Category Archives: Universal Orlando Resort

7 Exciting New Details About Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

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In just a couple weeks, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – the epic new addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade – will open at Universal Orlando Resort. To get you excited for this “story coaster,” Universal has shared 7 details about the ground-breaking coaster technology and all-new environments you’ll be able to experience on June 13.

  1. Journey Beyond the Grounds of Hogwarts Castle
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

You’ll venture to the edge of the Forbidden Forest and enter ruins that have seemingly been abandoned for centuries behind Hagrid’s hut. The ruins were imagined and brought to life by Universal Creative in collaboration with the Harry Potter films’ Production Designer, Stuart Craig, and Art Director, Alan Gilmore. This is where your Care of Magical Creatures class with Hagrid will begin.

2. All-New Environments and Sets

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Inside the ruins, you will see materials from Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class, including dragon eggs on the verge of hatching and a makeshift nursery where he kept his Blast-Ended Skrewts in a terrarium before they outgrew the chamber.

There will also be a pre-show featuring digital projection technology and special effects, where you’ll encounter Arthur Weasley, Hagrid, and his loyal dog, Fang.

But the experience doesn’t stop there! Once you board your motorbike, you’ll plunge deeper into the Forbidden Forest and closer to some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures.

Here are some additional thrilling fun facts about the experience that will be brought to life with innovative coaster technology:

3. The most launches of any roller coaster in the world – with 7 total launches

You’ll launch up to 50 miles per hour through the Forbidden Forest, past the ruins and more.

4. The first coaster in the U.S. to feature a free-fall vertical drop – dropping you nearly 17 feet

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Prepare yourself because you’ll be dropping quite a distance.

5. The longest roller coaster in Florida, measuring nearly a mile in length (5,053 feet)

Your adventure into the Forbidden Forest is bound to be an exciting one – so keep your eyes peeled for creatures and mischief around every turn.

6. Enchanted motorbikes will take you on an adventure through the Forbidden Forest – and you can ride the motorcycle like Hagrid or board the adjacent sidecar like Harry Potter

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I think we should start a poll now – do you think you’ll be team motorcycle or team sidecar?

7. The “story coaster” will catapult you 65 feet in the air at a more than 70-degree angle…then drop you backward in one movement

This will be the time to hold on tight and trust Hagrid to get you through your journey.

Before you know it, the opening of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will be here. Buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride.

Share your excitement with #WizardingWorldOrlando on TwitterInstagram, and FacebookPlus, don’t forget to comment below about what you are most excited about!

Meet Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Characters at Universal Orlando Resort

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

Since the gates first opened, Universal Studios has been known as the theme park destination where you can “Ride the Movies!” You may be familiar with many of the iconic films Universal has brought to life, but there are probably a few Universal Pictures and Dreamworks characters you didn’t realize you could meet at Universal Orlando Resort.

DreamWorks Trolls

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Who’s ready to boogie with Trolls? Get together for a family photo with Branch, Poppy and the newest member, Guy Diamond! Plus, you can see them star in our nighttime lagoon show Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration.

Location:

  • Meet and Greet: KidZone in Universal Studios
  • Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration: Viewing area is located at Central Park in Universal Studios

Universal Pictures The Secret Life of Pets

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

You can check out Secret Life of Pets daily in Universal’s Superstar Parade. At select times throughout the day, you can even get up close and talk with the pets as they pull the parade float out in the Character Party Zone across from Mel’s Drive-In.

There is also Secret Life of Pets merch you can get from t-shirts to stuffed animals!

Location:

  • Universal’s Superstar Parade: Throughout the streets of Universal Studios
  • Character Party Zone: Select times throughout the day across from Mel’s Drive-In in Universal Studios
  • Merchandise: Universal Studios Stores in Universal Studios and CityWalk

DreamWorks Madagascar

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

You can meet your favorite characters from Madagascar, including the Penguins, Alex the Lion and King Julien. Plus, you can see them and the rest of the Madagascar crew every winter in Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s.

Location:

  • The Penguins: Hollywood Blvd. near the Garden of Allah in Universal Studios
  • Alex the Lion and King Julien: Port of Entry in Islands of Adventure

DreamWorks Kung Fu Panda

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Get ready to show off your kung fu moves with Po from Kung Fu Panda. You can also pick up fun merchandise in the Universal Studios Stores.

Location: Port of Entry in Islands of Adventure

DreamWorks Puss in Boots

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

You know we’ve got Shrek 4-D as an ogre-the-top attraction, but did you know you could meet Shrek and Donkey’s swashbuckling friend Puss in Boots? Even better is Puss in Boots does meet and greets with his companion Kitty Softpaws!

Location: Port of Entry in Islands of Adventure and Production Central outside of Shrek 4-D in Universal Studios

Make sure to check The Official Universal Orlando Resort App or your park map for meet and greet times and locations the day-of your visit. And don’t forget to share your pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with #ReadyforUniversal.

The TODAY Cafe at Universal Studios Florida to Open May 16, 2019

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

The TODAY Cafe is coming to Universal Orlando Resort this spring with a grand opening date of May 16! Inspired by NBC’s long-running morning show, the new cafe will make you feel as though you have stepped onto the TODAY set with unique theming and specialty items.

TODAY Cafe will be located at Universal Studios Florida, just inside the iconic arches and across the street from the Universal Studios Store – a prime location to grab breakfast, lunch or a snack before or after enjoying the theme parks for the day.

Our creative and culinary teams teamed up with TODAY to create one-of-a-kind experiences…

The Dining Experience

The venue is designed to look and feel like Studio 1A in New York City where TODAY broadcasts daily. Vibrant orange awnings and large floor-to-ceiling windows will line the outside of the cafe, as well as outdoor seating meant to look like the TODAY plaza.

Inside, you will be able to step into the stage lighting and TODAY’s vibrant orange theming with a modern and sleek design. Plus, as you sit down and enjoy your cup of coffee and a bite to eat, you can catch up on top headlines from TODAY’s live broadcast.

Eat & Drink

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

The TODAY Cafe will offer a specialty TODAY Cafe Blend, made exclusively for the venue, featuring locally-roasted private label coffee. You’ll be able to sip handcrafted cappuccinos, espresso, lattes, cold brew and more while chowing down on pastries, made fresh on-site daily, for the perfect breakfast and afternoon pick-me-up.

You will also be able to enjoy unique and healthy options including avocado toast and an organic acai bowl, as well as sandwiches and salads. One of the standout features of the TODAY Cafe menu will be seasonal dishes inspired by a TODAY personality.

Al’s Avocado Toast

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

The first seasonal dish is Al’s Avocado Toast, inspired by the one and only Al Roker! This dish features smashed avocados, cherry tomatoes, artichokes, roasted red onions, tomato aioli, toasted farmhouse white, served with bread & butter pickles.

Mulberry Street Italian Sandwich

Porchetta, spicy capicola, coppa, provolone, arugula, roasted tomato, basil aioli, on a crusty baguette

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Porchetta, spicy capicola, coppa, provolone cheese, roasted tomato, arugula, basil aioli on a baguette

Chinatown Chicken Salad

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Baby arugula, napa cabbage, radicchio, shitake mushrooms, daikon sprouts wasabi cashews, soy peanut vinaigrette

SOHO

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Roasted cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, arugula, farro, avocado, prosciutto, lemon vinaigrette

I <3 Vegan

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Roasted Portobello mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, carrots, vegan jalapeno cheese, sun-dried tomato pesto, pressed cranberry artisan bread

And, inspired by the fourth hour of TODAY, there will be wine and beer on tap, as well as a delicious cheese platter for two.

Check out some of the tasty menu items and let us know in the comments which dish you want to try first when the TODAY Cafe opens. Don’t forget to share with #ReadyForUniversal on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Sneak Peek of the Creatures in Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Universal recently revealed more about the magical creatures you’ll encounter on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventurethe new epic adventure opening June 13 in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.  It will be the most immersive, highly-themed coaster experience yet, and take you on a thrilling journey with Hagrid to the Forbidden Forest to discover the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures.

Now through April 19, stay tuned to the Universal Orlando blog as we give you a first-ever look at some of the creatures you’ll encounter…including one that’s never been seen in the films. A new creature will be revealed each day at 11 a.m. EDT to prepare you for the incredible things you may see during your trip into the Forbidden Forest as part of Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures Class.

Devil’s Snare

While Devil’s Snare isn’t a creature, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to mention this perilous plant from the wizarding world – often strangling people who touch it with its dexterous vines. Devil’s Snare flourishes in damp, dark environments and it has a strong dislike of light and fire – remember that for your journey!

Speaking of your journey, Devil’s Snare is one of the many challenges you’ll face on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. You may even find yourself entangled in a thicket of this dangerous plant but remember to remain calm! If you don’t, you may end up entangled in hundreds of its vines…

And a fun fact about Devil’s Snare, it made its first film appearance in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when the brave Hermione told her friends how to defeat this dangerous force.

Our fourth creature is a majestic being not to be confused with a horse or human.

Cornish Pixies

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Cornish pixies are electric blue tricksters who love to create mischief – often at the expense of others. These mischievous creatures fly, and have also been known to seize unwary humans by the ears and deposit them at the tops of tall trees and buildings – poor Neville Longbottom…

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

In Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, you’ll see these troublesome creatures wreaking havoc on an infamous blue car… and in places you may not expect. They’re about 13 inches tall and you’ll find more than 20 pixies throughout your adventure. Happy hunting!

Fun Facts:

  • According to Pottermore, Cornish pixies can produce a high-pitched jabbering that’s only comprehensible to other pixies
  • Cornish pixies made their first film appearance in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets during Gilderoy Lockhart’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class

Fluffy, the Three-Headed Dog

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Fluffy is a giant three-headed dog that’s known for being the trusted guard dog of the Sorcerer’s Stone. And, as many of you know, Fluffy has a weakness – he falls asleep to the sound of music.

In Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, you’ll confront this gigantic, beloved creature deep in the Forbidden Forest. Proceed with caution – he’s a guard dog first and foremost. And in this new adventure, Fluffy weighs 8,000 Ibs., which is roughly as big as two standard Muggle cars.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Fun Facts:

  • In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Fluffy belongs to Hagrid, who adopted him from a “Greek chappie” he met in a pub
  • Experts on Pottermore say Fluffy was inspired by Cerberus – the dog that in Greek mythology guarded the gates of the Underworld – and, just like Fluffy, he fell asleep to the sound of music
  • Fluffy made his first and only appearance in the film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Seven Reasons to Stay at Universal’s New Endless Summer Resort

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Surf. Sand. Endless Summer. That’s what we’re all about at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort. This resort consists of two totally free-spirited hotels, Surfside Inn and Suites & Dockside Inn and Suites, which make for the perfect theme park retreat.

Staying at either Surfside Inn and Suites or Dockside Inn and Suites will give you a seamless Universal Orlando vacation – complete with exclusive theme park benefits, including Early Park Admission – at our most affordable price point ever. Bring the entire family because these new 2-Bedroom Suites can sleep up to six people. Let’s dive in and see how these hotels will keep your summer fun going all year round.

Surfside Inn and Suites will surround you by the surf

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

You’ll feel like you’re one with the ocean at Surfside Inn and Suites, Universal Orlando’s seventh hotel in partnership with Loews Hotels & Co, opening June 27. As you make your way toward the check-in desk, vibrant surf and wave-like features will be everywhere you look. You’ll step across sand-colored flooring that transports you just below the surf. You can chill on the sea glass-inspired couches and gaze up at the light fixtures designed to resemble bubbles forming from the crash of the blue wave overhead.

You’ll find a shortboard surfboard in your suite

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

The moment you walk into your 2-Bedroom Suite at Surfside Inn and Suites, you’ll be greeted by a shortboard surfboard in a room filled with everything from colorful artwork to vibrant tie-dyed curtains, and details that give you that bright, open and serene feeling you get at the beach.

And, just like you would find at the beach, the 2-Bedroom Suites at both hotels also feature a charming picnic table for the whole family to gather around before heading out to one of our three theme parks. The best thing about these suites is that there is plenty of room to spread out! Up to six people will fit super comfortably in these rooms.

You can soak up the sun in a surfboard-shaped pool

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

You’ll be able to hang loose and chill at both resorts’ pools, but what’s extra cool about the pool at Surfside Inn and Suites is that it’s shaped like a surfboard. With a drink in hand, you’ll find this pool is the perfect place to keep your Universal Orlando vacation going.

Enjoy a beach break under the swell   

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

When you’re ready for some grub, head inside the hotel to refuel. Look up and you’ll find surfers trying to catch the perfect swell above the surface.

Dockside Inn and Suites will bring you back to the shore   

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Across the street at Dockside Inn and Suites – opening Spring 2020 – you’ll be surrounded by natural woods and colors that make you feel as though you’re hanging out on a pier. This hotel has a relaxed, calm and carefree vibe. The lobby’s driftwood features evoke the feeling of gathering around a sunset beach bonfire.

Suite decor includes a longboard surfboard

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

In the rooms at Dockside Inn and Suites, you’ll feel at ease lounging in the coastal aesthetic that includes wood finishings and sunset artwork. Inside the 2-Bedroom Suites, you’ll find an actual longboard surfboard. These rooms will definitely put you in relaxation mode as the sun begins to set – and forget having to pay for two connecting rooms because your entire family can stay together in these suites.

You’ll feel like you’re dining on a dock

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

At Dockside Inn and Suites, you can wind down with your crew in a dining area that stays true to the hotel’s laid back vibe, which will have you feeling like you’re sharing a meal along the shore.

These first-ever Value category hotels at Universal Orlando will have you riding the perfect vacation wave without stretching your wallet.

But staying at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort isn’t only about affordability. With exclusive theme park benefits, you’ll find your vacation bliss throughout your entire visit. You’ll wake up where the action is and enjoy theme park benefits like getting into the parks one hour before everyone else with Early Park Admission, convenient transportation to and from your hotel, the theme parks, Universal CityWalk, and more.

The casual sea-and-sand attitude of Universal’s Endless Summer Resort will be felt throughout both hotels.

Top 5 Reasons to Add a Day at Universal to a Disney World Vacation

There are so many exciting things to see and do in Orlando that it can be hard find to do them all during one vacation! Although you may not need to spend a week exploring Universal Orlando Resort, it’s a great add on to a Disney World vacation! You can add a day at Universal to your Disney vacation to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, minions, Transformers, and more!

Here are the top five reasons why you should add a day at Universal Orlando Resort (or maybe a few) to your Disney World vacation:

  1. Harry Potter: The biggest draw for most families to visit Universal Orlando Resort is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It is the ultimate experience for any Harry Potter fan. You can walk the streets of London, ride Hogwarts Express, drink butterbeer at Three Broomsticks, fly with Harry, and so much more.
  2. Super Heroes, Dinosaurs, Minions, and More: Visit with all of your favorite super heroes at Marvel Super Hero Island at Islands of Adventure, try the new Marvel Character Dinner, and feel the gamma rush on the Incredible Hulk coaster. You can explore Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure to get up close and personal with Blue at Raptor Encounter, watch a dinosaur egg hatch, and embark on a daring raft ride. You can become a minion on Despicable Me Minion Mayhem or enjoy breakfast with Gru, the girls, and minions. The Simpsons and SpongeBob Squarepants can also be found at Universal Orlando Resort!
  3. Volcano Bay: Universal’s new water theme park is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. From a relaxing beach to adventurous water rides, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and somewhere for everyone to cool off. The TapuTapu wearable allows you to even enjoy other attractions and activities in the park while you wait for your turn to ride!
  4. Thrill Rides: Universal Orlando Resort is full of thrill rides in all three of their parks! You can feel the rush of adrenaline on The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Revenge of the Mummy, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, Krakatau Aqua Coaster, and more.
  5. Seasonal Events: Universal Orlando Resort hosts a number of seasonal events throughout the year, many of which are included with general park admission. You can celebrate Mardi Gras at Universal, Florida’s biggest party every February and March. Or, Rock the Universe with contemporary Christian artists in early February. Universal also hosts the nation’s premier Halloween event, Halloween Horror Nights. And, the whole family will love the holidays at Universal featuring Grinchmas, Universal’s Holiday Parade featuing Macy’s, Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and more.

We can help you add a day at Universal Orlando Resort to your Disney World vacation without the hassle of renting a car. You can learn more about our exclusive shuttle to Universal from any of the Disney World hotels here.

Top 5 Hidden Gems at Universal’s Aventura Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

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There are so many things to love about Universal’s Aventura Hotel, from the views 17 floors up at Bar 17 Bistro to all the convenient features of the in-room tablet.

Here are 5 hidden gems at Universal’s Aventura Hotel to discover that make it just plain cool.

  1. Walking Path to Volcano Bay
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Silence your smart watch’s notifications to keep moving and get in a few extra steps by taking the walking path from Universal’s Aventura Hotel to Volcano Bay. It’s less than a five-minute walk and with the added benefit of Early Park Admission one hour before the theme park opens, you’ll be able to pack even more fun into your day.

2. Sweet Treats

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

After a day of theme park hopping, treat yourself to a scoop of creamy gelato from Urban Pantry or better yet, take dessert up a notch with a gelato panini. Simply put, this decadent creation is a pressed warm sweet roll with a gelato center, served on a plate drizzled with chocolate sauce and topped with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Choose from a variety of delectable gelato flavors and satisfy your sweet tooth with this refreshingly different (and Instagram-worthy) treat!

3. VR Game Room

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Get your game face on in Aventura Hotel’s Virtual Reality game room, located on the second floor next to the fitness center. Enjoy another one of the hotel’s high-tech features while testing your skills at popular VR games like Fruit Ninja, Merry Snowballs or Space Pirate Trainer. Games can change, so be sure to stop by on your next visit to see what’s new!

4. In-Room Tablet

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One of my favorite features at Universal’s Aventura Hotel is the in-room tablet. It allows you to do everything from adjusting the room temperature to ordering room service without getting out from under the covers. Need to wind down after a long day in the parks? Sign into your Netflix or Hulu account to stream your favorite shows on the room’s TV and don’t worry about signing out – your tablet will do it for you when you check out.

5. DJ at Bar 17 Bistro

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

When you’re done at the pool, head up to Bar 17 Bistro to take in the breathtaking sunset views of the Orlando skyline at Universal Orlando Resort’s first ever rooftop bar and grill. If the views and internationally-inspired menu aren’t enough to get you up to Bar 17 Bistro, the music definitely will. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, a DJ gets the party started with a mix of current and classic hits. After a Dew Point Hooligan (or two), you’ll be ready to bust out your best dance moves.

Discover all of these great features and more hidden gems at Universal’s Aventura Hotel and share some of your favorites below!

Top 15 Moments You Must Experience at Universal Orlando Resort

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

I personally think you should see it all when you come to Universal Orlando Resort. But knowing there’s so much to do, these are 15 moments you just have to experience at Universal when you come to the parks.

  1. That moment when you realize you’re going to Hogwarts castle

When I first stepped into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, my heart skipped a beat. The land is absolutely beautiful. When I turned the corner and Hogwarts castle was revealed, I definitely shed a tear. It’s truly amazing.

2. That moment when Optimus Prime says hello

What’s cooler than seeing your favorite Transformer give you a warm welcome as you step up to pose for a photo. Next to TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D is a photo opportunity to meet Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Megatron.

3. That moment when you fly up in the air 185 feet

Doctor Doom’s Fearfall will have you screaming way more words than you even knew you had in your vocabulary. No fear of heights (or maybe a deathly fear of heights)? This attraction was built for you. The launch uses more thrust than a 747 jet.

4. That moment when you plunge down to escape a large T. rex

Jurassic Park River Adventure takes you on a lovely scenic water cruise where you come across some nice herbivore dinosaurs. All of a sudden, you’re taken off course and end up face to face with a HUGE T.rex before plunging 85 feet! It’s so awesome.

5. That moment when you finally meet Blue

Speaking of dinosaurs, did you know you can now meet Blue? At Raptor Encounter you’ll get to learn some interesting raptor facts about this clever girl. And if you’re brave enough, you can even grab a quick photo with her. Fun fact, kids can even sleep in their very own gyrosphere bed in our new Jurassic World Kids’ Suites.

6. That moment when you wake up and see a volcano through your window

Picture this… You walk into your room at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort for the first time and open the blinds to discover one of the most breathtaking views on property. Our Volcano Side rooms give a bird’s eye view into Universal’s Volcano Bay. Let me tell you, these views are absolutely out of this world. Plus, being a hotel guest gives you access to Volcano Bay an hour before the park opens for the day with Early Park Admission.

7. That moment when you come face to face with Kong

Are you brave enough to step foot into this mysterious island at Skull Island: Reign of Kong? Inside, you’ll encounter a few frightening creatures and prehistoric predators. But at the end of your journey, you’ll come face to face with Kong himself. This moment is definitely worth the trek.

8. That moment when you see a fire dancer at the Wantilan Luau   

You can’t miss this classic Hawaiian luau at Loews Royal Pacific Resort. The Wantilan Luau will have you dancing along with hula dancers and will have your jaw dropping at these fire twirlers. Shows are every Saturday evening starting at 6pm.

9. That moment when you step inside the tube at Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides

These body slides, at Universal’s Volcano Bay are sure to make your jaw drop when the floor disappears, sending you plummeting down intertwining tubes through the Krakatau Volcano.

10. That moment when you climb 90 degrees straight up on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

In my opinion, the most intense part of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is the moment you’re 90 degrees looking straight up at the sky, your stomach turning from anticipation. At least you have some music playing to ease your nerves.

Fun Fact: this coaster is 17 stories high, making it one of the tallest roller coasters at Universal Orlando Resort.

11. That moment when you take a bite of a donut as big as your head

This. Donut. Is. Amazing. It’s also the size of your head! You can find this giant pink-iced sprinkled donut in Springfield at Lard Lad Donuts. Calories don’t count on vacation… right?

12. That moment when you eat a sushi roll that’s actually a burger…

Two of my favorite meals are sushi and a good burger. At The Cowfish, my two favorite meals collide. You can literally eat what they call Burgushi. It’s either a burger made with sushi or sushi that’s actually a burger. It is all SO good.

13. That moment when you Hulk out

Shooting out of the tunnel and racing up to 67 miles per hour on The Incredible Hulk Coaster is INTENSE. And so much fun. This roller coaster has a total of seven inversions and will make you want to come back for more.

14. That moment when you see the Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon breathe fire

Sitting on top of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, at the far end of Diagon Alley, is a massive fire-breathing dragon. One of my favorite moments is stepping foot into Diagon Alley and catching the dragon growl and blast fire out of its mouth.

Fun Fact: the fire out of the dragon’s mouth reaches temperatures of 3,560°F!

15. That moment when you take in the view from a rooftop bar

Universal’s newest resort hotel, Universal’s Aventura Hotel, just opened—and you’ll definitely want to check out Bar 17 Bistro, the hotel’s rooftop bar. This is the first rooftop bar at Universal Orlando Resort, and these views are absolutely incredible.

What’s your favorite experience at Universal Orlando Resort? Tell us in the comments.

Your Complete Wizarding World of Harry Potter Guide for Universal Orlando Resort

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Many people have been waiting their entire lives to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. After reading the books and watching the films, actually stepping foot into the stories is a phenomenal experience. This handy Wizarding World of Harry Potter guide will help you make the most of your experience at Universal Orlando Resort.

With Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida, there are two unique lands to explore. We’re listing out each and every activity you can enjoy during your next trip!

This Wizarding World of Harry Potter guide is organized by type of activity: attractions, experiences, food and drink, shopping, shows, and hidden gems.

ATTRACTIONS

Harry Potter and the Forbidden JourneyHogsmeade

  • Soar above the castle grounds as you join Harry Potter and his friends on an unforgettably thrilling adventure, coming face-to-face with an array of magical creatures.
  • Pro Tip: Make sure to take your time in the queue for this one to appreciate all the details of the Hogwarts corridors including Dumbledore’s office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor common room, and more.

Flight of the HippogriffHogsmeade

  • Bow to Buckbeak as you board this family-friendly roller coaster that spirals and dives around the pumpkin patch, and then swoops past Hagrid’s hut.
  • Pro Tip: This ride is great for little witches and wizards who might be a bit spooked by Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey or Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

Hogwarts Express: Hogsmeade StationHogsmeade

  • Board the famous train and head towards King’s Cross Station in London. You’ll need a park-to-park ticket for this one.
  • Pro Tip: The experience is completely different on the way back from King’s Cross Station to Hogsmeade (see below), so you’ll want to ride it twice.

Hogwarts Express: King’s Cross StationDiagon Alley

  • Enter King’s Cross Station and walk straight through a solid brick wall onto Platform 9 ¾ to board the Hogwarts Express. You’ll need a park-to-park ticket.
  • Pro Tip: If you want to journey in Harry’s footsteps, do some shopping in Diagon Alley and then hop on the Hogwarts Express to start your next term!

Harry Potter and the Escape from GringottsDiagon Alley (pictured)

  • Take a journey through cavernous passageways that lead deep underground as you climb aboard this mind-blowing, multi-dimensional ride.
  • Pro Tip: For those looking for a more intense ride, ask the attendant if they can accommodate you towards the back of the ride vehicle. However, all seats offer a thrilling adventure!

EXPERIENCES

See a wand choose a wizard at Ollivanders, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley (pictured)

  • Step inside this iconic shop and watch an Ollivanders wandkeeper go through the process of pairing a witch or wizard with just the right wand.
  • Pro Tip: You might be the lucky witch or wizard chosen!

Cast spells with your interactive wand, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley

  • Look for medallions on the ground throughout Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley for opportunities to practice your magic. Simply follow the directions at your feet and look out for amazing surprises.
  • Pro Tip: You’ll need an interactive wand for this one, and inside the box is a map telling you where all the spells are located.

Send a letter through Owl PostHogsmeade

  • Here, you can mail a letter complete with a special Hogsmeade postmark.
  • Pro Tip: This is a great way to let your friends and family know you’re thinking about them during your trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Meet the Hogwarts Express conductor, Hogsmeade

  • Oftentimes you can find this jolly gentleman next to Hogsmeade Station near the front of Hogsmeade.
  • Pro Tip: Take a photo with him to remember your Hogwarts Express journey.

View The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts CastleHogsmeade

  • On select nights, you can see some amazing projection mapping that transforms the castle in a dazzling display of lights, special effects and music.
  • Pro Tip: Scope out the best view early in the day to make sure you know where you want to stand later.

Meet the Knight Bus conductor, Diagon Alley

  • On the London embankment, you’ll find this three-storied bus and its amiable driver.
  • Pro Tip: You can also chat up the shrunken head hanging over the steering wheel.

Get your moving photograph at Shutterbutton’sDiagon Alley

  • Create a portrait of yourself that actually moves and purchase a collectible photo album in commemoration.
  • Pro Tip: Borrow props and costumes or bring your own!

Exchange your Muggle money at the Gringotts Money ExchangeDiagon Alley

  • Have a conversation with the goblin behind the counter before trading your U.S. currency for Gringotts bank notes in $10 or $20 denominations.
  • Pro Tip: The banknotes can be used for purchases within Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, and at select locations throughout Universal Orlando Resort.

SEASONAL: Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry PotterHogsmeade and Diagon Alley

  • Diagon Alley, London, and Hogsmeade are transformed with festive décor and brilliant lighting during the holidays. Not only do shows incorporate some favorite holiday tunes, but look out for special treats and drinks! The atmosphere is simply brimming with excitement.
  • Pro Tip: Plan some time to take in all the detail of the beautiful decorations.

FOOD & DRINK

ButterbeerHogsmeade and Diagon Alley (pictured)

  • You simply can’t come to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and not try Butterbeer! This concoction is reminiscent of butterscotch and shortbread. Find it at many of the restaurants listed below and various snack stands throughout Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.
  • Pro Tip: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has six unique ways to enjoy that delicious Butterbeer flavor, so come with an empty stomach.

Three BroomsticksHogsmeade

  • This cozy, snow-capped inn offers tasty British fare including Fish And Chips, Shepherd’s Pie, Cornish Pasties, Turkey Legs, and Fresh Vegetables. View a breakfast menu here and a lunch and dinner menu here.
  • Pro Tip: Take some time to explore – you never know what you might find.

Hog’s HeadHogsmeade

  • This pub in the back of Three Broomsticks is the perfect place for a Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice, along with domestic and imported beers, the pub’s exclusive Hog’s Head Brew, Gillywater (bottled water), specialty drinks, wine, spirits, and mixed drinks.
  • Pro Tip: Pay attention to the stuffed hog’s head over the bar – it just might snarl at you.

Leaky CauldronDiagon Alley

  • A small, grubby-looking pub and inn where you’ll find foods like Bangers and Mash, Fisherman’s Pie, Toad in the Hole, Ploughman’s Platter, and more. View a breakfast menu here and a lunch and dinner menu here.
  • Pro Tip: This location is very popular among visitors at lunchtime, but the friendly attendants will make sure you have a great experience.

Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream ParlourDiagon Alley

  • Here, witches, wizards, and Muggles of every age can indulge in scoop and soft-serve ice-creams with fantastic flavours like Butterbeer, Granny Smith, Earl Grey and Lavender, Chocolate Chili, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Salted Caramel Blondie, Chocolate and Raspberry, and more.
  • Pro Tip: Keep an open mind… some unusual flavors may surprisingly delight you!

Fountain of Fair FortuneDiagon Alley

  • Named for one of the fables in The Tales of Beedle the Bard, this location serves a variety of beers and other beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic).
  • Pro Tip: You can also get Butterbeer ice-cream here.

The Hopping PotDiagon Alley

  • Nestled within Diagon Alley, you can cool off with a variety of delicious drinks at this walk-up counter.
  • Pro Tip: This is a great place to grab a snack while watching a show in Carkitt Market.

SHOPPING

Ollivanders, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley

  • In search of the most essential wizarding item? Look through the thousands of boxes filled with wands waiting to choose their wizard.
  • Pro Tip: There are many other variations of wands in addition to character wands

HoneydukesHogsmeade

  • The shelves of this legendary sweet shop are lined with all manner of colourful treats including Acid Pops, Cauldron Cakes, Fizzing Whizzbees, Chocolate Frogs, and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans.
  • Pro Tip: Every Chocolate Frog comes with a wizard trading card – collect them all!

Dervish and BangesHogsmeade

  • From magical items like Sneakoscopes, Spectrespecs, and Omnioculars to Quidditch supplies like Quaffles, Golden Snitches, and brooms to Hogwarts clothing, journals, and stationary, this shop offers it all.
  • Pro Tip: This is an ideal place to find accessories featuring the Hogwarts houses, so it’s a must-see.

Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated GoodsHogsmeade

  • Peruse items taken from students who got on the wrong side of the school’s resident caretaker, Argus Filch. You’ll find Hogwarts t-shirts, shoulder bags, caps, scarves, house crest banners, and stationary; plus authentic movie prop replicas, clothing, toys and more.
  • Pro Tip: Keep your eyes peeled for the Marauder’s Map and watch as inhabitants move about Hogwarts castle.

Owl PostHogsmeade

  • Here, you’ll find correspondence materials like stationary, quills, seals, and ink.
  • Pro Tip: You can even pick out your very own owl to take home.

Weasleys’ Wizard WheezesDiagon Alley

  • This colourful emporium is the novelty joke shop run by identically ingenious prankster twins Fred and George Weasley. Shop for all manner of mischief such as magical jokes, tricks, and toys including Pygmy Puffs, U-No-Poo pills, Skiving Snackboxes, and Puking Pastilles, and much more.
  • Pro Tip: Don’t miss the dazzling display of never-ending fireworks exploding at the ceiling.

Madam Malkin’s Robes for All OccasionsDiagon Alley

  • Build your wizarding wardrobe at this cheerfully appointed shop. Fashionable guests can buy authentic replicas of Hermione’s Yule Ball gown and Dumbledore’s robes. You’ll also find Hogwarts uniforms, ties, scarves, hats, sweaters, and cardigans as well as jewelry.
  • Pro Tip: Model your potential purchase in front of the mirror and it just might talk back to you.

Borgin and BurkesDiagon Alley

  • This dark and dusty Knockturn Alley shop is infamous for shady patrons. As you walk among the dimly lit shelves and displays teeming with malevolent relics, you’ll find Death Eater masks, skulls, Harry Potter film costume replicas, apparel, accessories, jewelry, and collectibles.
  • Pro Tip: Look (and listen) for the Vanishing Cabinet just like the one Draco Malfoy once used to sneak Death Eaters into Hogwarts.

Magical MenagerieDiagon Alley

  • Purchase a variety of plush toys including Crookshanks, Fang, Buckbeak, Fluffy, and Scabbers. Also available are Cornish pixies, ferrets, Pygmy Puffs, and an assortment of owls, including Pigwidgeon and Hedwig.
  • Pro Tip: Try out your Parseltongue when you peek in at the snake in the window from outside the store.

Quality Quidditch SuppliesDiagon Alley

  • This is the destination for everything you need to play the most popular sport in the wizarding world, including Quidditch sweaters, brooms, Golden Snitches, Bludgers, Bludger bats, Quaffles, and more.
  • Pro Tip: You can even pledge your allegiance to professional teams like the Holyhead Harpies or the Chudley Cannons, Ireland or Bulgaria.

Sugarplum’s Sweet ShopDiagon Alley

  • Discover a wealth of wizarding treats – every nook is stocked with tasty temptations like Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, Acid Pops, Exploding Bonbons, Pink Coconut Ice and more.
  • Pro Tip: Feed Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans to unsuspecting friends and family and brace yourself as they just might end up with a flavor like earthworm or earwax.

ScribbulusDiagon Alley

  • Find all the authentic writing supplies a witch or wizard could need including ink and inkwells, feather quills, parchment, journals, envelopes, stationery sets, seals, bookmarks, and backpacks.
  • Pro Tip: Everything here is perfect for back-to-school or your office.

Wiseacre’s Wizarding EquipmentDiagon Alley (pictured)

  • Browse a variety of wizarding wares and essential supplies including crystal balls, telescopes, compasses, crystal phials, and hourglasses plus apparel and accessories from your Hogwarts house.
  • Pro Tip: You can have packages delivered to the front of the park or your Universal Orlando hotel room so that you don’t have to carry them all day.

Wands by GregorovitchDiagon Alley

  • This long-time rival to Ollivanders also creates some exceptional wands. Here, you can choose from a wide assortment of Harry Potter character wand replicas, and more.
  • Pro Tip: Boxes with gold labels are interactive and will help you practice magic in-park.

SHOWS

Hogwarts Frog ChoirHogsmeade

  • Hear the vocal stylings of this small choir of Hogwarts students, accompanied by the smooth bass rumbles of their giant throaty frogs.
  • Pro Tip: Look in your park map or on the official Universal Orlando app for times.

Triwizard Spirit RallyHogsmeade

  • Cheer on the colourful procession of students from the legendary wizarding schools of Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang as they lead the excitement for the Triwizard Tournament.
  • Pro Tip: Stick around after the show for a potential meet-and-greet opportunity.

The Tales of Beedle the BardDiagon Alley

  • Watch as adept players perform a trunk show using stylized scenic pieces, props, and puppetry. See them retell two famous tales of Beedle the Bard, a 15th-century author of wizarding fairytales, including The Fountain of Fair Fortune and The Tale of the Three Brothers.
  • Pro Tip: This stage is right near The Hopping Pot (see above), so grab a snack and enjoy!

Celestina Warbeck and the BansheesDiagon Alley (pictured)

  • Sway and groove to the dulcet tones of wizarding world sensation, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. The swinging show features never-before-heard songs including “A Cauldron Full Of Hot, Strong Love,” “You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart,” and “You Charmed The Heart Right Out Of Me.”
  • Pro Tip: Dancing and singing along is allowed!

HIDDEN GEMS

Call the Ministry of Magic, Diagon Alley (Pictured)

  • Try entering the telephone booth in London and dialing 62442 (`MAGIC`) to see what you get connected to.

See 12 Grimmauld Place, Diagon Alley

  • Keep an eye out for the Black family`s loyal house-elf, Keacher™ – you might just see him.

The Monster Book of Monsters, Hogsmeade

  • A Book with Bite`- Stop inside Dervish and Banges to view this beastly required reading for Hogwarts students taking the Care of Magical Creatures class. It’s caged for a reason.

Be sure to keep an eye out on all the hidden gems inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.

So much to see and do! Where to, first? Tell us in the comments section below.

Top 12 Best Thrill Rides at Universal Orlando Resort

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

Thrill seekers, it’s time to seize the day on your next vacation. Below are the top thrill rides at Universal that will make your heart rate spike during your visit to Universal Orlando Resort.

1. The Incredible Hulk Coaster

Let’s start this list with a Hulk Smash. The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal’sIslands of Adventure has an intense launch and multiple exhilarating loops. This is a thrill seeker’s dream roller coaster and a cannot miss.

2. Krakatau Aqua Coaster

Krakatau Aqua Coaster at Universal’s Volcano Bay is an incredible technological achievement. This 4 person canoe slides through mists and will take you through Krakatau, the mighty fire and water Volcano.

3. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Yes, you can choose your favorite song. However, it’s all about the 90-degree climb into the sky on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. I rode this ride at Universal Studios Floridamultiple times to write this list, you know, for research purposes.

4. Jurassic Park River Adventure

“Hold on to your butts” because Jurassic Park River Adventure at Islands of Adventure has a T-rex, raptors, and an 85 ft evacuation drop.

5. Ko’okiri Body Plunge

Have you ever dropped straight down from a Volcano? This is your chance. Ko’okiri Body Plunge at Volcano Bay features a 70-degree angle descent via trap door. This is a real test of courage.

6. Doctor Doom’s Fearfall

One enormous drop for man, one giant launch to the sky for mankind. Doctor Doom’s Fearfall at Islands of Adventure is a glorious treasure. Not only is it fun, but the view from the top—185ft high, to be exact—is enough to make any thrill seeker’s must do list.

7. Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Body Drop Slides

This drop slide at Volcano Bay does not disappoint when you are an adrenaline junkie. I recommend you don’t miss Ohno (purple) which is a higher drop then Ohyah.

8. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Now, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts at Universal Studios Florida has a tilt drop that will test your ability to not yell in fear, so this ride makes the list.

9. Honu of the Honu Ika Moana

Honu means Sea Turtle (blue slide) but don’t let that fool you—this ride at Volcano Bay is a rush. This is a multi-person raft so get a few of your friends and get terrified together.

10. Revenge of the Mummy

Revenge of the Mummy is an indoor coaster at Universal Studios Florida and is a fan favorite for a reason. You’ll encounter mummies, beetles, fire, and a curse (which, of course, is real)

11. Tai Nui of Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides

This body slide at Volcano Bay is the definition of a rush. This drop slide seats atop of the volcano sending you down fast before reaching the bottom for a glorious splash. Just remember Tai Nui (green) is my recommendation for anyone seeking extra excitement. The anticipation before you drop is what thrills are made of.

12. Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

I know what you’re thinking, is Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls in Islands of Adventure thrilling? Well, one: “danger, dynamite.” Two: you WILL wet your pants.

So now it’s time for you to live your most thrilling life at Universal Orlando Resort.

Are you still reading? What are you waiting for? Let’s go!