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Universal Orlando Snapshot: Current Ride Closures, Park Promotions, & Special Events

On this page, you’ll find our 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 300 we have in our next-generation encyclopedia of obsessively-updated Universal Orlando vacation-planning info.

Want even more updates? Sign up for our free newsletter, join our community in our Facebook group, or join us on any of these social networks:

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Live tweeting and Facebook livestreaming from Universal Orlando

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

We also do Facebook livestreaming from in-park, as well, both on our page and in our community.  To be a part of these broadcasts, like our Facebook page here and join our private community here.

Current Ride Closures

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

  • Caro-Seuss-el™
  • The Nighttime Lights At Hogwarts™ Castle
  • Poseidon’s Fury

Universal Studios Florida

  • Curious George Goes to Town
  • FEAR FACTOR LIVE

Current promotions and resort-wide changes

Velvet Sessions & Harbor Nights Return to Hotel
Velvet Sessions return to Hard Rock Hotel. Bret Michaels will be the first show back, performing on September 24. Velvet Sessions are unique cocktail parties that feature intimate performances with rock n’ roll artists. Finger foods, specialty drinks, and complimentary valet parking are all included in the event. You can purchase tickets here.

Harbor Nights will return to Loews Portofino Bay Hotel on October 22. Like Velvet Sessions, this is a separately-ticketed event for adults only, and tickets are not available to those under age 21. During Harbor Nights, guests can visit food and wine stations on Portofino Bay’s waterfront property. The event lasts from 6:30 – 9:00 and you can purchase tickets here.

The Dark Arts Returns to Hogwarts
The Dark Arts nighttime show will return to Hogwarts in Hogsmeade Village in Universal’s Islands of Adventure on September 18, 2021. After more than a year-long hiatus, this immersive show (that features Death Eaters as well as a light projection on the castle) will come home once again. No word yet on exact show times, but when we have them we will post them on our guide page here.

Halloween Horror Nights 30 Tribute Store
The long-awaited Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store opened on August 26. The lines to get into the store built up to more than an hour, but people found the wait was worth it. You can check out our full walkthrough of the store here. This is the seventh year the Tribute Store has been a part of Horror Nights, and its presence is now one that people fully appreciate as much as any attraction or maze.

All Hallows Eve Boutique
On August 13, All Hallows Eve Boutique opened in The Lost Continent at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. This new store features everything your Halloween lover needs to get through spooky season. Halloween Horror Nights shirts, socks, lanyards, lanyard holders, and glassware are available. You can even pick up a bag of popcorn or ground coffee.

Bend the Bao
Universal’s newest eatery, in the former CityWalk location of Fusion Bistro Sushi & Sake Bar, opened on June 15 with a crazy menu of fusion bao buns. We have the full rundown on both the OI Blog and over at the Universal Center.

Jurassic World VelociCoaster
After a years-long wait of watching construction, raptor statue installation, and ride testing, the big day finally arrived – Jurassic World VelociCoaster is officially open! You can read our full review on the blog.

Updated COVID-19 health precautions
In an attempt to keep abreast of the latest CDC guidelines – and in an effort to get a little “closer to normal” – Universal has been continually revising its health and safety precautions across its resort. For now, no face masks are required for those guests who are fully vaccinated, and temperature checks are no longer necessary to set foot on-site.

For a thorough primer of what to expect, you can check out our visiting Universal Orlando during the pandemic guide.

Universal Orlando’s new Universal Studios Store
It’s here! On April 1, the brand-new Universal Studios Store at CityWalk opened its doors. We walk you through its beautiful new layout and aesthetics here.

The old Studios Store, meanwhile, is now the retro-focused Universal Legacy Store. You can read all about it in our new guide page.

Epic Universe
Universal’s newest theme park, Epic Universe, is back on track! After originally being announced in August 2019, all construction was halted in July 2020 thanks to the coronavirus pandemic – but, on March 3, 2021, Universal was happy to reveal that it was starting everything back up. Although it’ll take the next several months for the process to get back to where it was at the beginning of 2020, it’s still good news – and an even better indicator of where businesses think our economy will be as we finally start to look past COVID-19.

To learn even more, you can read the big announcement or do a deep dive into Epic Universe in our complete guide. Universal Orlando’s fourth park is currently expected to open in early 2025.

Volcano Bay
Volcano Bay is open again! The water park was closed down from November 2, 2020 to February 27, 2021, due to the ongoing consequences of COVID-19 on the tourism industry. You can find out what (re)opening day was like right here.

Blue Man Group
The 14-year-old stage show at Universal CityWalk Orlando has, sadly, come to a close. On February 1, Blue Man Productions announced that its Universal presence has officially ended (although its last showing was actually back in March 2020, when the whole resort initially closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic).

You can read more about the development in our write-up.

A Day in the Park with Barney
Universal Orlando was hit with a second attraction closure within the same week as Blue Man – hot on the heels of the Blue Man announcement came one regarding A Day in the Park with Barney, the 26-year-old show/playground hybrid that helped lead to the formal creation of Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone. We have more on all this here.

Early Park Admission
The Universal Studios Florida attraction that opens up alongside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for Early Park Admission is now Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (at previous times, it was either Revenge of the Mummy or Fast & Furious – Supercharged). Over at Islands of Adventure, meanwhile, it’s The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (though, when things get really busy, The Incredible Hulk Coaster and/or Doctor Doom’s Fearfall get temporarily added to the lineup, as well).

Upcoming annual events and special celebrations

Halloween Horror Nights Returns
Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights will run from September 3 to Halloween this year. This anniversary event appeals to newcomers and die-hards alike, witch such intellectual property houses as The Haunting of Hill House and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and originals like Universal Monsters: Bride of Frankenstein Lives and HHN Icons: Captured. Read all the details here.

Jack is back!
Universal not only started selling tickets to this year’s much-anticipated Halloween Horror Nights on June 17, but it also made the pretty big announcement that Jack the Clown, the event’s very first original icon, would be returning to headline the 30th anniversary proceedings. You can read all about how the demented clown/ringmaster/rock star will saturate seemingly every corner of HHN here.

Universal Orlando’s new summer bites
With the unbridled success of the just-ended Mardi Gras celebration, Universal has decided to keep the food vibe goin’ throughout the summer with a new series of menus that’ll descend on all three parks. We start running everything down here.

Rock the Universe 2022
The first-of-the-year Universal Orlando annual event has been announced! On January 28 and 29, guests can enjoy this Christian rock fest. Check out more on our guide page.

Portofino Bay Hotel
Portofino Bay Hotel’s Harbor Nights events were cancelled for nearly all of last year, and there is no word yet on whether they will return for this year (the next ordinarily scheduled one would be Harbor Nights La Dolce Vita, which normally runs in October). We’ll keep you updated with the latest word.

Please note Harbor Nights are for guests aged 21 and older.

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 the venue has dozens of events scheduled at any one time, we aren’t able to list them here – so be sure to check out its website to see if one of your favorite acts will be on-site when you’re there!

Universal Studios Florida

The Bourne Stuntacular – Universal Orlando’s new stunt show opened on June 30! You can get our overview of the attraction here and read our review here.

TODAY Cafe – set foot on the set where The TODAY Show is filmed and chow down on a smorgasbord of delicious food and drink options, including an exclusive coffee blend, pastries, lattes, beer and wine, and a host of other New York-inspired dishes. You can read all about it over on the OI Blog.

Annual passholders’ lounge – in November 2018, Universal unveiled a new hang-out spot exclusively for its annual passholders. You can find it in Studio Styles in the Hollywood section of Universal Studios Florida, near Schwab’s Pharmacy; here, you can purchase exclusive merchandise and drinks (such as from the Arctic Coke Cooler, which crystalizes Coca-Cola beverages), relax while your phone or tablet recharges, and take advantage of some concierge services.

Originally, Universal announced that this would be a limited-time affair, but, first, it kept pushing back the lounge’s closure date, and, now, it’s dropped such verbiage altogether – it would seem that the annual passholders’ lair is here to stay indefinitely.

The UOAP Lounge’s hours are, usually, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm daily, though you’ll want to double-check on the day of your arrival.

The list above is only a summary of the current ride 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

Jurassic World VelociCoaster – the apex predator of roller coasters has arrived! Get the complete rundown here.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – find out everything there is to know about the newest Harry Potter ride over on our guide page.

Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle – the third Wizarding World projection-mapping show (in as many years) debuted in fall 2019. Read about your walk on the dark side with Lord Voldemort and all of his loyal followers in our big article.

The list above is only a summary of the current ride 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

Park closure – Universal’s water theme park just reopened on February 27, 2021, after a nearly-four-month-long closure. We wrote about our experiences visiting on that first day right here.

Express Pass changes – there are now two types of Express Passes that are available at Volcano Bay. The basic level covers seven rides (Krakatau Aqua Coaster, Punga Racers, Taniwha Tubes, and the two double-headers of Honu ika Moana and Maku Puihi), while the new premium version adds in four additional attractions (Ko’okiri Body Plunge, Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides, and the double Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides).

Pricing depends on the day (such as $50 for basic and $80 for premium, as just one example), and the passes can only be obtained in the park. For more, see our Volcano Bay tickets and Express Pass pages.

CityWalk

Store change-ups – Fresh Produce, an apparel shop, closed on December 23, 2019. Three others followed it in the subsequent months: The Island Clothing Co. on January 15, 2020, Fossil on February 23, and P!Q on February 25. All four made way for the new Universal Studios Store; the old venue, meanwhile, was transformed into the new Legacy Store.

Bigfire – CityWalk’s newest restaurant, which replaces Emeril’s, opened on June 26, 2019. Bigfire cooks all of its food on a giant wood-fire grill in the center of the venue, using different types of wood to bring out different smoky flavors. You can get all the details over in the OI Universal Center.

CityWalk’s movie theater – AMC Universal Cineplex 20 with IMAX shut down on Friday, September 14, 2018 and reopened just a few days afterwards as Universal Cinemark, though the process to transition/upgrade each of the theater’s 20 auditoriums continued on for the next several months. You can read more on our movie theater page.

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.

Universal Orlando’s hotels

Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites – the second half of Universal’s new hotel complex was initially delayed thanks to COVID-19, but finally had its grand opening on December 15, 2020. (Just for the record, its debut was originally scheduled for March 17, 2020.) You can learn more about the eighth property at Universal Orlando here.

Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites – the other half of Endless Summer Resort opened on June 27, 2019. You can learn all about the hotel here.

Epic Universe

Epic Universe, Universal’s newest theme park, was announced in August 2019, indefinitely delayed a year later (thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), and put back on track in March 2021. Find out everything there is to know about the park’s past and future over in the Universal Center

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 hotels at Universal Orlando. For complete details about these properties, 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 Orlando Informer Community on Facebook.

See everything else you’ve been missing

Overview and Introduction:

Tickets and Planning

Insider Tips on Your Vacation

These guide pages will give you the inside scoop on how to get the most out of your vacation to Universal Orlando Resort. From internet access to mobile food ordering, all your questions can be answered here. Perusing these pages now will save you countless hours later, allowing you to spend more time on what’s important – your trip!

Insider’s Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

With Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade Village, Universal Orlando changed the game for what it meant to be immersed in a theme park. These guide pages will cover our best insider tips on getting the most out of your visit to the Wizarding World.

Annual Events at Universal Orlando

There’s more to do than just rollercoasters! The following guide pages provide information on annual events at Universal Orlando Resort. Check here periodically for updates and news.

Universal Orlando Touring Plans

We combined our years of expertise and insider experience to build the best touring plans for you so you don’t have to! Whether you’re staying one day, or all week, we’ve got you covered!

Universal Studios Florida – Complete Guide and History

Universal Studios boasts The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, Men in Black, Springfield, U.S.A, and more. Use these guide pages to help plan your ultimate vacation.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure – complete guide and history

Islands of Adventure features lands such as Seuss Landing, Jurassic Park, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade Village. That means you can ride The Cat in the Hat, come face to face with dinosaurs, and attend Hagrid’s magical creatures lesson. These pages contain great insider tips and tricks to make sure you have a great vacation.

Universal’s Volcano Bay – complete guide and history

The water theme park at Universal Studios, Volcano Bay takes your vacation to a whole new level of relaxation and excitement – all in the same day! Go with the flow in a raft, or climb to the top of Krakatau volcano just to slide back down again! But whatever you do – use our guide pages to plan your day at Volcano Bay and maximize your trip.

Park-wide tips

Universal’s Epic Universe – complete guide and history (opening expected in 2025)

Epic Universe will be Universal Orlando Resorts’ biggest park, housing three major intellectual properties: DreamWorks Animation, Illumination, and Nintendo.

Universal CityWalk Orlando

These guide pages will walk you through everything you need to know about Universal City Walk and all you can find there! With formal dining options, to-go pizza, and even a tattoos parlor, you’ll find what you need (and more) at City Walk.

Universal Orlando’s hotels (general information)

Universal Orlando Resort boasts eight hotels, and each has something the others don’t! Use these guide pages to read about each one and decide which is best for you and your family on your unforgettable vacation.

The Prop Graveyard: TOURING THE EXTINCT ATTRACTIONS

Unfortunately, even good things must come to an end. Universal Orlando Resort opened more than 20 years ago, and in their journey to keep things fresh and updated, sacrifices had to be made along the way! Use these guide pages to read up on the attractions of days gone by.

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.

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