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.
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.
Current promotions and resort-wide changes
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.
Universal Studios Florida’s newest attraction is now open! This “first-of-its-kind” interactive character experience features a whole assortment of DreamWorks Animation characters and can be found in the old Day in the Park with Barney show building.
Learn more over on our brand-new guide page.
Jurassic World Tribute Store
On May 27, the Jurassic World Tribute Store opened, just three weeks after we first learned of its existence. This version of Tribute represents a lot of firsts – the first summer store, the first one to be dedicated to just one intellectual property – but it still maintains the highly detailed, high-immersion legacy. Do a deep dive into this amazing experience with us in our in-depth article.
Year-round Hot Butterbeer!
Universal announced on May 24 that Hot Butterbeer will be available the whole year ’round, just like it has been over at Universal Studios Hollywood for years. (Previously, it was only available in Orlando during the winter.) Hop over to the Universal Center for everything you ever wanted to know about Universal’s most delicious substance.
On May 26, Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites reopened after a lengthy closure that started last year, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Next up is Aventura Hotel, which opens its doors again on June 16 – and then, after that, all eight of Universal Orlando Resort’s hotels will be fully operational once more!
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. From now on, 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.
Fusion Bistro Sushi & Sake Bar
This little hidden gem of Universal CityWalk was, perhaps, a little too hidden – Fusion Bistro Sushi & Sake Bar closed on April 27, 2021.
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.
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.
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
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.
Halloween Horror Nights 2021
Beetlejuice is back! Fresh from his one-weekend-only appearance last Halloween, the Ghost with the Most has just become the first intellectual-property-based haunted house for 2021.
Read all about it here.
Rock the Universe 2022
The first-of-the-year Universal Orlando annual event has been postponed from January 2021 to ’22. You can read more about the Christian rock fest on our guide page.
Hard Rock Hotel
March 2020’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 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
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 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.
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.
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
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 are making way for the new Universal Studios Store; the old venue, meanwhile, is getting a transformation into a retro shop.
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.
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.
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- New York
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- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
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Universal’s Epic Universe – complete guide and history (opening TBA)
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