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!
Wow, what a difference a few months can make. The volcano, named Krakatau, has reached its incredible 200-feet-high goal and it can be seen for miles around. Around the open backside we can get a good view of many of the main attractions for Volcano Bay, including the highly anticipated water coaster, named Krakatau Aqua Coaster. The water coaster will use 4-person canoes as its ride vehicles taking riders throughout the volcano before plunging through a waterfall at the end. I cannot wait! In addition to the volcano, work is moving on to the park entrance, pedestrian tunnel (that leads to Tram drop-off,) and of course the two Cabana Bay expansion towers that border the new water park. The views from those rooms' windows of a towering volcano are going to be impressive. Check out the update video as well as snapshots and more details below. And stay tuned for a Universal Studios update coming soon!
The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure has been completely refreshed and is now open for guests! We've witnessed the entire track being replaced piece by piece, the queue building get new paint, signage, and storyline, the whole area receiving beautiful nighttime lighting effects, and a gorgeous new entrance created with a realistic full-size Hulk statue standing tall. But now we finally get to see what the queue looks like inside, how the launch tunnel has improved, and what the on-board music sounds like on the ride! It's wonderful to see such a classic attraction like the Hulk receive some much-needed TLC. I love the new area music around the Hulk courtyard, (hear it in the video below just after a minute in.) It has a military feel, and is very cinematic, perfectly punctuating the new area theming as a secret military base and scientific lab. Check out the video for your area update plus the images below of the updated ride, queue, and grand opening ceremony. Stay tuned for more theme park updates coming soon!
All remnants of the old NBA City restaurant are gone as work looks be wrapping up on the exterior of the new Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. This original steampunk themed restaurant should be opening soon at Universal CityWalk. I was there Friday evening and the immense size of those smokestacks is incredible. They can be seen from everywhere on property, including from inside the parks! Check out the video and photographs below for a look at the new smokestacks, steampunk decor, and even working gauges that really spin! No word yet on an opening date but tables, chairs, and everything else is starting to show up inside and on the outdoor patios, so it shouldn't be too much longer now! Stay tuned for more Toothsome news as it happens.
The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure has been completely rebuilt from the ground up and it's looking like it's just about ready to re-open! Spectacular lighting effects and new roar sound effects have been added since my last visit, as well as some smaller details throughout the area. Everything looks truly incredible at night and I cannot wait to ride it with the new launch effects, sounds, and music! As I was leaving last night they were taking down the construction walls, so hopefully that means a soft opening is not too far away. See today's video and photographs below and stay tuned for more Hulk updates coming soon!
Universal's newest attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Islands of Adventure is now officially open! The announcement was made during the Today Show with Al Roker and Tamron Hall earlier today. It has also been tweeted by Universal Orlando with them saying "Skull Island: #ReignOfKong is now open at #IslandsOfAdventure!" The attraction has been in soft open, or 'technical rehearsals' as Universal calls it, for a full month, but as of now will be officially listed as open in the Universal Orlando app and map, and will (hopefully) be open all day along with the rest of the park (starting tomorrow). You can see the official opening ceremony from earlier this morning below along with some more images as well. Check out our extensive coverage of the construction of Kong since the beginning here, and stay tuned for more theme park news and updates coming soon!
We're a few steps closer to the grand re-opening of the Incredible Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure later this Summer. The brand new entrance and plaza are ready. Most of the work walls are now down throughout the area. A new life-size Hulk statue holding a piece of coaster train between two ripped pieces of track beckons you to enter. And the new locker station is complete, with a new system that utilizes your park ticket to reserve your free locker rather than your fingerprint which can be faulty at times (especially in the hot summer months). Other changes since my last update include some new safety nets, lots of nighttime lighting has been installed on the track supports, the lagoon is filled with water again, and the queue building looks nearly complete on the outside. Trains are now cycling empty for testing, so no more water dummies as far as I could tell. Check out the video as well as lots of images below and stay tuned for more theme park updates!
Things have not slowed down over at construction for Universal's Volcano Bay, even after the minor fire last week. The centerpiece of the new park, the large volcano, is now nearly twice as large as it was during my last update. Many new water slides have showed up on property, including some that intertwine with the volcano. The wave pool, lazy river and more features are becoming more recognizable as well. Universal has said that the park will open with 18 different attractions! Hopefully they can keep this mighty pace and get this new water park open within a year, in time for summer 2017. Check out the video as well as complete photo report below. Plus, a new image of Volcano Bay and all its attractions for the new Universal Orlando map is also below. Stay tuned for more theme park updates coming soon!
NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke told analysts at an investor conference last week that Universal is working on an attraction based on the upcoming film, "The Secret Life of Pets". While there have been rumors of a family friendly dark ride featuring the characters from this upcoming film coming to both Universal Hollywood and Universal Orlando, this is the first time we have had any confirmation on the matter at all. Burke did not say which theme park or parks would feature the attraction, but if rumors prove true we could see this new attraction appear at both coast's parks before the end of the decade.
Burke did go on to say "We are doing -- we have started a Pets attraction even before the film comes out, which if the film doesn't do as well as I think, it will be painful. But I think it will do very well." The Secret Life of Pets comes to theaters July 8. It was produced by Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures, the same folks that brought us Despicable Me and Minions. I believe that SLoP, as I am calling it, will do wonderfully at the theaters, and like Despicable Me, will feature characters we'll be seeing plastered on every product imaginable for years to come.
Check out my recent park updates featuring new merchandise for The Secret Life of Pets that has shown up in Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. And stay tuned for the official announcement and more information about a SLoP ride (hopefully) coming soon!
It was only the second day that Skull Island: Reign of Kong had soft opened to the public when I got to ride this magnificent beast! What an incredible experience this has been, not just getting to be one of the first to ride this amazing new attraction, but also covering the story since it was just a pile of dirt and a rumor two years ago. So, Friday I decided to stick it out. As long as it took. To be one of the first to ride this baby! And after 7 and half hours in the hot sun, I got to do just that! It was totally worth it. You can see video from my experience at Friday's soft opening, plus a walk-through of the entire queue below. And there's lot of screenshots below as well with descriptions. Stay tuned for more Kong news as this thing goes from soft opening to grand opening in the coming weeks! And to those of you that have been following this project with me, thank you. I hope you stick around, as we have some amazing new things on the horizon for theme parks in Central Florida, as this time in history has become somewhat of a theme park Renaissance, and we're just getting started!