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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

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

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^ Yeah, I mean, I have to be honest, the first time I ever saw this amazing sight right here...

If someone were to have said to me "You know, in about 15 years this will be the world's first defunct B&M" there is no way in hell I would have ever believed them. *sigh* I really hope Universal knows what they are doing...

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Not very sure Universal knows what they're doing, but alas...



This is my first time at Halloween Horror Nights. Is fast pass recommended? We want to do all the rides open a good number of times, the haunted houses are a lesser priority. We will likely not do this again so this is our only chance. Whadya think? We figured it'll be packed, maybe most will crowd the houses and not the rides but I've never been to this event so no idea

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This is my first time at Halloween Horror Nights. Is fast pass recommended? We want to do all the rides open a good number of times, the haunted houses are a lesser priority. We will likely not do this again so this is our only chance. Whadya think? We figured it'll be packed, maybe most will crowd the houses and not the rides but I've never been to this event so no idea

Yes, get the Express Pass. I was at the event last night and the lines for the mazes were 45-60 minutes up until the last hour of the night. Rip Ride Rockit was about 75 minutes most of the night. If you don't get express passes you won't be getting on much especially now that it's getting close to Halloween. If you go the nights AFTER Halloween it won't be as bad but I'd still recommend express passes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Universal Orlando Resort has sent us a press release announcing details for the return of "A Celebration of Harry Potter!


Today, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. announced the return of “A Celebration of Harry Potter,” on January 26-28, 2018. This ultimate fan event can only be experienced at Universal Orlando Resort and will feature an array of interactive and engaging experiences that will allow guests to celebrate their love for the stories from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.


For the first time in event history, Stanislav Yanevski (Viktor Krum) will attend the special event and participate in festivities throughout the weekend, alongside returning fan-favorites James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley). More talent will be announced at a later date.


During the 3-day celebration, guests will also have the opportunity to:


  • Attend Q&A sessions with select film talent (complete talent lineup will be announced at a later date)
  • Experience and participate in the interactive and unique activities and displays from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World at the Harry Potter Expo
  • Enjoy special panels and demonstrations giving fans a close look ‘Behind-the-Scenes’
  • Visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Plus, ride the Hogwarts Express between the two lands with a park-to-park ticket
  • And much more!

Celebration vacation packages are on sale now. On-site hotel packages start at $285 per adult per night, including tax, and include exclusive benefits such as special guest access to the Harry Potter Expo, admission to a private evening reception in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, special access to panels and demonstrations and special access to new Workshops – more details coming soon.


Packages also include three-night hotel accommodations at a Universal Orlando on-site hotel and three-day two-park, park-to-park tickets to Universal Studios Florida AND Universal’s Islands of Adventure. This package also includes special rates and benefits for Annual Passholders and Florida Residents. Packages are available on a first come, first served basis. For complete details and other packages available, click here.


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I am a fan of the Fast and Furious series, but the ride footage looks terrible, looks like this video is recycled footage from the one in Hollywood. I don't understand the point of doing so much in CGI, the movies dont...


Seems ass-backwards creating a fake car prop for Vin Diesel to act from within, to then project that onto a poor-looking CGI scene. You'd think the 3D would be a higher standard from Universal too.

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Well, I can understand. It didn't require 3D glasses to be 3D, it didn't stay in one place and simulate lots of dizzying movement, and there were no areas that squirt water on you. Naturally, at a Universal park, that goes agains everything they believe in. Seriously, though, I'll never understand it either. Such an incredible shame.

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So yesterday was my night to visit HHN through school. We planned to leave by 4, so naturally we left at 4:20. Seeing the event opened at 6:30, I was thinking we had plenty of time, even on I-4. HAHAHA. Didn't step foot in the park until 7:30. By this time, the sun had pretty much set.


Sweet screams are made of this. Who am I to disagree?

My primary goal for the evening was to wander around the scare zones and get as many pictures of/with the actors as possible to go along with a ride or two on Mummy and Gringotts. But my phone's camera is absolute crap and worse in selfie mode.

With plan A bent over a table, I rushed through Altars of Horror and Purge to get to Mummy. I paused long enough to catch the bus killing show before seeing Mummy had a 5 minute wait. Thinking this was too good to be true, but also wanting to check out the queue again, I ignored the single rider line and found what indeed was a 5 minute wait. Mummy was definitely better than my ride on it last year and the near walk-on certainly helped kick my night off right.


After Mummy, I walked through what was possibly my most anticipated scare zone: Invasion. I thought it was gloriously cheesy and the makeup was stellar. I just wish the area wasn't so bottlenecked as I got stuck around this area a lot throughout the night.


Let's get out of here before one of those things kills Guy!

Heading into Diagon Alley, I headed straight for Gringotts which was posting a 15 minute wait. Since the single-rider line here was open, I headed that way and bypassed what looked like a longer queue than what was posted. Universal goggles on over my glasses, I boarded the train. Throughout the early part of the ride, there's a waterfall on the screens. Knowing Universal's tendency with water effects I kept thinking don't you do it! Don't you do it! Don't you...Damn it.


With the demise of DD next door, I went into Gringotts thinking that its replacement will be similar. When I went through Purge later on in the night, I kept wishing I'd actually get Purged than think about Dragon Challenge's replacement.

By the time I got off Gringotts, it was almost time for the next Bill and Ted show. I missed the show last year since I read the times guide wrong, so I had to catch a showing before it closed the next night. It was a funny show and some of the Disney jabs were absolutely hilarious. But overall, it felt like "This is what people are upset about leaving?"


I got caught in the crowd leaving the show and turned left to head to Trick 'r Treat. Only to find that that pathway was closed off. Now having to backtrack through crowd and over to Simpsons with the crowd at a standstill, I needed to take my anger out on something. Fortunately Men in Black was showing a short wait, so I hopped into the single-rider line and had my best score on the ride surely out of pure luck. The clown with a "broken chainsaw" en route also helped lift my spirits. I say "broken" because as he was asking people for money to fix it, he cranked it and at least three people fell over.


Continuing on through chainsaw clownville, I saw and heard some of the best scares of the night. In hindsight, I should have spent more time here. Trick 'r Treat was packed. It was in this pass through the zone that I got my only true scares of the night. Because the actors blended in too well with the crowd. Good job guys!


Happy Halloween Sam!

By this time, it was almost time for an Academy of Villains show, so I thought I'd kill time by walking through Festival of the Deadliest. Only to find it absolutely devoid of all actors. Thinking it was the middle of a cast change, I shrugged and decided to circle around through Altars of Horror--only to find it also empty. Fortunately, Festival was repopulated by the time I finished my circle. Crisis averted, but finding two scare zones devoid of actors felt weird to me. Cause I was under the impression that during cast changes, both casts were out at the same (if brief) time. Ah well, time for AoV!


I thought AoV was a better show than Bill and Ted and I wouldn't be apposed if they got the Fear Factor stage next year. Especially so they don't have to worry about hurricanes. Though the show got short-sticked by Irma, they didn't let it stop them from putting on an amazing show.


Apparently this Academy of Villains member wants to join the Dark Side.

My first loop of the park completed with showings of both main shows, it was time to walk around again. Mummy was up to a posted 45 minute wait with no single-rider line, Gringotts was closed, and Invasion was empty enough to walk around in. I spent the remainder of my night just wandering around the scare zones hoping to get scared. But I was barely targeted.


Seeing as my night was coming to an end, I went back into Diagon Alley to get some hot Butterbeer for the way out. BTW: is it usually $8 or is the price jacked up for HHN? I also stopped by the Mummy shop to pick up a hat to add to my collection, along with the gift shop at the park entrance to pick up a Slytherin hat and Chocolate Frog (with Rowena Ravenclaw card). As I was making my way to the restrooms before leaving, I heard the distinctive roar of a chainsaw. It seemed to early for chainsaw chase-out and I saw no diesel-powered flesh shredder. I shrugged and left the park to head back to campus.


Scare Zone Rankings:

1: Trick 'r Treat--The only time I got scared

1a: Chainsaw Clownville--The best witnessed scares

2: Invasion--Great visuals, poor placement

3: Purge--An idea that works better on film than a scare zone

4: Festival of the Deadliest--Didn't really know what to make of it.

5: Altars of Horror--Felt tacked on, as if they needed a last minute idea and this was it.

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I thought AoV was a better show than Bill and Ted

100% agree! Academy of Villains is AWESOME and I'm so happy they brought that show back! I haven't been a fan of Bill & Ted for years and especially last year when the crowd cheered for Trump and booed Hillary that was not an environment I needed to be around anymore. I actually didn't see Bill & Ted this year as I stopped finding the show funny years ago and I didn't want to spend the hour+ to bother with the show this year. Good riddance. I personally feel it was long overdue to be retired.

Edited by robbalvey
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So I just got around to reading this article. Myself and many others probably would have thanked you sooner for posting if you had included the story.


Universal Orlando buys another 101 acres for theme-park expansion


Universal Orlando has purchased another 101 acres for its new theme-park projects in Orlando, adding to the 475 it has already assembled.


Universal closed on the purchase for $27.5 million on Thursday, a spokesman for Universal confirmed. The new acreage is along Sand Lake Road, giving Universal a new major road frontage for its expansions.


The land is adjacent to the $130 million purchase Universal made in December 2015, north of Universal Boulevard and west of Destination Parkway. The latest acquisition gives Universal more than 570 acres to work with for expansions, which is multiple times larger than the property it currently owns and operates as Universal Orlando Resort — home to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay as well as CityWalk and several hotels.


Currently in Orlando, Universal has built out its existing developments almost completely, after tearing down the former Wet n’ Wild water park and planning two large hotels there. Observers say Universal wants to compete more fully with Disney World in Orlando by having so many attractions that more visitors come to Orlando only to stay on Universal properties.


There's been a lot of speculation about what kind of new attractions Universal is planning, but Universal hasn’t provided any detail for the properties. Comcast execs say they have a lot of ideas on how to use the land although no firm plans. A Nintendo-themed area is also coming to Orlando, Universal said in November, under a deal with the Japanese video-game giant.


Universal has an aggressive expansion plan. In 2015, executives told analysts that they want to open an attraction every year at each major location. Universal has parks in Orlando, Hollywood, Singapore and Japan. It also plans to open a park in Beijing.


There's also litigation regarding the future of the 475 acres purchased in 2015 — a lawsuit attempting to block any new theme parks on the property. Georgia developer Stan Thomas is behind the suit in Orange County Circuit Court. He’s the man who once controlled the properties in the so-called Sand Lake Road Complex just south of Lockheed Martin’s plant.


The seller of the 101-acre property was part of a real-estate investment trust, called IA Orlando Sand. It was represented by Robert McEwan and David Murphy of CBRE’s Orlando office.


McEwan said the new property provides important access from the north and visible frontage along Sand Lake Road, another busy thoroughfare.


It was also owned by a Universal-affiliated company at one time.


Under Thomas’ control, the property was green-lighted with entitlements for thousands of hotel rooms, mixed-use development and tourism attractions. After the Great Recession, Thomas’s company had lost much of the land in a foreclosure.


Universal recently filed a plan with Orange County to get approvals for 2,451 "overflow" parking spaces on vacant land it owns along Destination Parkway near Orange County Convention Center. Universal Orlando spokesman Tom Schroder said the company has nothing further to say about the parking spaces at this point.


Green line is new 101 acres for Universal; White line is previously purchased property.


All of this land of further south of Universal and can be seen on this map. The vast majority is at the bottom of the map, directly to the east of (right of) Lockheed Martin.

Edited by larrygator
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I'm all for Universal having more land. I'm already thinking we're going to have to split Orlando into two trips, one for just Disney and another for everything else. There's already a lot to do at Universal, and more land gives them a lot more possibilities.


That's my thoughts exactly about any Florida trip, now. The way Universal (and Disney) is expanding, not to mention everything around it, and in the rest of Florida.... my head starts spinning, when I even contemplate what the cost is going to be, if we ever try and plan any trip there.


Our original plan is for a fall 2023 visit, with EPCOT's Food Fest there. But not including Universal. Or the rest of Florida, for that matter.

Thankfully, there's a few years to work out a better plan, to include more than just Universal and/or Disney.


I do not envy any family who wants to do a really thorough Florida vacation, nowadays. We all need to be big lottery winners.

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^ Oh tell me. Even living in West Central Florida, with so many choices, it's getting really expensive and hard to decide where to spend the few precious dollars. I know there's the resident discounts but yikes, with Disney, Universal, Busch, Sea World and even now 2 Fun Spots, not to mention the water parks of Disney, Uni, Busch and Sea World, it is mighty dang expensive. They are all so good,but now I hear that song in my head from Pamela Stanley, that goes something like, So many parks, so little time, how can I choose?

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