What’s New Around the Universe - July 13, 2014

There are exciting new things happening every day at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida!  Join us every week to read about what’s new “Around the Universe.”  This week’s update features: Diagon Alley grand opening, new CityWalk eateries and more!

What’s New This Week?

Diagon Alley Grand Opening

© 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Universal Orlando Theme Parks

New! Diagon Alley is OPEN! July 8th marked the official grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.  Universal Orlando welcomed thousands of excited guests into the spectacularly themed land for the very first time with confetti, fireworks and a red carpet lined with dozens of cheering Diagon Alley team members.  Here’s a video recap of Diagon Alley Grand Opening.


Check out our Diagon Alley Survival Guide for tips and tricks for maximizing your visit to the newest Wizarding World.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley

Fire-Breathing Dragon Wows Crowds: A 60-foot, fire-breathing Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon sits atop Gringotts Wizarding Bank and periodically thrills the crowds below with a burst of fire.  Each time, the people in Diagon Alley jump from fright and the they cheer in amazement.  It’s something you just have to see!  Here’s a slow motion video of the dragon breathing fire.


Follow #DiagonAlley News on Social Media: Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine or something else, keep an eye out for popular hashtags used by the many Muggles now exploring Diagon Alley. Some to watch are #MuggleMoments (this is an official hashtag announced by Universal Orlando), #DiagonAlley, #Potterwatch and #Gingotts. Also watch the official @UniversalOrlando accounts too.

Universal Orlando Resort Hotels

New! Velvet Sessions with Lou Gramm July 31, 2014: Velvet Bar hosts the city’s only rock ‘n’ roll cocktail party on the last Thursday of the month.  Admission is $29 on-line or $35 at the door and includes FREE specialty drinks & finger foods and warm-up tunes from 6:30-8:30pm, plus FREE valet parking.  Cash bars and live band from 8:00pm onward. Each “session” combines creative cocktails with live music from some of the hottest rock bands.

Reminder! Wantilan Luau – Saturday Nights Year-Round: Sit back and experience an evening of authentic Polynesian food and entertainment at the enchanting Wantilan Luau, a weekly Hawaiian dinner show featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet of Polynesian specialties, live Hawaiian music and traditional hula dancing.  Hula and fire dancers delight the audience and entice a few to even learn the hula! Adults: $70 for Priority Seating or $63 for Regular Seating. Children (ages 3 – 9): $40 for Priority Seating or $35 for Regular Seating. Ages under 3 are complimentary.  Price includes gratuity, non-alcoholic beverages, wine, beer, and Mai Tais!

Universal CityWalk

New! Bread Box Handcrafted Sandwiches Now Open: With a Bread Box sandwich, you’ll be transported back to your childhood kitchen or your favorite street corner deli. Here you’ll find that the combination of quality meats and vegetables, fresh bread, and simple preparation can transform a sandwich into something more.

Reminder! Hot Dog Hall of Fame Now Open: Hot Dog Hall of Fame officially opened July 3, 2014 at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk, becoming the latest venue to debut as part of this year’s historic expansion to the entertainment complex.  Hot Dog Hall of Fame, located across from Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, features stadium-style seating and iconic hot dog creations from across the nation, including the loaded Chicago dog and Milwaukee brat.  Universal partnered with Steven Schussler, the global culinary concept creator behind the popular Rain Forest Cafe, to bring his Hot Dog Hall of Fame concept to CityWalk.

hot dog hall of fame 1

hot dog hall of fame 2

hot dog hall of fame 3

Reminder! CityWalk Expansion Plans: Hot Dog Hall of Fame joins Red Oven Pizza Bakery, Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, Cold Stone Creamery, Starbucks, Menchie’s, Breadbox and VIVO Italian Kitchen as the latest establishments to open as part of the expansion to Universal CityWalk.  The CowFish will open later this year.

Closures and Refurbishments

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

  • None

Universal Studios

  • None

Are you considering a visit to Universal Orlando?  Just click on the Universal Orlando image below to contact our friends at Destinations in Florida Travel and start planning your visit to Universal Orlando Resort.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Siera Duiser

Hello, my name is Siera and I am a travel agent with Destinations to Explore. I have always loved to travel and have had the opportunity to travel to thirteen different countries so far. I have also been to many different parts of the United States. I love sharing about the places I have been and the places I would love to see as well as some tips and tricks I have learned along the way.