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VelociCoaster previews, CityWalk gets another closure, and unusual Universal Beijing eateries: Your weekly theme-park recap (April 26-May 2, 2021)


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Here’s what you need to know in the world of Orlando theme-park news for the week of Apr. 26-May 2, 2021.

1. We don’t ever get tired of saying this: this past week belonged to Jurassic World VelociCoaster. On Thursday, Universal opened up its eagerly anticipated attraction to its team members, which produced some great images of some pretty happy employees getting to experience the roller coaster for the very first time. This, in turn, lead to some other, equally compelling imagery coming out, officially detailing some elements of VelociCoaster’s queue that we hadn’t gotten the chance to see before.

Here’s where you can find everything:

  • Team members captured in the wild (photos)
  • Some close-up details of the employees’ new – and very cool! – uniforms (photo)
  • A peek-a-boo raptor (photo)
  • A muzzled raptor waiting to sniff you in the queue (photo)
  • Our updated tour through the queue (article)

2. Of course, team members weren’t the only ones lucky enough to experience Universal’s newest attraction this week. Jurassic World VelociCoaster Passholder Previews began on Sunday, May 2, and the OI team arrived bright and early to join the hunt. This riveting ride launched itself straight to the top of our coaster rankings, exceeding our lofty expectations and proving itself to be an incredible addition to Universal Orlando’s collection of thrills.

Want to know every exhilarating detail we encountered? Check out our full review of Jurassic World VelociCoaster here.

Our first ever romp in the raptor paddock

3. CityWalk saw its second (abrupt) closure of the year in the form of Fusion Bistro Sushi & Sake Bar (the first item in the dining/shopping/entertainment district to go in 2021, in case you need a reminder, was Blue Man Group). Though small and often overlooked, Fusion Bistro was a great little place to catch a good meal at a fair (theme-park) price and to eat away from the crowds. We’re sorry to see it go, but, at the same time, we’re also eager to see what will replace it.

Find out everything there was to know about Universal’s little sushi place-that-could here, in our aptly named Prop Graveyard.

4. Universal Beijing Resort also managed to get in on the news last week, and in a rather big way. After starting to more fully detail the various attractions that will populate its theme park, Universal Studios Beijing, and the two hotels that will surround it, Universal had one last major piece of the pie to fill: CityWalk, along with all of its 24 tenants.

And what a list that turns out to be. Some of the most notable items include exclusive savory ice cream and dairy delicacies; a dining, entertainment, and merchandise venue developed by BMW(!); a restaurant with dining on a terrace, against the neon nightscape that is Universal CityWalk Beijing; a store devoted to mystery boxes and customized licensed merch; and a financial-services branch (but of course).

See the full roster here.

5. On a recent trip to Universal Orlando, we noticed a few small differences to the resort. For starters, the usual “unprecedented times” message that would play while traversing the (iconic) moving walkways from the parking structures to CityWalk has been removed – a small observation but something of a big deal, as that broadcast had been a constant refrain since the parks reopened after their initial COVID-19 closure. In its place has been a return to the pre-pandemic standard: music. And accompanying this development was a slight revision to the social-distancing markers that were also set up all across the resort after it had reopened last year; while they are still spaced six feet apart, the floor markings themselves are now much smaller.

View video and pictures of the twin changes here and here, respectively.

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REVIEW: Jurassic World VelociCoaster

Jurassic World Tribute Store at Universal Orlando REVEALED

About Marc N. Kleinhenz

Marc N. Kleinhenz is the former editor of Orlando Informer.