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Islands of Adventure
Orlando, FL
NBC Universal / Blackstone Group

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icon_STOPPark News - (7/26/10) Looks like Universal may have attempted to clean part of Incredible Hulk. As you can see at Orlando Parks News, they made a clean spot, so now they really have to do the rest. They’ve also posted some good pictures of Popeye as well.
    (7/21/10) According to USA Today the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando has certainly had an impact on the area hotels, with some hotels reporting that they’ve been booked so solid that they’ve begin to raise room rates for the first time in 2 years.
    Behind the Thrills has also posted some pictures from the Infinitus 2010 event, a special draw for fans of Harry Potter which included some action in the Wizarding World itself.
    (7/18/10) Read the conclusion: Part 2 of Screamscape’s own review and photos of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
    (7/14/10) Want to attempt to make your own version of Butterbeer? Orlando United has posted what they claim is an easy to make home version of Butterbeer. Give it a try and see what you think… they’ve got regular, frozen and even suggestions for an adult beverage version.
    (7/9/10) Realizing the huge demand for Wizarding World themed merchandise around the world, Universal Orlando are adding some items to their online store from Dervish and Banges, Filch’s Emporium, Ollivander’s and the Owl Post. And no… they aren’t selling Butterbeer online.
    (7/8/10) Come check out Part 1 of Screamscape’s own review and photos of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
    (7/7/10) In an attempt to deal with the still huge crowd levels at IOA trying to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter the park has begun testing a procedure to hand out small return time tickets for entry into the Wizarding World. They will give you a window of time, like between 10:30am and 11:30am to return to the land, where you present your ticket much like a FastPass, and are let right in. Please note, these passes are only good for entry into the Wizarding World itself and not for any of the attractions within.
    (7/6/10) While most of the attention at Universal’s Islands of Adventure park has been focused on the Wizarding World lately, they did take the time to spruce up several other park attractions as well. Unfortunately, as this article points out, the Incredible Hulk coaster was the one high profile ride that apparently was left-off the list of things to be spruced up. On top of looking a bit ulgy, the ride is apparently rubbing some fans the wrong way with a rougher than normal ride experience as well.
    All is not lost however, as I have heard a few rumors being tossed around Universal campus claiming that there may be plans afoot to take what Universal has learned from the Hollywood Rockit and Hollywood Dream coasters (onboard lights & sounds system) and may apply it towards building some new themed trains packed with lights and sounds to take the Hulk to the next level.  Cross your fingers…
    (7/2/10) A large photo update from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been posted to Amusement Insider this week.
    (6/30/10) While we mentioned Universal Orlando’s new iPhone App a week ago, it’s been pointed out to me that American Express is currently sponsoring a free mobile website that includes the current wait times at Islands of Adventure, including the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions. Check it out and bookmark it into your phone.
    (6/7/10) While we thought it was temporary, it is starting to look like Islands of Adventure may be planning to keep that new bridge that runs between Lost Continent and Jurassic Park after all. Looking at pictures posted to Orlando United this week it looks like they are starting to build a new Jurassic Park archway. 
    Meanwhile over at Cat In The Hat, the cars are said to still be spinning the new “mild” version of the ride program, and they have added netting to cover your legs under the lap-bars to prevent any small children from slipping down to the floor and out of the ride.
    (5/18/10) I’ve heard from a couple of readers that The Cat In The Hat has begun spinning once again in certain scenes… though no where nearly as intense as it did before.
    (5/3/10) According to an insider, my hunch about why Cat In The Hat is no longer spinning is said to be true. Speaking with us only as an anonymous source, they reported that there was a minor incident involving a family with a small child on the ride. At some point in the ride the adults were not paying attention to the child who apparently got a little “scared” and slide down to the car’s floor under the lapbar. Upon approaching the “revolving tunnel” scene, the “couch” began it’s usual spin sequence, which resulted in the child being ejected from the ride car.
    If I’m not mistaken, there are warning in place to parents to keep their children seated at all times on this ride, but as expected the family isn’t taking responsibility for their child’s actions. Meanwhile Universal’s ride crew also failed to spot this on the security camera feeds and press an E-Stop as well. Honestly though, I would think it would be very hard to catch something like that on a battery of security monitors while as a parent I keep an eye (or hand) on my younger children on rides at all times to ensure they stay put and aren’t freaking out and trying to jump the ship.
    So for now all spinning has stopped on the ride until Universal Creative and the engineering team come up with a fix to prevent this from happening again. This could involve adding some kind of doors to the sides of the car, or it may involve adding an individual lap bars system like they have on Men In Black, which uses the exact same ride system.
    While we don’t know the exact day of the incident, we were supplied with a copy of a work permit from the city to Universal Orlando signed on April 13th, 2010 for a “Backstage Technologies, Inc.” to come work on the “UIOA Cat In The Hat Rotating Room Effect”. So I’ve got to wonder if something was damaged in the incident and quickly repaired. The first report I received about the non-spinning version of the ride was on April 24th, and at that point I was told that it had already not been spinning for more than a week, which fits right into the week the work permit was filed.
    (4/30/10) The latest update on The Cat In The Hat says that there is no spinning going on at all, not even in the closet scene. Still no good reason sent in as to why this has happened. I hate to say this, but it makes me wonder if there was an incident and someone tiny slipped out during one of the spins…
    (4/26/10) Over the past week or so we’ve heard new reports that Cat In The Hat is no longer spinning the way it normally does during the ride. While the standard line to guests has typically been to indicate that there was an issue being worked on, others have pointed out that the park is actually testing out a new ultra mellow ride program. About the only time it spun at all was during the big closet spin scene, and even that is said to be toned way down. No word yet on when or even IF the normally spinning program will return. Anyone know more?
 

 

icon_STOP2010 - The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - (7/22/10) I was sent an interesting rumor about Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. According to our source Universal is preparing to finalize the budget needed to modify the restraint system on all of the Flying Benches to be more accommodating of larger riders. According to the leak from the Ministry of Magic the restraints will be modified so that you will only need the equivalent of “1 Click” of the restraint as it is today to ride, instead of 3. Don’t look for this to happen overnight however, as it will likely be early very late 2010 or early 2011 before we see this put to use on the ride.
    (7/19/10) A reader sent in a nice look at what the Forbidden

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Journey ride system really looks like, taken during a breakdown. And if you look in the background, you’ll see the giant stairs they roll out to evacuate the riders when the need arises.
    (7/18/10) Read the conclusion: Part 2 of Screamscape’s own review and photos of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
    (7/8/10) Come check out Part 1 of Screamscape’s own review and photos of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
    (6/21/10) I’m going to make this brief… but expect a lot more details in the days to come. In short, I was invited down to Universal Orlando for several days this past week to get reintroduced to the entire Universal Orlando Resort as well as spend time getting very familiar with the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  In short… the land is simply nothing short of amazing. The attention to detail is like nothing I have ever seen in any theme park anywhere. As amazing as the Hogsmeade village area is there will come a moment as you near the end of the village and around a sharp corner to your left you will come face to face with the massive imposing structure of Hogswarts itself.
    You WILL be awestruck by the sight… no matter how many photographs you may have seen or how many other theme parks you may have visited elsewhere… there is just something about the first time you lay eyes on Hogwarts that will make you stop dead in your tracks and likely utter a few choice words. I think Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) may have put it best with a “Bloody hell…”.
    Hogwarts looks huge and incredibly real. No matter how many times I may have stood in front of a Disney made castle, I have never found myself in such awe before. And trust me… that feeling will last throughout your journey into the heart of the castle itself and long after you depart it after trying the new Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.
    Details will soon follow, but I find is safe to say that while a decade ago nearly everyone agreed that Spider-Man was the new top-dog in theme park thrill rides… Forbidden Journey is like Spider-Man on Steroids. You will experience so many difference sensations from this new ride system that it is hard to fully describe it all.  But you will love it…
    The opening day crowds that arrived to see it were massive, not only far beyond anyone expectations but far beyond what anyone would have ever imagined. They were certainly beyond any kind of crowds that I have ever seen at a Disney park too. I think that fact alone sent a clear message to Disney management that their competition at Universal was not only alive and well… but kicking on all cylinders and the public responded in kind.

    (6/16/10 - UPDATE) Universal Orlando hosted a live internet feed from the grand opening of the Wizarding World on Friday monring. You can catch a replay of it and if you look closely, the photographer in the orange shirt in the audience... that was me. Enjoy. To view go here and hit the LIVE FEED button.
    (6/14/10) Dying to see more of Forbidden Journey? Check out this video showing off the queue experience, embedded from YouTube.

    (6/11/10) While nothing is certain, we’ve heard good rumors that the Wizarding World very well could be opened to the public for extended periods of time today and all weekend long, so be patient and you might get lucky.  It was open for quite some time on Thursday it seems as one of our readers got in and had a great time riding Forbidden Journey over and over. They sent in several quick photos they snapped in the Wizarding World too.  Speaking of pictures… remember how I said it takes up to an hour to evacuate the Forbidden Journey ride? Someone sent me a link showing off a picture of one of the cars being evacuated here in mid ride. While there isn’t anything exciting about the ladder being pushed up to the flying bench… it does give a great look at the giant Kuka arm holding it in the air.
    (6/10/10) Discover Universal has posted their own review and trip report from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter this week.
    (6/8/10) Check out this sneak peek into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter posted to Universal Orlando Central as well as a more in depth review and photo collection at Theme Park Review.
    (6/5/10) NBC will be showing an official sneak preview of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on June 6th (Sunday) at 7pm EST.
    (6/4/10) Thursday was the day that all the local Potter-verse fans were waiting for, as Universal opens the gates to the Wizarding World to the general public for a time that morning. Behind the Thrills was there to take advantage of it and from the sound of things, spent way too much time taking pictures it seems, as they tweeted out earlier that they had taken over 900 pictures during their adventure.
    While the soft-open preview only lasted a few hours, I’ve been told by anonymous sources that Universal is planning to do it again today (Friday) and may very possibly keep it up and running for most of the day… barring any major technical problems.
    (6/2/10) Well the big news yesterday was that for the first time the Wizarding World of Harry Potter did indeed open briefly to the general public… early in the morning… and only for a few hours. But it did open… which is a good sign that we could seen daily soft openings from now on. Still, our sources tell us everything is still moving ahead, baby steps, one day at a time, as they work to make the Forbidden Journey ride more stable and less prone to lengthy breakdowns. I’ve heard from several sources now that one major factor in why the break-downs take so long is that the riders in the Flying Benches each have to be evacuated one bench at a time as the Kuka arms will pretty much just “freeze” in whatever position they were in when the ride’s system stops. It’s estimated that it’s been taking anywhere from 45-60 minutes on average to perform a complete evacuation of the ride before they can even think about attempting a restart.
    You can read and see a bit more from yesterday morning’s soft open preview of the Potter-Verse over at Behind the Thrills.
    (6/1/10) The Theme Park Guy has posted a great new photo update from Islands of Adventure showcasing a great look inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including a look at the inside of the Forbidden Journey’s loading station, though that last one is a bit blurry.
    (5/28/10) Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey opened for Universal Team Members yesterday briefly it seems… very very briefly. Like… maybe around 15 minutes before it was shut down due to technical problems. While it’s a good sign that they were ready to let humans on the ride, don’t’ expect to see it opened to the general public at all.
    As of today, there will be early morning breakfast groups going in early… but only if you booked one of those exclusive hotel packages that included the breakfast at 3 Broomsticks.  Those people will be let into the land… and there is a very very very small chance they may even get to ride… if the ride feels like behaving itself. Beyond that however, the general public who are starting to wait outside the construction walls really have almost no chance of getting in at this point in time. I believe they would still like some time to test run the ride for team members a bit more before opening to the general public.
    That said, this whole thing is being played out on a day to day basis… as they have the intention to open it as soon as it’s ready… but not until it is ready. And at this point, it’s an all or nothing approach. Unless they have the intention to open Forbidden Journey on a given day, they will not open any part of the Wizarding World to anyone other than for those special breakfast groups. Stay tuned and when I know more, I’ll let everyone know. Keep an eye on the official Screamscape Twitter as well as I’ve been frequently updating it with soft-opening updates as I get them throughout the day.
    One final note... please don’t go to Guest Relations and start to moan and complain about why it isn’t open yet. Even worse... don’t go and complain as a passholder as if your entitled to the first ride on it. The teams at Universal at working hard to get it open as soon as possible. Trust me... they want to open it... badly... but they are not going to if it is not ready. It will open when they thing it is ready, and not before.
    (5/21/10) Want to know more about what to expect from the Potter-verse? Check out this review of the preview tour given to the Pow-Wow convention group the other night as told by our friends Kyle and Stacey, the Orlando Smile Ambassadors.
    (5/20/10) Wow... Universal has partnered up with Virgin Atlantic and now have a Wizarding World themed Boeing 747. Check it out parked at Orlando Intl. Airpoint here.
    (5/19/10) Universal employees have been picking up their preview tickets for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter this week. The previews are taking place now through Friday from 7-10p at night, with one major hitch. While the Wizarding World will be open, these previews will not include a ride on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. They will allow them to tour the queue of the ride however, and see all the great themeing inside. Earlier this week the Pow-Wow convention also received the same tour, and was under strict guidelines not to take pictures, though a few have leaked out such as this batch at Orlando United or these at Inside The Magic.
    (5/17/10) Good news from the Wizarding World this week. Universal has sent word to their staff that tickets can be picked up this week for employee preview visits to the Wizarding World. While the exact dates of these preview sessions isn’t known, it’s expected that they will likely be either late this week or next week. Once these previews are over the done with, assuming no problems arise, it is expected that they will likely start to soft-open the Wizarding World to the general public. It also seems that Dueling Dragons closed again this week to make the final changes and will reopen as Dragon’s Challenge, so this all fits in with the rumored timeline.
    (5/1/10) A mystery package came in the mail today from Universal Orlando... and yes... in Screamscape tradition I made another one of my infamous Unboxing videos to show off what treasure lies inside. Check it out embedded below!  And no... I’m not selling the contents...

    (4/9/10) Spoiler Warning… what follows may give away the big ending to the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction. Read on at your own risk… if you want to be surprised then stop right here.
    Still with me? Good… now there has been a lot of speculation about what famous Potter-Verse monster/villain characters will be seen in the ride and the simple answer is that most will be in at one point or another. However there has been some debate as to what the ride’s finale will be all about. While some claimed to have heard it will be a showdown with Voldemort, others believed it to be another encounter with a hungry Basilisk, or even a final battle with a deadly Dragon. I’m told that while most of these were considered… none were deemed worthy to be used as the big finale of the Harry Potter ride.
    That roll was reserved for the series most creepy and intimidating creation… The Dementors. The finale will offer a combination of projection and real world effects to bring a virtual army of Dementors to life, including a few sure-to-be-shocking face to face encounters with Dementor animatronics mounted to the business end of their very own Kuka arms.
    (4/4/10) This week (and weeks to come) I may pop off a few “spoilers” about the ride experience on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, but for today I’m going to keep things more ‘technical’ so you should be safe unless you want to keep the entire experience saved for your visit.
    Still with me?  Apparently the picture of the Potter ride car has been removed from WDWinfo, so hopefully you caught a glimpse of it earlier this week. I’ve got a copy myself, but since it was labeled as “copyright” of that site, I’m not going to post it here. Sorry… but it wasn’t all that special anyway. A big yellow “magic flying bench” high in the air, attached to the top of a giant Kuka Arm on a mobile platform… you get the idea.  It’s not like you got to see the restraints at all… which by the way are said to be coaster style Over The Shoulder (OTS) restraints. I’ve got a fair warning for all our larger readers out there… if your too big to fit on Hulk or Dueling Dragons, or require the “Big Boy” seats on those rides, there is a very good chance you will not fit into Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. I’ve been told that the sensors on Potter’s OTS require it to go down quite snug over your body before giving the green light, which is going to disappoint quite a few Potter fans.
    There are rumored to be around 47 of these ride cars, each one able to hold 4 riders at a time. The loading experience is expected to be quite interesting, as they will have to have these cars zooming through here as quickly as possible non-stop. Much like loading and unloading on the Haunted Mansion, you will be aided by a very long moving walking that runs alongside the track. However there is also a second loading station for the ride as well… one where the cars will actually switch off to a secondary track where they can stop and park for a bit to allow for smoother loading of guests who require a little more time and care about getting in and off the ride. I’m assuming this may be handled in a similar fashion to the special loading area used on Toy Story Mania.
    This is a far cry from the original concept of load/unload first drawn up for the Potter ride concept… way back when it was first dreamed up for the Van Helsing ride. As you can see in this rare piece of artwork, the Van Helsing ride building was actually to be located on the same property as Hogwarts and was even going to feature a somewhat similar ride layout to what Potter will offer. Van Helsing however was going to borrow the Popeye style turntable load/unload station concept back then however, but getting away from this idea also allow more space to be used within the building for the overall ride experience on Potter. 
    (3/26/10) Universal Orlando has released a few more details about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter today. First off the June 18th Grand Opening date was confirmed. No one is ready to even talk about a soft opening at this point, but I’d still expect it to happen sometime before June 18th barring any major problems.
2010_0325_PotterFly1    While they gave away a few more details about the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride experience, they still were not ready to show off anything to do with the ride system it seems. According to the new press release, “guests will feel things no one has ever felt inside a theme park attraction, move in ways no one has ever moved, experience film like no one else ever has, explore vast sets punctuated by amazing special effects – and have an adventure only possible in Harry Potter’s world.”
    Riders will meet Harry, Ron and Hermione “as if they were in person”, soar over Hogwarts castle with Harry, go through a Quidditch match, feel the chill of a Dementor, encounter the Whomping Willow and explore some of Hogwarts most famous locations.  Amongst the locations: Dumbledore’s Office, Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, Gryffindor common room, Room of Requirement (with hundreds of floating candles), the Greenhouse, past talking Wizard portraits and even past the Sorting Hat.
    “As you venture through Hogwarts castle, you meet Harry, Ron and Hermione who convince you to skip a planned lecture and follow them. Upon taking their advice, you travel by Floo powder, and begin the adventure as you soar over Hogwarts, narrowly escape a dragon attack, have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow, get pulled into a Quidditch match and more.
    “Guests will experience firsthand a completely new adventure featuring the iconic characters, amazing creatures and recognizable locations they’ve only read in the books or seen in the films,” said Thierry Coup, creative director for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. ”
    A more detailed description of what you will encounter in the queue for the ride itself can be found over at MuggleNet, who was involved in one of those VIP preview tours we mentioned the other day.
    (3/25/10) Just a few hours from now, Universal will reveal all about the new Harry Potter attraction as well as the grand opening date. However it seems a slip-up a few hours ago may have given it away early, as many claim to have seen a page go live briefly on the website that including the following paragraph:
    “On Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – the marquee attraction of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – guests will journey through iconic locations straight from the films, such as the Room of Requirement. This amazingly detailed scene is where guests board the groundbreaking ride and are drawn into the excitement and chaos of Harry’s life. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – the only place in the world where the stories of Harry Potter will come to life – grand opening on June 18.”
    So… June 18th seems to be the date of the official grand opening ceremony, which is sure to disappoint many who were hoping for a Memorial Day Weekend event and may have planned trips around that concept. However I do have one possible ray of light for those in need as a Screamscape source has given us May 15th as a possible soft opening date. This is all rumor, and very unofficial at that, since so many things can go wrong between now and then, so don’t count on anything just yet. Stay tuned!
    (3/22/10) It’s Monday and that means tons of new Harry Potter construction updates to share. This week you can find new pictures posted to Universal Orlando Central, Florida Thrills, and Behind the Thrills, RCPro and Orlando Parks News. The good news from most reports is that many of the forgotten little special effects touches around IOA have all started to come back. The Fire on the statue guards, the Mythos fountains, troll under the bridge audio tracks and more. Unfortunately, the vortex at Poseidon is still down, but some hope to see it possibly return.
    Meanwhile Universal has been holding special showings of the Wizarding World for some VIPs it seems, rolling out the red carpet and such as seen in this Florida Thrills photo. The numerous rumors going around claim that these special groups (one of which may have even hosted J.K. Rowling already) are being given special scarves to wear as they wander through the Wizarding World… scarves decorated with the crests of one of the four Hogwarts houses… Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin.
    (3/4/10) According to this update at Behind the Thrills, Universal Orlando’s newest park maps now include some preview information about the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter area. Most interesting however is the official listed height limit for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has been set at 48 inches. While some may be surprised, remember that this is a Robocoaster attraction at the heart and it can perform some wicked maneuvers. HOWEVER… by comparison if you pull up the height restrictions for Knight’s Tournament, a standard Robocoaster at Legoland California, it is set at 40 inches to ride, as long as you have an adult with you.
    (2/22/10) A new construction update from Islands of Adventure, showcasing the latest changes all around the park as well as a very healthy dose of peeking into the Wizarding World can be found at Orlando Parks News. I’ve also got some other interesting bits of news to share about the Potter-verse below.
    It seems some of the first costumes have been put on display at Universal’s wardrobe facility and they are said to be quite detailed and impressive. Amongst the costumes on display were those for “Hogwarts Students” as well as the “Dragon Handlers”, which is what they are calling the ride ops on Dragon’s Challenge. Apparently the costumes were all made to JK Rowling’s specs… though one insider has already commented that JK must have never visited Orlando in the summer, because some of the outfits may end up being a bit too much to handle in the hot muggy summers.
    We’ve also heard quite a bit about Olivander’s Wand Shop. I’m told that over 20 actors have been hired to act as the shop keepers, and have been told that they will be given a “wand bible” written up by JK Rowling to memorize, detailing the names and descriptions of around 400 different wands. I’ve been told that the various wands up for sale will range in price from $25 up to $150 per wand. Apparently the more expensive your wand… the more things it will actually be able to do. For example, some wands are rumored to have a light up tip if activated the right way. Other wands are rumored to have uses beyond the park, possibly being Bluetooth enabled or allowing for you to plug them into your PC and download some special functions into them from the internet. If true, one such wand is said to work as a TV remote control.
    On the downside of things however, due to the entire land being created just as seen in the movies and to JK Rowlings specifications, the shops are indeed as small as they look. I’ve heard that Universal is already planning on setting up small queues outside many of the most popular stores to help control overcrowding issues.
    (5/12/08) I’ve heard a little more dirt about the ride system itself. For starters, we know about all we really need to know about the Kuka robot arms that will be providing the brute strength for the ride system. Riders will be seated in a long “bench” of seats, rumored to hold six at a time, and mounted to the business end of a KR 1000 Titan model Kuka arm. The Titan arm is rated to toss around payloads of 1,000 kg (2,200 pounds or 1.1 Tons!) with great ease. Then the Kuka arms will be mounted to one of twelve mobile base units that will scoot around a track system that is said to look fairly similar to the track system used on The Adventure’s of Spider-Man. Ironically enough, you can see a great picture of Spider-Man’s track system posted to American Scenic.

 

???? - Toon Lagoon Theater - Survey - (10/20/09) I’ve been sent a bit more information about Universal’s latest entertainment survey I briefly touched upon last week. Given the name of some of the website pages, it seems that all of these new show concepts are being tossed about for a new production in the Toon Lagoon Theater. According to different sources, the list of licensed shows they are now asking detailed questions about include: American Graffiti, American Pie, America’s Got Talent, Animal House, Austin Powers, Fame, Ferris Buellers’ Day Off, Groundhog Day and Revenge of the Nerds. Almost all of them sound like very strange concepts for musical / comedy theme park shows, due to some serious adult humor as the theme for most of them, so watering them down for theme park audiences seems pointless. (I mean, can you imagine American Pie live on stage? I mean I can… it would be more like Halloween’s PG-13 rated Bill & Ted show, but not something that would run daily for the general public!)  As I expected, many have felt the surveys seemed to leading them to make opinions about two shows in particular however… Fame and America’s Got Talent, both of which seem poised to allow Universal to make their own version of an American Idol style show.
   My take?  Fame is a lame idea… I don’t even get why they are remaking the film, but I can see America’s Got Talent working if done right. However of all the concepts, I think an Austin Powers show would be the best, since it allows for some tongue in cheek humor that will pass the theme park censors, by using jokes that will go over the kids heads while making the adults smiles. Plus it’s got to have Dr. Evil in it, visual gags-a plenty, fart jokes, great costumes, an excuse to throw in silly musical dance numbers at the drop of a hat… and Sharks with Lasers on their heads! Oh… and Mr. Bigglesworth! It’s got to have Mr. Bigglesworth, otherwise he might get upset… “and when Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset... people DIE! “
    (10/7/09) I've got to admit, Universal’s latest online survey I got in the mail is a little weird. After asking you questions about certain movies you may have seen, they then ask you how you feel about some of these titles being picked for use as a possible future theme park show.  Not too unusual, until you hear the movies they asked about: Revenge of the Nerds, Groudhog Day and Animal House... not the kinds of films I could ever seen being turned into a future theme park show. If that wasn't enough... at the end of the survey you get RickRolled... automatically linked to a YouTube clip playing Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up."  Oh... the horror... talk about being kicked to the curb.

 

2011 to 2014 - Island Refurbishment - Rumor - (10/16/09) Once the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens next year, Universal’s next step for Islands of Adventure may be to begin a series of “refresh and refurbishment” projects to the rest of the Islands over the next couple of years. With the success of the light up panels on the Rockit coaster, there is now a plan in place to go back and add green lighting to the Hulk trains as was promised way back when the park was first announced. If the rumors about audio being added to Dragon’s Challenge are true, I would count on seeing it added to Hulk as well. There is also a rumored plan to “upgrade” Spiderman, by adding a new scene or two by replacing a couple of scenes that don’t work as well as the rest. Seuss may just get repainted, possibly some new scenic elements, and there has been talk about adding a new attraction to the Jurassic Park area for years. What about the remains of Lost Continent? I think we could see something happen here as well, though would it be an expansion of Potter’s Wizarding World or something brand new?

 

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NBC Universal &
The Blackstone Group

Abbreviation: IOA
Opened: 1999
www.universalorlando.com

Tickets: as of 8/10/09
Adults (10+): $79.00
Child (3-9): $68.00
Discounts for Multi-Day Tickets
Parking: $14.00

Open: Year Round

Notes: The Universal Orlando Resort consists of two theme parks, one waterpark, three hotels and the Citywalk retail and entertainment zone.

Fun Fact: Poseidon was actually the bad guy in the first version of Poseidon’s Fury who fights against Zeus at the end who had been disguised as your guide.

Islands of Adventure
Abbreviation: IOA
Opened: 1999

Newest Attractions:
2006 - High In The Sky Seuss Sky Trolley

2001 - Poseidon's Fury (new storyline and effects added)

2000 - Flying Unicorn, Storm Force


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Read our in depth reviews of Halloween Horror Nights 18, 17, 16 and 15 in the Features section. It includes reviews of all Scare Zones, Haunted Houses, Bill & Ted and over 100 photos.

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