure day.
    • Restrooms are provided for men and women
    • Water fountain available
    • The Fitness Center is open from 6:00 AM* to 10:00 PM* seven days per week

*Hours of operation subject to change

  • Universal Orlando Resort Store –Offers sundries, guest necessities, newspapers, magazines, etc., as well as Universal and Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort logo merchandise.
  • Staff will offer a variety of activities geared to attract and involve youth. Activities include:Recreation Activities will be available from 10:00 AM* – 10:00 PM*, *hours will adjust seasonally.
    • Hula Hoop Contest
    • Bingo
    • Poolside Movies
    • Ping Pong
  • Universal Orlando Attraction Ticket Center A Destination Universal Ticket Desk and Kiosk will be located in the main building to assist guests with Universal information, purchasing tickets to Universal theme parks and other area attractions as well as  retrieving pre-purchased tickets.

And now for the 2014 Expansion

potter

Universal is not so secretly expanding the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and it is slated to open in 2014, well part of it will be at least. This will certainly be an exciting addition for Wizards and Muggles, and is sure to bring many Potter fans flocking back to Universal.

With the new resort and the expanding attractions be sure to Book your Vacation Early for 2014! Contact me today for a FREE Quote for your next Universal Adventure

(currently booking through Aug 15, 2014)

Jennifer is a Universal Specialist with Destinations In Florida. contact her today for a FREE quote

http://www.destinationsinflorida.com/jennifergreene

Shopping–Harry Potter Style

If you have a Harry Potter fan in your family then the Wizarding World at Universal Orlando is THE place to take them! Get ready to pull out your checkbook as there are some pretty pricey items in this section of the parks, $600 Broom anyone?? 

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Honeydukes:
A must-stop for visitors to Hogsmeade, at Honeydukes the shelves are lined with all manner of colorful sweets, including Acid Pops, exploding bonbons, Cauldron Cakes, treacle fudge, Fizzing Whizzbees, and Chocolate Frogs, which contain a wizard trading card in each box. Inside the shop you can fill up a bag of Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans… who knows what tasty (or not so tasty) flavors you’ll discover! The shop also offers other classic favorites such as chocolates and fudge.

Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods:
Here you can see confiscated items and purchase Hogwarts and Quidditch clothing, house crest banners, movie prop replicas, chess sets, magical creature toys and other assorted treasures.

Purchase souvenirs such as Hogwarts clothing including jackets, t-shirts, sweatshirts, shoulder bags, caps and scarves; plus house crest banners, stationery and other gifts. There are authentic movie prop replicas including character walking sticks, Death Eater masks and film-based chess sets; assorted Quidditch clothing; magical creature toys and clothing; plus a variety of assorted toys and other souvenirs. It is also here, at the attraction’s exit, that guests can purchase a photo of their ride experience on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

Zonko’s:
Zonko’s is your destination for novelty items, jokes and toys. At Zonko’s Joke Shop you can take home such items as a Sneakoscope, Extendable Ears, Screaming Yo-yos, a Boxing Telescope, Fanged Flyer, Pygmy Puff, Shrunken Heads, and more. There are sweets including Fainting Fancies, Fever Fudge, Nosebleed Nougat, and U-No-Poo. The shop also offers Zonko’s t-shirts, mugs, and other assorted souvenirs.

Dervish & Banges:
Be sure to stop at Dervish and Banges for such magical items as Sneakoscopes, Spectrespecs, Omnioculars, and The Monster Book of Monsters. Dervish and Banges carries all your Quidditch needs including t-shirts, Quaffles, Golden Snitches and brooms including the Nimbus 2001 and the Firebolt. You’ll find Hogwarts school uniforms and clothing including robes, scarves, ties, t-shirts and sweatshirts. The store offers an assortment of other merchandise such as journals and stationery items.

Be sure to stop at Dervish and Banges™ for such magical items as Sneakoscopes, Spectrespecs, Omnioculars, and The Monster Book of Monsters. Dervish and Banges carries all your Quidditch™ needs including t-shirts, Quaffles, Golden Snitches™ and brooms including the Nimbus 2001™ and the Firebolt. You’ll find Hogwarts™ school uniforms and clothing including robes, scarves, ties, t-shirts and sweatshirts. The store offers an assortment of other merchandise such as journals and stationery items.

Contact me to book your next Universal Orlando Vacation-I specialize in Wizarding World Packages!

http://www.destinationsinflorida.com/jennifergreene