We have lots of news to share from all around the Universal Orlando Resort today. Universal has been moving quickly to make Summer 2013 a banner year, but with a watchful eye on 2014 as well.  We have Halloween Horror Night news, new dining plans, new bathrooms, new parking garages, ride testing and so much more!  So pull down the safety bar, and get ready for another Universal Orlando Update.

Halloween Horror Nights

It is that time of year again, when the faithful patiently wait for clues, hints, and suggestions to what we can expect at this years Halloween Horrors Night event.  We have been teased with the tag line “Evil has Taken Root” for the 23rd annual event.

The team over at Universal Orlando have revealed that one of this year’s haunted houses will be themed after the new cult hit, Cabin in the Woods, cowritten by Avengers Writer/Director Joss Whedon.  Those who have seen the film will know that once inside, you won’t know what might be around the next corner. We won’t spoil any surprises, just don’t read the Latin.

Universal Unveils its new Dining Plan

As Universal Orlando begins to compete toe to toe with the big Mouse down the road, Universal has unveiled a new Dining Plan that will be available to guests booking a Universal Orlando resort package.

Guests booking the package will receive every day:

  • 1 Full Service Meal: Including Entree, Desert, and non-alcoholic beverage
  • 1 Counter Service Meal: Including Entree and non-alcoholic beverage
  • 1 Snack: From food carts or counter service locations.  Examples being: Hotdog, ice cream, frozen beverage

With over 100 locations accepting the Universal Dining Plan (UDP), guests will discover lots of ways to use their UDP.

Prices for the plan are $45.99 for Adults and $17.99 for kids including tax, but excluding gratuities. Universal’s Meal Deal – all day dining will still be available for day guests, and same day purchases.

Broken Signs

While some of these issues are not new, a combination of broken elements made me take note of some signs.  In CityWalk, the Coke display that historically has had issues, but was functioning after the last major fix, is now broken again.

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At Islands of Adventure the “Island Trading Co.” sign is still not fixed since we first reported it breaking back in March.
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And at the exit at the Studios, the sign for “That’s a Wrap” is also missing. Sad..

 

Islands of Adventure

Oh The Stories You’ll Hear

Over at Seuss Landing, they have installed a much larger and prominent sign for the cute stage show “Oh The Stories You’ll Hear.”  This show ends with a character meet and greet with the Cat in the Hat and others.

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Hogsmede Train Station rises

Over at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can now begin to see what will become the Hogsmede station for the Hogwarts Express.  This is going to be a “WOW” building when it is complete.

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Universal Studios

Transformers Queue Covering Finished

The new awning for the extended queue at Transformers has been completed, and is sporting the same military theme that the N.E.S.T. building has.  With the attraction regularly posting 60 – 90 minute waits, I am sure guests are grateful for the shade and fans.

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Newly Remodeled Bathrooms Open in San Francisco

Themed as the Cannery, the newly refurbished bathrooms opened to relieved guests this past week, continuing Universal’s new campaign to create a sense of place for every restroom facility, with improved fixtures and amenities.

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Diagon Alley Update

Construction continues to move forward at a fevered pace on Diagon Alley, with the lagoon facing facades beginning to get sheet rock, and the outlines of the windows and more details becoming clearer.

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Backstage, Universal is preparing for 2014 by building a new Team Members parking structure. This will allow Universal to take the employees currently parking on the first floor of the parking structure and move them backstage. That will allow them to walk to and from their work location without being “onstage” by walking through CityWalk.  This will also allow Universal to make way for other future expansions and plans.

Duff Gardens and Lard Lads Donuts

Across the lagoon, the details are being added to Duff Gardens and Lard Lads, and day by day, this factory and donut shop are beginning to look like complimenting pieces of architecture for London across the pond.

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Kang and Kodos Twirl N’ Hurl Testing Begins

Next door to Duff Gardens, the new spinner attraction has begun. There will be an interactive element to the attraction as guests try to hit targets and activate interactive elements on this ride.

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You will notice in the video how Kang’s eye moves back and forth as the spinner turns.  I tip my hat at Universal Creative for that great little detail.

Universal Goes Vinyl

Many of you have written in and asked that I include more merchandise photos.  Well, ask and you shall receive.

Universal has unveiled their own line of Vinyls. While Disney might have Mickey shaped Vinyls, Universal has gone in a different direction, with different iconic characters such Chilly Willy, E.T., Betty Boop, a Minion, Woody Woodpecker, and more.

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Well that wraps up this weeks update!  Click the play button below to listen to the world’s #1 Universal Studios Podcast, with hosts Lee, Tracey and Darren!