Secrets of Universal Studios Orlando
August 21, 2019
Recently I was able to visit Universal Studios Orlando by my self and after riding all of the rides I wanted (I have a love / hate for the single rider line) I was looking for other things to do. I did a bunch of google searches, but they kept coming up with the same few things. Finally, I stumbled across this book called “The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando 2019” by Seth Kubersky . I sat down in an air conditioned restaurant and had a quick read through the book.
What sparked my interest was how to book went into detail about each attrition at the parks and the fact that there was some hidden information in the descriptions of each attraction. I am going to break down this hidden information and tell you more about the secret free tours, fun things to do, and who to say hi to!
For those who do not know, Universal Studios is currently made up of 4 areas with a 5th one recently announced). Those areas are:
- City Walk – Free area with entertainment, restaurants, hotels, etc.
- Volcano Bay – Waterpark
- Universal Studios – Theme Park focused more on Universals action movies
- Islands of Adventure – Theme Park focused on fiction.
On this trip I visited all of the areas accept for Volcano Bay. Starting with Universal Studios, Here are some things you need to check out.
“Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon” is a Simulator ride that has you racing though the streets of New York. You are sat in the Studio Audience and get to experience a ride along in the “Tonight Show Racer”. One thing i like about this ride is the que system. Instead of the normal wait in a long line they do two things differently. The first is the Virtual Wait system. This allows you request a time to come on the ride within a 1 hour block. You can request this time in person at the ride on a kiosk or using the official Universal Studios Florida app on your phone. Once you arrive at your time slot, you are given a “Tonight Show Ticket” that is one of 5 colors. This is your group color so you know its time to get on the ride. You first enter a hallway on the ground floor where you see history of the Tonight Show including memorabilia from all of the past and present host. There is even some old studio cameras that were used to tape the show. You then head upstairs and enter a waiting area that features large tvs and a stage. The stage is used hourly by The Ragtime Gals Barbershop Quartet performing a skit.
If you are looking for a more in-depth experience, ask the person at the podium outside for a “Studio Tour”. You will get a private tour guide to take you around the waiting areas telling you in detail about the history of a lot of the items. They will also take you upstairs to some employee only areas that are really cool. One of the highlights is getting to see the complex control room of the ride. There are some other things that are shown to you as well, but you should experience them for your self.
Next, one of my favorite rides is the “Revenge of the Mummy”. This ride is a roller coaster that starts out slow but ends up really fast. There is also a lot of pyrotechnics and twist and turns on the ride. One of the cool things to do is to ask the person at the front entrance with the radio if they are offering any “Production Tours” today. If they are not too busy, they will say yes and tell you to wait on the side. A few moments later, Andres came over and introduced himself to me then took me to a side door. As we walked in he was telling me how since the line wait was only 30 minutes, they were only using 2 of their cue areas. He then took me into 3 of the cue rooms that were not used. These rooms had a lot of production information on the movie, storylines, and photos from the set. There was also a few props as well. Andres was telling me how durring Halloween, they use some of these rooms for the special event lines. While looking in these rooms Andres knew a lot of information about the history of the movie and facts about the ride.
We then walked over to a door, and when he opened it, it was very dark inside, next thing I knew, the ride was right above us! This was very cool to see. He told me more information about the ride and the amount of safety that goes into making sure the ride operates properly. He pointed out different safety sensors, special effects, and also a secret about this buildings past attraction, Kongfrontation. After a few minutes down here, Andres took me back over to the ride loading area. At this point the tour was over, and I asked (kinda jokingly) if he wanted to join me for a ride to point out some of the things he talked about, he said yes! Speaking of Kongfrontation, If you are waiting in the cue, did you happen to notice that Kong was located in several spots on the wall? What about durring the ride, did you see kong at least 3 times on the ride? If you go ride it, try and find them! I did not see all of them until Andres showed me them when we went on the ride together.
The final attraction at Universal Studios Orlando I am going to talk about is Men in Black: Alien Attack. This is an interactive ride that has you racing against another team to score the most points shooting aliens. While this ride is one of the older ones at the park, it still runs very strong. The outside of the building is themed to the worlds expo. As you enter the building, you wait in a lobby area, where all of a sudden the lights dim and its a MIB agent tells you that there is an attack on the way and they need your help. You are then told to enter an elevator and when it stops you are now in the MIB headquarters. When you are walking in the hallway, try opening some of the doors. There are some surprises on them that not very many people realize. As you are walking past the control area above, you will notice the two large aliens observing the large oval monitor. Following this room, you will be in the loading area for the ride. Each ride vehicle holds 6 people. These are your team mates. You want to get the highest score possible on the ride. (And listen close at the end, you WILL want to hit that red button).
After you ride the ride, ask the agent for a “immigration tour”. You will be escorted then downstairs into the control area of headquarters. There you might find some humans playing a game of cards, or aliens checking their email. Eduardo was my tour guide for my “Immigration Tour”. He allowed me to have a seat at one of the desks and come up with my alien name. he also showed me where the small break room was for the aliens on duty to take a break. He then asked what my high score on the ride was, I told him I have never gotten above 100k. He said we can improve that and proceeded to give me pointers while we walked back up to the ride loading area. Once in the area, I asked if he wanted to ride with and show me the tips, he happily agreed and went on the ride with me. After a lap on the ride with Eduardo, my score went to 170k! Thats a good improvement.
Thats what I have so far about Universal Studios. Keep a look out for a new post soon about Islands of Adventure and CityWalk!