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Marc N. Kleinhenz

Marc N. Kleinhenz’s first dream in life was to be an astronaut. His second was an Imagineer. While neither completely worked out, he now works exclusively for Orlando Informer as a writer, editor, and podcast co-host. He’s also written for 32 other sites (including Screen Rant, IGN, The Escapist, and California Informer [OI's sister site]), has had his fiction featured in several publications, and has even taught English in Japan. Imagineering school won’t be too far behind.

Harry Potter: Japan’s new mysterious projection-mapping show

This time last year, Universal Japan made waves when it announced that its new 2018 attraction would not only be state-of-the-art, but also Harry Potter-infused: Universal Spectacle Night Parade – Best of Hollywood, which the company proudly boasted was “the world’s first next-generation parade” (thanks to its heavy utilization of projection mapping). Beyond the wonder […]

3 ways The Crimes of Grindelwald could be turned into an attraction

Two years ago, upon the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – the first of the new Harry Potter prequel/spin-off film series – we sketched out our three best ideas for theme-park attractions based off of the new Wizarding World tale. Now that the second installment, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, is here, it’s […]

UPDATED: Universal Orlando’s limited-time pop-up bar for holidays 2018

Loews Hotels, the company that manages all of Universal Orlando Resort’s various on-site hotels, started to experiment just a few years ago with two items that are gaining more and more traction among the public, particularly the younger demographic: handcrafted cocktails and limited-time, exclusive experiences (something which Universal itself has mastered, thanks to the likes […]

Stranger Things EXTENDING Halloween Horror Nights 2018’s run

Last week, Universal Studios Hollywood made something of a surprise announcement: it was going to do an one-week-only lights-on, daytime tour of its Stranger Things haunted house, at no additional charge to park attendees. Though unprecedented (no, the West Coast doesn’t offer a version of our Behind the Screams: Unmasking the Horror Tours – which […]

UPDATED: Disney World’s gondolas officially announced

UPDATE 10:13 AM 11.14.18: at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo 2018, The Walt Disney Company announced that the Disney Skyliner will officially open in the fall of 2019. UPDATE 12:40 PM 10.19.18: Disney showed off this spiffy little video that’s meant to give us the best illustration yet of what the new […]

4 secrets of bringing Stranger Things to life at Halloween Horror Nights

It is no secret that Stranger Things, the hit Netflix original series, has been the flagship haunted house at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights – not only has it dominated the annual event’s social-media and press coverage, it’s also attained a place of prominence amongst its food and drink lineup and, of course, has garnered […]

SeaWorld: What’s coming in 2019

SeaWorld feels like, just maybe, it’s standing on the precipice of a full-fledged revival, rising up from a years-long period of controversy and economic difficulties and potentially emerging as a leaner, meaner theme-park operator: its stock has been on the rebound, fueled by a nearly-five-percent increase in its quarterly revenue and attendance; it’s doubled down […]

New Harry Potter coaster artwork REVEALED

On July 24, 2017, Universal made an announcement that was widely expected but which was nonetheless sad to many a Wizarding World of Harry Potter fan: Dragon Challenge, that massive, formerly-dueling inverted roller coaster, would be shutting down for good on September 5 of that year. Ever since then, the company has kept its wizarding […]

Explained: Disney World’s new date-based tickets

UPDATE (8:45 am 10.16.18): today is the day that the new, date-based pricing structure goes into effect at Walt Disney World Resort. To commemorate the occasion, Disney has released this infographic, to try and help explain when the new system will cost guests less or more when heading out to the parks: Furthermore, today is also […]

How to use Universal Orlando’s new mobile order

UPDATE 3:23 pm, 10.22.18: Universal keeps rolling out mobile order to more and more locations, and doing so in a much faster fashion than we had initially thought, just four short weeks ago – now four quick-service restaurants brandish the smart-phone feature, with more doubtless already in the pipeline. Each venue’s dedicated guide page in the […]

Review: Halloween Horror Nights 2018

The buildup to Halloween Horror Nights 2018 has easily been one of the most exciting in a considerable amount of time, with the various haunted-house and scare-zone announcements coming fast and furious (unlike last year) and containing veritable doozies, starting with what is arguably the biggest announcement in the event’s 27-year history: the arrival of […]

A Celebration of Harry Potter isn’t coming back to Orlando in 2019

On August 7, 2013 – almost exactly three months after The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley was officially announced – Universal further surprised and delighted Harry Potter fans by unveiling a brand-new event: A Celebration of Harry Potter. From January 24 through 26, 2014, fans descended upon Universal Orlando Resort to, well, […]

Why you should travel solo to Universal Orlando

Editor’s note: special thanks to OI reader – and superfan – Libby Thomas for submitting the following article to us. Love Universal Orlando Resort? Don’t have a friend or family member with your same enthusiasm? Fear not, my friends – you can still go to your favorite theme park. Just do it alone! It sounds scary […]

6 lost attractions of San Francisco/Amity at Universal Studios Florida

We’ve already jumped in our trusty time machines and prowled the space-time continuum in order to experience all of the now-lost attractions at both Production Central and New York, the first two lands at Universal Studios Florida. Now that we’ve had the chance to recover from our nostalgic adventures and have gassed the DeLorean back […]

Scary Tales: Deadly Ever After announced for Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Are you ready to return to the merry old land of Oz? Halloween Horror Nights 2018’s tenth (and final!) haunted house has just been announced, and it looks like an intriguing continuation of the mythology that the event has been sporadically spinning throughout its history. Scary Tales: Deadly Ever After takes two recurring elements from […]

The Horrors of Blumhouse announced for Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Blumhouse Productions, the tiny production company that has since gone on to conquer nearly all of the entertainment world, has had an involved relationship with Universal for the past four years, encapsulating both Hollywood (a first-look deal with Universal Pictures that runs until 2024) and, of course, the theme parks (multiple haunted houses and scare […]

The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad closing at Universal Orlando

In a move that seemingly came out of nowhere, it’s today been revealed that the Eighth Voyage of Sindbad stunt show will quickly be coming to a close – its last performance is currently scheduled for Saturday, September 15. We say the development is a surprise one, but, in retrospect, the writing has been, perhaps, long on […]

Halloween 4 announced for Halloween Horror Nights 2018

It is not unusual to see Universal do at least one retro haunted house for its Halloween Horror Nights each and every year, and for 2014, that throwback came in the form of Halloween, recreating the classic 1978 film. It was a fan-favorite, leading the company to make 2016’s historical entry (well, one of them, at least) […]

Poltergeist announced for Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Poltergeist is, without question, one of the quintessential horror films, having instantly secured its place in cinematic history upon its 1982 release. Its horror set pieces, its music (by the late and great Jerry Goldsmith), and, of course, its performances all combined to create an experience that irrevocably seared itself into our cultural consciousness, prompting […]

Seeds of Extinction announced for Halloween Horror Nights 2018

In a Halloween event that is already festooned with zombies, extra-dimensional predators, masked killers, swamp yetis, and crazed carnies, what else could Universal possibly throw into the mix? The answer, it turns out, is surprisingly easy: aliens. Seeds of Extinction is the sixth haunted house announced for Halloween Horror Nights, and it posits a future […]

Our first visit to Batuu from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

When Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was originally announced back in August 2015, fans were surprised to learn that Disney had opted to place its new theme-park land on Batuu, a brand-new world in the Star Wars mythology, rather than on one of the pre-existent planets from either the films or television shows (like the Skywalkers’ […]

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: What’s next after Toy Story Land

It’s been something of a turbulent period for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the smallest – and, more recently, the most construction-laden – theme park at Walt Disney World Resort. An unbelievably large swath of the location’s various attractions have been shut down over the past four years, preparing the way for new additions that will do […]

Disney’s new Christmas celebrations include Toy Story Land in 2018

With Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party starting right around the corner (it kicks off this year on Friday, August 17), it’s time for Disney and all good vacation-planners alike to look ahead to the next big seasonal event: Christmas, which begins this year at Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday, November 8. After the success of […]

Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration: Complete breakdown

On the night of July 4, Universal had a very special surprise for all of the guests spending the holiday at the resort: a technical rehearsal of its brand-new nighttime spectacular, Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration (which, we learned during the occasion, still officially has its somewhat-unwieldy subtitle of Epic Cinema under the Stars). We were […]

Halloween Horror Nights 2018: House backstory REVEALED

Even though it doesn’t start for another two-and-a-half months, this year’s Halloween Horror Nights has already proven to be something of a return to form; the hallowed event used to be a more synchronized or cohesive affair, with a headlining icon that would set the year’s theme and tone both, with a set of haunted […]

Halloween Horror Nights 2018: Every scare zone REVEALED

UPDATE (07.29.18): during this year’s Midsummer Scream panel, Universal had a few surprises up its sleeve regarding the Killer Klowns from Outer Space scare zone – most, if not all, of the Klowns from the cult film will be represented on the streets of Universal Studios Florida, as will the infamous ice cream truck. Okay, yes […]

What if Universal built Scooby-Doo’s Spooky Island?

Scooby-Doo may be 49-years-old, but the franchise has managed to maintain a firm place in the pop-cultural landscape thanks to its nearly-infinite number of television series (which have continued on up through this year), films, direct-to-video releases, and spinoff tie-ins, which even include stage productions. Likewise, it’s already been 16 years since the two live-action […]

Slaughter Sinema announced for Halloween Horror Nights 2018

When Universal said that this year’s Halloween Horror Nights would be ’80s-themed, it really wasn’t kidding – the second original house for the event, Slaughter Sinema, has just been announced, and it’s a retro throwback for the ages. Themed as a drive-in from that indelible decade, the maze will consist of several different fictitious B-flicks that […]

Infinity Falls’s complete ride experience at SeaWorld Orlando

Ever since SeaWorld first announced its revolutionary Infinity Falls river-rapids ride a little over a year ago, interest has been sky-high, and it’s easy to see why: at 40 feet, its final drop is the biggest in the world for an attraction of its type, and the entire experience is the very first built-from-the-ground-up manifestation […]

Harry Potter: 4 ways Hogsmeade is better than Diagon Alley

There has been something of a learning curve with Universal’s handling of the Harry Potter property in its theme parks, despite the fact that everyone knew before its debut that it would be an extremely popular part of Universal Orlando Resort’s lineup; the necessity of having, say, a permanent queuing area for the original Ollivander’s […]

Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration REVEALED

On October 10, 2017, Universal revealed a surprising development: it had quietly pulled the plug on its Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories lagoon show. Well, okay – it wasn’t that surprising, as the nighttime spectacular was some time past its premise, having been originally conceived (as the name might suggest) to celebrate Universal […]

Universal Orlando: Where to have fun away from the parks

Note: this article was written on Thursday, May 31, in the final hours before my latest trip to Universal Orlando. We are presenting it as originally composed. Tomorrow, I will be arriving at Universal Orlando Resort for a quick two-and-a-half-day trip (you may or may not know the occasion why). While I do have an […]

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey’s first-ever upgrade

The original version of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (located here in Orlando’s Islands of Adventure, but of course) has been remarkably stable across its eight-year lifespan, seeing only the smallest of – if any – changes. While this might initially seem like a rather standard state of affairs, given how infrequently Universal tinkers […]

4 things you MUST do at Portofino Bay Hotel

There’s a reason why Portofino Bay Hotel is considered the flagship resort of Universal Orlando – it’s beautiful, impeccably-themed, and is positively huge, despite having one of the smallest room counts on-property (only Aventura Hotel and Hard Rock Hotel have fewer rooms). It’s not unusual to hear of first-time guests getting lost on the premises, […]

Halloween Horror Nights for non-horror fans

‘Tis already the season – Universal is making the first announcements for the biggest annual event it throws, Halloween Horror Nights, and a number of eager, diehard fans are already making their on-site hotel reservations and are getting ready to scoop up their tickets. It’s a magical time. Except for those, perhaps, who will happen […]

8 lost Universal attractions from New York

A short while ago, we took a very fond and nostalgia-laced trip down memory lane, revisiting Production Central’s original slate of attractions. It’s time to continue our time-traveling adventures, this time focusing on the next stop as we work our way through the Universal Studios Florida of old: New York. The New York backlot, interestingly […]

Trick ‘r Treat house announced for Halloween Horror Nights 2018

UPDATE (07.29.18): during this year’s Midsummer Scream panel, Universal was nice enough to share some new details about its anticipated Trick ‘r Treat maze. Among a bunch of behind-the-scenes photos of set construction, costume designs, and makeup tests, it was revealed that the werewolf scene will be brought to life with the assistance of puppets (not […]

Emeril’s restaurant at Universal CityWalk set to close

When Universal CityWalk Orlando first started to open at the end of 1998, one restaurant stood out from all the other original venues, quickly establishing itself as the flagship eatery at the nascent dinning/shopping/entertainment complex: Emeril’s Orlando. With such words as “gourmet,” “high energy,” “sophisticated,” and “upscale” being deployed in its official descriptions, and with […]

Universal now has the most expensive theme park in the world

Have you been following the progress of Universal Studios Beijing, the currently-under-construction theme park in China? We couldn’t blame you if you said no – Universal only recently took full ownership of Universal Studios Japan, attempting to upgrade it to the new standard currently being set by Universal Orlando Resort, and Universal Studios Singapore remains […]

Dead Exposure: Patient Zero announced for Halloween Horror Nights 2018

It may be uncharacteristically early for Universal to do so, but the company has gone ahead and revealed the first original (that is to say, not based on a pre-existent intellectual property) haunted house for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights: Dead Exposure: Patient Zero. While it may be surprising to be getting an original announcement […]

New Minion ride coming to Universal Studios Japan

A little over a year ago, we broke down the secrets of Minion Park, the new land at Universal Studios Japan that ultimately debuted in April 2017. It seems only appropriate, then, that we follow it up with the latest word out of Osaka: a second – and, as of right now, exclusive – attraction […]

Will Disney change the future of theme parks with a new smart-phone app?

Disney today had some interesting, if rather vague, news: a new smart-phone app will soon be arriving at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts, to be used in conjunction with the omnipresent My Disney Experience. Called Play Disney Parks, it has the potential to change the way that guests will wait and, well, play […]

Fast & Furious – Supercharged’s story explained

Fast & Furious is, without a doubt – and rightly or wrongly – a major cultural and economic force. The 17-year-old franchise has grossed over $5 billion worldwide, making it Universal Pictures’s highest earner, and with two more sequels – plus a spinoff trilogy titled Hobbs & Shaw – in the pipeline, it has no […]

REVEALED: Universal’s Endless Summer, the seventh (and eighth) hotel

It’s been a long, winding road to reach this point regarding Universal Orlando Resort’s seventh (and eighth) on-site hotel. Nearly a year ago, Universal filed paperwork with the city of Orlando, revealing just the bare-bone basics of the new hotel complex; this past November, the company went ahead and made the new property’s existence official, […]

Why Stranger Things is perfect for Halloween Horror Nights

The first haunted house announcement for Halloween Horror Nights 2018 was a doozy: Stranger Things, that massively popular Netflix original series, will be arriving, automatically becoming the de facto headlining experience of this year’s event. The news was met with widespread excitement, but beneath the unbridled joy was a decided undercurrent of discontent and, moreover, […]

Stranger Things announced for Halloween Horror Nights 2018

UPDATE (07.29.18): during this year’s Midsummer Scream panel, Universal revealed a few small-but-highly-intriguing details regarding what is sure to be its headliner haunted house. For starters, the company admitted that it had initially played around with a version of the maze that spanned both of the show’s two released seasons, but the design teams on […]

5 symptoms of Universal withdrawal

Even though I live all the way in cold, snowy, remote Cleveland, Ohio, I’m still able to visit Universal Orlando Resort multiple times a year thanks to my job (hey – even the Orlando Informers have to keep informed, right?). Despite these more-or-less consistent journeys, however, I still find myself getting a little twitchy even […]

Everything coming to Orlando in 2018 and 2019

Last October, we brought you a listing of all the new experiences that were being lined up at Orlando for the end of that year and on into this one. A lot has changed in the last five months, however – we have more details on some 2018 openings, and we’ve also gotten a much […]

Disney’s restructuring: What it could mean for the future

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since starting to professionally write about theme parks six years ago, it’s this: the themed industry is increasingly at the very heart of businesses everywhere. Take Disney’s MagicBands, those wonderful little devices that act as ticket, hotel-room key, and credit card. They were designed by the company to try […]

7 lost Universal attractions from Production Central

When Universal originally decided to establish a presence in Orlando, Florida in the early 1980s, the company settled on essentially duplicating its Universal Studios Hollywood formula: a working film lot as the foundation, with a production tram tour as the main themed element. Such an approach, however, was not meant to be. Disney learned of […]