Jump to content
  TPR Home | Parks | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram 

Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 602: Universal Holidays & Velocicoaster photo report posted!

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 15k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

I like how they build a roller coaster in the same time it took them to built new lockers for Harry Potter.   

On Sunday I ventured out to the Universal Orlando Resort for a chance to see the new holiday offerings at the two parks. This year is a little different thanks to COVID-19, but Universal has still man

^Agreed. I think the newer Intamin lapbars are actually the best steel coaster restraint currently being produced. When comparing overhead lapbars on Taron and Blue Fire, I found the Intamin ones to b

Posted Images

Buffet played live from the Amphitheater stage in front of Rockit last night on the show as well.

 

Does anyone know if they filmed that during park hours, or did they close the park down and just film the musical spot with a live audience? I've got Fallon on DVR all week, should be a lot of fun!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just announced from Today Show...opening is July 8th!!

 

FB Page:

BREAKING NEWS! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will officially open on July 8.

 

1512237_10152206676202852_3210292604085818398_o.jpg

Edited by chargersmichael
Link to post
Share on other sites
Buffet played live from the Amphitheater stage in front of Rockit last night on the show as well.

 

Does anyone know if they filmed that during park hours, or did they close the park down and just film the musical spot with a live audience? I've got Fallon on DVR all week, should be a lot of fun!

 

They do the music part at 9PM. If you've got a ticket/AP you're allowed to watch the music. I've heard from people who've been to the tapings that they were allowed in the Studios side after taping the show.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey everyone, I'm looking for some useful advice/information for my upcoming trip.

 

My father and I will be visiting Universal and Islands of Adventure this upcoming week on Monday 6/23 and then Saturday 6/28. We know absolutely nothing about these parks and could really use some information!

 

Are crowds insane? My dad doesn't do roller coasters but will probably be riding everything else.

What is the best way to get two-park, two-day tickets?

Which park should we do Monday, and which Saturday?

 

Since we will be going on a Monday and a Saturday, should we opt for Unlimited Express both days, or should we be okay on Monday?

 

Thank you in advance for anything and everything you guys can provide! We want to make the most of our visits!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Buffet played live from the Amphitheater stage in front of Rockit last night on the show as well.

 

Does anyone know if they filmed that during park hours, or did they close the park down and just film the musical spot with a live audience? I've got Fallon on DVR all week, should be a lot of fun!

 

 

The performance and filming happened after park closing at 9 p.m. However he did a rehearsal at 7 p.m.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I opened this thread expecting to see plenty of pictures of food. Adam, you did not disappoint me. I need to try some of these joints on City Walk.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Today the Universal Orlando Media Preview Week continued with the "State of Our Universe" presentation, followed by a VIP tour of both parks with some special experiences along the way! Most notably, the Universal Orlando Resort officially announced that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley will officially open on July 8th, 2014!

 

Today, Universal Orlando Resort announced that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will officially open on July 8 – allowing guests to experience even more of Harry Potter’s adventures in an all-new, magnificently-themed environment.

 

Located in the Universal Studios Florida theme park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley will feature shops, dining experiences and the next generation thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. The new immersive area will double the size of the sweeping land already found at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, expanding the spectacularly themed environment across both Universal theme parks.

 

Guests will enjoy new experiences and places found in and around London in the Harry Potter books and films. They will see the Knight Bus as they stroll through London, walk the streets of Diagon Alley and explore iconic shops like Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, dine in the Leaky Cauldron, embark on a thrilling adventure through the Gringotts bank vaults – and much more.

 

Guests will also be able to board the Hogwarts Express and enjoy a unique journey as they travel between London and Hogsmeade.

 

Vacation packages to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and Universal Orlando Resort are available now. For additional information, visit http://www.UniversalOrlando.com/WizardingWorld.

 

028.thumb.jpg.bce71156eec98fbc8719e5101deb3428.jpg

Photo courtesy of the Universal Orlando Resort.

029.thumb.jpg.4ceb0e595a0462fa74a9f61dbd919f36.jpg

Photo courtesy of the Universal Orlando Resort.

001.JPG.10c06333724f4a32ff985dd972c9450d.JPG

Our morning started out with the "State of Our Universe" presentation...

002.JPG.df0c7107d7d962367506980cead9754d.JPG

There were some technical issues with the podium's microphone...

003.JPG.47a7a94152031209bd2c7926ac24a528.JPG

So the Blue Man Group came out to help fix the issue!

004.JPG.9d89352dc1849a06bc4ef930839c4d68.JPG

Bill Davis, President and COO of the Universal Orlando Resort spoke to media, promising some exciting announcements for the Universal Orlando Resort to be released in the coming months.

005.JPG.101122647ba5e8ecba121a5ddb7ab50e.JPG

Thierry Coup, Senior Vice President of Universal Creative came to stage to talk about the history behind the development of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley.

006.JPG.35df6b6a50ca6909f320153c4aaa658a.JPG

Then the stars of the film came out to share the exciting news that Diagon Alley will officially open to the public on July 8th, 2014!

007.JPG.be30e14bcbab234b1310d684506aeb2e.JPG

Evanna Lynch shared some thoughts on her experiences with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in contrast to her experiences working on the films.

008.JPG.3ff6d2068cbc8d692fe32fefdb06c2ea.JPG

Where could we be now?

009.JPG.cccb49c2d7f40b04be295e95fe3de206.JPG

Time to meet the stars!

010.thumb.JPG.678164f3e43a42718a3561fe8fa3cc7e.JPG

So this happened!

011.JPG.7a1f9ae44d7a3b15f62b8a12f37c9ac9.JPG

Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood from the films) took the time to share her thoughts on Diagon Alley with us!

012.JPG.d604d8da22a8111b1537ca84167b2c63.JPG

I'll admit it... I love The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

013.JPG.6b5905096e1b3200f35171d2378d0f95.JPG

A sneak peek at what's to come later this evening...

014.JPG.f7fd19c8265c548ffd92f164d9cb3536.JPG

The walls surrounding the Hogsmeade station for the Hogwarts Express are now down!

015.JPG.e70eaebb5428022bee68ab8b9d76a79e.JPG

But the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade still has beauty and charm.

016.JPG.cdc0d27348b2344352f515a2e41ae4bd.JPG

And they know how to treat us with Butterbeer!

017.JPG.93c3686f4105dd02acd094f5d9799107.JPG

The infamous Butterbeer mustache.

018.JPG.1f541bafb0a9565ef5753775b6ca581d.JPG

Seriously stunning even four years later!

019.JPG.85b374b721aa0ce2393cdbb93af9f6d9.JPG

I'll never get tired of this view...

020.JPG.03c883dd142fa9c227ca1edfd6f0a3c9.JPG

This is in an odd location...

021.JPG.9b252368981e93f81d5681fc6d11a3bc.JPG

Nothing to see here! Move along!

022.JPG.ccd37280865934c70e11768de9adaee7.JPG

Because I could.

023.JPG.e0184afbff540cd83b97b5ee16cdd20f.JPG

Thierry Coup stopped by during our VIP tour to share some history on the development of Transformers: The Ride.

025.JPG.ec3b70ab6aa72189fcd18e28f2b17b1b.JPG

Look who joined the party!

027.JPG.b33070ef26a1387fa5d887693d62f84e.JPG

Once again Universal continues to treat us very well for this special week! Time for me to head off to Diagon Alley to experience the newest part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! I'll be back with photos later tonight!

Edited by jedimaster1227
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Cabana Bay hotel, sorry RESORT, could turn out to be my favorite place to stay in all of Florida, looks completely fantastic. And Daigon Alley is looking just as amazing as they led us to believe it would. Damn.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fairly certain Dynamic Attractions is the main group behind the ride since they work on a lot of Universal major attractions. I would bet that Vekoma did whatever coaster track is on the ride (which probably won't be a lot) since they've been reliable with Disney and Universal (forget BSG exists).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I’m back from what was arguably the most incredible first-time theme park experience I’ve ever had. Let me preface this review with a few notes. The first is that while I am not a Harry Potter fanatic (I only read four of the books growing up but I have seen and own all of the movies), I do thoroughly enjoy the franchise and all that it has to offer in the theater and theme park environments. The second item is that the following words are fueled by shock and joy from what I’ve just experienced… Later today I’ll be revisiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley again, which will likely level out my review, but the shock-and-awe praise that I’m about to deliver should be shared, lest it wear off even in the slightest between this initial experience and the next.

 

Diagon Alley takes everything that worked about Hogsmeade and elevates it. The most immediate difference you’ll find when you enter is the sheer scope of the land. This is not a quaint village at the base of a mountain home to a famous castle. Diagon Alley is built like a city, and feels like one too. The facades are tall, wide and incongruous leading to a very asymmetrical, magical feel to the place. Upon entrance to Diagon Alley from the London Waterfront outside, you immediately see a dragon perched atop the entrance dome of Gringotts Bank, which occasionally breathes fire.

 

Yesterday night’s visit followed the conclusion of the VIP red carpet event, giving us from approximately 9:30 pm to 12:00 midnight to experience as much as possible. Simply put, that is nowhere near enough time, even when the queues are clear for a media event. Diagon Alley is so full of activity, sights, tastes and experiences that the price of admission to Universal Studios Florida would be worth it alone for this one realm especially once the crowds expected to flow in once the land opens to all guests on July 8th, 2014.

 

With more time in Diagon Alley set for later today, I’ll withhold my full review until I’ve experienced everything, but I will share my insight below based on my experiences this evening and then I’ll update the post with the rest of my reviews after I have had a better chance to get to know the land this coming morning.

 

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – This ride can’t be praised enough for all that it is and all that it accomplishes. Without spoiling the ride’s unique story, I can confirm that the ride has many elements that no one will see coming. This is a game changer for Universal and for the amusement industry as a whole. The ride combines coaster elements along with simulator technology to create an experience that is unlike anything else. There is simply nothing in the industry to compare it to—this ride sits comfortably alone in its own category. The queue begins with a tour through the famous Gringotts Bank entryway, with goblins surrounding you on all sides and ornate chandeliers above. This grand entrance alone trumps anything found in the queue for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Moving deeper into the queue you have the option to have a photo taken for your Gringotts Identification Card. The next room leads to a pre-show theater in which Bill Weasley and Griphook, one of the goblin bank leaders discuss their upcoming descent into the vaults. Onward into a moving elevator surrounded by overhead screens and shaking walls and floors, the illusion of descending into the cavernous vaults of Gringotts is impeccable and puts the former Hydrolators of Epcot's The Living Seas' past to shame. Once out of the elevators, guests grab their mine goggles (3-D glasses) and ascend a spiral staircase towards the loading platform, with stalagmites above. The loading platform is grand and cavernous and the mine carts are victorian/steampunk in design, looking much like an evolution of the ride vehicles found on the neighboring Revenge of the Mummy towards the front of the park.

 

Here's where the SPOILERS come into play... Read no further if you wish to experience the ride with a fresh impression.

 

The cart dispatches from the station at a quick pace and moves into a giant screen-filled room in which Bellatrix Lestrange and Griphook along with Bill Weasley from the pre-show arrive at the cart junction. Your cart is recognized as being full of intruders and Bellatrix casts a spell to ensure that the intruders are dealt with. The track beneath you tilts forward at a steep angle, holding for a moment before the ride vehicle lunges forward into a dark pit for a thrilling drop. After a quick turn, the ride slows within a cavern, encountering a series of gigantic trolls as the vehicles take an unexpected move and begin to spin. The trolls attack the vehicle leading to a virtual plummet that thanks to screen technology and the vehicles' motion platforms ends with incredible effect. Bill Weasley leads an escape with more spinning along the way, but this is interrupted by another encounter with Bellatrix, this time with Voldemort himself in tow along with his horcrux snake Nagini. They cast a spell that propels the vehicle backwards into a lava-filled room. Voldemort approaches again, about to cast a finishing spell when Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger swoop in on the dragon seen earlier in the beginning of the ride, chaining the ride to dragon as it flies away. The surrounding 360 degree dome that is seemingly sealed off opens up with a puff of smoke as the vehicle is pulled forward by the dragon, which crashes through the Gringotts walls for a thrilling escape. One final pass by Bill Weasley and the dragon concludes the ride experience as the vehicle returns to the station.

 

*END SPOILERS HERE*

 

The Hogwarts Express is a brilliant conveyance system with a fantastic story (unique depending on which direction you are headed). The trains are absolutely gorgeous and the interiors match perfectly with what has been previously seen in the films.

 

Knockturn Alley happened to be the standout of the night for me. It is an indoor experience within Diagon Alley themed to feel like it is experienced outdoors and at night—a beautifully simulated illusion. This set of dark corridors is mesmerizing, seedy and eerily exciting in a way that starkly contrasts the bright colors and lively facades of the rest of Diagon Alley. While it doesn’t host any one attraction, just walking around Knockturn Alley is an experience in and of itself.

 

The Ollivanders wand experience is the same as the one found in the original Hogsmeade, albeit with larger parlors for which to host additional guests. There are three parlors in Ollivanders, all beautifully camouflaged behind wand shelves in a long hallway that are actually doors to each room.

 

001.JPG.f08da948a758cc1732e68dae888ba9b9.JPG

We're finally here!

002.JPG.60099e01a44eaedf45ae381eae929e28.JPG

And we're parked on the red carpet, ready to go!

003.JPG.010d28090c02cd80e5a916dc3863319b.JPG

Robbie Coltrane was on the red carpet along with other stars from the films to promote the debut of Diagon Alley!

004.JPG.ca9aa572abcf1cf29fa7852f05e91854.JPG

The Phelps twins were here as well.

006.JPG.0561567c21cb0af80d2c457c17afab66.JPG

The special "moment" kicking off the debut of Diagon Alley involved shutting out the lights in front of the waterfront for a brief period of time.

007.JPG.3fa24af2565fd8ed53c259a020c7d03b.JPG

The Night Bus arrived and the driver ended up interrupting the show.

008.JPG.9086a92c5d1f1aa4a9f413c6e22c341a.JPG

Tom Williams (Chairman/CEO, Universal Parks and Resorts) was on hand to kick off the festivities!

009.JPG.d0fed2fb015285b0cb321335b3f6f0ba.JPG

Robbie Coltrane repeated his original tapping of the brick wall from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to open the wall into Diagon Alley.

010.JPG.fa7b67904500c5daea7a64c70a8bc96e.JPG

And of course there were fireworks! (Through the trees!)

011.JPG.677ee10daa52b4c13886113e39b035ab.JPG

And plain fire too!

012.JPG.8ce5485039bedd8dc013062e762f2fd5.JPG

The cast of the films gathered for a photo before the end of the ceremony.

013.JPG.3e046cfebf049787c51699538a1267b3.JPG

Here we go!

014.JPG.d3238f70fb51e19c197cb71fc49a7118.JPG

Absolutely gorgeous!

015.JPG.8c8826f301f5ea5adc9083af92ff5e37.JPG

I'm here to open an account!

016.JPG.324270936ec4bc34c016af59c1febb58.JPG

One welcome gift for us was the map for the interactive wands we would receive later that night. I didn't get the chance to use it, but by this point I was already so overwhelmed to be in Diagon Alley, I was near tears.

017.JPG.4847d0dfbaa030d31f1d865df208a9e1.JPG

I love this "living portrait."

018.JPG.f48bb7c078283c86cec2d0c0dcde02f9.JPG

A look at the ride vehicle in simulated action.

019.JPG.b9310c34ad891e8abe370c58df44e8cd.JPG

These elevators put the Hydrolators to shame.

020.JPG.3e9910596f22b9d6d220440771d81055.JPG

The pre-show for the ride includes an awesome "musion" effect that has to be seen in person to truly appreciate!

021.JPG.4fce9a1d25f878a02f906e7d0d17a91d.JPG

So neat!

022.JPG.e7530c63b91c5832b6e1729fd8c2969a.JPG

Time to board!

023.JPG.22ebda5c473436e66ff82fc205e07b76.JPG

Simply put, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts may (in my opinion) be the most cutting-edge, game-changing attraction of our time.

024.JPG.0f2e8538f2bfd5b042cb81a6eae680f8.JPG

There's the money shot!

025.JPG.2c3c71cfd7cb23ee7b60f9dea3974d52.JPG

It is astounding just how big Diagon Alley feels once inside.

026.JPG.cc7b0482fce845f9233cc3c7cec5d2a5.JPG

There are tons of food and beverage options in Diagon Alley including this quaint stand.

027.JPG.05f754c9764c443f3fac8badc26b2428.JPG

Another angle for the dragon...

028.JPG.ed60fb165c4ab89ced5bed83be1c63ef.JPG

In case you were wondering, these shark teeth are a tribute to the former Jaws attraction that once existed on the plot of land that Diagon Alley now occupies.

029.JPG.fc7333fc935695a17410e7d6fbb7f1e5.JPG

The facades really are huge!

030.JPG.68697eb2f9abfdc50cc1ecad9a89ca70.JPG

The Owl Post here is gigantic!

031.JPG.0c900f1d32d72467ff154511887e6b99.JPG

Time for some refreshing beverages!

032.JPG.2058c32f3be878f5849a4ae66fcfbec0.JPG

So I tried the "Fishy Green Ale..."

033.JPG.7dc3b3f7068a200c847d8761ff26c50f.JPG

This was my reaction.

034.JPG.9accd5964e413805c99ef5a65f176a0c.JPG

Carkett Market's covered section should really be great with the Summer heat and rain.

035.JPG.92f05d629ed3cc8fc27c82d3f765b11b.JPG

Interactive wand stations are scattered throughout all of Diagon Alley as well as in Hogsmeade.

036.JPG.b31b1a1e4b5e61fa43975a7865911e16.JPG

I seriously love this!

037.JPG.c9cab66dbc8f0fa76084ccf8b5f1efb4.JPG

How about some ice crean?

038.JPG.27bf23fa533a39674a694bf3232c69a7.JPG

Butterbeer ice cream! That's all I need in life.

039.JPG.ac88df8297875526fdb9d9315e9ddf5f.JPG

Knockturn Alley has some really neat window displays.

040.JPG.c2174e1c0b057480451e1de3bb27994a.JPG

Some different potions to mix in with your Gillyweed.

041.JPG.8c3a1e28c7d2e2e4fb6a5d7b823a2e44.JPG

One guest was testing out her new wand on the interactive game.

042.JPG.b230c71d89beeb720c1817b70a363fc1.JPG

Seriously awesome!

043.JPG.def41d6db97536caeb80cba4d4e6acce.JPG

Shiriki, is that you?

044.JPG.5776ce2e0e43c47309ed6511bce678e8.JPG

Details in the window!

045.JPG.74dd6b17d90699215bfedb4ebf2af737.JPG

There were some awesome projection effects on these canvases.

046.JPG.5ca3cbf5c1e48f32bf030c6bb1b42316.JPG

Need some wizard money?

047.JPG.77bf99d7b1e365ff66be8c9805df2901.JPG

I waited to buy any Gringotts currency, but it was nice to see it in person.

048.JPG.04f4998bf5fc54cc98391456e5a64d14.JPG

I did get one of each flavor to go.

049.JPG.affb47370f4a9a7a74b1a56507680610.JPG

So clever!

050.JPG.157cf5521b9a53bb9ce7e38ae5ab4bf3.JPG

Ain't she a beauty?

001.JPG.b4ef3c42cccc9ee6dd7740cd02163739.JPG

Welcome to the Leaky Cauldron.

002.JPG.144fa1d1bead415a43a331b76016fbfb.JPG

The main entrance/exit to Diagon Alley.

003.JPG.7b43ae397fe9cefeda8fbea0919cea73.JPG

How about a ride on the Hogwarts Express?

004.JPG.a9bc99fea878c1b0d1de10f11e09a082.JPG

Here's Banks from the Orlando Attractions Magazine. He's ready to ride!

005.JPG.f01f5fdef77b9651348d1562092a2044.JPG

This. Is. Awesome!

006.JPG.1ffc9b6f0a58ce15445d76552c512f8f.JPG

Holy cow!

008.JPG.bfc7a8bd4f32f8efb1e879d5f307d2ab.JPG

No detail left ignored!

009.JPG.d8b491abb484ef59e010cca43edf2794.JPG

Good to know!

010.JPG.d791a0f19088307fe37b289ac3e89097.JPG

The locations are tied together because of the train, so you'd naturally see Hogsmeade if everything had worked out as plan.

011.JPG.73c66240486c85ddea91a62e9416cd0f.JPG

I'm all over this!

012.JPG.87f40016b65fffb302f6f0e7038bcf0e.JPG

Can't stop staring at this!

013.JPG.62593aeedb42c4dbc1674554f94cb98f.JPG

Be sure to check our Gringotts before the stanchions go up in the queue.

014.JPG.71d586c7a5670d833115496cb83c91e4.JPG

Looks incredible!

015.JPG.1a2d448bebfe8be2cd86fdec795664bb.JPG

Even better than the ones in the queue for Forbidden Journey.

Edited by jedimaster1227
Link to post
Share on other sites

All I can say is... wow

This looks like one of the most immersive and well-executed theme park areas of all time! Unbelievable!

Is the entrance to the Hogwarts Express themed to 'running through the wall' like in the books?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Admittedly, there isn't much that I completely geek out at these days. But I am fairly freaked out at the photo TR. Thanks for the great summary!! I didn't have any immediate plans to visit Orlando this year, but I think this TR is a game changer for me. I've GOT to see this in person!! <3

Link to post
Share on other sites

To sum up the coaster vs. simulator/dark ride question for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (as I currently figure it based on my one ride last night)... It is basically an advanced dark ride with coaster segments and thrown into the mix. The coaster segments are unique because of "breakaway" track segments, which I won't spoil at this time. The ride has spinning motions, which no one has really talked about yet. I've only done one full ride so I'm still working on figuring it all out and will detail it more after I ride it again today.

 

The best way I can sum it up right now is, a little bit of Mummy, a little bit of Spiderman, a strange hint of Poseidon's Fury and LOTS of huge 3-D screens.

 

As for the brick wall effect for Platform 9 3/4, it is a really fun but simple effect that you as the person going through won't really experience, but the guests behind you will. The effect uses Pepper's Ghost to simulate you walking through the wall.

Edited by jedimaster1227
Link to post
Share on other sites

WOW! I am really hoping there will be Passholder Previews because I don't want to wait any longer!!! Does anyone know how much the interactive wands will cost? The regular wands cost like $30 so I can only imagine how much I will be spending at this new world

Link to post
Share on other sites

While I doubt I'll be spending any cash on "interactive wands," I do admit that Diagon Alley looks very impressive. And even though I'm not a big fan of the Harry Potter stuff, I'm in favor of anything that means spectacular new attractions at any park.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use https://themeparkreview.com/forum/topic/116-terms-of-service-please-read/