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Universal Orlando Resort



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Universal Orlando Resort located just off of I-4 and International Drive is a high-energy vacation destination with two side-by-side theme parks -- Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure -- and three unique hotels (The Portofino Bay Hotel, The Hard Rock Hotel and The Royal Pacific Resort), with front of the line access for all hotel guests. And for exciting and versatile dining and entertainment, CityWalk is the place -- it is the home of many wonderful themed restaurants that include Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, New Orleans own Pat O'Brien's, NASCAR Sports Grille and one of several Emeril Lagasse Restaurants on the property, just to name a few. CityWalk is where your adventure begins as it doubles as the Gateway to both the Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure Theme Parks.

Universal Orlando Resort started with the Universal Studios Florida Theme Park in June 1990, known by many back in those days as "the little park that couldn't." After one of most disastrous opening days in recent theme park history, Universal Studios spent several years regrouping and reworking its attractions. All the hard work has been paying off for years now. While most of the original opening day attractions have been replaced or revamped to be nearly unrecognizable, the good news is that the folks at Universal have replaced them with many one-of-a-kind winners.

The Studios' most recent additions is the seasonal show Universal 360, an all-new laser and pyrotechnics show featuring four 30-foot tall globes using internal projection to showcase clips from over 150 famous Hollywood films; Fear Factor Live, based on the NBC hit show; Revenge of the Mummy, billed as a psychological thrill ride 3000 years in the making; Shrek 4-D in OgreVision; and Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast. Some of the early and/or original attractions that remain are Universal Horror Make-Up Show, E.T. Adventure, and Jaws -- ride it after dark if you can. Although Earthquake-The Big One, another original attraction, has recently been reworked to become Disaster-A Major Motion Picture Starring You has so many characteristics of the original attraction it seems like it should be called an update. Over the last 15 years, this unique park has developed a personality like no other. It even threw a party to celebrate the closing of Kongfrontation, one of its original attractions. And what would you hand out as party favors for the closing of a King Kong ride? Bananas of course.

Speaking of food, themed restaurants are easy to find in this park. Enjoy a classic Burger and Shake at everyone's favorite Hollywood '50s hangout, Mel's Drive-In, which is complete with old-fashioned juke boxes in the booths and 1950's Cars parked out front. Or try some authentic Irish fare at Finnegan's Grill, if sit-down service is more your style. It is also home to the annual Mardi Gras Celebration each spring, enjoy a taste of New Orleans in the French Quarter Food Court, with a huge bead flowing parade every Saturday night, followed by well-known music acts, such as Smokey Robinson, LL Cool J, Heart, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, Gretchen Wilson, Huey Lewis and The News, Sara Evans and Earth, Wind and Fire. Universal Studios is also the current home of its version of the Macy's Christmas Parade, each December. Keep in mind, Universal Studios Florida is much more low-key in its attitude compared to Islands of Adventure.

Islands of Adventure, which officially opened in May 1999, showed the world that Universal Orlando Resort had become a big league player. As your "Adventure" begins, you will enter the park though the well-themed Port of Entry, which consists of shops and restaurants. It is a great place to grab a coffee and breakfast treat to start your day. It is also home to Confisco Grill, Backwater Bar and Croissant Moon Bakery.

Islands of Adventure is made up of five distinctly themed islands, which are all connected by bridges and circle around the Inland Waterway. After passing through Port Of Entry, your adventure can begin one of two ways -- head left and jump right into the action on Marvel Super Hero Island with The Incredible Hulk Coaster screaming over your head or take a right turn and a softer start to the day by entering Seuss Landing and hop on a sofa to take a spin though The Cat In The Hat attraction. This is one of the most visually enjoyable islands with attention to the small details that include palm trees that grow sideways and a place to eat Green Eggs and Ham. Whichever way your adventure begins, you will end up visiting all the islands, which include The Lost Continent (future home to the new Harry Potter attractions and current home to Dueling Dragons and The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad Stunt Show), Jurassic Park (home to the River Adventure and Camp Jurassic), and Toon Lagoon with Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls and Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges.


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