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Jimmy Fallon Ride Coming to Universal Studios

Jimmy Fallon  Ride – Race Through New York – 2017

Jimmy Fallon Ride

Folks visiting Orlando will now be able to get a taste of New York on their trip: Universal Studios has confirmed that Jimmy Fallon will be getting his very own theme park ride, set in New York. Tonight Show lovers and theme park enthusiasts alike, rejoice!

The Jimmy Fallon ride will be located in Universal Studios (not to be confused with Islands of Adventure). It will be replacing the Twister… Ride It Out experience, which closed on November 2, 2015. The SNL alum announced the ride himself on his late night TV show. (Watch the You Tube video below.)

While details are limited, Fallon wants the ride to pay homage to his hometown, New York. The ride, Race Through New York With Jimmy Fallon, is inspired partly by the crazy celebrity races that have been so popular on The Tonight Show since Fallon began hosting.

Supposedly, riders will get to embark on a journey through the infamous studio 6B for a taping guests aren’t likely to forget— where they themselves will be challenged by Jimmy to an epic race throughout the streets of New York that they will not soon forget.

Guests will find themselves shooting through the New York streets, seeing everything from the insides of subway tunnels, to Central Park, to skyscrapers, with some familiar faces and famous landmarks thrown in. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Some surprises should be expected— Jimmy likes to make detours! Smoke and water effects will also to be a part of the experience.

Fallon went as far as to compare his ride to the renowned Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, with the main difference being that “it’s New York City” instead of Hogwarts!

Fallon seemed to be biting his tongue during the announcement, so we can only imagine what other surprises are in store! Unfortunately, Universal Studios guests will have to be content with other attractions for now — Race Through New York With Jimmy Fallon isn’t expected to open until 2017.

Diagon Alley Set to Open July 8

Diagon Alley shops

New Universal Studios Attraction

Universal Studios is putting on the finishing touches preparing the new Orlando attraction to open to the public July 8, 2014. Diagon Alley promises to be as popular as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure) when it first opened. Expect huge crowds.

The featured ride at this Orlando theme park is “Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts.” It will feature a lot of new technology and could experience a few glitches. Do not be surprised at a few ride closures during the initial weeks of being opened to the public. At the present time, Universal is anticipating the ride to be fully functioning with no delays.

If you’ve visited Islands of Adventure and have spent much time in Hogsmeade, you’ll notice that the area is not all that large. Diagon Alley is much larger. Once you step off of the train, you’ll be immersed in a land that you only imagined could exist in a book (or movie). Diagon Alley is one part of this new attraction. The shopping district is expansive.

Get ready to exchange your muggle money for Wizarding Bank Notes. These Banks Notes can be used for almost anything within the theme park. If you don’t spend them all, you can ask the goblin to exchange the notes back into dollars. Of course you’ll probably want to keep a few as a souvenir – hince another way for Universal to make money. I venture to say that you’ll find plenty to purchase while in Diagon Alley.

Shopping at this Orlando Theme Park

You will no doubt do a lot of shopping in Diagon Alley. If you have read the Harry Potter books or seen the movies, there are a lot of really cool, dare I say ‘props,’ that most anyone would love to have. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Here are the most popular items or categories and where to find them once you arrive in “London.”

Magic Wands: Several shops will carry them. Most popular place to purchase will continue to be Ollivanders. The new interactive wands contain a chip so that at various places within the park, the correct wave of your wand will make magic!

From Pygmy Puffs to Expandable Ears: Most families have a jokester who loves practical jokes and tricks. The new novelty shop, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheeses will sell everything the twins were noted for. From plush toys to prank props to love potions.

Death Eater Masks: If you like the dark objects, make your way down Knockturn Alley and step inside Borgin and Burkes. Expect to see a lot of skulls and costumes, as well as jewelry, gifts and other dark arts.

Costumes: For robes, school uniforms and other attire as seen in the movies, be sure to shop at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. This place will be popular for Halloween costumes.

Other gifts and props: Many other items will be available including Quidditch supplies (Quality Quidditch Supplies), writing supplies (Scribbulus), telescopes (Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment) and of course, more wands (Wands by Gregorovitch).

Dining at this Orlando Theme Park

All of this shopping will surely make you hungry, and Universal Studios has you covered there too in Diagon Alley. Refreshments, such as Butterbeer Ice Cream will be sold at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. A hearty meal of British food will be served up at the Leaky Cauldron. Lunch and dinner will be available every day.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: To avoid the scorching summer heat, and the fire from the dragon atop Gringotts Bank, you may want to wait until this Fall or coming Winter to experience this new Orlando attraction. If you simply cannot wait, try to avoid the first few opening weeks and weekends this summer. Anticipate record-breaking crowds for the first few months that no wave of a wand will be able to make disappear!

Escape from Gringotts to Universal Studios in Orlando!

Diagon Alley Gringotts Bank Goblins

If you are planning a vacation to Orlando to visit the theme parks this summer, how do you choose which one to visit? Most families determine the park of choice by the age of their children and what attractions they are suited for. If your children are Harry Potter fans, like mine, a mid- to late summer vacation to Universal Studios is something you will want to consider, if not a definite must.

New Attraction Details Revealed

As we reported a few months ago, many features of this new expansion are slowly but surely being exposed to the public. The Hogwarts Train has created a lot of excitement, and now, the announcement with more details about the “Escape from Gringotts” ride can only raise the anticipation level upward. Any new ride is exciting, but this one sounds like it might top our list of all-time gotta-do rides.

Escape from Gringotts will be the featured attraction within the Orlando theme park’s expansion. For those of you that have not read the books or seen the movies, Gringotts Bank is an important setting for the story of Harry Potter. It is guarded by a fire-breathing dragon no less, and ran by goblins! The treasures kept here are powerful and facinating. The ride will be mind blowing with 4K high-definition ride animation, 3-D technology and live special effects.

Here is a sneak peak which Universal has released:

Vacation Packages Available

Most people will want to wait until Diagon Alley is officially open before they book a trip, however, if you only have the summer to do your traveling with school-aged children, then you might be surprised. It could be open as early as mid-June. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: You can already book a vacation package at Universal Orlando which includes both of these parks if traveling as early as June 29th. Currently, the best deal seems to be the four-night package which includes the following:

  • Vacation package delivered (not by owl), but with a welcome letter, park tickets & plush owl
  • 3-day Park-to-Park tickets
  • One breakfast for each family member at the Three Broomsticks
  • One breakfast for each family member at the new Leaky Cauldron (in Diagon Alley)
  • Early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (one hour before the theme park opens)
  • On-site transportation
  • Lodging at one of four on-site hotels. The new Cabana Bay Beach Resort (read our post about this resort here.) is the least expensive and has family suites that are, well, sweet.

If you book this vacation through Universal Studios be sure to ask about specifics that your family is interested in. The vacation packages are a great way to go…as long as they offer everything you want covered in your vacation. If they do not cover certain items, be sure to ask about them when speaking to a booking agent.

If you have the opportunity to wait until Fall for your family vacation, September is usually a great time to visit the Orlando area. The crowds at this new theme park attraction will have settled by then and more great deals are sure to come around late in the Summer. Do you think your kids can wait that long?

Climb aboard the Hogwarts Express, visit the goblins at Gringotts and have a Butterbeer at Universal Studios this summer. It will be an Orlando vacation to remember. Just watch out for that fire-breathing dragon, like the new attraction – it’s sure to be hot, hot, hot!

New Resort Makes Universal Studios Vacation More Affordable

Universal Studios will be ramping up its family vacation appeal. In 2014 two important factors will help bring vacationers to Orlando to experience this theme park. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Diagon Alley™ will be opening sometime during the year. Plus a new, even more affordable, hotel will be complete by the end of March.

Cabana Bay Resort

The Cabana Bay Beach Resort will be one of the most affordable resorts on Universal property and their 4th largest. Rooms are priced as low as $90 and family suites at $131. Vacation packages are already being sold at a discount up until mid-June. Some features, such as the Lazy River Courtyard, Hideaway Bar and Grill, Tower Family Suites and Standard Rooms will not be available until the grand opening scheduled for July 1, 2014.

When complete, this resort will  feature 1,800 rooms, a 10-lane bowling alley, posh pools (with a lazy river and sand beaches), a food court and more. It is estimated to create 600 permanent jobs. Once complete, Universal will have 4,200 hotel rooms and suites on its property. Do not be surprised when they begin building more. Other Orlando theme parks, Disney to be exact, have proven that on-site resorts keep guests away from the competition and offer guests a complete experience.

Cabana Bay Resort

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Book a family suite by the end of January and save up to 47% off. Basically, you get a family suite for the price of a standard room! Even though some features of this new resort will not be complete, it is still a great way to experience Universal Studios. This deal also offers early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, one hour before the theme park opens (valid theme park admission required), complimentary shuttle buses to both Orlando theme parks and Universal CityWalk.

Universal Studios Begins Holiday Festivies

Universal Studios holiday festivities

With the Thanksgiving holiday over and the Macy’s Parade complete, Orlando theme park Universal Studios can now begin their holiday festivities. Several of the breathtaking balloons and floats are sent from New York to Universal Studios for its very own holiday parade! This is just one of the great holiday festivities going on at Universal. Balloons, floats, marching bands, clowns and an appearance from Santa are followed by a spectacular tree lighting ceremony with music and a dazzling display of lights! The parade is from December 5, 2015 through January 2, 2016 at various times depending upon the day of the week.

The holiday festivities at Universal Orlando also include the return of Mannheim Steamroller. Live performances are scheduled on select Saturday and Sunday nights in December.  The show is included with your theme park admission or Annual Pass. Who doesn’t enjoy their music during this time of the year?!

Mannheim Steamroller performs live on the following dates:

  • December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 & 20, 2015

If you are a typical ‘grinch’ this time of year, you’ll not want to miss “Grinchmas™” at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. All Dr. Seuss fans are sure to adore the Seuss Landing™ area as it is transformed into the whimsical world of Grinchmas. Be sure to explore every nook and cranny of this wintry wonderland, and see if you walk away feeling like a grinch!

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If you are looking to spend a little more time with your favorite Dr. Seuss characters, purchase a Character Breakfast with the Grinch & Friends. For $29.99/adult* and $16.99/child (9 & under)*, you can start the day at the Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous and enjoy a great meal. Strange creatures will perform acrobatics high above you as laugh with the Grinch and make priceless holiday memories. The 2015 dates are Dec. 5-6,10-13, 17-20, 23-31, with seating times from 8am-10:00am.

*plus tax. Theme park admission required.

Other holiday shows at Islands of Adventure are held in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. All ages will enjoy these special productions. Waiting after Thanksgiving until the celebration begins at this Orlando theme park is well worth the wait!