Hiya! Thank you to everyone that has followed my blog for the past several years. I've had a blast covering massive construction updates from the beginning like the new King Kong ride at Islands of Adventure. As many of you already know I have started an entirely new website devoted to the Orlando parks: OrlandoParkStop.com.
In an effort to focus more on my new site I will no longer be posting articles and updates to this blog. Please follow the news feed RSS for my new site, and subscribe to the Email Newsletter for continuing coverage. I've already covered the opening of Pandora and Volcano Bay in great detail since starting the site. And I've discussed many rumors about upcoming lands and attractions like the Epcot upgrades and Toy Story Land. New stories about Super Nintendo World and Star Wars land are coming soon as well!
I hope to see you at the new website and once again, thanks so much for your support! Visit now at OrlandoParkStop.com.
Let's take a look around Universal Studios Florida! Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is set to grand open April 6, 2017, but you can already experience the attraction during technical rehearsals, going on now! Virtual Line passes can be redeemed from the nearby kiosks or by using the Universal Orlando app. Some minor changes for the ride since our last visit include Express added to entrance, test seats have been placed out front, as well as a new digital information board.
Fast and Furious Supercharged construction continues at an increasing pace. The themed work walls covered in graffiti have been replaced with plain black walls. The fountain in the Beetlejuice courtyard has now been removed and the nearby refreshment stand has finally been renamed from "Graveyard Snacks" to "San Francisco Snacks." The large show building is being painted to look like an old warehouse and scaffolding has gone up around the queue structure in front. Screen-used vehicles from the newest Fast and Furious film, The Fate of the Furious, are now on display in the park. This is becoming somewhat of a tradition, as almost every film in the franchise has had cars on display in the park.
Also going on in the park, work walls have come down around Doc's Candy store in the New York section, revealing a brand new Auntie Anne's Pretzels window. Work walls have gone up around the drink stand in front of the Universal Classic Monster's Cafe for minor refurbishment. And Mardi Gras has ended, so all the signs, decor, and food booths are quickly being removed. Check out the video and photo update below for more details and stay tuned for more theme park updates coming soon!
Check out the video below to watch as Twister: Ride it Out is transformed into Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon through photos taken throughout construction, starting all the way back in 2015. The facade for this attraction now looks like 30 Rock in New York City, but it was originally just an unthemed sound stage with a billboard for Twister. See below the video as well for a complete timeline of all construction updates and news stories about the new Fallon ride that we’ve posted. Thanks for joining us through it all!
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon will officially open April 6, 2017, but if you're lucky you may get a chance to experience this new 3D simulator attraction during "soft openings," which are going on now! Soft opening, or "Technical Rehearsal" as Universal calls it, is like a practice run for the attraction. Some effects or elements may not be working, some things may change as they work the kinks out, and most importantly, there's no guarantee that the attraction will be open at all during this time and may close down at any given moment. Lately the ride has been operating in the afternoon each day, and over time that should move to be all day for most days. Check with the ride attendant out from in the morning to see if they know anything, and check back throughout the day for your chance to ride during a soft open.
This brand new attraction features a unique queue-less design, giving guests the chance to explore the Tonight Show museum, relax in the 30 Rock Lounge, and see some live entertainment while they wait. I was very impressed with the entire experience all around. If this were simply just the four minute ride I don't think I would've liked it as much as I did. This park needs more long experiences now that Twister, Beetlejuice, and Disaster have closed, and you can easily spend 30 minutes in this attraction just soaking in the queue areas and fun entertainment.
The ride will utilize a Virtual Line reservation system after it officially opens next month. This will allow you to reserve a time to come back, either through the Universal mobile app or one of the new kiosks near the ride entrance. You will still need to wait a short period once you enter, but that time is spent enjoying the museum and live entertainment, and should be considered part of the attraction overall. They've even included comfy chairs with mobile device charging stations, which is not too shabby a way to wait for a ride.
See the video for the latest construction update, full queue experience and live entertainment, and check out the photo report below for more information as well as more of my thoughts on the attraction! And stay tuned for more theme park news and updates coming soon.
It was a fun run, but this was the final weekend for the first annual Epcot Festival of the Arts, (see my review and full coverage here.) In just a little over a week we'll be jumping right into Epcot's next big event, the Flower & Garden Festival! Gardens, topiaries and many food booths are already starting to show up all around Future World and World Showcase. Plus, a couple children's playgrounds are being constructed as well. Flower & Garden starts March 1, 2017, see my previous article for complete food menus and event information.
Also going on in the park, you can now purchase prints of all of the fantastic paintings featuring Figment from the "Brush with the Masters" scavenger hunt at the arts festival. Prints can be ordered through the Disney Art of Animation On Demand kiosks at Epcot and Disney Springs. You can choose an optional frame and your artwork is delivered to your home within a couple weeks. And finally, we check in on the construction of Choza Tequila, the new food stand opening soon at Mexico in World Showcase. Once open, you'll be able to get hand-crafted margaritas and classic Mexican cuisine like tacos, empanadas, chips and fresh guacamole. Check out the video and photo report below and stay tuned for more theme park updates!
Construction is actually underway over at Disney's Hollywood Studios! We're finally seeing some movement on the Star Wars and Toy Story land work. The queue building for Slinky Dog coaster is going up and foundation work is happening at Star Wars land. The Muppets balloon with Kermit's face on it has been removed from the MuppetVision theater tower. This was to prevent it from being seen from within Star Wars land, (although I'm not sure why it had to come down so soon.) See below for more details about these massive new expansions, including concept art and a map outlining the ride placements in relation to the rest of the park.
Elsewhere in the park, Starring Rolls Cafe has closed its doors for good, with many of its baked goods now only available at the Trolley Car Cafe across Sunset Blvd. The tables out front are still present for guests, and signage remains (for now,) but there's no indication that Starring Rolls is ever going to be coming back. And lastly, guests now have a chance to check out a preview for the new live-action Beauty and the Beast at One Man's Dream. Plus, you can see props and Belle's dress used in filming. See the video as well as the extensive photo report below and stay tuned for more theme park news and updates!
The work walls have come down in front of the entrance to Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon at Universal Studios Florida. We're one step closer to seeing this soft open! Construction is continuing inside the entrance and queue, but there's been plenty of ride testing going on and a private event was held at the ride earlier in the week. We'll keep you posted on when the general public may have their first chance to experience this new attraction, so stay tuned!
Plus, we're taking a look at the nighttime lighting for the new ride as well as some minor changes in the store. The last few nights have seen the marquee entrance sign all lit up as well as windows and accent lights on in the building. Check out the video and photo update below and stay tuned for more #FallonRide updates coming soon!
Over at Universal Studios Florida, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is officially set to open April 6, but word on the street is that it might actually start soft opens this month. In fact, it might start any day now, if you can believe it. They have just finished construction on the ride exit stairs inside The Tonight Shop gift shop. And it looks like the ride entrance and marquee are very close to being complete as well! We'll keep you posted on soft openings when they happen.
Fast & Furious Supercharged construction continues as new steel is up behind the queue building that went up during our last update. This new structure is separate from the queue warehouse building next to it. Also going on in the park, work walls are still up at the candy store in New York, the free phone chargers that were installed last month are already gone this month (that was fast,) and The Simpsons Ride is back open after a brief refurbishment. Check out the video and photo update below, and stay tuned for more updates coming soon!
Lots more trees and plants have been added since my last visit to check out Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom. It's beginning to get more difficult to see into the area with all of the new plants and trees being planted, but that's a good thing for full immersion in the new land once it's open. Just one more sign that we're getting closer to the opening! I got video and photos of the bridge leading into Pandora for the first time this update. I was excited to see a flock of Imagineers surveying the area while I was there too.
Kali River Rapids is closed for its annual refurbishment and is scheduled to re-open sometime in the Spring. The water has been drained from the ride as part of this rehab. I saw workers touching up painted designs on the load platform using stencils while I was there. The new monkey enclosure at Maharajah Jungle Trek is now open featuring lion-tailed macaques. And I took some video of the Rivers of Light stadium seating, effects, projectors and boats since I hadn't gotten a good look at it yet myself. Watch the video and check out the photo update below for more details!
Universal's Volcano Bay will be officially opening May 25, 2017. I wanted to check in on construction this week now that scaffolding has started to come down around the 200 foot tall volcano, named Krakatau. The rockwork looks amazing, and has more color in it than I thought when only viewing it from far away. New ancient ruins have been added along the base of the volcano since I was last here. During my visit, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the water slides already have water running through them for testing!
I also got a good look at the new park's entrance plaza and new title lettering. They were paving the plaza's walk up while I was there. The I-4 entrance and exit lanes have been shifted temporarily for work that continues on the pedestrian tunnel beneath the road. This will lead guests to and from a tram drop-off area on the other side. Check out the video as well as photo report below and stay tuned for more regular Volcano Bay updates in the future as we inch ever closer to the grand opening date!