Universal Orlando Resort recently made three announcements that should make for some very excited fans of Harry Potter and/or the Today Show.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
This long-awaited roller coaster ride, currently being built in the space where Dueling Dragons/Dragon Challenge had been, now has an opening date – June 13, 2019. “For the first time ever, join Hagrid as you fly far beyond the grounds of Hogwarts castle on a thrilling roller coaster ride that plunges into the paths of some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures.” It’s said to be Universal’s most highly themed coaster to date.
Funny story about this announcement. Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort have had a long history of competition. Of course, that’s not surprising – they’re just a few miles apart here in Orlando and the goal for each of the mega resorts is to get as many bodies through their gates as possible. Anyway, not long after the above information was released by Universal, Disney announced their plans for some minor updates at Epcot. This is the meme that someone made not long afterwards…
There are definitely a bunch of funny people out there!
New Light Projection Experience Coming To The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
As if the opening day of Hagrid’s roller coaster wasn’t enough, Universal also recently announced an upcoming light projection show that will feature the Dark Arts.
Universal has been using the Hogwarts castle as a backdrop for projection experiences for a while now. It has a wizarding show on a nightly basis, and a special Christmas-themed show during the holiday season. And now they’ll have a show based on the Dark Arts, complete with music and lights.
“As darkness falls on Hogwarts castle, Dementors, Death Eaters and other unspeakable creatures including Acromantula, Mountain Trolls, and Thestrals will cloak the castle in with their great presence. Eventually, the chilling visage of the Dark Lord, Voldemort, appears to close the castle’s takeover… until one of the wizarding world’s most famous defensive charms is cast.”
The date this event will begin has not been announced yet. It’s been hypothesized that the reconstruction on the bypass bridge between the park’s Lost Continent and Jurassic Park lands might be the reason for the date not being set in stone – they’re waiting for the bridge to be done/reopened to help distribute the crowds.
The TODAY Cafe
Universal Studios Florida is going to open the Today Cafe this spring. It’s inspired by NBC’s The TODAY Show, which has been on the air since 1952.
The venue is designed to look and feel like Studio 1A in New York City where TODAY broadcasts daily. Vibrant orange awnings and large floor-to-ceiling windows will line the outside of the cafe, as well as outdoor seating meant to look like the TODAY plaza.
Inside, you will be able to step into the stage lighting and TODAY’s vibrant orange theming with a modern and sleek design. Plus, as you sit down and enjoy your cup of coffee and a bite to eat, you can catch up on top headlines from TODAY’s live broadcast.
The cafe, which will be in the space of the former Beverly Hills Boulangerie (that was there since the park’s opening day in 1990) will offer coffee, pastries, sandwiches, some healthier, organic offerings such as avocado toast and an organic acai bowl, as well as wine and cheese.
To help promote the TODAY Cafe, the Today show is offering the TODAY Cafe Flyaway Sweepstakes. One grand prize winner will receive a trip for four guests to Universal Orlando Resort that includes transportation, lodging and day passes to the park. Guests will also be able to attend the grand opening of the TODAY Show Cafe and enjoy a taping of the broadcast.
The sweepstakes is open to permanent, legal U.S. residents who reside in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia, age 18+.
Click here to read the Official Rules of the sweepstakes and to enter.
Click here to see other travel-related sweepstakes we’ve found.
** All photos via Universal Resort Orlando
*** Sincere thanks to Bethany H. who helped me find the meme…even though it was on my own freakin’ Facebook timeline and yes, I’m an idiot LOLOL!
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
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With lines being very long at Universal, any advice on how to get a two park ticket (Hogwarts Express is a must-do) with the line jumper option for less than around $200 per day per person for non-Florida residents?
Only way to get better prices per day is just like the Dis way method – to pay for more days. Universal has had a “Buy 2 days, get 2 more days free” offer for a few months now (it’s almost done though – don’t know when you were planning on coming to Orlando). Otherwise, you’re only going to find a few bucks off via Mousesavers and similar websites.
OR…if you plan to come twice in the same 12-month period, you can consider an Annual Pass and it may be cheaper than park hopper tickets for the trips.
Sorry I don’t have better news.