Universal Orlando 101

By: VISIT FLORIDA staff

ADD TO FAVORITES
For new visitors, a basic overview of Universal Orlando is in order. Read up on the best overview and basic information on the popular Orlando theme park here.

Universal Orlando is a destination where guests can do everything all the time or nothing but relax – all in the same day. It's a destination where they can play bocce ball near a semi-private pool at the luxurious Portofino Bay Resort, while the cabana attendant refreshes their drink. And it's a destination where parents and kids alike can scream their lungs out on the Incredible Hulk roller coaster while being rocketed from 0 mph to 45 mph in two seconds.

With Academy Award-winning producer/director Steven Spielberg as creative consultant, Universal Orlando set out to change the way people think about and experience theme park entertainment. Its attractions are based on pop-culture icons and blockbuster films.

The seven individually themed islands at Islands of Adventure are home to some of the most technologically advanced rides and attractions ever made, along with some of the world's most beloved and cool characters, including Cat-in-the-Hat, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk and the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter recently opened. And Universal Studios is known as the theme park where guests "ride the movies." The Men In Black Alien Attack is based on the blockbuster film and has Will Smith coaching guests through what is a life-size, ride-through video game where each guest zaps aliens and gets a different score that determines how the attraction ends.

The Shrek 4D and Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast attractions at Universal Studios use a combination of brand-new animation and celebrity involvement to pull guests into continuations of some of the most popular animated adventures of all time.

For nighttime entertainment, there is Universal CityWalk, a 30-acre collection of some of the most powerful and popular music and entertainment industry icons: Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Emeril's Restaurant Orlando, Hard Rock Live and dozens more clubs, restaurants and shops.

And when your day is done, Universal Orlando's hotels offer world-class hospitality and the perfect escape from the standard room. The luxurious Portofino Bay Hotel (5601 Universal Blvd.; 407-503-1000), a Loews Hotel, features 750 rooms and re-creates the famed Mediterranean village of the same name; the Hard Rock Hotel (5800 Universal Blvd.; 407-503-2000) features 650 rooms and showcases the unique style of a California mission, complete with the usual Hard Rock touches that range from classic rock 'n roll memorabilia to bellmen with nose rings and purple hair. The new Royal Pacific Resort (6300 Hollywood Way; 407-503-3000) has 1,000 rooms and is designed to be the most exotic hotel in North America - complete with an orchid court and hand-carvings straight from Bali.

For general park information visit www.universalorlando.com or call (407) 363-8000.

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