Planning an Orlando trip, Restaurants, Universal Studios/Sea World, Universal's Islands of Adventure
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Eating inside Universal Orlando parks

Three Broomsticks restaurant Wizarding World Harry Potter Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando parks – Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure – have four general levels of dining: Full-service restaurants/buffets, fast food, limited food and vendors. While most vacationers opt for fast food because it feels right, a sit-down meal adds a nice break to the day. Alternately, a quick meal from a vendor doesn’t take […] Read more...

News, Universal Studios/Sea World
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Sea World ticket prices go up

Waterfront at Sea World Orlando

Sea World Orlando announced a $1 increase in daily ticket prices, though Orlando’s third-wheel park’s fee falls a few dollars short of nearby Disney and Universal at $79.99 (plus tax) for a single day’s admission, or about $2 less than a Disney World park or Universal Studios. Sea World – which many times gets short-changed […] Read more...

Tips: Save money – beat crowds, Universal Studios/Sea World
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Universal’s Express Pass needs a heart

Wizarding World of Harry Potter waiting queue line Universal Studios Islands Adventure

While Disney’s Fast Pass system favors the young and healthy, Universal Studios’ Express Pass favors the rich. Under both systems, guests with proper I.D. may enter a secondary ride line and enjoy a substantially shorter wait time. At Disney, this I.D. (a Fast Pass) is distributed democratically, or at least it appears that way to […] Read more...

Resorts and hotels, Universal Studios/Sea World
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Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel

“Hard Rock” is not exactly a theme, at least not in the same way other Universal/Disney hotels use the word “theme.” California-styled Spanish architecture describes Hard Rock’s external design, and contemporary describes the interior. Lobby décor ranges from standard hotel fare to kinda-cool chic. The rock angle comes from multiple museum-like displays featuring famous bands’ […] Read more...

Resorts and hotels, Universal Studios/Sea World
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Universal Studio’s Royal Pacific Hotel

If you want to vacation in Hawaii completely immersed in the sights and sounds of the island, Universal’s Royal Pacific Hotel probably isn’t for you. It’s a deluxe hotel with a Pacific island theme; but if judging it against other themed hotels – the kinds that appear around Orlando parks more than anywhere else – […] Read more...

Resorts and hotels, Universal Studios/Sea World
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Universal Studio’s Portofino Bay Hotel

Many non-Disney hotels say they have a theme because they purchased coordinated chairs, pictures, and bric-a-brac from their favorite hotel supply warehouse. Not so at Portofino Bay, possibly the best hotel (for theming) at Universal Studios Orlando. If you want an Italian-themed resort close to a theme park, Portofino Bay is the only game in […] Read more...

News, Universal Studios/Sea World
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Review: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

If criticism exists for Islands of Adventure’s latest land, it’s because Muggles built it. Those who want to be surprised may read on. I reveal only the they-have-to-have-this details. The praise Beyond the stores and restaurants of Hogsmeade, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has its hands tied. Filmmakers shooting the last book of the […] Read more...

News, Universal Studios/Sea World
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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter debuts in one month as I write. Harry Potter fans wait with bated breath. Featuring one new ride, two repositioned rides, and one “interactive experience,” this section of Universal’s Islands of Adventure will boost Universal’s revenues and, collaterally, every other park in Orlando. The section recreates the major architecture […] Read more...

Travel Guide, Universal Studios/Sea World
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Universal Studios Orlando

January 2012: Universal had a name problem for a while. The movie production place in Hollywood, Universal Studios, opened its doors one day to tourists, and the name stayed. In Orlando, the company simply used the same moniker and stuck “Orlando” behind it. Then it grew. Suddenly, “Universal Studios Orlando” was both a park and a […] Read more...

Tips: Save money – beat crowds, Travel Guide, Universal Studios/Sea World
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Universal Studios Orlando survival guide

January 2012: Many people opt for a two-park pass, meaning they can tour Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure on the same day. (Note: The two-park/one-day pass is substantially more expensive than a one-park/one-day pass.) Since Islands of Adventure has a lot of water rides, guests once toured Universal Studios in the morning during warm […] Read more...