Orlando Travel Guide
Roller Coasters / Harry Potter / Wizarding World of Harry Potter / Universal Studios Orlando / Diagon Alley / Hogwarts Express / Gringotts Bank / → All Tags
Yup, that's it folks.
On a recent visit to Universal Studios in Orlando, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was as bustling as ever (even during a low-season week, too). But while the Butterbeer and other Hogwarts merchandise galore kept distracting us, we tried to keep our eyes on the construction rising beyond the Dragon Challenge roller coaster ride.
Remember, this is where a Diagon Alley will be built along with a real deal Hogwarts Express train, able to take visitors from the Islands of Adventure park (where WWoHP is located) over to the front of Universal Studios and vice versa. It will also feature the city of London as well as a Gringotts Bank, which will no doubt mirror the movies and books by featuring a thrilling ride around the vaults.
Airport News / MCO / Airports / Theme Parks / Florida Travel / Disney World / Universal Studios / → All Tags
We are about to see how much good stuff $1 billion gets you, as the airport in Orlando just scored that kind of funding to upgrade and improve its offerings within the terminals and concourses.
All the theme park traffic and other tourist attractions in the area made Orlando the 13th busiest airport in the country last year based on passenger numbers. Airport officials only imagine the place getting even busier in the future as, after the renovations are complete they expect as many as 45 million passengers to come and go through the place each year.
At this point there’s more than a few rental car companies offering up electric cars to get you and your crew from here to there, but now there’s an entire city that’s going all in with the electric movement. The theme capital of the world—AKA the greater Orlando area—is looking to link visitors with some of these voltage vehicles, and they just announced a whole new program to do so.
Drive Electric Orlando is a friendship between the area’s rental car companies and the city, as both look to make utilizing an electric vehicle just another slice of vacation fun. Those who choose to skip the pumps will enjoy all kinds of perks like free valet parking at the hotel, preferred parking in the area, and plenty of places to conveniently charge your car—even at the theme parks.
TV Travel / The Simpsons / The Simpsons Ride / Universal Studios / Amusement Parks / Theme Park Travel / → All Tags
The Simpsons—in ride form—have been a presence at Universal Studios Orlando for quite some time, but just recently the rest of the Simpson gang finished moving into the amusement park.
It might not be as overwhelming in theme when compared to Harry Potter’s place, but Homer, Bart, Marge, and Lisa have some pretty respectable new digs. Familiar music welcomes visitors into their town, and soon enough park-goers run into retail and restaurants all developed with Springfield in mind.
Theme Parks / Amusement Parks / Universal Orlando / Orlando Travel / Universal Studios / Harry Potter / Harry Potter Travel / The Wizarding World of Harry Potter / Travel News / → All Tags
If you're a Harry Potter fan even in the slightest, you might want to sit down for this news.
Not only has Universal Studios Orlando today revealed the first image of planned additions to come at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter, but they've announced that the new zone will be connected to the original Wizarding World by a recreation of the Hogwarts Express train.
Here's the full details:
Theme Parks / Amusement Parks / Universal Orlando / Orlando Travel / Harry Potter / The Wizarding World of Harry Potter / → All Tags
As if Universal Studios wasn't already double-downing on brand new Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks coming to their Hollywood and Japan locations, they've even announced a "significant expansion" going on at the Orlando original WWoHP.
That's about all we know for sure, but it's enough to get the rumor mills whirring.
Here's what's being said about the Orlando Wizarding World expansion right now:
Walt Disney World / Disney World / Disney / Theme Parks / Florida Travel / Amusement Parks / → All Tags
Once again it’s time to break out the bulldozers and construction gear down at Walt Disney World; however, they’re not exactly building a new theme park. What they are doing is revamping and redoing the Downtown Disney area into something a little bit more than just shops and stores. They’re giving it a makeover, so that tourists everywhere will be even more interested in exchanging those hard earned dollars for Disney souvenirs.
They’re calling it Disney Springs, as it looks like they’re going for a kind of retro style with the renovation. The official Disney Parks Blog goes into some detail about how Downtown Disney has been kicking around for 30 years or so, but now it’s time to do something a little better. They even mention that they’ve scrapped existing ideas a couple times; as things the ideas just didn't come together in the right sort of way.
It's that time of year again when all of our friends with kids start planning (and in some cases dreading) their annual trips to Disney. Amusement parks are fun for kids, but it's easy to get burnt out after a few days of non-stop characters, candy, and rides. So why not take a break and do some good at the same time?
Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Florida is a 70-acre resort with over 140 Villa accommodations, entertainment attractions, and fun specifically designed for children with special needs. Give Kids The World has welcomed more than 115,000 families for a once-in-a-lifetime, cost-free vacation.
Halloween Travel / Universal Studios / Halloween Horror / Theme Parks / Thanatourism / Best-Halloween-Theme-Parks / → All Tags
Once again, Universal Studios Orlando is doing its best to scare nightly visitors as the park is in the midst of the 22nd annual Halloween Horror Nights. You know the drilleach fall crowds converge on the park to experience the transformation; by day Universal Studios welcomes guests of all ages to experience the new Despicable Me ride, ET's bike, and pose for photos with Spongebob, while at night (22 nights, ending on Halloween night) the park turns itself into a giant live action horror movie.
A gaggle of writers work year-round to come up with the themes and schemes that inhabit Universal's annual Halloween Horror Nights. For this 22nd incarnation of fright, Universal went heavy on the partnership route, teaming up with AMC's Walking Dead, Penn & Teller, Alice Cooper, and Silent Hill for four of the seven houses. Furthermore, the park ditched the "scare zones," opting to let the legions of horror scareactors freely roam the streets to search for victims in bars, restaurants, lines, and inside every henhouse and outhouse inside park boundaries.
We toured each of the seven haunted houses and searched out all the scareactors roaming the streets and here's what we think, in order from scariest to not-so-scary:
Halloween Horror 22 / Theme Park Travel / Amusement Park Travel / Halloween Travel / Universal Orlando / → All Tags
Yup. Opened a box to find some sort of skull head and it felt very much like a Brad Pitt in Seven moment. This head, however, was not that of Gwyneth Paltrow; this skull belonged to Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights 22. The annual event will take place on select nights between September 21 and October 31st.
This year visitors will try to survive hordes of AMC's The Walking Dead, an Alice Cooper created haunted house, and a Penn & Teller magic trick gone wrong, amongst other experiences.
The skull we received still had hair on it, and the accompanying note said "don't worry, hair continues to grow long after death." Um…yeah.
For the scoop on what Five US Amusement Parks are doing this Halloween, check out our previous story here.
How To Get Tickets To / Disney / Epcot / Food Travel / Drinking Travel / Florida Travel / Food Festivals / Festival Travel / → All Tags
There few places you can taste French crepes for lunch and, after a little stroll, delight in a Japanese bento box before finishing off with a Mexican churro for dessert. The easiest destination for such multicultural indulgence is Disney's Epcot Center in Orlando. Now, with the International Food and Wine Festival, visitors can taste even more international fare.
The festival is celebrating it's 17th birthday this year and will tickle park-goer taste buds with cuisine from 6 continents. Fill up at 29 food stalls , with tapas-size portions of national cuisine from over 20 different nations. For all you DIYers out there, chefs will even be hosting cooking demos.
Theme Parks / Florida Travel / Orlando Travel / Disney / Disney World / Amusement Parks / Universal Studios / → All Tags
Your summer vacation may have just gotten a little more expensive, as a couple pretty big theme parks have just increased their ticket prices—again. Universal Studios was the first to hike its admission prices a couple of weeks ago as the park raised the one-day ticket price from $85 to $88. That started the battle for the tourist dollars in Orlando, as officials at Disney World have reacted to the competition.
It seems like the parks want to be the most expensive option in town rather than the best deal. We guess the rationale is that if you only have one park from which to choose—and one day to visit—you might as well pay a couple extra bucks to visit the pricey one. After all, everyone know the best stuff costs the most—right?