Universal Orlando Snapshot


This page is our totally up-to-date one-stop-shop for everything that is currently happening at Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and all of Universal Orlando Resort!

Now that you’ve found this page, you don’t have to worry about rummaging through thousands of message board posts or waiting until you get to the parks to find out about attraction refurbs, construction projects, special events, and everything else that could affect your visit. (Yeah, this is a good page to bookmark.)

By the way, we’re very happy to let you know that this is just one page out of over 200 we have in our next-generation ENCYCLOPEDIA of OBSESSIVELY UPDATED Universal Orlando vacation planning info.

Skip to: Promotions | Events | USF | IOA | CityWalk | On-site hotels | PASSPORT

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Last update

August 27, 2014

Today’s crowd estimate: Moderate.
Universal Studios Florida: 9:00am to 8:30pm.
Islands of Adventure: 9:00am to 8:30pm.
Until September 2, Early Admission is offered at both Universal theme parks.

 

Reporting live from Universal Orlando

We visit Universal at least once a week to bring our fans live in-park photo updates direct from Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure! To see all of our photo updates, we invite you to follow us on Twitter. If you don’t use that service, then join us on Facebook for highlights of our adventures.

 

Current promotions & resort-wide changes

September & November park hours

Universal has changed its parks hours for almost every day in September. What’s more, USF is now scheduled to open at 8:00am throughout the second half of September, a first for the park. In addition, Universal has published its park hours for November. This is a big update – see a full explanation of all the changes and additions on our free 12-month Universal Orlando crowd calendar.

Free wifi & new Universal mobile app

It’s official: As of mid-June, Universal Orlando Resort now offers free wifi access across Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Universal CityWalk. They’ve also published an all-new mobile app for iOS and Android – to read our guide, click here.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Florida residents: room rates starting at just $79 for travel now through August 31. Learn more

Blue Man Group

Florida residents: save up to $40 on Blue Man Group tickets for performance dates through September and October. Purchase tickets and more

 

 

Upcoming annual events & special celebrations

Rock the Universe 2014: Sept 5 & 6

It’s an entire weekend of great music, real faith, best friends, fist-pumping rock, praise songs, autographs, shouts of joy, lifted hands and lifted hearts – and you can be a part of every second of it, from the very first scream to the final amen. Learn more

HHN 2014: Select nights Sept 19 – Nov 1

Step right into some of the most pulse-pounding moments in horror history at Halloween Horror Nights, the nation’s premier Halloween event. Explore eight terrifying haunted houses, multiple street experiences, two outrageous live shows, and many of your favorite rides and attractions. Learn more

*On-site hotel events*

On Thursday, August 28, Hard Rock Hotel continues Orlando’s hottest lobby party with its “Velvet Sessions” series featuring Eve 6. Purchase includes admission at 6:30pm with free specialty drinks, finger foods, warm-up tunes until the show starts, and complimentary valet parking. The featured entertainment takes the stage at 8:00pm. Regular guest tickets are $29 online, $30 at the door, and limited VIP tickets are $50 online only and include all the benefits of a regular ticket plus access to a special viewing area with private bar. Learn more

Hard Rock Live

Located at Universal CityWalk, Hard Rock Live is a multi-use performance center that features a variety of acts, from pop and rock artists, to standup comedians, to special events both public and private. Because Hard Rock Live has dozens of events scheduled at any one time, we aren’t able to list them here – so be sure to check out their website to see if one of your favorite acts will be on-site when you’re on-site!

 

Universal Studios Florida

Cinematic Spectacular – USF’s nighttime lagoon show will not run on many dates this fall as follows: Rock the Universe event dates September 5 & 6, additional dates September 4, 16, 17 & 18, and all Halloween Horror Nights event dates starting September 19 and running through November 1. The easiest way to check if Cinematic Spectacular is scheduled to run: view our crowd calendar – if USF closes before 7:00pm, the show won’t be running that evening. To learn more about the actual performance and read real guest reviews, visit our Cinematic Spectacular page.

Diagon Alley – JAWS and its home on Amity Island were closed permanently on January 3, 2012, to make way for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, which officially opened July 8, 2014. This ‘London’ portion of the Harry Potter story will feature new shops, a themed restaurant, and two new attractions: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts Bank indoor coaster and a real Hogwarts Express running between ‘London’ and the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter over at Islands of Adventure. Visit our Insider’s guide to the Wizarding World to learn so, so much more.

Fear Factor Live – During Halloween season, the Fear Factor Live amphitheater is used for HHN’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Because of this, Fear Factor Live is “closed for seasonal maintenance” throughout August, September, and October, and could remain closed for much of November and December. To learn more about the show and read real guest reviews, visit our Fear Factor Live page, or you can visit the OI Forums to discuss Bill & Ted’s.

Starbucks – Starting construction on April 28 and completed June 17, the Starbucks location at Universal Studios Florida (near Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue) has expanded. You can take a peek inside here and here.

The list above is only a summary of the current attraction refurbishments, openings, and closings at Universal Studios Florida. For a complete list of the park’s attractions, scroll to the bottom of this page or visit the OI Universal Center table of contents.

 

Islands of Adventure

Cat in the Hat – As of late May, this attraction now has a height restriction: 36 inches, and children between 36 and 48 inches must be accompanied by a supervising companion. This comes after a rumored guest incident earlier in the year caused Universal to reduce the ride’s considerable spinning down a sway. To learn more about the attraction and read real guest reviews, visit our Cat in the Hat page.

King Kong – The return of King Kong to Universal Orlando has been a rumor that is at least two years old. Nowadays, it seems all but confirmed that a King Kong “island” will be built at Islands of Adventure, between Jurassic Park and Toon Lagoon, with a rumored opening date of summer 2016 to coincide with Lengendary Films’ Skull Island. Because this is still a rumor, we don’t have a page dedicated to it in the OI Universal Center, but you can learn more in the OI Forums.

The list above is only a summary of the current attraction refurbishments, openings, and closings at Islands of Adventure. For a complete list of the park’s attractions, scroll to the bottom of this page or visit the OI Universal Center table of contents.

 

Universal CityWalk

Blue Man Group ticketing changes – As of May 2014, Blue Man Group at Universal CityWalk is offering a new ticket pricing structure and admission options, including “Meal and Show” deals, Poncho, and Premium seating. In the new pricing structure based on seasonality, tickets start as low as $60 (or $49 for Florida residents), but may go as high as $115 during peak dates and performance times. To learn more, visit Universal’s BMG page or contact the box office at 407-BLUEMAN (407-258-3626).

Eight new venues – On December 12, 2013, Universal announced the largest expansion in CityWalk history, which includes the addition of eight new venues: The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar, Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, VIVO Italian Kitchen, Hot Dog Hall of Fame, Red Oven Pizza Bakery, Bread Box, Cold Stone Creamery, and Menchies Frozen Yogurt. For full details and analysis, see this blog post. As of August 2014, all the new venues are now open except for Cowfish.

Looking for CityWalk events? They are included in our Events section near the top of the page — skip up there.

For more information about Universal CityWalk, scroll to the bottom of this page or visit the OI Universal Center table of contents.

 

Loews on-site hotels

Free wifi – Standard in-room wireless internet access is now offered for free at all of Universal’s on-site hotels as of late January 2014. (It’s worth noting that free wifi was already available in the hotels’ public spaces.) We mention that the access is standard because, while it is good enough for basic social media browsing, etc., it is not fast enough to handle massive photo gallery uploads or HD movie streaming. Guests wishing to have faster internet speeds can upgrade to a premium service for $14.95 per day.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort – Phase one of Universal’s new Cabana Bay Beach Resort (North Courtyard) is open to guest as of March 31, 2014. Phase two, including the towers and Universal’s first lazy river (South Courtyard), are open as of June 16. To learn more, visit our Cabana Bay pages in the OI Universal Center.

Royal Pacific Resort: Character Breakfast – New last summer and continuing through 2014, every Sunday families can enjoy traditional breakfast favorites with an island twist at Jake’s American Bar while Universal characters stop by for photos and unforgettable laughs. For pricing and reservations, call 407-503-DINE. See the menu (PDF file)

Looking for hotel events? They are included in our Events section near the top of the page — skip up there.

The list above is only a summary of the current projects relating to the Loews on-site hotels at Universal Orlando. For complete details about these properties, including over 700 full-screen photos, scroll to the bottom of this page or visit the OI Universal Center table of contents.

 

Universal Orlando PASSPORT newsletter

The Summer 2014 PASSPORT mailer for Annual Passholders is out. If you missed your copy, you can view it here (PDF file).

Universal Orlando PASSPORT newsletter - Summer 2014.

Universal Orlando PASSPORT newsletter – Summer 2014.

If you’d like, you can also view the…


Do you have a question about the information on this page, would like to provide feedback, or did you spot an inaccuracy? Please let us know by posting in the OI Forums.


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Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios Florida.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios Florida.

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