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Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios

All the confirmed information is for JAPAN version of Super Nintendo World. Japan will come first (rumored to be the biggest version) followed by Orlando and then California (rumored to be the smallest version). “SUPER NINTENDO WORLD” will be a huge area with a multi-layered structure, recreating the popular characters and themes from Nintendo video games. Mario Kart, is a highly unique and the first of its kind attraction developed with the latest technologies. Along with a variety of Nintendo themed areas, rides, shops and restaurants.

“SUPER NINTENDO WORLD” will bring the fun of Nintendo games to life within an expansive, highly themed environment. Guests will enter a world of excitement where they will feel as if they are playing inside their favorite Nintendo games. The creative visionaries behind Nintendo’s legendary worlds and characters are working together with the creative teams behind Universal’s blockbuster theme park attractions.

Mario Kart Ride Universal Studios

An all-new “Mario Kart” attraction will be part of “SUPER NINTENDO WORLD” and will bring the hugely popular Nintendo game to life in a way that takes theme park entertainment to an entirely new level and goes beyond what Nintendo fans and theme park fans have ever seen.

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Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park

Volcano Bay Review

Volcano Bay is new water theme park created by Universal’s amazing team. The theme park is situated on 30 acres behind the Cabana Bay Hotel. It is a next generation water park themed to the fictional Waturi islanders. The water park is centered around the 200 foot tall Krakatau Volcano. The Waturi now inhabit this sacred island and want to share their joy and carefree lifestyle with you. Universal’s Volcano Bay has 18 awesome attractions with something for everyone.

Download the Volcano Bay Map (pdf)

Passholder Grand Opening Event

So passholders had a chance to register for limited spots to attend the Grand Opening of Volcano Bay. We checked into the parking garage at 6am. Volcano bay parking is to the right after you pay for parking (If your a premiere or preferred passholder it’s free). We were then loaded onto the buses and shuttled over in under 10 minutes. It was a short walk to the turnstiles where we showed our passes and got out TapuTapu watches.

Only the front of the park was open. The lockers were available and 3 stores were open. They also provided a light breakfast with bagels, pastries, muffins and coffee. At about 7:30 we were split into different groups. One group went to the Today Show set and we went to the WESH 2 set in front of the Volcano.

The opening ceremony then started which you can watch here!

Then some passholders got to run into the water and start splashing around when the official opening was announced. It was a fun experience and awesome to be some of the first people to enjoy Volcano Bay. They then let us go to experience the park before it was open to the public at 10am.

PASSHOLDER TIPS!!!

  1. Your PASSHOLDER DISCOUNT works on everything just like universal. So be sure to use it!
  2. Bring your own towel or rent one for $4.50.
  3. Freestyle Cups work the same. You can use your old one or buy a new Volcano Bay Freestyle Cup.
  4. There is an exclusive Freestyle flavor designed for Volcano Bay. The Kunuku Cooler is a mixed berry punch.
  5. WEAR SHOES! I walk barefoot through all water parks without many issues. But for some reason the combination of the sand and textured cement really hurt my feet after awhile. Most rides have cool shoe nets to hold your shoes.
  6. GET THERE EARLY! This is a “no brainer”! The earlier you are at the parks, the more rides you will enjoy. I am usually one of the very first people at the front of the line. Get all the rides in early and relax for the afternoon. Be sure to claim a chair first otherwise they will be taken.
  7. EARLY ACCESS! If you stay on-site at the hotel, you will get 1 hour early access to Volcano Bay. This will be crucial in getting all the rides without long waits this summer. If you stay at Cabana Bay it is only a short walk.

Review of Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park

So this is the Grand Opening of Universal’s Volcano Bay. Keep in mind things are NOT going to run smoothly on the first day. All new theme parks need time to work out the kinks as they get feedback and learn what is working and what is not. With that said we had a great time and it was a lot of fun. But of course we have some constructive criticism ????

First off the park is gorgeous! Once all the work is complete and the lush landscape and foliage fill in, it will look absolutely amazing. It truly is a paradise to behold. There are gorgeous details all over the park. All the employees were very nice and often greet you in the Waturi native language.

Look at this beautiful picture we captured with our S7. It almost looks like a rendering.

Universal's Volcano Bay

The park was not quite complete though! Crews have been scrambling into the night to be ready for the opening. It is quite amazing what they were able to accomplish in 2 years. BUT there is still some work to be done! Some of the rides/areas were NOT open. And paths to certain rides were not finished so they had to route you in different ways.

UPDATE: The park is fully open and almost everything is running much smoother. All the rides were up and running but the wait times are insane! But with a brand new Universal water park (in the summer), what did you expect ????

TapuTapu Wristband

The TapuTapu is a watch like device you use to reserve wait times, to purchase items and to open your lockers. It will also activate certain interactive areas (like Harry Potters interactive wand at Universal). But that system was not working on opening day. It is a new technology and with new technology comes new problems. Remember the launch of Dinsey’s Magic Band?

TapuTapu Wristband

There were many times we returned for our reservation only to wait 30-45 minutes. In one instance we waited for 40 minutes for our reservation and 90 minutes in line. Many people who bought the fast pass were frustrated because they were waiting just as long as everyone else. Some people found the TapuTapu a little confusing. You can reserve only one ride at a time. With exception to the Krakatau Aqua Coaster, you can have that and another ride reserved at the same time. In many instances the wait time would pause because a ride was down. We seen our wait times increase and then with 30 minutes left to go, it would switch and say “Ride Now”. Hopefully once the kinks are worked out the system will work much smoother.

Paying with the TapuTapu is very easy. Just set up your credit card through the universal app, choose a pin and then just tap to pay. The locker system was very nice! Just tap your watch on the Volcano Bay symbol near the monitor and your locker opens. You have to use your credit card to purchase the lockers though.

UPDATE: The TapuTapu is still making guests upset! You can only reserve one ride at a time. With ride waits over 4 hours, there is very little riding going on. The first day they allowed everyone to reserve the “Krakatau Aqua Coaster” and another ride. But now it’s just one ride at a time.

The Rides

We were fortunate to be in the park before it opened to the public. So we were able to experience almost all of the rides. The rides were definitely a blast and we had a lot of fun! Unfortunately many rides were up and down all day.

Volcano Bay Ride Reviews

The Krakatau Aqua Coaster
The water coaster was down a large part of the day. It also reached capacity and you couldn’t even make a reservation for it. We just happened to walk by when it reopened and got in in less than 5 minutes. It is NOT as thrilling a a normal roller coast, but man is it a blast! Going down the hills are fun but going up the hills are awesome. The coaster uses magnetic propulsion to shoot you up the hills. You actually go faster up the hills then down them. I found myself giggling like a little kid every time we zoomed up. This is a must ride attraction and is fun for the whole family.

Ko’okiri Body Plunge
This is fast ride with a 70 degree angle and a 125 foot drop. This one is for all the thrill ride lovers. It is a drop tower made of clear plexiglass that plunges through the volcano. Though part of the pexiglass is exposed, you are going too fast and there is too much water to see. It’s a long stairway climb to the top but well worth it!

Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides
These 2 body slides are also situated at the top of the volcano. But unlike the Ko’okiri it twists and intertwines around each other. This is also a fun thrill ride and a drop tower. The slides are different routes and separate experiences. Many people seem to be sacred of the drop element. But it is really nothing and once you experience it you won’t be afraid anymore.

Punga Racers
The Punga Racers are your typical mat rides where 4 of you race through winding tubes. This ride is a little underwhelming but still fun. This ride is situated on the backside of the volcano.

Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slide
These are 2 body slides that drop you into a 10 foot deep pool. The Ohyah Slide drops out four feet above the pool. The Ohno Slide is slightly taller and drops six feet above the pool. We are lucky this was the first slide we went to! The lines for these slides seem very slow and the wait times were crazy all day. It was a good slide and the drop was fun.

TeAwa The Fearless River
This was the most disappointing ride! When I heard they were looking to build this similar to “The Current” at Atlantis Water Park in Nassau Bahamas, I was super excited. “The Current” is what an exciting river ride should be like. It is intense and fast with 10 feet walls that you fly all the way up! BUT the worst part is they force everyone to wear a life jackets. Life jackets are NOT necessary for this ride. Then to top it off you had to wait for the life jackets. Unless they get rid of the life jacket rule, I will skip this ride. If you ever go to Nassua be sure to check out the Atlantis Water Park and their river ride.

UPDATE: You no longer have to wear life jackets! They have changed the entrance to the River because people were slipping on the steps.

Honu ika Moana
These are both multi person slides that utilize the same raft system but they are very different. Moana twists and turns while water sprays from the center of the raft and is a lot of fun. The Honu is a little more thrilling and you can hear people scream almost every time. Honu sweeps you up to giant walls before it hurdles you through twists and turns. We rode this with a single rider who was almost 300 lbs and my girlfriend and I are about 350 lbs combined. Not sure what the ride weight capacity is but that is about 650 lbs. We when so I up those walls we were almost at the top. As we came down the second wall into the first twist, me an the raft were off the water slide. That was pretty scary and I think there was too much weight on it.

Volcano Bay Food

What about the food? To be clear we are foodies and love food. But we are also very critical of food and seek out the best food Orlando has to offer. Volcano Bay food is definitely a step above your standard theme park offerings. Everything seemed fresh and overall good. We only tried a few things but we will review more as we eat it ????

Volcano Bay Food

UPDATE: The Volcano Bay has drastically changed their menu and removed 28 items from the menu. They replaced these unique themed foods with hot dogs and nachos. This is very disappointing because all the food was very good and better than Universal’s other in park options.

The Feasting Frog

The feasting frog is a small food stand right next to the Kunuku Boat Bar. It is shaped like a frog and offers a variety of Mexican type fare with patio style seating.

Taco Sampler
I am a big taco fan! So I was excited about this particular menu item. You order at the window and wait for your name to be called. All the tacos were decent with my favorite being the Carne Asada Taco. But I felt all the tacos lacked favor. The biggest disappointment were the taco shells. Although they are pretty, they are also tough and gritty. I prefer more flavor and a softer shell. I will probably skip the tacos next time.

Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club

This restaurant is located at the beginning of the park to the right. They offer variety of island style goodies like Mango BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Quinoa Edamame Burgers and crunchy Coconut Crusted Fried Chicken.

Mango BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich
This was one of the dishes I really wanted to try because I love pulled pork sandwiches. Overall the sandwich was tasty and had good flavor. It is served on a Hawaiian style roll and topped with caramelized pineapple, fresh cabbage and mango slaw. My only complaint would be that it was a little sloppy and could have been cooked to a thicker consistency. You will need a fork and knife to eat it but it is little hard to cut. I would order the this sandwich again though.

Bambu Jungle Kitchen

This shaded retreat is created from beautiful bamboo stalks. They offer delicious island fare such as the Reka Burger, Pretzel Dogs and Tropical Fruit Salad.

Reka Burger
How can we go anywhere without trying the burger! The Reka Burger is also served on the same Hawaiian bun. It is topped with Pepper Jack cheese, bacon, caramelized onions, pickles and mango BBQ sauce. The burger was very good and had great flavor. It is comparable to CityWalk burger offerings. I would order this again for sure!

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The Cowfish at CityWalk Universal Orlando

The Cowfish is a fusion of Sushi and Burgers! The restaurant is very good and offers some unique items that can only be found there. You can get sandwiches made with sushi stuff along with sushi built with burger stuff. They also offer a variety of other unique items including spiked milkshakes, premium sakes, specialty beers and exotic martinis. I am NOT a sushi fan (everyone else seems to love the Cowfish Sushi) but their burgers and shakes are delicious! And be sure to try the “Cheeseburgooshi” ????

The All-American Bacon Double Cheeseburgooshi

Cheeseburgooshi is a very unique menu item and a very delicious one! It is a cheese burger created like sushi. It includes seasoned premium black angus beef, yellow cheddar and white cheddar cheese and applewood bacon wrapped in soy paper and potato strings. It is then flash fried and topped with dill pickle, red onion, Roma tomatoes and Cowfish sauce. We really liked the Cheeseburgooshi and devoured it quickly. We would definitely order this again! There are a variety of other items that are created like this and we’ll probably try them all.

The Jalapeño Popper Show-Stopper

We love the burgers at Cowfish so we decided to try something different. For all you jalapeño fans here is The Jalapeño Popper Show-Stopper. This Beef burger is topped with jalapeño-infused cream cheese, jalapeño bacon, fried jalapeños, jalapeño citrus aioli, lettuce, tomato and fresh sliced jalapeños on a brioche bun. As usual the burger and bacon had great taste but it was probably a little too much jalapeños for me. With all the topping it still came off a little bland. There was a lot of the cream cheese which was a little bland also (I think a Swiss cheese would have been better). But if you are crazy for jalapeños then this burger is sure to please.

See the Full Cowfish Menu Here

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Universal’s Aventura Hotel

Introductory Offer – $50 Dining Credit

Be one of the first to experience the newest on-site hotel at Universal Orlando Resort™ and receive a free $50 hotel dining credit* (per room) when you stay 4 nights or longer.

Universal is now accepting reservations for the Aventura Hotel

When it opens in the summer of 2018, guests visiting the new Universal’s Aventura Hotel will arrive at a sleek and stylish space designed to create an affordable-chic experience in the heart of a vibrant and relaxing resort atmosphere.

Sapphire Hills VR Experience

Universal’s Aventura Hotel, designed with the connected and value-savvy traveler in mind, will become the destination’s sixth hotel and continue the unprecedented growth ongoing at Universal Orlando Resort. The 16-story gleaming glass tower will consist of 600 guest rooms, including 13 kids’ suites. It will bring the total number of on-site hotel rooms at Universal Orlando to 6,200 when combined with the 400-room expansion of Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort opening in 2017.

The hotel will feature the destination’s first-ever rooftop bar and grill, where guests will enjoy small plates and craft cocktails while taking in incredible panoramic views of Universal Orlando and the surrounding tropical landscape. Hotel guests can also dine at a modern food hall offering five unique cuisine options in a marketplace setting just off the lobby. Amenities exclusive to guests staying on-site will include Early Park Admission to Universal’s theme parks, complimentary on-site transportation, a relaxing pool with a hot tub, kids’ splash pad area and fire pit, a state-of-the-art fitness center, gift shop and car rental facilities.

Universal’s Aventura Hotel will offer guests yet another value priced option when choosing from the wide range of on-site hotels at Universal Orlando Resort. The new hotel will neighbor Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and will be just steps away from Universal Orlando’s theme parks, including Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay – a first-of-its-kind water theme park opening in early summer 2017. Universal CityWalk, the destination’s dining and entertainment complex, will be accessible via walking paths or shuttle service from Universal’s Aventura Hotel.

Away from the energy of the hotel’s public spaces, the guest room experience embraces a serene, modern environment with refreshing, natural colors such as sea blue and rose, and floor-to-ceiling windows offering sweeping views of the destination.

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Hot Dog Hall of Fame CityWalk

I usually skip the hot dog when hunger strikes, but I do love a DOG at CitWalk’s “Hot Dog Hall of Fame”. They offer a variety of the most famous Hot Dogs from across the country. Try the classic “Chicago Dog” with all an all beef Vienna dog, diced onions, tomatoes, sport peppers, neon relish and celery salt served on a poppy seed bun. Or how about something different like the “Kansas City” topped with pulled pork, coleslaw, pickles and barbecue sauce.

They offer a variety of outdoor seating including standard chairs with umbrella tables, a covered pavilion area that sits up higher and another covered area on the back near the top of City Walk. There is also plenty of stadium seating that looks cool, but it’s hard to eat a dog with no table in front of you.

PASSOLDER TIPS!
Fries are included with all dogs except the 2 Footer. SAVE $2 if you don’t want fries with your dog!

The Famous 2 Foot Long Hot Dog

Here it is! The enormous 2 foot long hot dog from CityWalk’s “Hot Dog Hall of Fame”. This is a HUGE HOT DOG and much larger and thicker than the Foot Long. I would say its the equivalent of 3 foot longs!

It is an all beef Vienna Hot Dog with your choice of 2 toppings. It is served on a 2 foot long bun in a custom cardboard carrying tray. This is a CHEAP way to fill up a few people. The 2 foot long dog does NOT come with fries. Although it’s fun to try! I thought the hot dog was a little tough and thick. I prefer the foot long hot dog which has a normal sized hot dog on it.

The Foot Long Hot Dog

This one is my personal favorite! The foot long Chili Cheese Dog ???? This is a foot long Vienna all-beef dog in a foot long bun with your choice of two topping and served with fires. Don’t forget to try the spicy jalapeno mustard, it is so good! I like the Vienna hot dog they use on the foot long, it has always been consistently good.

The Milwaukee

I like a good bratwurst so we tried the “Milwaukee”. It boasts a Bratwurst sausage with grilled onions and spicy brown mustard served on a grilled hoagie roll. The grilled onions were good and I enjoyed the grilled hoagie roll. BUT, I was NOT crazy about the sausage! It did not look or taste like a bratwurst and had very little flavor. I would skip this one if your looking for that classic bratwurst taste.

The Kansas City

This one was recommended and is a fan favorite. This Vienna all-beef dog is served with pulled pork, barbecue sauce, coleslaw and a pickle. This was a very good hot dog and now my second favorite (next to the chili cheese dog). The tender pulled pork, sweet barbecue sauce and chilly coleslaw combine to make a unique and flavorful hot dog. Crab some extra napkins because this one is messy!

The Detroit Coney Dog

This is Koegel brand hot dog which was created in Flint Michigan in 1916 by Albert Koegal. Koegal Meat Co. products were only available in Michigan until recently (they are now available in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky). The Detroit is topped with Abbott’s Coney chili and diced onions (of course we added cheese to it). I really like the flavor and texture of the Koegel hot dog and the chili is delicious. It had a softer texture unlike the Vienna which can sometimes seem tough. How can you go wrong with a Detroit Coney Dog?

The Chicago Dog
A Vienna all-beef dog, neon relish, sport peppers, diced onions and tomatoes, celery salt and a pickle served on a poppy seed bun. The Chicago Dog is a classic but NOT my favorite. The Vienna dog was a little tough and I can go without the neon relish and the sport peppers. I did like the poppy seed bun but I will skip this dog next time.

The Colorado Dog
Nathan’s Famous hot dog, grilled peppers, grilled onions and sauerkraut.

The Boston Dog
Kayem all-beef dog, diced onions, relish and spicy brown mustard served on a toasted New England-style bun.

The Washington Dog
Hebrew National dog, coleslaw, blue cheese dressing, celery salt and buffalo sauce.

The New York Dog
Sabrett all-beef dog, sauerkraut and mustard

The Arizona Dog
Vienna all-beef dog, smoked bacon, pinto beans, grilled peppers, grilled onions and cheese

Italian Sausage
Provolone cheese, grilled onions and grilled peppers.

Specialty Mustards

How can you have a good dog without some good mustard? Luckily they have you covered with five specialty mustards.

BOEJE’S Stone Ground Mustard
In 1889, Fred Boetje began making his stoneground Dutch mustard in his garage in Rock, Illinois. The same recipe is used today with water, mustard seed, sugar, salt and distilled vinegar.

FOOD & WINE Spicy Jalapeno Mustard
This one is my favorite and has a special kick to it! This pepper mustard is delicately flavored with cilantro and made with white wine. It is fabulous on cheese, great in sauces or try adding it a cheese omelet. The particular mustard is also considered Gluten-Free.

HAUS BARHYTE Smoky Garlic Mustard
Be WARNED, this mustard is not for part-time garlic lovers! It shouts, summer, baseball and picnics all in on taste. Try it on your favorite sandwich, hot dog or toasted bagel.

SILVER SPRING Beer ‘n Brat Mustard
The texture is more coarse than yellow or Dijon mustard with eye-watering heat and a broad range of mustard flavors. It pairs well with bratwurst and sauerkraut, deli-style sandwiches, summer sausage, deviled eggs, and pretzels and beer.

BERTMAN Original Ball Park Mustard
Joseph Bertman, originally made the mustard in his garage behind his house in Cleveland. He made it primarily for League Park, one of his best customers. League Park, many years later became Municipal Stadium and the mustard followed and was the only brown mustard used for the entire time the stadium was opened. Eventually following to the opening of the Progressive Field as well.

Additional Toppings
Bacon
BBQ Sauce
Pinto Beans
Cole Slaw
Jalapeños
Neon Relish
Onions (diced or sauteed)
Pepper (sports or sauteed)
Red Onion Sauce
Sauerkraut
Sweet Relish
Tomato
Pickle
Chili
Blue Cheese
Provolone Cheese
Cheese Sauce
Shredded Cheese
Pulled Pork

Sides
Fries
Cracker Jacks
Roasted Peanuts

Draft Beer
Budweiser
Bud Light
Miller Lite
Yuengling
Blue Moon
Sam Adams

Hot Dog Hall of Fame Full Menu
See the full menu and prices for “CityWalk’s Hot Dog Hall of Fame”.

Free Stuff

Well we had some awesome fan art photo frames we were making for fun. We offered the frames for free and my website makes NO many and I don’t sell anything. They claim my free fan digital art frames a similar to there physical photo frames you purchase at the park. All I do is promote Universal for free! We had a Beetlejuice Frame, a Harry Potter frame and we were almost done with our Simpsons frame. People loved the frames and were very excited about them ????

“While we very much appreciate your enthusiasm for Universal, we are concerned by your offering of downloadable photo frames that feature the Universal Orlando Resort logo and other intellectual property owned by Universal and its business partners (see https://orlandopassholder.com/free-stuff/). As you may know, Universal sells photo frames that are similarly branded with the Universal logo and/or licensed IP (for example, https://shop.universalorlando.com/p/Universal-Studios-Clapboard-Photo-Frame.html and https://shop.universalorlando.com/p/Hogwarts-Castle-Photo-Frame.html). Because you are offering for download products similar to those sold by Universal that feature Universal’s intellectual property, consumers are likely to believe that your photo frames originate with or are authorized by Universal. Accordingly, we must ask that you remove the downloadable photo frames from your website.”

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