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.)
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March 9, 2014
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
Admission price increase
Every spring prices go up at Orlando’s theme parks, and this year was no exception – although it did happen a bit earlier than usual. As of March 4, 2014, all Universal general admission tickets have increased. Here the the new online prices:
1-Day Single-Park – was $92.00, now $96.00
2-Day Single-Park – was $125.99, now $135.99
3-Day Single-Park – was $140.99, now $145.99
4-Day Single-Park – was $150.99, now $155.99
1-Day Park-to-Park – was $128.00, now $136.00
2-Day Park-to-Park – was $146.99, now $175.99
3-Day Park-to-Park – was $159.99, now $185.99
4-Day Park-to-Park – was $167.99, now $195.99
*Prices above are for adults and do not include tax.
**Gate prices are the same for 1-day tickets, $20.00 more for multi-day tickets.
Most notably, a 2-day Park-to-Park online ticket, likely the most popular option for first-time Diagon Alley visitors, saw a 20% increase. Remember that a Park-to-Park ticket will be required to ride the Hogwarts Express from USF’s Diagon Alley to IOA’s Hogsmeade.
As of the last update on this page, annual pass pricing has not increased this year, but that is expected to happen any day now. Curious about the FlexTicket? That option had an increase earlier this year, and it is not expected to go up again soon (although anything is possible).
Get an extra day free
Universal is now offering a 3rd day free to all U.S. and Canadian residents who purchase a 2-day ticket. The promotion is scheduled to end May 9, 2014. Visit Universal’s online ticket store to learn more.
FL resident annual pass promotion
Universal has set up their Mardi Gras promotion for annual passes. If you’re a Florida resident, you can now get three months free if you buy a new a new Preferred or Premier Pass (sorry, doesn’t apply to renewals), or you can get one month free if you buy a new Power Pass. The promotion says you need a special Coke UPC code to order online. If you can’t find one, just try calling and asking for the promotion: 407-224-7840 or toll free 1-877-801-9720.
Discount: DoubleTree across from the entrance
We’d like to take this opportunity to remind our readers that DoubleTree across from the entrance to Universal — our choice for the best park hotel off-site – offers OI readers a special discount. Learn all about the hotel, view over 100 full-screen images, and get the discount by clicking here.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter scavenger hunt
Thousands have tried, only a few have succeeded.
If you’re ready to take on a challenge of your own during your next visit to Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we welcome you to view/download/print the PDF file of our WWoHP scavenger hunt. Let’s see if you can succeed where so many others have failed!
Upcoming annual events & special celebrations
Mardi Gras 2014: Saturdays & select nights, Feb 8 – May 31
It’s the most spectacular celebration of the Big Easy spirit outside of New Orleans itself – Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida. Enjoy live concerts, a dazzling parade, colorful street performers, authentic Cajun food, and beads by the handful! New this year, Mardi Gras has been extended a full month. See the exact events dates and learn everything else you need to know in our guide to Mardi Gras 2014.
IMPACT WRESTLING: Select dates Mar – May
IMPACT WRESTLING is one of the world’s most innovative experiences in professional wrestling. Airing in over 125 countries worldwide, this event features favorite stars such as Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, and Velvet Sky.
Guests can catch IMPACT WRESTLING live events and tapings at Universal Orlando’s Soundstage 20 on March 13 – 15, April 10 – 12 & 24 – 29, and May 7 – 10. IMPACT WRESTLING events are non-ticketed and seating is based on a first-come, first-served basis. Park admission is not required. Audience members are encouraged
to arrive one hour prior to when doors are open. Please note: Taping times are subject to change, so for
the most up-to-date information please call 407-224-6000. To learn what it’s like to attend one of these events, check out this blog post.
*On-site hotel events*
On Thursday, March 27, Hard Rock Hotel continues Orlando’s hottest lobby party with its “Velvet Sessions” series featuring The Psychedelic Furs. 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. (For those who have visited Downtown Disney, it is similar in size and scope to House of Blues.) Because Hard Rock Live has dozens of events scheduled, we aren’t able to list them here — so be sure to check out the their website to see if one of your favorite acts will be on-site when you’re on-site!
Universal Studios Florida
Cinematic Spectacular & Mardi Gras 2014 – This year Universal has decided to cancel its nighttime lagoon show on Mardi Gras dates. That means, for the 20 event dates when Mardi Gras runs, Cinematic Spectacular will not run at the end of the evening. Please note that Cinematic Spectacular is scheduled to run nightly on non-event dates, except when it’s canceled periodically for other one-time special events as noted in the next paragraph. You can see all the Mardi Gras event dates on our Mardi Gras guide or on our free crowd calendar.
Cinematic Spectacular – USF is closing early for private events on March 4 & 13 and Cinematic Spectacular will not run at the end of the evening. To learn more about the lagoon show and read real guest reviews, visit our Cinematic Spectacular page.
Diagon Alley / JAWS & the Amity area – 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 set to open in 2014. This ‘London’ portion of the Harry Potter story will feature new shops, a themed restaurant, and two new attractions: a 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 Diagon Alley page to learn so, so much more.
Hogwarts Express – As of October 24 the Hogwarts Express is on the tracks connecting Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida to Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure. The actual attraction isn’t expected to open until the spring, so it isn’t easy to get a view of the train — but we found a good vantage point just off-site. You can learn more about the Hogwarts Express on our Harry Potter expansion page.
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
Starbucks – The new Starbucks at Islands of Adventure is now open. It’s located in Port of Entry, right next to Cinnabon, and it replaced the Arctic Express quick-service counter that sold funnel cakes and ice cream. The best news of all is that, unlike its counterparts at CityWalk and USF, this Starbucks also offers complimentary wifi access (which is not available throughout the rest of IOA).
Harry Potter expansion / Hogsmeade Station – The construction project currently in progress on the edge of the Wizarding World will one day become the Hogsmeade Village Station for the arriving Hogwarts Express, which is being built on the ‘London’ side of Harry’s world over at Universal Studios Florida. Visit our Harry Potter expansion at IOA page to learn more.
Jurassic Park River Adventure – This attraction will be closed for refurbishment February 18 through March 11 (it originally was supposed to be finished by February 27). To learn more about this attraction and read real guest reviews, visit our JP River Adventure page.
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.
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, Pranzo 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.
Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food – Universal CityWalk’s newest venue, featuring the famous street food of Mexico City and over 200 varieties of tequila, is now open – you can read our review by clicking here. Also, we’re happy to let you know the full Antojitos menu is now available as a PDF file, and better yet, you can now reserve a table online. For all the links, visit our Dining reservations page.
Red Oven Pizza Bakery – The quick-service section of Pastamore is now the quick-service Red Oven Pizza Bakery, open every day for lunch and dinner. You can take a ‘first look’ at the restaurant, menu, and Alla Benno pizza (prosciutto, pineapple). For more help with booking your dining plans, visit our Dining reservations page.
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 – We have begun our world-class coverage of Universal’s newest on-site hotel, Cabana Bay Beach Resort. This property will feature 1,800 new guest rooms, half of which will be family suites — a first for Universal’s on-site hotels. To view our new page with tons of info and a huge photo gallery of the construction site, click here.
Portofino Bay Hotel: Despicable Me rooms – Debuting on October 1, 2013, Universal’s flagship hotel property now features 18 Despicable Me themed Kids Suites. To learn more, and to see a video showing how the rooms were built and furnished, visit our Portofino Bay: Rooms page.
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 Spring 2014 PASSPORT mailer for Annual Passholders is out. If you missed your copy, you can view it here (PDF file).
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