Arts & Entertainment
Universal Orlando Resort Reveals Never-Before-Released Details About The Magical Journey Guests Will Experience Aboard The Hogwarts Express
- Category: Arts & Entertainment
- Published on Tuesday, 20 May 2014 19:48
- Written by Jim Bardwell
Universal Creating First-Ever Experience that Will Allow Guests to Actually Ride the Iconic Train Between London and Hogsmeade – Just Like in the Books and Films
ORLANDO, Fla. (March 14, 2014) – One of the most memorable and exciting experiences from the Harry Potter series will come to life at Universal Orlando Resort this summer. Imagine:
Since the very first Harry Potter film, every fan has dreamed of taking the same classic journey Harry Potter did aboard the Hogwarts Express. And this summer – they will get to live it.
Today, Universal Orlando revealed never-before-released details about the Hogwarts Express experience that will debut as part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley – the all-new, magnificently themed land opening this summer. The train will connect the new land in Universal Studios Florida with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure – allowing guests with park-to-park admission to enjoy a real journey aboard the iconic locomotive.
Never before has this been done – creating an actual train ride experience to connect two spectacularly themed environments. The Hogwarts Express experience combines powerful storytelling, live special effects, lifelike animation and state-of-the-art technology to take riders on the journey of a lifetime. Guests will enjoy two completely different experiences depending on whether they’re traveling to Hogsmeade or London.
Once seated in the cabin, guests will be able to look out their windows as an incredibly authentic and magical adventure unfolds before them. They’ll see Hagrid come alongside the train on his flying motorbike, Buckbeak the Hippogriff swoop gracefully over the black lake, the Weasley twins on brooms and up to their usual antics, the Knight Bus swerving through London traffic – and other special moments and surprises.
Universal’s Creative team has been working closely with Warner Bros., Stuart Craig and the production team from the Harry Potter films to create a sensational Hogwarts Express experience that the entire family can enjoy. The Creative team has gone to great lengths to ensure the experience is true to the books and films. Everything about the train is authentic – from the paint and the materials used to build it….all the way down to the whistle.
Park-to-park admission is required to experience the Hogwarts Express journey from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley (located in Universal Studios Florida) to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade (located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure). For more information about the Hogwarts Express – including a new video that features a first-look at the ride experience – and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visitwww.universalorlando.com/harrypotter.
About the Harry Potter Series
Harry Potter continues to be a global phenomenon. Each of the seven books by author J.K. Rowling has broken sales records, with the series to date having sold over 450 million copies worldwide and translated into 77 languages. The Harry Potter films, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, have grossed more than $7.7 billion to date worldwide at the box office, making Harry Potter the largest-grossing film franchise in history.
- Category: Arts & Entertainment
- Published on Tuesday, 20 May 2014 19:42
- Written by Jim Bardwell
Brand-New On-Site Hotel Features Family Suites, 10-Lane Bowling Alley, Retro Arcade, a Zero-Entry Pool with a Waterslide and Interactive Water Play Area for Kids – and More
ORLANDO, Fla. (March 31, 2014) – Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort officially welcomes its first guests today. This brand-new value and moderately-priced property is the fourth on-site hotel at Universal Orlando Resort and evokes the classic, retro-feel of iconic beach resorts from the 1950s and 60’s.
Located on-site at Universal Orlando Resort, the new hotel is a destination within itself – featuring a stunning design with bold colors, retro-inspired architecture and sweeping vistas that transport guests back to a time of relaxation and endless family fun. Cabana Bay guests can experience incredible amenities throughout the hotel, including:
· Bowling a strike at the 10-lane Galaxy Bowl
· Channeling the godfather of fitness at the Jack LaLanne Physical Fitness Studio
· Racing down the iconic dive tower waterslide and splashing into a 10,000 square foot zero-entry pool in theCabana Courtyard
· Enjoying a retro-themed specialty cocktail from Swizzle Lounge or Atomic Tonic
· Finding something delicious for the entire family at Bayliner Diner, a food court with something for everyone to enjoy including a salad bar, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, pasta and grab-and- go items
· And this summer, guests will be able to enjoy even more incredible amenities, including a second 8,000-square-foot zero entry pool, Universal Orlando’s first lazy river at an on-site hotel, The Hideaway Bar & Grill, and additional moderately-priced family suites and value-priced standard guest rooms. When complete, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort will feature a total of 1,800 rooms – 900 family suites and 900 standard guest rooms.
Click here to watch a video series to learn more about the hotel and all the amenities it has to offer from members of the team that brought the hotel to life.
Starting today, guests can stay in a family suite, which sleeps up to six people and includes a fold-out foam bed, kitchenette, a sliding partition for privacy, two flat-screen TVs and a bathroom with preparation spaces for three people at once. Cabana Bay guests also get exclusive benefits only available to on-site hotel guests at Universal Orlando, including Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens.
Rates for the family suites begin at $174 per-night, and can run as low as $134 per-night depending on the length of stay. Rates for the standard guest rooms – which will be available this summer – begin at $119 per night, and can run as low as $93 per-night depending on the length of stay.
“We’ve sought to create a special place where families can spend time together and create long-lasting memories outside of the theme parks,” said Russ Dagon, Vice President and Executive Project Director, Universal Creative. “From the moment they step inside, families will be transported back to a different, more relaxing time.”
“We are thrilled to finally welcome guests into Cabana Bay Beach Resort,” said Adnan Bizri, Managing Director, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. “This is the perfect addition to Universal Orlando’s already stellar line-up of properties, allowing families to continue a wonderful vacation well beyond the theme parks.”
To learn more or to make a reservation, call 1-888-273-1311 or visit www.universalorlando.com. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is co-owned and managed by Loews Hotels & Resorts.
About Universal Orlando Resort
Vacation like you mean it at Universal Orlando Resort – where every heart pounding, jaw-dropping, goose-bumping second counts. It is the only place where you can turn spending time with your family into spending time as a family. Together, you can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, become a Minion in the hilarious and heartwarming Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, and join Optimus Prime in the fight to save mankind on the new mega-attraction, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D. And coming this summer: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.
Universal Orlando Resort is home to two incredible theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure; four magnificently themed on-site hotels: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and the newest addition, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Universal CityWalk - a nighttime entertainment complex featuring a collection of nightclubs, restaurants and shops. And located just minutes from Universal Orlando Resort is Wet n’ Wild, Orlando’s premier waterpark.
MyMagic+ Transforms the Walt Disney World Experience for Guests, Delivering More Magic and Customization
- Category: Arts & Entertainment
- Published on Tuesday, 20 May 2014 19:19
- Written by Jim Bardwell
Taking Guests’ Vacations to an All-New Level with New Website, Mobile App, FastPass+ and MagicBands
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – MyMagic+ is reshaping the Walt Disney World Resort vacation experience in ways that make it more customized, more magical and easier than ever for guests to create lasting memories with their families and friends.
Guests are able to design the Disney vacation they want – personalizing everything from at-home planning to in-park experiences to capturing memories to share and relive. MyMagic+ takes renowned Disney guest service to a new level — more customized, more seamless and aimed at delivering the best Walt Disney World experience ever.
“MyMagic+ is a fantastic new way for our guests to experience even more of the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation,” said Tom Staggs, chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “The Walt Disney Parks and Resorts vision is simple: To be the most trusted provider of shared family travel and leisure experiences throughout the world. And with MyMagic+ we are taking that experience to a new level.”
While MyMagic+ will evolve over time, today it consists of three major components:
The popular new web site MyDisneyExperience.com and free My Disney Experience mobile app provide Walt Disney World vacationers the ease of creating their own personal guide to the magic for every aspect of their vacation. Families can begin their experience from home, planning as much or as little as they wish – right from their computer, tablet or smartphone. Families can reserve access to some of their most valued experiences in advance and get assistance along every step of the way to make those must-do’s a reality. There is even the option of making changes on the go with the My Disney Experience mobile app.
My Disney Experience features for guests include:
- Complete information about Walt Disney World Resort attractions, experiences, dining and resort hotels becomes easier than ever to access.
- Interactive maps, videos, itinerary tools and more, all in one easy place.
- The ability to lock in “must-do” experiences in advance through FastPass+. Make show, ride, fireworks or parade viewing or Disney Character Greeting reservations in advance or on the day of their visit. With no worries about experiencing favorite attractions and shows, everyone can relax and focus on their time together.
- The means to find restaurants of every flavor (more than 80 to choose from) and make dining reservations direct from their mobile app or MyDisneyExperience.com.
- A way to connect with family and friends to coordinate plans and share photos.
- Access all Walt Disney World Resort details from a smart phone, tablet or in-park kiosks. Now, guests can have their Disney plans and wish lists – along with interactive maps, character moments, dining reservations and wait times – at their fingertips as real-time information from the My Disney Experience mobile app.
- For the first time, Walt Disney World-bound guests can reserve their special slice of Disney magic right from home. With a simple click of the mouse on MyDisneyExperience.com guests will be able to select up to three FastPass+ experiences at one park per day for each day they have valid park admission. Using My Disney Experience, guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort hotels may make FastPass+ selections up to 60 days in advance of their visit. Disney Passholders and Day guests (those not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel) using My Disney Experience are able to make FastPass+ selections 30 days in advance of their trip.
- After guests have redeemed their first three selections or the redemption windows have passed, they will be able to make another FastPass+ selection at an in-park kiosk. Once they’ve used the fourth, they can select another, and so on. Guests with valid park-hopping privileges will be able to make their additional selection(s) at another park. Those selections must be made at a kiosk in the park where the desired experience is located.
- Access to FastPass+ is included in theme park admission for all Walt Disney World guests.
- The menu of choices is bigger and better than ever. In fact, more than double the number of experiences as before are available as FastPass+ choices. Depending on the park selected, guests can secure not only their spot on Space Mountain, Soarin’, Expedition Everest or Toy Story Midway Mania! and many other choices, but the date and time as well. And for the first time, by using FastPass+, guests also are able to reserve Disney Character Greetings, fireworks and parade viewing areas, shows and spectaculars.
- Not sure where to start? Disney recommends FastPicks, a set of three FastPass+ selections to get guests started, with the option to customize their selections.
- FastPass+ selections can be changed at any time until they are redeemed.
- The MagicBand, an innovative and colorful wristband, is an all-in-one device that effortlessly connects guests to all the vacation choices they make online with My Disney Experience.
- The MagicBand serves as park admission, access to FastPass+ experiences and Disney PhotoPass photo association, all rolled into one. For Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests it also serves as a room key and optional payment method.
- MagicBands are mailed to families well ahead of their departure date or are waiting for them at their Disney Resort hotel. Parents and the kids can each choose the color of their individual wristband right at home, with seven colors to choose from: pink, blue, green, red, gray, orange or yellow. MagicBands can be personalized with the family member’s name etched inside.
- Day guests may use their RF-enabled theme park admission to enter the theme parks and redeem FastPass+ selections or they may purchase a MagicBand ($12.95, plus tax, at merchandise locations in the parks and at Downtown Disney) and link their theme park admission to the MagicBand. Day guests do not have to purchase a MagicBand to enjoy the benefits of MyMagic+.
- MagicBands consist of non-latex, hypoallergenic material that is flexible, durable, waterproof and comfortable to wear. Easily scaled to fit any user, they feature comfort ridges that help air circulate between the band and the wrist.
- MagicBands can be disabled if lost or stolen.
- Extensive measures are in place to protect the privacy of guests and the security of the personal information they choose to share. Guests’ personal information is not stored on the MagicBand, which contains only a randomly assigned code that securely links to an encrypted database and associates the guest’s MagicBand or card with the experiences they’ve selected. MagicBands are not GPS-based and do not enable collection of continuous location signals.
- Guests may choose to not participate in MyMagic+. All guests may choose to use an RF-enabled card instead of a MagicBand.
- See more at: http://wdwnews.com/releases/2014/03/19/mymagic-transforms-the-walt-disney-world-experience-for-guests-delivering-more-magic-and-customization/#sthash.mxj4W7QB.dpuf
- Category: Arts & Entertainment
- Published on Tuesday, 20 May 2014 19:25
- Written by Jim Bardwell
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The lovable world of Sleepy, Doc, Grumpy, Bashful, Sneezy, Happy and Dopey comes excitingly to life May 28, 2014 when the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train takes New Fantasyland guests on a rollicking, musical adventure into the mine “where a million diamonds shine.”
The “crowning jewel” of New Fantasyland, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train represents the completion of the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history. The family-style coaster features first-of-its-kind ride vehicles that swing back and forth during the ride. Adding to the fun, the journey will be accompanied by music from the film classic and scenes filled with Snow White, the Seven Dwarfs and playful forest critters.
Attention to Detail
Inspired by the Disney animated film classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the story begins as guests cross a stone bridge and walk through a beautiful forest with the Dwarfs’ cottage in the distance. Then, they step into the attraction entrance and into the timeless story of the radiant and kindhearted Snow White and her forest friends led by the lovable Dwarfs.
When designing the cottage, Walt Disney Imagineers – the creative team behind all the attractions at Disney Parks – referenced the film in order to plan details as intricate as the color combination of roof shingles, the slope of the roof’s eaves, the shape of a lantern, and especially the etched woodland creatures that decorate the house. Props – including lanterns, ropes, pulleys and buckets of shiny jewels – were inspired by items found in the mine scenes of the film. According to Walt Disney Imagineering, jewels appear throughout the mine in four different sizes and in six different colors: red, green, amber, purple, blue and clear.
After passing through an interactive pre-show area with fun activities themed to mining – such as washing and sorting gems – guests will proceed to the mine train. Picks, shovels, barrels and hoists are scattered throughout the queue tunnel and at the load-in area.
“Rocks” ‘n’ Roll
Guests board the specially-designed mine cars and launch into their journey through the mine. Each “train” consists of five mine cars, which seat four guests each. The individual mine cars are designed to reflect similar vehicles that appear in the film, hand-made of wood by the Dwarfs, shaped by an axe, and used to haul rocks and jewels.
As guests twist and turn through the mine, the cars rock back and forth, adding an extra family-friendly thrill element. Riders tour through the cavernous mine’s winding track – jutting outside to climb and dip through the wooded landscape, and then re-entering the mine at different points in the attraction.
As with any classic Disney “dark ride,” the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train features spectacular Audio-Animatronics – with cars slowing down so guests can spot favorite characters making an appearance in different scenes.
Representing the largest expansion in the nearly-43-year history of Magic Kingdom, the spectacular new space features attractions, dining, shopping, character interactions, recreation and more – laid out fairy tale-style amid waterfalls, grottoes, arched bridges, forests and circus big tops. A multiyear expansion project, New Fantasyland lies just beyond the existing Fantasyland in the shadows of Cinderella Castle.
New Fantasyland comprises the Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus areas. Walt Disney Imagineers brought to life beloved Disney stories and magical places, putting guests in the middle of Disney classics and new favorites – and making memories to last a lifetime.
Guests are transported to a far-off French village to spend time with Belle and play a part in her story. They hop aboard a clamshell to venture deep into the undersea world of Ariel, take a rollicking coaster ride to barnstorm with the Great Goofini or spin through the sky with everyone’s favorite pachyderm – Dumbo, the Flying Elephant.
Kids can take a cooling break among the circus wagons at the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station where monkeys, elephants and camels squirt water and even Casey Jr. spouts clouds of mist. Shopping delights await at Bonjour! Village Gifts and Big Top Souvenirs. When the hungries hit, guests are able to choose everything from on-the-go eats washed down with LeFou’s Brew — a signature drink, at the quick-service Gaston’s Tavern — to elegant ballroom dining at Be Our Guest restaurant, nestled under the stars in Beast’s Castle.
Opened in Fall 2013, Princess Fairytale Hall is the new regal home to Disney Princesses greeting their loyal subjects. Not only does Fantasyland double in size, Magic Kingdom castles triple. Across the skyline of the most popular theme park in the world, the iconic Cinderella Castle is now joined by the distant ramparts of Beast’s Castle while stately Prince Eric’s Castle looms above the grottoed entrance to Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid.
- See more at: http://wdwnews.com/releases/2014/04/30/seven-dwarfs-mine-train-a-rocking-rollicking-family-friendly-roller-coaster-crowns-new-fantasyland/#sthash.YQR7NHRC.dpuf