Tag: Trip reports

Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – July 2014 (Frozen Summer Fun invades Disney!)


Do you wanna build a snowman? For the first time in forever, you can do just that at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! My family and I visited DHS to celebrate our son’s birthday and to experience the new Frozen Summer Fun occurring daily now through September 1, 2014. Near the entrance to the park, we saw a new large sand sculpture of Olaf, the loveable snowman from the Disney movie Frozen, and it helped set the mood for a cool day. After swiping our MagicBands, we were each given a … [Read more...]

Islands of Adventure trip report – July 2014 (Hogsmeade Station, Kongstruction, fun in Toon Lagoon, plus a CityWalk update)

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The summer always brings many tourists to Orlando to enjoy all the world-class attractions, especially Universal Orlando Resort. Over the weekend, I joined my fellow travelers and toured Islands of Adventure. But before I got to the park, I took a brief stroll through Universal CityWalk.   Universal CityWalk As CityWalk continues to expand its restaurant and food options, I noticed two new eateries opened since my last report, which provide guests with more quick-service … [Read more...]

A very special Universal Studios Florida trip report – July 2014 (Diagon Alley is here!)

Universal Studios Florida - July 2014.

On Saturday I visited Universal Studios Florida, and what an awesome day it was! The crowds were surprisingly moderate for summer, but the weather was very warm. As I entered the park, I picked up a Diagon Alley Grand Opening commemorative park map (still available, although the actual Grand Opening was July 8) and decided to tour the rest of USF before enjoying this new addition. In Production Central, Despicable Me was shut down due to technical problems but reopened later with a posted … [Read more...]

Busch Gardens Tampa trip report – July 2014 (Summer Nights extravaganza, Rhino Rally reopens, Falcon’s Fury more beautiful than ever)


I’d heard so many great things about Summer Nights at Busch Gardens from last year that, this year, I jumped at the chance to go. Since Summer Nights entertainment doesn’t start until late in the night, we decided to take our time, and we arrived at Busch Gardens in the early afternoon (amazing how short the lines are to enter the park at that time of day). As we walked through Busch Gardens trying to figure out what to do first, we saw a sign we couldn’t believe – Rhino Rally had reopened! … [Read more...]

Universal Orlando trip report – June 2014 (Hogsmeade spell markers, Diagon Alley dragon, Kong-struction & more)

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While I am impatiently waiting for possible soft openings of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, I decided to report on the most recent updates at both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida from my visit last weekend.   Islands of Adventure In Seuss Landing, the Cat in the Hat vehicle is spinning again but only turns around approximately three different times during the ride. It is a gentler spin and nothing like past experiences on this attraction. For … [Read more...]

Universal CityWalk trip report – June 2014 (VIVO Italian Kitchen review, Hot Dog Hall of Fame update, more construction)

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CityWalk expansion I recently visited Universal CityWalk and took note of the construction progress in many areas of this entertainment hotspot. The new additions to the area over the past several months have taken it to the next level. Guests, as well as Orlando residents, have whole new reasons to visit and explore – the recently-opened Antojitos Mexican restaurant, Cold Stone Creamery, and Brick Oven Grill are all receiving excellent reviews. Since my trip report last month, … [Read more...]

Universal Studios *Hollywood* trip report – May 2014 (Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Super Silly Fun Land, Wizarding World construction & more)


I recently scheduled a trip to the Los Angeles area to visit some family members. So what better excuse did I need to include a tour to Universal Studios Hollywood at the same time? Having opened in 1965, USH is the first of the Universal theme parks. (They are already preparing for a 50th anniversary celebration in 2015!) Its main attraction has always been - and will always continue to be - the tram tour of the backlot, which is where the soundstages and outdoor sets are located. The … [Read more...]

Islands of Adventure trip report – May 2014 (Hogsmeade Station, King Kong construction + CityWalk update)


I visited Islands of Adventure this past weekend, and to say I enjoyed my time at the park is an understatement. But before I get to IOA, let's take a quick stroll through CityWalk.   Universal CityWalk Entering CityWalk from the parking deck, I noticed the construction progress at several locations, including Menchie's Frozen Yogurt and the Bread Box, which are taking over the space formally occupied by Cigarz, TCBY, and Katie’s Candy Company. The space for Cowfish - the former … [Read more...]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – May 2014 (Diagon Alley is almost complete, media invites sent out for a preview event, the joy of Springfield)


With so many changes happening, it feels like it has been forever since I visited Universal Studios Florida. (In reality, it’s only been a few weeks.) As you know, I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I obsessively follow Orlando Informer and others on Twitter and Facebook, along with the Orlando Informer Rumor Round-Up posts concerning updates about the construction of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. I’m up-to-date on the information available and have a good idea of what I will … [Read more...]

Magic Kingdom trip report – May 2014 (Festival of Fantasy is lyrical, Frozen is dominating & Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is almost here!)


Take five days in early May, add in three theme park enthusiasts and one condominium a few miles from Downtown Disney, and you’ve got the recipe for a tremendous "staycation" at Walt Disney World. As part of our "staycation," my family and I visited Magic Kingdom on several days, and even though it rained for a significant portion of our trip, we had an incredible time. After we checked into our condominium last Wednesday afternoon, we headed straight to Magic Kingdom. In our pre-planning, we … [Read more...]

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