The announcement yesterday wasn't really much of a surprise to anybody. Much of the information had leaked already and even when pressed, no details about specific lands or attractions was revealed.
Of course, that doesn't mean that a lot can't be seen from the image below (click for larger versions of each picture).
So from looking at this, the general consensus is the park will contain the following lands:
There is also a dual racing coaster that is unclear where it would go as well as some other smaller attractions. So let's move around the park.
This is widely believed to be the entry to the park, not a whole lot of details to be seen here, but definitely looks like it will be fantastic.
Looks like some pretty good sized stores, restaurants and maybe some kind of attraction here.
How To Train Your Dragon
Moving to the right, this is believed to be for How To Train Your Dragon. Can see at least one coaster here (the dual launched coaster doesn't seem to be a part of that land).
Would imagine some other family friendly rides in this area as well. Looks like maybe some water play area's and some kind of "training " facility on the bottom left.
About that that dual racing coaster. This looks a LOT like West Coast Racers. Like a LOT a lot. Rumors are that WCR was originally being designed for something with Universal that was a few years out, so read into that what you will. We have no idea if that is accurate or not.
While no theme is readily apparent for this it looks like it will be amazing.
Below are some pics from our West Coast Racers tour a couple of weeks ago for reference.
Wizarding World/Fantastic Beasts
Next over is the Wizarding World. I have to admit, this is the land that has me scratching my head the most. Yes, the Potter Universe is amazing, all of the theme park additions have been amazing. But the Fantastic Beasts films have been failures both financially and creatively (especially the last one).
While, granted, you don't have to have a good IP to have a good attraction **cough** Transformers **cough** it kind of helps. It's also kind of interesting how the fireworks cover a lot of this area of the artwork. Will have to see how this plays out.
Around the corner is what is widely believed to be a Universal Monsters area. Now there have been rumors of a Universal Monsters Dark Ride coming to Universal Hollywood for YEARS. The location where Secret Life of Pets is going was rumored to be the location. This has been a huge dream of John Murdy's for years, and it seems that maybe now his dream is becoming reality, bigger than he thought.
If this is a Universal Monsters area I'd imagine that John, Chris Williams and Michael Aiello are at the very least consulting, but I'd imagine much more. If you are going to Midsummer Scream this weekend, don't ask them about it. They aren't gonna answer.
Of course, as soon as the announcement was made thoughts of Halloween Horror Nights coming to this park were eventually shared by lots of people, including us. I think the idea has merit. Just because there are no "soundstages" shown in this art doesn't mean they don't exist. I think it's definitely in the realm of possibility of having two HHN events in the next decade. But we'll see.
Just a warp pipe away is Nintendo Land. No surprise here AT ALL.
No need to get into this too much, but Mario Kart, Donkey Kong ... going to be epic.
Heart of the Park
There's a large area in the middle with lots of water (a theme in this park). Looks like some restaurants, a gorgeous looking theater or attraction building, fountain shows and different levels of walkways underneath waterfalls.
There's also some kind of amphitheater (near Universal Monsters) and other show area's which is good for those who enjoy that type of thing. Perhaps major concerts coming to Universals new park?
And last and certainly not least, the hotel. All those bloggers gotta have somewhere to stay right?
This looks fantastic.
Overall we didn't really get a whole lot in the way of "surprises" with yesterdays announcement. Lots to examine over the next few years for sure.
As to why they didn't announce it all at once? Why make one announcement vs dragging them out a bit and having 5 or 6 separate announcements.
Or could it also be that not everything in the park is 100% set in stone. Again, referring to the Wizarding World section here.
Going to be very interested to see if that happens or if they go in a different direction. Would imagine any ride systems they have created for that area would remain, but perhaps with another IP. Will definitely be an interesting few years.
What are your thoughts on Epic Universe? Be sure to share them below.
Last week I was out in Orlando for a training conference. As luck would have it, the most inexpensive conference hotel happened to be Cabana Bay. So I figured I'd take advantage of my surroundings to explore some of the non-park offerings of the resort.
I had hoped to head into the parks one day, but given that I only had a few hours on one of my days it wasn't meant to be. But I had a great time exploring what the resort has to offer away from the parks. Let's check it out!
Written by Gregg Condon
After taking the red-eye from LAX I arrived at Cabana Bay around 7:30am last Monday. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to check in that early but that turned out to not be an issue at all. I was able to check in, get something to eat and head up to the room to take a bit of a nap before my first training session at 1:00pm.
The first day of the trip was obviously catching up on sleep, but I did make my way to/from the Convention Center for some pre-conference sessions. I utilized the I-Drive Trolley on the first day since there was no shuttle on Monday. It took me a couple of trips to figure out where the closest place to catch the Trolley was from the hotel. Something that won't be a problem when Universal opens their two new hotels (more on that later).
The first day I took a bus to CityWalk, then a boat to Portofino (as I thought the easiest place to catch the trolley was at the DoubleTree).
On the way back that afternoon, I took the shuttle back to the DoubleTree but made my way to the Water Taxi by way of the Hard Rock.
I then transferred to the next WaterTaxi to Sapphire Falls. Which meant I was able to get Water Taxi POV for pretty much the entire route. Check it out below, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
LOVE the spiral staircase at Sapphire Falls
The trek back from Sapphire to Cabana was a bit longer than I anticipated, but after a day of traveling and training, it was nice to stretch the legs a bit.
Love the Cabana Bay merchandise!
Also made sure to take advantage of the free-refill cup for the duration of my stay. This came in very handy as I ate more meals in the hotel than outside of the hotel.
Morning two, as I headed out to the shuttle to OCCC.
The hotel shuttles didn't quite fit my conference schedule on Tuesday, so it was back on the Trolley. Which allowed me to get a couple of good looks at the two new Universal Hotels (and I figured out that the actual closest trolley stop was here and not the DoubleTree).
I know some are asking why I didn't just Lyft/Uber (trust me, I did), but I always love exploring a city on foot. It just gives you a different feel.
After a bit of a rest in the room, I met up with Sean from California, Florida, European Coaster Kings for dinner at Cow Fish and a visit to both Fun Spots. But that's a different update. =)
Day 3 was about a 12 hour day at the convention center, but I did take the time when I got back to do a bit of a tour of the hotel.
I ate breakfast, dinners and snacks pretty much exclusively at Bayliner Diner, I was very impressed with the food choices and the staff was spectacular.
The pool area's are kind of amazing. If it was a different kind of trip I can imagine spending a lot of time in the lazy river.
What's up Volcano Bay
Cabana Bay Lobby
I didn't realize that the hotel had interior and exterior corridor rooms, I had just asked for "whatever is available" when I checked in.
So if you have a preference, be sure to request it. Personally, I was happy to have a room with an interior corridor, away from the pools as that's not what I was there for.
My last stop before heading up to the room to pack was the store to do some shopping. They had Hagrid's merch out.
I was very tempted to buy this hat, but have a rule that I don't wear merch until I can ride the ride.
Plus, I prefer fitted hats. I wish more parks would have them as an option.
Phone cases in a variety of styles
And of course, lots of Magical Creatures
Thanks Cabana Bay for a fantastic stay.
I was totally blown away by Cabana Bay. I knew I would love it, and it's retro style, but I wasn't sure how much. Sure, I wasn't really there for relaxing and enjoying the hotel, but even as a conference goer it fit the bill.
We're talking about a family trip to Orlando in the near future, definitely think Cabana Bay will be where we stay for our Universal portion.
Stay tuned later this week for additional updates from both Fun Spots and SeaWorld Orlando where we discover there are still good people in the world.
Today we're taking our first look at Halloween Horror Nights Orlando for 2018. Well, really, this is the culmination of 3 different trips to HHN, but who's counting!!
We hope you enjoy this extended look at HHN Orlando, be sure to check back for more pics as we make more visits!!
Written by Renée Girard
We couldn’t make it to opening weekend of Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando this year, but we’re here tonight for the first of many this season!
First house of the night was Slaughter Sinema, a great comedy horror house. Really fun!
The colorful and cute characters in the Revenge of Chucky scare zone.
We didn’t do Stranger Things on our first night, but honestly, a 45 minute wait isn’t so bad! Expect peak nights to be much higher, I’m sure.
Wait times stayed fairly low and we did every house except Stranger Things.
Had a blast watching the dancing in the Vamp 85: New Year’s Eve scare zone. Gotta love Thriller!
Beware of the Killer Klowns from Outer Space!
Twisted Tradition is another awesome scare zone, and one we’ll need to go through when it’s dark out next time.
The Trick r Treat house is SO good! I loved the scare zone last year, and it’s so fun to see it back as a house.
It looks like another fantastic year at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights! We’ll be back for more real soon!
I’d say that the Stranger Things house is a little popular, with a wait time of 105 minutes immediately after the gates open.
In addition to the awesome houses and scare zones, Horror Nights has some pretty tasty treats and snacks you need to try!
I really love the look of this bar setup at Horror Nights. I haven’t tried the specialty drinks yet!
And it’s still Dufftoberfest in Springfield! Pretty cool that they offer a seasonal beer there.
We also tried the Horror Nights doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts at CityWalk. Yum!
The scare zones and scare actors of Horror Nights have all been terrific!
And finally at Horror Nights tonight, we’ll count down and party like it’s 1985 with a bunch of vampires.
It’s a busy night at Horror Nights but I did 5 houses before 7pm! The front of the park is much more crowded at the moment.
I love these!
Stranger Things house wait time as of 7:30pm. Yikes!
We'll be adding even more pics to this update on our next visits!! Stay Tuned!!