If you’ve been visiting our site for some time, then you know that our main focus is on Disney Parks, Disney related news, and Disney properties. However, in recent weeks, you may have noticed that we’ve been reporting on another big company in the theme park space. We’re attempting to make a slight expansion of our coverage by including Universal Studios Resorts in Hollywood and Orlando. The summer excitement is about to come to a close as fall is ushered in. We wanted to share some of the fun things that happened earlier this year and what to look forward to for the fall.

ICYMI: Summer at Universal Studios

Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest

Universal Studios Resorts

  • On June 15th Po and Friends made their grand debut at Universal Studios Hollywood for with Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest.
  • Inspired by the Kung Fu Panda movie franchise, the new attraction takes guests on a thrilling journey that fuses captivating storytelling with state-of-the art visual effects. This highly engaging experience also introduces the first-ever integration of interior projection mapping designed to engulf guests in 180 degrees of immersive adventure.
  • Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest recounts a plot-filled story whereby on the morning of The Emperor’s Great Feast of Heroes, dragon warrior Po embarks on a wild and perilous mission to deliver the rare and precious Liquid of Limitless Power to the Palace, while enlisting guests to join him on the exciting adventure replete with raging rapids, river pirates, awesome magic and Kung Fu.
  • Fun facts:
    • Original score by composer Germaine Franco
    • Multi sensory experiences
    • Fully articulated seats that pivot and swivel in tandem with the 180-degree action!
    • An impressive group of characters turned out for the grand opening including:
      • Kung Fu Panda’s Masters Po and Tigress
      • Madagascar’s Alex the Lion, the Penguins—Skipper, Rico, Kowalski and Private, and King Julien
      • Trolls’ Poppy and Branch
      • Shrek’s Puss ‘n Boots, Shrek and Fiona

Inside the theatre:

Meeting Po:

What they’re saying:

  • Karen Irwin, President and COO, Universal Studios Hollywood: “As our portfolio expands, we are thrilled to bring exciting new entertainment options to our guests. Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest is a fun, spirited story and the ideal attraction to kick start Universal Studios Hollywood’s collaboration with DreamWorks Animation.”

Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary Celebration

Can you believe that’s it’s been 25 years since Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking film hit theaters? To honor the milestone, Universal Studios Hollywood hosted a special 3-day celebration full of fun surprises, guest panels, costume contests, and more! Actors Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum were in attendance!

Jurassic Park treats:

Costumes, props, and dancing raptors:

Raptors!

Raptor Encounter Featuring Blue

Universal Studios Resorts

  • Remember the amazing Velociraptor, Blue from 2015’s Jurassic Word? This summer fans had the chance to meet her at Universal Studios Resorts in California and Florida.
  • The beautiful creature was brought to life for the Raptor Encounter employing the exact computer-generated model and images used to create her for the big screen.
  • Blue is a welcome new addition to the Raptor Encounter, allowing guests to come face-to-face with the clever carnivore.
  • Fun facts:
    • Velociraptors are intelligent and formidable hunters, and theme-park guests are advised to approach them with caution.
    • Each Raptor bares 56 razor-sharp, bone-crushing teeth and lunges forward with curved talons that extend up to 12 inches from their 18-inch-long feet.
    • Towering 12 feet in height and 15 feet—from tail to snout—the aggressive carnivores will each succumb to highly skilled handlers who adeptly guide them to within feet of guests.

Universal Studios Resorts

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Studios Hollywood delivered some magic this summer with new and returning experiences and an updated menu.

Spell casting:

  • “With a gentle flick of the wrist and just the right touch, guests can cast spells throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at dazzling wand magic locations. This summer’s installation of two additional spells ups the tally to 15 thrilling wand magic experiences to practice. The Incendio fire-making spell will conjure flames of varying size based on skill level, and the Alohomora spell will unlock a series of intricate locks that may reveal the fiery breath of a creature hidden behind a secret door.”

Three Broomsticks menu additions:

  • Ploughman’s Lunch, featuring an imported selection of ham, salami, country paté, English cheese, homemade pickles and a warm scotch egg. Served with bread, cranberry chutney and grain mustard.
  • Cheese Toastie with Chicken, featuring grilled English Cheddar cheese with chicken, crispy bacon, mustard and sliced tomato topped with a sunny side egg. Served with a fresh salad or potato wedges.
  • Sunday Roast Sandwich served on a freshly baked baguette filled with warm prime rib, caramelized onions, English Cheddar, horseradish sauce and homemade garlic pickles. Served with fresh salad or potato wedges.

School Shopping:

  • Guests can channel their inner wizards at Gladrags Wizardwear with a wide array of apparel inspired by the films.
    • House robes worn by the students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
    • Hand-loomed cardigans from Scotland
    • Scarves and ties
    • High-end replica of Professor Severus Snape’s robe
    • Replica of Hermonione’s dress worn at the Yule Ball as seen in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    • Replica of the cardigan worn by Neville Longbottom in the Battle of Hogwarts

It’s like talking to a mirror…

  • Madam Malkin’s Talking Mirror makes quite a reflective entrance this summer. Located in the corridor between Dervish and Banges and Gladrags Wizardwear, the Talking Mirror will entertain guests with a variety of complimentary remarks.

Nighttime Magic:

  • The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle returned for the summer on Sunday, June 24.

Fast & Furious – Supercharged Opening

Universal Studios Resorts

  • On May 2nd, stars of the high stakes, high-adrenaline franchise stopped by Universal Orlando Resort to celebrate the grand opening of the new attraction. Those in attendance included:
    • Vin Diesel (Dom)
    • Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (Tej)
    • Tyrese Gibson (Roman)
    • Jordana Brewster (Mia)
  • Diesel joined some of his Fast & Furious series co-stars for a celebratory moment reminiscent of the Fast & Furious films – featuring high-speed car action and an amazing stunt in front of the attraction. The moment culminated with a countdown led by the franchise’s superstars and an explosive pyrotechnics display.

An immersive family attraction:

  • Guests can step into the blockbuster franchise and straight into the heart of the Fast & Furious series alongside their favorite members of the Fast & Furious crew – Dom, Letty, Hobbs, Tej, Roman and Mia – all played by the films’ stars. During the experience, guests will:
    • Immerse themselves in an authentic re-creation of the Fast & Furious crew’s warehouse headquarters – filled with actual props, iconic scenes, authentic details and supercharged vehicles from the films
    • Ride with the family and crew as the film’s soundtracks pumps, vehicles flip, rockets fire – and the action builds
    • Check out more than a dozen of the supercharged cars from the films – including some driven by their favorite characters, like Dom’s classic muscle car, Roman’s super lux coupe and more

Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration

This summer an all-new lagoon show debuted giving guests a brand-new, awe-inspiring way to cap off their day in Universal Studios Florida with an epic cinema under the stars.

  • Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration seamlessly blends fountain-based media, state-of-the-art technologies, and special effects in a whole new way.
  • The show combines an all-new storyline with full panoramic water screens accented by additional multi-layer water screens, pyrotechnics, and more than 120 dancing fountains. The wonder of projection mapping transforms the entire waterfront and surrounding buildings into a vivid celebration of epic movie moments and beloved characters.
  • An all-new, dedicated viewing area has designed specifically for the show – giving guests prime viewing of the experience.
  • Witness moments from:
    • Harry Potter series conjured by way of spells
    • Ear-shattering roars from dinosaurs in Jurassic World
    • The adrenaline rush of speed from The Fast & the Furious
    • Mischief by the Minions from Illumination’s Despicable Me 
    • and more – all in the heart of the Universal Studios Florida lagoon

Coming Soon

Back to Hogwarts

This might be the closest thing fans of Harry Potter will get to receiving an acceptance letter form Hogwarts!

  • Universal’s Close Up Blog shared the news of a special Back to Hogwarts event taking place at Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley in Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida parks.
  • Back to Hogwarts begins on September 1st with a fan meet-up, and continues throughout the month with themed activities, photo ops, and more.
  • A photo scavenger hunt is open to fans of all ages. Snap pictures throughout the lands and share how The Wizarding World of Harry Potter comes to life by using the hashtag #BackToHogwarts.

Halloween Horror Nights

This year both resorts will offering the freakishly fun event on select nights September 14th through November 3rd. Tickets are on sale now. Due to the popularity of this event, purchasing tickets in advance is strongly recommended. Avoid the the most horrific outcome of all: a sold out event that you can’t attend.

Universal Orlando Resort

UOR is celebrating 28 (!) years of fears during the 2018 Halloween Horror Nights events. Along with a record number of nights (36 in all), this year also features 10 haunted houses—the most ever at an HHN event. While several scares are inspired from legendary horror flicks, Universal has created their own terrifying original concepts that are sure to be a scream.

Haunted Houses:

  • Stranger Things: From a vile, secret lab to the terrifying Void to the monstrous reality of the Upside Down, you try to escape—but The Demogorgon is moving closer.
  • Poltergeist: Restless spirits have overrun the infamous house atop a cemetery, and they’re drawn to your light. You’ll be lured up into the house by the TV’s glowing whisper and cross into the light. Enter a surreal landscape, where your sense of wonder will soon shift to horror as you’re menaced by the Beast. Don’t get lost in the light.
  • Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers: The infamous Michael Myers has escaped, and he’s out for blood. Wherever you turn, he’s moving in for the kill, ‘til your heart is screaming out of your chest. Your only hope is Dr. Loomis, Myers’ fire-scarred former psychiatrist, but will he get there in time?
  • Horrors of Blumhouse: Shock shifts to alarm as you go from a campy thriller to a brutal world. It’s the last day of the rest of your life as you witness a college student try to break a murderous cycle. Then enter the testing ground for a barbaric experiment, where all crime is legal for twelve hours. Will you live to see tomorrow?
  • Trick ‘r Treat: Play by the rules or pay the ultimate price. Your dread will grow as Sam, the vengeful trick-or-treater, waits for the moment he can treat rule-breakers to his favorite Halloween surprises: razor lollipops and sweet revenge. Don’t be caught dead breaking the rules.
  • Dead Exposure: Patient Zero: A ghoulish biological outbreak is turning swaths of humanity into a plague of vicious, swarming zombies. In a flash, you’re lost in darkness—but the zombies can still see you, and soon your growing unease will turn to screams and despair. If you’re not already afraid of the dark, you will be.
  • Carnival Graveyard: Rust in Pieces: Enter a dilapidated salvage yard, a maze of rides, games and carnival parts tainted with rust and blood. Gleefully vicious performers stalk you from the shadows as your panic rises. You’re in for a show-stopper.
  • Slaughter Sinema: It’s showtime at the local drive-in, where you don’t just catch a movie; the movie catches you. As each 80s B movie screams to life, you’ll shriek with terror as you try to escape werewolf bikers, alien cannibals and a ravenous swamp yeti. When the credits roll, heads roll.
  • Seeds of Extinction: Humanity is extinct, wiped out by a cataclysmic meteor. In its wake, something monstrous has taken root. Your horror will ripen as you realize these plants are predatory, and you’re easy pickings. Fear is fertile in this gruesome garden.
  • ScaryTales: Deadly Ever After: The realm of the fairies was once peaceful, but the Wicked Witch of the West has seized control and afflicted the land with a dreadful curse, twisting beloved fairytales beyond recognition.

Scare Zones:

  • Revenge of Chucky: Chucky, the world’s deadliest doll, is back for more after 30 years of mayhem. Chucky has brought a toy fair to gruesome life on the streets of Hollywood and twisted your favorite childhood toys into nightmares. You’ll be dying to play.
  • Killer Klowns from Outer Space: An interstellar circus tent has landed and a madcap invasion has begun on South Street. Otherworldly clowns giggle madly as they zap people into cotton candy pods with ray guns and devour every grisly strand. At this circus of fear, the joke’s always on you.
  • Vamp 85: New Year’s Eve: It’s December 31, 1984. As the ball drops in New York City, this New Year’s Eve bash is about to bite. Literally. A blood-sucking DJ counts down the biggest hits of the 80s as fanged punks, big-haired blood-suckers and lace-gloved vampires hunt down partygoers. When this year ends, so will you.
  • Twisted Tradition: An ancient evil has been reawakened in Central Park and transformed Halloween into an abomination. Vines coil like vipers around iron fences. Rotting pumpkins molder upon the cursed ground. You cringe in horror, but the worst is yet to come. Beings of blood and vine seek out human sacrifices. And you’re ripe for the taking.
  • The Harvest: An old barn is the setting of every kind of horror, its walls decorated with objects from each house. Pose at this foreboding photo op along the Avenue of the Stars, but be wary. Foul creatures lurk between the hay bales, ready for a harvest of flesh. Will you survive the reaping?

Live Show:

  • Academy of Villains: Cyberpunk: With a wicked mix of dance, acrobatics and theatrics, Academy of Villains is back with an all-new performance. Set in a dark and distant city of the future, Academy of Villains hack into a world of pounding synths and neon lights.

Universal Studios Hollywood: 

Fans in Southern California will also be able to have their own horrific experience at the popular event. USH will feature some of the same haunted houses—or mazes as their called on the west coast—as their east coast counterpart.

 

  • Stranger Things: From a vile, secret lab to the terrifying Void to the monstrous reality of the Upside Down, you try to escape—but The Demogorgon is moving closer.
  • Poltergeist: Restless spirits have overrun the infamous house atop a cemetery, and they’re drawn to your light. You’ll be lured up into the house by the TV’s glowing whisper and cross into the light. Enter a surreal landscape, where your sense of wonder will soon shift to horror as you’re menaced by the Beast. Don’t get lost in the light.
  • Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers: The infamous Michael Myers has escaped, and he’s out for blood. Wherever you turn, he’s moving in for the kill, ‘til your heart is screaming out of your chest. Your only hope is Dr. Loomis, Myers’ fire-scarred former psychiatrist, but will he get there in time?
  • Horrors of Blumhouse: Shock shifts to alarm as you go from a campy thriller to a brutal world. It’s the last day of the rest of your life as you witness a college student try to break a murderous cycle. Then enter the testing ground for a barbaric experiment, where all crime is legal for twelve hours. Will you live to see tomorrow?
  • Trick ‘r Treat: Play by the rules or pay the ultimate price. Your dread will grow as Sam, the vengeful trick-or-treater, waits for the moment he can treat rule-breakers to his favorite Halloween surprises: razor lollipops and sweet revenge. Don’t be caught dead breaking the rules.
  • The First Purge: Get ready for The First Purge. This terrifying new maze tells the story of how the blockbuster franchise all began. The New Founding Fathers of America…
  • Universal Monsters: Inspired by Universal’s legendary horror films, this maze will shake horror fans to the core with a petrifying modern rendition. Terror reigns as Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, The Phantom of the Opera and The Wolf Man return. Featuring a soundtrack by SLASH, your nightmares just became very real.

Other experiences: 

  • Walk Dead Attraction: Enter the post-apocalyptic world of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Prepare to fight for survival in a fully immersive journey as you navigate through a world overrun by walkers with an insatiable appetite for the living.
  • Terror Tram: Hollywood Harry, the phantom clown infamous for terrorizing the Universal Studios backlot, has returned to Terror Tram as host of an all new bloodcurdling experience. As you journey through five spine-tingling bedtime stories, attempt to survive the chainsaw wielding monsters, bloodthirsty cannibals, rotten corpse scarecrows, homicidal clowns, and a merciless torture factory.

Countdown to Extinction of Jurassic Park—The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood

  • Universal Studios Hollywood recently announced its Countdown to the Extinction of Jurassic Park—The Ride campaign designed to pay homage to the thrill ride that closes on September 3 to make way for the all-new Jurassic World ride.
  • The new technologically-advanced epic adventure inspired by Universal Pictures’ blockbuster film franchise, is set to open in 2019.
  • In 1996, Universal Studios Hollywood debuted Jurassic Park—The Ride, based on Steven Spielberg’s epic film.
  • This thrilling attraction featured new principles of hydraulic physics, mechanics, and space-age robotics. Scientists, paleontologists, aerospace engineers, and the team at Universal Creative brought to life one of the most compelling rides ever created.
  • Now an impressive twenty-two years later, Jurassic Park—The Ride will become extinct in preparation for a new, next-generation experience that’s even more immersive and technologically-advanced.

Planning a vacation to Universal Studios Resorts? Our friends at Universal Fan Travel can help you arrange the perfect trip for you and your family.

 
 

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