Category Archives: Universal Studios

Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay is here to stay!

On May 25th the geography of Universal Orlando will change.  Along with 2 theme parks, there will be the new water park, Volcano Bay.  The philosophy celebrated at this new water park is “Water is
watLife. Life is Joy”.  It’s the carefree attitude that the fabled Waturi islanders have embraced on their Pacific isle for centuries. Now you can live the Waturi way at this all-new park where thrills and relaxation flow in perfect harmony.

Made up of multiple immersive areas, this is going to be a water themed park like no other.  There are a whopping 18 attractions as well as lush views and private cabanas.

A big part of what makes this park so innovative is the “Tapu Tapu”.  At Volcano Bay every guest is granted the powers of the this magical, tapuwaterproof wrist band. With just a touch of your wrist you’ll be able to hold your place in a Virtual Line at the rides and discover wondrous surprises.  As you wonder though the park, look for the sign of the Waturi.  Tap with your band and it will give you a time to return to that attraction.  When it’s your ride time, just go back and touch your band to the totem.  If you get busy, your Tapu will remind you that it’s time for you to head to the attraction.

volAt the heart of the island stands Krakatau:  the mighty Fire and Water Volcano. Towering 200 feet above the tropical landscape, Krakatau streams waterfalls during the day and fiery lava effects at night. Inside the  volcano, there are a variety of heart-pounding water slides.

Looking for family adventure?  Try the Krakatau Aqua Coaster. These four-person canoes slide upward through the mists and into dark twists and turns within the volcano before emerging with a plunge through a  waterfall.  Another great family ride, Maku Puihi Rafts, drops you into a deep gorge before spinning you around a bowl-like formation.  This one is not for the faint at heart!krak

If relaxing in a warm pool is your idea of a good day, then you will love Waturi Beach.  The gentle waves will help you to shake off the stress.  At least until some brave soul comes flying through the clear plexie tube of the  Ko’kiri Body Plunge.

The little ones will love River Village.  At the Tot Tiki Reef, little ones  can splash in the shallows, play among the splashy slides, and run through the riverspraying fountains. The Runamukka Reef has bubbling geysers, water guns, slides and dumping cups.  You will find shaded bamboo sea creatures and waving seaweed.

Best of all, Volcano Bay is located in the middle of the Universal fun!  So you’re close to all 5 resorts, 2 great parks and City Walk restaurants and shops.  So you can enjoy Volcano Bay in the morning and early afternoon, head back to your resort room for a nap, then either head back to Volcano Bay or elsewhere for some evening fun.

Finally, now that you are excited about all the fun, let the Travel Pixies at Our Laughing Place Travel help you plan the perfect vacation.  There are many different packages that are available and we’ll help you find the perfect one for you.  Just ask!

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Universal Is EPIC!

A sentence that I find myself saying, quite often, as a Travel Pixie, is “Universal Studios is not part of Disney.”  Universal universalStudios is about 20 minutes away from Disney World.  It’s located closer to the Orlando International Airport.  And yes, it is NOT part of Disney.  Universal is it’s own unique and awesome vacation destination!

Last month, I shared information about the awesome resorts that are located on the Universal grounds.  Now, I want to share the two incredible parks.  Universal has two parts: the Studios and Islands of Adventure. Continue reading Universal Is EPIC!

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Orlando Is Not Just Disney, It’s Universal Orlando, Too!

 

Many times, I’ve heard people say “What’s that other park inuniversal
Orlando?”  The truth is,  there are multiple theme parks in the Orlando area.  And Universal Orlando is an entire vacation destination by itself.  After attending an informational seminar, I’ve learned that this is a “must see” for people of all ages.

Let’s start by taking a look at the fabulous resorts that Universal offers.  There are now 5 that you can choose from, all with different themes and perks. hard rockThere is a resort for every price range and style.  The two original resorts, Hard Rock and Portofino Bay, are the in the ‘Premiere Resort’ category.  Both offer early admission to Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Express Pass that allows you to skip the lines, complimentary transportation to the parks and Universal City Walk, access to City Walk, delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort, priority seating at restaurants and transportation to Sea World and Aquatica.

The Hard Rock name is known for it’s rock star style and rare rock memorabilia.  That’s exactly what you will find at this resort.  Rock star theming along with comfy beds, full service dining and great pools!  Speaking ofhard rock pool pools, HR has the only pool that allows you to jam under water with it’s submerged speakers.  The pool also has a fun water slide and cabana rentals.  On select evenings, you can catch a “dive-in” movie poolside.  The standard rooms at Hard Rock can sleep up to 4 people.  If you need a bit more space and have the kids in tow, you might want to opt for the rock themed kid suites.

Looking for some great food?  Try The legendary Palm bringing the waffkeslegacy of its famous New York steakhouse to Universal Orlando® Resort.  The Palm’s legendary menu offers a variety of American fare, Italian specialties, and its prime cuts of beef and jumbo lobster. If you’re in the mood for eating like the velvetcelebs, head to The Kitchen. It has an array of comfort foods with rock memorabilia on the walls. If you are lucky enough to be visiting Hard Rock on the last Thursday of the month, you can sit in on a Velvet Session.

Portofino Bay, in my opinion, is the stark opposite of HR.  It is an experience in the charm and romance of a Mediterranean village in Italy.  Portofino has elegant rooms and dining.  The water area is potogorgeous with it’s 3 pools and breathtaking  lagoon.  The Beach pool has a water slide and sand beach, the Villa Poll has cabana rentals and if you’re looking for some quiet time, check out the Hillside pool.  PB comes alive at sunset when guests are serenaded on the piazza with live Italian opera during Misica della Notte (Music of the Night).

The accommodations  are made up of 750 rooms and suites. There are several different suite configurations.  One of my favorites is the Despicable Me themed kid suites. minion  An exquisite culinary voyage right to the heart of Italy awaits you amid a decor of Bice (Bee-Chay) at Portofino, which combines Old World elegance and modern chic.  Bice Ristorante offers Northern biceItalian cuisine and superb service in an elegant atmosphere.  If you have a hankering for a  brick oven pizza, be sure to give Sal’s a try.  The Thirsty Fish is a casual bar on the piazza that offers live Jazz Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Royal Pacific and Sapphire Falls are the Preferred class of resort. Royal Pacific offers the same front of line access of  the two Premier resorts .  Royal Pacific also will give you priority seating at the royalrestaurants throughout the resort.  Other perks, such as  early admission to Wizarding World of Harry Potter,  complimentary transportation to the parks and Universal City Walk, access to City Walk, delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort, priority seating at restaurants and transportation to Sea World and Aquatica are available at both.

The Royal Pacific will transport you to an exotic South Seas island with it’s sparkling waterfall and lush landscaping.  The 1,000 jurrasicguest rooms and suites, it can accommodate families of 2 to 5.  If you want some privacy away from the little ones, opt for the Jurrasic Park kid suites.

RP offers some great dining choices.  The Island Dining room features Pan Am with a twist.  This is where you can dine with the characters and there is even a special dining room for the kids!   Emeril’s Tchoup Chop (Chop Chop) features cuisine with an Asian-Polynesian fusion.  How can you go wrong with Emeril?  One of the best “extras” at RP is the Luau on Saturday evenings.  It all starts with the nightly torch lighting. luau Sit back and experience an evening of authentic Polynesian food and entertainment at the enchanting Wantilan Luau.  The weekly Hawaiian dinner show featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet of Polynesian specialties, live Hawaiian music and traditional hula dancing. Hula and fire dancers delight the audience and entice a few to even learn the hula!

Sapphire Falls is the newest resort and Universal calls it “an island escape in the heart of an unforgettable adventure”.   It boasts a sapphire16,000 sq ft. zero-entry pool with water slide, play area, hot tub and fire pit. The 1000 guest rooms and suites all sleep up to 5 people, with different configurations.  Each room has a mini fridge, coffee maker and free WiFi.  You can pick from standard view, lagoon view or pool view.  All of the rooms are comfy and a great place to rest after a long day at the parks.

Rumbling in your tummy?  SF has full service dining at Amatista cakeCookhouse, Water Tavern and Drhum Club Kantine.  If you are
looking for something filling with great ambiance, try Amatista.  The outside seating is next to the waterfall for a beautiful, relaxing sound. Upon entering the Strong Water Tavern,  you’ll find a wall of vintage rums complete with your own rum expert, a ceviche bar, and a patio with breathtaking views of the lagoon. Be sure to take part in the daily rum tasting.

bowlIf you are looking for a value, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is first resort in the Prime Value group.  Currently, the Bay has 1800 guest rooms and suites.  The plan is to add another 450 rooms by the end of 2017.  The standard rooms will fit a family of 4 comfortably.  They do offer family suites that sleep 6.  Cabana has 2 large pools,  a tasty food court and the Galaxy Bowl Restaurant, which is a sit down.  Along with a sand beach, CB has a 10 lane bowling alley and dive-in movies.  If you want a blast from the past and you’re missing the beach hotels of yesteryear, this is just what you’ve been looking for!

So, as you can see, Universal Orlando offers a resort for everyone.  Whether you are looking for top of the line amenities or just a great resort at a value, you can’t go wrong.  By the way, did you know that there are 2 awesome parks within walking or complimentary shuttle distance?  Watch for my September blog for more information about those adventures.

If you would like more information about any of the spectacular resorts of Universal Orlando, just contact one of the Travel Pixies at Our Laughing Place Travel.  We will help you plan the perfect vacation!

 

 

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Exciting Fun At Universal Orlando!

Universal Studios OrlandoFor years you’ve known Our Laughing Place Travel as your Disney Vacation Specialists.  We’ve been helping families plan magical vacations for nearly 20 years now!  But did you also know that we specialize in planning Universal Orlando vacations as well?  That’s right!  So whether you want to plan your entire vacation around Universal Orlando or add it to your Walt Disney World Resort vacation, we’re your one stop vacation planning extraordinaire!  But, gosh, you probably haven’t heard a lot from us regarding Universal, so I want to make sure you’re up to date on the many exciting things there are to see and do at these exciting theme parks and resorts.  Cabana Bay

To start with, did you know that Universal Orlando has 4 resort hotels on property  and will be adding a 5th during the summer of 2016?  That’s right, you can enjoy fabulous
hotels and dining plus have the convenience of being close to the
theme parks.  With choices ranging from the moderate on price but max on style Cabana Bay Beach Resort to the Deluxe resorts including Leows Royal Pacific Resort, the Hard Rock Hotel, and Leows Portofino
Bay Hotel, you’re sure to find the perfect spot for you and your family.  And in 2016 you can add Leows Sapphire Falls Resort to your list of choices.  AND the best part about staying at a Universal hotel is the automatic “fastpass” to every attraction that resort stayers get in the amusement parks! Continue reading Exciting Fun At Universal Orlando!

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Universal Studios Orlando Holdiay Happenings –

I know that most blogs that you read from Our Laughing Place Travel are Disney orienteuniversald. I’ve decided, since we can help travelers with Universal Studios, as well, that I would write about the park’s great holiday happenings.

Unlike Disney World, Universal’s Halloween extravaganza is not for children and those looking for a “Not So Scary” event. “Halloween Horror Nights 24” takes place at Universal Studios and is not for the faint at heart! It consists of 8 haunted houses. I’m sure you will recognize walking deadsome of the house names, such as Halloween, Walking Dead: End of the Line, Alien vs. Preditor, From Dusk til Dawn and Dracula. These attractions pretty much let you know what to expect behind the doors. However, some of the haunts are not so easily the purgedetermined. In one house, Dollhouse of the Damned, you will be chased and mentally tortured by soulless dolls. If your greatest fear is clowns, you will want to stay clear of Giggles and Gore.

As you walk along the paths from house to house, you will be haunted throughout the streets, too. Universal has four themed streets. The Purge, Face Off, Bayou of Blood and MASKerade.  They are all to have you running and screaming for mercy!  I would pack a pair of extra pants! Continue reading Universal Studios Orlando Holdiay Happenings –

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