Welcome to the OI Blog

Here at Orlando Informer we love to blog about Universal Orlando, Disney World, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and all the other exciting tourist destinations and local activities around Central Florida. While we occasionally cover breaking news, the focus of our blog is more on helping you plan amazing vacations with the latest insider tips and expert advice.

Orlando Informer Weekly Dispatch: September 14 – 20, 2014

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OI Daily Updates Greetings, vacation planners! Prepare to UPGRADE YOUR ADVENTURE to Universal Orlando with our Weekly Dispatch. This is a summary of all the latest Universal news and activity on our site. Please note that these updates are listed from newest to oldest: 9/19 – On this week’s Orlando Informer Minute: Busch Gardens Tampa announces its first-ever Food & Wine Festival, a look at the upcoming holiday celebrations at LEGOLAND Florida and Universal Orlando, HHN launches The … [Read more...]

HHN 2014 sneak preview: The good, the bad, and the terrifying (spoiler-free)

Face Off scare zone at HHN 2014.

On Wednesday, September 17, Universal held their Team Member Preview Night for Halloween Horror Nights 2014. They promptly began the Opening Scareamony at the special opening time of 7:00pm, and "guests" were allowed in the houses at about 7:05pm. I had the opportunity to visit each of the eight haunted houses - most of them twice, as a matter of fact - and at least quickly pass through all four scare zones. Overall, I have to say that Halloween Horror Nights 24 is shaping up to be one of … [Read more...]

Rumor SPOTLIGHT for September 17, 2014: Disney’s Frozen obsession vs. Universal’s Harry Potter love affair

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The news, although not even a week old, has already exploded across the theme park world like a thermonuclear blast: Disney is closing Maelstrom at Epcot’s Norway Pavilion to make way for the first-ever Frozen attraction. The move, of course, has been extraordinarily controversial, with many enthusiasts asking why more and more of Disney’s highly selective attention is being spent on integrating the animated film into nearly every one of Walt Disney World’s four theme parks (instead of, say, … [Read more...]

Riding Falcon’s Fury for the first time: Conquering our fears for the ultimate adrenaline rush

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After months of delays at Busch Gardens Tampa, Falcon’s Fury was opened to the public at noon on Tuesday, September 2. Three days later, it went down again for “routine maintenance” (that’s the official story, but several employees say it was struck by lightning) and stayed down for four days. To say this ride has had technical issues is an understatement. In Busch Gardens' defense, this is an attraction like no other. At 335 feet, it’s the tallest free-standing drop tower in North America, … [Read more...]

Bice Ristorante at Portofino Bay Hotel: Indulge in elegance, warmth, and amazing Italian food

Bice Ristorante at Portofino Bay Hotel.

I love dining in and around theme parks. Part of it is a love of great food; part of it is the trauma of losing three hours of every childhood trip to Magic Kingdom as my family rode the ferry to the parking lot and ate sandwiches out of the back of the car. Over the years, I’ve come to love really good dining – the kind of food I always sighed over on Iron Chef – and there’s a good bit of it in Orlando. I’ve eaten at a lot of wonderful restaurants around Walt Disney World (Todd English’s … [Read more...]

Epcot’s Norway Pavilion: The controversy over “Frozen” and bidding farewell to Maelstrom

Epcot's Norway Pavilion.

“Let the storm rage on.” As Elsa so famously sang, a storm of controversy is blowing through the world of Disney fandom. On Friday, September 12, Walt Disney World announced a flurry of Frozen offerings coming to the resort. The largest and most impactful of them, of course, is the Frozen takeover of Epcot’s Maelstrom boat ride in the Norway Pavilion. The announcement has resulted in an avalanche of comments, tweets, emails, and more from Disney fans and casual park guests alike, both for and … [Read more...]

Islands of Adventure trip report – September 2014 (shorter wait times, King Kong’s progress, and a “thank you” to Team Members)

Islands of Adventure trip report - September 2014.

It has been three months since my entire family visited Islands of Adventure together, so we were excited about spending a beautiful day at the park last Saturday. The lower summer crowd levels and wait times and the slight temperature drop spurred us on our adventures at the park. Arriving at IOA around lunchtime, we decided to head to the shaded umbrella tables next to the Green Eggs and Ham quick-service restaurant in Seuss Landing. Although it wasn't open this trip, we still ate our … [Read more...]

Orlando Informer Weekly Dispatch: September 7 – 13, 2014

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OI Daily Updates Greetings, vacation planners! Prepare to UPGRADE YOUR ADVENTURE to Universal Orlando with our Weekly Dispatch. This is a summary of all the latest Universal news and activity on our site. Please note that these updates are listed from newest to oldest: 9/13 - On this week's Orlando Informer Minute: Universal announces Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, SeaWorld's Spooktacular brings Halloween fun for kids, Frozen replacing Maelstrom at Epcot, and more. To watch our new show and … [Read more...]

How good haunts go bad: HHN’s struggle with intellectual properties (and what to expect this year)

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To say that there is a love-and-hate relationship embedded in the very core of Halloween Horror Nights is a profound understatement. On the one hand, the heavy usage of licensed material – what is commonly referred to in the industry as intellectual properties (IPs for short) – has propelled the annual event to ever-more-stratospheric heights, making it the premiere Halloween hauntfest across the entire nation; a common characteristic of human nature, after all, is to engage in that which is … [Read more...]

Rumor SPOTLIGHT for September 10, 2014: Everything you want to know about Sapphire Falls Resort

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In case you missed the surprise announcement yesterday morning of Universal’s fifth on-site hotel, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, don’t you worry – we’re going to be analyzing it in-depth right now. And even if you’ve consumed the (brief) press release already, there are still some hidden nuggets to be unearthed and implications to be considered for all the rest of Universal Orlando. Who would’ve thought that one simple (but huge!) hotel would tip so much of Universal’s hand over the next three … [Read more...]

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