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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 31 other sites, has had his fiction featured in several publications, and has even taught English in Japan. Imagineering school won’t be too far behind.

The exotic desserts of Pandora: The World of Avatar

Disney has been aggressively pursuing its food and beverage lineup for next month’s Pandora: The World of Avatar, telling us about the brand-new Mobile Order initiative and even revealing the land’s full menu. This is no surprise – Universal has said that it views the South Pacific cuisine of Volcano Bay as one of the […]

Disney’s little touches are making Pandora super immersive

Much attention has been paid of late to 2019’s Star Wars Land, and how it promises to revolutionize the theme park experience with built-in hotels and ongoing, all-encompassing narratives, but it’s increasingly looking like Disney will beat itself to the punch with Pandora: The World of Avatar, which opens at Animal Kingdom next month. Pandora’s […]

Star Wars Land: Our first glimpse of its layout and attractions

Over this past weekend, we were treated to a special panel at Star Wars Celebration Orlando that offered up a few tantalizing glimpses into Star Wars Land, the 2019 expansion that is going into Hollywood Studios in Orlando and Disneyland Park in Anaheim. (We also got a behind-the-scenes video, to boot, which was low on […]

Harry Potter: What we want out of the wizarding Christmas

In case you missed the big news from last week – seriously, it’s one of the most popular stories we’ve ever run in Orlando Informer’s entire six-year history – Christmas is coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter this year. The festivities will start on November 18 and will consist of exclusive décor, seasonal […]

RUMOR: Is Disney making Star Wars, Indiana Jones, & Frozen hotels?

The news has been running rampant today that Disney is currently surveying guests about a possible Star Wars-themed hotel that would potentially be installed on-property at Walt Disney World Resort. This is understandably exciting – thus all the headlines, social media posts, and, even, local news coverage(!) in Orlando – but it’s actually only one-third […]

Toothsome has a ONE-DAY-ONLY milkshake today

Even before Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen opened last September 22, it was renowned for its impressive façade (which was helped furnished by none other than Universal Creative, the department responsible for designing theme park attractions) and, of course, for its over-the-top milkshakes, which range from the delectable Espresso Buzz Milkshake (which features […]

4 things we just learned about Star Wars Land

It feels like we’ve been discussing Star Wars Land, Disney’s biggest single-property land in its 62-year theme-park history, forever now; in reality, however, The Walt Disney Company only officially announced the expansion in 2015, and construction began just a year ago. Still, even within this two-year context, we actually know precious little about the area […]

SeaWorld’s 2017 attractions are intriguing

This morning, SeaWorld held a press event to unveil for the very first time Infinity Falls, a first-of-its-kind rapids raft ride that will anchor a brand-new river village area in SeaWorld Orlando. This “family thrill” attraction will arrive in the summer of 2018, and the company is very obviously hoping it’ll herald a new era […]

Harry Potter Christmas Celebration announced

Universal has just announced a Christmas Celebration at Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, an event that has long been rumored. Although the details are, as of this moment, rather sparse, what information has been provided is nothing short of exhilarating. We have very little doubt that this will prove to be one of […]

SeaWorld announces a revolutionary new water ride

This is the summer of the water park. Universal is, of course, leading the charge with Volcano Bay, which is being billed as a “water theme park,” and Disney has decided to get into the game by adding Miss Adventure Falls, the first new attraction to land at Typhoon Lagoon in a decade. Now it’s […]

Traveling from Universal to Miami in 26 minutes? Maybe soon

One of the biggest problems facing tourists when they arrive in Central Florida is transportation; the last thing a number of visitors want to do while on vacation is having to drive around Orlando’s heavily-congested roadways (hence Disney offering its Magical Express service from the airport to its on-site hotels), and those who hail from […]

Universal’s next-gen ride concept is built for SPEED

Everyone is keenly aware of this year’s big additions to Universal Orlando Resort – this month’s Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, next month’s Volcano Bay, and, just possibly, a Harry Potter nighttime show later this year – which means it might be a good time to pivot to those wonders that Universal has […]

Should parents be allowed to pull kids from school for vacations?

One of the most perennial, most fundamental questions to tackle during vacation planning has always been: do I take my children out of school for our Orlando trip? The pros and cons make the issue more fraught than one might otherwise assume – waiting until a school break means bigger crowds and more expensive rates […]

Volcano Bay: What to do first?

You’ve gotten your ticket (no easy task!), waited in line for Early Park Admission, and, of course, snagged your TapuTapu upon entering the front gate. What now? There’s a lot to do at Volcano Bay, from leisurely activities to some pretty high-end thrills, and this is precisely the way that Universal has designed it – […]

New ride concept for Harry Potter, Nintendo, or something else?

Universal has been on something of a roll with patents lately (or, at least, the news media are on a roll picking up on them) – after two registrations were filed two weeks ago that may or may not have something to do with the new Harry Potter ride that will replace the rumored-to-close Dragon […]

Jimmy Fallon’s grand opening was crazy but purposeful

Despite severe weather in the area, which threatened to disrupt the proceedings, Jimmy Fallon and a gaggle of his closest friends – both of the real and Universal costumed variety – arrived in a mini-parade down the street in front of his brand-new, now-open attraction, Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. The event was […]

The 13 must-read stories for March 2017

When covering Orlando and all of its many splendid attractions – including, of course, our particular focus, Universal Orlando Resort – it can be easy to get buried in a deluge of news stories or site updates. This is to be expected, given the breadth and depth of Central Florida’s themed wares, but it’s also […]

Universal’s Volcano Bay: Top 6 sips and eats

I know it seems like we’ve been talking about Volcano Bay’s food for ages already, but that’s the result of two different factors: our honest, unbridled enthusiasm for the South Pacific cuisine, and Universal’s attempts to create something truly unique. In fact, in a special media presentation held today at Universal Studios Florida, we got […]

5 BIG Disney updates from March 2017

March may have been an unusually busy month for Universal, but it turns out that it was a rather jam-packed 30 days for its main competitor down the street, as well. Walt Disney World Resort, thanks to its roughly 13,000 acres, is always in a state of flux, with a constant stream of news updates, […]

4 BIG Universal updates from March 2017

March has been an exceptionally busy month for Universal – not surprising, given just how big of a year 2017 promises to be (we already have Volcano Bay and Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon confirmed, with a Harry Potter nighttime show and, just maybe, Christmas event rumored to be on the way). From […]

REVEALED: How your annual pass works (or not) at Volcano Bay

Ever since Volcano Bay was first announced two years ago, there has been one overriding question that keeps inundating us here at OI HQ (and Universal’s Guest Services department and, we’re pretty sure, every other part of the online themed community, as well): “Will my annual pass work at the water theme park?” We now, […]

Volcano Bay’s Express Passes, Premium Seating, & one-day tickets blown open

Universal has revealed a whole score of details regarding a wide range of items at its upcoming Volcano Bay water theme park, including cabana rentals, Express Passes, and a brand-new feature called Premium Seating. Although we’re still waiting to learn all of the details (Universal has published and then taken down the information at least […]

Disney is beating Universal to the Virtual Queue punch

Universal has been betting big on the idea of Virtual Queues as of late – Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, which officially opens next week, is the first ride to have the lineless queue be built into it from the ground up, and Volcano Bay, the brand-new “water theme park” that bows on […]

What if Apple bought Disney and turned it into Universal?

Bear with me for a moment here. Over the past several months, there have been various individuals or publications in the financial industry that have been eagerly discussing the possibility of Apple, Inc., one of the largest companies in the world, purchasing The Walt Disney Company, another of the biggest. The impetus for this speculation […]

Disney releases 2 NEW Pandora details

This has been a pretty big week for Universal, whether the company intended that or not: we’ve learned of its intention to build a massive seventh hotel on-site, discovered its patents for next-generation (Harry Potter?) rides, and, just this morning, saw its bold new take on the theme park menu for Volcano Bay. But Disney […]

REVEALED: Volcano Bay’s crazy food

Over the course of the past two years, Universal has been slowly but surely revealing every last facet of its brand-new “water theme park”: its attractions, backstory, and, most intriguing of all, its TapuTapu wearable. But what’s been missing in this deluge of information (see what I did there?) has been Volcano Bay’s food and […]

Is THIS Universal’s new Harry Potter ride?

We’ve known for some time now that Dragon Challenge, the dueling coasters in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, may very well be on the chopping block and may, in fact, be shutting down for good later this year. What’s remained unknown is what, exactly, would replace it. It just so happens that […]

CONFIRMED: Universal’s seventh on-site hotel

When Comcast took control of NBCUniversal some six years ago, it was unsatisfied with how few hotel rooms were on-property at Universal Orlando – only some 2,400, spread across the first three venues of Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, and Royal Pacific Resort. With the sheer amount of money and people that are now […]

How Disney is beating Universal in the food war

As is well-known by now, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter redefined the way that theme park operators think about their food offerings and the way that guests view it as part of their get-away-from-reality vacations. No longer is the standard, boring fare of hamburgers and mac-‘n-cheese the order of the day, served up in […]

The surprising way that Jimmy Fallon connects with Avatar Land

A funny thing happened after experiencing Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon during its technical rehearsal period twice in one weekend: I went back to my hotel room after the second ride-through and started watching The Tonight Show clips. When I returned back home, I shared them with my wife, who’s way more of […]

Marvel’s apex – and what it means for Universal

It may appear that Marvel Super Hero Island is isolated from all the rest of Marvel Entertainment – and its parent company, Disney – meaning that whatever happens in the constantly-being-revamped comic books and the ever-more-sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe have absolutely no bearing on Universal’s theme park land. To a very large extent, this is […]

I’ve eaten at every CityWalk table-service restaurant

Yes, the theme parks – and, soon, the “theme water park” of Volcano Bay – are where all the action of Universal Orlando is at; one makes the journey in order to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, ride The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, and delight in the Universal Horror Makeup Show, after all. […]

Does the new Harry Potter ride NEED Harry Potter?

One of the main, everlasting draws of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, in addition to its stellar queue and its faithfulness to the source material, is its inclusion of a cornucopia of actors from the Harry Potter films; being able to swoop over a Quidditch pitch or through the Chamber of Secrets wouldn’t be […]

The top-secret location Disney uses to create new food and drinks

Delish, a “top-10 food-related” website, was recently invited by Disney to come check out the Flavor Lab, a top-secret complex that opened in October 2015 in order to serve “as a hub of new product, packaging, and equipment innovation for food and beverage programs across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts,” according to the Disney Parks […]

Did Disney just confirm a major Star Wars Land rumor?

With its grand debut just two short(ish) years away, we’re starting to get more and more information about Disney’s Star Wars Land, which is due to arrive simultaneously at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. Even with this steady trickle of confirmations, however – and even with the occasional sneak peek at the ongoing […]

Welcome to Lava Lagoon, the original Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay, Universal Orlando Resort’s third park, is soon to open its watery doors to guests. While everyone continues to wait with baited breath – and to ask an endless series of questions that we still can’t answer as of yet – it might behoove us to take a quick detour to the not-so-distant past, […]

Volcano Bay’s amazing backstory was just revealed

If it seems like Disney and Universal are in something of a marketing war, you’re right on the money: Pandora: The World of Avatar, an expansion at Animal Kingdom, bows on May 27th, while Universal’s third park, Volcano Bay, will hold its grand opening two days earlier, on the 25th. And seeing as how we […]

First look at Avatar: Flight of Passage’s queue

After nearly five-and-a-half years of development and construction, Pandora: The World of Avatar’s May 27, 2017 opening date is nearly upon us – which means the flow of information from Disney on the land’s mysterious contents is widening to a veritable deluge. Earlier this week, we got our first look at the exclusive food and […]

4 biggest takeaways from Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

In case you missed the news, Universal has started soft openings for its brand-new ride, Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, which is set for a grand opening on Thursday, April 6. This, of course, means that it’s time for a media preview event, which occurred earlier this morning at the attraction itself. We […]

Harry Potter: 5 things to know before venturing to the Wizarding World

It’s no surprise that Harry Potter is the most popular sight to behold at Universal Orlando – it’s the sole reason for the resort’s current resurgence, after all, and both of the Boy Wizard’s theme park lands tend to be the single most-crowded locations. It’s also no surprise, then, that we here at Orlando Informer […]

SeaWorld’s next frontier: Virtual reality

SeaWorld hasn’t been doing well recently, with most of its troubles originating from the 2013 documentary Blackfish and all the controversies emanating from it. But the company is fighting back, attempting to transform all of its marquee parks around the country – and, now, around the world, with the recent news of the Abu Dhabi […]

5 rumors we WISH came true at Universal Orlando

One of the most exciting features about Universal Orlando Resort is its current state of unprecedented construction and expansion. Ever since 2012, parent company Comcast has been pumping some $500 million a year into the crown jewel of its global theme park empire, having new rides, restaurants, or hotels open up each year – with […]

Disney unveils a first-ever Ant-Man ride

Hong Kong Disneyland is currently in the midst of its own Universal Orlando Resort-esque expansion and renovation plan – with a price tag of $1.4 billion (what Comcast spends on its four American parks in a three-year period), Disney is going to open a new attraction nearly every single year from 2018 to 2023, whether […]

How Jimmy Fallon is the future of theme park attractions

One could make the argument that Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon has a lot going against it: its show building is small and constrained, thanks to its location and the fact that Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit’s track careens through its second story; it features an intellectual property that has only limited appeal outside […]

SeaWorld is looking down – but not out

SeaWorld’s revenue and attendance numbers for 2016 were released this week, and the situation – as one might expect – isn’t particularly good. The company and the Orlando park both are still feeling the consequences of the Blackfish controversy; the 2013 documentary galvanized anti-captivity advocates and produced a tidal wave of bad publicity for SeaWorld, […]

Disney World’s Star Wars Land is already shaping up!

One of the biggest developments to come out of The Walt Disney Company’s purchasing of Lucasfilm back in October 2012 – besides getting two new trilogies of Star Wars films, but of course – was the possibility of finally getting an entire area themed to writer-director George Lucas’s galaxy far, far away. Development on such […]

Universal expanding its global theme park empire?

Universal Studios Hollywood may have started the whole shebang off, Universal Orlando Resort may be the company’s crown jewel, and Universal Studios Japan may be the newly-acquired property, but Universal Parks and Resorts has long been contemplating other theme park locations around the world, stretching all the way back to the period right after USJ […]

4 secrets of Minion Park, the new Despicable Me land coming to Japan

Despicable Me – which is now intertwined with its spinoff franchise, Minions – has been a growing cinematic phenomenon, with its most recent release grossing $1.1 billion at the global box office (that’s as much as Captain America: Civil War!). It turns out, however, that it’s in the realm of theme parks that the property […]

5 top Volcano Bay questions (and our best answers)

Universal Orlando Resort has been on a roll for the past five years, adding new rides, restaurants, and hotels at an unprecedentedly fast clip (that’s what investing some $500 million a year does for you). And while previous summers have seen some rather major additions – 2014’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon […]

4 ways Harry Potter influenced Avatar Land

There’s been so much hype for this summer’s Pandora: The World of Avatar – most of it from Disney’s Imagineers and Avatar’s filmmakers themselves – that it seems almost impossible for it to live up to even half of the built-up expectations. Then again, the very same scenario greeted Universal’s The Wizarding World of Harry […]