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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

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

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Heading to both parks in 2 weeks, so I have a quick question, I've read and heard about all the "loose article Nazi's", but which rides/ attractions are they at? Just Hulk and HRRR?


As far as I know just those two but I believe they just recently loosened their stance on this policy and allow stuff in sealed pockets.

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Universal Orlando has just announced their Mardi Gras 2015 line up:




The lineup, subject to change, includes


Feb. 7 -- Olivia Newton-John

Feb. 14 -- Jessie J

Feb. 15 -- Barenaked Ladies

Feb. 21 -- Kelly Clarkson

Feb. 28 -- Heart

March 7 -- Trace Adkins

March 13 -- To be announced

March 14 -- Styx

March 15 -- American Authors

March 20 -- Becky G

March 21 -- Yandel

March 22 -- B-52s

March 28 -- To be announced

April 4 -- All-American Rejects

April 11 -- The Band Perry

April 18 -- Trey Songz

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Heading to both parks in 2 weeks, so I have a quick question, I've read and heard about all the "loose article Nazi's", but which rides/ attractions are they at? Just Hulk and HRRR?


As far as I know just those two but I believe they just recently loosened their stance on this policy and allow stuff in sealed pockets.


thank you, hopefully it stays that way

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Also, Did Universal sign Barenaked Ladies to some 5 year deal? Seems like they are always there every year.


They must have some sort of agreement. Barenaked Ladies have 2 songs that play in the San Francisco music loop, a song in the Christmas music loop, and, like you said, several appearances at Mardi Gras. That's more consistency with park projects than any other artist. Maybe they're just very agreeable, but yeah it definitely seems like Universal and the Ladies have some sort of deal.

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^BNL was at Mardi Gras during the same President's Day weekend last year and I bet they will be around the same time next year.


I must say the caliber of the bands has much improved over the years. Before, it used to be bands that made you say "Huh, they are still alive?" The Pointer Sisters gave me that sort of reaction.

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I must say the caliber of the bands has much improved over the years. Before, it used to be bands that made you say "Huh, they are still alive?"


That was my reaction when Grand Funk Railroad used to play at BGW every year.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This weekend Theme Park Review was invited to cover the third annual Harry Potter Celebration at the Universal Orlando Resort. Spanning both parks, the event offered special panels featuring stars from the films, notable artists from the franchise and exhibits that were exclusive to the event weekend. A special Expo space was set up with mini offerings from other locations and companies that work with the Harry Potter franchise as well. Costumes were welcomed at the event and were definitely seen over the course of the three days.




Here they come!


Michael Gambon drove on stage in one of the actual Ford Anglia's used in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.


I started out my weekend of the Harry Potter Celebration with the opening ceremony featuring the first appearances of the Phelps Twins (Fred and George Weasely), Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore) and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) at the event.


The opening ceremony was followed by a brief Q&A session in which fans could ask their favorite stars questions about the films and beyond...


They had lots of great insight to share about their experiences and all agree that they wish more films would be made for Harry's storyline so that they could reprise their roles further.


There were LOTS of people here to see the stars...


There would be many more times getting to see these actors throughout the rest of the weekend...


It wouldn't be a kickoff event without confetti!


They next served us Warm Butterbeer, which one team member described as "angel tears from heaven."


We had a private Q&A with the stars in which more questions were asked... Michael Gambon admitted that he had no intention of riding Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts during this visit, claiming that four years ago when he visited, he rode Dragon Challenge and nearly died.


How often do you get to see Diagon Alley empty?


John looks totally in awe of the Leaky Cauldron!


Trying out the Dragon Scale Brew at the Leaky Cauldron...


I've got a whole Ploughman's Platter for Two... For myself!


Time to explore Diagon Alley a bit, starting with my favorite corner of Knockturn Alley!


The way this moving poster effect is done is incredible!


Over by Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit near Twister, the Expo was set up for guests to enjoy indoors.


Costumes from the four House Founders of Hogwarts used in the creation of the portrait room in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey were on display, courtesy of Universal Orlando.


Guests could get copies of the eight books with signatures from Kazu Kibuishi, the illustrator behind the new Harry Potter book art.


There were lots of props from the films on display throughout the Expo space.


The Making of Harry Potter - Warner Brothers Studio Tour London had this nice photo op available for guests to enjoy...


One of the costumes used in the films...


The photo experience allowed guests to take photos in iconic Harry Potter scenes of their choice.


A full, 360 degree look at the Expo space. Zoom in for closer detail.


All of the Horcruxes that kept Voldemort alive were kept in this display case.


The Ford Anglia's was moved into the Expo space after Michael Gambon's entrance the day before.


Some neat costumes from the latter films were on display as well.


There were a decent number of cosplayers throughout the event as well.


The commemorative print for this year's event...


And last year's print...


Minaoima had a display showing off their design work in the film, most notably their design of the look of The Daily Prophet wizard newspaper.


Some of their work can be seen here...


The Harry Potter Muggle Wall in the Expo served as a canvas for Harry Potter fans to share what the franchise means to them.


Here is a copy of Dumbledore's Desk as seen in the queue for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.


Some more props from throughout the two Wizarding World of Harry Potter lands at Universal Orlando.


Imagine what Bill Paxton could do with a Twister in a jar!


The Sorting Hat Experience allowed me to be sorted into a Hogwarts house... I ended up with Gryffindor!


Next up was a private presentation with Kazu Kabuishi, the artist behind the new designs on the recently re-published Harry Potter books.


We were able to watch him design a backdrop for a piece of art he would be making live on stage later that day for guests. This was all done using Adobe Photoshop.


The artist with his work!


While in Diagon Alley, it was nice to be able to take advantage of the single rider line for Harry Potter and the Excape from Gringotts.


Guests of the Harry Potter Celebration this weekend were fortunate to be graced with some beautiful Florida weather!


Touring all of Diagon Alley, it is easy to forget about the hidden gems like the Gringotts Bank teller in the Gringotts Exchange that interacts with you during your time in the shop.


Similar to Disney Dollars you can actually buy Gringotts Bank Notes from the Gringotts Exchange. They can be used as currency throughout Universal Orlando or kept as souvenirs to take home.


Consider me a fan of Fishy Green Ale... Particularly the blueberry boba tea-style balls at the bottom of the drink.


Tried the Cornish Pasties for breakfast and they were delicious! I highly recommend them as a snack to share!


I never turn down an opportunity to see the Tale of the Three Brothers acted out on stage in Carkitt Market!


The props in this show are incredible!


Throughout the weekend I was able to ride the Hogwarts Express several times between the parks... And it continues to impress!


Such a neat experience!


The lines for regular guests to enjoy the Expo topped 120 minutes. Guests who booked vacation packages for the event were given priority access to bypass those lines.


The stars frequently stopped by the Expo lines to meet guests and sign autographs as a surprise.


The entrance to the Expo space...


It was nice to see the Frog Choir over at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade. I don't get to spend much time over here normally, so it was a nice experience to revisit for the first time in a while.


I will never be able to get over who amazing this looks from this view.


The place that started it all.


The Three Broomsticks will always be the Enchanted Oak Tavern to me.


Interesting to Hogsmeade Station next to Hogsmeade Station...


The new Hogsmeade Station was build between Dragon Challenge and Sinbad and provides a different vantage point for the ride that could not previously be enjoyed.


I stopped back into the Music Plaza to catch The Making of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter discussion featuring Alan Gilmore, Michael Aiello and Patrick Braillard.


Sadly Michael Aiello confirmed that it is not expected at this time that an album of the music of "Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees" is not expected to be released anytime soon.


Short waits make taking an extra ride on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts even more tempting.


Such a neat ride, technologically!


The vault elevators are like the old Hydrolators on crack!


Such a great place to enjoy at night!


I'll never get tired of seeing this!


What a view!


I never turn down an opportunity to stroll through Knockturn Alley.


Borgin & Burkes is the shop for dark wizards...


The Fountain of Fair Fortune is one of many locations where you can order a Butterbeer.


Wrapping up the event with a little more Tim in Diagon Alley...


A view to close to... Thanks again to Universal Orlando for hosting us for the third annual Harry Potter Celebration at the Universal Orlando Resort! We can't wait until next year!

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Great coverage of an awesome event! It was my first time attending this celebration and we had a blast. All of the special events and actor interactions were very fun. My favorite part was having both areas of the parks pretty dead that first night and of course all the butterbeer you could drink (loved the warm version). Finally got to get on Gringotts, and loved it! Especially not having to wait.


I do have a question though, we went and rode Rip Ride Rockit a few times that weekend and noticed they had changed out at least one song. We found Happy by Pharrell Williams in the pop genre. Although it's not every seat, I was sitting next to my wife and she found it and I could not, and vise versa the next time we rode. I wasn't aware they added songs to the regular list but very happy they did, were there more that we missed? Thanks!

Edited by BBparks57
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^^It is funny you mention that because we heard "Happy" on our last ride of the weekend playing in the background of the songs we chose... It was very strange for sure. I'd be curious to see if it appears as an option the next time I ride. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who noticed this!

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Haha it could have been us listening to it...although I think we passed you as we were getting off. Let me know if you hear of any others, I can't seem to find anything about it on any other sites. Also, I was very impressed with the size of (Kong?) I really wasn't expecting that large of a building!

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They next served us Warm Butterbeer, which one team member described as "angel tears from heaven."


That sounds amazing!


It looks like it's a well put together event! Thanks for all the pictures!


Is it as good as room-temperature Guinness?

Edited by cfc
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They next served us Warm Butterbeer, which one team member described as "angel tears from heaven."


No, that's Diet Coke. That's their code phrase to try and get someone to sneak some of the greatest liquid ever invented into a land where it is forbidden.


This looked like a great event for fans of this series. I understood absolutely none of this, but I understand this isn't my sort of thing. I still want a Game Of Thrones land.



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  • coasterbill changed the title to Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

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