In a world of RunDisney races (even one held last weekend in Orlando) sometimes you just want to do something a bit different, and less crowded.
So with that in mind Renée took on the Universal Orlando Fun Run last weekend which from the looks of it gave the runners a pretty empty course through the two Universal Orlando parks. Check out all the fun times.
Written by Renée Girard
Why are we at Universal before the sun is up?
I love Disney races but this weekend we're skipping those for something different instead, the UO Fun Run!
The UO Fun Run took us through both theme parks, starting with Universal Studios.
On to Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando where we took a lap around the entire park.
And the finish line was at CityWalk near Hard Rock Cafe.
More from the finish line at the UO Fun Run at Universal Orlando . Great race!
We were greeted by some minions after crossing the finish line.
Really enjoyed starting my day with the UO Fun Run. Thanks Universal Orlando for a great morning!
It's finally here!!! It's Potter Week!!
As you all know the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens at Universal Studios Hollywood this Thursday (April 7) and the star studded premiere is tomorrow night (April 5). We will of course be there on the red carpet so be sure you are following us for all of that fun.
So while we're celebrating all things Wizarding World this week we thought it would be a good time to stop and take a look backwards a bit, to take a look at where the park was just a few short years ago and at the "Epic Transformation" they've made. Because it truly is EPIC.
From a park that just a few years ago was giving a full year away for the price of one day to where today is commanding multiple visits for tourists and has definitely swayed the attendance habits of local fans who now have a choice between incredible theme parks to attend each weekend.
It truly is an AMAZING time time to be a theme park fan in Southern California.
(keep in mind, we don't have all the older pictures we would have liked, but at the time we weren't thinking of taking them for posterity ... oh hindsight)
We'll start off at the front of the park since that's the first thing everybody sees when they enter. Remember when this was the new thing in the park?
Of course, the iconic entry to the park hasn't changed much over the years.
The rest of the entrance area has sure changed over the years though.
Sure looks different today
All new Starbucks!!
And they aren't even done yet, coming this Summer!!
The Wild West Theater
Universal Plaza decked out for Lunar New Year earlier this year.
Let's take a left turn from Universal Plaza where we now have the amazing Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Super Silly Funland.
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Super Silly Funland
Did You Know: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem was one of the first projects we started covering as a website?
Continuing on through the upper lot of the park, who remembers when Marvel had a presence at the park? It really wasn't that long ago.
Once Marvel left it was just "Comic Heroes"
Or when this was actually a thing?
Even the Studio Tour entrance has undergone some pretty significant changes over the years:
The tour itself has had some changes, some forced and two totally different Fast and Furious attractions.
Have a tramtastic day ...
But all of the changes weren't exclusive to the upper lot, the lower lot has received it's share of love recently.
Then ... Special Effects Stages (now on the upper lot)
Transformers The Ride 3D
Even small changes to make the guest experience better.
But of course, none of that compares to the changes made to the upper lot in just the last few years. The thing that has finally made Universal Studios into a full fledged "Theme Park" and not just a "Studios" park.
Did you know: The Universal Amphitheater closed in September 2013? Not even 3 years ago.
Anybody know what is in this spot now? Certainly looks much different today.
No Epic Transformation could be done without a LOT of Epic Construction.
Now ... we'll start off with the amazing Springfield addition that was made last year.
And of course, none of that compares to what is opening in just a few days.
So now it's finally here ... just a few short days away. Wizarding World opens for the world to see.
And we all have heard the rumors, we know they aren't done yet. When the new additions will be announced is anybody's guess. Will they take the advantage of the world looking at the park this week to make another big announcement? We'll find out tomorrow night.
We hope you enjoyed this look back at the park over the past few years. We of course had a lot more pictures that we could have shared, but we figured this was more than enough. It's still amazing how much work has been done in just a few years and we can't wait to see what the future holds.
CoasterMatt headed up to Universal Studios Hollywood yesterday and sent us some construction pictures and more preparations for Grinchmas, which opens on Dec 6th.
If you'd like to see more of Matt's amazing pictures, be sure to check out his Flickr page.
The biggest change this week is that walls are up around House of Horrors and the Blues Brothers stage. The Blues Brothers will be back in the Universal Plaza after Grinchmas (not the lower lot as previously reported ... thanks Inside Universal).
Lots of work done in Hogsmeade this week as well.
Rock-work has begun!!!
The amount of walls around the upper lot at the moment is astounding. But it's going to all be awesome when it's done.
And a quick look at Forbidden Journey. Doesn't look like too much difference from last week.
Moving onto the Holidays, before you even get in the park you'll find that CityWalk is all decked out.
Be sure to check out the kick-off of the Holidays at CityWalk this Monday with The Voice finalists.
More decorations are being added to various buildings around the park.
Even heading down to the Studio Tour
Interesting that there's nothing on the Starbucks building ... yet.
Lampposts are decorated on the Lower Lot
That's going to wrap it up for this quick update. We'll be back at the park after Thanksgiving for the beginning of Grinchmas.