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

Live tweeting and Facebook live-streaming from Universal Orlando

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 and resort-wide changes

Epic Universe
Universal’s newest theme park, Epic Universe, has gotten a one-year delay, thanks to the ongoing pandemic – it’s now expected to open sometime in 2024.

Learn everything there is to know about the park, its first confirmed land (Super Nintendo World), and the whole new campus of Universal Orlando Resort that’s arriving with it over in our complete page.

CityWalk’s free-parking-with-a-movie promo
Universal will reimburse your parking if you buy two matinee movie tickets at Universal Cinemark.

Here are the stipulations: it’s only regular parking (not Prime, valet, or RV/bus), the movie showings have to be between 11:00 am and 6:00 pm (that’s when parking at CityWalk becomes free, anyway), reimbursement happens at the Cinemark box office, and the offer’s not valid during Halloween Horror Nights.

New customizable t-shirts in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
After a few days of experimenting with custom Quidditch t-shirts at Universal Studios Store and Islands of Adventure Trading Company (the main, front-of-park store for each theme park), Universal has now rolled the new merchandise out to Quality Quidditch Supplies (at Diagon Alley) and Dervish and Banges (at Hogsmeade). The shirts are $40 and the personalization is $20.

Dive-in movies
Dive-in movies are back at Universal Orlando’s six on-site hotels! Screening nightly (weather permitting), these allow you to catch a family-friendly flick while hanging out in or around the pool – and the program has been newly expanded, increasing the library of titles the hotels can pull from.

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).

And back over at Volcano Bay, there are now seven slides that greet EPA goers. You can find the whole list over at our complete guide to EPA.

Upcoming annual events and special celebrations

Halloween Horror Nights 2020
Universal’s grand 30th anniversary bash will be held from Thursday, September 10 to Sunday, November 1, for a grand total of 39 event nights (which is three fewer than 2019’s record-breaking 42 dates).

Rock the Universe 2021
We already have the dates for next year’s big Christian music fest! You can find more info over on our guide page.

Hard Rock Hotel
March’s Velvet Sessions, featuring Wang Chung, has been cancelled, most likely due to the COVID-19 closure of Universal Orlando; similarly, the April 17 performance by Psychedelic Furs was first pushed to August 7, then October 23, and has now been pulled altogether. In case it comes back, here’s the pricing info: the tickets started at $55 (for standing room-only) and went all the way up to $85 for the VIP option (which throws a special viewing area with a private bar into the mix).  The link was located here.

Not familiar with Hard Rock’s Velvet Sessions? They’re special rock-‘n-roll cocktail parties and lobby concerts that are intended for guests aged 21 and older.

Also, on Sunday, December 2, 2018, Hard Rock debuted its brand-new weekly Acoustic Brunch in The Kitchen, which has guests enjoying a (what else?) live acoustic performance while feasting on a brunch buffet. There is both a breakfast and salad bar, along with a carving station and salmon platter (among other goodies).

The hours are from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm every Sunday, and the price is $38 for adults, $17 for children aged 10 to 14, and $13 for children aged three to nine (adults can add on unlimited Bloody Marys, mimosas, and sangrias for an additional $10). You can view the full menu here.

Portofino Bay Hotel
Portofino Bay Hotel’s Harbor Nights events have been, for the moment, cancelled. We’ll keep you updated if and when they return for the year (future dates were slated for October 16 and November 27).

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

Royal Pacific Resort
As of Saturday, July 14, 2018, Royal Pacific Resort now hosts the Despicable Me Character Breakfast. Located in The Tahitian Room (what used to be Emeril’s Tchoup Chop until the end of 2017), guests can enjoy a buffet of “breakfast favorites” and visit with Gru, Margo, Edith, Agnes, and the Minions. One free digital photo is included with the meet-‘n-greet, which costs $34.99 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $20.99 for children (ages three to nine). Neither theme-park admission nor a hotel stay is required; however, reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance. Each session lasts for an hour, features communal seating (meaning you’ll be making some new human friends alongside the Minion ones), and has three different morning time slots: 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 (that’s a half-hour later than they initially were).

(In case you were wondering, the Despicable Me Character Breakfast was originally held at Sapphire Falls Resort’s Cayman Court.)

You can book on this page.

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

Please be aware that Caribbean Carnaval now takes place on Fridays (previously, it was Wednesdays).

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 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.

Beverly Hills Boulangerie – on January 7, 2019, after nearly 19 years of operation, this Universal Studios Florida fixture shut its doors to make way for an “exciting new dining concept” (spoiler: it is TODAY Cafe).

Annual passholder’s lounge – from now until sometime in 2020, Universal has a new hang-out spot exclusively for its annual passholders. You can find it in the Hollywood section of Universal Studios Florida, near Schwab’s Pharmacy, and it’ll be open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm every day.

Globus Mundi – the newest store in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley opened on October 30, 2018. Our new guide page will make you want to travel the Floo Network straight away!

Owl Post – because one brand-new Diagon Alley shop wasn’t enough, Universal went ahead and added two! This new version of the Owl Post opened on December 7, 2018 and allows guests to mail their Wizarding World purchases back home in gorgeous, customizable packaging. Read all about it on our new guide page.

Universal’s Superstar Character Breakfast – this add-on dining option held its final seating on Saturday, November 11, 2017. Replacing it is the Marvel Character Dinner over at Islands of Adventure.

Revenge of the Mummy – the ride’s lockers have been moved from their position in front of the show building to within it, where the main entrance had been for the past several years. Many of the props and items that were in this room previously have been removed and are now on sale at Williams of Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida’s prop shop.

Terminator 2 3D: Battle across Time – this attraction closed on October 8, 2017 to make way for a new, unannounced show to open in 2019. You can read more about the announcement and history of T23D on the OI Blog.

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.

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.

Fast & Furious – Supercharged – in a surprise move, Universal announced first thing in the morning on Monday, April 23 that its newest attraction was now open! Find out everything you ever wanted to know about the ride – and leave your real guest review – on our Supercharged page.

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. Learn more.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – 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 on July 8, 2014. This “London” portion of the Harry Potter story features new shops, a themed restaurant, and two new attractions: the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts simulator experience and a real Hogwarts Express running between London and the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Hogsmeade, over at Islands of Adventure. Visit our insider’s guide to the Wizarding World to learn so, so much more.

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

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – it’s now open! Find out everything there is to know about the long-awaited new Harry Potter roller coaster in our guide page.

Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle – are you ready for a third Wizarding World projection-mapping show in as many years? Good! Universal wants you to take a walk on the dark side with Lord Voldemort and all of his loyal followers, which you can read about in our big article.

The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad – Islands of Adventure’s stunt show, which opened with the park on May 28, 1999, staged its last performance on Saturday, September 15, 2018. You can find out the reasons why over on the OI Blog.

The Burger Digs – during the week of September 16, Universal started testing a brand-new mobile ordering service, which has since become standard-issue. You can find all the details over on the OI Blog.

The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle – Universal has been continually adding on more dates to its new (more or less) year-round projection-mapping show (which replaced the seasonal Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle at the beginning of the year). Find the full details on our guide page.

Marvel Character Dinner – Spidey, Cap, and more are now dinning with a guest of honor – you! We’ve experienced the new Marvel Character Dinner for ourselves, and we tell you all about it in our complete guide.

Package pick-up – guests sending their packages to the front of Islands of Adventure to be picked up later now will have to stop by Port Provisions (instead of Ocean Trader Market) to do so.

Dragon Challenge – the 18-year-old ride’s final day of operation was on September 4, 2017. A new Harry Potter coaster will replace it, opening in 2019. More details can be found here on the OI Blog.

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 Bbllog.

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 channel.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster – this headline attraction is now open! It features a new track, completely refreshed queue experience, and more. You can learn all about it 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.

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

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 and Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides, and the double Ohyah and 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.

Character appearance – King Julien from DreamWorks Animation will be on-hand at Volcano Bay to meet-‘n-greet with guests through Labor Day weekend!

Ride changes Taniwha Tubes has now been split up into two different attractions: Tonga of Taniwha Tubes (the green slides) and Raki of Taniwha Tubes (the blue ones).

Why make the change? Now, Universal has two different rides where before it only had one, helping to better process the summertime crowds that are already starting to inundate the shores of Volcano Bay.

Hours of operation changes – starting in June, Volcano Bay opens at 9:00 am (with EPA at 8:00) and typically closes at either 9:00 or 10:00 pm (though with some exceptions).

Weight limit changesKala and Tai Nui, two of the three drop-door slides at the park, have had their weight limit changed for the fifth time – they’re now up to 275 pounds after having been down (anywhere from 230 to 270) for a little while.

Height changes – more little ones can now enjoy Runamukka Reef, as its height restriction has been bumped down from 54″ to 48″.

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

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

Epic Universe

Epic Universe has been formally announced, and now we even have a release date (2023) and its first confirmed land (Super Nintendo World)! Find out everything there is to know about the park’s past and future over in the Universal Center.

Universal CityWalk

Store closures – Fresh Produce, an apparel store, closed on December 23, 2019, and others have since followed it: The Island Clothing Co. on January 15, 2020, Fossil on February 23, and P!Q on February 25. There is no word on what, if anything, will replace them.

Bigfire – CityWalk’s newest restaurant, which replaces Emeril’s, is now open! 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 and reopened just a few days afterwards as Universal Cinemark, though the process to transition/upgrade each of the theater’s 20 auditoriums will continue on for the next several months. You can read more on our movie theater page.

Emeril’s Orlando – CityWalk’s original flagship eatery closed its doors for good on July 7, 2018. Worry not, however – the fine-dining establishment has been memorialized forever in our Prop Graveyard.

Voodoo Doughnut – this quirky, delicious West Coast start-up is now officially open! To view its hours of operations, as well as see the rest of our full, in-depth coverage, visit our guide page.

Even better, the venue unveiled its Orlando-exclusive flavor on May 31: Universal Orangesicle. Stop by, give it a try, and leave a review on our Voodoo guide page.

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 five mouthwatering recommendations, or the top five delectable desserts at the new restaurant. (Just be aware that the menu has changed a bit since its opening.)

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 – the first half of Universal’s new upcoming hotel complex, Surfside Inn and Suites, is now open! The second half of the complex, Dockside Inn and Suites, will arrive sometime in summer 2020 (a delay from March 17 due to the coronavirus pandemic).

You can find out everything you’d ever want to know in our Surfside and Dockside guide pages.

Aventura Hotel – Universal Orlando’s sixth on-site hotel opened on Thursday, August 16, 2018, and we have tons of coverage for you to peruse. It all starts on our main overview page!

Cabana Bay Beach Resort – 400 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.

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 consists of 10 pages and hundreds of photos and videos!

Loews Royal Pacific Resort – starting in March, portions of Royal Pacific Resort’s lobby will undergo renovations and enhancements. Although this process won’t conclude until October, every service and amenity will continue to be offered.

As part of this refurb process, we’ve gotten a brand-new grab-and-go eatery: Tuk Tuk, located right in the lobby! It offers sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, and more.

Emeril’s Tchoup Chop closed for good on December 31, 2017, with a “new and exciting” concept slated to replace it sometime in the future. Emeril’s Orlando, meanwhile, remains at Universal CityWalk. “With great gratitude to our loyal customers, hardworking staff, and colleagues at Loews Royal Pacific, it’s been an incredible 15 years,” said Emeril Lagasse.

Royal Pacific wrapped up a complete remodel of its rooms. The new rooms are a pretty substantial departure from the previous color scheme and design.

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.

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 Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration

Universal’s Superstar Parade

Universal’s Islands of Adventure – the full tour

Marvel Character Dinner

Universal’s Volcano Bay – complete guide and history

Volcano Bay’s TapuTapu – complete guide

Volcano Bay’s cabana rentals – complete guide

Volcano Bay tickets – complete guide

Visiting VB with kids – a complete guide

Early Park Admission to Volcano Bay

Universal’s Epic Universe – complete guide and history (coming in 2024)

Universal CityWalk Orlando

Universal Orlando’s hotels (general information)

Off-site hotels around Universal Orlando

The Prop Graveyard: TOURING THE EXTINCT ATTRACTIONS