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Universal Orlando Resort is officially open! We’re excited to take you on a walk with us as we show you what you can expect from line queues to meet and greets to dining and more in this first phase of reopening. Read on for 10 Tips on what to expect!
1) Whether you travel to the park via resort buses or personal car, social distancing space is always maintained (even in the parking lot by skipping a space between cars).
2) Upon arrival, you’re greeted with new and clear signage as well as ground markers to enforce the new guidelines for all guest’s health and safety. It’s at this point ALL guests are required to pass a temperature screening before heading into the security area and through the metal detectors!
3) All of the line queue have also been updated with social distancing markers to ensure guests are 6 feet apart. Here is how Hagrids line looks; these markers continue throughout the queues for all attractions.
4) Hand sanitizer is being given out by a Team Member before experiencing an attraction.
FUN FACT: Hagrids carts are actually 6 feet apart so they will NOT be skipping every other cart and from what we have been reassured, it’s very easy to ride a coaster with a well fitting mask. Don’t worry if you lose yours, Universal has complimentary, disposable masks they will supply you with!
5) Many attractions are being added to a new Virtual Line Pass, which is a nice surprise especially for fans of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure!
Don’t have access to the Universal Mobile app? They’ve got you covered! You’ll notice the creation of Virtual Line Kiosks:
6) While the parks were closed, Universal has been very busy! You’ll notice some upgrades, such as the new Raptor Encounter, including a new baby friend who can’t wait to meet you! ♥
7) Speaking of meeting our friends, everyone loves greeting their favorite characters and Universal has, thankfully, found a creative way! You’ll have to wear a mask and take a selfie within social distancing guidelines (notice the ground marker) but you’ll still have a great new photo op with your pals!
We ♥ the Spongebob Photo Op and give it 2 fins up!
8) As for dining, upon entrance you’re greeted with a hand sanitizer dispenser and will be seated for social distancing. Ordering and paying will be done from the mobile app. Eventually, the mobile app will be updated with the dining plan but until then (and if you don’t have a mobile phone) ONE person from your party will walk up and go through the line to order and pay at the register (with your mask on, of course). This is a photo of Louie’s:
9) Another important detail to know: if a ride has a virtual line available, that is the only way you can currently experience that attraction. So, if you do not have a virtual line reservation you will not be permitted to ride. Currently we are also being told you will not be able to book more than TWO virtual line time at once but we’ll keep you updated if that changes! (Previously, it was said to be one.)
10) We have a list of all of the most pertinent details regarding operational procedures from screening to sanitization. Please visit our website for more information by clicking here!
We hope you enjoyed our virtual tour and tips. Are you ready and excited to visit? 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 main website for a free quote: https://universalvacationplanners.com/ or reach out and drop us a line!
Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood have a new campaign slogan for this year and here’s why we ♥ it!
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?
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.
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!
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!!
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!
Let the Good Times Roll!
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!
If you are interested in more information, simply reach out to us via our websites and fill out a quote form or shoot us an email at https://universalvacationplanners.com/ or https://vacationswithcharacter.net/universal-orlando.html. We’re always here to help you celebrate life with an adventure and Universal Orlando is a great way to do just that!
Stay tuned to our blog and social media channels as more details about the exhilarating new live show, resort updates, and holiday happenings will be revealed in the coming days, weeks, and months!
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!
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:
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!
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!
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 Admission2 to 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:
- Welcome Letter
- 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 EXPERT advice 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?
Contact a Vacations with Character® Travel Professional (we are an authorized seller of Universal Orlando Resort vacations and tickets) or request your FREE quote by clicking here. We provide the best prices possible for your vacation needs, never charge a fee, and our experience is priceless!
All Photos Courtesy: Universal Partner Community / Universal Orlando Resort / Bailey Morris, Universal Partner Community