This past week, the Universal Orlando Resort was invaded by MiceChatters and fans of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast. They took on in park challenges for charity, and were treated to special guest speaker Russ Dagon. We also have a resort wide update with changes in both parks, and in CityWalk!
Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast Meet Up
Fans of MiceChat’s Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast took on the Universal Orlando Resort this past week, with some special activities and challenges!
Men In Black – Shoot Out
The meet started out with a Men In Black: Alien Attack shoot out round, where we battled for the highest score on this favorite attraction.
Springfield USA Pub Crawl
After attacking aliens, we all took a pub crawl through the newly completed Springfield USA (more on this later) so that everyone could get a Flaming Moe or a Duff, Duff Lite or Duff Dry to drink!
Taking on the Kitchen Challenge at the HardRock Hotel for Give Kids the World
After the Pub Crawl, it was time to take on the infamous Kitchen Challenge at the Kitchen Restaurant over at the HardRock Hotel at the Universal Orlando Resort. MiceChat and the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast is the FIRST group to ever take on the Kitchen Challenge as a group!
What is the Kitchen Challenge? You must eat the following in under 30 minutes: a 10 oz Kitchen Burger, a Fried Pickle, a Side of Fries and…. a 3 POUND slice of cake! If you complete the challenge the $40.00 meal is free, and you also get a T-Shirt. UUOP and MiceChat fans had agreed that if they won the Kitchen Challenge they would donate their $40.00 to Give Kids the World. Sadly, none of us won the Kitchen Challenge, but that didn’t stop our guests from opening their hearts and wallets as they participated in a auction with goods furnished from Kings Bowling, Weeki Wachee Springs, The Putting Edge and more.
Check out the video below to see how the challenge went, along with the rest of the meet.
Russ Dagon talks about Cabana Bay Beach Resort
The icing on the 3 pound piece of cake for the meet was having Russ Dagon, VP Executive Project Director for Universal Parks and Resorts, speak with us about the upcoming Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
Universal designed a ramp from the pool area, over the lobby to prevent people in bathing suits having to run through the lobby. But when they were tackling the issue of how do you get people to go up the ramp, they added a bowling alley and a game room above the lobby as the main draws on the 2nd floor.
When guests experience Cabana Bay Beach Resort for the first time this spring, they will pay value prices for what other resorts consider deluxe amenities. For more information visit cabana bay online here.
Over at CityWalk the Pastamore quick service location is undergoing a major transition, and Latin Quarter is now no more along with the bathrooms that were next to them. This is the beginning of major work in CityWalk as the Universal Orlando Resort prepares for a big 2014.
Port of Entry Construction
The Funnel cake location known as Arctic Express, in Port of Entry, is being refurbished.
Spiderman Queue Refurbishment
Over in Marvel Superhero Island, the 2 main rooms for the Spiderman attraction are getting refurbished causing guests with Express Pass and Standby to be rerouted through side doors and access corridors.
Jurassic Park Games
No real visible progress on the future Jurassic Park games area for the time being, but we will keep an eye for when this goes vertical.
Seuss Landing Show Issues
Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure has always had paint issues, whether it was fading walls or sidewalk paint, Universal has always fought an uphill battle with this land. However, upon closer inspection of one of the pillars, and at some of the animals on the Carouseussel there are some show issues that are not desirable. On the attraction, we found Seuss Characters whose whiskers have fallen out (of these admittedly incredibly detailed characters), where rubber cement has been used to reattach the whiskers which just is not strong enough to hold up to daily use in a theme park.
Springfield USA Now Official Open
On August 23rd, 2013 Universal held the grand opening ceremony for Springfield USA! This new land truly allows guests of all ages to walk into the fictional world of The Simpson’s and enjoy all the sites, sounds, and tastes from that mythical universe. With long lines inside at moes, and outside at Duff Gardens Universal Orlando keeps finding new ways for guests to enjoy their resort.
Diagon Alley Update
Across the pond from the Simpsons is Diagon Alley. Windows are now being installed into the facades, giving us a hint at the London facades that will hide the Wizarding World within. With most of the facade now enclosed, we should continue to see themed elements appear on the exterior as we prepare for a Summer 2014 opening.
Priscilla Hotel back from Refurbishment
The Priscilla Hotel has emerged from behind construction walls, with a cleaned up facade, and some technological improvements that will support back of the house infrastructure. It is nice to see that this tribute to “Thoroughly Modern Millie” remains.
Despicable Me 2 Merchandise Appears
With Despicable Me 2 being a worldwide mega hit, we were told that close to September we would begin to see Despicable Me 2 merchandise show up at Universal Orlando, and right on queue, the shelves are slowly being stocked with merchandise focusing on the 2nd film. We will keep our eyes out for more merchandise, and more purple minions.
Cabana Bay Beach Resort Update
Universal’s newest hotel is coming along with major construction on the parking garage, and towers for the standard rooms now taking shape. Color details are being added to the already completed all-suite towers, with major construction of the lobby and resort services buildings continuing move forward at a steady pace.
That wraps up this week’s update. For more Universal Orlando news, rumors and information, listen to the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast staring Lee, Tracey and Darren as they discuss Halloween Horror Nights, and changes all around the Universal Orlando Resort.