Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 1444 - Hagrid's Motorbike Review!
Users viewing this topic: jonlocke and 24 guests
Discuss theme parks, roller coasters, and mules!
This B&M donkey is so smooth!
User avatar
 
Posts: 136
Joined: 31 Jul 2013
Location: Nashville, TN
Gender: Male
Age: 24

Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby EastCoastKid » Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:26 am

Hey everyone, I'm looking for some useful advice/information for my upcoming trip.

My father and I will be visiting Universal and Islands of Adventure this upcoming week on Monday 6/23 and then Saturday 6/28. We know absolutely nothing about these parks and could really use some information!

Are crowds insane? My dad doesn't do roller coasters but will probably be riding everything else.
What is the best way to get two-park, two-day tickets?
Which park should we do Monday, and which Saturday?

Since we will be going on a Monday and a Saturday, should we opt for Unlimited Express both days, or should we be okay on Monday?

Thank you in advance for anything and everything you guys can provide! We want to make the most of our visits!
What is this donkey business?

“Fear can make a donkey attack a lion”
User avatar
 
Posts: 339
Joined: 20 Sep 2010
Gender: Male

Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby Saldek » Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:57 am

Hilltopper39 wrote:Buffet played live from the Amphitheater stage in front of Rockit last night on the show as well.

Does anyone know if they filmed that during park hours, or did they close the park down and just film the musical spot with a live audience? I've got Fallon on DVR all week, should be a lot of fun!



The performance and filming happened after park closing at 9 p.m. However he did a rehearsal at 7 p.m.

I've gone pantless!
User avatar
 
Posts: 34156
Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Location: In the lair of the Huge Hummel Boy (which is conveniently located near Williamsburg, Va.)
Gender: Male
Age: 59

Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby cfc » Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:35 pm

I opened this thread expecting to see plenty of pictures of food. Adam, you did not disappoint me. ;) I need to try some of these joints on City Walk.
Image
Image

Delicious & Refreshing
User avatar
 
Posts: 8382
Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Location: Orlando, Florida
Gender: Male
Age: 28

Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby jedimaster1227 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:30 pm

Today the Universal Orlando Media Preview Week continued with the "State of Our Universe" presentation, followed by a VIP tour of both parks with some special experiences along the way! Most notably, the Universal Orlando Resort officially announced that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley will officially open on July 8th, 2014!

Today, Universal Orlando Resort announced that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will officially open on July 8 – allowing guests to experience even more of Harry Potter’s adventures in an all-new, magnificently-themed environment.

Located in the Universal Studios Florida theme park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley will feature shops, dining experiences and the next generation thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. The new immersive area will double the size of the sweeping land already found at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, expanding the spectacularly themed environment across both Universal theme parks.

Guests will enjoy new experiences and places found in and around London in the Harry Potter books and films. They will see the Knight Bus as they stroll through London, walk the streets of Diagon Alley and explore iconic shops like Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, dine in the Leaky Cauldron, embark on a thrilling adventure through the Gringotts bank vaults – and much more.

Guests will also be able to board the Hogwarts Express and enjoy a unique journey as they travel between London and Hogsmeade.

Vacation packages to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and Universal Orlando Resort are available now. For additional information, visit http://www.UniversalOrlando.com/WizardingWorld.


028.jpg
Photo courtesy of the Universal Orlando Resort.
029.jpg
Photo courtesy of the Universal Orlando Resort.
001.JPG
Our morning started out with the "State of Our Universe" presentation...
002.JPG
There were some technical issues with the podium's microphone...
003.JPG
So the Blue Man Group came out to help fix the issue!
004.JPG
Bill Davis, President and COO of the Universal Orlando Resort spoke to media, promising some exciting announcements for the Universal Orlando Resort to be released in the coming months.
005.JPG
Thierry Coup, Senior Vice President of Universal Creative came to stage to talk about the history behind the development of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley.
006.JPG
Then the stars of the film came out to share the exciting news that Diagon Alley will officially open to the public on July 8th, 2014!
007.JPG
Evanna Lynch shared some thoughts on her experiences with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in contrast to her experiences working on the films.
008.JPG
Where could we be now?
009.JPG
Time to meet the stars!
010.JPG
So this happened!
011.JPG
Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood from the films) took the time to share her thoughts on Diagon Alley with us!
012.JPG
I'll admit it... I love The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
013.JPG
A sneak peek at what's to come later this evening...
014.JPG
The walls surrounding the Hogsmeade station for the Hogwarts Express are now down!
015.JPG
But the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade still has beauty and charm.
016.JPG
And they know how to treat us with Butterbeer!
017.JPG
The infamous Butterbeer mustache.
018.JPG
Seriously stunning even four years later!
019.JPG
I'll never get tired of this view...
020.JPG
This is in an odd location...
021.JPG
Nothing to see here! Move along!
022.JPG
Because I could.
023.JPG
Thierry Coup stopped by during our VIP tour to share some history on the development of Transformers: The Ride.
025.JPG
Look who joined the party!
027.JPG
Once again Universal continues to treat us very well for this special week! Time for me to head off to Diagon Alley to experience the newest part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! I'll be back with photos later tonight!
Last edited by jedimaster1227 on Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:31 pm.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!

Image

Jar-Jar Binks smells like Donkey
User avatar
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: 12 Apr 2010
Location: Burbank, CA
Gender: Male
Age: 57

Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby RoCo » Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:00 pm

The Cabana Bay hotel, sorry RESORT, could turn out to be my favorite place to stay in all of Florida, looks completely fantastic. And Daigon Alley is looking just as amazing as they led us to believe it would. Damn.
"The Internet? Is that thing still around?"

Image

Alan Schilke is my "man crush".
User avatar
 
Posts: 2834
Joined: 08 Sep 2012
Location: On my laptop
Gender: Male

Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby Woodie Warrior » Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:56 pm

Despite the fact that it is going to be extremely cramped, Diagon Alley does look freakin' awesome. Is there any update on who the manufacturer of the Gringotts coaster is?
Top 10: 1. The Voyage 2. Outlaw Run 3. Millennium Force 4. SkyRush 5. Maverick
6. El Toro 7. Fahrenheit 8. Storm Runner 9. Thunderbird 10. Powder Keg

I Guess Donkeys Are Okay
 
Posts: 1
Joined: 18 Jun 2014
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Gender: Male
Age: 26

Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby camevans93 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:11 pm

Hey, loving this forum!! getting me excited for my trip next year will be spending a few weeks in Orlando wanting to do WDW and Universal can't wait!! Keep up the awesome post's
Duty manager in Wellington, New Zealand. Saving hard for my USA to the UK OE in June 2015.

She turned me into a donkey! I got better...
 
Posts: 77
Joined: 19 Sep 2011
Gender: None specified

Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby Aaronupsidasium » Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:23 pm

Fairly certain Dynamic Attractions is the main group behind the ride since they work on a lot of Universal major attractions. I would bet that Vekoma did whatever coaster track is on the ride (which probably won't be a lot) since they've been reliable with Disney and Universal (forget BSG exists).

Delicious & Refreshing
User avatar
 
Posts: 8382
Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Location: Orlando, Florida
Gender: Male
Age: 28

Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby jedimaster1227 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:41 am

Well I’m back from what was arguably the most incredible first-time theme park experience I’ve ever had. Let me preface this review with a few notes. The first is that while I am not a Harry Potter fanatic (I only read four of the books growing up but I have seen and own all of the movies), I do thoroughly enjoy the franchise and all that it has to offer in the theater and theme park environments. The second item is that the following words are fueled by shock and joy from what I’ve just experienced… Later today I’ll be revisiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley again, which will likely level out my review, but the shock-and-awe praise that I’m about to deliver should be shared, lest it wear off even in the slightest between this initial experience and the next.

Diagon Alley takes everything that worked about Hogsmeade and elevates it. The most immediate difference you’ll find when you enter is the sheer scope of the land. This is not a quaint village at the base of a mountain home to a famous castle. Diagon Alley is built like a city, and feels like one too. The facades are tall, wide and incongruous leading to a very asymmetrical, magical feel to the place. Upon entrance to Diagon Alley from the London Waterfront outside, you immediately see a dragon perched atop the entrance dome of Gringotts Bank, which occasionally breathes fire.

Yesterday night’s visit followed the conclusion of the VIP red carpet event, giving us from approximately 9:30 pm to 12:00 midnight to experience as much as possible. Simply put, that is nowhere near enough time, even when the queues are clear for a media event. Diagon Alley is so full of activity, sights, tastes and experiences that the price of admission to Universal Studios Florida would be worth it alone for this one realm especially once the crowds expected to flow in once the land opens to all guests on July 8th, 2014.

With more time in Diagon Alley set for later today, I’ll withhold my full review until I’ve experienced everything, but I will share my insight below based on my experiences this evening and then I’ll update the post with the rest of my reviews after I have had a better chance to get to know the land this coming morning.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – This ride can’t be praised enough for all that it is and all that it accomplishes. Without spoiling the ride’s unique story, I can confirm that the ride has many elements that no one will see coming. This is a game changer for Universal and for the amusement industry as a whole. The ride combines coaster elements along with simulator technology to create an experience that is unlike anything else. There is simply nothing in the industry to compare it to—this ride sits comfortably alone in its own category. The queue begins with a tour through the famous Gringotts Bank entryway, with goblins surrounding you on all sides and ornate chandeliers above. This grand entrance alone trumps anything found in the queue for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Moving deeper into the queue you have the option to have a photo taken for your Gringotts Identification Card. The next room leads to a pre-show theater in which Bill Weasley and Griphook, one of the goblin bank leaders discuss their upcoming descent into the vaults. Onward into a moving elevator surrounded by overhead screens and shaking walls and floors, the illusion of descending into the cavernous vaults of Gringotts is impeccable and puts the former Hydrolators of Epcot's The Living Seas' past to shame. Once out of the elevators, guests grab their mine goggles (3-D glasses) and ascend a spiral staircase towards the loading platform, with stalagmites above. The loading platform is grand and cavernous and the mine carts are victorian/steampunk in design, looking much like an evolution of the ride vehicles found on the neighboring Revenge of the Mummy towards the front of the park.

Here's where the SPOILERS come into play... Read no further if you wish to experience the ride with a fresh impression.

The cart dispatches from the station at a quick pace and moves into a giant screen-filled room in which Bellatrix Lestrange and Griphook along with Bill Weasley from the pre-show arrive at the cart junction. Your cart is recognized as being full of intruders and Bellatrix casts a spell to ensure that the intruders are dealt with. The track beneath you tilts forward at a steep angle, holding for a moment before the ride vehicle lunges forward into a dark pit for a thrilling drop. After a quick turn, the ride slows within a cavern, encountering a series of gigantic trolls as the vehicles take an unexpected move and begin to spin. The trolls attack the vehicle leading to a virtual plummet that thanks to screen technology and the vehicles' motion platforms ends with incredible effect. Bill Weasley leads an escape with more spinning along the way, but this is interrupted by another encounter with Bellatrix, this time with Voldemort himself in tow along with his horcrux snake Nagini. They cast a spell that propels the vehicle backwards into a lava-filled room. Voldemort approaches again, about to cast a finishing spell when Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger swoop in on the dragon seen earlier in the beginning of the ride, chaining the ride to dragon as it flies away. The surrounding 360 degree dome that is seemingly sealed off opens up with a puff of smoke as the vehicle is pulled forward by the dragon, which crashes through the Gringotts walls for a thrilling escape. One final pass by Bill Weasley and the dragon concludes the ride experience as the vehicle returns to the station.

*END SPOILERS HERE*

The Hogwarts Express is a brilliant conveyance system with a fantastic story (unique depending on which direction you are headed). The trains are absolutely gorgeous and the interiors match perfectly with what has been previously seen in the films.

Knockturn Alley happened to be the standout of the night for me. It is an indoor experience within Diagon Alley themed to feel like it is experienced outdoors and at night—a beautifully simulated illusion. This set of dark corridors is mesmerizing, seedy and eerily exciting in a way that starkly contrasts the bright colors and lively facades of the rest of Diagon Alley. While it doesn’t host any one attraction, just walking around Knockturn Alley is an experience in and of itself.

The Ollivanders wand experience is the same as the one found in the original Hogsmeade, albeit with larger parlors for which to host additional guests. There are three parlors in Ollivanders, all beautifully camouflaged behind wand shelves in a long hallway that are actually doors to each room.


001.JPG
We're finally here!
002.JPG
And we're parked on the red carpet, ready to go!
003.JPG
Robbie Coltrane was on the red carpet along with other stars from the films to promote the debut of Diagon Alley!
004.JPG
The Phelps twins were here as well.
006.JPG
The special "moment" kicking off the debut of Diagon Alley involved shutting out the lights in front of the waterfront for a brief period of time.
007.JPG
The Night Bus arrived and the driver ended up interrupting the show.
008.JPG
Tom Williams (Chairman/CEO, Universal Parks and Resorts) was on hand to kick off the festivities!
009.JPG
Robbie Coltrane repeated his original tapping of the brick wall from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to open the wall into Diagon Alley.
010.JPG
And of course there were fireworks! (Through the trees!)
011.JPG
And plain fire too!
012.JPG
The cast of the films gathered for a photo before the end of the ceremony.
013.JPG
Here we go!
014.JPG
Absolutely gorgeous!
015.JPG
I'm here to open an account!
016.JPG
One welcome gift for us was the map for the interactive wands we would receive later that night. I didn't get the chance to use it, but by this point I was already so overwhelmed to be in Diagon Alley, I was near tears.
017.JPG
I love this "living portrait."
018.JPG
A look at the ride vehicle in simulated action.
019.JPG
These elevators put the Hydrolators to shame.
020.JPG
The pre-show for the ride includes an awesome "musion" effect that has to be seen in person to truly appreciate!
021.JPG
So neat!
022.JPG
Time to board!
023.JPG
Simply put, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts may (in my opinion) be the most cutting-edge, game-changing attraction of our time.
024.JPG
There's the money shot!
025.JPG
It is astounding just how big Diagon Alley feels once inside.
026.JPG
There are tons of food and beverage options in Diagon Alley including this quaint stand.
027.JPG
Another angle for the dragon...
028.JPG
In case you were wondering, these shark teeth are a tribute to the former Jaws attraction that once existed on the plot of land that Diagon Alley now occupies.
029.JPG
The facades really are huge!
030.JPG
The Owl Post here is gigantic!
031.JPG
Time for some refreshing beverages!
032.JPG
So I tried the "Fishy Green Ale..."
033.JPG
This was my reaction.
034.JPG
Carkett Market's covered section should really be great with the Summer heat and rain.
035.JPG
Interactive wand stations are scattered throughout all of Diagon Alley as well as in Hogsmeade.
036.JPG
I seriously love this!
037.JPG
How about some ice crean?
038.JPG
Butterbeer ice cream! That's all I need in life.
039.JPG
Knockturn Alley has some really neat window displays.
040.JPG
Some different potions to mix in with your Gillyweed.
041.JPG
One guest was testing out her new wand on the interactive game.
042.JPG
Seriously awesome!
043.JPG
Shiriki, is that you?
044.JPG
Details in the window!
045.JPG
There were some awesome projection effects on these canvases.
046.JPG
Need some wizard money?
047.JPG
I waited to buy any Gringotts currency, but it was nice to see it in person.
048.JPG
I did get one of each flavor to go.
049.JPG
So clever!
050.JPG
Ain't she a beauty?
002.JPG
The main entrance/exit to Diagon Alley.
001.JPG
Welcome to the Leaky Cauldron.
003.JPG
How about a ride on the Hogwarts Express?
004.JPG
Here's Banks from the Orlando Attractions Magazine. He's ready to ride!
005.JPG
This. Is. Awesome!
006.JPG
Holy cow!
008.JPG
No detail left ignored!
009.JPG
Good to know!
010.JPG
The locations are tied together because of the train, so you'd naturally see Hogsmeade if everything had worked out as plan.
011.JPG
I'm all over this!
012.JPG
Can't stop staring at this!
013.JPG
Be sure to check our Gringotts before the stanchions go up in the queue.
014.JPG
Looks incredible!
015.JPG
Even better than the ones in the queue for Forbidden Journey.
Last edited by jedimaster1227 on Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:00 am.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!

Image

Full Fledged Donkey Enthusiast!
User avatar
 
Posts: 105
Joined: 01 Oct 2006
Location: York, UK
Gender: Male
Age: 29

Re: Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Postby gax » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:35 am

All I can say is... wow
This looks like one of the most immersive and well-executed theme park areas of all time! Unbelievable!
Is the entrance to the Hogwarts Express themed to 'running through the wall' like in the books?

PreviousNext

Return to Theme Parks, Roller Coasters, & Donkeys!

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: jonlocke and 24 guests

These pages are in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Cedar Fair, Legoland, Merlin Entertainment,
Blackstone, Tussaud's Group, Six Flags, Universal Theme Parks, the Walt Disney Company or any other theme park company.

All onride photos and videos on this website were taken with the permission of the park by a professional ride photographer.
For yours  and others safety, please do not attempt to take photos or videos at parks without proper permission.

Disclaimer!  You need a sense of humor to view our site, 
if you don't have a sense of humor, or are easily offended, please turn back now!
Most of the content on this forum is suitable for all ages. HOWEVER!
There may be some content that would be considered rated "PG-13."
Theme Park Review is NOT recommended for ages under 13 years of age.

cron