TORONTO — Universal Orlando Resort is on a roll, with a new 1,800-room hotel as well as an addition to the hugely popular Harry Potter experience coming in 2014.
The past few years have seen unprecedented growth for Universal Orlando, says Vice President Destination Sales, Dennis Quinn. The park has been building on a new momentum that began in 2010 with the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Now in summer 2014 at Universal Studios, the park will open The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, linked to the Hogsmeade attraction by train (the Hogwarts Express, naturally) and featuring shops, a restaurant and a marquee attraction based on Gringotts bank.
Diagon Alley will bring London to life for Harry Potter fans, says Quinn. “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter really was a significant change for Universal Orlando. It has global appeal and it’s given our park guests the ability to experience Harry’s world. And Diagon Alley will be just as immersive as Hogsmeade,” he said.
When it opens next year Diagon Alley will be just the latest in a string of new attractions, including this year’s TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D and the new world of The Simpsons.
And in spring 2014 Universal Orlando will introduce its new Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the fourth on-site hotel option for Universal Orlando guests and the first to offer value and moderate pricing. Room options at the resort are divided into two categories, standard accommodation and family suites, with per night price points starting at $119 and $175 respectively. Longer stays mean even lower room rates, says Quinn, who says the hotel is now booking family suites for arrivals March 31, 2014 onwards, and standard rooms for arrivals July 1, 2014 onwards. A new promotion bookable by Jan. 31, 2014, for travel March 31 – June 14, 2014, offers select family suite accommodation for a special lead-in rate of $104 plus tax per night, based on a seven-night stay. Blackout dates are April 11 – 24, 2014.
The 430 square-foot family suites will offer two queen beds and a pull-out memory foam couch – so can sleep six – plus there’s a small kitchen area with a dishwasher, sink and microwave. The bathrooms are divided into three separate sections, with a toilet on one side, a sink and a tub on the other side and a second sink in the middle, making the area very family-friendly.
Cabana Bay Beach Resort guests will not be part of the Universal Express lineup bypass program but they will get access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour earlier than everyone else.
Universal Orlando’s agent site, UniversalTravelAgents.com, will soon have a brand new training module, adds Quinn. Monthly webinars are available through the site as well.
[Related blog: Mickey’s Not The Only Star In Orlando posted on 23 November 2010]
[Related blog: International Pow Wow 2010 – Universal has a hit with Harry Potter posted on 17 May 2010]