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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

p. 623 - New Epic Universe details, including Celestial Park!

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Nice pics of the progress on London! I thought the double decker busses were red, though. Kinda odd to see it in purple.

 

It's the Knight Bus from the books/films a triple decker bus that is indeed Purple. Wizarding public transportation through London.

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Hi everyone! I am going to be in Orlando for this August for the annual Zumba Instructor convention and I have 1 extra day that I am planning on spending at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. I will be there Monday Aug 19th and I had a couple questions. Will I have enough time to ride all the major rides in that one day? should I get an Express Pass? I am a single rider which leads to my next question, do they have single rider lines? Are the rates the have online the best or do they have cheaper coupons in stores in town? Do you have any suggestions on a hotel near by? Im at the Hilton on I-Drive across from the convention centre, but my roomies are all heading back on the 17th so I will need to book a single room for the night. I don't know if The Hilton is close to the park or not since I've never been to Florida before. Any other general tips would be good to. I'm very excited to ride my first B&M

 

August 19th is still "summer", so the park will be busy, especially with the HP expansion opening up. I would reccomend Express Pass unless the rides youre trying to hit is somewhat limited.

 

Hulk, Spider-Man, Dr Doom, Jurassic Park, Forbidden Journey, and possibly Dudley Do Right at IOA have single rider. They do sometimes close the single rider line if it becomes too long though, so this is not necessarily a guarantee.

Over at Universal, Mummy, HRRR, Transformers, Men in Black, and possibly the new Gringotts coaster have single rider (again, subject to availability).

 

While single rider lines help, its not as beneficial as Express Pass. Last summer when Transformers opened to 2 hr+ waits, single rider often took over an hour to get through. If you have a limited wishlist, then you *may* be able to get a full day's worth without Express, but to see all the major attractions it will be impossible without Express. Definitely make a point to do Spider-Man, Hulk, Dragon Challenge, Forbidden Journey, Gringotts, Mummy, Men in Black, Rip Ride Rockit, and Transformers!

 

As for hotels, check the Double Tree on Kirkman Road. Its literally right across the street from property and can sometimes have low rates. Hope this helps!

Thanks for the info!

I was unsure of the single riders since I know they vary park to park. I will get the Express Pass as I don't want to miss anything. I want to get all the coasters, Transformers, Dudley do right and Spiderman for sure. Hopefully re-rides on them if I can manage it. I'm especially looking forward to Dragon Challenge and Hulk!

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It's the Knight Bus from the books/films a triple decker bus that is indeed Purple. Wizarding public transportation through London.

 

I figured as much. It's been years since I read the books so I wasn't 100% on the color. Thanks!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a silly question. Does anyone know if there is going to be some sort of ticket "deal" after May 20th? Before May 20th, you can buy 2 days and get a 3rd day free, but it must be used prior to May 22nd.

 

We are going at about the worst time ever this year (July 27th start date) due to other factors that cannot be changed. We have been there quite a bit, and there was always some sort of deal... Buy 2 days, get a week free, etc which included the year that they opened the first Harry Potter expansion. I know that I will probably just have to wait until it gets closer, but I didn't know if people had any reliable source for such things.

 

We were hoping to do 2 days, but with the prime time of the year and the new expansion, we are thinking that 3 days may be in order. Of course it costs $36 more per ticket (after discounts) to get a park-to-park, which we wouldn't care too much about except to ride the Hogwarts Express, but it seems pricey at $144 for our family of four to be able to ride the train, simulated travel to/from Hogwarts or not...

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I'd expect there to be no deals available for the entirety of the summer, and it would not surprise me to see them increase ticket prices again if this year's additions prove as popular as expected.

 

That said, you may be able to save a bit if you purchase tickets via AAA or Undercover Tourist, or save on other costs like hotel accommodations. I know the Universal on-site hotels often run deals where your per-night rate decreases quite a lot as you book more nights, usually starting with a three-night minimum. Good luck!

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I'd expect there to be no deals available for the entirety of the summer, and it would not surprise me to see them increase ticket prices again if this year's additions prove as popular as expected.

 

That said, you may be able to save a bit if you purchase tickets via AAA or Undercover Tourist, or save on other costs like hotel accommodations. I know the Universal on-site hotels often run deals where your per-night rate decreases quite a lot as you book more nights, usually starting with a three-night minimum. Good luck!

 

Bummer.

 

Yeah, my "after discounts" pricing was based off of Undercover Tourist's "special" pricing on regular tickets (not the buy 2 get 3rd day).

 

Still not sure if the train ride is worth the extra $144 for our family either, but having a park-to-park for the the "3rd" day would possibly be nice. Who knows.

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Although I'm not a big Harry Potter fan (I don't hate the series, though), the work that Universal has done to re-create the environment from the books and movies is pretty impressive.

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Those are great looking animatronics! I hope the queue spends some time in there and you don't just rush through.

 

I would bet just like they have on Forbidden Journey, they will have a way to tour the queue only.

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They look a bit stiff to me. They move to one point then stop immediate, especially the one who turns his head, raises it, then stares at you. Otherwise they look incredible. (Love the one that blinks it's eyes.)

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They look a bit stiff to me. They move to one point then stop immediate, especially the one who turns his head, raises it, then stares at you. Otherwise they look incredible. (Love the one that blinks it's eyes.)

You have to admit that they look quite impressive for Universal standards. This looks like it will be better than Forbidden Jouney's queue!

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^ Well, I still thought that too, so the queue lines and such will still go in there.

 

But it's concept art, so why include all that....clutter?

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They look a bit stiff to me. They move to one point then stop immediate, especially the one who turns his head, raises it, then stares at you. Otherwise they look incredible. (Love the one that blinks it's eyes.)

 

Considering most coasters don't get a queue with theming besides some metal switchbacks and some fans, I'll take a slightly stiff-looking animatronic any day. And knowing how much time Universal expects guests to be waiting in that queue, I think you'll be impressed when you see them in person... Sometimes video just doesn't do justice for what your eyes should be seeing firsthand.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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Official Press Release:

 

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT REVEALS FIRST-EVER DETAILS ABOUT

HARRY POTTER AND THE ESCAPE FROM GRINGOTTS – THE HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED ATTRACTION IN THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER – DIAGON ALLEY

 

Grand Opening Date for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley to be Announced at a Later Date

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 13, 2014) – Today, Universal Orlando Resort revealed details about Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – the revolutionary attraction found in the heart of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. The Grand Opening date for the spectacularly themed environment will be announced at a later date.

 

Imagine being part of the iconic moment from the Harry Potter film series where Harry, Ron and Hermione break into one of the most guarded places in the wizarding world – Gringotts bank – to retrieve a magical object that will help defeat Lord Voldemort. You’ve seen the action on-screen, and now you get to be part of it.

 

Universal’s creative team worked hand-in-hand with Stuart Craig and his production team from the Harry Potter films to immerse guests in this pivotal scene from the final Harry Potter book and film.

 

During an action-packed, fully-immersive journey on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, you will:

- Marvel at the 60-foot, fire-breathing Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon atop Gringotts Wizarding Bank

- Tour Gringotts bank and pass through the marble hall where you’ll see goblins hard at work

- Race through a labyrinth of underground Gringotts vaults

- Encounter the villainous Death Eater, Bellatrix Lestrange, as she attempts to send you to your doom

- Come face to face with He Who Must Not Be Named

- Experience even more mind-blowing moments

 

The multi-dimensional, multi-sensory attraction, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, will revolutionize theme park entertainment. This next generation thrill ride seamlessly integrates a compilation of the most innovative technology ever created, 360-degree themed sets, 4K digital high-definition animation, state-of-the-art 3-D Infitec projection systems and live special effects with beloved characters and breathtaking moments from the Harry Potter books and films.

 

“Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts will change the way you think about theme park attractions,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative. “We’ve created an entirely new type of ride that propels guests into the story like never before, and guests will remember it long after their visit to Diagon Alley.”

 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley will bring even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life. The new area will double the size of the sweeping land already found at Universal Orlando, expanding the spectacularly themed environment across both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Inside the land, guests will enjoy themed shops, dining experiences and the groundbreaking thrill ride – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

For additional information about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit http://www.UniversalOrlando.com/WizardingWorld.

 

NEW VIDEOS!

 

 

And check out this video, too!

 

 

Another article: http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/blog/2014/05/death-eaters-dragons-goblins-your-insider-guide-to.html?page=all

 

Trolls, dragons, Death Eaters and He Who Must Not Be Named!

 

Have I got your attention? Well, those are some of the things Universal Orlando Resort guests will see on the new Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley.

 

I talked to Universal Creative's Thierry Coup on what guests can expect on the main ride at the upcoming expansion — which has yet to reveal its summer opening date, but will provide a key economic boost to Central Florida's $50 billion tourism and travel industry.

 

"Gringotts, I always said after watching the first film, was a ride waiting to happen. Everybody would say we had to do a ride on this," he told me.

 

The ride's story kicks off during the events of the final Harry Potter book where (spoilers) Harry, Ron and Hermione are searching the labyrinths — sans creepy David Bowie — of Gringotts Wizarding Bank to find a tool, called a "Horcrux," to defeat Lord Voldemort.

 

It just happens Muggle guests — that's you and me — are entering the marble halls of Gringotts at the same time looking to open new accounts when we are thrown into the mix of a magical battle between Harry and his friends and tons of dangers. That includes a 60-foot, fire-breathing Ukranian Ironbelly dragon atop the bank.

 

"You will run into some serious trouble because [Death Eater] Bellatrix Lestrange finds out there are imposters trying to impersonate her and trouble starts. That's when we are sent deeper into the lower parts of Gringotts under London, and we run into security trolls, dragons, Bellatrix and, eventually, the dark Lord Voldemort," Coup said.

 

The dark coaster ride takes about four minutes and each car fits 12 people. However, he said the experience starts in the pre-show where guests will interact and see the goblins of Gringotts working hard at counting the contents of their vaults.

 

In addition, guests will see a marriage of animatronics and special effects, 360-degree themed sets, cutting-edge digital animation and 3-D projections all together at once in the ride to truly understand the magic Harry and his friends experienced in the movies.

 

The opening date for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has yet to be announced, but it is expected to happen sometime this June and will have a major economic return for tourism businesses.

 

And yet another article:

 

Slashfilm also has a VERY interesting article with a few more details:

http://www.slashfilm.com/harry-potter-and-the-escape-from-gringotts-secrets/#more-232795

 

I took note of this part, though:

The Unexpected Second Ride in This Attraction: The Gringotts Elevators

 

The Gringotts ride is not the only ride guests will take inside this attraction. Guests will board a set of elevators which will take them down “30,000 feet to the subterranean Gringotts vaults.” Gilmore says these elevators are a ride in themselves:

 

Thats a very cool trick that Universal has designed with the filmmakers — where you actually ride elevators. They are really cool elevators, and thats a really cool show in its own right. You arrive in a little station in the caverns where you board your car.

That description of the elevators and the boarding area could be word for word how I would describe Journey to the Center of the Earth at Tokyo DisneySea. Not that that's a bad thing, but I guess I hope it plays out a bit more "original" and different than that, you know?

 

And Universal now seems to be backing off on calling it a "roller coaster"

Don’t Call It a Roller Coaster — Its a Completely New Ride System

 

12 guests will board a car on tracks for the four-minute long Harry Potter and Escape from Gringotts ride, but Universal Orlando officials are refusing to call the attraction a “roller coaster.”

 

Its a new system, it replicates the tracks below Gringotts from the movie — you feel like you’re on those tracks spiraling around. Because the ride is fully 3D, the scenery is very big in this one, the 3D screens are much bigger than normal, so its a new way to pass through a ride. Its a whole new system. You can go very quickly. You go various speeds, and there are scenes and you pick up many moments from the story. When you’re going at high speeds it can be very exciting. The whole thing is quite new.

 

The ride also features new projector technology and a nearly 360-degree screen which will help immerse riders in the story at one point.

 

And apparently Universal have released the height restriction for the ride: 42" aimed at being a little more of a "family ride" than Forbidden Journey.

hp1.jpg.b51615bb478a374b0a9d588281f2e5ee.jpg

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts — the signature attraction found in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando — will open this summer.

hp2.jpg.78e8195cba0f9842844a2f01f74e0e82.jpg

The ride, which takes guests through the underground labyrinths of Gringotts, lasts four minutes and will seat up to 12 people.

hp3.jpg.fbf5afae88680dc5a6b3242af3f8171c.jpg

Guests will come face-to-face with dragons, maybe even that Ukranian Ironbelly that's perched above the bank's exterior.

hp4.jpg.8e3754340f7fd0606479d14bb322cf2f.jpg

Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange isn't going to let us get away with trying to bring an end to her master, Lord Voldemort.

hp5.jpg.795bbbfc4a9ed87ebed13d5bf2c511fc.jpg

Universal Orlando will also be able to show off the detail of its Gringotts goblins animatronics, which are pretty realistic.

hp6.jpg.772b49f1b320a78edb70016fcd0cd15f.jpg

Guests will interact with goblins as they are there to help the Muggles open up accounts.

hp7.thumb.jpg.b2bd88093da4da61cb916b28de955c57.jpg

So what is your policy if I plan to close my Gringotts account? Oh, I get to meet that dragon? Gotcha, no thanks.

potter.jpg.dd0042e5300a44723f3c6efc0a60b673.jpg

potter2.thumb.jpg.9adbe4b779f19f6b88fbf9700a094345.jpg

potter4.thumb.jpg.7171203ebd1479a771d0dca01d85b9a8.jpg

986802227_HPandtheEscapefromGringotts2.thumb.jpg.cbc80a3a027c8e2ffe74290a73f30e4b.jpg

Higher Res Version of the ride vehicle.

Edited by robbalvey
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