Universal Studios was once the ‘other theme park’ to Disney enthusiasts, but 2016 is quickly shaping up to be the biggest year yet in Universal Studios history. Universal is showing Florida tourists that it CAN compete on the same level as Disney, and here is recap of how they are doing it.
Recently opened, Cabana Bay, a prime value hotel, is already proving to be a popular choice for Universal vacationers. The rooms cater to groups of all sizes and the decor is fun and quirky with a retro theme that is carried throughout the resort. The resort houses a bowling alley, two huuuge swimming pools and a lovely lazy river.
A beautiful Caribbean themed resort will house awe inspiring waterfalls which will be the centerpiece to the resort, and lush green gardens to walk around and enjoy. The resort will have 1,000 rooms with an old world feel and a touch of chic about them. Water taxis and shuttle buses will be available to take guests to Universal Studios for a fun packed day. Opening summer 2016.
Not only has Universal Studios put a lot of money into building some beautiful resorts, they have also upped the game when it comes to their theme park rides:
KING KONG IS BACK! That’s right! The giant banana breath (for those that remember the original ride) beast is back with a vengeance. Skull Island was a mysterious island that was once inhabited by dinosaurs, and now is the home of the king himself, Kong. The ride will be 3D and will take you deep into the island which is filled with danger and ancient predators ready to attack you and the crew. Kong dominates the area, pounding his chest and roaring ferociously to let all know that there will only ever be one ruler of Skull Island and that is King Kong. Opening summer 2016.
Those who have ridden the Hulk know that this is one coaster ride not to miss! The Incredible Hulk Coaster dominates the skyline of Islands of Adventures and guests’ excited screams can be heard throughout the park as they whiz past guests enjoying the other attractions and stores below. Hulk is currently closed and was dismantled recently for renovation work It will be back soon with an updated story line, better ride vehicles and a better overall experience. It has been rumored that the park is looking into using this ride as a virtual reality ride, but only time will tell as to what the new changes will be. Opening summer 2016.
The park has recently added more Harry Potter attractions and stores and this is proving to be a huge success. Harry Potter mania has gone into full swing at the park! Why just read the book when you can walk down Diagon Alley and buy your very own magical wand at Ollivanders or some devilishly chocolate frogs from Dervish and Banges? Why stop there you can take the Hogwarts Express from London to Hogsmede and taste some delicious butterbeer or pumpkin juice? They are heavenly!
SHOPPING & DINING
Universal’s new additions are not limited to rides and resorts; they are getting new stores and restaurants too …
If you are a fan of Hello Kitty, you’ll be happy to hear that a new Hello Kitty store is now open and you can shop to your heart’s content. This is the first store that Sanrio has opened in North America featuring the lovable kitty. There will also be merchandise of other characters available such as Chocolat and My Melody. A second Hello Kitty store will also open later on at Universal Studios Hollywood.
This new chocolate factory can be found on Universal Citywalk, and will be a Willy Wonka inspired restaurant. Guests will be whisked away to the 19th century inspired steampunk chocolate factory where they will be able to watch chocolate being made and also be able to purchase it. The staff will wear steampunk inspired outfits. The main delight to experience at this restaurant will definitely be the desserts! Words cannot describe the concoctions that will be made in this place. For example, they have a Chocolate x5 explosion that includes chocolate chunks, chocolate spirals, ice cream, whipped cream, and some more chocolate. After reading the menu, I suggest eating your meal backwards, dessert first … because they also serve food.
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