Sneak Peak: What’s New at Universal Orlando

Explore What's New at Universal Orlando for 2017

We live in the Northwest and it can be a long trip to most of the really good amusement parks. Recently, however, we took the opportunity to travel to Universal Orlando Resort! Even though we don’t get to the parks very often, we are a family of roller-coaster fans and make a bee-line straight to them. We love them fast, upside down, full of corkscrews, 3-D, and we were not disappointed in the slightest during our visit! Everything at Universal Orlando Resort was new to us  but even veterans will love what’s new at Universal. Here is the latest and greatest and what’s new at Universal Orlando!

Lead Photo by Bigstock/Peter Etchells

What’s New at Universal Orlando: The Newest Rides!

Explore What's New at Universal Orlando: The Incredible Hulk Rollercoaster

The Incredible Hulk! Coaster

Located in Marvel Super Hero Island in The Islands of Adventure, it has been newly refurbished and just reopened in August 2016! The newly designed queue features a story line transporting you to a scientific facility centered around a massive gamma core. General “Thunderbolt” Ross is leading the experiment and you are at the center of it as a gamma-charged Hulk! After you pass through the queue and board, you are literally whisked away in a really sleek new vehicle! There are loads of loops and corkscrews and it is super fast. Our whole family loved it – it was awesome! A little fun fact for you: the on-board ride music is composed by Patrick Stump, the front man for Fall Out Boy! This ride is a beast and minimum height requirements are set at 54″. My son loved it but suggests that you ride the Incredible Hulk with an empty stomach, which is pretty sound advice for any big roller-coaster!

Skull Island: Reign of King Kong, coming new to Universal Orlando

Skull Island: The Reign of Kong

 This new ride can be found in The Islands of Adventure. As you travel through the queue you are traveling through time, back to the 1930s where you join the “8th Wonder Expedition Company” to explore a mysterious world with temple ruins and hostile natives. You will ride aboard a massive 40-foot-long, 17-ton expedition vehicle navigating through the increasingly foreboding terrain. What is truly special about these vehicles is that they operate on a completely trackless ride system and there is no “real” driver! It was such an exciting experience! The “drivers” of your vehicle can change with each ride giving guests different narratives as you witness a brutal struggle between beasts of unimaginable size and ferocity. Massive dinosaurs roam around fighting and a mysterious Kong leaves you wondering if he is there for good or evil. This ride might be kind of scary for small children and the experience is 3-D making everything feel real and close even though the height requirement is 36”. Older kids and adults will really enjoy it though. Wait times can be really long for this one, so get there early or use an Express Pass if you have one.

What’s New at Universal Orlando: The Newest Hotel!

Universal Orlando Resort boasts some pretty fantastic hotels. Even though we stayed at the beautiful Loews Royal Pacific, I was given an opportunity to tour the brand new Loews Sapphire Falls Resort which opened in July 2016!

A brand-new hotel is coming to Universal Orlando in 2017

This gorgeous new hotel has 1,000 rooms that are Caribbean-inspired with cool blues and greens that calm the senses and relax the guests. The rooms are spacious, bright and clean in design. This property has the largest pool out of all of the on-site hotels! It is a really beautiful space to relax after lots of fun at the parks. The kids will love the water slide and the attached play areas and the adults will love the Drhum Club Kantine with plenty of Caribbean inspired food and drink. The property has two other restaurants on-site including Amatista Cookhouse and Strong Water Tavern. Amatista Cookhouse serves breakfast, lunch and dinner right on the waterfront and keeps with the Caribbean theme. Strong Water Tavern is a Tapas style restaurant and a great place to go for dinner.

My husband really enjoyed the Seafood Ceviche he had there and their chocolate bread pudding was delicious! They also have a huge selection of rum, some made in-house, if that is your thing! For grab and go food items, check out the Dutch Trading Company! This hotel also offers early admission into the Islands of Adventure!

What’s New at Universal Orlando: A Brand New Restaurant!

The Chocolate Emporium, coming new to Universal Orlando in 2017

Universal Citywalk gives visitors a huge selection of food and drink choices and the newest addition to the collection of restaurants is Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. This is a 19th century Steam-punk themed restaurant. The menu is as big as the restaurant and they have something for everyone in the family! Burgers, sandwiches, brunch, and more are all on offer but most importantly they have colossal milkshakes that you really should not miss! The interior is a feast for the senses and I love the uniforms (costumes)! There is just so much to look at and characters walk around engaging with guests. While waiting for your table check out their amazing chocolate and candy selection! It is the perfect spot to find gifts for friends and family who couldn’t make the trip and you will probably find a little something for yourself too!

What’s New at Universal Orlando: What’s Coming Next Year?

Universal's Volcano Bay, coming new summer 2017

Universal’s Volcano Bay is currently under construction and plans to open during the summer of 2017! This third theme park at Universal Orlando Resort is going to be a huge, revolutionary water park with very lush surroundings and they assure me it will be different than any water park you have ever visited! The designers have toured water parks all over the world and taken all of the very best things from those parks to make the experience for the guests visiting Volcano Bay completely awe-inspiring. Incredible slides, a massive wave pool, a lazy river, waterfalls, and sandy beaches are all part of the “little known tropical Pacific Isle.” In all, there will be 18 attractions in four differently themed areas which are bound to leave guests most impressed. The park is located next to Universal’s Cabana Bay Resort and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort but will be easily accessible from all of the onsite properties. We can’t wait to check this out next time!

Race through New York with Jimmy Fallon, heading to Universal in 2017

Coming also in 2017 is “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.” The ride is currently under construction on the Universal Studios side and was inspired and co-created with Jimmy Fallon! Also in Universal Studios a new “Fast and Furious” ride that is also under construction will be opening in 2018! So many exciting things are coming! We can’t wait to get back and check them out!

Disclosure: I want to thank Mom It ForwardFamily ForwardUniversal Orlando Resort and Loews Hotels for the opportunity to experience all of these wonderful and exciting things. All of the opinions expressed here are mine.


Featured photo by: Bigstock/navintar

About the author

Sarah follows in the adventuring footsteps of her ancestors and was lucky that gene got passed along to her 8 year old travel buddy. Never one to back down from a new experience or adventure and having a love of learning about new cultures she enjoys getting out in the world to see new things and isn’t too embarrassed to try and speak a native language. When this Oregon Native isn't in the garden or driving for school field trips she is out exploring, learning about birds and plants, hiking, and camping in her own neck of the woods and beyond. She writes her own blog documenting her travel, camping and hiking adventures at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.