Universal Orlando’s annual haunted event is famous for its detailed sets and live scareactors, but this year the park is taking terror into a new dimension with “The Repository” virtual reality experience at Halloween Horror Nights 26. [Read more…]
Haunt season is right around the corner, and Universal Orlando it getting its fiendish fans fired up by revealing the deadly details about the original haunted houses, scarezones, and shows coming to Halloween Horror Nights 26. [Read more…]
The Incredible Hulk Coaster has roared back to life at Universal’s Islands of Adventure after a lengthy refurbishment to add new enhancements. [Read more…]
Get ready for a little Christmas during Halloween as Krampus is set to terrorize Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood at Halloween Horror Nights this year. [Read more…]
By Seth Kubersky
After months of anticipation and weeks of “technical rehearsal” previews, Skull Island: Reign of Kong is now officially open at Universal Orlando.
Michael Myers is making his return to Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights in an all-new maze inspired by the second film in the classic horror series, “Halloween.” [Read more…]
Rumors are swirling that a trackless dark ride based on the upcoming film The Secret Life of Pets will be built at a Universal theme park in the next couple years. But long before that, exclusive Secret Life of Pets preview experiences at Universal Studios Florida are providing a sneak peak of the animated comedy now through July 10. [Read more…]
In less than a year Orlando will be home to another moist major attraction, because Universal has unveiled fresh details about their under-construction Volcano Bay water theme park, including a June 1, 2017 date when international tickets will become valid. [Read more…]
By Matt Roseboom
Universal Orlando team members and friends paid their respects to team member Luis Vielma, who was killed in the Orlando nightclub attack, by raising their wands toward the Heavens in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. [Read more…]
Universal Orlando annual passholders who have long pleaded with the park to provide them with durable cards instead of flimsy paper tickets can finally celebrate, because Universal Orlando has announced that they are re-introducing plastic Annual Passes starting on June 3rd.
In a posting on the official Universal Orlando Annual Passholder Facebook group, the resort revealed the return of plastic annual passes after a decade of distributing paper ones. Beginning June 3rd, valid annual passholders can swap their paper pass for a plastic one inside the Universal Orlando parks.
Plastic annual pass distribution is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Jurassic Park Discovery Center in Islands of Adventure, and Cafe La Bamba in Universal Studios Florida. Pass distribution dates are currently June 3, 4 & 5; June 10, 11 & 12; and June 17, 18 and 19.
UPDATE: The pass exchange will be available every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from June 3 to 19.
The new Annual Passes will feature the recently updated Universal Orlando resort logo, and be available in three distinct colors – purple for Power Passes, teal for Preferred Passes and gold for Premier Passes. In addition to the upgraded appearance, the new passes are sturdier and more durable than the current passes. Also, the passes will match the updated sleeves that have already been distributed.
Log into Universal’s annual passholder website for more information. Here’s a short video Universal released to celebrate the return of plastic Annual Passes:
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The debut of Islands of Adventure’s newest attraction is swiftly approaching, and Universal Orlando is making fans quake with anticipation by unveiling the first footage of Skull Island’s impressive King Kong animatronic. [Read more…]
The most iconic roller coaster on Islands of Adventure’s skyline is about to roar back to life, and today Universal Orlando released new Incredible Hulk Coaster details, giving a sneak peak at what to expect when the rebuilt ride reopens this summer. [Read more…]
By Fowl Owlerson
In Summer of 2015, Universal Orlando’s official blog confirmed the temporary closure of The Incredible Hulk Coaster on Marvel Super Hero Island at Islands of Adventure for a renovation from Sept. 8, 2015 to an undisclosed date in Summer 2016. We knew this was a considerable amount of time for the refurbishment to be merely a new coat of paint, and indeed we’ve seen the extent of this process since the ride’s closure. [Read more…]
It may be five months early, but anticipation for the 2016 Halloween season is now underway as Universal Orlando has announced that Leatherface is making his return to Halloween Horror Nights. [Read more…]
By Fowl Owlerson
Disclaimer: Unless where otherwise noted, the following is rumor and speculation, and should not be regarded as fact unless confirmed by the companies mentioned.
Hello, everyone! I’ve been spending my time unpacking, working through my backlog of books and movies, and “Owl Stuff” that you wouldn’t understand. But my break is over and it’s time get back into the swing of things.
Rumors were sent to me from credible sources about a new attraction for Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood that was covered in my top rumors of 2016 column. Universal Studios and Illumination Entertainment have been hard at work on what they hope will be the start of a brand new franchise. It circles around the premise “What do your pets do when you aren’t home?” and it’s called “The Secret Life of Pets.” The movie stars an ensemble cast of comedians and actors and is scheduled to hit theaters Summer 2016.
My sources have told me the internal response to the movie has been positive, which got the gears in motion to flesh out a theme park ride for Universal’s theme parks because “Synergy” and such. Illumination’s track record with the Despicable Me franchise instills confidence in the likelihood of this new project’s success.
Based on my sources, the ride queue will center around the New York City apartment complex seen in both trailers, which serves as the home for all of central characters of the movie. Guests will be loaded into vehicles that seat a modest number for a more immersive experience. Per the rumors shared by one of my sources, these vehicles will be trackless with the closest comparison being Mystic Manor’s ride vehicles in Disneyland Hong Kong. According to a source, the goal of Universal Creative is to use these trackless vehicles with a lower capacity in conjunction with an inordinate number of intricate animatronics (seriously, if Universal Creative gets their way, it’ll be a lot) and no screens, which would make theme park enthusiasts happy.
Domes/screens have faced heavy criticism from park-goers, and I can understand why. A practical ride like Jaws wouldn’t happen today. However, rides like Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey and Harry Potter and Escape from Gringotts are intricate in their own right. The ride layout of Forbidden Journey is staggering as can be glimpsed when the ride stops and the lights of the structure switch on or by being evacuated off of it. I give Universal Creative credit for their ingenuity no matter the technology employed in their work, but a new attraction that would be accomplished with mostly practical effects is exciting to me. So digression aside, what will The Secret Life of Pets ride feature?
My sources have related that the ride will follow the plot of the movie, which you can see a fair amount of in the second trailer (below) released by Universal Pictures. The movie’s protagonist is Max, a Jack Russel Terrier who lives with Katie in a New York City apartment complex with a slew of other animals. All is well until Katie comes home with a mongrel named Duke and things go askew. Max and Duke are lost and the other pets in the terrace set out to rescue them.
Per the rumors shared to me by multiple sources, the ride will begin in Katie’s apartment, move to a courtyard or perhaps a platform outside the apartment. Max and Duke will leave the complex in a circular sequence that is described by one source to be more intense than The Cat in the Hat ride but still family friendly, which will be the point where something goes “wrong” (as something must always go “wrong” in a theme park attraction’s narrative). From there, the ride will make its way through the alley full of vagrant cats (spotted in Trailer #2), then flushed down into the sewers of New York. The ride will take guests through the lair of pets who are outcasts (also spotted in Trailer #2) and through a climax that was not revealed by my sources. Ultimately, Max and Duke are reunited with Katie and we depart on a scene inside the apartment complex with myriad pets celebrating. It’s a happy ending, of course.
A source disclosed that the ride is slated to open in “Mid-to-Late 2017” in Universal Studios Hollywood, and will be located in the former site of Soundstage 28. Demolished in 2014, this former structure was where the Opera House from The Phantom of the Opera (1925) was located.
Another source informed me that a version of the attraction is slated for Universal Orlando Resort, but the location hasn’t been decided upon yet. Previously discussed in my top rumors of 2016 column, two potential locations are Toon Lagoon Amphitheater in Islands of Adventure or Shrek 4-D in Universal Studios. The attraction would thematically work across from Despicable Me, however, Islands of Adventure could use another attraction and the theater in Toon Lagoon has been vacant for a fair while now. Shrek 4D was previously rumored to be on the chopping block for a Star Trek attraction, although I haven’t heard much about this rumor since discussing it in my top rumors of 2015 column. The rumored opening date for the Orlando version of the ride is “mid-to-late 2018.”
My sources have said that barring “The Secret Life of Pets” performing below expectations during its theatrical run, it’s for all intents and purposes a “lock” for Universal Hollywood and Orlando. Given the subject matter, I can see this resonating with movie-goers and park-goers, even if it doesn’t seem to feature an owl as a pet. I’m admittedly biased.
• Fowl Owlerson has been attending theme parks since he was a little owlet. When he’s not filtering through the latest murmurings around the industry, he can be found writing, reading, and snacking on the occasional rodent. Follow him on Twitter @fowlowlerson for the latest rumors, and drop an anonymous letter to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Direct Message on Twitter.
King Kong may be the star of the anticipated new attraction coming to Islands of Adventure this summer, but today Universal Orlando unleashed details on some of the Skull Island creatures guests will confront during the Reign of Kong ride.
Skull Island: Reign of Kong is set to open in a few months at Universal Orlando, and we now have a first look at the creepy crawly critters we’ll be encountering on our way to facing off with the big ape himself. In a blog post and accompanying video, Universal Creative unveiled profiles on the mysterious island’s aggressive occupants:
Arachno-claw: These carnivorous arachnids move throughout the swampy underworld of the island’s dark caverns, foraging for dead or injured creatures. The six-legged scavenger uses its crab-like claws to crush its prey before feasting on the remains.
Carnictis: The giant, slug-like Carnictis lacks eyes or facial features. But its gaping, oozing mouth—ringed with sharp, jagged teeth—is a distinguishing feature that allows this slow but relentless creature to feed on dead and wounded beings that have succumbed to the wretched, murky chasms of the island.
Decarnocimex: One of the largest and most aggressive cave-dwelling inhabitants on the island, the Decarnocimex will attack anything smaller or weaker that dares to cross its path. These vicious insects tear apart their prey with their razor-sharp mandibles and two-bladed forearms.
Terapusmordax: These are the largest flying predators on the island, with wingspans up to 10 feet. They live in colonies within the island’s interior caverns and are easily provoked. Spearing victims with lethal talons, they use large carnivorous fangs to penetrate anything—or anyone—caught in their jaws of death.
Vastatosaurus rex: The V. Rex is the largest, most intimidating dinosaur that roams the island’s dense jungles. Despite its large, bulky head and tough leathery skin, it’s an agile predator, changing direction at high speeds and ripping into its prey with razor-sharp teeth.
Skull Islando’s creatures, along with Kong himself, will be brought to life through a combination of physical props and animatronic figures, as well as 3-D projections. You can learn even more about the newly announced antagonists in this video:
Details about Reign of Kong’s opening date have not yet been revealed, but you can get more hints about the attraction by watching Face Off on SyFy, which will dedicate its March 30th episode to Skull Island.
Visitors looking for an off-site hotel within walking distance of Universal Orlando will soon have another lodging option, because a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Residence Inn Universal Studios is scheduled for March 23.
When you journey through Skull Island: Reign of Kong this summer, a traditional off-road vehicle will not do. Your expedition will require something more…colossal. [Read more…]
Chocoholics rejoice, because Universal Orlando has just announced a new chocolate factory will be joining the restaurant lineup at CityWalk later in 2016. The new Toothsome Chocolate Factory & Savory Feast Emporium at Universal CityWalk will be located in the former NBA City, and will offer both a full-service menu and a retail store full of gourmet sweets that guests can watch being made.