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Universal Studios *Hollywood* trip report – May 2014 (Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Super Silly Fun Land, Wizarding World construction & more)

I recently scheduled a trip to the Los Angeles area to visit some family members. So what better excuse did I need to include a tour to Universal Studios Hollywood at the same time? Having opened in 1965, USH is the first of the Universal theme parks. (They are already preparing for a 50th anniversary […]

OI Share: Thanksgiving dinner at Hard Rock Hotel is our new family tradition (but I still won’t let those minions swap my turkey for bananas!)

It’s that time of year again… baking, cooking, cleaning, cooking, and of course more CLEANING. It’s the constant work, work, work that comes with every holiday, whether you are a small family of three or you lay claim to a family of twenty. Yes, I’m referring to Thanksgiving and the barrage of chores that come […]

“Limited Time Magic” backstage tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom; “Show Your Disney Side” 2014 campaign kicks off

Limited Time Magic backstage tour of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Editor’s note: The first portion of this post was submitted by one of our fans, Robert, who wanted to share an extraordinary experience he had at Walt Disney World earlier this week. After Robert’s report, keep reading to learn about the 2014 campaign replacing Limited Time […]

OI Share: One family’s incredible 2,000-mile, 36-hour trip to Halloween Horror Nights

Although our family has been going to Universal Orlando since 1991, I never really paid much attention to Halloween Horror Nights. First of all, even though I am a huge fan of horror movies, I always hated fun houses as a kid, especially the ones with live people in them. So even though I was aware of Universal’s […]

OI Share: Take a Universal trip through time as one family recreates photo ops across a decade

Editor’s note: Thanks to John for sending in this great message and for allowing us to publish his amazing photos. First let me say what a great job you are doing with your site. I know how hard it is to keep a site up to date. My family just got back from a trip […]

Endurance Shield: An extraordinary vacation deserves an extraordinary sunscreen

As the daughter and wife to OrlandoInformer.com’s founder, Dan Hatfield, Noa and I spend a lot of our free time at the parks. Dan has taught us many things — how to avoid the lines, where to get the best breakfast, and the importance of arriving fully prepared for the weather! Of course, for most […]

OI Share: Understanding the Transformers legacy before you join the resistance at Universal Orlando

The Transformers is an international phenomenon that came about as a chance trip by some Hasbro executives to the Tokyo Toy Show in 1983. They were looking for another smash hit after the successful relaunch of the G.I. Joe line from the 1960s, and they heard that transforming toys were popular in Japan dating back […]

OI Share: My concert review of Gavin DeGraw at Universal’s Summer Concert Series (it was a beautiful and soulful evening)

The stage was set and the crowd gathered at Universal Studios’ Music Plaza for a concert by Gavin DeGraw, part of the Summer Concert Series event. For most of the day, clouds and thunderstorms hovered over Universal Orlando. I, along with many other hopeful and determine fans, did not let this bring down our spirits. […]

New Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley & Hogwarts Express details possibly revealed in guest survey

Editor’s note: this article has been republished with permission from Parkscope.net. Good afternoon, true believers! I’m here after completing a survey which Universal Orlando had just sent me asking my opinions on some things pertaining to both Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express. First of all, the survey says the planned opening for the land […]

OI Share: How to make the most of Early Park Admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I’ve been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter pushing fifty times so far. I was there the first week of previews in 2010, and on Grand Opening Day, for private events every summer, and during Christmas Week and Spring Break, when it’s so crowded at ten in the morning that you can barely walk, […]

The TODAY Show to film live at Universal Orlando May 23 as part of their Great American Adventure

Update – May 23, 2013 The TODAY Show live broadcast is over. You can see our review by clicking here.   Original post The anchors are packing their bags! For the first time in TODAY history, all five anchors — Matt, Savannah, Natalie, Al and Willie — are traveling together. They’ll dip their toes in […]

OI Share: My concert review of The All-American Rejects at Universal Mardi Gras (old and new fans rock out to AAR songs from across their 10-year career)

The stage was set and the Universal Music Plaza was packed to capacity with energetic fans awaiting for The All-American Rejects to take the stage for the final 2013 Mardi Gras concert. The crowds were a mixed of old and new fans, but still all were hyped to see band. The time finally arrived for […]

OI Share: My electrifying studio audience experience at Universal’s TNA IMPACT Wrestling

Recently my boyfriend and I headed to Universal Orlando. We have annual passes and go every few months, but this day in particular was special to me. We were going to see one of the final episodes of TNA (Total Nonstop Action) IMPACT Wrestling to be filmed at Universal. I’m a huge wrestling fan and […]

OI Share: My concert review of Matchbox Twenty at Universal Mardi Gras (the band gave their hometown an incredible show)

The excitement was in the air and the Music Plaza was packed to capacity with fans excited to see Matchbox Twenty last Saturday. This Universal Mardi Gras concert was going to be one intense experience. After making my way through the crowds, I found a decent spot near the back and waited patiently for Matchbox […]

OI Share: My concert review of Boys Like Girls at Universal Mardi Gras (another high energy performance!)

Universal Orlando offered Mardi Gras 2013 goers two concerts during the Presidents Day weekend. The band to end the holiday weekend was none other than Boston’s own Boys Like Girls. The band has performed two other times at Universal Studios, and each time they gave us a memorable experience by sharing their love for Orlando, […]

International Driving Permits: Explanation of the 2013 law (update: law repealed)

Important This law has been repealed. We’ll keep this article posted just for those who are curious about the matter, but please know you don’t need to purchase an International Driving Permit if you’re visiting from the UK or Canada.   2013 changes to the International Driving Permit requirement As of January 1, 2013, it […]

OI Share: Experiencing Universal Orlando’s theme parks has changed my life forever

Let me start by taking a little trip back in time. For my 14th birthday, my parents took me and my brother to Orlando for a week. It was the best birthday present ever, and one that I will always treasure. During this vacation, we made a stop at Walt Disney World for three days: […]

OI Share: J.K. Rowling and The Casual Signing. Or, a fan gets her WWoHP wand signed by Jo!

We reached the Wizarding World of Harry Potter after weeks, nay MONTHS of anticipation. I chortled to myself as I spied visitors galore wearing overpriced robes, careening around with wild eyed enthusiasm. “Foolish muggles” I sighed to myself, tutting at their blatant lack of magic, ignoring my own, but that wouldn’t last long. I was […]

OI Share: The Marvel Super Heroes join a Navy family for a special “shout out”

We are a proud Navy family! But, because we are a Navy family, deployments are a part of our lives. My husband, Tom, has been in the service for over 26 years and continues to love it every day, but deployments stink. The one he is current on is particularly hard as he left prior […]

OI Share: Magic in the Wizarding World – a little girl’s dream of a Harry Potter proposal comes true

Since the age of ten years old, I’ve been a devoted Harry Potter fan. Any opportunity I get to head out of Brooklyn, New York and into my fantasyland of Hogwarts, I run for it! Walking with my boyfriend back into my favorite place of all time, the exciting town of Hogsmeade Village at Universal’s […]

10 tips for visiting New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World

Editor’s note: Thank you to Amanda, who runs TheMammaMiaBlog.com, for letting us share this post with our readers. We live in Orlando so it was pretty much mandatory we check out Disney’s new Fantasyland last weekend during the soft opening. My wonderful uncle had sent along a handful of “after 4 pm” passes for me to use […]

DoorSideDelivery.com grocery service allows Christy to focus on making family memories during their vacation

Editor’s note: Last month on our site Christy won a $100 grocery credit and free hotel delivery from DoorSideDelivery.com. In this post she tells us about her experience with the service and her travels in Orlando. Let me introduce my family: Rodney, Christy, Andrea (16) and Luke (8).  We live in Montague, Prince Edward Island, […]

OI Share: Joshua spends four days enjoying so much at Disney World – part 2

We now join Joshua on day 3 of his Disney World vacation. If you have not yet read about his adventures on day 1 and 2, please click here.   Day 3 Hooray for Hollywood! It’s always a great feeling walking into Disney’s Hollywood Studios as soon as the park opens. I went to get […]

OI Share: Joshua spends four days enjoying so much at Disney World – part 1

Day 1 After an early wake up, my flight arrived at MCO around 9:30 in the morning and I went straight to Disney’s Magical Express. There was just one person in front of me at the Coronado Springs line and I waited about ten minutes before boarding the bus along with other guests traveling to […]

OI Share: Laura’s family spends the best day of their trip at Universal’s Islands of Adventure!

My family and I can’t thank Orlando Informer enough for your tips and tricks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We did exactly as you suggested and had a wonderful time! I was singing your praises all day! We rode the Forbidden Journey four times and we would have gone more times, but our […]

OI Share: Tina’s guide to the amazing Wizarding World of Harry Potter (with over 100 photos!)

Editor’s note: Thank you to Tina from sugarbeanbakers.blogspot.com for sharing this post about her recent visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and all of her incredible photos (don’t miss the gallery at the bottom of the post with more than 100 images). This is a very long, photo heavy, and detailed post about […]

OI Share: A lifelong Halloween Horror Nights follower experiences the event for the first time

This past weekend I traveled to Universal Orlando for a three day visit, the main reason for the short trip was for Halloween Horror Nights. I have been a huge follower of Halloween Horror Nights for years, but being in the UK the cost was too high to visit. Luckily last year I moved to […]

OI Share: Jim and his family spend one of their best vacations ever in Orlando – part two

This is part two of Jim’s trip report covering his family’s recent visit to Orlando. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out part one. SeaWorld is a great park for those looking to add a little education in their vacation. Although it does not have the number of rides that are at Universal, […]

OI Share: Jim and his family spend one of their best vacations ever in Orlando – part one

This year our family of mom, dad, three kids (22, 17 & 15) and grandma decided to take our one week trip to Orlando mainly for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  The OrlandoInformer.com website was extremely helpful with deciding what to see and how to accomplish it. The three kids and I are into […]

OI Share: Patricia takes her family to Universal Orlando and finds a little slice of heaven

This past May, my husband and I took our first ever family vacation, and we went to Universal Orlando. We have two kids with special needs — one has a form of Autism, and one has CP and other brain issues — so naturally I was worried about how this trip would go. In the […]

OI Share: Wendy and her family enjoy the delights of staying on-site at Universal Orlando

My husband and I surprised our seven year old son who loves Harry Potter with a trip to Universal Orlando Resort. We took the advice offered on Orlando Informer and stayed within the park and booked the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” vacation package. Our flight landed into Orlando from New York around 11am. We […]

OI Share: April takes us along to visit Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee

We recently enjoyed a seven night stay at Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee, Florida. Orange Lake is situated on over 1,400 acres. The four villages house seven pools, a lazy river, an 80-acre lake, four golf courses, seven restaurants, two mini golf courses, plenty of shopping, and lots of activities! We stayed in a 2-bedroom, […]

OI Share: Lori shares her touring plan & insights with us after a fun-filled day at Legoland Florida

Here’s an overview of our Legoland Florida visit with a few suggestions thrown in. We were there on Wednesday, May 30, and the park hours were 10am – 5pm. Our party consisted of two adults, a 12-year old girl, and two die-hard Lego boys, 9 and 7. We did not purchase the additional admission to […]

OI Share: Planning pays off for Heather during her family’s recent visit to Universal Orlando – part two

Editor’s note: Thank you to Heather (OI username MamaSowers) for sharing her trip report from her recent visit to Universal with me. Now, with her permission, I am pleased to share part two of her report with you. If you haven’t read through part one yet, click here. Since our first foray into the world […]

OI Share: Planning pays off for Heather during her family’s recent visit to Universal Orlando – part one

Editor’s note: Thank you to Heather (OI username MamaSowers) for sharing her trip report from her recent visit to Universal with me. Now, with her permission, I am pleased to share it with you. Enjoy! I cannot thank you enough for your amazing and informative website. I am a compulsive planner, and your site helped […]

OI Share: Marjorie and her family spend a day of wonder at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

My kids and I are huge fans of Harry Potter, having just read and watched all the books and movies in the past year. That’s why my husband and I started thinking we should plan a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I have a number of friends who have been to WWoHP […]

OI Share: Chuck and his family experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter during Spring Break 2012

We just got back from a four day trip to Universal Orlando and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Dan offered me an opportunity to share my family’s experience with OI readers, and so I think I will. Here we go! We were able to tour the area without much of a crowd due to […]

OI Share: Audrea and Becky do Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras in style

On March 30, 2012, My friend Becky and I hopped in her car for a weekend venture to Universal Orlando. More specifically for Universal’s Mardi Gras event. I had never been before even though I make a lot of trips to Universal. After our 4 hour car ride, we finally make it to the parking deck. Prior […]

OI Share: Don and his family experience the greatest vacation so far – part two

This is Part Two of Don’s story. If you haven’t read Part One yet, you can click here to view it. At approximately 11:30, we walked back to WWoHP and made our way to The Three Broomsticks. We were in line for about 15 minutes before getting a table for six. The 3 girls each […]

OI Share: Don and his family experience the greatest vacation so far – part one

I have been to Universal Orlando 6 times, with 4 of the trips happening before IOA existed. On March 1, 2012, I set out to Florida for my 7th visit. Accompanying me were my two children, Bryce, 11, and Hailey, 6, my fiancé Jen, and her two daughters, Paige, 11 and Aly, 9. Bryce and […]

Disney Controversies: The Guest Assistance Card as a Front-of-the-Line Pass

The article below has been re-published with permission from disneylovinspectrummom.blogspot.com. The Guest Assistance Card (GAC) is intended for use by guests with Special Needs and can be obtained from Guest Relations at any of the Disney theme parks. The GAC is typically utilized by guests with “invisible” disabilities (such as autism spectrum disorders) and it […]

OI Share: Delisa of ‘Angry Koala Gear’ visits the Wizarding World

I don’t remember the first time I went to the zoo, park or Disneyland when I was younger. I imagine that experience was emotional, filled with awe much like how I felt when I first walked into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal’s Islands of Adventure. I’ve invested a lot of time, energy […]

OI Share: Cara and family visit Universal Orlando over New Years – and find it surprisingly relaxed!

Our adventure truly began months before, when I discovered OrlandoInformer.com and the OI Universal Center – it really helped my research on our most recent Florida trip. We’d been to Orlando twice before, both times to visit Disney exclusively (staying at a Disney resort, doing the meal deal, having strict touring plans) – both trips […]

OI Share: Alyssa experiences a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Universal for the Harry Potter Home Entertainment Celebration

Although this was not my first time to Universal Orlando, it was surely a vacation unlike any other. My mom and I are theme park regulars, as well as dedicated Harry Potter fans. On June 18, 2010, we were two of the thousands of people who lined up in front of Universal’s Islands of Adventure […]

OI Share: Living gluten-free at Halloween Horror Nights (thanks to Finnegan’s)

I had a great gluten-free experience recently at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida for Halloween Horror Nights 2011!! Plans changed unexpectedly with the group of friends I went with because of time restraints!  We had plans to eat beforehand, but we all really wanted to get to the park and enjoy the fun!!  For a […]

OI Share: AAA and other ways to save at Universal Orlando

We visited Universal Orlando on Sept 14 and 15, which was a great time to visit with very low crowds. Here are my savings tips!   1. Book your trip through AAA I am always looking for ways to save money and vacations are no exception. When we started planning our trip to Universal, I […]

OI Share: Joshua C experiences Orlando’s best vacation at Universal’s Rock the Universe

I have been to Orlando many times and am VERY familiar with the parks. I can honestly say that I think Rock the Universe was the BEST Orlando vacation I have ever experienced. There is no way to see over 20 awesome bands plus go to both theme parks for such a low price. I […]

OI Share: Alissa & family visit Universal Orlando (and help us understand the Guest Assistance Pass)

Editor’s note: After reading this blog post, we highly recommend that you visit our Universal Orlando Attraction Assistance & Guest Assistance Passes page for even more detailed information about this topic. Who doesn’t want their trip to Orlando to be the perfect, fun trip for their family? No one I know. Who has a child […]

OI Share: Jim Z reveals his family’s insider tricks from their visit to Universal Orlando & Hard Rock Hotel

Hi OI readers, My family returned a few weeks ago from our vacation to Universal Orlando. We enjoyed using the touring plans from this site (Editor’s note: learn more about OI’s touring plans). We also figured out some insider tricks to add to the touring plans, especially if you are staying at Hard Rock Hotel. […]

OI Share: Cindy Sue and family enjoy a productive and fun-filled day throughout Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Monday 29th August 2011 Islands of Adventure and Harry Potter After doing all my research and reading most pages on OrlandoInformer.com the day finally arrived. There were 8 of us, three families. One had a 17 year old girl, one a 12 year old boy. All were Harry Potter fans except me. I’ve maybe seen […]