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P. 624: Stella Luna and Terra Nova resort details released!

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For the past two days TPR had the opportunity to be part of the media event for the grand opening of Race Through New York staring Jimmy Fallon. We also got to sample some awesome food from Volcano Bay and experience the attraction and its new virtual queue and entertainment. What a fun filled two days - on to the pictures!

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We are checked in and ready to go! We got an awesome swag bag filled with Jimmy Fallon merchandise including a musical Hashtag the Panda doll!

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We started off with a presentation on Volcano Bay. This artwork really shows the depth of the theming of the park.

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WOW! Look at what it will look like at night. Can't wait to see it in person in just a little over a month!

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This park is going to be PACKED full of slides.

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But also tons of places to relax when you aren't riding!

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We then got to sample some of the unique and interesting offerings for Volcano Bay.

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Of course we start off with the yummy desserts!

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TONS of specialty drinks. Umbrella drinks and sitting under the volcano. Perfect!

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They also will have their own custom brew beer! How cool is that?

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The food looks (and tastes!) phenomenal. This isn't your average water park meal.

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Chicken, shrimp, mahi and more!

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They also will be doing these "Grab and Go" meal containers at all restaurants if you just want something quick!

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Now it is time to check out #FallonRide!

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A test seat is available out front, but it was designed to accommodate most guests.

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NOTED!

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And we enter into 30 Rock (in Orlando!). Lots of history in this building.

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This famous logo will become your guide! It will turn all one color which will match...

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Your ticket! This will tell you when it is time to advance to the next virtual waiting area.

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These display cases of Tonight Show memorabilia are very unique and cross all eras of the show.

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Check out the rest of the fun that we had!

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Even though he is the newest one, Jimmy Fallon has a full case of memorabilia.

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You then proceed up to the second floor where you will enjoy some entertainment while you wait!

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Once your color appears - you grab your "racing goggles" and get ready to ride!

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No photos are allowed inside the ride, but the pre-show video has The Roots rapping the safety instructions. It is awesome!

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The entertainment while you wait to ride is very fun - first you enjoy "The Ragtime Gals" barbershop quartet.

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And of course the beloved HASHTAG THE PANDA!

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Poor bear has to dance when he hears his music. Sometimes he dances so much he collapses.

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You can even meet Hashtag and get your photo with him!

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There are also interactive tables to play on while you wait, here you can send one of Jimmy Fallons "thank you notes".

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TONS of outlets to charge your phone all throughout the waiting area.

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And some fun quick games based on the show!

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The best part was when Hashtag showed us his skills!

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The next day we saw the grand opening ceremony!

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Bright and early! We are ready!

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"The Beat Builders" was a percussion group masquerading as construction workers.

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"Sing It" was an acapella group and they were awesome.. almost time for the big entrance!

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Carson Daly (who remembers TRL on MTV!) is doing a live shoot for the Today Show.

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Jimmy Fallon rolls up on this awesome NY themed float! He got a ticker tape parade!

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His wife and daughters are there as well to help with the ribbon cutting.

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How many of the characters from the Jimmy Fallon show can you name?

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We came back at night to ride again, and Jimmy Fallon surprised the audience. It was amazing!

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He took questions and talked to everyone waiting for about 15 minutes.

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Don't forget to check out the merchandise shop where you can buy a Hashtag the Panda costume!

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You can also get your "Tight Pants"

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And of course shirts from his character "Sarah" who says EW!

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We then got to finish out our night seeing Jason Derulo do his musical number for the Tonight Show with a HUGE crowd!

Edited by robbalvey
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Great report, thanks! We got down there to ride it during soft openings and thought it was great! Loved everything about it, especially the waiting area with the entertainment. Looking forward to doing it again soon.

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You can also get your "Tight Pants"

 

Hmm--definitely one souvenir I will not be buying.

 

-I would pay to see you in those, Chuck.

 

Oh, you would pay most dearly, indeed.

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Rode the Fallon ride today. I agree with most people here that it's a bit of a mess and is yet another 3d movie ride.

 

But what I really wanted to mention was the virtual queue experience. I got there around 4pm and used Express Pass to just walk right in but apparently they had run out of virtual queue times around 1pm today. So there was a constant huge crowd of people by the entrance who wanted to ride but couldn't and the team members were continuously yelling at the crowd that "This is for virtual queue and express pass only. There is no standby. Come back at 9pm if you want to try to ride." Some guests would wander away while others kept asking questions about why they were not allowed to wait.

 

It was quite the cluster.

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I don't like this idea at all, I like spontaneity and flexibility when I'm at a theme park, and to either have to plan the day out in advance or being told to come back at 9pm sounds to me like a huge buzzkill. I guess with Jimmy Fallon the interest will die off pretty fast, but it will surely become a larger problem if they introduce this system onto even more rides?

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But what I really wanted to mention was the virtual queue experience. I got there around 4pm and used Express Pass to just walk right in but apparently they had run out of virtual queue times around 1pm today. So there was a constant huge crowd of people by the entrance who wanted to ride but couldn't and the team members were continuously yelling at the crowd that "This is for virtual queue and express pass only. There is no standby. Come back at 9pm if you want to try to ride." Some guests would wander away while others kept asking questions about why they were not allowed to wait.

 

It was quite the cluster.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Volcano Bay...

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But what I really wanted to mention was the virtual queue experience. I got there around 4pm and used Express Pass to just walk right in but apparently they had run out of virtual queue times around 1pm today. So there was a constant huge crowd of people by the entrance who wanted to ride but couldn't and the team members were continuously yelling at the crowd that "This is for virtual queue and express pass only. There is no standby. Come back at 9pm if you want to try to ride." Some guests would wander away while others kept asking questions about why they were not allowed to wait.

I'm not sure I'm ready to put the blame on the queuing system itself just yet, especially considering that the attraction only had its grand opening the other day. I'm assuming that the lounge areas each all have a maximum occupancy, and the virtual queuing means that those numbers will never get higher than they're supposed to. I realize that, yes, why have the lounge areas when you can have switchbacks in a themed space, but every review I've read has said that the lounge areas are much nicer than a traditional queue.

 

As for the people that aren't allowed to wait? That's a communication issue. If this were, say, Volcano Bay, where every attraction is based on that virtual queue system, maybe that sort of thing wouldn't happen. However, because every OTHER attraction besides Race Through New York has a traditional queuing system, there's this expectation that Race Through New York will as well, which it doesn't. When people get turned down, who's to blame - the guests for not looking ahead of time and reserving their time or looking at the ride info on the map, or the resort for not making sure the guests are informed about the non-traditional queuing system for that one particular ride? We could have a circular argument about that for pages. Is there any signage at entrances to Universal Studios Florida? Is it on the paper maps? Is it in the smartphone app?

 

EDIT: It is on the interactive map, I was just stupid and couldn't find it.

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But what I really wanted to mention was the virtual queue experience. I got there around 4pm and used Express Pass to just walk right in but apparently they had run out of virtual queue times around 1pm today. So there was a constant huge crowd of people by the entrance who wanted to ride but couldn't and the team members were continuously yelling at the crowd that "This is for virtual queue and express pass only. There is no standby. Come back at 9pm if you want to try to ride." Some guests would wander away while others kept asking questions about why they were not allowed to wait.

 

It was quite the cluster.

This is why I absolutely HATE this idea and think it's about as awful as putting metal detectors at coasters. At least with a "standby line" it gives the guest a CHOICE and an option to be able to ride. Even if that option is two hours, that's a better option than saying "Sorry, you're out of luck....come back at park closing and MAYBE we'll let you in." Yeah, that won't fly with me. I would personally refuse to experience any ride with this sort of queuing system as much as I refuse to experience any ride where I have to go through a metal detector in order to walk through the queue.

 

There are other solutions, and even other solutions within the Universal family. Just see "Flying Dinosaur" to eliminate the metal detectors and see "every other ride that's been built" to eliminate the virtual queue and the lack of choice to be able to ride.

 

They need to fix this so that ALL GUESTS have an option to ride. There is just no excuse in my mind to ever turn away a guest. None.

 

If Disney can let people queue up five hours for Frozen, and keep that ride open for five hours after park closing so that EVERY SINGLE GUEST THAT WANTED TO EXPERIENCE THAT ATTRACTION *CAN* EXPERIENCE THAT ATTRACTION, then Universal should not be turning people away from Fallon.

Edited by robbalvey
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This is why I absolutely HATE this idea and think it's about as awful as putting metal detectors at coasters. At least with a "standby line" it gives the guest a CHOICE and an option to be able to ride. Even if that option is two hours, that's a better option than saying "Sorry, you're out of luck....come back at park closing and MAYBE we'll let you in." Yeah, that won't fly with me. I would personally refuse to experience any ride with this sort of queuing system as much as I refuse to experience any ride where I have to go through a metal detector in order to walk through the queue.

 

THIS. I'm tired of people being like "Hey, this is great, no more queue lines!" No, not it isn't great. If I fly to Spain in a few weeks and they tell me, "Look, we don't want anyone waiting more than 30 minutes to ride Red Force, so maybe you can ride it later today if the line is shorter?" I would be a very, very, very unhappy camper. I pay money to go to the park to experience attractions. If I have to wait in line, so be it. That's always been part of it. But to not be allowed to wait in line and thus experience attractions AT ALL because it is considered to not be the way some creative type wants me to experience their creation? Holy christ, this isn't fine art. It's a theme park.

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I mentioned this in the WDW thread that had ventured off topic to discussing Volcano Bay, but it's worth mentioning here again: People's brains are trained to wait in line. It's all they've ever known when it comes to rides. The psychology of that doesn't just magically change, so people are likely going to keep waiting around until Universal finds a way to build a standby system into this virtual queuing system.

 

I agree with the sentiment that it is shocking and unacceptable they didn't account for this...

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I'm going to hold my overall judgement until this ride has been operating long enough that its popularity settles out, considering it just opened.

 

However, echoing what A.J. said, I do speculate they can't allow over x number of guests into the lounges due to fire codes. Wether that'll always persist as problem or not we don't know yet.

 

I wish Universal would have somehow incorporated a standby line into this attraction, but I fear they would have made the lounge queueing experience up-charge if so.

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I'm going to hold my overall judgement until this ride has been operating long enough that its popularity settles out, considering it just opened.

 

However, echoing what A.J. said, I do speculate they can't allow over x number of guests into the lounges due to fire codes. Wether that'll always persist as problem or not we don't know yet.

 

I wish Universal would have somehow incorporated a standby line into this attraction, but I fear they would have made the lounge queueing experience up-charge if so.

I think it's pretty obvious you haven't even seen or been in the attraction and it's, IMHO pretty stupid that you're making these comments knowing absolutely nothing about the ride or the lounge. Whereas the people who are speaking about their experience are speaking *ACTUAL EXPERIENCES* yet you seem to be discounting that as though there are other factors involved.

 

It's become a pattern on our forums lately, and I'll just keep saying: If you don't have any clue what you're talking about, we would just prefer you didn't post at all.

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Imagine how much of a mess the whole park would be like if Universal keeps pushing the virtual queue line system! Not to mention there are international guests that would have zero clue what is happening and no team member can properly explain to them how things work.

 

I did enjoy Fallon queue line and the safety video though.

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Like Jew, I already went over this topic and my dislike of reservations in the Disney thread when it went into a discussion on Volcano Bay since Korea has had reservation only experiments both in Everland and Lotte World. At least with their reservation only for T Express they allowed people back for last 2-3 hours if you couldn't get a reservation before they cut the line off to shut it down for fireworks. Although I never got to try the old flume ride before it was torn down since, like Fallon's ride, it was reservation until it ran out and it was too out of the way for me to trek halfway across the park to get a ticket when all the rides I wanted to do where the other side of the park.

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I wish Universal would have somehow incorporated a standby line into this attraction, but I fear they would have made the lounge queueing experience up-charge if so.

Considering that the attraction apparently starts off as a taping of the Tonight Show, I feel like the physical queue kind of makes sense the way it is. You have the lobby where you're waiting to get in the day of your taping, the second section where you have the pre-show entertainment and then the ride vehicle / theater where the show happens. I've never been to a late-night taping myself, so I'm just making assumptions here, but I think that it's at least logical, even though the pre-show stuff happens in the theater itself in real life. Making that experience up-charge would fly in the face of traditional story / experience conventions, and I feel like I would have been glad that they did it the way they did, had I had already ridden it (which again, I haven't).

 

Right now at least, I personally do think that a virtual queuing system is good / appropriate under the right circumstances and with the right implementation, but I'm not sure I'm ready to call it an end-all solution - yet! It's tricky.

 

I don't think that everyone is just mentally trained to physically wait in line, especially now that everything else in our lives is becoming more and more instantaneous. At the same time, I do not like the possibility of spending all my money on a big theme park vacation only to be turned down from riding the newest attraction. But that's me as an individual guest, with his own likes / dislikes that may not be the same as others, talking.

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IMG_0084.thumb.JPG.ffd27ae0ddb8dfd8509af1abbea56b02.JPGUniversal announced its Holiday plans this morning including Xmas in the Wizarding World and holiday projections on Hogwarts.

 

http://blog.universalorlando.com/whats-new/universal-orlando-holidays-2017/

 

NEW HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT INCLUDING CHRISTMAS AT THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER

 

Michael Aiello April 13, 2017

 

Since 2010, you’ve been able to step into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort and become a part of the iconic moments from the books and films.

 

I’m happy to share that even more magic is coming.

 

For the first time at Universal Orlando Resort, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will transform for the most wonderful time of year – Christmas.

 

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

 

Festive garland décor, each with its own unique detail, will complement the shops and architecture. These fantastic textures will surround you as you wander the streets of both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.

 

You’ll also be able to enjoy new holiday food, drink and entertainment throughout both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. I can already hear the Frog Choir rehearsing their new numbers!

 

The Christmas celebration will crescendo nightly as a festive spell will be cast onto Hogwarts castle, cascading it in décor, candlelight and festive moments inspired by the films. Using the latest in mapped projection technology, Hogwarts Castle will transform itself into a yuletide display, gifting fans with an amazing, new view.

 

The holidays have always been a special time for Hogwarts students. And we’re going to capture that same spirit, allowing you to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter like never before.

 

New Holiday Parade

 

And that’s not all.

 

This year, we’re introducing the new Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s, the global leader in balloon entertainment. You’ll enjoy newly designed floats, festive balloons and your favorite Universal characters in Universal Studios Florida.

 

Santa Claus is going to have his hands full as the Minions bring merry and mayhem to the parade, along with Dreamworks characters from Madagascar and Shrek.

 

We’re also partnering with Macy’s, the global leader in balloon entertainment, to bring this parade to life.

 

All of these holiday experiences will run daily starting Nov. 18, 2017 through Jan. 6, 2018.

 

This is just a taste of what’s to come. Stay tuned to the blog for more details and sneak peeks, as we get closer to the holiday season.

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I wish Universal would have somehow incorporated a standby line into this attraction, but I fear they would have made the lounge queueing experience up-charge if so.

Considering that the attraction apparently starts off as a taping of the Tonight Show, I feel like the physical queue kind of makes sense the way it is. You have the lobby where you're waiting to get in the day of your taping, the second section where you have the pre-show entertainment and then the ride vehicle / theater where the show happens. I've never been to a late-night taping myself, so I'm just making assumptions here, but I think that it's at least logical, even though the pre-show stuff happens in the theater itself in real life. Making that experience up-charge would fly in the face of traditional story / experience conventions, and I feel like I would have been glad that they did it the way they did, had I had already ridden it (which again, I haven't).

 

Right now at least, I personally do think that a virtual queuing system is good / appropriate under the right circumstances and with the right implementation, but I'm not sure I'm ready to call it an end-all solution - yet! It's tricky.

 

I don't think that everyone is just mentally trained to physically wait in line, especially now that everything else in our lives is becoming more and more instantaneous. At the same time, I do not like the possibility of spending all my money on a big theme park vacation only to be turned down from riding the newest attraction. But that's me as an individual guest, with his own likes / dislikes that may not be the same as others, talking.

 

I have no interest in riding this, but dayum this sounds like a good pre-show.

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