Universal Orlando Resort is a theme park resort in Orlando, Florida. It is a joint partnership between NBC Universal and the Blackstone Group. The resort consists of two theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure), Universal CityWalk (a night-time entertainment destination), and three hotels. Additonally, the Wen 'n Wild water park, located near the main resort, was, since 2007, considered a part of the resort but was closed at the end of 2016 It is the largest property owned by Universal Studios Theme Parks, and is also the second largest resort in Orlando after the Walt Disney World Resort.
History[edit | edit source]
The resort began with the original Universal Studios Florida which opened on June 7, 1990. Expansion occurred in 1999, adding Islands of Adventure, Universal CityWalk, on-site hotels, and two multi-level parking structures. What was once a single theme park became a gargantuan resort destination much larger than Universal Studios Hollywood, as well as designed to be a rival to Walt Disney World Resort. The resort was originally named Universal Studios Escape but the name was quickly changed to Universal Orlando Resort.
Universal Studios Florida[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Florida, opened on June 7th, 1990. It is a theme park that lets visitors "Ride the Movies." The theming in Universal Studio's is targeted at making guests feel like they are in a movie set with rides that are inspired by popular films. The park consists of six themed areas - Hollywood, Production Central, New York, San Francisco, World Expo, Kidzone and Diagon Alley.
Universal's Islands of Adventure[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Universal's Islands of Adventure
Islands of Adventure opened in May 1999. The park is currently composed of six distinct "islands", each having its own theme. Visitors start off in the Port of Entry and make their way through the various islands - Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing. A new island themed to the popular Harry Potter book series was announced in May 2007, with a scheduled opening in 2010.
Universal CityWalk[edit | edit source]
Universal CityWalk includes the 20 screen AMC Universal Cineplex, numerous restaurants, shops, and clubs. It is also home to Margaritaville, NBA City Cafe, Nascar Cafe, Hard Rock and Hard Rock Live, and Emerill's. The clubs at CityWalk include Latin Quarter, The Groove, Pat O'Brians, Rising Star, Bob Marley's, Red Coconut, and Cigarz.
Hotels[edit | edit source]
The resort features five official hotels: Loews Royal Pacific Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. All three hotels are located in close proximity to the Universal Orlando theme parks. The hotels offer guests free water taxi or shuttle bus service to the Universal Orlando theme parks. Another benefit is that the guest room key works as an Express Pass, allowing the guest to bypass the Stand-by line at any attraction with the "Express Pass" option.
Halloween Horror Nights[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Halloween Horror Nights Orlando
Halloween Horror Nights is one of the largest Halloween events in the U.S., presented annually at Universal Orlando Resort. From 1991-2001, the event was held at Universal Studios Florida. The Halloween Horror Nights was expanded to Islands of Adventure in 2002, but the event was moved back to Universal Studios Florida in 2006.