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Universal Orlando Snapshot: Current ride closures, park promotions, & special events

On this page you’ll find our totally up-to-date one-stop-shop for everything that is currently happening at Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay, and all of Universal Orlando Resort! (Yeah, this is a good page to bookmark.)

By the way, we’re very happy to let you know that this is just one page out of over 200 we have in our next-generation encyclopedia of obsessively updated Universal Orlando vacation planning info.

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Last Updated: August 6, 2017

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Skip to: Promotions | Events | USF | IOA | CityWalk | On-site hotels

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We visit Universal multiple times every month to bring our fans live in-park photo updates direct from Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay! To see all of our photo updates as they happen, we invite you to follow us on Twitter.

We also do Facebook live streaming from in-park as well from our Facebook Page and Facebook Community Page.  To be a part of these live streams, like our Facebook page here and join our private Facebook Community here.

 

Current promotions & resort-wide changes

Orlando Informer Meetup 2017
My Universal Photos
Universal’s Photo Connect program has been rebranded to My Universal Photos and our guide has been updated.

Upcoming annual events & special celebrations

Annual Passholder Appreciation – Takes place August 14 – September 30, you can learn everything you need to know about the event here.

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Sapphire Falls Resort weekly hosts a ‘Caribbean Carnaval’ event at their hotel where guests can celebrate the culture of various areas of the Caribbean, including Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad. We reviewed the event on the Orlando Informer Blog.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

The hotel will be hosting their annual food & wine event Harbor Nights at the hotel on October 13 and Holiday Harbor Nights on November 24. There will be unlimited samplings of over a dozen wines and sparkling wines for guests to enjoy. There will also be gourmet food and desserts that will be prepared by the hotel’s award-winning culinary team. The event will also feature live music and a special performance by the Portofino’s own opera singers.

Tickets for the event are $50. There are a limited amount of VIP tickets available for $85. The VIP tickets are only available online and include all of the regular offerings of Harbor Nights plus reserved seating in a special area with a private wine station and hors d’oeuvres. Both regular and VIP tickets include complimentary self-parking OR discounted valet parking for $5. This event is for adults 21 and up only.

For more information and to purchase tickets for Harbor Nights, click here.

 

Hard Rock Hotel

The hotel will be hosting the Wine Riffs Event that features food, wind and of course, music.  The event will also feature Wayne Raborn telling stories of the Chateau Montelena Winery.

Wine Riffs is held throughout the year at Hard Rock Hotel, so be sure to visit the official Events Calendar here to see when the next Wine Riffs event is scheduled for.

Wine Riffs includes a five course dinner and wine pairing for $125 per person. The event is for adults 21 and up. You can call 407-503-2405 for reservations.

Hard Rock Live

Located at Universal CityWalk, Hard Rock Live is a multi-use performance center that features a variety of acts, from pop and rock artists, to stand up comedians, to special events both public and private. Because Hard Rock Live has dozens of events scheduled at any one time, we aren’t able to list them here – so be sure to check out their website to see if one of your favorite acts will be on-site when you’re on-site!

 

Universal Studios Florida

Fast & Furious: Supercharged – Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride, Starring YOU closed on September 8, 2015 and Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue closed on January 5, 2016 to make way for this new attraction opening in 2018. Learn more

Race through New York starring Jimmy Fallon – Twister… Ride It Out closed on November 2, 2015 to make way for Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, which is now open! Details can be found here.

Diagon Alley – JAWS and its home on Amity Island were closed permanently on January 3, 2012, to make way for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, which officially opened July 8, 2014. This “London” portion of the Harry Potter story features new shops, a themed restaurant, and two new attractions: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts Bank simulator experience and a real Hogwarts Express running between London and the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter over at Islands of Adventure. Visit our Insider’s guide to the Wizarding World to learn so, so much more.

Express Additions – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and the Hogwarts Express now accept Universal Express passes. You can learn more on our Orlando Informer blog.

The list above is only a summary of the current attraction refurbishments, openings, and closings at Universal Studios Florida. For a complete list of the park’s attractions, scroll to the bottom of this page or visit the OI Universal Center table of contents.

 

Islands of Adventure

Dragon Challenge closing – The 18-year-old ride’s final day of operation will be on September 4. A new Harry Potter coaster will replace it, opening in 2019. More details can be found here.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster – This headline attraction is now open! It features a new track, completely refreshed queue experience, and more. You can learn more by clicking here.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong – King Kong is now open at Universal Orlando Resort! This brand new attraction is located in between Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park. You’ll navigate perilous jungles, explore ancient temple structures, and encounter hostile natives – and that’s only the beginning. Learn more

Women’s Boutique in Marvel – A small women’s boutique with Marvel apparel has opened in Marvel Superhero Island. You can see a video of the store on our YouTube.

Express Additions – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and the Hogwarts Express now accept Universal Express passes. You can learn more on our Orlando Informer blog.

The list above is only a summary of the current attraction refurbishments, openings, and closings at Islands of Adventure. For a complete list of the park’s attractions, scroll to the bottom of this page or visit the OI Universal Center table of contents.

Volcano Bay

Now open – The new water theme park is now open! You can see our full coverage here.

Weight limit changesKala & Tai Nui, two of three drop door slides, have had their weight limit changed for the third time. The weight limit for these two slides is currently 230 lbs.

Menu changes – Volcano Bay has removed over 20 items from the menus across the park. You can read the full details in our article.

Universal CityWalk


Eight new venues in 2014 – Resort officials completed the largest expansion in CityWalk history in 2014, which included the addition of eight new venues: The Cowfish (burgers and sushi), Antojitos (Mexican), Vivo (Italian), Hot Dog Hall of Fame, Red Oven (pizza) , Bread Box (sandwiches), Cold Stone (ice-cream), and Menchies (frozen yogurt).

NBC Sports Grill & Brew – This family friendly sports-centric dining venue has one of the largest menus at Universal and plenty of TV screens. See our complete coverage (including the red carpet grand opening), our top 5 mouthwatering recommendations, or the top 5 delectable desserts at the new restaurant.

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium – One of CityWalk’s very first tenants, NBA City, closed its doors on August 16, 2015. Its replacement offers unique sweets and is set in a 19th century-inspired Steampunk chocolate emporium. To see hundreds of pictures, details, and the menu at this new restaurant click here.

Looking for CityWalk events? They are included in our Events section near the top of the page — skip up there.

For more information about Universal CityWalk, scroll to the bottom of this page or visit the OI Universal Center table of contents.

 

Loews on-site hotels

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort – Universal Orlando’s fifth on-site hotel is now open! The new property, a paradise where blue waterfalls cascade across lush grounds, features 1,000 guest rooms geared towards families and convention attendees. Our complete guide has been updated and it entails 10 pages and hundreds of photos and videos!

Loews Royal Pacific Resort Room Upgrade – This hotel has wrapped up a complete remodel of their rooms. The new rooms are a pretty substantial departure from the previous color scheme and design.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort Expansion400 new rooms have arrived at Universal’s prime value hotel. The new towers are now open and are located next to Universal’s water theme park Volcano Bay.

Universal’s Aventura Hotel – Opening in August 2018, this is another prime value on-site hotel coming to Universal Orlando. Learn more here.

Looking for hotel events? They are included in our Events section near the top of the page — skip up there.

The list above is only a summary of the current projects relating to the Loews on-site hotels at Universal Orlando. For complete details about these properties, including over 700 full-screen photos, check out the links below or visit the OI Universal Center table of contents.

Do you have a question about the information on this page, would like to provide feedback, or did you spot an inaccuracy? Please let us know by posting in our Universal Community Facebook Group.

 

See everything else you’ve been missing

When we say that Orlando Informer is the world’s leading resource for Universal Orlando vacation planning, we’re not just blowin’ smoke. Start your journey through our knowledge by following any link below.

Orlando Informer Travel – let us help book your Orlando vacation

Read guest reviews of Universal or write your own

View our Daily Updates

12-month Universal Orlando crowd calendar

Best day of the week to visit Universal Orlando

The Script: TICKETS, PACKAGES & PLANNING

The Set: MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR VACATION

Insider’s Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Annual events at Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando touring plans

Universal Studios Florida – complete guide and history
Universal’s Superstar Parade

Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories

In-park dining experiences – Superstar Breakfast & Cinematic Dining

Islands of Adventure – the full tour

Universal CityWalk

On-site hotels at Universal Orlando (general information)

Off-site hotels around Universal Orlando