Hidden Gems at Universal
There are many places to visit in Orlando, with one of the main attractions being Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Both a theme park and production studio, Universal Orlando is a big hit with those who love blockbuster movies. You can visit numerous attractions and rides that are based solely around top films, such as Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Shrek and Transformers. In amongst all of the fun are some secret, unknown gems that are fascinating and worth finding. In this blog, we share some of the discoveries that are hidden around Universal Orlando, so you are able to make your trip to the incredible parks a unique visit!
Use the Secret Entrance to Universal Studios
One of our favourite secrets about Universal Studios is the hidden entrance. Located near the Blue Man Group theatre is an entry that is manned by one person. They check your ticket, use the fingerprint scanner and the best part; there is never a wait! Once you get through, you are in between the entrance to Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem and the Studios Store. The Blue Man Group entrance doesn’t open with the usual opening times; instead, it generally opens at around 10am.
One for the die-hard Harry Potter fans, Knockturn Alley can be easy to miss. In the Wizarding World, Knockturn Alley is just off of Diagon Alley and is known as a shopping area that is frequently visited by many witches and wizards, so why should you miss out?
Perhaps the main attraction on Knockturn Alley is Borgin and Burkes; a creepy shop that is bursting with dark magical objects and artefacts. From skeletons and secret spells to shrunken heads and the famous vanishing cabinet, this is not one to forget about! The vanishing cabinet is a magical experience as not only does it look incredible, but you can also hear chirping inside from the bird that Draco Malfoy used in order to test the system.
Find Knockturn Alley by following a small sign on the black brick wall by the Leaky Cauldron; this sign points you precisely in the right direction. There is a dark winding passageway that may make you feel like you are heading in the wrong direction, but trust us, you’ll end up somewhere dreamlike!
Spot the Name on The Super Hero Artwork
Adam Kubert is the artist of Super Hero Island; an area in Islands of Adventure that is dedicated to Marvel Comics. Spot the likes of Spider-Man and the Hulk on the left-hand side of the main entrance once you have entered the park, and you know you’re in the right place! Because he wasn’t allowed to sign his name on his work, he has instead hidden “Adam” in many pieces. Some places to look out for include; Hulk’s hand, Captain America’s arm and Aquaman’s arm. Look out for phones and call boxes around Super Hero Island too. These are solely for guests to interact with heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe!
Call the Ministry of Magic
At the front of Kings Cross Station, there is a red phone box. If you step inside and call MAGIC (62442), you can hear a secret and unique message from the Ministry of Magic. So, when you head into the phone box for the perfect photo opportunity, be sure to dial the number and experience a little magic.
Secret Songs on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
When riding the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Studios, you have the option to choose from a few songs to listen to as you shoot around the twists and bends of the roller coaster. However, there is also a secret playlist of over 60 songs that can be accessed; this means that you are able to ride the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit multiple times without hearing a repeat of any songs. Find the undisclosed tunes by holding down the ride’s logo for 10 seconds once you are buckled in. You can then type in a three-digit code to correspond with the song you wish to listen to, here are the hidden combinations:
Walk Through the Wall on Platform 9 & 3/4
As muggles, we unfortunately can’t travel through the wall on platform 9 & 3/4 like the witches and wizards can, but Universal Studios have created the illusion that we can. When queueing for the Hogwarts Express at Kings Cross Station, you will see people ahead pass through a solid brick wall. The phenomenon takes place as you walk through the tunnel on the platform, but as this happens, you cannot see it yourself, only those behind or around the corner can. If you can’t see it or simply forgot to look and now you are already on the platform, just ask an attendant to show you, and they will be more than happy to assist.
Take A Tour of the Men in Black Immigration Room
When queueing for the Men in Black Alien Attack ride, you can view the immigration room from above. However, if you would like a closer look, and it’s a slow day at the ride, you can ask a member of staff for a tour. It can’t hurt to ask, especially when it could result in a free VIP experience!
Get A Picture with The Actual Jeeps from Jurassic Park
At the Jurassic Park resort at Islands of Adventure, there are jeeps on display which you can view and take pictures with. While it may seem like something to just walk straight past, these are actually the jeeps used in the movie. We recommend taking a moment to stop at the vehicles and have a photo with them as they are simply one of a kind!
Talk to Nagini
When you visit Diagon Alley, we highly suggest you take a trip to the Magical Menagerie shop, because here you will find Nagini. The magical pet snake of ‘He Who Shall Not Be Named’ can be spotted near the huge windows, where you have the chance to interact with it. Listen carefully as it may talk to you in Parseltongue!
In addition to this, you can get your loved ones at home involved with the magical fun and send postcards or letters to them with special Hogsmeade postmark stamps, which you can purchase from the Owl Post store at Islands of Adventure.
Celebrate Retired Attractions
As new movies have become popular, the attractions at Universal are forever changing to keep up with the times. The parks former attractions may no longer be there, but they are certainly not forgotten! Universal has kept parts of the old favourites dotted around the park. The Revenge of the Mummy ride has taken the place of the old King Kong attraction, so while riding it, keep a close eye out for a small statue of the mighty gorilla in the treasure room.
Another popular attraction that is sadly no longer at Universal is Jaws, but there are some tributes to the classic movie. In the window of London’s Record Store, you can find the record titled “Here’s to swimmin’ with bow legged women”, which is a quote from the film. In addition to this, the iconic shark statue is still at the park hanging behind the Chez Alcatraz restaurant in the San Francisco section.
Hopefully, this list of top-secret features at Universal Orlando will give you an even more magical experience when you visit. If you are interested in finding villas for rent near Universal Studios Orlando, look no further than Debbie’s Villas! We offer a range of properties across Orlando and with 20 years of experience arranging holidays in the Sunshine State, you can trust that your stay with us will be perfect. For more information, take a look at our previous blog that can provide you with tips for planning your first trip to Orlando!
- Jaws attraction: User:Ihafez on Wikipedia