Monday, March 31, 2014

New Resort Cabana Bay Opens at Universal Studios 3/31/14


Brand-New On-Site Hotel Features Family Suites, 10-Lane Bowling Alley, Retro Arcade, a Zero-Entry Pool with a Waterslide and Interactive Water Play Area for Kids – and More

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 31, 2014) – Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort officially welcomes its first guests today.  This brand-new value and moderately-priced property is the fourth on-site hotel at Universal Orlando Resort and evokes the classic, retro-feel of iconic beach resorts from the 1950s and 60’s. 

Located on-site at Universal Orlando Resort, the new hotel is a destination within itself – featuring a stunning design with bold colors, retro-inspired architecture and sweeping vistas that transport guests back to a time of relaxation and endless family fun. Cabana Bay guests can experience incredible amenities throughout the hotel, including:
·       Bowling a strike at the 10-lane Galaxy Bowl
·       Channeling the godfather of fitness at the Jack LaLanne Physical Fitness Studio
·       Racing down the iconic dive tower waterslide and splashing into a 10,000 square foot zero-entry pool in the Cabana Courtyard
·       Enjoying a retro-themed specialty cocktail from Swizzle Lounge or Atomic Tonic
·       Finding something delicious for the entire family at Bayliner Diner, a food court with  something for everyone to enjoy including a salad bar, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, pasta and grab-and-go items
·       And this summer, guests will be able to enjoy even more incredible amenities, including a second 8,000-square-foot zero entry pool, Universal Orlando’s first lazy river at an on-site hotel, The Hideaway Bar & Grill, and additional moderately-priced family suites and value-priced standard guest rooms.   When complete, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort will feature a total of 1,800 rooms – 900 family suites and 900 standard guest rooms.

Click here to watch a video series to learn more about the hotel and all the amenities it has to offer from members of the team that brought the hotel to life.

Starting today, guests can stay in a family suite, which sleeps up to six people and includes a fold-out foam bed, kitchenette, a sliding partition for privacy, two flat-screen TVs and a bathroom with preparation spaces for three people at once.  Cabana Bay guests also get exclusive benefits only available to on-site hotel guests at Universal Orlando, including Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens.

Rates for the family suites begin at $174 per-night, and can run as low as $134 per-night depending on the length of stay.  Rates for the standard guest rooms – which will be available this summer – begin at $119 per night, and can run as low as $93 per-night depending on the length of stay.

“We’ve sought to create a special place where families can spend time together and create long-lasting memories outside of the theme parks,” said Russ Dagon, Vice President and Executive Project Director, Universal Creative. “From the moment they step inside, families will be transported back to a different, more relaxing time.”

“We are thrilled to finally welcome guests into Cabana Bay Beach Resort,” said Adnan Bizri, Managing Director, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. “This is the perfect addition to Universal Orlando’s already stellar line-up of properties, allowing families to continue a wonderful vacation well beyond the theme parks.” 

Photo Gallery:

Courtyard pool & water slide at Cabana Bay

Galaxy Bowl sign at Cabana Bay

Jack LaLanne Physical Fitness Studio at Cabana Bay

Swizzle Lounge at Cabana Bay

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Universal Studios Florida Diagon Alley Construction Update (March 21, 2014)

Diagon Alley as seen from Springfield USA at Universal Studios
Diagon Alley at sunset.

Grimmauld Place at the right, Wyndhams Theatre at the left

Wyndham's Theatre on the right, and Leicester Square on the left
The actual entrance to the Diagon Alley area with the shops and attraction will be next to the Leicester Square sign.

Wyndham's Theatre is extremely detailed and looks great.

Wyndham's Theatre up close.

The Wyndham's sign was just recently put back up in place.

Full look at the Wyndham's Theatre

Grimmauld Place at Diagon Alley

Grimmauld Place

Here you can see the show building behind Grimmauld Place for the Gringotts attraction.

Another full shot of Grimmauld Place with Gringotts in the back.

New signage put into place on Grimmauld Place.

The entry way into Diagon Alley has been blocked off from prying eyes.

Office For Let sign up in window at Leicester Square facade

Kings Cross at sunset. Here you can see the track for the Hogwarts Express has been blocked off from sight.

Close up of the Hogwarts Express train track area.

A Look at Diagon Alley from the side.

Diagon Alley facades from Springfield bridge.
Construction continues on the rear of Diagon Alley. This is facing the Amity restrooms.

Lots of scaffolding still up as work continues at a rapid pace.

Diagon Alley buildings in front of the Gringotts show building.

Last shot of the back of Diagon Alley buildings.

The walkway was made tight and you can not see the facades from the walkway anymore. The walls are too high.

Kings Cross from the dock area.

Diagon Alley facades overview from the dock area.

Charing Cross Road, the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron

Friday, March 14, 2014

Universal Orlando Resort Reveals New Details About The Journey Guests Will Experience Aboard The Hogwarts Express


Universal Creating First-Ever Experience that Will Allow Guests to Actually Ride the Iconic Train Between London and Hogsmeade – Just Like in the Books and Films

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 14, 2014) – One of the most memorable and exciting experiences from the Harry Potter series will come to life at Universal Orlando Resort this summer.  Imagine:

·         Being transported from the Muggle world to the wizarding world as you pass through the brick wall at King’s Cross Station to arrive at Platform 9 ¾
·         Watching in amazement as the Hogwarts Express pulls into the station – its billowing steam and authentic whistle beckoning you to hop aboard
·         Sitting in one of the train’s cabins with your family and friends and actually riding the Hogwarts Express – just as your favorite characters did in the Harry Potter films
·         Looking outside your cabin window and enjoying a scenic, breathtaking journey through the British countryside as you encounter magical creatures, some of your favorite Harry Potter characters…and even Dementors…

Since the very first Harry Potter film, every fan has dreamed of taking the same classic journey Harry Potter did aboard the Hogwarts Express.  And this summer – they will get to live it. 

Today, Universal Orlando revealed never-before-released details about the Hogwarts Express experience that will debut as part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley – the all-new, magnificently themed land opening this summer.  The train will connect the new land in Universal Studios Florida with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure – allowing guests with park-to-park admission to enjoy a real journey aboard the iconic locomotive.

Never before has this been done – creating an actual train ride experience to connect two spectacularly themed environments.  The Hogwarts Express experience combines powerful storytelling, live special effects, lifelike animation and state-of-the-art technology to take riders on the journey of a lifetime.   Guests will enjoy two completely different experiences depending on whether they’re traveling to Hogsmeade or London.  

Once seated in the cabin, guests will be able to look out their windows as an incredibly authentic and magical adventure unfolds before them.  They’ll see Hagrid come alongside the train on his flying motorbike, Buckbeak the Hippogriff swoop gracefully over the black lake, the Weasley twins on brooms and up to their usual antics, the Knight Bus swerving through London traffic – and other special moments and surprises.

Universal’s Creative team has been working closely with Warner Bros., Stuart Craig and the production team from the Harry Potter films to create a sensational Hogwarts Express experience that the entire family can enjoy.  The Creative team has gone to great lengths to ensure the experience is true to the books and films.  Everything about the train is authentic – from the paint and the materials used to build it….all the way down to the whistle.

Park-to-park admission is required to experience the Hogwarts Express journey from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley (located in Universal Studios Florida) to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade (located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure).  For more information about the Hogwarts Express – including a new video that features a first-look at the ride experience – and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Photo Gallery: Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade (Anna & Elsa, Rapunzel, Peter Pan, Maleficent and more!)

Enjoy another photo gallery of the new Disney Festival of Fantasy parade at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. All photos taken March 11th, 2014.
Belle & The Beast, Festival of Fantasy

Belle & The Beast,  A tale as old as time....Festival of Fantasy

Elsa & Anna from Frozen .... Let It Go at the Festival of Fantasy parade

For the first time in forever .... Anna & Elsa in Festival of Fantasy

Olaf, Anna & Elsa from Frozen, Festival of Fantasy

Cinderella & Prince Charming, Festival of Fantasy

The Tangled crew coming into Frontierland

Ulf the mime, Festival of Fantasy

Maximus, Festival of Fantasy

She's got a dream, she's got a dream ..... Rapunzel & Pascal, Festival of Fantasy

Rapunzel with her frying pan, Festival of Fantasy parade

Rapunzel & Pascal, Festival of Fantasy parade

Detail from the Tangled float, Festival of Fantasy

Flynn Rider & a ruffian, Festival of Fantasy parade

Flynn Rider Wanted Poster, Festival of Fantasy

Rapunzel, Festival of Fantasy
Ariel, the Little Mermaid, Festival of Fantasy

Flipping your fins....Ariel, Festival of Fantasy

Ariel found her dinglehopper, Festival of Fantasy

Tic Tock Croc with Merida coming up on bagpipes, Festival of Fantasy

Peter Pan & Wendy, Festival of Fantasy

Tinker Bell, Festival of Fantasy parade

Merida...touching the sky, Festival of Fantasy

One of Merida's brothers in bear form, Festival of Fantasy

Maleficent in dragon form, Festival of Fantasy

Maleficent in Festival of Fantasy, coming straight towards us.

Here's the driver of Maleficent the dragon, Festival of Fantasy

Maleficent, the dragon, Festival of Fantasy

You poor simple fools....Maleficent, Festival of Fantasy

Oh, that's pretty scary! Fire breathing dragons are pretty cool. Festival of Fantasy, Maleficent

Maleficent crosses a bridge at the Magic Kingdom, Festival of Fantasy

Breathing fire near Cinderella Castle, Maleficent from Festival of Fantasy

Maleficent breathing fire near Main Street Train Station, Festival of Fantasy

Pinocchio riding Monstro, Festival of Fantasy

Got no strings....Pinocchio, Festival of Fantasy parade

Mickey & Minnie Mouse in the Festival of Fantasy finale.