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.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom trip report – April 2014 (FastPass+ progress, World of Avatar construction & best tips for touring)

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For this month's Walt Disney World trip report, I spent a “wild” day at Animal Kingdom this past weekend. The weather was beautiful, with temperatures in the low 80s, a calming breeze, and plenty of sunshine. Upon entering the park this visit, I noticed the FastPass+ kiosk lines were dramatically shorter than my visit in January. This is most likely because Annual Passholders and guests not staying at a Disney resort can now make FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance. Also, … [Read more...]

How to save on SeaWorld dining: Refillable cups, popcorn buckets & the All Day Dining plan

Cup that cares - SeaWorld

After paying a large sum for admission tickets to SeaWorld, then handing over $15 more for parking, the last thing you want to do is spend a fortune to feed your family all day. The good news is that SeaWorld has many of ways to make eating at the park very affordable. In this post, I'm going to share 'em with you!   Refillable cups Let's start with the easiest option: SeaWorld's refillable souvenir cup, which can be purchased at any of the restaurants and most of the drink carts. … [Read more...]

Spring Break 2014 survival guide: Lessons learned from visiting Universal Orlando at its busiest

Spring Break at Universal Orlando.

There is a Universal Orlando vacation, then there is a Universal Orlando vacation during Spring Break. While the rising temperatures and festive spirit of the holiday create an energy all its own, you definitely need to know what you're doing to harness that energy and turn it into a positive memory. The peak period of Spring Break sets up Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure for some of their highest wait times and longest lines (until Diagon Alley opens!). Let's take a look at … [Read more...]

Orlando Informer Weekly Dispatch: April 7 – April 12, 2014

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OI Universal Center 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: 4/11 – Orlando Informer is officially kicking off our watch for Diagon Alley soft openings – we’ve heard from our sources and our friends, and we are now ready to establish an expected timeline for these … [Read more...]

Doing good never looked so good: Help us raise awareness during Autism Awareness month by shopping Stella & Dot

I support Autism Awareness.

April is Autism Awareness month, and Orlando Informer is partnering with Autism At The Parks and Stella & Dot to raise awareness and money all month long. Both of these organizations have close connections to us: Maureen Deal, with Autism At The Parks, has been an active contributor of ours for nearly two years; and Mama Informer (aka my wife, Rosie Hatfield) is a Star Stylist with Stella & Dot. The organization that my wife proudly represents, Stella & Dot, is a San Francisco … [Read more...]

Rumor round-up for April 11, 2014: Diagon Alley’s soft openings, King Kong’s secrets, and Universal Orlando’s new ride (literally)

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Harry Potter and the Soft Openings The exact opening date of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley has been all over the place as of late, and for good reason: there’s been delays, construction hang-ups, and other assorted craziness that happens on a project of this scale, making predictions a little on the impossible side. (A quick sidebar while we’re on the subject: we previously reported that one of the major snafus affecting the pace of progress on the Hogwarts Express … [Read more...]

Orlando for beginners: Our top five best tips for selecting the perfect hotel

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Every hotel is different. In fact, as a hotelier, I like to say that finding the right hotel for you is liking finding your spouse. Every guest is different, and not every hotel is going to fit the needs of each guest. In order to find the right hotel to fit your needs, it takes a little research. Of course, helping you research and plan your vacation of a lifetime is what Orlando Informer is all about! As someone who is in the “biz,” I would like to share with you my top five tips for … [Read more...]

Islands of Adventure trip report – April 2014 (Hogsmeade Station looking good, Zonko’s looking sad & a heart-warming Seuss story)

Islands of Adventure - April 2014.

This past weekend we visited Islands of Adventure, and it turned out to be one of those days where everything was fantastic! I enjoy sharing my IOA experiences each month with Orlando Informer readers. I am always anxious to see and photograph the ongoing progress with the construction of Hogsmeade Station for the new Hogwarts Express attraction in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. This trip, the walkway between Lost Continent and the Wizarding World was open … [Read more...]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – April 2014 (CityWalk & Diagon Alley construction, parking fee increase & inside Curious George Goes to Town)

Universal Studios Florida - April 2014.

Wouldn’t you agree that spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Universal Studios Florida is a great way to spend a spring day? I just did that, and I’m delighted to pass along the latest details from USF and my trip.   Universal parking garage and CityWalk changes Given the recent Orlando theme park price increases, it isn't that surprising that Universal Orlando has increased its parking rates. As I arrived at Universal's parking deck, I noticed that cars and motorcycles are … [Read more...]

Special needs are Universal: Maneuvering a wheelchair through the parks, finding elevator access & companion bathrooms

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Welcome to the next edition of our Special Needs Are Universal column, featuring questions and answers to help those with disabilities plan their day at Orlando’s theme parks. Our ultimate goal is to give families the confidence to enjoy all there is to do across this amazing vacation destination! My heroes are those who do not let their disabilities keep them from living life, and this is why it’s so important to me to provide information through the Special needs are Universal … [Read more...]

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