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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

p. 624 - New Epic Universe details, including Isle of Berk!

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  • 1 month later...

Poseidon's Fury  was one of those experiences that you can really only get at a theme park.   I remember wandering into it on my first visit and being totally blown away, and the cheesy story line not even mattering.  It was so grand, so unique, and so unexpected.  As much as I love rides and coasters, I'm a firm believer that theme parks need to include these kind of alternative attractions to give guests a more complete experience.

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Honestly, I was surprised it was still there on my last visit (December 2022).

I much preferred the first version, though it admittedly made no sense story-wise.

Really cool to have such an elaborate walk-through exist in the park, but the inside never really lived up to the outside.

 

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It puts that whole section of the park in a weird place though.  Now there's no attractions in a pretty good sized chunk of land.   At a stretch, the talking fountain?   The speculation of the area being rethemed as a Legend of Zelda land is pretty neat and I'd love it, a lot of the existing stuff could be pretty much used as-is,  but I dunno, I *like* that it's weird and its own thing; I like the shops you dont see in any other park (how many parks can you buy weapons at?!?), Mythos of course.  

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I've always loved the theming of Lost Continent and hope they find a way to keep the unique vibe that it is. Apparently there are some rumors (totally unsubstantiated, I just read a couple online articles) that even after the refurb the plumbing inside the attraction was still an issue. Hopefully they can find a way to put in new attractions that utilize the outside since they just spruced it all up and won't have to bulldoze the buildings and start over. I could see Zelda going in there, I know that has been an on again, off again rumor for a while.

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Have Intamin make the most legendary indoor coaster ever inside that building. They have so many tricks and gimmicks that they can throw at a ride. Intamin's modern lab bars on a spinning coaster with launches and inversions with theming and special effects 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks to Frontier getting us down here for $60 round trip, decided to come spend a couple days at Universal and get away from the gross constant rain and mist in New England that never seems to end this time of year. Universal has almost become my home park over the past year and I think I'm up to like 12 days in the past year on my pass (I don't think I've even been to SFNE 12 times in the last 10 years). With that said, just a few notes to pass along from the past couple days...

After becoming big Aventura fans during our last few trips, we decided to try Cabana Bay this time. This place is like being at Disney and I don't mean that in a good way. If you have kids then this is great for them, but it's enormous, loud, and has none of the efficiency and relaxation factor that Aventura has. We couldn't even get any bowling reservations for any of the 3 nights we've been here. Just the word reservation gives me the Disney shivers. Definitely going back with Aventura next time.

Park crowds were pretty typical. Feels busy when you're walking but most rides have been walk ons other than the usuals. I completed 100% of Studios in like 4 hours today, even doubled up on my Rip Ride Brake Runs because no one was coming up when my train pulled back in. And when I say 100%, I mean everything except Fast & Furious obviously.

Got a bit pissed at the single line situations today. Rode VelociCoaster from standby at 6:00 or so and noticed that the single line was totally deserted (usually almost full and slow moving). Moved up to Hagrids and went into the single line. A guy in an ugly 90s-era Steelers t-shirt went into the standby line at the same time. We both got to the final switchback room at nearly the same time and I saw him get on the ride about 20 minutes before I did. So standby was 45 mins and singles was 1:05. After this I went back to VelociCoaster which now had the single line closed off even though it was deserted an hour earlier. So I guess they'll let you wait longer on some rides while closing the ones that will actually save you time? I don't get it. But I was pretty pissed on my Hagrids ride lol.

Rode the two Toon Lagoon water rides for the first time yesterday. Now I don't mind getting wet from the ankles up, just leave my feet alone. But Ripsaw Falls (aside from having the most awkward/uncomfortable logs on earth) has like 5 sections where the water comes over the side of the log and dumps right in your shoes. So unnecessary. After that, figured what the hell and hopped on Popeyes knowing damn well what was coming. I hit both soaking waterfalls dead center, but I knew what to expect with that one. That thing is a hoot.

Bid my farewell to Poseidon. It's a fun attraction, bummed to see it go but hopefully they do something good with that building.

VelociCoaster is still pumping out 50 second dispatches despite reports that they've slowed down. The line definitely moves slower with the introduction of Fast Pass, but it's not the fault of the crew which still hustles. I'm also not sure why on earth it runs 4 trains. It's impossible to not stack 2 of them on any given ride. Still such a damn good ride.

Not sure what my plans are this summer but I feel like whatever I do needs to include Atlanta. The #1 reason is obvious, but I've also never been to SFOG so I'm overdue on that anyway.

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^It's been about 367 days since I checked out of my 1 night at Cabana Bay (after spending the previous 2 nights at Hard Rock Hotel) and it was fine. I think I was mostly annoyed about the process of getting to the resort from the parks compared to HRH. I remember going into the main café at Cabana Bay for dinner that night, realizing it would be way too busy and expensive for the quality of food so the 5 in my party went to the restaurant area connected to a bowling alley and were pretty much seated immediately there.

Yes, the Velocicoaster Single-rider line sucks because it moves so slowly--especially after the bunnies; exacerbated by how many times you can hear the pre-show video (Hands, arms, keep 'em in the vehicle! With any luck, you'll still have fingers and toes before you exit through the gift shop!). And then the standby gives you great angles for photography of the ride and Hulk across the lagoon.

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Ok, so mega nerd moment...

I can see VelociCoaster's top hat from my room. I decided to time the dispatches, and as you can see below they're really damn good!

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Meanwhile, I can also see Iron Gwazi and 3 trains have been dispatched during this time. 😆

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I wouldn't recommend the VC or Hagrid SRL to TPR readers. If you truly don't care where you sit and can get in the SRL right when it opens/reopens for VC, sure go for it. You still don't have a great idea of how many people are waiting beyond the locker room and could get end up waiting just as long as the regular queue.

Hagrid's SRL seems to be uncapped lately. Like, extending out of the building down the stairs almost to the first section of ramps beyond the main archway entry. Have all the Hagrid SRL as you want🤪

Operators are very vocal about how the SRL: has no estimated wait time. you will not have any seat preference. you will not sit with someone else you got in line with. Sadly most guests think it's an express-like hack they learned from socials. 

Meanwhile since Spring Break/East crowds, I've experienced VC many times with a 20-40 minute via the regular queue as well as Hagrid 45-60 minutes (even on the weekends). 

I do recco SRL for Forbidden Journey, MiB, Transformers, SpiderMan, River Adventure, and Hulk.

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Has anyone else seen this nonsense? I hate to be insensitive, but this is literally coming from a person riding a ride 10 miles from where someone was ejected and killed for being too large a year ago. I swear it's like the world is losing it's mind, people actually believe there's a conspiracy to not let fat (her words, not mine) people ride rides...

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kicked-off-harry-potter-ride-fat_n_5af09fbfe4b041fd2d2992c9?d_id=5771408&ref=bffbhuffpost&ncid_tag=fcbklnkushpmg00000063&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_campaign=us_main&fbclid=IwAR1VVy1V0Aa1Y3SEVpc95arGPBJa4gs07txFPH8PF_71FRZq0r_8ZYPxs1g

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2 hours ago, BRTeller said:

Has anyone else seen this nonsense? I hate to be insensitive, but this is literally coming from a person riding a ride 10 miles from where someone was ejected and killed for being too large a year ago. I swear it's like the world is losing it's mind, people actually believe there's a conspiracy to not let fat (her words, not mine) people ride rides...

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kicked-off-harry-potter-ride-fat_n_5af09fbfe4b041fd2d2992c9?d_id=5771408&ref=bffbhuffpost&ncid_tag=fcbklnkushpmg00000063&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_campaign=us_main&fbclid=IwAR1VVy1V0Aa1Y3SEVpc95arGPBJa4gs07txFPH8PF_71FRZq0r_8ZYPxs1g

10 miles? More like 2,510 miles.

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On 5/4/2023 at 5:15 PM, BRTeller said:

Has anyone else seen this nonsense? I hate to be insensitive, but this is literally coming from a person riding a ride 10 miles from where someone was ejected and killed for being too large a year ago. I swear it's like the world is losing it's mind, people actually believe there's a conspiracy to not let fat (her words, not mine) people ride rides...

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kicked-off-harry-potter-ride-fat_n_5af09fbfe4b041fd2d2992c9?d_id=5771408&ref=bffbhuffpost&ncid_tag=fcbklnkushpmg00000063&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_campaign=us_main&fbclid=IwAR1VVy1V0Aa1Y3SEVpc95arGPBJa4gs07txFPH8PF_71FRZq0r_8ZYPxs1g

This was written years before the Orlando accident.  And also the author was in Hollywood, not Orlando.

I think there's a reasonable conversation to be had that "the size of an average person is not the same as it was 50 years ago, so designers of public accommodations should be considering this as part of their designs."  But this was not that conversation.  She's talking about the issue as some vast societal force to exclude fat people from public life and it's beyond hyperbole.  

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I don't really do trip reports but here's what I got...

The last week in April I made my first Florida trip since November 2006. I visited both Universal Parks on Tuesday 4/25 and Thursday 4/27 (I went to Busch Gardens Tampa on 4/26 and Sea World on 4/28). I had purchased a Power Pass on the fall 2022 and intended to go sometime in November-January but life got in the way, including the passing of my dad. So this trip was just what I needed after a hectic fall and winter. 

VelociCoaster may be my new number 1. It definitely overtook Intimidator 305 as my favorite steel but, given I haven't ridden El Toro since 2008, I think I have to claim it as my current favorite. The combination of theming, inversions, ejector, sense of speed, and just all-around fun make it the most complete roller coaster experience, in my opinion. I was probably anticipating Iron Gwazi a little bit more (it was over-hyped in my mind by a certain other YouTuber) on this trip but VC just blew me away.

Other highlights...

I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan but in the spirit of the trip, I watched all 8 movies leading up to the trip. All the HP stuff is wonderfully executed and it was fun to watch the die-hard fans enjoy themselves. My main regret is that I only rode Hagrid's once. The wait in line was over 2 hours and I just couldn't bring myself to go through that again. So, instead, I just waited for three more weeks to get in line for Darkoaster for 3 hours.

Incredible Hulk with the new track seemed... about the same as 2006. (Kumba, on the other hand, still kicks all types of ass)

I ate lunch at Mythos which was really good. 

Did Poseidon's one last time.

Mummy was still fun as hell.

I ate at Hard Rock and Chocolate Emporium and had a good time in those places.

Also fun to learn that even though I bought the Annual Pass last fall, the pass time frame starts with my first time using it so I have another year to use it.

Some random pictures...

 

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Universal has announced that Universal Studios Florida will be getting their own Minion Land, to open in Summer 2023!

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https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/universal-studios-florida/lands/minion-land?__source=aa.TWITTER&linkId=214969604

Today, Universal Orlando Resort shares new details about all the ways guests can eat, laugh and make mischief with the Minions in the highly anticipated Minion Land on Illumination Ave. – an immersive new area created in partnership between Universal’s award-winning creative team and the acclaimed filmmakers from Illumination. Opening this summer at Universal Studios Florida, the new land expands upon the wildly popular Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction and will debut a new collection of experiences for guests of all ages inspired by the beloved Minions franchise.

As soon as guests enter the land, they’ll be greeted by a fun, photo-worthy “Minion Land” marquee featuring 22 Minions before embarking on the mischief that awaits along Illumination Ave. From blasting their way to supervillain stardom in Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast to savoring tasty dishes at the Minion Cafe to snacking on banana-flavored popcorn at Pop-a-Nana and meeting fan-favorite characters along the way, here are details about the exciting new experiences that await in Minion Land:

ILLUMINATION’S VILLAIN-CON MINION BLAST
Guests can put their villainous skills to the test in Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast – an all-new attraction where guests compete against each other in a fully interactive gaming experience that’s so much fun, it’s a crime. Afterward, guests exit through Evil Stuff, an all-new retail location where they can stock up on Villain-Con and Minions merchandise. More details about Villain-Con Minion Blast will be revealed soon.

ILLUMINATION’S MINION CAFE
It’s Minions in the kitchen, mischief in the dining room, and tons of tasty food at the new Illumination’s Minion Cafe – the marquee dining location within Minion Land. This immersive new eatery offers something for every palate in a highly-entertaining dining experience that features three themed areas designed after beloved Minions Kevin, Stuart, Bob and Otto: the Kitchen – where guests will get a glimpse of the equipment and gear the Minions have used to whip up the cafe’s menu; the Breakroom – where guests can dine in the Minions’ break space that includes everything from “Office Safety Tips” to a vending machine stocked with mischievous items; and the Dining Room – a vibrant space adorned with colorful artwork courtesy of the Minions and more. Guests can also enjoy their meal on an outdoor patio that overlooks the fun of Minion Land.

Just as eye-catching as Minion Cafe’s incredibly-themed surroundings is its delicious menu – the latest example of how Universal Orlando’s award-winning culinary team continues to raise the bar when it comes to theme park dining. Guests of all ages can enjoy inventive, family-friendly fare featuring nearly 20 items inspired by memorable characters and staples from the Minions franchise, including eclectic “despica-bowls” such as Otto’s Noodle Bowl, Agnes’s Honeymoon Soup and Carl’s Crispy Cauliflower (vegan offering); delectable handhelds such as the Steak & “Cheese Ray” Sandwich; adorable desserts such as Bob’s Teddy Bear Chocolate Cream Puff; a kids’ menu for the “mini Minions” in the family that includes items like the Mini Boss’ Mega Melt; and so much more.  

The Minion Cafe will also feature an express window with a limited menu for those looking to satisfy their mischievous cravings quickly and return to the mayhem in Minion Land.

BAKE MY DAY
Topped with a massive pink cupcake that’s visible from anywhere in the land, Bake My Day is a whimsical retail location and bakery featuring a selection of Minion-themed sweet treats, including cupcakes, macarons, s’mores and more, along with exclusive Minion-inspired merchandise like apparel, plush, drinkware, accessories, keychains and more.

POP-A-NANA
Banana-flavored popcorn, anyone? This walkup location features sweet and savory popcorn inspired by the Minions’ love for bananas. Here, guests may also find an assortment of cute popcorn buckets, including the Minion Selfie bucket.

FREEZE RAY POPS
Guests can cool off with a visit to Freeze Ray Pops, featuring a variety of colorful popsicles inspired by Gru, the Minions and Vector – along with beverages.

ILLUMINATION THEATER
Guests can meet, greet and interact with beloved characters like the Minions, Gru, Margo, Edith and Agnes, plus new additions from the hit film “Sing” – Rosita, Gunter and Johnny – at an outdoor Illumination Theater facade.

Guests can also discover murals, photo ops and more throughout Minion Land that celebrate additional characters from popular Illumination films.

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  • 8 months later...

So.....I see it's been forever since anyone posted. Has anyone on here actually "ridden" the new Minion Blast thing? Not sure if we are calling it a ride or an attraction. If so, thoughts? 

Current/new rumors regarding the Lost Continent and/or Simpsons area?

We usually get here once a year but have a big trip planned to Europe so may skip it until next year when Epic opens. Unless they offer some deals to get people in that we can't pass up.

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2 hours ago, teacherkim said:

Has anyone on here actually "ridden" the new Minion Blast thing? Not sure if we are calling it a ride or an attraction. If so, thoughts?

My boyfriend and I rode it last summer and it was... fine. It's definitely more of a game than a ride. You stand on a moving conveyor belt and shoot at things on screens. Granted I'm not much of a gamer, but I had absolutely no idea what I was shooting at or what the objective was. It was all very in-your-face and random. The blaster also connects to your phone and there are items in the queue line for you to scan your phone against and give you points or something like that (my boyfriend handled that, I didn't know what it did lol).

Overall the quality was good but I'm generally not a fan of shooting dark rides in general so I didn't really care for Minions too much and haven't done it again since. I can see how someone who's much more into the game side of it can have lots of fun.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Universal has finally announced the details of their third Orlando theme park Universal Epic Universe, starting with the gateway land, Celestial Park!

celestial-park_at-night.thumb.jpg.07207560216c514248db470e4e988a98.jpg

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https://media.universalparksusa.com/press-releases/universal-orlando-resort-shares-first-official-look-and-details-about-its-highly-anticipated-new-theme-park-universal-epic-universe/

In 2025, Universal Orlando Resort will unveil its next gamechanger for theme park entertainment with the debut of its most ambitious theme park yet: Universal Epic Universe. Epic Universe will present a level of theme park immersion and innovation that is unmatched – transporting guests to expansive worlds featuring more than 50 awe-inspiring attraction, entertainment, dining and shopping experiences that come together to create an unforgettable adventure that is nothing short of epic. The addition of Universal Orlando’s fourth theme park will also transform the award-winning resort into a weeklong vacation destination filled with the most compelling experiences imaginable.

Today, Universal Orlando reveals more details about Celestial Park – the heart of Universal Epic Universe and the first world guests will encounter at the new theme park.

CELESTIAL PARK

With acres of rolling gardens, chasing waterways and strolling pathways, Celestial Park puts the “park” back in “theme park.” As soon as guests enter the imaginative world, they’ll embark on a journey of discovery, thrills and excitement as they wander through lush living gardens nestled along shimmering waters surrounded by stunning architecture inspired by astronomical and mythological elements. Here, guests can relax while taking in the sights and sounds around them, board a shooting comet for an exhilarating roller coaster adventure, dine on delectable cuisine, shop exclusive merchandise to commemorate their visit and more.

PORTALS TO OTHER EXTRAORDINARY WORLDS

Plus, Celestial Park will be the gateway to explore the four additional worlds of Epic Universe – each bringing to life extraordinary adventures that go beyond guests’ wildest imaginations. Through a set of majestic portals that capture the imagination and creativity of each world, guests will embark on a transformative experience as they journey from Celestial Park to:

• The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Ministry of Magic, where guests will discover a different era of the wizarding world in an all-new land that blends 1920s wizarding Paris from Warner Bros. Pictures’ Fantastic Beasts films with the iconic British Ministry of Magic from the Harry Potter series;
• SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, where guests will enter the iconic green pipe and discover a new way to play as they step into the worlds of beloved characters like Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Donkey Kong;
• How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk, where guests can soar with dragons in a colorful world filled with Viking adventures based on the wildly popular How to Train Your Dragon film franchise;
• and Dark Universe, where guests encounter everything from the experiments of Dr. Victoria Frankenstein to the shadowy landscape where monsters roam in a world of myth and mystery.

CELESTIAL PARK ATTRACTIONS AND EXPERIENCES

Here are additional details about some of the other wonders guests can enjoy while exploring Celestial Park:
• Starfall Racers, a dual-launch racing coaster that sends guests rocketing through the skies aboard comets in a race to see who’s the fastest of them all. Reaching speeds up to 62 mph and heights up to 133 feet along 5,000 feet of track, Starfall Racers will be Epic Universe’s most thrilling coaster experience with unique maneuvers such as the “Celestial Spin,” in which the two coaster vehicles perform an inverted crisscross while speeding through the air – creating an “out-of-this-world” adrenaline rush.
• Constellation Carousel – the grand centerpiece of Celestial Park. Here, explorers of all ages will take a fantastical whirl aboard constellations that glide forward, backward – and even make 360-degree rotations – through the milky way in a choreographed dance of music and starlight.
• Astronomica, an interactive wet-play area that also doubles as a giant compass rose to the many wonders of Epic Universe, featuring crystal blue fountains that spring to life and dance around guests;
• An array of unique dining experiences ranging from full-service restaurants to quick-service locations that offer something for every palate, including Atlantic – a full-service “surf and turf” restaurant set inside a Victorian aquarium complete with captivating views of Celestial Park; and The Blue Dragon Pan-Asian Restaurant – where diners take a culinary journey across Asia as they enjoy authentic Chinese, Japanese and Thai fare in this full-service restaurant accented with neon dragons and ethereal lanterns. Additional “must-eat” locations within Celestial Park include The Oak & Star Tavern, where guests can enjoy savory barbecue, Pizza Moon, which will serve up a tasty menu featuring a variety of pizzas, and more.
• Incredibly detailed retail locations, including the Nintendo Super Star Store, where guests can shop an assortment of merchandise themed to SUPER NINTENDO WORLD; Moonship Chocolates & Celestial Sweets, where guests can satisfy their cravings with a unique selection of sweet treats, and more.
• Plenty of exciting entertainment, including various fountain shows throughout Celestial Park’s seven acres of water where a multitude of fountains sway, dance – and even reach heights up to 135 feet in the air – to music and interactive lighting from day to night.

And located inside Epic Universe at the end of Celestial Park is Universal Helios Grand Hotel, designed to transport guests to a world where the heavens and earth unite – complete with 500 rooms, one-of-a-kind views and its very own dedicated entrance into the theme park.

Plus – in addition to raising the bar for theme park innovation, Epic Universe is Universal Destinations & Experiences’ latest development to integrate energy efficiency and sustainable construction practices.

 

 

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