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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.

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Skip to: Promotions | Events | USF | IOA  | VB | EU | CityWalk | Hotels

Live tweeting and Facebook livestreaming 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 livestreaming from in-park as well from our Facebook page and Facebook community.  To be a part of these broadcasts, like our Facebook page here and join our private community here.

Current promotions and resort-wide changes

Volcano Bay
Due to the ongoing consequences of COVID-19 on the tourism industry, Universal has shut down its Volcano Bay water theme park from November 2, 2020 to, at the very longest, March 1, 2021. You can find the full details here.

Attraction refurbishments
Universal has just announced that a number of its various experiences will be undergoing seasonal refurbishment early next year:

Epic Universe
Universal’s newest theme park, Epic Universe, has gotten delayed – first by a year, and now indefinitely (it was originally supposed to debut in 2023).

Until then, we can live vicariously through Universal Studios Japan, which will be getting one of Epic Universe’s new lands, Super Nintendo World, in spring 2021. And, even before that, the park will receive the Mario Cafe & Store, which will serve exclusive food, drinks, and (of course) merchandise. Read all about it 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 Incredible Hulk Coaster.

Upcoming annual events and special celebrations

Holidays 2020
Universal’s Holidays celebration is here! And with it has come the first-ever Holiday Tribute Store, which offers some pretty sights, fun treats and merchandise, and some terrific Easter eggs.

Get our run-down of Tribute here, and then head over to see just what’s different for Christmas during a pandemic here.

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.

Halloween Horror Nights 2021
With the cancellation of Halloween Horror Nights 2020, and with a placeholder Halloween-themed event being held in its place, Universal was motivated to make its very first HHN 2021 announcement – some five months earlier than it otherwise would. Look for Puppet Theatre: Captive Audience to arrive next fall, and look for more info on the original haunted house right here.

Hard Rock Hotel
March’s Velvet Sessions, featuring Wang Chung, was 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.

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 (dates were originally slated for October 16 and November 27).

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

Refurbishments – both Revenge of the Mummy and the Hogwarts Express will be closed for seasonal maintenance early next year – the former will be down from January 4 through the 15th, while the latter will follow on the 21st.

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 – from November 2018 until sometime in 2020 (the date keeps getting extended), 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; the hours are, usually, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, 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

Refurbishments – several attractions will be closed early next year for refurbishment:

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 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 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 – from Monday, November 2, 2020 to Monday, March 1, 2021 – and, just maybe, a little before that – Volcano Bay will be shut down.

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 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.

Epic Universe

Epic Universe, Universal’s newest theme park, was announced in August 2019 but indefinitely delayed a year later, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (previously, it was set for a 2024 opening date). Find out everything there is to know about the park’s past and future over in the Universal Center.


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, 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 may have initially gotten indefinitely delayed thanks to the coronavirus, but it finally has a grand opening date: 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.

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.

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Annual events at Universal Orlando

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Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration

Universal’s Superstar Parade

Universal’s Islands of Adventure – the full tour

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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 (opening TBA)

Universal CityWalk Orlando

Universal Orlando’s hotels (general information)