Universal Orlando Update – New Announcements and More

| June 2, 2013 | Reply

Universal Orlando has finally “spilled the beans” on a couple of projects they’ve been working on for some time.  With constructions walls and building shells rising all around property we now “officially” know what’s in store for guests in the near future.  Continue reading as we update you on what’s transpiring around the theme park resort.

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Transformers:  The Ride has Official Opening Date

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Interior work on the Transformers:  The Ride – 3D appears to be complete as we’ve been hearing Team Member testing may occur very soon (if it hasn’t started already).  The ride is officially scheduled to open to the public on Thursday, June 20th over at Universal Studios theme park.  Like most attractions we expect there will be a soft opening phase where guests will get a chance to ride the attraction before the June 20th grand opening.  Soft openings can occur at anytime and there is no fixed schedule.

We’ve also heard the June 20th grand opening will see the entire park consumed by the celebration.  Rumors are swirling that an attack and/or takeover is planned at the theme park the day of the grand opening.  If you plan on attending the June 20th celebration be prepared for battle.

Harry Potter Expansion Announced – Diagon Alley

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Universal Orlando has officially announced what we had been anticipating for quite some time.  A new section of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open sometime in 2014 at Universal Studios theme park.  Diagon Alley will be the expanded land replicating much of the London portion of the movies and books.  Universal has promised as part of the expansion another innovative, marquee attraction based on Gringotts Bank, more shops and a restaurant.  Also, guests will be able to board the Hogwarts Express and travel between the London expansion and the existing Hogsmede Village and Hogwarts Castle over at Islands of Adventure.  Along the way travelers will be treated to visual effects and potential set pieces from the movies.  There’s no word how park media and admission will work between the two lands.  Universal Orlando says more information about the expansion will be released the closer we get to its grand opening.

The Simpson’s Springfield Expansion Announced

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Universal Orlando recently announced that the area around the existing Simpson’s attraction at Universal Studios will be transformed to Springfield; the hometown of the Simpson’s.  If you’ve been reading our past Universal Orlando updates you knew this was coming.  Included in the expansion will be a new outdoor spinner attraction called Kang & Kodos Twirl ‘n’ Hurl.  A big part of the expansion is related to food and drink, and this section actually opened yesterday, June 1.  Known as Fast Food Boulevard, you’ll be able to purchase a certified Krusty meat sandwich at Krusty Burger, order the catch of the day at the Frying Dutchman, get a slice of Luigi’s pizza, or a donut at Lard’s Lad.  You can even enjoy a Taco Fresho at Moe’s Tavern while washing it down with a Duff Beer brewed exclusively for Universal Orlando.   Universal Orlando says the project will be completed sometime this summer for guests to enjoy.

Jurassic Park Rumor – Update

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As we previously reported the Jurassic Park section over at Islands of Adventure will be undergoing a revitalization and refurbishment.  The existing Jurassic Park River Adventure will get a refurbishment with work on the dino animatronics and a fresh coat of paint.  We also expect to hear word about a new attraction and additional experiences based on the lab and DNA scenes from the original movie.  We expect to see work beginning behind construction walls sometime this summer.  It’s a good bet we’ll see this project competed by summer of 2014 right around the time of the Jurassic Park 4 movie release.  This is still a rumor and we have no official announcement from Universal Orlando as of yet.  Check back here for future updates to this project.

Universal’s New Cabana Bay Beach Resort Accepting Reservations

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Universal Orlando’s newest on-site resort is still under construction, but you can now make a reservation for stays beginning on March 31st, 2014.  The first section to open will be the North Courtyard where guests can book into the 600 family suites.  The 430-square foot suites will be able to sleep 6 guests, include a fold-out foam bed, kitchenette, 2 flat screen TVs, a sliding partition for privacy, and an extra-large bathroom where 3 guests can get ready for the day at once.  Pricing for the family suites starts at $174 per night.  Guests who stay longer will be eligible for multi-night discounts.

Highlights of the resort include a 10-lane retro bowling alley, two main pools, and a lazy river.  Universal Orlando has already announced guests staying at this resort will not be eligible for Universal Express; the perk which allows resort guests access to the front of the line at most of its attractions.  When the resort is complete there will be 900 family suites and 900 regular guest rooms.

Universal Orlando Raises Ticket Prices

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Universal Orlando has raised their one-day, one park ticket price from $89 to $92.  Additionally, other ticket options saw an increase of about 3 or 4 percent.  Universal Spokesman Tom Schroeder said “Our guests continue to say our theme parks are a great value.”  With a number of projects on the horizon Comcast (Universal’s parent company) is investing a lot of money into the theme parks to maximize guest enjoyment.  This prices increase will undoubtedly provide return on these investments.  Expect Disney and Sea World to follow suit with similar ticket price increases in the near future.

Universal’s Summer Concert Artists Announced

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Beginning June 1st and continuing through July 6th Universal Orlando will hold its annual summer concert series inside Universal Studios theme park each Saturday night at the Music Plaza Stage.  Admission to the concerts is included with your theme park admission.  Those guests not wishing to purchase theme park admission may purchase a separate one time concert ticket for access after 7:00PM into Universal Studios for one concert evening for $69.99 plus tax.  Check your theme park guide for specific show times.

Here is this summer’s lineup of artists

June 1st – NE-YO

June 8th – Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush

June 15th – Gavin DeGraw

June 22nd – Earth, Wind, & Fire

June 29th – Adam Lambert

July 6th – Kip Moore

Universal Orlando Offers Give Kids the World Volunteer Vacations

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Universal Orlando, along with their continued partnership with Give Kids the World, is now offering guests the opportunity for thrills at their two amazing theme parks and a day of making dreams for children with life-threatening illnesses come true.  In an effort to promote voluntourism Universal Orlando has put together a convenient travel package for guests who wish to visit the theme park resort and spend some time volunteering at Give Kids the World Village.

Included in this vacation package is:

-          3-night accommodations at one of the on-site resort hotels

-          2-day base ticket.  One theme park per day

-          A 4-hour volunteer experience at Give Kids the World Village

-          Early park admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

-          Universal Express ride access

This package must be booked by August 29th, 2013 for travel by December 31st, 2013.  For every package booked Universal Orlando will donate $100 to Give Kids the World.  Volunteers must be at least 8 years old and children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

That’s it for now.  Be sure to check back later as we continue to follow all of the major happenings at Universal Orlando.  With Comcast investing $1.5 billion dollars into the resort there’s sure to be even more planned for the future.

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Category: Disney World