Guest Post from Chris Oliver: Vice President of Engineering & Safety, Universal Creative


Chris Oliver: Vice President of Engineering & Safety, Universal Creative

What are some of the attractions we shouldn’t miss?

I’ve been building theme park attractions for 30 years, and I think Universal’s Islands of Adventure has the two best new attractions on the planet right now: Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™ and Jurassic World VelociCoaster. While experiencing Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™ in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Hogsmeade™, you’ll join Hagrid aboard magical motorbikes and venture into the Forbidden Forest to discover some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures. And those brave enough to ride our most thrilling attraction yet, Jurassic World VelociCoaster, will experience a new species of coaster with some incredible high-speed maneuvers and a stunning 155 foot “top hat” that you can see the moment you walk into the park.

Over at Universal Studios Florida, you should definitely experience our new cutting-edge stunt show based on the blockbuster Bourne film franchise, The Bourne Stuntacular, which features fantastic special effects in a live-action stunt show. You should also explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ™ – Diagon Alley™ , an immersive land featuring many of the wizarding world’s most famous establishments, a fire-breathing dragon and can’t miss thrill ride – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™. And be sure to have a Butterbeer™ or two while you are wandering through the land. I also recommend checking out TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D, which puts you right in the middle of a high-tech battle of good versus evil between Optimus Prime and Megatron.

And don’t forget to make time to experience our water theme park, Universal’s Volcano Bay, where you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to a tropical paradise filled with thrills, indulgence and relaxation.  You’ll want to check out the Krakatau Aqua Coaster, which combines innovative ride technology with water theme park thrills to take families on an unforgettable adventure through the park’s massive icon – the 200-foot Krakatau volcano.

Any plans / reservations we should make in advance for activities / meals that will really give us an awesome experience?

Definitely download the Official Universal Orlando Resort app. It will help you navigate all three theme parks, find character meet & greets, grab a Virtual Line return time for select attractions, see attraction wait times and show times, and more. You can also make contactless payments at most merchandise and quick-service food locations using Universal Pay through the app. If you’re interested in dining at any of our amazing restaurants at Universal CityWalk – our awesome entertainment complex that features dining, shopping and entertainment options for the entire family – I highly recommend making a reservation in advance. You can do so by visiting

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Any tips for the best time to go to the park, best time to hang out at the pool, etc?

Go early, make a pit stop at the hotel pool during the afternoon and return to the parks later! When you stay at any of Universal Orlando’s hotels, you can access the theme parks one hour before they open to the public, plus you get complimentary resort-wide transportation, so heading back to the hotel during the day is easy.  And our hotels have great amenities. My kids love spending the hottest time of the day at the hotel pools, and then returning to the parks in the evening (by the way, riding Jurassic World VelociCoaster or Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™ at night is a totally different experience – not to be missed!).

For those dads whose children eat more than chicken fingers and plain pasta, are there other options? 

First of all, if you have figured out how to get your children to eat more than chicken fingers and plain pasta, I want to know your secret! We have tons of dining options at Universal Orlando that offer something for everyone. From quick-service options to incredibly-themed items that further immerse you in pop culture stories, our dining offerings are next-level and have become a part of our destination experience as much as the rides themselves. My kids love our Universal CityWalk restaurants. My oldest insisted we go to The Cowfish® for sushi and burgers for his birthday. My youngest loves the sandwiches and milkshakes at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. One of my favorites is Three Broomsticks™ at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Hogsmeade™.  Try the Spareribs, trust me! You’ll find that our destination’s menu items go well beyond chicken fingers and plain pasta.

What else would you share with your bff who’s planning a visit?

You definitely need more than one day to see and do it all! And also, have fun! Sometimes we go on vacation and feel like we have to stick to a schedule and check things off of a list. That’s not what we’re about at Universal Orlando – we want you to let go and live in the moment with those you care about most as you embark on epic theme park experiences. Take your time and enjoy all that Universal Orlando Resort has to offer…not just the greatest theme park attractions (yes, I am biased!), but also check out our other incredible offerings like the rooftop bar at Universal’s Aventura Hotel, Bar 17 Bistro, or enjoy dining and shopping at our entertainment complex, Universal CityWalk.

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