Universal Orlando Update: Dragons on Buildings and Jurassic Park Suites

Written by Eric Davis. Posted in Features, Orlando Parkhopper, Other Destinations, Podcasts, Universal Orlando, Universal Orlando Podcast, Universal Studios

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Published on June 03, 2014 at 2:10 am with 14 Comments

We’re back this week with a big Universal Orlando Resort update.  After taking a week off to explore SeaWorld and Aquatica in San Antonio, we have lots of news to share at the Universal Orlando resort, from the Dragon being added to the top of Gringotts, to the Jurassic Park family suites at Royal Pacific Resort, and some information on what venues will be opening next at CityWalk.  So grab your Frozen Butterbeer and let’s go!


Jurassic Park Family Suites

A few weeks ago, we shared with you the amazing Despicable Me Family suites that are available at Universal’s Portofino Bay Hotel.  Well they are not the only family suites available at the Universal Orlando Resort.  At the beautiful Royal Pacific Resort, tucked away like a remote Island Resort, guests can check-into the stunning hotel that celebrates the golden age of travel.

Similarly to the Despicable Me Suites, guests can book these two room family suites, where it comes with a standard room, and then a beautifully themed kids room with two single beds.

Once you enter the Jurassic Park suite, there are amazing fixtures and features that will make you feel like you are traveling all the way back to Isla Nublar again to visit John Hammond’s park.  With great theming, accessories, and some behind the scenes art, young and old are sure to be delighted by why they discover in this room.

Above the bed, kids can use the Raptor Claw scratches as night lights, or they can be turned off by the flip of a switch.

If you are a fan of the Jurassic Park movies, these suites are for you!  But you have to book these rooms in advance, because they are hard to get due to the high demand.  So book these rooms early!

Universal Studios

Now it is time to cross into the parks and see what is going on at these two ever changing parks.

New Turnstiles

A few months ago, we shared with you pictures of a prototype turnstiles, and now they have been added to the front of the park, and they will be utilized in the Hogwarts Express in order to scan those Park to Park tickets.

Diagon Alley

Work is coming to the finish line for Diagon Alley as walls are being moved back, and employee previews are being scheduled for the Hogwarts Express Train.  On top of Gringotts the dragon was lowered into place, and has guests straining their eye for a glimpse of this massive animatronic that will greet guests as they get ready to ride the anticipated Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

The London facade area has shaped up to be a beautiful addition to the park, and will surely be a place where guests just hang out once it is open.

Diagon Alley Reservation Kiosks

After learning their lesson with massive crowds during the original debut of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal has proactively installed reservation kiosks (think FastPass 1.0 pre magic handcuff) where guests can get a return time to experience this new and amazing land when it is filled at capacity.

End of Mardi Gras

It is that time of year, when Universal hangs up its beads until next year.  This year Mardi Gras lasted until June, and will end with the Robin Thicke concert, where lines will be blurred and guests will enjoy the concert, parade, and authentic cajun food.  We are excited and sad to see Mardi Gras leave as we get ready for a busy summer.

Refurbishments

As the Universal Orlando Resort prepares to celebrate 25 amazing years of delighting guests, every facade is getting a facelift, and getting refreshed as they prepare for this amazing milestone.

CityWalk

The revamp of CityWalk is pushing forward with at breakneck speed as they get ready to open three new venues, and just opened Menchies.

Menchies

Where the old candy shop was, Menchies has now opened where it is serving frozen yogurt by the ounce, with delicious toppings and sauces.

BreadBox

Next to Menchies is BreadBox, where the new exterior paint has been added, and they are rushing to get it open for the big summer crowds.

That wraps up this week’s update, and we will be back next week, with an amazing interview with Russ Dagon from Universal Creative who is going to share with us some details from Phase II of Cabana Bay and what it has been like to see the Universal Orlando Resort grow from a theme park with a big parking lot, to a multi day destination, with 4 hotels, 2 theme parks and 2 water parks.

Until next week, we will leave you with this message from Universal Orlando’s favorite live action show.

About Eric Davis

By day, Eric is in Marketing and Social Media. But on the weekends, he's a theme park addict. Eric is a frequent contributor to MiceChat's Orlando Parkhopper columns and tends to focus his efforts on what's new and what's news at Universal Studios and SeaWorld.

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  • CaptainAction

    Thanks Eric. Can’t wait to see your attraction right up from Diagon Alley.

  • FerretAfros

    Are you sure that the Gringott’s dragon is going to be an AA? I thought it was just a stationary figure that occasionally shot out fire

  • AaroniusPolonius

    What’s kind of amazing is that we’re only seeing the outside facade of this new land. I totally cannot wait to see what they’ve cooked up on the inside. Total game changer, IMHO.

  • solarnole

    It will be interesting to see how the park to park tickets affect crowds and guest flow. Will the train stop when one park reaches capacity or can you ride it there and back without getting off? I cannot think of any other theme park that has tried something like that. Bravo to Universal for taking chances instead of playing it safe with cheap overlays.

    • CaptainAction

      Yes, I’m rooting for the younger kid to continue making a big splash. So great to see bold new attempts. Hoping for great success for them at Universal.

  • Big D

    Love the themed suites, and I’m glad to see they’re not neglectng Jurassic Park, but how do they not have Harry Potter themed suites???

  • almandot

    Universal should really push marketing to promote the Barney show. It will surely help alleviate some of the crowds from Diagon Alley once that’s open.

  • ChrisNJ

    the Royal Pacific common areas are wonderful. The entire theme of the resort is great. Hopefully the rooms and hallways got a clean-up as they were not up to the rest of the resort.

    London looks INCREDIBLE. Even the detail on the light fixtures is outstanding. This new addition cost a fortune.

  • Cory Gross

    If it wasn’t for the Jurassic Park logo and a couple framed prints of the filming of the movies, I never would have guessed that those were supposed to be Jurassic Park themed rooms. One would have thought that the films and video games would have supplied a rich enough visual library to develop a “hotel room on Isla Nublar” motif from… *shrug*

    • AaroniusPolonius

      Yeah, I’m not really a fan of the rooms, either. Nor the Minion ones at Portofino. They’re very Nick hotel (some plastique wallpaper with characters, a couple of details here and there, blah, blah, blah.) In this case, I’m going to give it to Disney; there’s real story and detail in their themed rooms (the Tiana suites, where all the princesses give her a gift for the room, for example.)

      Also, what’s up with the hotels not having balconies (and this goes for Disney, as well?) I pay more than $100, I want a damned balcony, especially at a hotel themed to the South Pacific. This totally bugs me to no end.

  • Ravjay12

    I’ve seen them installing the dragon and I must say, it is really impressive! I just thought that the dragon was just part of the artwork. this is going to be a huge hit this summer. Can’t wait

  • Marko50

    “think FastPass 1.0 pre magic handcuff”

    Hmmm. Come to think of it, I *never* have seen Eric Davis and Caption Action in the same room.

    • CaptainAction

      Uh oh…

  • DocDar

    So where can those kiosks be found? Just so we know for the future