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Last Update: 07/04/08


Brendan Fraser appearing live at Universal Studios Florida!
Friday, July 11 at 2pm


Orlando, FL -- Brendan Fraser, star of “The Mummy” movies and star of Universal’s Revenge of The Mummy attraction will visit the theme park to meet with park guests. He will reveal a sneak peek from his new film – “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” just weeks before the film’s world premiere. Park guests will also have the opportunity to enter onsite for a chance to win a movie premiere package for two, complete with round-trip airfare, three nights of accommodations, tickets to attend “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” premiere and Universal Studios Hollywood.

In addition to being the first to see the exclusive film footage, guests will also get to ask Fraser questions on the filmmaking process during a Q&A session.

After seeing the film clip, guests can climb aboard the ride based on the phenomenally popular “The Mummy” films, The Revenge of The Mummy – The Ride. The psychological thrill ride, with Fraser in the lead role, is the first attraction in history to feature an unprecedented fusion of threshold technology, high-speed roller coaster engineering and space-age robotics to propel guests through authenticated ancient Egyptian catacombs and “live” pyrotechnic effects.

In “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” Fraser reprises his role as explorer Rick O’Connell to combat the resurrected Han Emperor (Jet Li) in an epic that races from Ancient China to the neon-lit streets of post-war Shanghai and high into the spectacular Himalayas. The movie hits theaters August 1.


A WEEKEND OF SOUL-STIRRING MUSIC AND THRILLS AWAITS GUESTS AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO’S ROCK THE UNIVERSE 2008

Orlando, Fla. (June 5, 2008) – It’s a weekend full of faith against a backdrop of theme park excitement as Universal Orlando Resort unleashes Rock the Universe 2008 on September 5th and 6th.  Tickets are on sale now for guests to enjoy more than a dozen mega-talented artists who will transform Universal Studios Florida into the ultimate destination for Christian music and unforgettable thrills.
 
Throughout the two-day event, guests will have the opportunity to see live performances by today’s hottest Christian rock bands and artists, witness moving testimonies from celebrity guest speakers and experience thrilling rides and attractions.

Rock the Universe 2008 features a powerful lineup of music ranging from contemporary Christian and hip-hop to punk.  On Friday, September 5th, the event features Grammy-nominated alternative rock band Switchfoot, pop/punk rock group Relient K, contemporary Christian band Newsboys, hard-rock group Skillet, hip-hop groups Grits and Group 1 Crew and up-and-coming artist New Method. On Saturday, September 6th, internationally-acclaimed group Third Day, singer/songwriter Jeremy Camp, Grammy Award-winning band Jars of Clay, pop-punk group Stellar Kart and rock bands Leeland, This Beautiful Republic and Special D will take center stage at the event.

In addition to music, attendees of Rock the Universe 2008 will hear the life-changing testimonies of celebrity guest speakers AJ Styles and Brian “Head” Welch.  Styles is one of TNA’s best high-flying pro wrestlers, and Welch is the former lead guitarist of the popular rock group Korn.  Thrill-seekers attending the event will also have the opportunity to enjoy immersive theme park rides and attractions at Universal Studios, including the all-new Simpsons Ride, the psychological thrill ride Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride and Shrek 4-D.

Sunday Morning Worship returns this year with three scheduled services taking place on Sunday, September 7.  The non-denominational services, which are free with any Rock the Universe 2008 ticket, feature praise and worship music, a special appearance by Brian “Head” Welch and a speaker from Lifeway Christian Resources. 

Tickets for Rock the Universe 2008 can be purchased on-line at www.rocktheuniverse.com.  The popular “Rock Your Whole Weekend” package is available this year, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy an entire weekend of uplifting concerts and motivating guest speakers, along with three days free admission to Universal Orlando Resort’s two amazing theme parks.  The “Rock Your Whole Weekend” ticket includes daytime park admission Friday, September 5 through Sunday, September 7 to Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, as well as admission to both nights of Rock the Universe.  If purchased on or before August 29, guests can get the “Rock Your Whole Weekend” ticket for $69.99 (group rate) or $73.99 (individual rate).  After August 29, the price increases to $95.99 for both individuals and groups.

Single-night individual tickets are on sale now for $44.99 in advance and $49.99 for day-of-event tickets. Single-night group tickets are available for $42.99 in advance and $49.99 at the gate.  Tickets are non-refundable and will be honored at Universal Studios Florida after 4 p.m. until the park closes at 1 a.m. Select Universal Studios’ attractions will also remain open until 1 a.m. throughout the weekend. For more information about Rock the Universe 2008 or to purchase tickets, visit www.rocktheuniverse.com or call 1-866-RTU-INFO (1-866-788-4636).

 


LIGHTS . . . CAMERA . . . COASTER!

Universal Orlando Resort Announces Brand-New Roller Coaster
That Features Total Immersion Entertainment and Puts Guests In The Director’s Seat 

ORLANDO, FL (March 19, 2008) – Adrenaline pumping and music thumping, you find yourself heading straight toward the sky.  Suddenly, you are doing 65 mph, 17 stories over Universal Studios.  Gasping with excitement, you rock out to a song you picked before strapping in.  And, it’s all on video.  Once the adventure is over, you edit the video to send to your friends.   

This is true high-tech, customizable, multi-sensory entertainment.  Scheduled to open in spring 2009, Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit will stake its claim as the most technologically advanced roller coaster in the world.  The Universal Creative team is combining audio and special effects engineering, sophisticated on- and off-board video and one-of-a-kind guest personalization to create a roller coaster experience unlike any other.   

“This is the perfect intersection of the digital age and theme park entertainment,” said Mark Woodbury, President of Creative for Universal Parks & Resorts.  “Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit blends roller coaster intensity and guest interaction in a way where no two experiences will be the same.” 

Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit touts six near-miss moments and first-ever thrills including a record-breaking loop.  Ride vehicles feature the brightest and most innovative color changing LEDs in the world.  High-energy visual displays fill the queue line.  With up to four ride vehicles on the tracks at any given time, and with concert lighting and special effects mixed in, Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit will be a true high-intensity, multi-sensory experience that is unmatched. 

Guests can customize their ride experience by choosing what song will play while they’re on the roller coaster.  LED boards in the queue lines will display song options from five genres (classic rock, rap, country, pop and disco).  Once on-board, guests can choose their song or let the coaster’s digital sound system choose for them.  When the ride is over, guests will be able to customize footage from their experience and compile it into a take-home music video. 

Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit will be located near the Jimmy Neutron attraction traveling the southern perimeter of the Universal Studios theme park, over to the CityWalk lagoon and back. 


 

“THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW” RETURNS TO UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT on March 28th and 29th, 2008

Ellen DeGeneres at CityWalk in Universal Orlando Resort

(February 21, 2008 – BURBANK, CA) – “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” will be returning to Universal Orlando Resort for a third run at the end of March.  Episodes are set to air Monday, March 31, Tuesday, April, 1 and Wednesday, April, 2.
 
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres announced the trip to Orlando on Tuesday, February 19th, “We always enjoy it when we take the show on the road.  One place we like to visit is Universal Orlando Resort…and guess what? We’re taking the show back there.”
 
Ellen also invited viewers to come along for the ride. Viewers can log on to the show’s website, www.ellentv.com for more information on how to get tickets to the shows.
 
"Ellen's connection with her fans is second to none, and we're thrilled to have her back at Universal Orlando Resort," said Bill Davis, Universal's President and Chief Operating Officer.  "Her show and her style are the perfect match for us – and for our park guests.”

Guests joining Ellen in Orlando include, the hilarious Jeff Foxworthy and everyone’s favorite southern cook, Paula Deen and her sons Bobby and Jamie.
 
The tapings of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” will take place on the Lagoon Stage, located at Universal CityWalk in the heart of Universal Orlando Resort.  The Lagoon Stage is an outdoor, waterfront amphitheatre, seating 1000 people and overlooking the entrances to the Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure theme parks as well as the stunning 30-acre CityWalk dining, shopping and entertainment complex.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is the only talk show in the history of the Daytime Emmys to win four consecutive awards for Outstanding Talk Show in it’s four seasons, and recently won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host for the third year in a row.  The show has now earned a total of 21 Daytime Emmy Awards. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” premiered on September 8, 2003 and was the highest-rated freshman syndicated show of the 2003-2004 season. Originating from NBC Studios in Los Angeles, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" is produced by A Very Good Production and WAD Productions, Inc. in association with Telepictures Productions, an industry leading and Emmy award winning producer of syndicated programming, and is distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

To request tickets for the tapings on March 28th or March 29th, click HERE.


DISASTER! A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE RIDE…STARRING YOU! OPENS AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT

Orlando, Fla. (January 17, 2008)Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride…Starring You! opens at Universal Studios Florida.  The new attraction features the first-ever use by a theme park of a high-tech virtual imagery technology called “Musion” and a special appearance by Hollywood actor Dwayne Johnson.

Disaster! replaces Earthquake and combines the best, most dramatic elements of Earthquake with an all-new storyline, top name celebrities, new “Musion” technology and all-new interactive elements.  Park guests enter “Disaster Studios” and become part of the production action surrounding a “major motion picture.”

Johnson was at Universal Studios Thursday for the opening of the new attraction.  In the attraction, Johnson plays a film hero who helps “save the day.”    

Musion technology is a unique high-definition video projection system that transforms two-dimensional images into what seem to be live three-dimensional images.  The Musion set in place at Disaster! is the first-ever use of the technology by a theme park and the largest permanent installation of that technology ever.  Universal uses Musion technology to bring Disaster Studio Director “Frank Kincaid” to life as he explains the passion behind his work and recruits guests to take part in his next picture.

“The use of Musion technology in this attraction allows us to blend illusion with reality to surprise and entertain our guests,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative for Universal Parks and Resorts.  “They are amazed by the effects we have created.”

Throughout the 15-minute attraction experience, guests are filmed as extras for different elements of Disaster Studios’ newest blockbuster film, “Mutha Nature,” taking direction from Frank Kinkaid and his production assistants.  In the end, they are able to see the results of their work in a tongue-in-cheek trailer for the film, starring Johnson.  Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride…Starring You! is located in the San Francisco area of Universal Studios Florida. 
 
Dwayne Johnson is best known for his roles in Universal Pictures’ The Mummy Returns, The Scorpion King and, most recently, The Game Plan. Now a firmly established presence in Hollywood, he can be seen in the upcoming Warner Brother’s comedy GET SMART opening in theaters June 20, 2008. Johnson is currently filming the family comedy Witch Mountain scheduled to be released in the summer of 2009.

 


IT’S A BLOCKBUSTER HOLIDAY SEASON WITH THE RETURN OF GRINCHMAS AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 12, 2007) – Just like the Grinch himself, guests’ hearts will grow three sizes this holiday season with the return of Grinchmas at Universal Orlando Resort.  From December 7 through January 1, holiday celebrations are resort-wide across Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal CityWalk and all three on-site Loews hotels.          

Back by popular demand, this year’s festivities include the return of Grinchmas to Islands of Adventure.  The celebration will include an all-new “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” show in honor of the 50th anniversary of the book.  The live musical will take place on a brand-new stage in the heart of Seuss Landing and will include seven songs for guests to enjoy.  Guests will also have the chance to meet the Grinch and see Whos from Whoville. 

The Macy’s Holiday Parade also returns to Universal Studios this year.  Balloons and floats will parade down the streets each night so that guests can experience the same ambiance as the classic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.  Guests will recognize signature Macy’s balloons as well as some new parade additions, including an appearance by the Simpsons family and their newly-created RV.  The Simpsons will be featured in an all-new mega-attraction coming to Universal Studios in Spring 2008.  Guests can also enjoy specially themed holiday shows including The Blues Brothers, Kidzone and Barney.   


“DISASTER!” TO HIT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS ORLANDO: NEWLY THEMED ATTRACTION TO REPLACE EARTHQUAKE

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 5, 2007) – Universal Orlando Resort will blow the lid off a new attraction called Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride . . . Starring You later this year that will replace the current Earthquake attraction.  For theme park enthusiasts, the heart-pounding thrills of Universal Orlando will be evident with the launch of this new Disaster experience. 

Earthquake - The Big One closes permanently on Monday, November 5 as work accelerates on the new experience.  Initial construction has already been underway inside the attraction for several weeks.  The excitement of Disaster! is expected to open in December.

Disaster! will offer guests an all-new experience that combines the best, most dramatic elements of Earthquake with new blockbuster celebrity talent, new ride elements, new digital technologies, interactive components and a new storyline.  Universal Orlando’s reputation for bringing the breath-taking experiences of motion pictures to life will be in full effect with what Disaster! will feature.

“Earthquake has been a popular attraction and a strong part of our history,” said Bill Davis, President and Chief Operating Officer of Universal Orlando Resort.  “But we are always looking for ways to create more compelling, more entertaining experiences for our guests.  Disaster! will deliver on that goal.”

A specific opening date for the new attraction and more details about the experience will be released soon.


UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT TAKES BOLD STEP IN 100 PERCENT COMMITMENT TO “GREEN FUELS” FOR SERVICE VEHICLES, MOBILE EQUIPMENT

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 5, 2007) – In an historic move for the theme park industry, Universal Orlando Resort (UOR) today unveiled a precedent-setting commitment to use alternative or “green” fuels in 100 percent of its service vehicles and mobile equipment.  UOR President and Chief Operating Officer Bill Davis announced the new fuels initiative today in kicking off “Green Is Universal” week to spotlight environmental awareness for theme park guests and employees.

“We will focus on becoming the greenest resort possible,” said Davis, who was joined by actress and environmental activist Wendie Malick (NBC TV’s Just Shoot Me) for today’s announcement.  “We have switched to alternative fuel sources because it’s the right thing to do for the environment.  Our engineers have spent several months researching such options as Biodiesel and Ethanol, their impact on our vehicles and what it could mean to our overall operation.  Everything we’ve learned is positive and we’re proud of this historic commitment to ‘green fuel’ usage.”

“Green Is Universal” runs November 5-10 and represents a continuing commitment to “green” education and “green” action across all business units of NBC Universal, including Universal Orlando Resort.  Universal Orlando’s schedule includes “Eco-Fairs” featuring related information, entertainment and displays; daily events for employees and guests; and giveaways of recycled or other environmentally-themed products.  Also on the itinerary are exclusive provisions for theme park guests arriving in hybrid vehicles on Friday, November 9; special encouragement and incentives for UOR employees who carpool; and a demonstration of the innovative “green” film-making behind the theatrical release “Evan Almighty.”  More information and tips on “green” lifestyles are available online at www.GreenIsUniversal.com.

Malick, whose acting career includes numerous film and television credits, has become one of Hollywood’s most proactive voices for sound environmental practices. “Nothing makes one an advocate for the environment like a kid you love.  We need to teach by example.  Kids are like sponges,” said Malick.  “They observe the choices we make, the environments we seek out, the way we treat each other and our planet.  I'm very pleased to be here at Universal Orlando with my favorite kid and celebrate the idea of combining amusement and consciousness.”

Universal Orlando’s conversion to alternative fuels includes the use of B-20 Biodiesel for use in its diesel-powered vehicles; E-10 Ethanol for all gasoline vehicles and equipment; and E-85 Ethanol for current FlexFuel vehicles.  The use of green fuels will result in 260 fewer tons annually of polluting carbon dioxide emissions by UOR service vehicles.

Alternative fuel sources are not the only elements of UOR’s commitment to sound environmental stewardship.  Energy conservation and recycling also play dominant roles in the theme park’s overall environmental focus.  Examples include:

• Recycling of more than 241,880 pounds of used cooking oils by Universal Orlando restaurants in 2006, and the testing of ways to utilize that recycled oil as another fuel source within the theme park;

• Annual recycling of 886 tons of cardboard from park operations.  One ton (2,000 pounds) of recycled cardboard in turn conserves 17 trees, 6,953 gallons of water, 463 gallons of oil, 587 pounds of air pollution, 3.06 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,077 kilowatt hours of energy; and

• Broader usage of energy-saving fluorescent lighting and more efficient industrial equipment such as chillers, cooling towers and hydraulic motors.

“The environmental commitment by Universal Orlando is evolutionary in its approach, and we will implement the critical learning gained along this journey whenever and wherever we can,” said UOR’s Davis.  “There is a future generation of young people who are counting on today’s adults to make the right decisions where our planet and environment are concerning.  Universal Orlando Resort will do its part.”


Savor the Splendor of the Tropics In Newly Renovated Rooms at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. (October 18, 2007) – The warmth, beauty and charm of the South Pacific are reflected in the new room design now underway at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando.  Guest rooms and suites are being renovated to create a look that is all-at-once fresh and inviting, but rooted in the romantic notion of travel that is celebrated throughout the resort.

“Our design team was inspired to create an authentic South Pacific island experience,” says Karen Daroff, president of Daroff Design, the company that designed the new room interiors.  “The new guest rooms and corridor designs have been reinvigorated with a lush tropical color palette of pale aqua, lime, mango and melon for a distinctly charming look.”   

The hotel is also adding eight Jurassic Park-themed kid’s suites.  These popular suites, currently the only accommodations of their kind in the world, offer privacy for mom and dad, while the kids stay in a separate sleeping room that features custom Jurassic Park wall murals, artwork from the making of the movies and Jurassic Park-themed beds and furniture.  A stay in one of these suites is the perfect way for guests to add to the adventures they enjoy at Universal Orlando’s theme parks.  Parents appreciate the added safety feature that only allows access from the children’s room into the adult’s room, and not into the hallway. 

The $8.5 million room renovation includes luxurious duvets that hint at the allures of the islands, such as fresh flowers that are always in bloom and bamboo, one of the most renewable resources on the planet.  The new design also features a bamboo ceiling border accent, and a metal, bamboo-patterned wall screen that visually separates the sleeping area from the bathroom.  Sisal-style carpeting is combined with rattan and cane features for the headboards, night tables, and dresser casework. Custom Royal Pacific travel posters complete the island experience. 

Technology upgrades include the addition of iHome clock radios, with iPod docking stations, in all rooms and suites.  Loews Royal Pacific Resort is currently upgrading its internet access system and will offer wireless access from all guest rooms and suites by the end of 2007.  The final phase of renovations will occur during the first quarter of 2008, when the hotel will install 32-inch flat panel televisions in all guest rooms, and 42-inch or larger flat panel televisions in all suite parlors.

“Guests will find an entirely new and fresh feeling in our rooms and suites,” says General Manager David Bartek.  “The new rooms leave a unique imprint within our resort and kids will really love the adventure of staying in a Jurassic Park-themed suite.”

The 1,000-room Loews Royal Pacific Resort opened in 2002 as the third on-site hotel at Universal Orlando.  It has been honored by Travel & Leisure Family as one of the top family-friendly resorts in the country and also has been named among the best meeting facilities in the U.S. by Successful Meetings and Meetings & Conventions magazine.  The world-class accommodations at Universal Orlando Resort also include the rock ‘n’ roll themed Hard Rock Hotel and the Italian-themed Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.  All three on-site hotels are connected to each other and to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and CityWalk by a scenic waterway. 

 



UNIVERSAL THEME PARKS AND NEW LINE CINEMA PRESENT JASON, LEATHERFACE AND FREDDY KRUEGER

Orlando, FL and Universal City, CA (June 28, 2007) – Universal’s U.S. theme parks and New Line Cinema have agreed to bring the legendary horror film series,  “Friday the 13th,”  “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” to  Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights events in Orlando and Hollywood.

Universal’s legendary Halloween events have been horrifying guests for 17 years.  Jason, Freddy Krueger and Leatherface have haunted horror fans and phobes alike for more than 25 years. This year – for the first time ever -- they come together to create the most extreme Halloween Horror Nights event in history.

Halloween Horror Nights is the country’s largest and most elaborate Halloween event. Universal’s “scream team” of designers create a month-long fright-fest where guests are confronted with their most terrifying nightmares. Specially designed haunted houses, thrilling shows, inescapable scare zones, and hundreds of street performers invade Universal’s theme parks on select nights throughout the months of October and November.

“Each year we take this incredible event to new levels,” said Jim Timon, senior vice president of entertainment for Universal Parks & Resorts. “Our partnership with New Line gives us the opportunity to truly immerse our guests in the Halloween experience and put them face-to-face with characters they aren’t used to seeing off the movie screen.”

New Line’s films and characters will be integrated into all aspects of Halloween Horror Night’s creative content giving guests a chance to meet – or run from – Jason, Freddy and Leatherface in person.

Added David Imhoff, Senior Executive Vice President, Worldwide Licensing and Merchandising, New Line Cinema, “ The ‘A Nightare On Elm Street,’ ‘Friday The 13th,’ and ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ series are arguably the most frightening and frighteningly popular in movie history. We’re excited to be able to allow fans to step in to the horrifying worlds of Freddy, Jason and Leatherface via Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights.”   

Universal Studios Florida
Halloween Horror Nights will return to Universal Studios Florida for 23 select nights running from Sept. 28-29 through Oct. 4-7, 11-14, 18-21, 24-28, and Oct.31-Nov. 3. Advance tickets and vacation packages are on sale now.

 


Harry Potter "Theme Park within a Theme Park" Scheduled to Debut in 2009

Harry Potter LogoORLANDO, Fla (May 31, 2007) - Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Universal Orlando Resort are partnering to create the world’s first fully immersive Harry Potter themed environment based on the bestselling books by J.K. Rowling and blockbuster feature films from Warner Bros. Envisioned as a "theme park within a theme park" and titled "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," the new environment will become part of the experience within Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort.

"Over the years we’ve received thousands of letters from fans around the world wishing they could visit Hogwarts and the wonderful locations described in each of J.K. Rowling's beloved stories," said Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. Entertainment. "Working with Universal Orlando Resort, we are confident that we'll be able to provide Harry Potter fans with an incredible experience that upholds the richness of J.K. Rowling's books and delivers on the authentic detail portrayed in our films."

"We will rely on our company's rich movie heritage and expertise in transforming film concepts into theme park entertainment experiences," said Ron Meyer, president and COO, Universal Studios. “The Harry Potter stories are among the most compelling of our time. The millions of people who have read the books and seen the movies will now be able to experience the world of Harry Potter in person.”

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters – and faithful to the visual landscapes of the films -- "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" will provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience the magical world of Harry and his friends. The fully immersive, themed land will enable guests to visit some of the most iconic locations found in the books and the films including the village of Hogsmeade, the mysterious Forbidden Forest, and even Hogwarts castle itself. "The plans I've seen look incredibly exciting, and I don't think fans of the books or films will be disappointed," said J.K. Rowling.

"We have a profound sense of responsibility for the Harry Potter franchise at Warner Bros. Bringing the magic of J.K. Rowling's written word to the motion picture screen was the first step in expanding this amazing and imaginative world. Working with Universal Orlando Resort to bring it to life in a physical environment that you can walk through, relax in and ride on is the natural next step for fans to experience and enjoy," said Alan Horn, president and COO, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Expected to open in late 2009, the new environment will feature immersive rides and interactive attractions, as well as experiential shops and restaurants that will enable guests to sample fare from the wizarding world’s best known establishments. Also debuting will be a state-of-the-art attraction that will bring the magic, characters and stories of Harry Potter to life in an exciting way that guests have never before experienced.

"We are going to devote more time, more money, more expertise and more executive talent from throughout our entire organization and creative team -- as well as from Warner Bros., our partners – to ensure that this entire environment is second-to-none," said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO, Universal Parks
and Resorts.

Brad Globe, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products, added: "In Universal, we found the right partner whose unparalleled commitment will ensure that this is a world class destination. Their track record of success and the consistently high level of entertainment at all of their parks gave us the confidence to know that they will meet -- or exceed -- the extremely high expectations we all have for this project."

The Academy Award-winning production designer Stuart Craig, who has worked to bring the world of Harry Potter to life in all of the feature films to date, leads the creative design for the area to ensure it remains faithful to the look and feel of the films.

"Our primary goal is to make sure this experience is an authentic extension of Harry Potter’s world as it is portrayed in the books and films," said Craig. "I am very excited to be working closely with the Universal Orlando team to bring the area to life."

The Universal Orlando resort destination (www.universalorlando.com) includes two dramatically distinct and adjacent theme parks, the Universal Studios motion picture and television theme park and Universal's Islands of Adventure, Orlando's most thrilling and exhilarating theme park. Universal Orlando also includes CityWalk, a 30-acre dining, shopping, club and live-entertainment venue as well as premier on-site Loews hotels and world-class film and television production facilities.

Harry Potter continues to be a global phenomenon. The series of books by author J.K. Rowling has been translated into 65 languages with more than 325 million copies sold in over 200 territories around the world. The films, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, have grossed more than $3.5 billion at the box office worldwide. Each of the four Harry Potter films produced to date has the distinction of making it into the all time top 20 grossing films worldwide. The fifth film in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, will be released in theatres on July 11, 2007.


The Simpsons Come to Universal Theme Parks

The SimpsonsApril 24, 2007 -- The world's most popular dysfunctional cartoon family are coming to Universal Studios in Orlando, FL and Hollywood, CA. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson -- stars of TV's longest running series now in its 18th year -- will ride along with guests in a new mega-attraction opening in Spring 2008.

Guests will be rocketed along with the Simpson family on a hysterical, almost unimaginable adventure. They'll experience a side of Springfield previously unexplored as they enjoy the new ride's interpretation of thrill rides, dark rides and "live" shows that make up a new fantasy amusement park "Krusty Land" dreamed up by the show's cantankerous Krusty the Clown. The attraction will feature the show's classic humor and many instantly recognizable characters -- all voiced by the original actors. "The ride is designed to duplicate the Simpsons home-viewing experience, only at high speed and with lots of screaming," stated Matt Groening, who created the Simpsons over 20 years ago.

The new Simpson attraction will go into Universal's recently closed Back To Future: The Ride building in the World Expo section of the park and will use the 80-foot-tall movie screens and motion-simulation vehicles. For the Simpsons, the motion devices will be toned down to offer a smoother ride and all elements will be brought up to current state of the art, said Scott Trowbridge, vice president of Universal's Creative Studio for Universal Parks and Resort. There are plenty of characters and story possibilities to drive the experience, he added.

Is Harry Potter Next? Universal isn't talking yet.


Hart and Huntington Tattoo Company Coming to CityWalk

If you feel the need to get "inked" while visiting the Universal Orlando Resort, you will be in luck beginning this April. Fans of the hit A&E TV series Inked, which follows the Hart and Huntington Tattoo Company's artists as they run the hip and successful business in Las Vegas' Palm Resort and Casino. This will mark the first site on the East Coast for the famed tattoo parlor.The Hart and Huntington Tattoo Company will make its' permanent home in the former location that housed The Glow Store in CityWalk.


BLUE MAN GROUP OPENING IN JUNE 2007

Blue Man Group

Blue Man Group, the wildly successful live entertainment experience is coming to Universal Orlando Resort, opening June 2007. The arrival of Blue Man Group – which will permanently occupy a newly created live performance venue accessible from both Universal CityWalk and Universal Studios – will add an entirely new dimension in live entertainment for Universal Orlando theme park guests and Florida residents. The unique style of Blue Man entertainment has been experienced by more than 10 million people worldwide. They have entertained audiences of all ages with their live stage shows, their touring rock concert, television programming and albums.

And now, Blue Man Group will bring their live show to Universal Orlando Resort. The show will combine music, comedy and multimedia theatrics to create the blissful party atmosphere that is a Blue Man Group trademark.

"Universal Orlando constantly seeks out fresh, innovative entertainment experiences for its guests," said Tom Williams, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Universal Parks and Resorts. "Blue Man Group is a natural partner for us. Their presence at Universal Orlando will change the live entertainment landscape for all of Central Florida." "Universal Orlando goes above and beyond any theme park, creating cool, stimulating experiences for their guests. And people come to the park looking for a great time and knowing they are going to have their minds blown by top quality rides and entertainment-- it’s the perfect place for a Blue Man show," said Blue Man Group Co-founder Chris Wink.

Blue Man Group will perform from a specially created theater at Universal Studios. The building once housed Nickelodeon Studios and is being re-designed as a 1,000-seat theater complete with its own box office. The Blue Man Group show is being custom-designed for Universal Orlando and will include elements of the group's existing shows as well as newly created material.

Tickets for the new show go on sale immediately, with opening night set for June 7. Contact the Universal ticket line at 888-340-5476 or visit www.universalorlando.com for more information.

Blue Man Group applies its unique creative process to a wide variety of projects, including their wildly popular theatrical shows located in 7 cities worldwide, their touring rock concert "How To Be a Megastar 2.0," and the recording of three albums; the Grammy nominated Audio, The Complex, which became the musical basis for The Complex Rock Tour, and Live At The Venetian® -- Las Vegas, available exclusively on iTunes©. Blue Man Group has also ventured into film and TV scoring (most recently the animated feature Robots), commercial campaigns (such as Intel), and television programs (like the recurring storyline in “Arrested Development”). As the company grows, it remains true to its vision of providing exciting experiences in a variety of media, which appeal to a broad range of age groups and cultural backgrounds.


Universal Orlando Announces The Premier Annual Pass

Universal Orlando Resort has finally started offering the new Premier Annual Pass as an upgrade to its current Passholders. Letters announcing the offer include a separate website address not available to the general public: www.universalorlando.com/premierpass or by call 1-800-447-0669. Premier Pass is subject to availability and quantities are limited. Upgrade Cost: $100 plus tax. The Premier Pass is not available for purchase via the Flexible Payment Plan.

The New Premier AP offers the following special privileges:

One free night admission to Halloween Horror Nights (September 29, 30 or any Sunday - Thursday event night)

Unlimited Universal Express Plus ride access after 4:00 pm (does not include Fievel's Playland, Pteranodon Flyers, front row seating line queues for the Incredible Hulk Coaster and Dueling Dragons)

Free Preferred self parking every time you visit

Free valet parking (excluding holidays and special events)

8 Free bottles of Zephyrhills water at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios

All club access at CityWalk for the Passholder 7 nights a week

All club access at CityWalk for one Passholder guest Sunday-Thursday

On-site hotel benefits during your hotel stay:

Free access to hotel fitness centers while staying on-site

Complimentary room upgrade upon arrival based on availability

Suite upgrade for $50 per night upon check-in based on availability

20% off spa services at the Mandara Spa (excluding products) at Portofino Bay Hotel

Complimentary sleeve of golf balls when participating in the Golf Universal Orlando program


NASCAR Cafe To Get A New Name And A $6 Million Rehab

Thanks to the Cordish Company, a Baltimore-based developer,  the NASCAR Cafe will get a new look and name.  The newly named NASCAR Sports Grille will be ready in time for next years Daytona 500.   The 20,000 square-foot two story restaurant will feature an outdoor tailgate area with an open flame grill, an interactive gaming space, sports screening room and enclosed shop with NASCAR merchandise.  Cordish will take over majority ownership of the Orlando location. Universal currently has a 25% stake in the restaurant but that could change as Cordish invests more in the operation.  The company estimates it will spend $6 million into on the project and plans to keep one level of the two-level restaurant open during the remodeling. 


Seasoned Travel industry Sales Pro Joins Universal Orlando Resort Team

Dan Cupertino will join Universal Orlando Resort as Senior Vice President of Sales.  Mr. Cupertino comes to Universal after serving as Vice President for Travel Agency Sales and National Accounts with the Walt Disney Company. In this role, he was responsible for the sales team that supported Walt Disney World, the Disney Cruise Line and Disneyland Resort. Prior to his role with Disney, he worked for Delta Air Lines in a variety of sales leadership positions including Industry and Consumer Marketing and Industry Sales, before being named the Managing Director of Delta's Agency, Leisure and Segmented Sales departments. Mr. Cupertino currently resides in Celebration with his wife and family. 


Universal 360: A Cinesphere Spectacular Night Show coming to Universal Studios this Summer

Universal Orlando has announced the debut of Universal 360: A Cinesphere Spectacular, a brand new laser and fireworks show to begin July 1, 2006. The centerpiece of the Universal Studios show will be four huge spheres floating on barges in the park's central lagoon. The three-story globes will serve as 360-degree screens for Universal Pictures' most memorable movie scenes. The film clips will be choreographed to movie-theme music playing from a new 300-speaker sound system, accompanied by fireworks and lasers.

Also coming to Universal Orlando Resort this summer is a new children's monorail in Islands of Adventure's Seuss Landing called "The High In Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride," set to open on June 1. This is a redesign of Sylvester McMonkey McBean's Very Unusual Driving Machines, which were created for the opening of Islands of Adventure, but due to safety and technical concerns sat dormant for the last seven years.

The Red Coconut, a new two-story club, will open in late May on CityWalk's Club Row. The club's atmosphere will strive for a "Rat Pack Cool Hip" feel set in a 1970s decor. It will feature live bands and dancing and will target those in their late 20s to 40s.

And finally, the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant, with seating for more than 400, will open July 1 at the entrance to CityWalk.


It's Official: Universal Orlando Resort Ends Free Universal Express Pass Program

The Universal Express Pass Program was a free perk, similar to Disney's FastPass, which allowed guests to slide their park admission ticket through special kiosk machines, pick one of two available times shown on the screen and receive a ticket to return to that attraction at the chosen time. These "reserved" times cut the wait times down to usually 5 to 15 minutes. Universal Express allowed guests to spend their time doing other park activities instead of waiting in line.

While the free UE Passes are history, Universal will continue to offer the Universal Express PLUS. This option lets you purchase one Universal Express PLUS Pass for each park attraction that participates in the program, and allows guests to bypass the regular/standby line. Over the past year or so, the PLUS program had only been offered to guests once they arrived at the parks, with prices ranging from $15 to $50 per park. The price varied depending on the time of year and expected crowds. Now, you can now purchase your Universal Express Plus Passes online and lock in your price.

1 Day/1 Park PLUS Passes range from $15-$35 plus tax
1 Day/2 Parks PLUS Passes range from $25-$50 plus tax

Prices are based on the date you select when you purchase your online Universal Express PLUS Passes. Remember, passes are only good for the same date they are purchased. Only a limited quantity of PLUS Passes are offered and may not always be available in the parks on the day you visit. The PLUS passes may be used anytime the attraction is open and park guests will enter through a separate Universal Express Entrance. As with single rider lines, a great deal of theming is sometimes missed when you bypass the regular/standby queues.

The best version of the Universal Express Program is only available as a FREE benefit to all resort guests staying at The Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel and Portofino Bay Hotel. Guests have unlimited use of the Express Program simply by showing their valid room key each time they enter an attraction's special Universal Express Entrance. Your hotel key is good from the morning you arrive though the end of the day you check out.


Universal Orlando Resort will be offering Gifts Cards just in time for the Holiday Season.

Beginning November 25th, Universal Orlando will offer gift cards that will put people in the middle of the action-either battling the forces of evil on the Revenge of The Mummy ride at Universal Studios or swinging high above New York City on The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure. Thrill-seeking guests can use the gift card toward a ticket purchase to Universal theme parks, Universal Orlando merchandise or resort hotels.

The gift cards are available in $25 and $50 increments and are redeemable at Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios and City Walk. Guests exchange the gift card for Universal Dollars which then can be redeemed for food, beverage and merchandise throughout Universal Orlando Resort.

Both Universal Orlando gift cards are identifiable and easy to find. The amazing Spider-Man is featured on the $50 card while the Universal globe stands out on the $25 card. The gift cards will be sold at 2,200 store locations across Florida including: Publix and CVS Pharmacies.


September 15, 2005

Universal Orlando Resort officially kicks off the 2005 Holiday Season on December 9. The resort-wide celebration will continue through New Year's Day.

Grinchmas - Give in to your mischievous side at Universal's Islands of Adventure Grinchmas celebration in Seuss Landing. Step into Whoville and meet the Whos. Stroll through the Who-liday decorations. You can even meet the mean "green one" himself and Max when you visit The Grinch's Lair and be sure to catch the Whoville Whobilation Celebration. 

Macy's Holiday Parade - A showcase parade of authentic larger-than-life balloons and floats directly from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City will wind through the streets of Universal Studios. With marching bands from across the country.  And don't miss Balloonopolis located in the The BoneYard in Production Central to enjoy more Macy's Parade balloons up close and learn parade trivia and history.  

Both Grinchmas and Macy's Holiday Parade are included in the price of park admission.



September 13, 2005

Jaws-The Ride is officially put on Seasonal Status

One of the most popular and beloved original attractions at Universal Studios has been sent into "Seasonal Status." With only two days' notice of its closing, fans were in an uproar, to say the least. The official statement from Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said, "Jaws has a very dedicated following, but many people have yet to experience the newer rides." The ride will close starting Thursday, September 15, 2005, and is expected to return to a full schedule next year, though no date has been set yet, Schroder said. The ride will be open at Thanksgiving and Christmas and also for special events, like after-hours events, that already have been scheduled, he said. This falls into the "We shall see," category.


August 25, 2005

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Officially Coming to City Walk

Finally, the rumors have been confirmed: Bubba Gump Shrimp Company will be coming to CityWalk. Guests looking to enjoy a fun, family atmosphere with a plethora of great tasting menu offerings will have a new place to dine with the addition of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., a restaurant based on the blockbuster film "Forrest Gump," opening at Universal CityWalk in the Spring of 2006.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. offers many signature menu items including "Bucket of Boat Trash," deep fried tender shrimp, lobster and Mahi Mahi; Cajun spiced Mahi Mahi with bourbon sauce and shrimp served over mashed potatoes; and the more traditional Southern Fried Shrimp, along with a host of other great-tasting items for customers to choose.

The new restaurant, which will be more than 12,000 square feet in size, will offer casual family dining as well as a full service bar.  Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. will take the place of the Decades Cafe and Arcade, formerly the more well-known Motown Cafe, across from the Cineplex near the entrance to CityWalk.

Capturing the charm and American spirit that made the motion picture "Forrest Gump" a smash hit, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., which opened its first restaurant in 1996 at the famous Cannery Row in Monterey, Calif., features a mix of "Forrest Gump" movie memorabilia and reproductions of script pages, storyboards, costumes, shoes, still photos and scrawled "Gumpisms." Tasty seafood, a casual family atmosphere and a creative concept culminate the experience at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. -- the first restaurant group based on a motion picture property.

 

 

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