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!
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!
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!!
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!
A lot of changes have occurred at Universal Orlando this year and more are coming. Here’s a list of our favorites to share!
1) COMING IN SPRING OF 2020, Universal Studios Florida debuts this new live-action stunt show that will leave audiences wondering, “How on earth did they do that?” Through a cutting-edge fusion of stagecraft and film, you’ll follow hero Jason Bourne across three continents as sinister characters pursue him, hoping to bring him in. Brace yourself for The Bourne Stuntacular! You won’t just watch it – you’ll feel it.
Take a sneak peek at the new attraction entrance…the walls are down!
2) NOW OPEN FOR BOOKING: Running Universal
Running Universal packages are now available to book for Orlando and Hollywood! Get ready to see Universal Orlando Resort like you’ve never experienced it before as Running Universal presents the first ever Epic Character Race 5K and 10K weekend. Join your favorite characters and run through the heart of Universal Orlando Resort. You’ll enjoy special photo ops, take home brag-worthy medals, commemorative swag and a weekend of unforgettable memories. Contact us to book!
3) NOW OPEN: Bigfire Restaurant in CityWalk
Universal Citywalk’s bold new restaurant is now open, adding to the collection of amazing restaurant selections. American fare like steaks and freshwater cuisine are given the fire-kissed treatment. Bigfire is a wonderful addition to the unique and fun venues at CityWalk.
4) NOW OPEN: TODAY Cafe in Universal Studios Florida™
“Introducing the first ever TODAY Cafe at Universal Studios Florida™. NBC’s top-rated morning show is the inspiration for this one of a kind cafe. With its stage lighting and TODAY show segments on the big screen TVs you’ll feel like you’re actually on the TODAY set. One of the standout features of the cafe will be seasonal dishes inspired by a TODAY personality.”
Filled with baked goods, salads, sandwiches and specialty coffees – including a unique blend created specifically for the TODAY Cafe – this is a great place to stop in for a coffee break or grab a snack, lunch or dinner. The TODAY Cafe will make you feel a part of the show’s Studio 1A experience every time you visit.
5) STILL SHOWING: Dark Arts at Hogwarts™ Castle
“As darkness falls at Hogwarts™ castle, Dementors™, Death Eaters™ and other unspeakable creatures cloak the stone walls with sinister images from the darker side of magic. 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. It’s an ominous new spectacle of light and music at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Hogsmeade™ at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.” Running for select nights Sept. 14–Nov. 15, this is a show you won’t want to miss!
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,” 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”.
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!
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:
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:
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:
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!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Exclusive Vacation Package, Keepsake Potter Box, and Magical Muggle Extras from Vacations with Character®
Calling all Muggles and Wizards alike! We have a new special offer we are beyond excited to share with you!!
If you’ve been waiting to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, it’s time to bring the books and movies to life! Follow in his footsteps and walk through the streets of London and Diagon Alley™ where you’ll find many of the wizarding world’s most famous establishments. Dine at the Leaky Cauldron™, see a wand choose its wizard at Ollivanders™, and travel deep below Gringotts™ bank for an amazing ride.
Board Hogwarts™ Express to explore Hogsmead™ Village where you’ll find Hogwarts™ castle. Explore the corridors and classrooms, then take off with Harry Potter™ and friends on a journey like no other. Go far beyond the school grounds with Hagrid™ to brave the Forbidden Forest on the all-new Hagrid’s Mystical Creatures Motorbike Adventure (now open).
In between thrills, practice your wizarding skills, enjoy muggle treats like Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans (we don’t recommend the ear wax!) and Pumpkin Juice. Sample Butterbeer™ in the villages while you enjoy special performances throughout your day, and celebrate the four Hogwarts™ houses by night as they are brought to life in a stunning spectacle of dazzling lights and music (subject to change for seasonal events – TIP: Christmastime is even more magical!)
If you think this sounds amazing…IT IS! There’s so much to see and do in this story-come-to- life in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal Orlando Resort. It’s time to experience it for yourself (or relive your memories) and we’re excited to share a NEW EXCLUSIVE Vacation Package for you!
When you book this exclusive package you’ll receive a very special keepsake “Potter Box” and more!
Your Amazing Exclusive package includes:
5-Night Hotel Accommodations
3-Park 2-Day Park-to-Park Ticket with 3 Days Free1 to Universal Studios Florida™, Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ AND Universal’s Volcano Bay™ (Booking window extended now – 7/31/19 and travel now – 12/20/19)
Early Park Admission2to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™ one hour before the park opens (valid theme park admission required, select attractions).
Special Themed Keepsake Box§ with items to get started, including:
Travel Planning Guide
Set of Luggage Tags featuring Harry Potter™, Ron Weasley™ and Hermione Granger™ – one set of three (3) per package
Hogwarts™ Railways Lanyard – one per person
Delicious Breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron™ in Universal Studios Florida™ – one per person
Scrumptious Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks™ in Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ – one per person
One (1) A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Shutterbutton’s™ Photography Studio8 session in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Diagon Alley™ that includes one commemorative DVD photo album and one exclusive designed 8” x 10” photo print
Access to select live entertainment venues1 at Universal CityWalk™
AND THAT’S NOT ALL! When you book your Universal Orlando vacation with our agency, you’ll receive these Muggle Extras too:
Your Universal Orlando Vacations with Character® Package also includes:
Free Park Maps for Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida
The Universal Orlando Destination Brochure – the all-encompassing guide to Universal Orlando Resort™
A special, Comprehensive Map – an overview of the three theme parks, and the attractions that you will absolutely want to check out while you’re enjoying your Universal Orlando vacation
Tip Sheets – our tried and true tips, tricks, and recommendations when visiting Universal Orlando Resort, including a a special guide for little ones
Our EXPERTadvice on where to stay, where to eat, best parks for each day — and more — as you work with your own personal Authorized Universal Orlando Travel Professional from our agency at no cost to you!
Are you ready to take your vacation to the next level? We absolutely adore Universal Orlando Resort and want you to experience it too! Contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Agent today to book this special offer or ask about other available packages and travel dates as well: vacationswithcharacter.com
Calling all Muggles! We hope you’ll be as excited about this as we are because something amazing is coming to Universal Orlando and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
For the first time ever you can join Hagrid, the Care of Magical Creatures Professor at Hogwarts, on an adventure that takes you far beyond the grounds of Hogwarts Castle and into the paths of some of the Wizarding World’s most interesting creatures.
This amazing, thrilling coaster ride replaces Dragon Challenge and will be opening June 13, 2019 in Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park.
Vacations with Character is an Authorized Universal Orlando Preferred Partner and let me just say, we ♥♥♥ Universal Orlando! Contact us and we’ll prepare a vacation you’ll remember and may even save you money…money you can spend on things like a #Butterbeer or a Wizarding Wand, like Harry’s!
Don’t forget to ask about our special promo ticket where you’ll Buy 2 days and Get 2 Days FREE (valid until June 30th)! Our services are also FREE but you’ll receive tip sheets and expert advice when you book with us – plus more. Visit us at www.vacationswithcharacter.com for more information on Universal Orlando or to book today!
Can you believe the holidays are almost here? The season can get a little crazy with all the shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping, packing, shipping, and let’s not forget the cleaning! Whether you want to make your life a little easier this year, take a break after the big holiday, or celebrate the New Year in a fun and unique way, we’ve got a list of 8 reasons to visit Universal Orlando Resort this holiday season. (Shhh…don’t tell Mickey!)
1. Mischief and Merry
While Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is more magical than you can possibly imagine, when you think of the holidays, one parade is synonymous – the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Universal Orlando treats you to a taste of this beloved event in the Universal Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s. Over 100 choreographed performers take part in this family favorite that also features the famous larger-than-life balloons and incredibly detailed floats. Minions from Despicable Me, fairy tale characters from Shrek, and wild animals of Madagascar come together for this celebration you won’t want to miss!
2. It’s Not Just a Holiday…it’s a Who-liday
When you think of Christmas, what other famous character comes to mind? Why, the Grinch of course! (Sorry Santa!) There’s no better way to experience Who-liday joy except during Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Watch the retelling of this beloved Dr. Seuss tale in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” then meet some of the Whos plus the Grinch himself in adorable photo meet-and-greet opportunities. There’s even a special character breakfast available if you’re savvy enough to “steal” a reservation (ask us how!)
3. Butterbeer and Christmas Cheer
Hot Butterbeer is a seasonal favorite for all muggles! Grab a cup while you while you watch a Harry Potter holiday-themed show or wander through the streets of The Wizarding World admiring the festive window decorations (Universal Orlando really outdoes itself). At night, see a true showstopper as Hogwarts come to life in The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle.
4. Put some Jingle in those Bells
Take a stroll over to the Music Plaza Stage at Universal Studios to hear the sounds of the season where, on select nights, you can find Mannheim Steamroller. They’ll put some jingle in your step and keep you in the holiday spirit listening to their modern take on classic holiday tunes.
5. Home Away from Home for the Holidays
While you may leave your home-sweet-home for a spell, you don’t have to leave behind the traditions your family has grown to love. Instead, add to them! The resorts at Universal Orlando are filled with festive decor, tree lightings, yummy treats AND holiday activities from cookie decorating, carolers — and even visits with the big man himself, Santa!
6. Skip the Lines
You’ll waste enough time standing in line whether at the grocery store, the department store, the post office or the gas station! Spending holiday time at Universal Orlando doesn’t have to be the same way. Did you know there are actually ways to SKIP the lines at most major attractions? Universal has an amazing thing called Express Pass and it’s FREE to guests staying at certain resorts on property but it’s also available for purchase as well. Express Pass allows you to experience more, play more, and wait in line less, which also opens the door for a more relaxing vacation. Can you envision spending downtime poolside or just relaxing in your beautiful onsite resort room because you saved so much time skipping the lines? This is the best way to visit a theme park during peak holiday travel times. A Universal Orlando vacation can truly be a stress-free, worry-free one because of this option!
7. Cooking Schmooking
There are countless restaurants and dining options available to choose from in the resorts, theme parks, and in CityWalk — Universal’s “Epicenter of Awesomeness”. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years, all the traditional feasts can most likely be found along with all of your normal favorites…plus a few surprises (there’s even a luau!)
And speaking of CityWalk, this brings us to number eight on the list:
8. Celebrate the Year—and Party into the Next
How does celebrating the New Year by dancing the night away on Orlando’s biggest dance floor sound? Featuring a live DJ and live music, cocktails and unlimited cuisine, EVE at Universal City Walk is the place to be! As if that weren’t enough, the evening culminates with dazzling fireworks and a champagne toast at midnight. (Note: this is a separately ticketed event for guests ages 21 and older.)
In closing, we’re all about Vacations with Character® around here but even more, we’re about helping you spend quality time with those you love. Why not celebrate the holidays with your favorite characters and create special memories that will last a lifetime?
Orlando, Florida has to be one of the most magical places on earth. It’s the land of sunshine, fairy tales and family time. In its four hundred and ninety-four square miles you’ll be entertained, amazed and rejuvenated like nowhere else. It’s a place to reconnect, catch up, laugh, de-stress and feel like a kid again; it’s a place that makes you smile.
The theme a few years ago at the Walt Disney World Resort was based on one word: celebrate! I personally loved this concept. As we go through the hum-drum moments of our everyday lives we obviously can become burned out, stressed out and just plain worn out. It’s hard to feel grateful, thankful, blessed, and even “connected” some days. We need a vacation to help us get back to what’s important — celebrating our lives and our connections with each other.
Studies show that most people do not take vacations often enough, and in fact, many don’t take vacations at all. That’s a shame! Vacations are not only fun and relaxing, but they are actually healthy for us. They help us recharge our batteries and get back to feeling our best. Our mood, stress levels and quality of sleep are drastically improved for a few weeks afterwards. While our minds, bodies and souls personally benefit, our relationships do too. We strengthen ties when spending quality time and enjoying life with loved ones. We reconnect and actually see each other; we bond.
Orlando is one such place that was designed for celebrating life in every stage. It’s a place that reminds me of many happy times: the look of wonderment in my two year old’s eyes when she met Cinderella for the first time; the memory of my five-year-old son shrieking with delight when the Grinch tried to steal his bag of chips, and sharing giggles over the actions of one very naughty mime at Sea World! :o) It’s exciting memories of a helicopter ride, wave pools, sea lions and whales, safaris, boat rides, golfing, theme park thrills, and experiencing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There are also little, precious moments like those of my baby girl kissing Pluto’s nose, the way “Wishes” brought tears to my eyes, the look of contentment on my sleeping children’s faces, and the echoes of a million other wonderful sounds and magical memories we’ve made together there over many years.
Orlando is our “happy place” here at Vacations with Character® and in our real lives as well. There’s something for everyone, for every vacationing style, and for just about every budget. Your options are as limitless as the memories you’ll make.
It’s never too late to find your happy place. So, go on…book that next vacation and celebrate life! Your loved ones will thank you for it. ♥