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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.

Cirque du Soleil buys Blue Man Group & changes Orlando’s future

Well, talk about unexpected. Today, out of the clear blue sky (pardon the expression), Cirque du Soleil announced that it had purchased Blue Man Productions, the parent company behind the Blue Man Group show that has become so famous over the past 26 years (and across the four seasons of Arrested Development, of course). Citing […]

No icon for Halloween Horror Nights 2017?

As fans around the country – and the world – await more announcements regarding this year’s Halloween Horror Nights, it turns out that one of the more notable ones may have just slipped right past most observers. With only two houses revealed thus far (that would be American Horror Story and The Shining, of course) […]

The one way that the Harry Potter and Star Wars lands backfire

With the advent of such next-generation theme park lands as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Pandora: The World of Avatar, themed areas are now an attraction in and of themselves – highly detailed, recreating one specific location from their source material, and fully immersive. Gone are the days when restaurants, gift shops, or, […]

ALL Harry Potter rides receive Express Pass access

UPDATE (7:30 am 07.01.17): Express access has, indeed, been extended to every single ride within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as of this morning. The article has been updated accordingly. For the past several years, the most conspicuous absences on a list of those attractions that don’t feature Express access was, but of course, […]

Is Disney World’s Star Wars Land getting delayed?

Star Wars Land, what is increasingly being talked about – and presented by Disney as – being the next major step in the evolution of theme park design, has been under construction at both Disneyland in Anaheim and Hollywood Studios in Orlando since April 2016. Since then, progress in California has skyrocketed ahead, leaving Florida […]

SeaWorld unleashes Kraken Unleashed

Back in April, SeaWorld formally unveiled Kraken Unleashed, the virtual-reality upgrade to its popular, 17-year-old Kraken roller coaster. Today, the company invited media to try out the new experience for ourselves, just one day ahead of its grand opening to the public. We dove deep into the ride’s virtual waters, again and again, documenting our […]

4 things we just learned about Super Nintendo World

Late last night (Orlando time, that is), a special ground-breaking ceremony was being held over at Universal Studios Japan. There, Mark Woodbury, the president of Universal Creative, and Shigeru Miyamoto, the representative director of Nintendo (as well as the creator of Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and many other timeless videogame properties), took […]

Mario Kart announced for Universal’s Super Nintendo World

A special event was held at Universal Studios Japan today, during which top executives from both Universal and Nintendo graced a stage that doubled as a mini-recreation of the Mushroom Kingdom to announce the very first concrete details of Super Nintendo World, the new themed land that is expected to arrive by 2020 in Osaka […]

Aventura Hotel will be the most technologically advanced at Universal Orlando

Updated 06.05, 9:30 am: Universal has published a new blog post providing a few more details and a home video version of the virtual tour. We’ve incorporated both in the article. International Pow-Wow 2017, the trade show for the US Travel Association, gets underway today at Washington, DC, and Universal decided to mark the occasion […]

18 changes across Islands of Adventure’s 18 years

Although CityWalk – that giant collection of restaurants, night clubs, stores, and entertainment options – might have arrived first, it’s actually with Islands of Adventure that Universal’s toehold in Orlando was truly able to transform into a full-fledged resort. It’s hard to imagine that momentous event happened 18 short years ago, but it’s true – […]

Volcano Bay: 4 biggest takeaways

In case you didn’t know, we spent almost the whole day at Volcano Bay today as part of Universal’s media preview junket. For some six hours, we got to run around Universal Orlando Resort’s third park, hopping on rides, scarfing down food, and otherwise taking in the beautiful theming that the company has meticulously designed […]

Volcano Bay media day live blog

Today’s the day! It’s been a long two years since Universal first announced Volcano Bay, its next-generation “water theme park,” but the Waturi people are finally opening their doors and welcoming specially-selected press into their paradise home starting this morning. Orlando Informer, of course, is among the invitees, and we’re going to live blog about […]

Academy of Villains returning to Halloween Horror Nights 27?

Halloween Horror Nights 2017 is really starting to heat up. Within the past week, we got (official) confirmation that Stanley Kubrick’s legendary Shining is arriving in haunted-house form, and now we’re getting word that a different kind of beloved horror staple will be making a return appearance. Academy of Villains, the 18-year-old theatrical dance company […]

The Shining announced for Halloween Horror Nights 2017

UPDATE (12:08 pm 05.19.17): after making the (accidental) announcement on its travel-agent website on May 2 and then pulling it down (probably after realizing what it had done), Universal has just now finally made it officially official: Stanley Kubrick’s Shining is coming to this year’s Halloween Horror Nights. Here is our (updated) original post, loaded […]

Pandora: Disney reveals new interactive element

Rumors have been swirling for the past several months that Disney would be introducing some sort of interactive element for its massive Pandora: The World of Avatar expansion to Animal Kingdom. Today, just eight days(!) before the land’s grand opening, the company has made it official – and while it’s not quite the same as, […]

SeaWorld Orlando getting Sesame Street expansion

After announcing a revolutionary new water ride for 2018 and its intent to eventually make as many as five on-site hotels, SeaWorld Entertainment today added one more big revelation to the pile: it’s going to add a brand-new themed land to SeaWorld Orlando, as well. SeaWorld has had a 37-year partnership with Sesame Workshop, the […]

Disney is increasing its lead in the food war

Two months ago, we said that Disney was winning the food war against Universal. Today, we can report that Disney is looking to build upon that momentum already. The story goes a little something like this: starting next Saturday, May 27 – the day that Pandora: The World of Avatar opens, not coincidentally – Mobile […]

Volcano Bay: A close-up look at TapuTapu

Volcano Bay is almost here! As such, Universal has, early this morning, decided to go a bit more in-depth into some of the functionality of TapuTapu, the wristband that will enable guests to make Virtual Line reservations, pay for their purchases, and, we just learned yesterday, open lockers. (You can read up on everything there […]

Volcano Bay: 5 things we just learned from our first look inside

Updated 05/16 7:00 pm: Universal has released even more pictures from Volcano Bay! You can find them at the bottom of this article. Volcano Bay will open in just nine days – which means it’s about time to learn some new information about Universal Orlando’s water theme park, yes? Luckily for us, CNN has been […]

Volcano Bay merchandise revealed

With only two weeks to go before Volcano Bay’s grand debut, Universal has just today unveiled the new water park’s merchandise, one of the very last unknown elements left in its lineup. (Speaking of which: if you’ve missed out on Volcano’s amazing backstory or even more incredible food, be sure to check out our previous, […]

SeaWorld’s plans for the future include taking over China

This morning on its first quarter 2017 earnings call, SeaWorld Entertainment delivered some bad news for the present but an extremely exciting and optimistic view for both the near- and distant future – a future that just may see it going toe-to-toe with the likes of Disney and Universal in what is shaping up to […]

See Disney’s Happily Ever After one week early

Disney may not start Happily Ever After, its new nighttime show at Magic Kingdom, until next week, but it’s releasing a pretty detailed preview beginning today. This advanced look is actually an expanded version of the sneak peek the company offered a month-and-a-half ago, but at three times the length, there’s more than enough new […]

Prepare for the biggest-ever Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

A common complaint levied at Epcot, specifically, and Disney, generally, is that rather than investing the capital necessary to remove old structures (such as the mostly-abandoned Wonders of Life Pavilion) and to install new attractions, the company simply introduces new festivals or limited events to ensure the park is still filled year-round. The International Food […]

Disney might become the world leader in driverless vehicle technology

Move over, gondolas – there just may be a new transit game in (Disney) town. As driverless technology continues to slowly expand across the country, it appears as if Disney is seriously considering implementing automated vehicles at its Walt Disney World Resort later this year. According to the LA Times, the first step would be […]

Pandora: Striking images (and details!) from the media event

This morning, Disney held a special media preview event for Pandora: The World of Avatar, which opens at Animal Kingdom on May 27. Although usually described as Walt Disney World’s biggest expansion in over a decade, the new theme park land is probably best summed up as Disney’s big, if somewhat delayed, answer to Universal […]

The 8 must-read stories for April 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 theme park future is secured

Harry Potter gets a great deal of credit for helping to make Universal’s theme park holdings across the globe newly resurgent, but the second player in the success story largely goes unmentioned. Comcast purchased NBCUniversal in 2011 – just a year after The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade opened – and was so […]

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 […]