Universal Orlando Snapshot: Current ride closures, park promotions, & special events | Orlando Informer

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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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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.

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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 February 27, 2021. You can find the full details behind the closure 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 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 – 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.

Attraction refurbishments
We’re in the middle of seasonal refurbishment season! Here’s the final attraction that will be down for the next several weeks:

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 it opens, we can live vicariously through Universal Studios Japan, which will be getting one of Epic Universe’s new lands, Super Nintendo World, sometime this spring (it also has gotten delayed, due to a state of coronavirus-related emergency having been declared in Osaka). There’s been a whole bevy of new info about the area’s rides and interactive features as of late – catch up on all the latest 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 (though, when things get really busy, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and/or Doctor Doom’s Fearfall get temporarily added to the lineup).

Upcoming annual events and special celebrations

Mardi Gras 2021
Mardi Gras is here! And though it may look a little different this year, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Universal is still committed to having fun, food, and, of course, beads. See what’s different (spoiler: no concerts or parade), what’s new (the Scavenger Hunt and more food than ever before), and why the name has changed (to International Flavors of Carnaval) in our insider’s guide.

Halloween Horror Nights 2021
This year’s event got announced earlier than ever before, including its very first haunted house, Puppet Theatre: Captive Audience. (This is because last year’s Horror Nights, of course, was cancelled due to the coronavirus.)

Get prepared for this fall’s showing 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 Primavera, which normally runs in either March or April). 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

Refurbishments – the Hogwarts Express will be closed for seasonal maintenance early this year – the magical train ride will be down on the 21st.

The Bourne StuntacularUniversal 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 – 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 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 this 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 & 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.

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, 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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