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Courtesy of Robin Gantek, Vacations with Character®

Let Yourself “Whoa” at Universal!

Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood have a new campaign slogan for this year and here’s why we ♥ it!
Comedians Kenan Thompson and Arturo Castro Headline Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood’s New Brand Campaign “Let Yourself Woah” – Courtesy of Universal Partner Community

Universal Orlando is one of the most magical places on earth! It’s a land of fantasy, thrilling experiences, and fun family time. It’s a place to reconnect, catch up, laugh, de-stress and feel like a kid again. When you visit, you’ll be entertained, amazed, and “whoa’d”. And that’s why the new slogan — “Let Yourself Whoa” — is so perfect!

As we go through the hum-drum moments in every day life, sometimes we just need a release, to recharge our batteries, and get back to being our best selves. We need some fun and excitement in our lives… and what a better place than Universal?

Comdeian Kenan Thompson – courtesy of Universal Partner Community

One of the new faces of this year’s campaign, Kenan Thompson, has been part of the NBC Universal family for years. Denielle Ricci from our Universal Partner Community recently caught up with him and here’s what they had to say:

Q: Tell me about the experience of being a part of the new “Woah” campaign for Universal Parks & Resorts?

I gotta tell ya, it’s been incredible. There’s a lot of love here in Orlando, and it’s been incredibly nostalgic for me because this is where I had my very first job. We’ve been prepping 20 feet away from where I spent my teenage years growing up here. I’m really excited to roll this out and see how people respond to the whole “Woah” of it all. I think it’s going to be really fun.

Q After experiencing the parks and working on this campaign, what does “Woah” mean to you?

“Woah” means to me exactly what these parks do for you on a daily basis. Every ride really delivers that “Woah!” I brought my family here and we went on all the rides and afterward, I was like “Woah” every single time.

Comedians Kenan Thompson and Family – Courtesy of Universal Partner Community

Q: You have a history with NBCUniversal. You filmed your show “Kenan & Kel” in Orlando, you’re a part of “Saturday Night Live”…how would you describe the experience of filming in a theme-park environment?

[A guest shouts, “We love you Kenan!” Kenan responds, “Thank you! Mad love for you.”]

That sums it up! That has been my experience working in a theme park. When I think back, I’m thankful that it was Universal. Coming back to a place that is so familiar has been blowing my mind these past few days. I had a chance to take my picture over by the old filming soundstage. I could have cried because it’s just a special place in my heart. It’s been a long road back and to be a part of such an awesome campaign for one of my favorite places – is like “Woah.”

Q: What is your favorite “Woah” moment so far at Universal Orlando Resort?

I gotta say it has to be Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. We rode it a few times, and I think it’s one of the most creative roller coasters in America. I don’t want to spoil it for people who haven’t ridden it, but you can’t even guess what happens next. The twists and turns and ups and downs – that’s all I can tell you. That’s my favorite, hands down!

Q: What is your favorite ride at Universal Studios Hollywood?

At Universal Studios Hollywood, Jurassic World is strong…super strong! I seriously felt like I was right in one of the movies. And seeing all of those giant dinosaurs lunge at you is so cool – and they look so realistic. The giant Mosasauraus, the Indominus rex – and of course that drop! It’s an awesome water ride that gets you soaked to the bone.

Are your ready to “Let Yourself Whoa?” Contact Vacations with Character® and let’s talk about your next amazing getaway to Universal! We have some special savings to tell you about including discounts on tickets, plus we are EXPERTS when it comes to Universal vacations. Visit us at our website for a free quote: https://universalvacationplanners.com/ or reach out and drop us a line!

Authorized Universal Orlando Travel Professional
Vacations with Character is proud to have the distinction of being an Authorized Vacation Planner for Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood

Celebrate 25 Years of Party at Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras 2020

The holidays are behind us and Spring will be here soon. What a better way to ring in 2020 than at the 25th annual Mardi Gras Celebration at Universal Orlando Resort? Laissez les bon temps rouler every night from February 1 through April 2, 2020!
Mardi Gras Parade Team Member – Universal Studios Florida USF Entertainment

Enjoy a fun-filled day of theme-park adventures and an evening of delightful festivity. Just as in past years, this family-friendly Mardi Gras soiree will feature mouthwatering, Cajun food plus dazzling nightly parades – and one of the most unforgettable concert lineups ever!

Mardi Gras Concert Stage – Universal Studios Florida USF Entertainment

Take a look at this star-studded concert line up! Who are you excited to see? Concerts begin at 8:30 pm on the following nights:


Who doesn’t love a parade?! Watch the confetti and countless beads fly while you enjoy colorful floats and costumes, stilt walkers, and street performers. You won’t want to miss this celebration! TIP: Ask about the kid-friendly special viewing area!!

Mardi Gras Parade Floats – Universal Studios Florida USF Entertainment

Aren’t you excited? Now’s the time to start planning your trip to Mardi Gras at #UniversalOrl — Contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Universal Specialist Agent for a free, no-obligation quote today!

Vacations with Character® is an #AuthorizedUniversalOrlandoTravelPlanner and #UniversalAuthorizedTicketSeller. We also offer tickets that include EARLY PARK ADMISSION no matter where you stay! We never charge a fee and you’ll never pay more when booking with us. Plus, you’ll receive our tip sheets, a special park map, expert guidance and more!

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Let the Good Times Roll!
Authorized Universal Orlando Travel Professional
Vacations with Character is proud to have the distinction of being an Authorized Vacation Planner for Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood

 

 

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas in Universal Orlando!

Universal Orlando is gearing up for a beautiful holiday season! Take a sneak peek at some of the decorations going up around Islands of Adventure and find out why YOU need to vacation in Universal Orlando this holiday season.
Holiday Decorations Going Up at Universal Orlando Resort – photo credit: Derek Funk

There’s so much fun to be had during the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort! Add in fun decor, special attractions and adorable shows, and it’s no wonder why it’s a “must do” for many families each year.

Holiday Decorations Going Up at Universal Orlando Resort
Holiday Decorations Going Up at Universal Orlando Resort – photo credit: Derek Funk

Who doesn’t love the Grinch?! You can catch him in The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular daily. This adorable live performance is a retelling of the classic holiday tale starring The Grinch™. Afterward, you can even meet the maven of mischief himself for an autograph and photos!

Holiday Decorations Going Up at Universal Orlando Resort – photo credit: Derek Funk

The Cat in the Hat attraction is getting in on some holiday action!

Holiday Decorations Going Up at Universal Orlando Resort – photo credit: Derek Funk

If I Ran the Zoo, I’d decorate them too!

Holiday Decorations Going Up at Universal Orlando Resort – photo credit: Derek Funk

If you have never thought about visiting Universal Orlando for the holidays, you should! There’s so much to see…so much to do! Here’s a few more highlights of the seasonal events:

RELATED: Celebrate an Epic Holiday at Universal Orlando and Create a New Tradition

  • Experience Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ as Diagon Alley™ and Hogsmeade™ are transformed with festive decor and special entertainment. The Frog Choir sings seasonal melodies and there are special treats and drinks to share. Then, at dusk a dazzling projection of holiday spirit, The Magic of Christmas, unfolds on Hogwarts™ Castle.
  • At the Grinch™ & Friends Character Breakfast, choose from irresistible entrees and get your camera ready. The mischievous Grinch™ himself will make the rounds, stopping to pose for photos and share hilariously snarky small talk. (Separately ticketed experience.)
  • Merry and Mayhem combine as the Minions join Santa Claus in Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s, a favorite treat that also features characters from Madagascar and Shrek. It’s not to be missed!
  • The best-selling holiday artist of all time also visits Universal Studios as Mannheim Steamroller returns for live performances on select nights and it’s included (yes, you read that right!) with your Universal Studios Florida admission. Concert Dates are Saturday and Sundays: Nov. 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14 and 15.
  • From Thanksgiving to Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s, all the traditional feasts and festivities are happening in the onsite resorts plus a few surprises! Enjoy classic favorites like ornament decorating, and visits with Santa along with tree and menorah lighting ceremonies. You can also take a break from cooking and savor delicious holiday meals at acclaimed restaurants as well as additional activities for the whole family. You might even catch some rockin’ holiday parties!

    Create more memorable holiday moments and contact us for a free quote! We offer a best-price guarantee, never charge fees, and our experience is priceless!

Be sure to stay tuned for more info and live updates to come as we get closer to Thanksgiving. We’ll be venturing into the the parks and resorts and we can’t wait to share it with you!

Authorized Universal Orlando Travel Professional

 

Wizarding World ‘Dark Arts’ Light Show Debuts at Hogwarts Castle

Voldemort, Death Eaters and other creepy creatures from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are coming your way to bring you the darker side of magic in this nighttime display!

"Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle," the new light projection show at Universal Orlando, will open this weekend, running on select nights through Nov. 15. [Universal Orlando]
Photo: Universal Orlando

“Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle,” which launched on Saturday at Universal Orlando, is set inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Islands of Adventure theme park. The nighttime display will continue on select nights through November 15.

According to a Universal Orlando news release, “Guests will be asked to summon their inner strength and bravely face the Dark Arts and the visage of the powerful Dark wizard Lord Voldemort, until the Patronus spell — one of the most famous, difficult and powerful defense of the Dark Arts charms in the wizarding world — is cast”.

RELATED: Universal’s Harry Potter vacation package includes a letter from Hogwarts, keepsake luggage tags and more

The show uses high-tech projection mapping and drones to bring the castle — and Harry Potter’s Patronus stag — to life. “Experience the fire-engulfed army of Inferi, the soul-draining breath of Dementors™ and the haunting image of Lord Voldemort™ as you stare in awe at the castle’s takeover. This powerful spectacle is accompanied by an atmospheric musical score created by John Williams.”

If you’re a Potter fan, this is something you won’t want to miss. BUT don’t delay…Universal Orlando’s holiday celebration, which includes the “Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” show, starts November 16!

Contact us to book your Universal vacation to see the amazing Wizarding World along with this amazing experience!

Authorized Universal Orlando Travel Professional

10 Reasons to Visit Seuss Landing in Universal Orlando

In 1999 Universal Orlando opened it’s second theme park, Islands of Adventure, and Seuss Landing was born! Since then, it’s been captivating the hearts and minds of the young and old alike!
Colorful Entrance to Suess Landing
Photo Credit: Vacations with Character®

Here’s a list of our favorite top 10 things to experience, along with a few secret tips!

1) There are No Straight Lines! Dr. Seuss’s illustrations were known for their curved or slanted lines. The designers at Universal Creative used this inspiration when creating Seuss Landing. Even the trees were brought in from a hurricane-stricken area off the coast, making them as twisted as the rest of this land.

Sign for Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-Pendous
Photo: Vacations with Character®

2) See The Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous! Based on the Dr. Seuss book If I Ran the Circus, which tells the tale of young Morris McGurk and his dreams of a creating an amazing circus, it’s an interesting place to eat. Don’t forget to look up above and wave to those passing by on the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!™

Photo: Vacations with Character®

3) Speaking of the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride…this is one attraction you won’t want to miss! This gentle ride circles around Seuss Landing fifteen feet in the air and lasts around three minutes. The story of The Sneetches is featured in a few audioanimatronic displays as riders glide past in train cars. Keep your camera ready as this attraction offers a bird’s eye view of Seuss Landing and beyond! TIP: There are two separate tracks, so try to ride both!

Truffula Trees in Seuss Landing
Photo: Vacations with Character®

4) Everyone loves the message of the Lorax and you can take a short walk through the Truffula trees, enjoying little surprises along the path. No trip to Seuss Landing is complete without visiting!

Suess Landing Sign
Photo: Vacations with Character®

5) Sneetch Beach is a well-kept, almost hidden secret! Located to the left of the Green Eggs and Ham™ Cafe, this path is hardly utilized and is a cute spot to take a break from the crowds and also a great photo op! TIP: It’s  the perfect shortcut when trying to make rope drop for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The Grinch and The Cat in the Hat pose for a photo op
Photo: Vacations with Character®

6) Character Meet and Greet Photo Ops – Some of the characters you can meet include Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2, Sam I Am, the Lorax, and the Grinch. TIP: The best time to meet these characters is after a performance of Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear, a musical rendition of the good doctor’s best-loved stories. Be sure to check the mobile app or a times guide for performances.

One Fish Two Fish Ride
Photo: Vacations with Character®

7) Climb aboard  One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish™ and delight in this children’s book come to life. This is a ride that kids (and parents) love!  TIP: Listen to the song as you ride to hear whether you should move your fish up, up, up or down, down, down – mess up and you might get wet!

Carosel in Suess Landing
Photo: Vacations with Character®

8) Take a spin on Caro-Suess-El, a Merry-Go-Round From The Mind Of Dr. Seuss. Not only can you climb aboard a creative cast of Dr. Seuss characters, you can make their eyes blink, ears wiggle and heads turn! Did you know: this is the first carousel to allow guests to control some of what their character can do?

Photo: Vacations with Character®

9) Climb Into Your Couch Car and Ride Through The Book, The Cat in the Hat! Each scene has been vividly re-created with colorful characters as you twist from room to room. While the mischief mounts inside the house, The Cat in the Hat™, and Thing One™ and Thing Two™ make quite a mess!

Sookers and Sookers Sweet Candy Cookers Bakery and Sweet Shop in Suess Landing
Photo: Vacations with Character®

10) Pick up a sweet treat in Sookers and Sookers Sweet Candy Cookers! Infectious confections tickle your nose from the moment you enter this one-stop-shop for snacks both sweet and savory. It’s a “must do” for my family each time we visit! Peruse a rainbow-colored display of bins brimming with bulk candies, homemade fudge, caramel apples, cotton candy, and the best cookies around. It’s one sweet way to start – or end your day!

Authorized Universal Orlando Travel Professional

Thanks for reading and if you’d like to experience this magical place for yourself, contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Travel Professional. We can save you money and even offer special tickets that include Early Entry into the parks, one full hour before the general public is allowed in!

Think left and think right, Think low and think high, oh the thiings you can think, if you only try! Bye Bye!
Photo: Vacations with Character®

 

Universal’s Epic Universe – a First Look

Look up the the definition for “epic” and you’ll find the following related words:

  • colossal, monstrous, prodigious, stupendous, tremendous
  • kingly, lordly, princely, queenly
  • awesome, cosmic (also cosmical), sublime, wondrous
  • formidable, impressive, prepossessing, redoubtable

Although not all of the details were revealed in yesterday’s big announcement from Universal Orlando Resort, the first look certainly makes us believe Epic Universe will live up to it’s bold moniker:

Epic Universe Moniker ~ Courtesy of Universal Partner Community

Mark Woodbury, Vice Chairman of Universal Parks & Resorts and President of Universal Creative, beautifully sums up what we have to look forward to in the future as a fourth park is added to this already amazing playground:

Universal’s Epic Universe will offer an entirely new level of experiences that will forever redefine theme park entertainment. Guests will venture beyond their wildest imagination, traveling into beloved stories and through vibrant lands on adventures where the journey is as astounding as the destination. The new location will feature a theme park, an entertainment center, hotels, shops, restaurants and more. Ultimately, this expansion will create more space and freedom to let loose and create lasting memories with the people you love.

That certainly sounds “epic” to us!

Here’s a peek of the concept art shared at yesterday’s announcement:

Concept Drawing of Epic Universe ~ Courtesy of Universal Partner Community

In looking at what’s being presented so far, it’s clear to see some amazing details such as the classic, arched entrance (similar to Universal Studios), new coaster, what appears to be an amphitheater, and yet-to-be named lands or areas. The large building is also indicative of an attraction the likes and size of Forbidden Journey or similar dark rides…how exciting! It’s also hard not to miss the beautiful resort hotel that will surely provide guests with easy access to this new park as well as amazing views. Last but not least, who could miss the fireworks! Is this a hint at a new nighttime offering?

The new location for Universal’s Epic Universe is said to be a quick ride from the current parks and resorts. Permits suggest new roads with special lanes for buses are in the works as well to make for a seamless journey for all guests:

Universal Orlando Resort Area Map ~ Courtesy of Universal Partner Community

Although it will be years before Epic Universe comes to fruition, this is VERY exciting news and we are looking forward to sharing all the updates and details with you in the future, so stay tuned!

And as they say, “time flies when you’re having fun”, so as we wait for this new addition, there’s never been a better time to visit Universal Orlando Resort’s 3 current, A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. theme parks. We have a few special offers to help save you money — money you can spend on other things like Butterbeer, a wand like Harry Potter’s, or to put in your piggy bank for your next vacation!

Visit our website for all the details about Universal Orlando Resort and to request a free, no-obligation quote. We are an Authorized Universal Travel Professional and although our services are 100% FREE to our clients, our expertise and experience are priceless!

Authorized Universal Travel Professional