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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 620: Our video of EVERY house from HHN 31

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^Good news: they’re not trims! Lol


LSM's when not powered to accelerate the train are effectively trims, no?


I think what we might see here is the use of LSM's (vs. fixed alloy fins) as trims in this case, which remain unpowered acting as trims, unless the rare circumstance the train balances at the top of the crest. In which these LSM's can be powered to push it over, reducing the risk for evac provisions, such as platforms and such over the apex of the top hat.


That's my guess, at least.

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In which these LSM's can be powered to push it over, reducing the risk for evac provisions, such as platforms and such over the apex of the top hat.


That's my guess, at least.

I'm pretty sure that's what they're for. Stalls may happen and having that little LSM up there means that they don't have to bring in the cavalry if the train doesn't make it over.

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One of my favorite things about this ride so far is that I noticed even the plastic over wrap on the trains is themed. Pictures I saw have "INGen" printed in black letters in the side. Kinda cool to take themeing that far for the ride.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey quick question, my fiancé is obsessed with Harry Potter and we’ve been to the Hollywood version but I think the Florida experience will be perfect for our anniversary. What is the best time to visit the Orlando resort with minimal crowds???

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7 hours ago, Animal said:

Hey quick question, my fiancé is obsessed with Harry Potter and we’ve been to the Hollywood version but I think the Florida experience will be perfect for our anniversary. What is the best time to visit the Orlando resort with minimal crowds???

We went the 2nd week of December 2018 and almost everything was a walk on. We only did IOA though. Kids and wife got 2 re-rides on Forbidden Journey near the end of the night. 

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11 hours ago, Animal said:

Hey quick question, my fiancé is obsessed with Harry Potter and we’ve been to the Hollywood version but I think the Florida experience will be perfect for our anniversary. What is the best time to visit the Orlando resort with minimal crowds???

We have been there various times throughout the year and our personal favorite time to go is mid September, past Labor day.   Lowest crowds I've seen and the weather is still warm enough to do hotel pools and park water rides but not the full-on oppressive summer hot.

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Universal Orlando has announced details for their celebration of the holiday season including the new "Universal's Holiday Experience featuring Macy's Balloons."


Plenty of merry and all kinds of mayhem will take over Universal Orlando Resort as it unwraps its 2020 Holidays celebration from November 14 through January 3, 2021. Guests can celebrate the most wonderful time of the year as Universal’s most beloved holiday traditions and characters come to life in reimagined ways that align with the destination’s enhanced health and safety procedures – from the all-new “Universal’s Holiday Experience featuring Macy’s Balloons” to character celebrations and appearances around the parks – and it’s all included in theme park admission.

This holiday season, guests of all ages can enjoy:

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure

The streets of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley will become beautifully adorned with themed decorations, garlands and lights as the sounds of special holiday-themed performances fill the air throughout the lands. Guests can hear both magical and Muggle Christmas carols from the Frog Choir comprised of Hogwarts students and their giant croaking frogs, as well as the unique holiday hits of one of the wizarding world’s most popular singing sensations, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. There will also be seasonal treats, holiday eats, and beverages – including the highly-anticipated return of the fan-favorite, hot Butterbeer.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch and Who-liday Character Appearances at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

It wouldn’t be a Holidays celebration without the mean, green one himself! While visiting Seuss Landing in Universal’s Islands of Adventure, holiday-goers will enjoy appearances by the maven of mischief, The Grinch, as he continues to try and find ways to steal holiday cheer, and the merry Whos from Whoville.

ALL-NEW Universal’s Holiday Experience featuring Macy’s Balloons at Universal Studios Florida

New this year, guests will have the opportunity to get up-close with larger-than-life parade balloons and floats like never before during “Universal’s Holiday Experience featuring Macy’s Balloons.” Guests will stroll along a picturesque pathway where they’ll encounter elaborate floats and stunning balloons inspired by everything from iconic holiday staples like reindeers and the Nutcracker, to characters from popular animated films, including the mischievous Minions from Illumination’s “Despicable Me” and “Minions” films, Gingy, The Gingerbread Man, from DreamWorks Animation’s “Shrek” movies and the penguins from DreamWorks Animation’s “Madagascar” franchise. And it all culminates with a special appearance by Santa Claus and the opportunity to take a socially-distanced portrait with the big man himself.

Universal’s Holiday Character Celebration at Universal Studios Florida

During “Universal’s Holiday Character Celebration,” guests can celebrate the holiday season with the Minions and other beloved characters from Illumination’s “Despicable Me” and “Minions” films, and with DreamWorks Animation’s treasured family of Shrek characters and King Julien and the crew from the “Madagascar” franchise.

Guests will sing and dance along with some of their favorite characters as they arrive aboard incredibly-festive parade floats, then perform special holiday show moments that the entire family will enjoy. Afterward, guests will have the chance to take socially-distanced photos of themselves with the characters and floats.

Guests can also enjoy these additional holiday festivities across Universal Studios, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal CityWalk while visiting the destination:

First-Ever Holiday Tribute Store: A brand-new Tribute Store dedicated to the Holidays will debut at Universal Studios Florida for the holiday season. Located in the New York area of the park, guests will come dashing through the store into a winter wonderland featuring four immersive rooms – including one inspired by Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch – stocked with a variety of new merchandise that will make perfect holiday gifts, plus delicious seasonal food items. Guests can also browse Universal’s assortment of Holidays merchandise and make purchases online by visiting shop.UniversalOrlando.com

Holiday Tree Hunt: Guests who purchase the Holiday Tree Hunt will embark on a search for 16 holiday-themed trees scattered throughout various merchandise locations in the theme parks and CityWalk. Guests will receive a brochure that outlines the participating locations, where they’ll have to collect stamps to mark their visit to each stop. Those who successfully complete the entire hunt will receive an exclusive Holiday Tree Hunt-branded ornament.

Holiday Treat Trail: Guests can participate by grabbing a complimentary Holiday Treat Trail brochure that outlines a list of specialty food and beverage menu items across select dining venues. Those who purchase all qualifying items will receive a special sweet treat.

Guests can make the most of their holiday visit by staying at one of Universal Orlando’s hotels – including the brand-new Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, opening December 15, 2020 – where rates start at $79 per night and include exclusive theme park benefits. Each hotel at Universal Orlando will feature festive flourishes and decorated Christmas trees to get guests into the holiday spirit, and offer special Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve dining options. To learn more about offers for Universal Orlando’s hotels, to book a reservation – and even build a custom holiday vacation package, visit: https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/places-to-stay/hotels/holiday-happenings

Universal Orlando continues to implement its enhanced health and safety procedures and guidelines focused on “screening, spacing and sanitization,” and those practices will be applied to all experiences taking place during the destination’s Holidays celebration. Key measures include screening guests and team members, enforcing social distancing, requiring face coverings, limiting capacity at the parks, attractions and hotels, and increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures and more.

For more information about Universal Orlando’s Holidays celebration and incredible deals for guests to take advantage of this season – including the limited-time “Get 3 Days Free When You Buy 2 Days” offer that is available for purchase through January 6, 2021; the “Get 3 Days for $55 per Day plus tax” offer for Florida residents that is available for purchase through December 17; and $100 savings on select annual and seasonal passes – visit www.UniversalOrlando.com.


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Universal Orlando has announced the grand opening date of Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, as well as the reopening of Loews Portofino Bay Hotel! Dockside Inn and Suites will open to guests on December 15th and Portofino Bay will reopen on December 1st!


Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, the newest hotel at Universal Orlando Resort, will open to guests for the first time on December 15, 2020 with an impressively low starting rate of $79 per night. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando will also resume operations on December 1, 2020. Safety and well-being protocols will be in place throughout both hotels, as they are across all of Universal Orlando’s hotels and theme parks.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel will welcome back guests with newly-renovated rooms and suites throughout the hotel. Guests can relax in surroundings inspired by the beauty, romance and charm of the picturesque seaside village of Portofino, Italy.  A stay at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel includes free Universal Express Unlimited benefits to skip the regular lines at participating rides and attractions at the theme parks. To book a stay, visit https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/places-to-stay/loews-portofino-bay-hotel.




Dockside Inn and Suites will be the second hotel in the destination’s Value category, joining sister property Surfside Inn and Suites. The extra-affordable resort will add 2,050 guest rooms, featuring standard rooms and spacious 2-Bedroom Suites. And with the low $79 per night rate, the all-new hotel creates a value experience that is unmatched in the Orlando area.

Brought to life by the award-winning Universal Creative team, Dockside Inn and Suites will make guests feel like they have escaped to the perfect sunset with the cool, calm feeling of a beach retreat. It’s the destination’s eighth property in partnership with Loews Hotels & Co, providing Universal Orlando guests with a variety of hotel options for every style and budget, complete with exclusive theme park benefits and a seamless vacation experience.

At Dockside Inn and Suites, guests can experience all that the hotel and Universal Orlando have to offer, including:

  • 2-Bedroom Suites – These suites, which make up more than half the rooms at both Dockside Inn and Suites & Surfside Inn and Suites, sleep up to six and offer guests an unrivaled value. With two separate rooms, families no longer need two connecting rooms for extra space. There is also a kitchenette area, a picnic table for meals and hanging out, and a bathroom with separate bath and vanity areas so multiple people can get ready at once. The 2-Bedroom Suites begin as low as $120 per night based on a four-night stay.
  • Exclusive Theme Park Benefits – Hotel guests receive exclusive benefits including Early Park Admission to the theme parks, complimentary and convenient shuttle bus transportation, charging privileges with their room key and more.
  • Pier 8 Market – The all-American Pier 8 Market offers casual dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu will feature extra-affordable options with most dishes under $12, ranging from themed comfort foods to convenient on-the-go options.
  • Awesome Amenities – The lobby bar, Sunset Lounge, serves specialty cocktails and is the perfect place to unwind after a day at the theme parks. The hotel will feature two pools and two pool bars as well as a Universal Orlando Vacation Planning Center, Universal Studios Store and more.

To learn more about this brand new hotel or to make a reservation, call 1-888-464-3617 or visit http://www.universalorlando.com/dockside.

Universal Orlando continues to implement its enhanced health and safety procedures and guidelines focused on “screening, spacing and sanitization” across its entire destination, including its hotels. Key measures include requiring face coverings, requiring temperature checks for guests and team members, enhanced cleaning of guest rooms and public areas, managing capacity at food and beverage outlets, offering several contactless experiences and more. For more details on our safety measures, please visit: https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/plan-your-visit/safety-faqs.

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Dockside Inn and Suites - Pool Night.jpg

Dockside Inn and Suites - Pool Bar - Oasis Beach Bar.jpg

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Starting at $79/ night, rate is only available for 3 rooms on a Wednesday in February but still, starting at $79/ night.


Seriously though I kind of forgot about this new property and don't think I've seen any pictures of it to date but it looks great. Not sure what kind of perks it comes with, being across the street isn't as convenient as being closer to the parks but I'd consider staying here sometime for sure.

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Yeah but it’s also got a 6-car train. I imagine there’ll be some pretty decent whip in the back car even if it crawled over. I wasn’t expecting Xcelerator speed over the top hat, or Maverick intensity through the course. Probably dialed down a notch from those rides. 

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1 hour ago, southpuddle said:

Yeah but it’s also got a 6-car train. I imagine there’ll be some pretty decent whip in the back car even if it crawled over. I wasn’t expecting Xcelerator speed over the top hat, or Maverick intensity through the course. Probably dialed down a notch from those rides. 

I wouldve liked Storm Runner style but I get that its a different audience

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I don't think anyone can  judge a ride's speed by looking at off ride footage or POVs, especially when it's testing. Everytime we see a new coaster test it seems half the comments are about how fast it looks, while the other are about how slow it looks.

Besides the fact there are so many factors at play here (empty trains, different wheel composites, trying different launch speeds etc), it's just difficult to tell how a coaster will feel by just sitting and watching it on a computer screen.

For example, I always think Skyrush looks pretty average, but my shattered thigh bones beg to differ - not saying this will be anything like Skyrush, by the way, it's an example of expectation vs reality.

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13 hours ago, Haymaker said:

There's video of Velocicoaster testing on YouTube.... obviously its not the final product but it seems slower than id like going over the top hat.

Found the ACEr.

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5 hours ago, KBrylczyk said:

^ You're being overly critical of a ride that hasn't even had a human on it yet.  Reserve your judgement until you ride the darn thing.

Your reading comprehension needs work.

obviously its not the final product but it seems slower

Much critical.

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8 hours ago, KBrylczyk said:

^ You're being overly critical of a ride that hasn't even had a human on it yet.  Reserve your judgement until you ride the darn thing.

What else are we supposed to discuss right now?  There’s excitement for the ride and all we currently have are construction photos and now a testing video.

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  • 2 weeks later...

On Sunday I ventured out to the Universal Orlando Resort for a chance to see the new holiday offerings at the two parks. This year is a little different thanks to COVID-19, but Universal has still managed to offer modified holiday experiences (including a few new ones) that keep the holiday season alive in fun and delicious ways. Over at Islands of Adventure, along with the holiday fun, Jurassic World Velocicoaster nears completion as theming installation is winding down. 


A familiar sight...


Construction on the new retail expansion in the former Fossil/PiQ!/Island Traders space is well under way in CityWalk.


Looking towards Islands of Adventure, you can see Velocicoaster's 155 ft tall spike from outside of the park.


It hasn't been indicated if this yet-to-be-announced CityWalk project will introduce several new options or one larger venue...


The entrance of Universal Studios Florida is decked out for this year's Universal Orlando Holidays event. 


Universal Orlando's Cinematic Celebration has resumed showing to socially distanced crowds at Universal Studios Florida, making this the first consistent nighttime spectacular to resume performances from inside of the Central Florida parks. 


In lieu of the typical Universal Holiday Parade featuring Macy's, the floats from that popular experience have been cleverly arranged inside of one of the studios to make for fun walk through and photo op experience inside.


This was a surprisingly effective alternative to the normal parade experience... I have to wonder if we could be seeing something similar for this year's Mardi Gras.


It isn't a Universal parade without Minions!


Madagascar floats are on full display inside of the exhibit.

012.thumb.jpeg.122b7948eb4bf091bbf1b86a6e0b276d.jpegPuss in Boats is out to take social distanced photos with guests.

013.thumb.jpeg.0a6c6033129cf9d907a3adf4395ba1b2.jpegThe experience is tightly packed into this one studio but is really well set up!

014.thumb.jpeg.e4db8dcf3e47c37505028691b2c5594f.jpegWith his signature float from the parade parked behind him, Santa Claus is present for social distanced photos!


While my visit was first thing in the morning with no wait time, the experience is capacity controlled and can be set up to require a Virtual Line reservation to enter.


The park's New York/Central Park area is dressed for the holidays with its signature Christmas Tree. 


Just a few weeks ago this was the Halloween Tribute Store. Universal quickly turned over the space to introduce their first ever Holiday Tribute Store. 


The interior layout is mostly the same as what came before the with the Halloween Tribute Store, but you'd never know from the interior furnishings. 


Universal has joined other parks in embracing the appeal of the retro Mold-A-Rama machines to offer fun made-in-front-of-you souvenirs. The Halloween machines were updated to offer holiday molds.


One of the Tribute Store rooms is themed to How the Grinch Stole Christmas and features some fun photo ops along with a large selection of themed merchandise.


One of the rooms is themed to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and features a selection of holiday gifts and apparel for Potter fans.


Earl the Squirrel is kind of an in-joke for Universal's creative teams but it is fun to see the character fleshed out in his own section of the Tribute Store, specifically hosting a collection of food and beverage counters.


Lots of treats to choose from!


I was a huge fan of the Beating Heart gummy treats from the Halloween Tribute Store so I was excited to see more of this concept fleshed out, but none of these flavors appeal to me for what I want in a gummy. I absolutely love the display approach though--the gummies you see here are the ones you're served when you buy one!


They have Sticky Buns... Unfortunately mine was obviously left over from the day before and was too hard to cut or eat... 


I do appreciate the effort that went into fleshing out the theming in this room.


I also tried the Peppermint Mousse Ornament and a Hot Chocolate Bomb... The Peppermint Mousse Ornament was really tasty, though really heavy on the peppermint, so plan to share it or be prepared to not be able to finish it all. 


The Hot Chocolate Bomb is neat in that they give you the chocolate ornament on the side to let you drop it into your hot chocolate. The hot chocolate already has marshmallows in it, but when you drop in your ornament and let it melt (you may have to flip it if you want to speed up the process like I did), you'll find even more marshmallows inside. Ultimately the melted ornament amped up the chocolate inside of the cup and made this an even tastier treat. Of the three items I ordered, this was the only one I'd go back for a second round. 

029.thumb.jpeg.f7fe58e5bbde0791e2b8d9bd150b663f.jpegAnother look at this year's Christmas Tree.


Diagon Alley has been dressed up for the holiday season... And fans of Warm Butterbeer will be happy to know this seasonal beverage is back on the menu at both Wizarding World of Harry Potter locations in Universal Orlando. 


A food truck has been parked over my the Animal Actors On Location! Theater...


It wasn't open during my visit but that Maple Bacon funnel cake is beckoning me to return...


The other food truck in the park near the Hollywood Bowl is the new Arepa Rellenas truck.


I really wanted to try the Beef Picadillo and I was not disappointed!


This is honestly one of the best quick service items I've eaten at Universal in a long time! I'll definitely be ordering it again before the end of the Holiday season.


Over at Islands of Adventure, the lines for Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure continues to send guests through the former Sinbad theater to queue... I had a Virtual Line reservation but when I checked in, I was told that it would be at least an hour from this point so I skipped this one for the day as I had places to be.


Velocicoaster really does look fantastic!


A few section of the fenced in portion of the coaster have been designed for spectators to look in from the outside.


This certainly looks different when compared to the view a year ago.


New lockers for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey have been built near the greenhouse portion of the ride's queue, but they have been masked by a new themed barrier since they face the Jurassic Park section of Islands of Adventure.


Nothing says Harry Potter like a coaster swooping right by the land... 


Hogsmeade is also dressed up for the holiday season, but it didn't need those added touches to keep it busy.


Seuss Landing has received its typical Grinchmas decor, even though the How the Grinch Stole Christmas show is not being offered this year.


Have I mentioned how much I'm loving the look of this coaster?


Two really fun looking maneuvers!


I can't wait to come back to ride this sometime next year when it opens to the public!

Overall, Universal has managed to put together a really solid holiday lineup including the modified experience offerings. If you're looking for a place to enjoy the holidays at a theme park, I could definitely recommend Universal Orlando as an option, based on my experiences!

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