Home Tag "Trip reports"

Islands of Adventure trip report – July 2014 (Hogsmeade Station, Kongstruction, fun in Toon Lagoon + a CityWalk update)

The summer always brings many tourists to Orlando to enjoy all the world-class attractions, especially Universal Orlando Resort. Over the weekend, I joined my fellow travelers and toured Islands of Adventure. But before I got to the park, I took a brief stroll through Universal CityWalk.   Universal CityWalk As CityWalk continues to expand its […]

Busch Gardens Tampa trip report – July 2014 (Summer Nights extravaganza, Rhino Rally reopens, Falcon’s Fury more beautiful than ever)

I’d heard so many great things about Summer Nights at Busch Gardens from last year that, this year, I jumped at the chance to go. Since Summer Nights entertainment doesn’t start until late in the night, we decided to take our time, and we arrived at Busch Gardens in the early afternoon (amazing how short […]

Universal CityWalk trip report – June 2014 (VIVO Italian Kitchen review, Hot Dog Hall of Fame update, more construction)

CityWalk expansion I recently visited Universal CityWalk and took note of the construction progress in many areas of this entertainment hotspot. The new additions to the area over the past several months have taken it to the next level. Guests, as well as Orlando residents, have whole new reasons to visit and explore – the recently-opened […]

Universal Studios *Hollywood* trip report – May 2014 (Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Super Silly Fun Land, Wizarding World construction & more)

I recently scheduled a trip to the Los Angeles area to visit some family members. So what better excuse did I need to include a tour to Universal Studios Hollywood at the same time? Having opened in 1965, USH is the first of the Universal theme parks. (They are already preparing for a 50th anniversary […]

Islands of Adventure trip report – May 2014 (Hogsmeade Station, King Kong construction + CityWalk update)

I visited Islands of Adventure this past weekend, and to say I enjoyed my time at the park is an understatement. But before I get to IOA, let’s take a quick stroll through CityWalk.   Universal CityWalk Entering CityWalk from the parking deck, I noticed the construction progress at several locations, including Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt […]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – May 2014 (Diagon Alley is almost complete, media invites sent out for a preview event, the joy of Springfield)

With so many changes happening, it feels like it has been forever since I visited Universal Studios Florida. (In reality, it’s only been a few weeks.) As you know, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I obsessively follow Orlando Informer and others on Twitter and Facebook, along with the Orlando Informer Rumor Round-Up posts concerning […]

Magic Kingdom trip report – May 2014 (Festival of Fantasy is lyrical, Frozen is dominating & Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is almost here!)

Take five days in early May, add in three theme park enthusiasts and one condominium a few miles from Downtown Disney, and you’ve got the recipe for a tremendous “staycation” at Walt Disney World. As part of our “staycation,” my family and I visited Magic Kingdom on several days, and even though it rained for […]

Disney’s Animal Kingdom trip report – April 2014 (FastPass+ progress, World of Avatar construction & best tips for touring)

For this month’s Walt Disney World trip report, I spent a “wild” day at Animal Kingdom this past weekend. The weather was beautiful, with temperatures in the low 80s, a calming breeze, and plenty of sunshine. Upon entering the park this visit, I noticed the FastPass+ kiosk lines were dramatically shorter than my visit in […]

Islands of Adventure trip report – April 2014 (Hogsmeade Station looking good, Zonko’s looking sad & a heart-warming Seuss story)

This past weekend we visited Islands of Adventure, and it turned out to be one of those days where everything was fantastic! I enjoy sharing my IOA experiences each month with Orlando Informer readers. I am always anxious to see and photograph the ongoing progress with the construction of Hogsmeade Station for the new Hogwarts […]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – April 2014 (CityWalk & Diagon Alley construction, parking fee increase & inside Curious George Goes to Town)

Wouldn’t you agree that spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Universal Studios Florida is a great way to spend a spring day? I just did that, and I’m delighted to pass along the latest details from USF and my trip.   Universal parking garage and CityWalk changes Given the recent Orlando theme park price increases, […]

SeaWorld trip report – March 2014 (Sea of Surprises construction, Pets Ahoy, restaurant reviews, Ihu’s Breakaway Falls & Just for Kids Festival)

As we arrived at SeaWorld this past weekend, we could tell they had done a lot of renovations for the 50th anniversary celebration that starts Friday, March 21 (we’ll have a separate report on the opening next week!). The statue welcoming guests into the parking area has a new banner around the bottom, and once […]

Epcot trip report – March 2014 (more FastPass+ benefits & problems, Flower & Garden Festival in full bloom)

Have you ever partaken in the beauty of Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival? Have you navigated the new, although very limiting, tiered FastPass+ system at Epcot and used its reservation system from the convenience of your own home? I experienced all of these elements and more this past weekend as I toured Epcot for […]

Islands of Adventure trip report – March 2014 (Harry Potter construction woes, Me Ship the Olive + CityWalk’s new Starbucks & Cold Stone)

On Sunday, I visited Islands of Adventure (IOA) at Universal Orlando and spent a beautiful spring day walking around the park. But before I entered through the IOA turnstiles, I took a quick stroll around Universal CityWalk to see how its developments are going.   Universal CityWalk construction Right away, I noticed that the construction […]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – March 2014 (price increases, Mardi Gras, Beetlejuice & Horror Makeup Show)

Editor’s note: 2014 price increase Last Wednesday, Universal raised its prices uncharacteristically early, mostly to answer Disney’s rate hike from the weekend before. And while the price increase was instituted at the gates right away, Universal Orlando’s website was left at 2013 pricing for some inexplicable reason – until now. As of today, here are […]

Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014 (more FastPass+ observations & problems, Beauty and the Beast)

My family and I recently visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS) on a pleasant day with temperatures in the low 70s – perfect for visiting one of Orlando’s theme parks. [wptouch target=”non-mobile”]Remember, you can click any image to view it full-screen. And don’t miss the complete photo gallery with 38 new full-screen images at the bottom […]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – February 2014 (Mardi Gras parade, Daughtry in concert, construction updates)

The holidays are long over and the Celebration of Harry Potter is a fond memory. What’s next at Universal Studios? Mardi Gras! I visited Universal Studios Florida (USF) this past Saturday, which was the first day of the highly popular Mardi Gras celebration. Although the weather was substandard for Florida – cold rain with the […]

Year-end Universal Orlando trip report (holiday crowds, Diagon Alley construction, and great new shots of Hogsmeade Station)

My family and I visited Universal Studios Florida (USF) and Islands of Adventure (IOA) yesterday, the Sunday after Christmas. Knowing this time of the year is the busiest for area theme parks, I was very curious how crowded the parks would be and how long the wait times would be for all the attractions, with […]

SeaWorld Orlando trip report – December 2013 (penguin & dolphin encounters, Christmas shows, Groupon deal) [UPDATED]

Arriving out SeaWorld last Sunday for my monthly trip report, I saw that the morning rain and resulting chill must have chased off the majority of the park-goers, as the crowds were very minimal throughout the park. Their loss was our gain! [wptouch target=”non-mobile”]Remember, you can click any image to view it full-screen. And don’t […]

Islands of Adventure trip report – December 2013 (Grinchmas, Wholiday Spectacular, Seuss Trolley + CityWalk updates)

I visited Islands of Adventure (IOA) this past weekend for the opening of the 2013 holiday season, and as always, I truly enjoyed this thrilling and entertaining park. But before we talk about IOA, let’s check out a few things happening outside of the parks.   Parking rotunda & CityWalk As I entered the rotunda […]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – December 2013 (construction updates, The Mummy, Macy’s Holiday Parade & Mannheim Steamroller)

Last Saturday I visited Universal Studios Florida (USF) for the opening of their 2013 holiday season, and I had a very enjoyable time. The Christmas season is my favorite time of year to visit Orlando’s theme parks, and USF didn’t disappoint. [wptouch target=”non-mobile”]Remember, you can click any image to view it full-screen. And don’t miss […]

Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – November 2013 (holiday decorations, Osborne Dancing Lights, Star Tours & FastPass+)

My family and I recently visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS) late one afternoon and evening, and we had a great time. Right away I noticed the approximately 65 foot tall decorated Christmas tree that greeted guests in front of the park’s entrance. Hundreds of oversized ornaments adorn the tree. Disney character cutouts and a holiday […]

SeaWorld Orlando trip report – November 2013 (the holidays are here as SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration begins)

Last Saturday, after a day of running errands, finding Thanksgiving recipes, and last minute grocery shopping, we couldn’t wait to get down to SeaWorld for the opening night of their Christmas Celebration and have some much needed fun. We arrived at the park, sailed through the ticket gate, and hurried our way to the first […]

Islands of Adventure trip report – November 2013 (Jurassic Park midway games open, Hogsmeade Station construction & more photos of the Hogwarts Express)

My family and I visited Islands of Adventure last weekend on a sunny afternoon, and we greatly enjoyed our adventure. Walking through the lively and entertaining CityWalk, I observed the ongoing construction for the new Starbucks location rumored to be replace the former Endangered Species store. For now, Starbucks continues to be fully operational on […]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – November 2013 (Hogwarts Express in full view, holiday decorations & Chief Wiggum’s Patrol Car)

It was a beautiful fall day at Universal Studios Florida when my family and I recently visited. Temperatures were in the low 80’s with a lot of Florida sunshine, and we had an enjoyable day. As I approached the entrance gates, I immediately noticed the absence of the Halloween Horror Nights décor. As a result, […]

Busch Garden Tampa trip report – November 2013 (hands-on at the Animal Care Center, Falcon’s Fury construction & more)

Editor’s note: I want to let our readers know that, with the addition of Salina as a contributor to our blog, Orlando Informer is now committed to producing monthly trip reports for Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld Orlando, and Busch Gardens Tampa, as well as one Walt Disney World theme park (each month […]

Magic Kingdom trip report – October 2013 (Halloween decorations, construction updates, our first visit to Princess Fairytale Hall & talking Mickey!)

Our family recently visited Magic Kingdom over two days and truly enjoyed ourselves. I was delighted to see the Halloween and fall decorations throughout the park. Main Street and other areas featured pumpkins, scarecrows, and additional fall decorations that also creatively incorporated Disney elements. Both days that we were at the Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary […]

Islands of Adventure trip report – October 2013 (Wizarding World & Jurassic Park updates, fun character interactions + CityWalk construction)

I just visited Islands of Adventure over the weekend and had a fun time exploring the park and noticing the changes since my last visit. As I walked through CityWalk on my way to Islands of Adventure, I noticed that the Endangered Species store is gutted, and rumors indicate that Starbucks will be moving into […]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – October 2013 (changes in Springfield, Diagon Alley construction update & more)

Last Saturday I spent an enjoyable and warm fall day visiting Universal Studios Florida. I experienced an unexpectedly higher crowd level as soon as I entered CityWalk, but I soon realized it was Columbus Day weekend for U.S. residents and Canadian Thanksgiving weekend for our friends to the north. (For some schools, principally those in […]

Islands of Adventure trip report – September 2013 (Starbucks, Hogsmeade Station, JP midway games & more)

My family and I recently visited Universal’s Islands of Adventure and spent a fun day at the park. I noticed several changes as construction continues on a few fronts, starting right away at the entrance. [wptouch target=”non-mobile”]Remember, you can click any image to view it full-screen. And don’t miss the complete photo gallery with 37 […]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – September 2013 (HHN props, construction updates & gorgeous photos of the real Hogwarts Express)

My family and I recently visited Universal Studios Florida and spent a fantastic day enjoying the attractions and shows. During our visit I noticed a number of changes and additions to the park — let’s take a look! [wptouch target=”non-mobile”]Remember, you can click any image to view it full-screen. And don’t miss the complete photo […]

Islands of Adventure trip report – August 2013 (Hogwarts Station construction, Jurassic Park midway games & a peek at the new CityWalk renovations)

Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando provided an enjoyable afternoon for me recently as I visited for August’s trip report. Upon entering the park gates, I decided to spend more time in Port of Entry than usual, and I enjoyed browsing through the shops and seeing the unique merchandise and delicious food available for purchase. […]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – August 2013 (Springfield USA opens, prep for HHN & the first images of the real Hogwarts Express)

Although the weather was very hot and humid — and the crowds were heavy — I had a great time during my recent visit to Universal Studios Florida. As I entered the park, I enjoyed the talented Studio Brass Band. They were performing television and movie theme songs. At the same time, Men In Black […]

Epcot trip report – July 2013 (new construction walls, FastPass+ entrances & lots of Disney characters)

Last weekend we visited Epcot and enjoyed many attractions I hadn’t experienced in quite a while. I also took note of additions and changes that have happened at the park since my last trip report in March. Entering Epcot, construction continues in the turnstiles area. Those guests with RFID admission tickets and passes are directed […]

Islands of Adventure trip report – July 2013 (Jurassic Park midway construction begins, summer crowds & more)

I recently visited Islands of Adventure (IOA) at Universal Orlando Resort, and I was curious about any visible changes I could find this trip. [wptouch target=”non-mobile”]Quick note about the photos in this post: I accidentally left my good camera at home, so today’s images are sort of murky. That being said, remember you can click […]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – July 2013 (construction updates for the Universal Store, Simpsons & Diagon Alley, plus Bumblebee Man’s Tacos)

I recently visited Universal Studios Florida on a hot July day. I looked forward to experiencing the fun features of the park and also seeing any changes since my last trip! After passing through the entry gates, I went to the Universal Studios Store. The remodeling looks complete, and I predominantly noticed the new floor. […]

Islands of Adventure trip report – June 2013 (stunning images of the Hogsmeade train station under construction & more)

I recently visited Islands of Adventure (IOA) at Universal Orlando Resort (UOR) on a hot and stormy afternoon. The crowds were heavy, although surprisingly the wait times for the different rides and attractions indicated a more moderate crowd level. [wptouch target=”non-mobile”]Remember, you can click any image to view it full-screen. And don’t miss the complete […]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – June 2013 (Transformers first ride, The Simpsons Fast Food Blvd first taste, much more!)

Anticipating the many changes and new experiences at Universal Studios Florida (USF) this month, I was looking forward to my visit and could hardly contain my excitement as I pulled into the parking deck at Universal Orlando Resort (UOR). [wptouch target=”non-mobile”]Remember, you can click any image to view it full-screen. And don’t miss the complete […]