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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

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

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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

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^By that logic, anyone who stays at a deluxe WDW resort would never visit any of Disney's waterparks because they already have a nice pool and water slide on their property. You can't compare a full size water park to a resorts pool. Sure, someone doing Orlando on the cheap might limit their water activities to the pool...but to the people planning their ultimate vacation, an extra $30 isn't going to break their bank. In fact, offering the park as quasi-exclusive might convince someone to stay at UO vs. all the other hotels/resorts around.

 

 

We just stayed at Wilderness and Animal Kingdom just a few days ago. We went to Typhoon Lagoon once when we deemed it warm enough(low 70s). You can't compare a well executed water park to even the swankiest resort pool if you love water and water rides. We enjoyed both resorts' pools but they are not Typhoon Lagoon, not by a country mile.

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Yesterday the Universal Orlando Resort hosted Theme Park Review for its annual Mardi Gras media preview featuring great food, fantastic music, a headliner act and lots of fun! This year's event changed it up a little bit with a new order for the parade floats, new performers for the concert lineup and more...

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This year's Mardi Gras sports a huge lineup of performers for all tastes, including some of the biggest names in the music industry.

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But most importantly... Mardi Gras has some amazing food!

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Okay... So the food excites me more than anything. But when you can see the steam flowing off of it, you know it is fresh!

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Quality beignets to be had!

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The year's signature drink is Voodoo Juice, a combination of fruit punch and rum... And we love it!

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There is no shortage of costumed performers at Mardi Gras!

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Photo ops aplenty here!

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Just hanging out with Orlando Attractions Magazine and Big Fat Panda John!

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Give us vuvuzelas and Eric and I will make music... It may be terrible music, but it is music nonetheless.

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As we exited the tasting lounge, we were met by more performers...

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Next up, an authentic New Orleans band paraded us through the park for the guests to see... It was insanely awesome to experience!

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We stopped off at the Mardi Gras French Quarter Courtyard to wrap up the show...

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Live bands perform on this stage during Mardi Gras (the bigger acts like Kelly Clarkson are hosted on the Music Plaza Stage near Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit! in the evening) and this stage also hosts the Blues Brothers in the earlier part of the day.

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The King and Queen of Mardi Gras can be found throughout the event.

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The French Quarter Courtyard features some fantastic New Orleans cuisine cooked and served up fresh, right before your eyes!

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A mainstay of the annual events at Universal is the return of the Psychic Readers and Henna Tattoos.

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Such a fun place to walk around!

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The Mardi Gras parade stilt-walkers roam the New York streets before the parade for photo ops with guests.

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Each costume is totally unique...

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Can't get enough of the French Quarter Courtyard!

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The park takes on a vibrant Mardi Gras atmosphere once the sun goes down, with added lighting, decor and music to help set the mood!

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Time for the parade to begin!

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It is always impressive to see just how big the Mardi Gras parade floats really are.

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All of the Universal Mardi Gras parade floats were designed by Kern Studios, the same studio that has produced the floats for the actual New Orleans Mardi Gras since 1932.

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These floats look amazing at night!

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One of my favorites!

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The Dia de Los Muertos float has to be seen in person to truly appreciate it... The levels of detail hidden within it can only be seen up close!

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Another gorgeous float...

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The lighting on this float (added last year) continues to impress a year later.

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Here is another favorite of mine, for a few reasons...

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1. Creepy dolphin.

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2. Universal's tribute to TPR's Elissa... TH ELISSA.

 

 

(This one is probably not what I think it is.)

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So much to see!

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The Bourbon Street float has some of the best lighting out of all of the floats in the parade!

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And the giant gator float (three float-lengths long) closes out the parade this year!

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The headliner of the Mardi Gras concert series for the night was Kelly Clarkson, the original American Idol!

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She performed with a sizable band and they rocked the stage!

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Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this...

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But thanks to Universal Orlando, we didn't have to!

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Special thanks to the Universal Orlando Resort for hosting us at Mardi Gras 2015! We'll definitely be returning for more food, drinks, atmosphere and concerts as the event runs on select nights through April 18th. Be sure to check it out this season while you can!

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^By that logic, anyone who stays at a deluxe WDW resort would never visit any of Disney's waterparks because they already have a nice pool and water slide on their property.

 

If we're going to compare to Disney World, WDW doesn't allow pool hopping.

 

You can't compare a full size water park to a resorts pool.

 

Depends on how big this full size water park turns out to be when the attractions are actually announced. Having a really cool lazy river would be nice. You know who would have one for free? Cabana Bay, and regardless of which UO resort I stay at, I can use it. Maybe they kill pool hopping to encourage use of the water park. They might do that! And my excitement for a new water park if I end up with both A) no poolhopping B) no more Wet N'Wild is gonna be super low. I say this as a guest who has favored Uni over Disney in recently years as my Orlando amusement resort of choice.

 

I'm not saying it's a lock they will leave Wet'N'Wild open, but I don't think it's a sure thing at this point with UO trying to grow as a resort.

 

I would love for it to stay open, and until I hear it is closing I'm just going to hope it doesn't.

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Depends on how big this full size water park turns out to be when the attractions are actually announced. Having a really cool lazy river would be nice. You know who would have one for free? Cabana Bay, and regardless of which UO resort I stay at, I can use it. Maybe they kill pool hopping to encourage use of the water park. They might do that! And my excitement for a new water park if I end up with both A) no poolhopping B) no more Wet N'Wild is gonna be super low. I say this as a guest who has favored Uni over Disney in recently years as my Orlando amusement resort of choice.

 

I'm still not sure where you are going with the argument having a nice pool at a hotel automatically eliminates the possibility a guest would go to a water park as well.

 

Will some budget minded people pass on a water park ticket because their hotel offers an experience close enough? Sure. But that's such a small segment of the piece of the pie Universal is trying to bring to its property. If I am spending $400/night on a hotel for a holiday weekend vacation (that's how much Portofino Bay is going for on 4th of July weekend), $30 for a water park ticket isn't going to kill me. THAT would be the type of spender Universal would hope to attract *IF* this water park happens to be qausi-exclusive to resort guests.

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^By that logic, anyone who stays at a deluxe WDW resort would never visit any of Disney's waterparks because they already have a nice pool and water slide on their property.

 

If we're going to compare to Disney World, WDW doesn't allow pool hopping.

 

You can't compare a full size water park to a resorts pool.

 

Depends on how big this full size water park turns out to be when the attractions are actually announced. Having a really cool lazy river would be nice. You know who would have one for free? Cabana Bay, and regardless of which UO resort I stay at, I can use it. Maybe they kill pool hopping to encourage use of the water park. They might do that! And my excitement for a new water park if I end up with both A) no poolhopping B) no more Wet N'Wild is gonna be super low. I say this as a guest who has favored Uni over Disney in recently years as my Orlando amusement resort of choice.

 

I'm not saying it's a lock they will leave Wet'N'Wild open, but I don't think it's a sure thing at this point with UO trying to grow as a resort.

 

I would love for it to stay open, and until I hear it is closing I'm just going to hope it doesn't.

 

 

 

I dont get it...are you trying to say that everyone who goes to waterparks doesn't have access to a regular pool? I fail to see how someone staying at Cabana Bay (or has access to Cabana Bay's lazy river) is going to pass up on going to a full-fledged, highly-themed water park with several large-scale slide attractions and a freakin volcano at the centerpiece because there's a free lazy river at Cabana Bay. I mean, can you honestly say that the rides at Wet N Wild or Blizzard Beach are comparable to the dinky slides in the Universal resort pools..?

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I'm still not sure where you are going with the argument having a nice pool at a hotel automatically eliminates the possibility a guest would go to a water park as well.

 

If someone staying at All Star has the option of going to use the Yacht/Beach Club Pool or Boardwalk and so on for free, they're less likely to spend money on a water park. Most of these pool complexes we're discussing are larger than community owned aquatics complexes. I would be surprised if that fact isn't a reason why WDW doesn't allow pool hopping. Universal, of course, does.

 

If I am spending $400/night on a hotel for a holiday weekend vacation (that's how much Portofino Bay is going for on 4th of July weekend), $30 for a water park ticket isn't going to kill me. THAT would be the type of spender Universal would hope to attract *IF* this water park happens to be qausi-exclusive to resort guests.

 

If they charge $30 for a water park ticket, they'd have the cheapest gate in Orlando. And of course they want to attract bigger spenders. But aside from your speculation that it could be a quasi-exclusive water park for resort guests, no one else anywhere that I've seen is suggesting that as a possibility. I don't think it makes a lick of sense, personally. If it did, you'd cut back on the pool amenities to drive people to go to the water park and pay the gate.

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^The $30 price was just a random number I chose. The point is when people are on vacation in Orlando, I am guessing there is a very small percentage of guests who would say "we don't need to check out the water park because we can just go over to another hotel pool for the day instead!" Does anyone really know anybody who WOULD think that? Like, do people really tell their kids "sorry, you can't go to Wet'N'Wild because we're just going to go another one of the hotel pools instead!"

 

I am not saying they will make it quasi-exclusive. My main point is that I think it is way too early to assume anything. That is just one hypothetical option I threw out there since all the speculation that Wet'N'Wild is closing is also just hypothetical at this point too! My personal opinion is it makes perfect sense to make it quasi-exclusive to resort guests (even if that is something as simple as only a few hours exclusive to resort guests before opening to everyone), as Universal is being aggressive in adding hotel rooms and needs as many reasons as possible for guests to chose them over all the other Orlando options.

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Unusual occurence at Universal recently...I have a medical boot on my right foot due to a foot ulcer. It's held onto my foot and ankle with three secure velcro straps. I went to Universal over President's Day weekend and I was able to ride the Hulk, Flight of the Hippogriff, Gringotts, and Mummy without removing it. This past weekend, when I rode the Hulk, I had to remove it before riding. It seems unusual that one week I was able to wear it and the next week I couldn't. I understand the hazards if it becomes loos and flies off my foot. However, saw guests wearing flip flops that held onto their feet with what looked like dental floss and they were able to keep the flip flops on while riding. I would think there is a greater chance of the flip flops flying off than my medical boot. I was also asked to remove it before riding Dragon's Challenge. I can see why I had to take it off on Dragon's Challenge, though. I was not asked to remove the boot when I rode Hollywood Rip Ride and Rockit. I suppose only the inverted coasters have this rule. I removed the boot when asked. It's important to follow the park rules and the Team Members are only doing their job. I did get the front row of the Hulk as a consolidation, though.

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Well, it looks like one of the Comcast execs slipped up today and accidentally announced Kong for Universal Orlando!

http://attractionsmagazine.com/the-rumor-queue-comcast-kongfirms-the-return-of-the-king-kong-to-universal/

 

In a fourth quarter earnings conference call, Comcast CFO Michael J. Angelakis stated the following:

 

“As we continue to invest in attractions, including Harry Potter and Fast and Furious in Hollywood and a King Kong attraction in Orlando, investments in our theme park are driving strong returns.”

 

What are your thoughts on the idea that a once-lost attraction at the resort is now coming back for a re-boot? Wonder if there might be any chance for a Jaws return in the future?

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Well, it looks like one of the Comcast execs slipped up today and accidentally announced Kong for Universal Orlando!

http://attractionsmagazine.com/the-rumor-queue-comcast-kongfirms-the-return-of-the-king-kong-to-universal/

 

In a fourth quarter earnings conference call, Comcast CFO Michael J. Angelakis stated the following:

 

“As we continue to invest in attractions, including Harry Potter and Fast and Furious in Hollywood and a King Kong attraction in Orlando, investments in our theme park are driving strong returns.”

 

What are your thoughts on the idea that a once-lost attraction at the resort is now coming back for a re-boot? Wonder if there might be any chance for a Jaws return in the future?

 

Here's my take on the whole rebooting attractions thing...

 

I think that, for starters, the original Kong didn't ever lose popularity, it was just an unreliable and expensive ride that was eating up money and suffering severe downtime. So while its removal was justified, there was still at least some demand for Kong, which helped motivate the construction of this new Kong ride. But I think the biggest motivating factor was Kong 360's success in Hollywood. Had the original King Kong encounter on the tram tour not burned down and was never replaced, I dont think Orlando Kong would exist. Kong 360 was an easy fix with a guaranteed ROI because it existed as a component to the ever-changing tram tour rather than as a standalone attraction, but I think Hollywood got a lot more attention for it than they had expected. Basically, a quick fix t replace a classic scene on a major attraction ended up proving the popularity and relevance of an older franchise. Thats why Orlando's jumping on it IMO.

 

Will we ever get another Jaws? Only if the demand can be proven. But there are few instances where it's possible to prove a market without breaking the bank first. Maybe if the Jaws scene on the tram tour gets an update and it proves successful then we could see a revival over here. But other than a scenario like that, I personally don't see it. The only other instance I can think of for an old ride coming back is if a remake of an old movie comes out and proves popular (for example, a popular Ghostbusters remake inspiring the return of a Ghostbusters show).

 

Whatever the reason for it, though, this is a very interesting move by the park and one that took me and a lot of others by surprise I think.

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I love Diagon Alley and everything about it...but I do miss Jaws. I know it seemed to lose its popularity and it was a costly attraction, it was probably one of the most unique experiences out there. I really miss that ride. I wish there was a way to have both Diagon Alley and Jaws. If they did a Jaws return...I'm all for it!!!

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^ At least Universal Japan proved that Jaws and Potter could co-exist in the same park! While I realize it's sort of an "apples to oranges" comparison, it's at least nice to see that Jaws was not on the chopping block when it came time to look for places to put the Potter area within the park.

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I love Diagon Alley and everything about it...but I do miss Jaws. I know it seemed to lose its popularity and it was a costly attraction, it was probably one of the most unique experiences out there. I really miss that ride. I wish there was a way to have both Diagon Alley and Jaws. If they did a Jaws return...I'm all for it!!!

 

Jaws has come back for his revenge four times, so never say never. We need a "Jaws Meets Sharknado" attraction.

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