Tag Archives | Universal Studios Orlando

King Kong, Skyfall & New Water Park Coming to Orlando

Waiting is difficult for those wanting to experience the returning King Kong ride at Universal Studios or the new Skyfall ride coming to the SkyPlex attraction in Orlando. We also learned recently the rumor of a new water park at Universal is most likely true. The wait has begun. These new features and Orlando theme parks will be here soon enough; a lot of preparation is required. New attractions just don’t magically appear – even in our magical vacation land!

King Kong Ride is Coming Back

You may remember the old King Kong ride. “Kongfrontation” opened in Universal Studios Florida in 1990 and closed in 2002. It involved a tram ride and a large Kong beast. As technology progresses, the new Kong ride will be an all-new experience. Comcast recently confirmed the return of the ride, but few details are being released. It’s anyone’s guess as to what features will be built into the new attraction. It will most likely be located between Jurassic Park River Adventure and Toon Lagoon in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Details will be announced as the year progresses – stay tuned to Orlando Tourist Tips. It may not open until 2016, but the push is on to get it out prior to the release of the movie “Skull Island.” Legendary Entertainment is expected to release the film in 2017, maybe sooner. This movie tells a tale of King Kong’s home – before westerners intervened. The story will be something to look forward to and could very well be incorporated into the new attraction.

New King Kong ride coming to Universal

universal-water-park

Submitted plans tipped off rumors concerning a new Water Park at Universal Studios in Orlando

Universal’s New Water Park

Plans have been submitted for a new water park, and rumors are spreading like wild fire. Where’s the water to put them out? Near Cabana Bay Beach Resort, that’s where. The new water park will include a volcano with slides, a lazy river and rapids ride, a wave pool and many other features packed within the 25 ± acres.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If you hear of “Volcano Bay” or “Wondersea Island” or another new water park coming to Orlando, this is the Universal Studios Water Park. The documents that helped spread the rumor earlier this year, project the construction continuing through November of 2016.

SkyFall and StarFlyer Rides Coming to SkyPlex

As written in an earlier post, the I-drive area is seeing a boom in new Orlando attractions. It is hard to keep up with it all. I-Drive 360 is an entertainment complex just south of the intersection of International Drive and Sand Lake Drive. It is set to open to the public on May 4, 2015. We know in addition to the Orlando Eye, another attraction complex called SkyPlex is adding new rides across the road. Orange County will need to seriously consider a pedestrian overpass, because these attractions go so well with each other.

The Skyscraper Polercoaster (the world’s tallest roller coaster), StarFlyer (swing ride) and the SkyFall (drop tower) are in the plans for SkyPlex. There will also be an observation deck at the top of the giant structure. The view from 535 feet off the ground is sure to show a growing Orlando.

SkyFall will be built inside the Polercoaster ride. It will drop 16 people at a time from 450 feet up. Be sure to look around on the 40 second ride to the top, because after the 15 second hold at the top, the 10 second ride down may be spent with your eyes closed! That’s 90 miles per hour! This new Orlando attraction is expected to be complete in 2017.

SkyPlex in Orlando


With so much to do in Orlando already, many people return to Central Florida each year trying to fit in what is already open. Sounds like the coming months and years will offer tourist even more reasons to return again and again. The new attractions will be thrilling, but waiting for them is so difficult!

New Resort at Universal Orlando Now Open

Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Cabana Bay Beach Resort is now open at Universal Orlando. While this is the fourth on-site hotel, it is the first resort in which family value has been the aim of the Orlando theme park. This is welcome news as families travel to the Central Florida area for Spring Break. It will even get better for Summer vacations!

When you step into this new resort hotel, you may think you are stepping back into the 50’s and 60’s. The decor is very retro. Every detail has been set to look like a classic beach resort from an earlier era. Many of us think of the earlier years as a simpler time. Perhaps more relaxing and family-oriented. Cabana Bay Beach Resort will take you back to this time. In a way it is a no-frills kind of place, but as most know, Universal doesn’t do anything “no thrills.”

In this resort you’ll find many amenities to thrill your family, including:

  • 10,000 square-foot pool where you can slide down the iconic dive tower waterslide
  • 10-lane Galaxy Bowl ($15 per person for 1 hour of time for 1-3 people)
  • Jack LaLanne Physical Fitness Studio
  • Retro-themed specialty cocktails from Swizzle Lounge or Atomic Tonic
  • Bayliner Diner, a food court with something for everyone

This Summer, you can add these amenities to the list:

  • Another huge swimming pool – with a lazy river
  • The Hideaway Bar & Grill
  • Value-priced Standard Rooms
  • More Family Suites

The family suite is the way to go if you are vacationing with 4 or more people. It can sleep up to six people with a fold-out bed. It also includes a kitchenette for preparing lighter meals to help save money. Don’t forget, there is a Starbucks on site for coffee-lovers. The family suite offers partitioned spaces so the family won’t feel like they are all crammed into the same room. Rates start as low as $134 per night for longer vacations and $174 per night for shorter stays. Standard rooms are even less costly, but you won’t have nearly as much space.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Make sure to do some cost comparison. While the Cabana Bay Beach Resort is tagged as a “value” hotel choice, it will all depend upon your other Universal Studios plans. For instance, if you are wanting early park admission, express unlimited ride access, free water taxi rides and priority seating at restaurants within the resort, these items are not included with a package deal at this resort. By the time you add these special items, the cost may equal the Hard Rock, Royal Pacific and Portofino Bay which do include these benefits.

For more information, or to make a reservation, call 1-888-273-1311 or visit UniversalOrlando.com. You may also find more interesting reasons to visit this new resort by viewing the video below. Cabana Bay is the Way to go if you are a family that loves to vacation together!

Universal Orlando: All Aboard This Summer

Hogswarts Train Concept drawing

If you love Universal Studios, plan your vacation for this summer and get on board! The expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will open sometime this summer, although the actual date has not been set. With the recent news release of the Hogwarts Express train attraction, enthusiasm for this Orlando theme park has once again been stirred like a Leaky Cauldron.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If this Orlando attraction is essential to your vacation, why not make your plans for later in the summer? By then, you’ll have more details about the new experience, and it is surely to be open by August or September (no guarantee though – keep checking our site for announcements). You can get better deals on tickets, lodging and airline flights by planning this far in advance. Book a vacation package directly with Universal, and you’ll enjoy one hour early park admission before the general public.

If you’ve read the books, or watched any of the Harry Potter movies, you’ll know how important the train ride between London and Hogsmeade is to the young boys and girls going to and from school for the year. This train ride will be so similar, you just might think you are in the movie! Everything about the train is authentic – from the paint and the materials used to build it – down to the sound of the whistle. Climb aboard the train at King’s Cross Station Platform 9¾ and enjoy a scenic journey through the British countryside with surprises along the way. Each direction the train travels offers a unique experience.

For those of you that have never been to Universal Orlando, it helps to know that this Orlando theme park is divided into two separate parks. The original Wizarding World of Harry Potter park, already open, is located at Islands of Adventure and is named Hogsmeade. The new attraction is called Diagon Alley, and it is located at Universal Studios, and will be open some time this summer. The new train will connect the parks and allow guests with a two-park admission ticket (or annual pass) to travel between both Harry Potter lands.

The Hogwarts Express is sure to be an exciting 7-minute ride for any Muggle to experience. With 8 people per cabin and 200 people per train, you can expect some long lines when this new attraction opens. Even a wave of a magical wand will not change this, so if you are able to wait until later this year, you might avoid a few dementors. If you can wait…that is the challenge.

Enjoy a January Getaway in Orlando

When asked when is the best time to visit Orlando, most people would say June or July; the sun is shining, the kids are on vacation from school and it’s the time of year when everyone is visiting the many theme parks which Orlando has to offer. You might therefore discard January as a month to spend recovering from December, the busy month of family-visits, present-buying and Christmas celebrations. In that case, it’s time to reconsider. Orlando has a lot going on this January and is the ideal location to kick back and relax at the beginning of a new year.

Prepare for a magical visit to Orlando this January

Christmas has just come and gone for another year, and over the past month families have flooded to Universal Studios in Orlando  – just one of the many theme parks which Orlando has to offer. Whilst you may be inclined to think that you just missed the perfect opportunity to enjoy this particular Orlando resort with your family, you can think again. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a special resort designed to give you and your wizard-loving family the real Harry Potter experience, will be opening yet another extension later this year. In anticipation, they have planned a weekend long extravaganza to celebrate from the 24th to 26th January.

Harry Potter Celebration

The Celebration of Harry Potter promises three days of unforgettable fun for all fans of the Harry Potter films, young and old. As well as appearances from various cast members from the films, including two of the Weasley brothers, there will be a wand master class and numerous interactive activities for children and adults alike. Ticket details can be found on the Universal Orlando website, along with special discounts for US and Canadian residents, such as enjoying your third day free when you purchase a two day ticket. Offers such as this make visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter that little bit more tempting, and a great adventure for you and your family this January.

Why else to visit Orlando this January

In addition to the Celebration of Harry Potter, there are many other reasons to visit Orlando in January. This time of the year is particularly regarded as one of the best times to visit the theme parks in the Orlando area, due to smaller crowds, cooler weather and less humid air. As well as this, there is much less chance of having to seek shelter from the thunderstorms which are most prevalent in the Summer months.

Whilst January will be a nice opportunity to explore the Universal resorts more freely without so many crowds, it also offers adults a chance to discover what Orlando has to offer them. For the golfers, Orlando is home to an endless range of clubs, so you can kick back on the green after a day spent with the kids at the Universal resort. The area’s famed choice of eateries is also worth consideration, and its restaurants provide a little escape in the evenings, so that you aren’t restricted to eating in the theme parks for the entirety of your stay.

Another fantastic opportunity for the parents this January is found in the spas which Orlando has to offer. If you are planning to spend a few days at Universal Studios, it might be a good idea to escape the busyness of the theme park environment with a day at the spa. Orlando has a number of world-class spas which are perfect for a little get away.

Where to Stay

As well as traveling to golf clubs, restaurants and spas for the sake of relaxation, you can also relax just as easily in your accommodation – if you choose well. If you’re not a resident of Orlando, or you need somewhere to stay that is closer to this Orlando resort, there is a huge variety of accommodations in the area.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: One suggestion which might not be considered as often as the likes of hotels and self-catered apartments, would be timeshare properties. These make for an ideal place to enjoy the Florida sunshine in luxurious surroundings, and many offer swimming pools – which make for happy kids and stress-free parents! Timeshare vacations are becoming increasingly popular due to several factors. As well as typically including onsite amenities such as a swimming pool or tennis court, many people find that they save money by choosing to opt for a timeshare rather than staying in a hotel, for example. While owning a vacation home may seem appealing, the alternative of a timeshare removes the year-round responsibility. There is a great range of timeshares offered online, where houses close to such resorts as Universal Studios are readily available. Such locations as the Westgate Lake area contain numerous timeshare properties, and are ideal in this case due to their proximity of six minutes to the Orlando Universal resort.

Enjoy your January Getaway

Seeing as there is plenty going on in Orlando at this time of the year, January is the perfect month to plan your visit. With the Celebration of Harry Potter, your kids will enjoy the magical world of their favorite wizard, while you can easily plan time to relax in the wealth of spa and golf resorts found across Orlando. Now, all that is left to do is book your trip and enjoy your escape!

Article written for Orlando Tourist Tips by Zara Porter, January 2014.

Central Florida Theme Park Has Its Own Springfield

Universal Studios Opens New Attraction

Springfield at Universal Studios Orlando

There are a lot of cities and towns with the name of Springfield. Now in Central Florida there is a new one! Universal Studios has opened its Springfield area, home of “The Simpsons” and now a fan’s dream visit to a town filled with iconic eateries, crazy characters and animation larger than life.

The Springfield area within this Orlando theme park used to be a World Expo eatery and sidewalk. Renovations happened gradually. Universal Studios did not have a big affair for the “grand opening.” A simple announcement that all was in place, is now bringing smiles to Simpson’s fans. After watching these entertaining characters on the television for so many years, who wouldn’t want to enjoy Duff Beer and flaming Moe drinks at Moe’s Tavern just inside the large food court?

The main attraction, The Simpsons Ride, opened in 2008. It allows guests to ride along with Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart and Maggie into Krustyland. See if somebody is out to sabotage the park. Krusty the Clown is up to his old self and is as shameless as ever.

Next to The Simpsons Ride is the all new Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl ride.  This spinning ride takes “foolish humans” into orbit on an intergalactic ride designed to do just as the ride insinuates – hurl. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Do not take a chance of eating prior to this ride. For those with sensitive stomachs, you have a fairly good chance of hurling your lunch! It is best to experience this ride on an empty stomach. For those of you that enjoy spinning rides, you’ll love it!

Bring your camera too. This area of Universal Studios is filled with photo ops. Have your photo taken next to Milhouse sitting on a park bench or with Chief Wiggum enjoying a pink-frosted doughnut. There are many other things to enjoy while visiting this Springfield, including:

  • Dine at Krusty Burger
  • Enjoy a Homer-sized helping of donuts at Lard Lad
  • Drink down a Flaming Moe at Moe’s Tavern
  • Have your photo taken at the Jebediah Springfield statue
  • Eat lunch at Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck
  • Get the catch of the day at the Frying Dutchman
  • Grab a slice that’s “a-nice” at Luigi’s Pizza
  • Hang out at Duff Brewery and enjoy a Duff Beer
  • Go for an intergalactic spin on the area’s new attraction, Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
  • Meet Krusty the Clown and Sideshow Bob – Universal’s two newest walkaround Simpsons characters

The attractions in Orlando are continually working on new rides and themed areas. If you are a Simpsons fan, don’t miss this new area within Universal Studios Florida. Step inside the hometown of America’s favorite animated family, The Simpsons, like never before. You’ll feel as if you’ve crawled into your television where animation has become real-life places all too familiar.

If you miss it, you’ll say “D’oh!” from now until you have another chance to hang with Homer. Universal Studios has done an excellent job of making this part of their theme park fun again. Visit Springfield and at least have a doughnut. After all, “Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?” – Homer Simpson.

Krustyland at Universal Studios Orlando