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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 623: Universal's Mardi Gras 2023 details announced!

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^Hmm--let's see: The Harry Potter series involves wizards, giant spiders and other monsters, ghosts, guys called "Deatheaters," and an all-powerful villain who looks a lot like the Bat Boy.



Yes, it should be clear to anyone that this has nothing to do with Halloween.


Its JK Rowling's doing. The first time Universal courted her, they took her to an HHN event...only to be greeted by someone puking right before them. JK Rowling isnt a fan of the event or its party-like atmosphere, and Im sure she will never sign off on having her baby used for HHN.


So I understand. But this is going to close off a sizable portion of the park for Horror Night. I wonder how Universal will cope with the crowds. I find it ironic that JK Rowling's dislike of the "party-like atmosphere" at HHN could actually make the situation worse.


Yeah I hear you. But its really not that big a chunk of land theyre closing off. In the past, the space occupied by Diagon has been construction (for the last two years) or a humongous attraction that people couldnt walk through and whos capacity has been made up for by Transformers. So I dont think itll be a crowding issue, and with the London waterfront now open it will be less of a dead zone than the previous two years. True, its a pretty big waste of potential revenue to have a widely-attended event miss out on a brand new area that brings in gobs of money but Jk Rowling has Universal by the cahones. Also, HHN's audience isnt really there to ride Harry Potter rides, and even then they can just as easily do so before the event starts with less crowding.

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People are currently lined up outside of the King's Cross Station based on a rumor that the Hogwarts Express will soft open tonight... (My friend is there right now sending me the photos.)





Edited by jedimaster1227
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Check out these videos of the new Diagon Alley,


Some of the cast of Harry potter getting a sneak preview inside diagon alley, it looks awesome!








Animatronic Kreacher house elf peeks from Diagon Alley window at Universal Orlando



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So the pathways in Diagon Alley do not look quite as narrow as I expected, but is that really how wide the entrance to it is??? I knew they wanted to make it realistic to the book, but that is quite a choke point! And I am not talking about the brick archway effect, I am talking about the opening behind them in this photo:


Edited by ernierocker
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So the pathways in Diagon Alley do not look quite as narrow as I expected, but is that really how wide the entrance to it is??? I knew they wanted to make it realistic to the book, but that is quite a choke point! And I am not talking about the brick archway effect, I am talking about the opening behind them in this photo:

I think there are two opening like this, in each side of the wall. Coming from London, they took the left one and there's another one to the right.



Is anyone here can confirm the Hogwart Express was designed by Doppelmayr?

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Those videos look great. We'll absolutely be heading back to Orlando next year specifically for this... usually we go on vacation to a new place each year but since Harry Potter 1 was so awesome we're not going to miss out on Harry Potter 2. I should just give Universal my credit card, debit card and pin number to save everyone time.

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I saw Jimmy Fallon last night and am even more excited for the new Diagon Alley at Universal. There is a new youtube video that shows the magic windows and casting spells! I will be at the park tomorrow. I'm sure they will announce the opening day later this week but do you think there will be any passholder previews like they did for Transformers?? The detail in this new land is incredible and can't wait any longer for it to open!


Here is the video with the magic windows and cast spelling!



Here is information about the new interactive wands!




Wands at the ready!


As a self-proclaimed Potter super-fan (I’m a Ravenclaw, if you were curious), there’s nothing I wanted to do more than cast a spell after watching the Harry Potter films. And now, I finally can!


With the correct incantations and motions, you’ll be able to cast spells throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with new Interactive Wands that you can purchase from Ollivanders wand shops in both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. You’ll also get a map that marks all the locations throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter where you can put your new wand to use.


Pick up an Interactive Wand at a store in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, then look for bronze medallions embedded in the street that mark the various shop windows where you can cast spells. Once you’re there, just perform the correct spell and watch the magic come to life.


With a simple swish and flick, you can levitate a feather quill at Scribbulus…


Use a Silencing Charm to quiet the maddening song of the Fwooper bird at Magical Menagerie…


And light all the lamps and chandeliers in Flimflam’s Lanterns window…


We couldn’t think of anyone better to show us these incredible new Interactive Wands than cast members from the Harry Potter films – check out this video to see James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley) and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) try out the Interactive Wands for the first time in Diagon Alley.

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I wonder how much the wands cost...


We were there last year as well as the year that they opened the Harry Potter stuff at IOA, my youngest bought a couple of wands then, and I can only imagine that these things will be pricey. The logical side of me says that we already have a couple of wands, and we don't need another, but my youngest (who is now 15) may think otherwise.

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I feel like this is going to disastrous with all these people in such a compact area.


It's set up so they'll be able to limit the amount of people who will be allowed into the area. They'll have a maximum occupancy and they'll abide by it by limiting access.

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So I'm here for the Universal Orlando Media/VIP Week going on to highlight The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, along with the grand opening of Universal and Loew's newest hotel, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort. The event will be covering many aspects of the resort's recent (and possibly future) developments, but will definitely have a focus on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter's latest expansion, that will double the size of the Harry Potter presence at the resort, in addition to linking the two parks together via an immersive transportation/attraction experience.


Along with getting to experience all of this, Theme Park Review was invited to stay at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort in order to experience firsthand all that the newest hotel property on-site has to offer!


The lobby has a very retro feel to it and I love it!


This is gorgeous!


The Swizzle Lounge will likely be a stop for me later this week...


Even the Universal Gift Shop got the retro treatment!


Retro branded candies! My head's about to explode!!!


So snazzy!


That's right folks. You can get your Starbucks cravings satisfied without leaving the hotel. I just wish they had a Teavana to go with it for us non-coffee drinkers.


The Starbucks pays tribute to Florida history with its unique mermaid murals, inspired by the original Weeki Wachee mermaids from back in the day...




Galaxy Bowl is actually modeled after the bowling alley from the Big Lebowski, if you'd believe it.


Come check it out!


I'm a staircase fanatic... This one is quite nice.


The Cabana Bay Beach Resort is also home to the world's first Jake LaLanne Physical Fitness Studio.


A tribute to the man, the myth, the legend...


You can even see him from back in his heyday while working out in the studio!


Arcade fans will surely love the Game-O-Rama arcade's selection!


The Bayliner Diner is a huge quick service dining venue open for lunch and dinner at the resort!


They even have ICEE service here!


Like an old-style drive in, there are movies on the lawn in the evenings at Cabana Bay Beach.


So nifty!


A sand play area for the family.


Looking back towards the lobby building...


There's a fire pit for cold nights and warm smores.


Cabanas are available for rent near the Cabana Bay Beach Resort's main pool... Go figure.


I love the inclusion of real sand surrounding the pool area!


There's a water play area for the young'uns.


What could this be?


The pool's waterslide dumps into the pool beneath the faux diving board.


Kudos for the attention to detail!


Very retro. Very awesome!


I'll definitely be visiting this during the week!


Could you guess my reaction when I saw this?


It was something like this.


We were fortunate enough to be hosted in one of the resort's family suites. Here is the living room with the convertible sofa.


Oooh! Goodies!!!


Thank you Universal! Looking forward to all that is in store for the week!


A look at the main bedroom.


And looking back. Notice that the divider can be used to split off the living room from this one.


Kudos for attention to detail and history!


I can't wait to see what Universal has in store for us over the next few days!

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I like how the gift basket at the end had something for each of the new attractions opened over the last few years, nice touch. Can't wait to see Diagon Alley in person looking forward to the media coverage. Hoping to swing a weekend trip late September for HHN and to see Diagon Alley.

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Love the shout out to The Big Lebowski!


"You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude!"


Gawd, I haven't see bottles of Alberto VO 5 or bars of Zest soap since I was a kid.

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The Universal Orlando Media Week continued today with a sampling of items from three of CityWalk's newest dining venues, along with a look ahead at The Cowfish. The day concluded with a viewing of Blue Man Group, a show I hadn't seen since 2009, which had since been updated with new bits, new music and a very different finale.


Nothing says welcome like three men on stilts!


Eric and I were ready to party it up!


Eric was ready to indulge in some "World Famous Hot Dogs."


I know I'm not the only fan of Fat Tuesdays here... My advice? Go for the Rum Runner/Cat. 5 Hurricane mix!


The VP of CityWalk came up to introduce some special guests...


The owners of The Cowfish came up to express their excitement over sharing the concept of "Burgushi" with Orlando very soon!


Steve Schussler, the man behind Rainforest Cafe, T-Rex and Aquarium, came up to speak about his latest concept, Hot Dog Hall of Fame. He also took the time to announce a new product that the quick service window will be selling when it opens: "Paint Your Own Weiner!"


No, I'm not making this up. This is a real thing.


The Cowfish had unique touch screens out for play testing that will be featured in the restaurant when it opens. The tables include interactive games, news updates and the ability to interact with the restaurant dining team if needed. The game available to experience today was a "Create a Fish" experience that would allow you to design your own sea creature and drop it into a virtual fish tank above when complete.


Of course I would choose to make a dastardly shark with an iPhone. Because, well... Who wouldn't?


Despite the fact that The Cowfish is not near completion upstairs, Vivo has opened downstairs for the public to enjoy.


The inside is reminiscent of the same approach taken with the design of Antojitos. Unique bar spaces integrated with lots of theming around the booths, ceiling and floor.


You can actually see the chef working on making fresh pasta along with preparing fresh cheeses.


The mirror is such a brilliant design feature!


Hi Elissa!


These were bliss. But I'll get back to them momentarily.


We each got a souvenir apron to take home!


Vivo makes some incredible clams! I'll definitely be ordering these during my next visit!


This gnocchi was heavenly!


The Fiochetti with gorgonzola and pear, walnuts, brown butter and salt were INCREDIBLE!


This is the start of a beautiful friendship...


Those Fontina-stuffed Risotto Croquettes? Sheer bliss!


I love the continuous theme of spaghetti strands flowing throughout the restaurant!


Who here is ready for some hot dogs from the Hot Dog Hall of Fame?


There will be nine initial hot dog types available but Steve Schussler expects that new menu items will be tested and added in the coming years.


I just can't get over this!


Looks fantastic!


The Hot Dog Hall of Fame options will be very reasonably priced!


Time to head into one of my favorite places in Orlando...


It wouldn't be a visit to Antojitos without tequila!


Esquites Asados on a spoon? YES PLEASE!


This looks incredible even when raw...


It tasted incredible once it was cooked!


The BBQ Shrimp Tacos are among the restaurant's more unique menu items.


Time for something near and dear to my heart...


Can you guess?


That's right! Universal treated us to a showing of Blue Man Group! I was thrilled to see the show and its new additions after over three years of not having seen it!


Blue Man Group was an incredible cap off for a fantastic first day! With tomorrow's schedule filled to the brim we'll certainly have more updates for you in the coming hours!

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