Sunday, November 24, 2013

Video: Lake Ivanhoe Holiday Lights Relit

Ivanhoe holiday lights
The Lake Ivanhoe holiday lights were relit on 11/22/13.

The Lake Ivanhoe holiday lights, a half-century old seasonal Orlando holiday tradition, returned on Friday November 22, 2013 after a nearly two decade absence. The lights atop the former OUC plant at 1111 N Orange Ave, which alternate flashing "HAPPY HOLIDAYS" and "HAPPY NEW YEAR," were first lit in the 1950s, and last appeared in the 1990s.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Video: Kang & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl Testing at Universal Studios Florida

Here's a new video of cycle testing on Kang & Kodos' Twirl 'n' Hurl, the soon-to-open Simpsons-themed spinner in Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida.

Note that the flying saucer ride vehicles' altitudes can be controlled by the riders, but that all the cars ascend to full height at the end of the cycle. Also note the back side of the freshly-installed attraction marquee on the far left.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Photos and Video of Transformers Grand Opening at Universal Orlando

After weeks of soft-opening previews, Transformers The Ride 3-D finally officially opened this morning with a bang. Celebrities in attendance included voice actors Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime) and Frank Welker (Megatron), film actor Glenn Morshower, and producer/director Steven Spielberg.

Here are links to my live-streamed videos from the red carpet and explosive opening ceremony, followed by a gallery of photos. The attraction is now open daily to guests, with a massive multi-hour line at the current moment. So, if you want to Prepare for Battle, be prepared to wait!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Springfield USA Fast Food Boulevard Now Open at Universal Orlando

This past Saturday, Universal Studios Florida quietly debuted the first portion of their Simpsons-themed renovation of the park's former World Expo area. Springfield USA's Fast Food Boulevard features iconic eateries from the long-running cartoon, including Moe's Tavern and Krustyburger, serving unique menu items inspired by Homer's favorite foods.

So far I've tasted the Frying Dutchman's calamari and clam chowder, Cletus' chicken and waffle sandwich, the cheese-oozing Krustburger, and Duff beer (in regular and lite versions, specially brewed by Florida Beer Company). I've been impressed with the quality and portion size of everything I've tried, and look forward to sampling the rest of the snacks.

The Simpsons expansion continues later this month with a new "Duff Gardens" beer pavilion and a "Kang and Kodos" spinning carnival ride. In the meantime, enjoy this photo gallery showing off these emerging attractions.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Transformers The Ride Opens at Universal Orlando on June 20

After months of speculation, Universal Orlando today announced an official opening of June 20, 2013 for their new 3-D Transformers attraction. A clone of the popular attraction already operating at the Hollywood and Singapore parks, Transformers brings the iconic 1980s robot toys (as cinematically reinterpreted by director Michael Bay) to life through a 3-D dark ride/simulator similar to Islands of Adventure's acclaimed Spider-Man ride.

Transformers can be found in the Universal Studios Florida park in a newly-constructed building on the site of the old Murder She Wrote and Hercules & Xena shows. The new ride's gift shop is currently open, and meet & greets with the attraction's Autobot and Decepticon stars are being held daily outside the attraction. Look of unannounced soft openings in the weeks before next month's grand opening.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Photo Gallery: Universal Studios Florida April 2013 Construction Update

Here is a look at the latest changes at Universal Orlando's original theme park, taken on Wednesday 4/17/2013.

Weekdays in April after Spring Break ends are a great time to visit with short attraction lines.

You can tell how much construction is going on right now by counting the cranes!

A closer look at what will be the London side of Harry Potter's expansion.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Express Entrance Opens for Busy Spring Break at Universal Orlando

This week I braved the spring break crowds to briefly inspect what's new over at Universal Orlando. With all the construction currently underway in both parks, it's hard to keep up with all the changes!

Photo Gallery: Artist Doug Rhodehamel Makes His 50,000th Mushroom

Last night (3/28/13) at The Venue in Ivanhoe Village, Orlando artist Doug Rhodehamel made his 50,000th paper bag mushroom in front of a cheering audience. Rhodehamel's elaborate installations animals made from recycled materials have been seen locally at the Orlando Science Center, Stardust Video, and Say It Loud!, but he's best known for his Spore Project, which has spread fake fungi to every continent on Earth.