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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: 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 […]

6 best final ride scenes at Universal Orlando

Yes, we’ve already gone on the record and said that the queue is the best part of a themed attraction. While this may be true, there’s still much else to love in the experience – particularly the very last moment, that brief period of time that designers can use to knock your socks off in […]

Disney celebrates Animal Kingdom’s 20th anniversary with major party

In order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its fourth – and still newest – Walt Disney World Resort theme park, Disney will be throwing a party for the ages… and using the occasion to kick off a few other new experiences at Animal Kingdom. Let’s tackle these in order, shall we? Party for the […]

3 reasons you should see a movie at Disney World

When undertaking a vacation to Walt Disney World’s theme parks, many families usually generate long lists of all the various experiences they’d like to tackle – and most, if not all, of these items are usually exclusive to the resort (such as, say, catching a particular character breakfast or, of course, hopping on a specific […]

Major Disney World news on Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, and more

At tonight’s D23 Expo Japan presentation at (where else?) Tokyo Disney Resort, Disney Parks and Resorts may not have revealed a tidal wave of new announcements – as the division did at the American counterpart’s event last July – but it still decided to unveil a series of smaller-yet-still-exciting details regarding its biggest and most-visited […]

The 6 best queues at Universal Orlando

The ride experience itself might be the heart of an attraction, but the queue just may be its very best part – establishing the tone, laying out the backstory, and building up the anticipation step by expert step, the line is that theme-park element that routinely makes us feel like we’re kids excitedly counting down […]

Review: The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle

Last Christmas, Universal gave Harry Potter fans – and theme-park aficionados across the board – a very special gift in the form of a brand-new projection-mapping show called The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, which debuted as part of the larger Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter celebration. Transforming the iconic Hogwarts […]

CONFIRMED: Voodoo Doughnut coming to Universal CityWalk

Update October 19, 2018: Voodoo Doughnut is now open! You can find the announcement of its arrival that we originally published in January 2018 below. While not necessarily surprising, it’s still terrific to have the news officially confirmed: Voodoo Doughnut, that unique and fast-spreading West Coast start-up, is landing in CityWalk Orlando. We’ve already given […]

Dates for new Harry Potter projection show announced

When word arrived in early 2017 that both Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Hollywood would be receiving projection-mapping shows utilizing Hogwarts Castle as their canvas, Floridians were, understandably, confused. Universal Orlando Resort had been the original Harry Potter trailblazer, after all, opening Hogsmeade several years before its counterparts and, even, topping it off with […]

Exploring Disney Springs’s newest restaurants

The dining, shopping, and entertainment district formerly known as Downtown Disney may have finished its transformation into Disney Springs nearly two years ago, but that hasn’t stopped the area from continuing to unfurl new experiences and recruit new tenants. As of today, a whole swath of them are now open, representing something of a mini-landmark […]

Harry Potter projection show (and more!) coming to Universal Orlando

We’ve already run down this year’s big new attractions, ranging from Fast & Furious: Supercharged to Aventura Hotel. It turns out, however, that we didn’t quite know every last item that is set to debut within the next 12-month period – Universal just today teased us all with some big announcements that are hovering on […]

Model maker dreams of breaking into the theme park industry

You may not know Kolby Ratigan’s name now, but odds are you will in the future. The 18-year-old University of Redlands student (where he’s studying theater design and fine art, with an emphasis on themed entertainment design) is currently eyeing a job as either an art director or attraction designer for a major theme-park design […]

Explained: How Disney buying Fox affects Disney World

UPDATE (07.19.18): Just to recap: last December, after a tense, months-long process of behind-the-scenes negotiations, 21st Century Fox publicly announced its intentions to sell large swaths of its film and television portfolio to The Walt Disney Company – an industry-changing move, substantially shrinking the pool of studios in the Hollywood game and further upgrading Disney to […]

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort expansion REVEALED

While we’ve known for some time that Caribbean Beach Resort at Walt Disney World Resort would be getting something of an overhaul, we had no idea what, exactly, those details would consist of. Now we do, thanks to the “12 Days of Disney Parks Christmas” promotion that Disney’s currently throwing. Here’s what we know so […]

Marvel Character Dinner coming to Universal Orlando

In October, the surprise announcement was made that the Superstar Character Breakfast would be retired the following month and would be replaced with a new, unnamed character dining experience sometime in 2018. What has turned out to be an even bigger surprise, however, is what that replacement is: Marvel. The Marvel Character Dinner will begin […]

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, […]

Universal Orlando’s newest hotel project(s)

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 30,000+ 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 […]