Technology

Exploring Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom on One More Disney Day

Emily is back with another great post, this time about the brand spankin’ new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game at Walt Disney World. Sadly, we have not been able to experience this brand new attraction first-hand. Mainly due to the fact that it wasn’t open when we visited. Regardless, that’s why we pester our friends to write things for us when they visit. Awesome! Here is Emily’s experience: Continue reading

The Making of IOA: The Lost Continent

The Lost Continent is that rarest of theme park venues–one with no tie-in to any films, books, or comic strips. It is divided into three very different zones: The Lost Continent, which has an Atlantis theme, Merlinwood, which evokes the world of King Arthur, and Sindbad’s Village. Continue reading

The Making of IOA: Jurassic Park

A paleontological pit stop on your excursion through the Islands of Adventure, Jurassic Park converts one of Universal Studios’ prime movieland properties into genuine real estate in Orlando. Its pace is set by the sweeping scores John Williams composed for the monster hit of 1993 and its 1997 sequel, The Lost World–slowly rising crescendos of wonder and excitement, alternating with stings of doom and danger, played throughout the venue on loudspeakers as carefully hidden among the rockwork and foliage as the rest of the attraction’s technology. Continue reading

Highlights for 2012 at Disneyland Resort

The year 2012 promises even more fun and adventure across the Disneyland Resort, with new experiences highlighted by the unveiling this summer of Cars Land, Carthay Circle Theatre and the Buena Vista Street entry into Disney California Adventure park. With these and other recent additions at both theme parks, guests of all ages will enjoy more magic than ever at Disneyland Resort, a premier, multi-day vacation destination in Southern California. Continue reading

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter goes Hollywood…and expands in Orlando

Major updates for Harry Potter fans. Universal Studios Hollywood is expected to announce a major Harry Potter attraction/expansion similar to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida. They are holding a media event tomorrow to officially announce the project. In addition, we also hear of the possible expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. Read on for details.

First, the Universal Studios Hollywood News from the Los Angeles Times:

“Harry Potter is making his Los Angeles debut on Tuesday. Executives from Universal Studios and Warner Bros. will unveil and for the first time publicly discuss their plans to build the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood at a late-morning news conference.Universal announced the event, stating in an email that it would be “hosting a Butterbeer toast to celebrate a very special announcement.” People close to the matter but not authorized to discuss the event beforehand confirmed it would be the unveiling of plans to duplicate the massively successful Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction from Universal Studios Orlando at the L.A. theme park. Top executives from Warner Bros., which made the “Potter” films and controls licensing rights to author J.K. Rowling’s books about the boy wizard, will be in attendance along with those from Universal. They will include the leaders of both companies: Warner Chairman Barry Meyer and Universal President Ron Meyer (no relation). In addition, demonstrating the significance of what will likely be a huge investment in building the Potter-themed rides and shops, along with the longer-term boost to tourism, California Gov. Jerry Brown will be in attendance.The Orlando Wizarding World of Harry Potter has brought in more than 7 million people in its first year and was the main driver in a 36% increase at Universal’s park there in the first three months of 2011. The attraction isn’t expected to open at Universal’s Los Angeles location — right next to its film and television studio in Universal City — until 2015 at the earliest.”

The Hogwarts Express Station

Now to the juicy Orlando details:

The second item of Harry Potter news are the rumours about the expansion for the original Wizarding World at Universal Orlando which is located in Islands of Adventure. We’ve heard from multiple reliable sources that the reason the JAWS Ride and entire Amity section of Universal Studios Florida is being closed is to prepare for a Phase 2 expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The concept here will be that you can visit London, Diagon Alley, Gringott’s Bank and The original Ollivanders Wand Shop before boarding the Hogwarts Express to the existing themed side of Islands of Adventure. These are wild rumours, but with the sucess the park has seen with the first Phase, we’re sure they are rusing to get the expansion built and ready to open as soon as possible. We’ll keep you posted as we find out more!
What do you think about possible copycat attractions in Hollwood? And how do you feel about JAWS being replaced with more magic from the realm of Harry Potter?

5 reasons we love Universal Orlando

While Walt Disney World is the main attraction for many visitors to Orlando, and we agree that it’s a great place to visit, many people forget about the other awesome resort just up the road from the Mouse, Universal Orlando. With 2 parks, 3 resorts and tons of great dining and shopping experiences, we think Universal is pretty awesome. Here are 5 reasons why we love Universal Orlando Resort:

1. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

There is no experience on the planet that is better than this fantastic, magical, immersive themed environment. If you only visit one area of the entire Universal Orlando Resort, make this your stop. From the magic of Hogsmeade Village, to the delectable taste of Butterbeer, nothing is more exciting than actually experiencing the locations from the films. The star attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Joruney, will leave you speechless. The lineup for this ride is just as good as the ride itself. I mean, you get to walk to halls of Hogwarts! Make sure to visit Ollivander’s to pick your want, or if you’re lucky it will pick you! And take a little treat home for your friends by grabbing a bottle of Pumpkin Juice for them to try. Sadly, Butterbeer is not sold in bottles, so they’ll have to visit to taste it themselves.

2. Margaritaville at Citywalk

Nothing sets me in a better mood than sitting on the patio listening to Jimmy Buffet and sipping a carefully concocted margarita. The food here is great and you never know what impromptu entertainment will be taking place both inside and out front. Make sure to visit the inside portion of the bar to experience the hurricanes that happen every once in a while. They also have a massive Margaritaville Store where you can buy almost anything with the famous brand stamped upon it. My favourite being the Margaritaville Blender that comes in many variations, or the shot chiller that’s sure to be a hit at any gathering hoping to get to paradise.

3. Rockin special events year round

From the magic of Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Macy’s Holiday Parade, to the yearly Mardi Gras celebrations, there is always something exciting happening at the resort. Universal Orlando knows how to party, and they get great bands to play at their special events (such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Smash Mouth for New Years), plus most are included with park admission. Even Citywalk has awesome events all the time. The Ellen Degeneres Show tapes their once a year, and random dance parties break out at Citywalk. Pretty awesome!

4. Halloween Horror Nights

We know this is an event, but it’s so grand it deserves a mention for itself. This is the biggest and best Halloween event in North America. Each year during the Halloween season, they bring terrifying mazes, scare zones and shows to the resort. Each year has a brand new theme and new attractions. It’s not recommended for children, and personally we agree. If you’re looking for a legendary night out, or just need a little liquid courage to make it through the mazes, they have booze EVERYWHERE. In the lines, scattered through the park, and even shot girls dressed as nurses! The only place they don’t seem to have booze is in the bathrooms. Ok, so we like to party hard at this event. But even if you don’t drink, it’s our favourite event of the year because it’s just so cool to see the resort transform into such a different atmosphere.

5. It’s not Disney

Don’t get us wrong, we love Walt Disney World. It’s just sometimes, you can get tired of the magic and make belief of the place. I repeat, we still love Disney. Heck, some of us have worked for the Mouse. But Universal has a different atmosphere, it’s more adult oriented, which gives them license to be a bit more risque (Beetlejuice’s Rocking Roll Grave Yard Revue, for example.) and it’s just different than Disney. You can have a few drinks, hear some off colour humour and not worry about destroying the dreams of a 5-year-old by doing so. Universal is the place to visit if you’re looking for something that’s just as great as Walt Disney World, but isn’t a blatant wannabe.

So, what are your reasons for loving Universal Orlando? Leave a comment below and let us know!

 
 
 
 
 

Transformers Ride opening soon in Singapore

We’re so excited that Transformers: The Ride that is opening in less than a month at Universal Studios Singapore. It’s going to take the technology and concepts of the Spiderman ride from Islands of Adventure and inject it with steroids. The Grand Opening is slated for December 3, and while many details are still unclear, they keep posting teasers for us. We’ll be sure to post updates and pictures as soon as we recieve them. Until then, check out this preview of the pre-show that the Resorts World Sentosa blog has posted:

They also have a great blog to follow for the latest updates on the ride. Check it out at HERE
Sadly, we won’t be able to check out the overseas version of the ride, but Spring 2012 will bring the U.S. version of the Transformers ride to Universal Studios Hollywood, and we hope to make it there for a visit when it opens.