Featured posts on the OI Blog

You have reached the very best blog posts published on Orlando Informer covering Universal Orlando as well as Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, and all the amazing destinations in Central Florida.

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...]

Rumor SPOTLIGHT for April 5, 2014: Unlimited FastPass+ versus Potter’s third phase – the battle for the future is heating up


In case there was any doubt that 2014 will be the most important year yet for the theme park industry (here in Central Florida, at least), news keeps trickling in from both official and unofficial sources that only serves to bludgeon us over the head with the irrefutable fact. It’s simultaneously thrilling and painful. What is transpiring is nothing short of an ever-broadening war between Disney and Universal, with maneuvers, counter-moves, and the deploying of nuclear submarines rapidly … [Read more...]

THE BIG 5: Top five up-close animal encounters at Busch Gardens Tampa


Busch Gardens Tampa is known for its amazing thrill rides and, now, the Falcon's Fury drop tower opening in May that promises a one-of-a-kind ride experience. But the park is more than thrills and rides – when it first started, the only attraction (other than a brewery) was the Bird Gardens, and even now, with the growth in the park’s size and the thrills a major part of the experience, its animals are still an important part of any visit. Important and fun – and while most of the … [Read more...]

Updated guide to FastPass+ at Walt Disney World: Advance ride reservations now open to off-site guests

FastPass+ at Walt Disney World.

Disney’s MyMagic+ has been going through lots of phases and changes, the biggest of which starts Monday, March 31: any guest of Walt Disney World Resort can now begin to pre-plan their FastPass+ reservations using the My Disney Experience website or app before they actually arrive for their visit. Here’s what you need to know: Guests of select Walt Disney World hotels get a 60-day booking window. All other guests get a 30-day booking window. You must create an account at … [Read more...]

An Orlando vacation to remember forever: Seven perfect places to pop the big question

The Harbor Piazza at Loew's Portofino Bay Hotel.

Besides being the start of a lifelong commitment, popping the big question is a big deal. Let’s face it; she’s going to be telling the story of how you got engaged for the rest of your lives together. No pressure, right? Lucky for you, Orlando has a bevy of romantic locales ideal for taking your sweetie by surprise and giving her the fairy tale engagement every princess secretly yearns for. With a little creativity and planning, you’ll have this moment nailed.   Fireworks … [Read more...]

Rumor round-up for March 22, 2014: Disney’s FastPass+ controversy – the good, the bad & the indifferent

Extended FastPass+ queue for Little Mermaid.

Rumor FastPass+ round-up All four of Walt Disney World’s theme parks have been switched over to the new FastPass+ ride reservation system for the past two months, while all Annual Passholders’ MagicBands (the all-in-one bracelets that allow one to make her FastPass+ reservations in advance) will ship out next week. Now that we’ve fully entered the NextGen future that Disney has spent so much time (and money – $1 billion’s worth!) talking about, it seems only appropriate to pause, … [Read more...]

We predict the four biggest complaints about Diagon Alley

Actual crowds rushing into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

As we get closer and closer to the grand opening, and as Universal continues to reveal more and more of the new land’s contents, we can now, for the first time, start to get a very real sense of just what the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be like. And while most of this produces only tingles of excitement, it can also elicit some gnashing of teeth. Why? The huge deluge of crowds is a very real concern – the first Wizarding World had lines that lasted some eight … [Read more...]

Rainy day at Universal Orlando: Best ideas for staying dry and having fun

Rainy day at Universal Orlando.

Who says that rain has to ruin your theme park experience? Whether or not the outdoor rides are still running, you can have the time of your life! Here are our best ideas and tips from someone who has fought through quite a few rainy days at Universal Orlando.   If there’s the slightest chance of rain, pack a poncho It’s always good to bring a cheap poncho with you to the parks, even if it’s supposed to be a sunny day (not everyone loves getting soaked on Jurassic Park River … [Read more...]

Rumor SPOTLIGHT for March 14, 2014: Hogwarts Express ride details reveal the world’s most authentic theme park attraction


At the beginning of this week, Universal teased that it was going to be sharing some new details today about the Hogwarts Express train ride that connects Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida to Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure. The company has certainly lived up to that promise, inviting several Harry Potter fansites to New York City last night to chat with Vice President of Corporate Communications Tom Schroder, Senior Show Producer Michael DoQui, and, of course, the ubiquitous Oliver … [Read more...]

Butterbeer recipes tested & rated – Harry Potter fans rejoice!

Refillable cups at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando is a dream come true for many Potter fans. Yet, unless you live in Central Florida, it may not be a trip you can take often -- or at all. So we would like to show you how to enjoy one of the best offerings from the Wizarding World without having to buy a plane ticket. After considering many different butterbeer recipes, it seems there are two basic approaches when deciding on a recipe. While both approaches include directions for making … [Read more...]

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