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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: Gringotts original ride story was scrapped

On the one hand, designing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley was a straightforward proposition for Universal Creative: take all the descriptions of the downtown London wizarding location from the novels and all the imagery from the films and use them to assemble a pitch-perfect recreation of a key part of the […]

The three new milkshakes of Toothsome Chocolate Emporium

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen has arguably become the most popular CityWalk destination, and the reason behind its prominence is inarguably due to its spectacular lineup of specialty milkshakes. Interestingly enough, however, the restaurant has been frequently tinkering with its shake menu ever since its opening day of September 22, 2016, adding a […]

3 secrets behind Universal’s new Holiday Parade

Everyone has been abuzz about Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and rightfully so – that new holiday program is nothing short of breathtaking, from the new musical performances to what arguably is now the crown jewel of the Wizarding World, the Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle projection-mapping show (you can read […]

Disney is tying all of its Star Wars attractions together

Many people have wondered what will come of Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, the 28-year-old motion simulator that got a refresh in 2011, once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens just down the road in Disney’s Hollywood Studios sometime in 2019. The new, ultra-immersive Star Wars land, after all, will be specifically placed during the sequel […]

REVIEW: Christmas at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

We’ve had a few weeks now to check out the new (and absolutely stunning) Christmas decorations at both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Now it’s time to sink our festive teeth into the remaining Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter items that we have yet to experience in one shape, way, or form already […]

Wizarding World: Seventh chocolate frog card is arriving!

Yes, yes – amazing rides, such as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and other engrossing attractions, like Tales of Beedle the Bard, make up the vast bulk of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s experiences (and generate most of tourists’ excitement). However, it’s been in another realm entirely that Universal has applied the most […]

The best Harry Potter attractions not at Universal Orlando

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter may have originated in Orlando, but, it turns out, some of the most interesting attractions or experiences tied into J.K. Rowling’s sprawling mythology have existed solely in Universal’s other theme parks – with it being an open question of whether or not they’ll ever get fully realized on Harry’s […]

Our 6 favorite Diagon Alley decorations for a Harry Potter Christmas

A week ago today, we entered the hum-drum work week to discover an early yuletide surprise: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade had been decked out for the holidays overnight, getting ready for the first-ever Christmas in The Wizarding World (which starts Saturday, November 18, for all those keeping track at home). Now, […]

Here are the hotels replacing Wet ‘n Wild Orlando

When Wet ‘n Wild Orlando, the 1977 water park that Universal eventually purchased to be Universal Orlando Resort’s original aquatic destination, was shut down on December 31, 2016, word had already spread that the 64-acre chunk of land it sat on would be the future home for even more on-site hotels. It wasn’t much later […]

Fast & Furious: Supercharged REVEALED

Universal may have originally announced that its Fast & Furious: Supercharged experience would be making the journey from Universal Studios Hollywood over to the East Coast back in August 2015, but it wasn’t until just today that the company blew wide open the ride’s exact contents. Here’s everything we now know, broken down into race-friendly […]

Our 3 favorite Hogsmeade areas decorated for a Harry Potter Christmas

When Universal first announced back in April that its perennially-popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter was, at long last, getting the holiday treatment, we knew that it would be comprised of four different elements, and we knew the first of these was a series of elaborate Christmas decorations. What we didn’t know – what we […]

Universal Japan’s next-generation Harry Potter parade

Universal and parent company Comcast may have been getting a lot of attention for their aggressive, new-attraction-every-year plan here at Universal Orlando Resort, but it turns out that a lot of their ground-breaking projects and technologies are first being debuted over in Universal Studios Japan, the park that the two companies only purchased in full […]

One couple’s secrets to a perfect Universal vacation

Jill and Kevin Levett joined Orlando Informer’s Facebook community when it first opened a year-and-a-half ago, and in the time since, the British couple has proven to be extremely popular with the 25,000 members of the group. The reason is obvious: above and beyond their penchant for giving away Harry Potter goodies (such as shirts […]

Disney looking into a Captain America experience and a new boutique hotel?

UPDATE (10:17 am 10.18.17): the Orlando Sentinel has just confirmed that the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort will, indeed, be getting an expansion –a third tower that will consist of 350 rooms. You can read all of the original details below. All eyes may be on Pandora: The World of Avatar, the new […]

14 Orlando attractions coming from now through 2018

2017, it’s safe to say, was an absolutely mammoth year for Orlando. From Volcano Bay to Pandora: The World of Avatar, Kraken Unleashed to Lego Ninjago World, there was not only a breadth of new attraction openings, but also a depth that is typically rare, even in the most-visited city in the country. That’s what […]

Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular has closed

When Universal first debuted Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories on May 8, 2012, it was part of an unprecedented push to introduce more new attractions in one calendar year than had ever been done in Universal Parks and Resorts’s five-odd-decade history. (The lagoon show’s 2012 brethren included an upgraded Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, […]

Celebration of Harry Potter 2018 first details

On September 13, Universal went ahead and made the announcement that everyone had been waiting so long to hear: the dates for the next round of A Celebration of Harry Potter, the annual event that looks to, well, celebrate the Harry Potter franchise in all of its various multimedia forms. (The company did, indeed, drop […]

Universal is shaking up its menus again

Ever since the Boy Wizard first flew his broom into Universal Orlando Resort, a brand-new element has emerged on the theming landscape: food. From 2010 onward, no theme-park experience would be considered complete without an accompanying exclusive dish or beverage, such as the Wizarding World’s Butterbeer or Volcano Bay’s Pan-Pacific lineup. Since then, however, we’ve […]

Is SeaWorld selling Busch Gardens to Legoland owner?

Let’s be blunt: SeaWorld Entertainment isn’t doing very well right now. In late August, it was announced that its former CEO, Jim Atchison, is under investigation by the Department of Justice for insider trading. A few weeks before that, it was revealed that the company’s national attendance for the first half of the year was […]

Exclusive new Halloween Horror Nights merchandise arrives!

UPDATE (1:08 pm 10.04.17): the second wave of HHN 2017 merchandise has arrived, including items from this year’s haunted houses. See below for pictures and more info. When Williams of Hollywood quietly opened in November 2015, offering a smorgasbord of former theme-park props and vintage movie memorabilia, fans instantly fell in love. From perusing pieces […]

Review: Halloween Horror Nights 2017

This year’s Halloween Horror Nights may have gotten off to an incredibly slow start in terms of its announcements – we’ve never gone so close to the event’s kickoff without knowing its full slate of attractions, which may or may not point to some problems behind the scenes – but the payoff turns out to […]

2017 marks the biggest Christmas celebration at Disney World yet

Disney blew out its resort-wide Christmas celebrations at Walt Disney World today, and it’s easy to see how the company is clearly itching to make this year the biggest – and, quite possibly, the best – holiday season it’s ever had across the destination’s 46-year history. There’s so much going on in November and December, […]

RUMOR: Voodoo Doughnuts coming to Universal CityWalk

Not familiar with Voodoo Doughnuts, East Coasters? That’s going to change – and soon. Universal will be bringing the fast-growing mom-and-pop doughnut chain to CityWalk. It’s a good fit – not only is the small company’s quirky sensibilities and funky wares compatible with the likes of The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar (or, even, Bread Box […]

Terminator 2 3D closing for a new attraction

In Universal and parent company Comcast’s never-ceasing effort to upgrade nearly every square inch of Universal Studios Florida, they have leveled an entire swath of older attractions, many of them dating back to the park’s earliest years: Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast, Jaws, Lucy: A Tribute, Twister: Ride It Out, Disaster: A Major Motion Picture Ride […]

Disney’s new biannual Star Wars party

On April 14, 2017, Disney kicked off what has unsurprisingly already become a brand-new after-hours tradition: an all-things-Star Wars celebration called Star Wars: Galactic Nights. Today, the company has announced a second round, scheduled for Saturday, December 16 – just one day after Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi hits theaters, incidentally – […]

Final four houses REVEALED for Halloween Horror Nights 2017

After an incredibly slow start, Universal has surged ahead with its Halloween Horror Nights 2017 announcements within the last two weeks, filling in many of the last details that fans have been anxiously waiting to hear for the past few months. Now we have confirmations on the vast majority of the event’s nine haunted houses, […]

The Horrors of Blumhouse announced for Halloween Horror Nights 2017

This is one of the more interesting announcements Universal has made in relation to Halloween Horror Nights yet: a special Blumhouse mash-up haunted house is on its way. You may not have heard of Blumhouse Productions, the tiny production company behind a surprising number of big-profile movies, but you’ve certainly seen its films: so far […]

SeaWorld being investigated by the Department of Justice

In 2013, a little documentary called Blackfish was released to much fanfare, galvanizing public opinion against SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment and its long-standing practice at the time of breeding animals in captivity. The film and the accompanying backlash have wreaked havoc on the company’s economic standing, causing attendance to plummet in the four years since […]

Universal researching answer to Disney’s Minnie Vans

Last month, Disney confirmed long-standing rumors that it was interested in instituting its own Uber-like on-demand ride service; called Minnie Vans, the electric vehicles take guests willing to pay the $20-per-ride fee anywhere they want on Walt Disney World Resort property. Not only have the vans already been deployed, their presence has been steadily expanded, […]

3 ways Universal Orlando will change in the next decade

The number of ways that Universal Orlando Resort has changed so far this decade is, to put it mildly, mind-boggling; ever since the twin advent of Harry Potter and Comcast (the new corporate owner), attendance has soared, the money spigot has been turned resolutely on, and the developments have been coming fast and heavy. Just […]

Disney Springs is becoming the Star Wars capital of Disney World

Everyone points to the new films, television shows, and, of course, theme park lands as to what Disney has been doing with the Star Wars property since it purchased it from creator George Lucas in October 2012. It turns out, however, that arguably the biggest impact the Mouse House has made on the franchise has […]

Celebrate Halloween with SeaWorld and Sesame Street

The Halloween season in Orlando starts earlier than ever before this year, with Disney firing up Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party a week early, on the unbelievable date of Friday, August 25. And Universal, for its part, has pushed its Halloween Horror Nights both forwards and backwards, starting on September 15 and running (on select nights) […]

Academy of Villains: Afterlife arriving at Halloween Horror Nights 2017

Three months ago, we reported that Academy of Villains, a theatrical dance company known for its stunt work and “intense” choreography, was in talks to make its second appearance at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights. Today, we’re happy to make that report official. Universal has just announced that the dance troupe will be a part […]

Zones REVEALED for Halloween Horror Nights 2017

After a dearth of information for what has felt like forever, Universal has finally cast open the floodgates and allowed a veritable torrent of Halloween Horror Nights 2017 revelations to come pouring out – just this week alone, we’ve already gotten the next haunted house (that’s Saw: The Games of Jigsaw, but of course) and […]

A THIRD new theme park land is revealed for Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Last month, Disney unveiled a brand-new bar for its continually-under-construction Hollywood Studios: BaseLine Tap House, a “cheerful corner pub specializing in beer and wines from California.” What was so intriguing about the announcement, beyond the continued revitalization of the former movie-studio theme park, was the reference of yet another brand-new land that BaseLine was going […]

In-depth analysis: Last year for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure

Today, Universal announced the unthinkable: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure, what has been called the cornerstone of Halloween Horror Nights over the course of its 26-year run, will be canceled following the 2017 season. The magnitude of this development cannot be overstated. Bill and Ted are the only characters to return year after year, […]

Is Indiana Jones Land coming to Animal Kingdom?

Over the past few months, a particular rumor has started to gain traction all across the themed online community, with it seemingly coming to a boil just over the past two weeks. It initially caught our eye, and we’ve been doing our best to monitor it behind the scenes, checking with our sources along the […]

Saw returning to Halloween Horror Nights

In continuing with Universal’s efforts to recruit some of the biggest – and most influential – names in horror, the company has today announced that Saw will be making a return appearance at Halloween Horror Nights this year. The Saw series is one that probably needs no preamble, but in our continued interest of being […]

This new haunt might be Orlando’s most intriguing this Halloween

Blackwood State Park. April 1986. Legends about the so-called Beast of Blackwood – which may or may not be the result of a government-funded experiment – have circulated for some time, prompting five local youths to go “investigate” in what is really a glorified camping trip. They, of course, disappear, and now it’s your turn […]

Star Wars hyper-reality experience coming to Disney

There has been a recent trend in the themed industry to have theme parks couple the real-world experiences they offer with virtual-reality components – think Kraken Unleashed, SeaWorld’s new VR upgrade to its 17-year-old floorless roller coaster, or Universal’s new slew of patents, which includes a virtual window that can wrap around a building or […]

Halloween Horror Nights 2017’s countdown clock reached zero and…

On June 30, after having made just two Halloween Horror Nights announcements (that would be for the first two houses, American Horror Story and The Shining, of course), Universal offered up a rather cryptic video and message: surrender your soul. What, exactly, guests would be sacrificing their spirits for wasn’t known, but the company did […]

Ash vs Evil Dead coming to Halloween Horror Nights 2017

Universal just announced that horror icon Ash Williams will be coming to Halloween Horror Nights for the very first time in a haunted house based on the Ash vs Evil Dead television series. The Evil Dead franchise is a long and beloved one, having started as a trilogy of cult films throughout the 1980s and on […]

4 exciting expansions coming to Orlando theme parks

New attractions (such as next year’s Fast & Furious: Supercharged at Universal Studios Florida) are exciting, and new theme park lands (like Disney’s Hollywood Studios’s Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge) are downright intoxicating, but, for our money, one of the most mesmerizing parts of the Orlando theme parks’ ever-expanding dominance is, well, […]

Will this be the most luxurious hotel at Disney World?

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that paperwork has been filed to build a brand-new hotel at Walt Disney World Resort, near Epcot (on the corner of Epcot Center Drive and Interstate 4, to be exact), with the name of JW Marriott at Bonnet Creek. The news is notable not only for the fact that the […]

Dragon Challenge closing for a new Harry Potter ride

Confirming at long last what everyone has suspected for the past two-and-a-half years, Universal has today announced that Dragon Challenge will be closing down on Tuesday, September 5 in order to make room for a brand-new Harry Potter attraction. Although Universal didn’t offer much in the way of specifics for the replacement ride, it did […]

Universal researching Star Wars hotel impact and Express changes

Last weekend, Disney blew the socks off the theming world when it made a huge bevy of announcements at its biennial D23 Expo, ranging from Tron Lightcycle Power Run’s arrival at Magic Kingdom to a Guardians of the Galaxy ride at Epcot. But the biggest one, in terms of its game-changing potential, has to be […]

15 new additions to Disney World by 2021

In 2012, Comcast – which had just finished purchasing NBCUniversal the year before – made what is a now-legendary announcement: it was going to spend $500 million a year on both of its American theme park locations, opening up at least one new attraction, restaurant, and/or hotel each and every year. Although we have yet […]

Toy Story Land arriving in summer 2018 at Hollywood Studios

Yes, we might have known all about Toy Story Land’s three attractions, its placement on the Hollywood Studios map, and a general timeframe for its opening (2018), but that still left quite a bit in the dark. What would the area’s various dining and character meet-‘n-greet experiences be like? What would happen to the next-door […]

Disney World’s gondolas officially announced

Over the past five months, the rumor that gondolas would be arriving at Walt Disney World Resort has been making the rounds, and doing so quite extensively, thanks to the presence of permits and actual construction on the ground. Today, Disney has finally gone ahead and made it official. During the Parks and Resorts panel […]

Disney World announces its answer to Uber

Leave it to Disney to find a way to address consumers’ complaints and to increase its revenue stream in one fell swoop. Transportation at Walt Disney World Resort is always at a premium, given the huge number of guests that visit there each and every day and the vast number of square miles that the […]