With an amazing 2017 behind us—did someone say Universal’s Volcano Bay AND Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon AND an entirely new Holidays?—there’s no slowing down in 2018. From grand openings to upcoming announcements, here’s a quick look ahead at what you can expect from Universal Orlando Resort.
Fast & Furious – Supercharged Opening: Spring
The latest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise isn’t in your local cinemas or streaming on your favorite device. It’s a big, bold ride—and it’s right here at Universal Studios Florida. Jump in alongside your favorite Fast characters in a crazy chase scene that feels like it’s right out of the movies. The attraction is also filled with cars and props from the movies, perfect for that selfie on your IG.
Universal’s Aventura Hotel Opening: August
Universal’s Aventura Hotel to Bring Affordable-Chic to Life at Universal Orlando Resort in Summer 2018.
If you’re looking for modern, sleek and perfectly-priced accommodations while you’re here, look no further. Our sixth hotel welcomes you this August. You can already book a room and start dreaming about the views out your floor-to-ceiling windows, the sparkling pool and our first rooftop bar.
Perched 17 stories up in the air, you’ll enjoy striking, panoramic views of all three theme parks. You’ll be able to look out over the iconic Hogwarts Castle, the twists and turns of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster, and the tropical oasis of Universal’s Volcano Bay.
Beyond the rides and shows, your favorite events will be back this year! A Celebration of Harry Potter and Mardi Gras are just around the corner. And here are a few more of my favorites to look forward to.
Halloween Horror Nights 2018 Opening: September, with select nights through October
The world’s premier Halloween event will return for it’s 28th straight year at Universal Orlando. When this event ends, I always ask myself, “How will we top ourselves next year? There’s no way.” But then those demented geniuses go off and do it. Can’t wait to see the terrifying houses, scarezones and shows they scare up for us.
Holidays Opening: Mid-November
The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle - Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort
This year brought all-new décor, live shows and an incredible music and lighting spectacle on Hogwarts castle with Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It also included an all-new Universal Holidays Parade Featuring Macy’s with entirely new balloons and floats. And all that’s on top of the fun of Grinchmas, Mannheim Steamroller performances and holiday cheer all around.
Well, it’s all coming back again this year for more holiday merriment and mischief. Consider your holiday travel plans booked.
Crystal Ball Gazing
While I can’t share details on things yet to be announced, you can expect to hear an announcement or two from us this year on things like:
The previously-announced ride replacing Dragon Challenge in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade
An additional projection mapping experience at Hogwarts castle
Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular being replaced
Something new going in where Terminator 2: 3D was
A new venue coming to Universal CityWalk where Element was
Our expanding hotel collection
The continued global expansion of our partnership with Nintendo. Our sister park in Japan has already broken ground on Super Nintendo World; I’m sure you can’t wait to hear what’s next.
Whew! There’s a lot to look forward to in 2018, that’s for sure.
Stay tuned in to the blog, follow us on social, and sign-up for emails to stay connected to all things Universal Orlando Resort. I’ll see you in the streets.
I'm pretty interested to see what happens with the old T2 location, seems like that location could go a lot of ways depending on if they demo the whole site or re-purpose the theater in it's current form. I always liked the T2 show even though it was incredibly dated, so if they were to develop some kind of new live action stunt show I could see it working well.
Whatever it is there's a good possibility it will involve 3D glasses......
Universal Orlando just announced the addition of "The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle" projection mapping show presented in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade.
Calling all Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs and Slytherins...
For the first time ever at Universal Orlando Resort, guests will be able to celebrate their Hogwarts house pride during an all-new, breathtaking experience – The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle – debuting on Wed., Jan. 31 and running select nights throughout 2018.
As night falls in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, state-of-the-art projection mapping, coupled with special effects and lighting, will wrap Hogwarts castle in a dazzling display celebrating the four houses of Hogwarts – Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin. Guests will watch in awe as the spirit and iconic elements of each house are brought to life on the majestic castle – all set to incredible music based on the original scores from the Harry Potter films.
This will be the second projection mapping experience Universal Orlando has featured in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. Over the holiday season, Universal debuted “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle,” which brought incredible Christmas moments inspired by the Harry Potter series to life. Both experiences were also featured at Universal Studios Hollywood.
“The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” will make its official debut at Universal Orlando Resort on Wed., Jan. 31 and run select nights throughout the year – but park guests can preview the new experience on Jan. 27 and Jan. 28 during “A Celebration of Harry Potter 2018.” The experience will run continuously each evening starting at dusk.
And guests who’ve purchased A Celebration of Harry Potter vacation package can be among the first to see this experience at Universal Orlando during an exclusive preview event on Friday, Jan. 26. Event packages can be purchased here.
“The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” is scheduled to run Jan. 31 – Feb. 5, and Feb. 7 – Feb. 12. Additional dates will be announced at a later time on http://www.universalorlando.com.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
Universal Orlando has officially confirmed that Voodoo Doughnut will be coming to Universal CityWalk in 2018!
Voodoo Doughnut to Bring its Sinfully Delicious Flavors to Universal Orlando Resort this Spring
The doughnut shop with a cult following is arriving east of the Mississippi at Universal CityWalk.
Who: Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon created Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon in 2003. The pair had enjoyed experimenting with unique flavors to create eccentric pastries and they turned their passion into the phenomenon that is Voodoo Doughnut. As they say, the rest is history.
What: Voodoo Doughnut will open at Universal CityWalk, Universal Orlando Resort’s entertainment and dining complex. Loved for its sinfully delicious, delightfully weird lineup of fried creations, Voodoo Doughnut will feature signature originals and one-of-a-kind delectables such as the Dirt Doughnut, the Bacon Maple Bar, Grape Ape and, of course, Voodoo Doll doughnuts.
When: The new Voodoo Doughnut location is set to open at Universal CityWalk in Orlando this spring. Stay tuned at UniversalOrlando.com, the Universal Orlando blog and social channels for more information.
Where: Since their Portland, Oregon origins, Shannon and Pogson have continued to spread their unique flavors with several new locations including a few more in Oregon and shops in Denver, Colorado; Austin, Texas and CityWalk at Universal Studios Hollywood. The new location at Universal Orlando will be the first location east of the Mississippi. The shop will feature the same eclectic pink theming and irreverent names that can be found in current Voodoo Doughnut locations. It will be located next to NBC Sports Grill & Brew, just steps away from the iconic Universal Globe and Universal Studios Florida entrance.
Why: Delicious doughnuts… Need we say more! Your mouth should be watering at this point.
This looks awesome and I'm sure people will love it but.......................
Get out of here with those fancy donuts with cereal and bacon and garbage, the only donuts that matter are 1. traditional glazed 2. cream filled long john (not Boston Creme or custard you monsters) 3. Apple Fritter
This weekend Theme Park Review had the opportunity to experience "A Celebration of Harry Potter" once again at the Universal Orlando Resort. This three day event features celebrity talent from the Harry Potter film series along with a variety of companies involved with the Wizarding World franchise presenting panels, demonstrations and exhibits throughout the parks including two different sound stages hosting the Harry Potter Expo.
Much like in previous years, the event allows Potter fans to cosplay and to indulge in their fandom in the two Wizarding World of Harry Potter realms. This year the event featured several new stars, new exhibits and the public debut of a new projection show, The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle! Standouts of the event included this year's presentation from the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter attraction, the Fantastic Beasts Virtual Reality Experience and the debut of the before-mentioned projection show. The Universal Orlando Resort already has so much to offer Harry Potter fans year round, but this annual event ups the ante for the fans, casual and less-so. The most invested of fans will undoubtedly be most sold on the event, but the exhibits and panels offer a little extra for everyone, whether they be fans of the books, films, audiobooks, artwork or simply the theme park lands that have brought so many guests to the Universal Orlando resort over since Hogsmeade in 2010! Vacation packages are definitely the most heavily recommended way to experience the event with dedicated viewing space for panels and demonstrations, expedited access to the two Harry Potter Expo sound stages and exclusive time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter lands including food and beverages (unlimited Butterbeer) during this time.
We look forward to seeing what next year's event brings, with a new Harry Potter attraction on the horizon at the Universal Orlando Resort set to open in the future and new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films on the way--the event can only grow with these new injections into the already insanely-popular fandom surrounding this intellectual property!
This weekend TPR was at Universal Orlando this year's "A Celebration of Harry Potter" event!
We started the event with a media Q&A session with the stars of the Harry Potter film series.
This year Minalima returned to share a look at their work on the new Fantastic Beasts film!
A live Harry Potter in Concert performance by the Orlando Philarhomonic was accompanied by fireworks at the opening ceremony on Friday night.
Friday also brought the first Florida performance of "The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle."
This new projection show features segments dedicated to each of the four Hogwarts houses.
Hogwarts Castle really glows during the Slytherin segment of the show.
Fire engulfs the castle in the Gyffindor section of the show.
And of course, there are fireworks!
And we're back for the second day of "A Celebration of Harry Potter" 2018!
Time to head into the Harry Potter Expo!
"The Making of Harry Potter" exhibit from the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London has returned to the Harry Potter Expo with this year’s exhibit focused on the practical effects of the Harry Potter Film series!
This year guests could order custom phone cases with Harry Potter-inspired designs.
This year’s Minalima exhibit at the Harry Potter Expo featured a wide variety of pieces designed by the team for the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films!
We had a chance to speak with Mina of Minalima this morning! Her favorite piece they worked on for the Harry Potter film series is the Marauder’s Map!
More fantastic work from Minalima!
The Minalima booth also has the official event posters for sale including designs from the previous years! This year’s design features Weaselys’ Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley!
This year’s event merchandise is available for purchase in both of the sound stages hosting the Harry Potter Expo.
The Scholastic exhibit at the Harry Potter Expo features the many Harry Potter books include the new illustrated series!
The screen-used Goblet of Fire from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is and it actually spits out a burnt paper with Harry Potter’s name on it!
Dolores Umbridge’s outfit from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix actually smokes from inside! This was a practical effect designed for one scene in the film!
The practical effect from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone where the Dursley’s House is inundated with Hogwarts acceptance letters could be seen up close at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London exhibit at the Harry Potter Expo!
The fans are anxiously awaiting the opening of the Harry Potter Expo!
The first guest sorted in a Hogwarts House for the day!
We checked out the updates to the Fantastic Beasts Virtual Reality Experience featuring two new beasts... And with this you don’t have to go far to find them!
One of two new Fantastic Beasts interactions...
The Fantastic Beasts Virtual Reality Experience now includes a close encounter with the Niffler! Keep your shiny belongings close!
We had the chance to try out the new Hogwarts Mystery game from Portkey Games and Jam City. The new RPG for mobile devices will be released this Spring!
Lots of props from the Harry Potter films can be found throughout the Harry Potter Expo.
Over the course of the weekend chalk artists are creating this art live in person at Universal Studios Florida!
The Pottermore exhibit at the Harry Potter Expo is featuring a gallery of art that is available to order.
We ran into Dolores Umbridge at the Harry Potter Expo....
She reminded us that we shouldn't tell lies!
There was an exclusive wand available only for "A Celebration of Harry Potter" this past weekend.
During the event chococolate frog boxes are marked to indicate a guaranteed Bertie Bott collectible wizard card included in the box!
Throughout the day Music Plaza Stage is hosting a series of panels and demonstrations for A Celebration of Harry Potter!
Hashtag the Panda is watching guests by Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon!
More Harry Potter chalk art in the park.
Cosplayers can be found throughout Universal Orlando thank's to the weekend's events!
Don’t miss this nod to Jaws outside of the entrance to Diagon Alley!
No shortage of cosplayers to be found in Diagon Alley!
Enjoying the beautiful weekend weather in Diagon Alley!
A guest cosplaying as Hagrid gave guests a unique photo opportunity near Gringotts!
Listen closely when wandering through Knockturn Alley... You may hear “Show Me the Way to Go Home,” a song sung during the classic film Jaws. Jaws inspired an attraction at Universal that was later replaced by Diagon Alley.
You may run into some dark wizards and witches while roaming Knockturn Alley...
Cosplayers were meeting up throughout the day at Carkitt Market within Diagon Alley!
You might even experience a duel or two throughout the weekend!
The Toon Lagoon Amphitheater in Islands of Adventure is host to a series of panels and demonstrations during the weekend!
Guests have the chance to meet students of the Beauxbaton Academy of Magic and the Durmstrang Institute while in Hogsmeade.
There were a lot of guests in Hogsmeade today!
There’s magic at work where Dragon Challenge used to be in Hogsmeade...
The viewing area for the first showing of The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle has filled and guests are being held in Hogsmeade for the next showing.
“The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” features fireworks during its finale.
Yesterday's chalk art of Luna Lovegood has been completed and is on display in the Harry Potter Expo!
Guests competed in the Audible Recall challenge at the Pottermore exhibit in the Harry Potter Expo!
Guests could experience an exhibit about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Harry Potter Expo.
The other of two sound stages hosting the Harry Potter Expo was significantly larger!
One of last year's Fantastic Beasts returned for more guest visits at the Fantastic Beasts Virtual Reality Experience.
Another guest getting sorted into a Hogwarts house by the Sorting Hat.
Guests can visit the Scholastic exhibit at the Harry Potter Expo to share what Harry Potter means to them on the Muggle Wall.
This year’s event merchandise included a commemorative coin featuring the event’s key art.
Guests can even purchase Hermione’s Yule Ball dress from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire!
Time to visit Diagon Alley!
Down into the vaults of Gringotts Bank we go!
Catching a ride on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts!
Over in Carkitt Market guests can witness a live performance of The Tales of Beedle the Bard - The Fountain of Fair Fortune!
A full Quidditch player cosplay found in Carkitt Market in Diagon Alley!
Which treat from Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop in Diagon Alley are you craving?
The last day of the event brought more cosplayers into the parks!
Care for a Butterbeer Ice Cream?
Even more cosplayers inside of Diagon Alley!
More custom cosplays in Diagon Alley!
Guests can meet the Knight Bus conductor in front of the entrance to Diagon Alley!
Time to catch our train!
Heading back to the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter area from London... We're Hogsmeade-bound!
Dark wizards and witches may choose to take the train too!
We had a close encounter with a dementor on our way to Hogsmeade.
The last time I took this photo, there was a certain dragon flying in the background...
That wraps up our coverage of "A Celebration of Harry Potter" 2018 at the Universal Orlando Resort! We had an excellent time and loved the opportunity to experience the new exhibits, panels and stars of this year's event!
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