Universal Studios Orlando

Saturday, 08 January 2011 04:01

Universal Studios Orlando Resort

Welcome to our guide for Universal Studios OrlandoIslands of Adventure, Wizarding World of Harry Potter and CityWalk Orlando.  Our site will be updated regularly to include restaurant reviews from the parks and CityWalk, tips & tricks for getting the most of your visit to Universal Studios Orlando, updates about resort events like Grinchmas,Mardis Gras and Halloween Horror Night.

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Universal Studios Orlando

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The first of the Universal Studios theme parks built in Orlando, Universal Studios Florida is the sibling of Universal Studios Hollywood and was constructed as both a theme park and a studio from the start.  Universal Studios Orlando borrows many of its major components from the original park in Hollywood such as is its studio tour, which featured several special-effects exhibits and encounters built into the tour.

For its Orlando park, Universal Studios took the concepts of the Hollywood tour scenes and developed them into larger, stand-alone attractions. The world's favorite films and film stars come to life here and 40 amazing and amusing rides, shows and attractions await. A virtual interactive Terminator 2:3-D adventure has its own set of thrills, as does an encounter with Jaws, a trip Back to the Future, and a voyage beyond the stars in an E.T. Adventure.  It's newest attraction, Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket, is sure to thrill anyone that enjoys roller coasters.

Universal Studios has done an amazing job of going right to the source for many of their attractions.  They have collaborated with the actual creators of the films they were based on, and even feature the original stars as part of the experience. Steven Spielberg, a VIP for the park, helped create E.T. Adventure and was a creative consultant for Back to the Future: The Ride, Twister...Ride it Out, An American Tail Theatre, Jaws and Men in Black: Alien Attack. Many of the original stars reprise their film roles including Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt in Twister...Ride it Out, Will Smith in Men in Black: Alien Attack, Brendan Fraser for Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride, Christopher Walken and Dwayne Johnson in Disaster!, the cast from Shrek returned for Shrek 4-D, various Nicktoons voice actors reprised their roles in Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong and Linda Hamilton reprised their roles for Terminator 2: 3-D.

Universal Studios Florida has not limited itself to attractions based on its own vast film library. It has occasionally licensed popular characters from other rival studios, many of whom did not operate theme parks themselves. Some examples include the Ghostbusters and the Men in Black (from Sony's Columbia Pictures), Jimmy Neutron (from Viacom's Nickelodeon), The Simpsons (20th Century Fox), and Shrek (from DreamWorks Animation, now part of Paramount Pictures).  They have been so successful with licensing and they recently landed their biggest yet with the rights to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter although it is housed inside the neighboring Islands of Adventure. As you view these and other fantastic attractions at the themepark, you will see why Universal Orlando Resort is one of the most popular theme parks in the world.

Universal Studios Orlando Attractions

A Day in the Park with Barney

A Day in the Park with Barney is a show at Universal Studios Florida. It opened in 1995, on the former site of The Bates Motel Set used in Psycho IV: The Beginning. It is based on the children's television show, Barney & Friends. It also has a "Barney's Backyard" playground area with a chance to meet Barney in a meet and greet session before and/or after the main show in the Barney Theatre. It is one of the few places where Bob West's voice can still be heard and one of Universal Studios' attempts to appeal to the younger generation.

Universal Studios Attraction Description

Meet Barney® and his friends Baby Bop™ and BJ® in a live sing-along, clap-along stage show. Then afterwards, have fun in Barney’s interactive playground. It’s Super-Dee-Duper™!

Exterior

Outside of the attraction stands a very large sign that reads A Day in the Park with Barney. The back of the sign reads" Thanks for Coming to Play!" A bronze Barney statue stands on one foot inside of a fountain.

Show

The show is truly a recreation of the TV show mixing notable topics from the most popular episodes.

Queue

The guests empty from the lines into a covered pre-show area with an odd-looking house facade, covered in pipes, knobs and doors.

Pre-Show

The show starts with Patrick/Patricia Alyosius Bartholomew (Mr./Mrs. Peek-A-Boo for short) and his/her parrot, Bartholomew, your pre-show hosts. Peek-A-Boo is a very close friend to Barney, Baby Bop and BJ. An elderly person, but soon proves to the audience that (s)he's only older in age since Peek-A-Boo's spirit is much like that of a child. Peek-A-Boo is a consistently forgetful character, but once (s)he is reminded what to do, Peek-A-Boo takes pride in reuniting the children with Barney. A song and dance routine comes with a few comedy gags in between. Trying to find the door to Barney's Park, Peek-A-Boo fails to realize that you have to use your imagination. Peek-A-Boo soon remembers and tells the audience to close their eyes and imagine a park (the show's theatre). The rain waterfall that blocks the door (decorated to look like a cave) stops dripping, which shows it worked. Peek-A-Boo tells everyone that (s)he will meet them inside.

Main Show

Inside is an air-conditioned theatre, designed to look like a park. In the center, there's an elevated, circular stage in the center where Barney, Baby-Bop and B.J. perform with three ramps equally positioned on each side. In various points of the show, the theatre's lights change the setting from a sunny day to a starry night. In addition, snow, leaves, and rain fall from the ceiling during certain songs. Peek-A-Boo greets the audience and tells them to use their imagination to make Barney appear. Peekaboo starts the show by asking everyone to chant "Barney" The lights dim and soft music plays as stars appear in the darkness. Barney appears via a trap door in the middle of the stage. Barney jumps in the air as the lights turn on and confetti cannons explode with glitter, recreating his transformation on the television series.

Barney sings two songs before Baby Bop and B.J. make their appearances. After "Imagine a Place", Barney introduces Baby Bop. That's when she makes her appearance. Soon after that, B.J. announces his arrival with a distinctive whistle. They sing various songs and wrap the show the way they do on the children's television "Barney and Friends" with the song "I Love You". Baby Bop and B.J. make their exits on one of the ramps. Barney wraps up the show by saying "And remember, I love you" and gives a kiss goodbye as steamers shoot from confetti cannons behind the hills. Peek-A-Boo then escort the audience to Barney's Backyard, where everyone soon exits.

 



Post-Show

After the show, guests exit out into Barney's Backyard, an indoor activity center for small children, where they can also get their picture taken, if but briefly, with Barney himself.

Songs

Regular Show

  • Barney Theme Song

  • If You're Happy and You Know It

  • Imagine A Place

  • Mr Kinckerbocker

  • Down on Grandpas Farm

  • If All The Raindrops

  • I Love You

Christmas Show ("A Holiday in the Park with Barney")

  • Barney Theme Song

  • Jingle Bells

  • Frosty the Snowman

  • Mr. Knickerbocker

  • Down on Grandpa's Farm

  • Let it Snow

  • I Love You

  • We Wish You a Merry Christmas



Show Summary

Type: Live Stage Show

Audience Participation

Media:

 


Animal Actors On Location

Animal Actors on Location is an outrageous show featuring a humorous mix of live animal performances and audience interaction. Don’t be surprised if things don’t always go as scripted, because as anyone will tell you, the animals are running the show!

Type: Live Animal & Bird Stage Show

1-Part: Stage Show

Note: Involves Audience Participation

Universal Express Available

Media:






Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue

He's the ghost with the most. Beetlejuice™ cranks up Dracula®, Wolfman®, Frankenstein® and Bride of Frankenstein® for a Mega-Monster Rock Show filled with screamin’ demons and wailin’ guitars. This live stage show takes place in an open-air amphitheater located in the San Francisco backlot area, has a PG-13 Rating, and no height restrictions.

Type: Live Musical Revue

Note: Features Beetlejuice and other Universal Classic Monsters

Media:





Curious George Goes to Town

Follow the footsteps of that mischievous monkey Curious George® in this colorful play area with water-based fun, as well as a dry area with thousands of soft sponge balls.

Type: Interactive Play Area

Water Features

Media:


Disaster!

Take a harrowing trip into the world of disaster movies.

Type: Special Effects Show & Earthquake Simulator

3-Parts: Movie Magic / Staged-Effects / Ride

Involves Audience Participation

Universal Express Available

Media:


E.T. Adventure

Can you help E.T.® (the extra terrestrial) make it back home? Bring the kids and board your flying bikes as you soar across the stars to help E.T. save his home planet. It’s an adventure that will touch your heart all over again.

Type: Moving Ride through forest and E.T. Homeworld

3-Parts: Briefing / Forest Displays / Ride

Universal Express Available

Media:



Fievel’s Playland

Fievels Playland

Get a mouse-eye view of the world in this one-of-a-kind outdoor playground featuring a 1,000-gallon cowboy hat, a 30-foot spider web to climb, and a twisting, turning 200-foot water slide.

Type: Play Area

Water Slide

 

Media:


Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is a steel roller coaster at Universal Studios Florida. This custom-designed attraction features an on-board sound system to provide a soundtrack for the 3,800-foot (1,200 m) roller coaster track, as well as video cameras to record the experience.  The attraction began a soft opening on August 16, 2009 after a series of technical difficulties delayed a Spring 2009 opening, and was officially opened by Universal on August 19, 2009.

Type: Interactive Roller Coaster

1-Part: Roller Coaster

Note: You can create your own custom sound track.

Height Requirement - 42"

Universal Express Available

Media:


Horror Makeup Show

Horror Makeup

See how top make-up artists create amazing special effects from some of Universal’s most popular movies. Before the show, check out authentic props, set pieces, and behind-the-scenes video from Universal’s film Van Helsing.

Type: Live Horror Make Up Stage Show

2-Parts: Waiting Room / Live Show

Universal Express Available

Media:

Horror Makeup Set

Jaws

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in- to the water… a giant fin slices through the waves and you’re suddenly face to face with three tons of Great White fury - JAWS®. Only this time you're riding a boat through the water where he's lurking just around the corner! Are you ready to withstand the all-out assault of JAWS®?

Type: Water Ride

1-Part: Ride while JAWS attacks your boat

Note: You may get wet

Universal Express Available

Media:


Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast

The evil Ooblar from the planet Yokian has stolen Jimmy's newest rocket creation...The Mark IV. Board your own rocket and follow Jimmy on a wild chase through your favorite Nicktoons, including SpongeBob SquarePants™, The Fairly OddParents, Hey Arnold!, and Rugrats™.

Type: Simulator Ride

2-Parts: Pre-Show / Ride

Height requirement - 40"

Universal Express Available


Lucy A Tribute

Universal Studios Lucy
Lucy A Tribute

The Queen of Comedy lives at Universal Studios! This loving tribute is a walk through the dazzling career of America’s queen of comedy, Lucille Ball. Get a close-up look at the world’s favorite redhead on screen and off! See classic shows, costumes, scripts, and even rare home movies. You’re sure to fall in love with Lucy all over again!

Type: Exhibit with Lucy Memorabilia

Media:

Lucy Costume Display


Men in Black – Alien Attack

As an agent trainee, you’ll zap aliens as you spin and careen through the streets of New York in this interactive ride based on the hit movie. With multiple endings, it’s never the same ride twice! Have you got what it takes to be the best of the best?

Type: Interactive Shooting Motion Ride

1-Part: Ride with Shooting

Note: Experience is different each time

Height Requirement - 42"

Universal Express Available

Media:



Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride

Plunge into total darkness as you face fireballs, scarab beetles and an army of warrior mummies on a psychological thrill ride totally unlike anything that's come along in the past 3,000 years.

Type: Dark Ride, Indoor Rollercoaster

3-parts: Preshow / Queue / Ride

Height Requirement - 48"

Single Rider Lane Available

Universal Express Available

Media:


Shrek 4-D

Join Princess Fiona™ and our heroes on an all new honeymoon adventure picking up where the Oscar®-winning movie "Shrek" left off. Featuring an original 3-D film, plus an extra dimension of special effects through the miracle of OgreVision, you see, hear and actually FEEL the action right from your seat!

Type: 4-D Theater Show

2-Parts: Preshow / Show

Universal Express Available


Terminator 2 – 3D: Battle Across Time

Terminator 3D Sign

The Future Is Coming...After You! Join forces with the TERMINATOR® in a battle to prevent mankind's extinction at the cold, steel hands of futuristic cyborgs.

Live-action stunts, special effects, and amazing 3-D film come together in this TERMINATOR adventure that says "Hasta la vista, baby" to entertainment as you know it.

Type: Mixture of Live Stage Show & 3D Movie

2-Parts: Briefing / 3D Show

Universal Express Available

Media:

Terminator 3D Show

The Simpsons

Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson – stars of TV’s longest running series – will ride along with guests in a new mega-attraction.

Type: Motion Simulator

1st Part: Small Animated Simpson Show

2nd Part: Simulator Ride

Note: While in line, be sure to pay attention to all of the details leading up to the ride.

Height Requirement - 42"

Universal Express Available

Media:


Kwik E. Mart outside Simpsons Ride


Twister…Ride It Out

Step into one of the most action-packed movies of all time and feel what it’s like to be a storm chaser, looking a tornado right in the eye. Grab onto the railing and “Ride It Out,” as our special effects wizards re-create the explosive force of nature at its worst.

Type: Standing theater show with many special effects

3-Parts: Introduction / Set / Ride

Note: You can get wet during the show!

Universal Express Available

Media:


Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster

We have a roller coaster for your young kids too! Climb into your crate and take a fun-filled ride through Woody Woodpecker’s own nut factory on this family-style coaster. It’s the nuttiest ride you’ve ever seen!

Type: Kiddie Roller Coaster

Height Requirement: 36"


Media:

Universal Studios Restaurants

Amity Fried Chicken

Type: Counter Service

Lunch/Dinner Daily

Fried Chicken, snacks

Ben and Jerry's

Type: Counter Service

11:00am - Park Close

Of course, ice cream.

Beverly Hills Boulangerie  

 

Type: Counter Service

Menu

Sandwiches served with potato salad and fresh fruit, on choice of Croissant or Baguette - $6.89

Sandwich & Salad - $7.89

Soup & Salad - $4.99

Sandwiches available:

  • Smoked Turkey
  • Roast Beef
  • Tuna
  • Baked Ham and Swiss
  • Health Sandwich

Beverages

Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite - regular/$2.29, large/$2.99

Souvenir Cup - $4.99

Bottled Water - $2.50

Cappuccino - $2.29

Espresso - $1.99

Coffee or Decaf - $1.89
** Menu and Prices are Subject to Change Without Notice **

Boardwalk Snacks

Type: Counter Service

General Snacks

Cafe La Bamba

Type: Counter Service

Lunch/Dinner Daily

Chicken, Baby Back Ribs, Burgers, Wraps

Buffet Style

Dippin Dots Ice Cream

Type: Counter Service

Unique ice cream snack

Finnegan's Bar & Grill

 

Type: Full Service / Casual Full Service, Daily Happy Hour

Serves traditional Irish-American cuisine, complete with live entertainment.  Fish 'n Chips, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Guinness Beef Stew, Sandwiches, Salads.

Vegetarian / Healthy Options Available.

Location: Located near Mummy's Revenge on Delancey St.

Reservations Accepted - 407-224-3613 Lunch and Dinner daily

 

International Food and Film Festival

Type : Counter Service

Lunch/Dinner Daily

Italian, American, Asian, Salads, Ice Cream

Buffet Style

KidZone Pizza Company

 

Type: Counter Service

Lunch/Dinner Daily

Pizza, Chicken Fingers, Snacks

Lombard's Seafood Grille

 

 Type: Full Service / Casual Full service

Location: Lombard's Landing, along the Embarcadero (Across from DISASTER).

Serves fresh fish, Pasta and Sandwiches.  Vegetarian / Healthy Options Available.

Louie's Italian Restaurant

 

Type: Casual

Lunch/Dinner Daily

Pizza, Pasta, Espresso Bar and Italian Desserts, Starbucks.

Mel's Drive In

 

Type: Counter Service

Lunch/Dinner Daily

Burgers, Chicken, Salads, Shakes

Midway Grill

 

Type: Counter Service

Lunch/Dinner Daily

Nathan's Hot Dogs, Fries

Monsters Cafe

 

Type: Counter Service

Lunch/Dinner Daily

Chicken, Brick Ovenn Pizza, Pasta, Salads

Richter's Burger Co.

 

Type: Counter Service

Lunch/Dinner Daily

Home of "The After Shock" and "The Fault Line" - Fully Loaded Cheeseburger, Chicken Sandwichs

San Francisco Pastry Company

Type: Counter Service

Lunch/Dinner Daily

Fresh Pastries, Sandwichs, Specialty Coffee

Schwab's Pharmacy

Type: Counter Service

Sandwiches, Ice Cream

Starbuck's Coffee

 

Type: Counter Service

8:30am - Park Close

Coffee....No need for explanation.

Islands of Adventure

 

Unive rsal's Islands of Adventure is a them e park located in Orlando, Florida. It opened May 28, 1999 as part of an expansion that, along with CityWalk Entertainment District, the Portofino Bay Hotel, and Hard Rock hotel, converted Universal Studios Florida into the Universal Orlando Resort. The park's overall theme is that of a journey of exploration, where guests depart from a main port to visit six islands, each having its own distinct theme, but all emphasizing adventure. On June 18, 2010, the seventh island, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (themed to the popular Harry Potter franchise) officially opened at the park, its largest investment since opening. In 2009, Islands of Adventure hosted approximately 4.5 million guests, ranking it #9 among United States parks.

Like Universal Studios Orlando next door, Islands of Adventure has not limited itself to Universal's own library. The park has licenced other characters from rival studios, many of whom did not operate theme parks themselves. Some of these include The Cat in the Hat (Dr. Seuss Enterprises), Harry Potter (Warner Bros.), Dudley Do-Right (Jay Ward Productions), Popeye the Sailor Man (Paramount Pictures) and Spider-Man (Marvel Comics, part of The Walt Disney Company).

Opening

Islands of Adventure had a soft opening beginning March 27, 1999 during which visitors could preview the park at a discounted price while the staff conducted a technical rehearsal and worked on the "finishing touches." During this soft-opening, guests were informed that attractions might open and close throughout the day without notice and that some attractions might not be open at all. Initial plans were to open the park in mid-May, but this was ultimately delayed until May 28, 1999.

After the enormous capital expenditure required to build Islands of Adventure, CityWalk, and the resort hotels, Universal sought to overtake nearby Walt Disney World in attendance. However, with the addition of the second park, new resorts, and entertainment district, the resort was named Universal Studios Escape. Essentially, it seemed that visitors were confused by the name, assuming that Islands of Adventure was a new area added to the already-existing Universal Studios Florida theme park. For the first two years, attendance did not rise as expected.[6] By 2001, the marketing was re-vamped, clarifying that Islands of Adventure was indeed a second, completely separate park with new rides and attractions. Universal Studios Escape was renamed Universal Orlando Resort, and ended up being the only resort in the Orlando area to actually have an increase in attendance after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Islands

Islands of Adventure consists of seven themed "islands," only one of which utilizes movie tie-ins with Universal Pictures. They are, in clockwise order from entry, Port of Entry, Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing.

Port of Entry

Port of Entry is the park's main entrance and is home to many shops and services, including Guest Relations. The park's iconic centerpiece, Pharos Lighthouse, is also located within Port of Entry. Each night, this real, functioning lighthouse sends out a bright beam to lead visitors to and from the park's gates. Like many theme parks using the "hub and spokes" format popularized by Disneyland, this entry Island contains no rides, and is primarily noted for its restaurants and shops. Its main features are the Confisco Grille restaurant (one of two full-service restaurants in the Park) and the Islands of Adventure Trading Company, the park's primary gift shop. An attraction information board is located near the shore of the lagoon.

Shops
  • Islands of Adventure Trading Company
  • Ocean Trader Market
  • DeFoto's Expedition Photography
  • Port of Entry Christmas Shoppe
  • Island Market and Export Candy Shoppe
  • Port Provisions
Restaurants
  • Confisco Grille
  • Croissant Moon Bakery
  • Cinnabon
  • Arctic Express

Marvel Super Hero Island

Marvel Super Hero Island has rides inspired by Marvel comic books, and focuses primarily on thrilling rides. The island features such Marvel characters as Wolverine, Captain America, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and some villains such as Doctor Doom, M.O.D.O.K., Hobgoblin, and Kingpin. In late 2009, The Walt Disney Company (Universal's biggest competitor in the theme park market) announced that it had sought to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Universal announced that Marvel's new ownership would not affect Marvel Super Hero Island, and Disney CEO Robert Iger acknowledged that Disney would continue to honor any contracts that Marvel currently has with Disney competitors.

Marvel Super Hero Island is notable for its unique, comic-book styled architecture. Many of the building interiors are created in what could be considered comic book perspective, with exaggerated lines and angles. Meanwhile, many exteriors are painted in a special paint which appears to change color based on the angle from which it is viewed - sometimes purple, sometimes orange. Perhaps most notably, the buildings are all labelled generically, as one would expect the buildings in the background of a comic panel to be: "Store," "Shop," "Food," and "Comics," instead of detailed names and logos.

Rides and Attractions
  • Incredible Hulk Coaster,High Speed roller coaster with speeds of up to 65 miles per hour (105 km/h) Opened: 1999
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, a 3-D simulator ride set in New York. Opened: 1999
  • Doctor Doom's Fearfall, a pair of Space Shot towers from S&S Power. Opened: 1999
  • Storm Force Accelatron, a faster version of the traditional "teacup" ride manufactured by Mack Rides. Opened: 2000
  • Meet Spider-Man and the Marvel Super Heroes, a super hero meet and greet attraction.
Shopping
  • Spider-Man Shop (The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man)
  • Marvel Alterniverse Store
  • Comic Book Shop
  • Oakley
Restaurants
  • Cafe 4
  • Captain America Diner

Toon Lagoon

Toon Lagoon is geared toward both kids and adults, and is based on the characters of King Features Syndicate and Jay Ward.  The area focuses on water-based rides (hence the name) and features 3 counter-service restaurants: Comic Strip Cafe (offering Italian & Chinese Cuisine, Burgers & Dogs, and Fried Chicken & Fish), Blondies (home of the famous Dagwood), and Wimpy's (only open during peak seasons) & All On Mulberry Street.

The Island is rigged with dozens of water props that squirt at visitors and can be interacted with if so desired. In addition, visitors have the option of further soaking those who are riding on board water rides by squirting them with water guns, activating water cannons, and more.

Rides and Attractions
  • Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls, a traditional log flume combined with roller coaster track based on the old cartoon & movie Dudley Do-Right.
  • Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges, a river rapids ride.
  • Me Ship, the Olive, a kids' playground built around and in Popeye's ship.
  • Mat Hoffman's Aggro Circus, a live action stunt show at the Toon Lagoon Theater.
Shops
  • Gasoline Alley
  • Betty Boop Store
  • Toon Extra
  • Cyber Connect Internet Access
Restaurants
  • Comic Strip Cafe
  • Cathy's Ice Cream
  • Blondie's: Home of the Dagwood
  • Wimpy's

Jurassic Park

Set just after the time of the Jurassic Park movie. The area has some thrilling rides and has discovery-based exhibits. The characters of John Hammond and Ian Malcom even put in an appearance from time to time. The Island takes place under the guise of the "real" Jurassic Park: a theme park / zoological park focused on dinosaurs. As such, the area is filled with the attractions and exhibits one would find in the "real" Jurassic Park.

Rides and Attractions

  • Jurassic Park River Adventure, a highly-themed "water-based attraction" through the various dinosaur paddocks of Jurassic Park, culminating in an 85 feet (26 m) drop away from the jaws of a menacing T-Rex. Opened: 1999
  • Pteranodon Flyers, a children's low-speed, suspended roller coaster which takes 2 riders at a time around the sky above Camp Jurassic.
  • Camp Jurassic, a children's play area centered around an imported 50-foot (15 m) Banyan tree.
  • Jurassic Park Discovery Center, a replicated (but not entirely duplicated) version of theVisitor Center from the film. Features various hands-on exhibits aimed mostly at kids, including a trivia game show in which guests compete, hatching Velociraptor eggs, and other educational, interactive exhibits.
  • Triceratops Encounter/Triceratops Discovery Trail (name changed in 2003), where guests can get up close and interact with a full-scale animated replica of a Triceratops, while a "veterinary technician" performs a semi-annual exam on the Trike. The attraction actually features three different Trikes- Topper, Chris, and Cera. All 3 are female. Chris was named after a member of the team that created the dinosaurs who died before the attraction opened. Due to maintenance and staffing issues, the trail was closed off in 2005. But after a total of five years, the attraction reopened in December 2010 and it is now a seasonal attraction.

Shopping

  • Dinostore
  • Jurassic Outfitters

Restaurants

  • Pizza Predattoria
  • The Burger Digs
  • Thunder Falls Terrace
  • The Watering Hole

The Lost Continent

This island is themed to ancient myths and legends, and is divided into two smaller sections. The first section is ancient Arabian marketplace called "Sinbad's Bazzaar", while the second is mythological Greecian-Atlantis style "Lost City". Formerly, the Lost Continent included a medieval section,Merlinwood, but much of that area was rethemed for the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Today the area contains two live-action shows. This land is also home to Mythos, winner of best theme park restaurant several times by Theme Park Insider, and one of two full-service restaurants in the park.

Rides and Attractions
  • The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad, a live-action stunt show located in the ancient Arabia section.
  • Poseidon's Fury, an indoor special-effects show located in the mythological Greece section.
  • The Mystic Fountain, a fountain (located in the front of The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad show) that entertains and interacts with guests.
Shops
  • Treasures of Poseidon (Poseidon's Fury)
  • The Coin Mint
  • The Pearl Factory
  • Historic Families - Heraldry
  • Star Souls - Psychic Reading
Restaurants
  • Mythos Restaurant (Poseidon's Fury)
  • The Frozen Desert
  • Fire Eater's Grill

Seuss Landing

Seuss Landing is specially geared towards small children and is based on the works of author Dr. Seuss. It has several Seuss-themed attractions. There is also a Green Eggs and Ham Cafe and Circus McGurkus restaurant. One of the unique characteristics of this area is, like in the books, there is not a single straight line anywhere. Palm trees, curved by the winds of Hurricane Andrew, were even installed in the area to continue this theming.

Rides and attractions
  • Caro-Seuss-el, a carousel
  • The Cat in the Hat, a modern dark ride based on the book.
  • If I Ran the Zoo, an interactive play zone for kids
  • One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, a spinning ride with a musical riddle that will help riders escape water-spitting fish.
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride, a twin-track tour above and around Seuss Landing.
  • Oh, The Stories You'll Hear, a show based on the Dr. Seuss Books.
Shops
  • Cats, Hats & Things (The Cat in the Hat)
  • All The Books You Can Read (The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride)
  • Snookers & Snookers Sweet Candy Cookers
  • Mulberry Street Stores Trading Co
Restaurants
  • Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous (The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride)
  • Green Eggs and Ham Cafe (Closed till further notice)
  • Hop On Pop Ice Cream Shop
  • Moose Juice, Goose Juice

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Studios Orlando Harry Potter The new Wizarding World of Harry Potter is probably the most talked about addition to any theme park in history.  It is simply amazing.  If you are a fan of Harry Potter, or have never seen it, you will definitely find something to enjoy.  The Harry Potter World addition contains many of the things that you would expect to see including Hogwarts and the Three Broomsticks to name a few.

Officially opened to the public on June 18, 2010. On May 31, 2007, Universal Orlando announced that it had secured the rights from Warner Bros. and from British author J. K. Rowling to bring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Islands of Adventure.  The 20-acre (81,000 m2) island features attractions, shops and restaurants set inside such locations as the Forbidden Forest, Hogsmeade Village and the iconic Hogwarts castle. Ground breaking began in 2007, with the official opening scheduled for June 18, 2010 as announced on March 25, 2010. As part of the promotion for the then-upcoming area, a behind-the-scenes documentary on production of the park section is included on the Blu-ray and DVD release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter forms part of Universal Parks and Resorts' Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida. It is one of seven themed areas within the park. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was officially announced on May 31, 2007, and after a two-and-a-half year construction period, the area officially opened to the public on June 18, 2010.

The area's flagship attraction is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey which exists within a re-creation of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It takes riders on a journey through Harry Potter's wizarding world.[8] Other attractions include Dragon Challenge, a pair of dueling roller coasters, and Flight of the Hippogriff, a family roller coaster. The area also features a re-creation of Hogsmeadewhich includes many gift shops and restaurants from the series of Harry Potter books including Dervish and Banges, Honeydukes, Ollivanders, Zonko's Joke Shop, The Three Broomsticks and The Hog's Head.

Harry Potter Concept

The concept of a Harry Potter themed attraction at a Universal Studios park was reportedly first discussed within the company in the late 1990s or early 2000s. However, the rights to the Harry Potter franchise were owned by Time Warner at the time.  In 2001, Time Warner used this license to construct and operate the Harry Potter Movie Magic Experience at Warner Bros. Movie World on the Gold Coast, Australia. The attraction was a small indoor walkthrough featuring many re-creations of locations in the first two movies.  After two years of operation this attraction was removed.

Rumors and Official Announcement

In January 2007, About.com reported a rumor from a "highly credible source" that the Islands of Adventure park's Lost Continent area was going to be re-themed "to the stories and characters of one of the most popular children's franchises". Other sources followed up in the next few days with unofficial confirmation that the new area would involve Harry Potter, and that it was being developed under the name "Project Strong Arm" in reference to the KUKA robotic arm technology it would utilize. Nikki Finke reported her own confirmation of the Potter park plans in April, followed shortly by a story in The Scotsman; both reports were widely relayed by other media sources. On May 31, 2007, Universal (in partnership with Warner Bros.) officially announced the 20-acre (8.1 ha) addition re-creating Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest and Hogsmeade, with a planned opening in 2009.

Construction and Development

Construction of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter began seven months after the official announcement, in January 2008. By July, the Flying Unicorn and Enchanted Oak Tavern were closed. The Flying Unicorn then began an almost two year refurbishment which transformed it into the Flight of the Hippogriff. The Enchanted Oak Tavern was later demolished. A bridge was built to connect The Lost Continent with Jurassic Park allowing guests to avoid the construction zone that was to be the Wizarding World. Construction progressed with the Hogwarts castle slowly taking shape. By September 2008, the Dueling Dragons entrance was moved to Jurassic Park to make room for construction of Hogsmeade. One month later, the old entrance was demolished. By September 2009, the top shell of Hogwarts castle was completed. On September 15, an announcement was made as to what exactly was going to be included in the Wizarding World. In early 2010, Universal increased the marketing of the area which included newspaper advertisements, billboards and television commercials. The Dueling Dragons were closed for some maintenance before being transformed into the Dragon Challenge. Construction was complete by June 1, 2010 when the area began soft openings.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Opening

A soft opening weekend was held for the media and reserved guests, starting on May 28, 2010. The park had two opening ceremonies that took place on June 16 and June 18, 2010. The first opening was reserved for the cast and crew of the Harry Potter films, J.K. Rowling (author of the novels), Universal Orlando Resort officials, as well as representatives from the media. The ceremony concluded with a fireworks display and a performance by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, led by John Williams (composer of the music for the first three films). On June 18, the second ceremony occurred which officially opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to the public. Universal Orlando representative Bill Davis introduced the area to the audience which included actors from the films including Daniel Radcliffe,Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Matthew Lewis, Bonnie Wright and James and Oliver Phelps. The NBC Today show and The Weather Channel broadcast segments live from the park.

Rides

Dragon Challenge is a dueling roller coaster which features two distinct tracks built to overlap and intertwine with each other. The ride was formerly in operation since the park's 1999 opening under the name Dueling Dragons.  The attraction was renamed in homage to the first task of the Triwizard Tournament, depicted in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The two sides of the coaster have been renamed "Hungarian Horntail" and "Chinese Fireball", after two of the dragon breeds which appear in the book. It is the only duelinginverted roller coaster in the world. The queue for this ride features many Harry Potter relics, including the Goblet of Fire and the Triwizard Cup.

Flight of the Hippogriff

Flight of the Hippogriff is a steel roller coaster designed for families. The ride opened in 2000 as the Flying Unicorn. Similar to the Dragon Challenge, this ride was re-themed prior to the opening of the Wizarding World. The roller coaster's back-story is that Hogwarts' Care of Magical Creatures professor Hagrid is teaching young wizards to fly on a Hippogriff (as Harry does in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) by using a wicker replica of the creature. A re-creation of Hagrid's Hut is passed on the way for a lesson from Hagrid himself on how to properly approach a hippogriff.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Other than the main rides, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is also home to gift shops, restaurants and other tourist attractions. Several of these are re-creations of locations in the Harry Potter books while others have been created specifically for the park.A re-creation of the Hogwarts Express lies at the entry to Hogsmeade. The re-creation features "billowing steam and an iconic whistle". In the Potter series the Hogwarts Express is the train used to transport students from London to Hogwarts. The Owl Post is a working post office (where postcards and letters will be delivered with an authentic Hogsmeade postmark) that also sells stationery, writing implements, stamps, and owl-related gifts.

The Three Broomsticks, based on the inn and pub from the Potter series, offers a variety of food and beverage items from the Harry Potter universe including butterbeer, pumpkin juice, strawberry-peanut butter ice cream (as seen in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), chocolate cauldron cakes in addition to standard dining options.  Butterbeer is offered as a non-alcoholic beverage and comes in both regular and frozen forms, found at the beginning of Hogsmeade fresh off the tap from the butterbeer cart. Similarly, The Hog's Head is based on the pub from the Potter series owned by Aberforth Dumbledore.  Honeydukes is a sweet shop, based on Honeydukes Sweetshop in the Potter series. The shop sells many items from the Harry Potter universe including Chocolate Frogs, Acid Pops, exploding bonbons, Cauldron Cakes, treacle fudge, Fizzing Whizzbees, Pepper Imps, and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans.

Various Harry Potter merchandise items can be purchased from three different gift shops in Hogsmeade. Dervish and Banges is a store selling magical items, as well as Quidditch supplies, Hogwarts clothing, and other merchandise. The store is based on Dervish and Banges in the Potter series. Zonko's is a toy and joke store, based on Zonko's Joke Shop in the Potter series.  The third shop is Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods. It is a general gift shop (named for Hogwarts caretaker Argus Filch) offering Hogwarts souvenirs (such as clothing and stationery), replicas of props from the Potter films, and other toys and souvenirs. The shop is at the exit to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and is where guests can obtain photos of their ride experience.

In the book series, Ollivanders wand shop is located in Diagon Alley, not Hogsmeade, however, the attraction re-created the shop as Olivanders, portraying it as a branch of the original where Harry purchases his wand in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (known in the United States as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone). Unlike other shops in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visitors are admitted in groups of 20 to experience the premise from the Potter series, that "the wand chooses the wizard". Similar to the first film, the wand keeper and a selected guest test a variety of wands until the right one is found. After experiencing the attraction, souvenir wands can be purchased.

Harry Potter Fans

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was well-received by Harry Potter fans and general guests alike. Matt Blum of Wired stated "every detail is finely crafted to enhance the experience". An Orlando Sentinel article stated "muggles will love their Harry Potter adventure" but identifies the need for the park to offer Universal Express Passes due to large crowds. It also stated Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a truly one-of-a-kind experience that cannot easily be described.  Lisa Minot, from The Sun, stated "after a sneak peek, I can say it is the most faithful recreation of JK Rowling's books and movies ever seen. Fans will be in heaven." Leigh Caldwell from Traveling Mamas noted that although The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is ideal for the whole family, it's not designed for anyone under 3 years old. She went on to consolidate others' comments about the area: "there is no doubt that fans of the Harry Potter books and movies are going to enjoy the heck out of a visit to the Wizarding World".  John Frost from the Disney Blog congratulated Universal about all aspects of the area from rides to shops, and from the entertainment to the food.


Universal Studios Orlando Maps

In this area, we have complete Universal Studios Orlando Maps.  You can print the maps or come back here to look at them whenever you need.  We will be updating to the new Universal Studios Orlando Map from 2012 shortly.  We also have additional pages below that contain Islands of Adventure Maps, CityWalk Orlando Maps and Wizarding World of Harry Potter Maps.

 

Universal Studios Orlando Map
Universal Studios Orlando Map

Universal Islands of Adventure Map

Islands-of-Adventure-Map

Universal CityWalk Orlando

Universal CityWalk Orlando Map

map-citywalk-orlando-map

Many people incorrectly assume that CityWalk was Universal trying to come up with an answer for Downtown Disney.  However, it was Universal that was actually the leader of the pack with their development of CityWalk.  And while it's true that Universal CityWalk Hollywood is much larger, its sister complex in Orlando is quite impressive with 30 acres of dining, shopping and entertainment.

To enter either of the theme parks, Universal Studios Orlando or Islands of Adventure, visitors will walk through the CityWalk.  A variety of dining and entertainment options are available during the day or evening.

CityWalk Dining

CityWalk is known for it's party atmosphere and clubs, but the dining opportunities should not be overlooked. You can find food to keep a family happy on a budget or experience top flight options such as Emeril's.  There is definitely something for every budget and situation.

Universal Studios Orlando Hotels

A review of Universal Studios Orlando would not be complete without looking at their world class hotel accommodations.  The Universal Studios Orlando Hotels include onsite accomodations along with offsite offerings.  Staying at one of the three onsite locations: Loews Portofino, Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort.

They are each excellent options and are within walking distance of the parks or a short free boat ride away.  But Universal Studios Orlando sweetens the deal even more.  If you stay on one of their onsite hotels, you can walk to the front of the line on many of the park attractions.  Imagine heading to a theme park where you don't have to worry about lines.  That's just what you get when you stay onsite at Universal Studios Orlando.  That perk alone, not to mention the fabulous accommodations, makes staying onsite an obvious choice.

There are great hotels near Universal Studios Orlando that are off of the main resort property.  In the near future, we will begin reviewing this options for you as well.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

5601 Universal Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819
Reservations: 1-888-273-1311
Phone: 407-503-1000
Fax: 407-503-1010
LOEWS PORTOFINO BAY HOTEL

Bice Ristorante: 407-503-1415
Mama Della's RistoranteSM: 407-503-DINE (3463)
Trattoria Del Porto®: 407-503-DINE (3463)

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel Awards

  • AAA Four Diamond Award -- 2000 through 2011
  • Theme Park Insider – World’s Top on-site Theme Park Hotel - 2009
  • Travel + Leisure Magazine’s - Top 500 Hotels in the World – 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009
  • Travel + Leisure Magazine’s – America’s Best Hotel for Families – 2009
  • Travel + Leisure Family Magazine’s – Top 50 Best Family Resorts in the U.S. and Canada – 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008
  • Travel + Leisure Family Magazine’s – Top 10 Best Family Resorts in Florida – 2007
  • Conde Nast Traveler Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Award – Top 100 Resorts in Mainland U.S. - 2010
    Gold List Reserve - 2008
    Gold List – World’s Best Places to Stay - 2001, 2003 & 2004
  • Expedia Insider’s Select List – 2006 – 2008
  • Southwest Orlando Bulletin – Best Local Resort - 2008, 2009
  • Orlando Magazine – Best hotel for pets, Best hotel for a wedding, Best hotel room design – 2007
  • Orlando Sentinel Top 100 Companies for Working Families – 2003 through 2008

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

6300 Hollywood Way

Orlando, FL 32819

Reservations: 1-888-273-1311

Phone: 407-503-3000

Fax: 407-503-3010

LOEWS ROYAL PACIFIC RESORT RESTAURANTS
Emeril's Tchoup Chop: 407-503-CHOP (2467)
Wantilan Luau: 407-503-DINE (3463)
Islands Dining Room: 407-503-DINE (3463)

Loews Royal Pacific Resort Awards

  • AAA Four Diamond Award Winner – 2004 through 2011
  • Florida Trend – Top 25 hotels in Florida - 2009
  • Conde Nast Traveler Magazine - Reader’s Choice Award – Top 100 Resorts in Mainland U.S. - 2010
  • Fodor’s Choice – 2006, 2008, 2010
  • Child Magazine – Finalist Top 50 Best Family-Friendly Resorts - 2006
  • Orlando Magazine Best Local Resort – 2006, Best Local Pool – 2007
  • Orlando Sentinel Top 100 Companies for Working Families – 2003 through 2008

Hard Rock Hotel

5800 Universal Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819
Reservations: 1-888-273-1311
Phone: 407-503-ROCK (2000)
Fax: 407-503-ROLL (2010)

HARD ROCK HOTEL Restaurants
The Palm: 407-503-7256
The Kitchen: 407-503-DINE (3463)

Hard Rock Hotel Awards

  • AAA Four Diamond Award – 2002 through 2011
  • Virgin Holidays - Florida's Best Hotel – 2009
  • Conde Nast Traveler Magazine - Gold List Reserve - 2008
    Gold List – World’s Best Places to Stay - 2005
  • Travel + Leisure Family Magazine’s – Top 50 Best Family Resorts in the U.S. and Canada – 2006
  • Child Magazine – Finalist Top 50 Best Family-Friendly Resorts - 2006
  • Orlando Sentinel – Top 100 Companies for Working Families – 2003 through 2008
  • Orlando Sentinel – Best hotel pool – 2008
  • Orlando Magazine – Best hotel to spot a celebrity – 2007
  • Hard Rock Hotel – Best Hard Rock Hotel – 2007

Velvet Bar & Velvet Sessions Awards:

  • Orlando Magazine – Best Live Music
  • Orlando Magazine - Best Hotel Bar

Other Area Attractions

Orlando is undoubtedly the theme park capital of the world.  You cannot find an area, anywhere in the world, that has so many entertaintment options.  In addition to everything that Universal Studios Orlando has to offer, the area also boasts the MGM Orlando theme park (now called Hollywood Studios), Disneyworld Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando.

 


Last Updated on Sunday, 12 February 2012 16:11
 
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