Photos: Universal’s Islands of Adventure

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A new year at Universal

Universal posted a press release to their blog today previewing some off the biggest news stories of 2018. The biggest being the opening of the new ride based on The Fast & The Furious franchise (only 10 years overdue) in a few months, and, while no official opening date was given, we can probably expect a soft open in the coming weeks.

The release also teased various forthcoming announcements. Normally, I hate when organizations do that, but this sounds interesting none the less…

  • The previously-announced ride replacing Dragon Challenge in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade… as well as an additional projection mapping experience at Hogwarts castle.” So much hype, so little space. I didn’t get a chance to see their holiday projection show, but I expect more details will likely be made around the end of the month in time for the Celebration of Harry Potter (Jan 26-28).
  • Something new going in where Terminator 2: 3D was” – UOR is being extremely vague on this, but I’m hoping it’s the rumored The Secret Lives of Pets dark ride to compliment both Shrek 4-D (which needs a newer franchise in there already) and Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem.
  • The continued global expansion of our partnership with Nintendo. Our sister park in Japan has already broken ground on Super Nintendo World; I’m sure you can’t wait to hear what’s next.” Darn straight, I can’t – even clunky PR talk can’t stop this massive train from smashing every pipe in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Memorial Day Weekend Update

Saturday is the official opening of Pandora: The World of Avatar at DAK. I was in the park when they were filming The View previewing it’s opening, but while it looks pretty when it isn’t crowded, this weekend isn’t going to be one of them. In fact, I will not set foot in the park until at least October or even December and, even then, it will probably still be packed.

Another place that will be packed is Universal’s Volcano Bay. It’s a brand-new water park and it’s walking distance to two of their main hotels (the others will offer a free shuttle service). Everything I’ve seen or heard about it makes it sound awesome…but I’m not sold on buying an expensive “3-park pass” to enter it (which is cool if you haven’t been to the other parks in a while, but for a park photog like me, it isn’t much of a deal).

Of course, LEGO Land Florida is opened it’s newest theme area (such as they are) “Ninjago” last month and their 2nd hotel The LEGO Land Beach Resort back in January. However, this weekend, is the opening of their water park.

I’m sure SeaWorld Orlando is doing something special, but I’m not sure what. However, as it is the “Last Sunday of the month,” expect Animal Rights Florida to be outside their main gate for at least most of the day.