Universal Orlando Resort is soon set to debut its first-ever escape rooms, inspired by classic sci-fi franchises “Jurassic World” and “Back to the Future.”
But that’s not all that’s on deck. A “Chucky”-themed haunted house will be part of Halloween Horror Nights next year, and there are lots of holiday celebrations in the works.
Here’s what’s new and upcoming at Universal’s Florida collection of theme parks and resorts.
Universal’s Great Movie Escape
Good luck getting out.
For the first time, escape rooms are coming to Universal Orlando Resort, and they’ll be inspired by a pair of hit sci-fi film franchises.
Universal’s Great Movie Escape will feature two “next-level” experiences based on “Jurassic World” and “Back to the Future.” They’ll arrive “later this year,” according to Universal’s most recent update.
The new attractions are dreamed up by the creators behind Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, and will reside at CityWalk, which serves as the gateway to the theme parks and packs in a host of interesting eateries.
“Through interactive state-of-the-art missions, captivating storytelling and intricately detailed sets, guests will be swept into the dinosaur adventures of ‘Jurassic World’ or the time-traveling chaos of ‘Back to the Future’ as they solve their way through a multi-sensory experience like no other,” Universal states.
‘Chucky’ haunted house at 2023 Halloween Horror Nights
Halloween Horror Nights, Universal’s annual spooky holiday extravaganza, is returning next year and an infamous creepy doll will be the center of one haunted house.
Inspired by the USA and Syfy show “Chucky,” the attraction will be “unleashing the iconic killer doll at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood next season.”
The TV series is a sequel to “Cult of Chucky,” the seventh film in the “Child’s Play” film franchise.
A trailer for the upcoming attraction features the doll coming to life and uttering its catch-phrase, “Hi, I’m Chucky, wanna play?”
“I’m back, and I’ll see you suckers at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights next year,” the doll possessed by a serial killer adds.
Holidays 2022 celebration
Thanks to iconic film backdrops and characters that fill the movie and TV-themed lands at Universal theme parks, there are plenty of opportunities for unique holiday fun.
The holiday celebration is already in effect and lasts through Jan. 1 across the parks and hotels.
Over in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed lands, which stretch across both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, visitors will find festive décor along the streets of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. There will also be holiday-themed musical performances. The highlight in this part of the parks will be “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” show, a nighttime projection of Christmas moments inspired by the “Harry Potter” franchise on the castle at Islands of Adventure.
Islands of Adventure will also host the “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular,” a live retelling of Dr. Seuss’s holiday classic. Seuss Landing, the Dr. Seuss-themed land that’s in Island of Adventure, will be decked out in oversized candy canes, “twisting Christmas trees,” wreaths and more. The Grinch will also be making photo opp appearances.
Visiting New Yorkers nostalgic for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are in luck, as Universal Studios has a Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s. Taking part in the parade are characters from “Despicable Me,” “Shrek” and “Madagascar,” along with giant balloons, floats, performers, and, of course, Santa.
The holiday fun continues at Universal Orlando hotels. Visitors can get 30% off a vacation package that includes five-night accommodations at Cabana Bay Beach Resort or Aventura Hotel, and five days of entry to theme parks. Those who want to take advantage of the package must purchase it by Dec. 15 and visit by Feb. 16 of 2023.
Both hotels fall under the “prime value” category of Universal Orlando resorts, the second most affordable of four tiers. Aventura is a sleek high-rise with modern touches. The rooftop lounge, called Bar 17 Bistro, serves up food and cocktails, along with a view of Universal’s Volcano Bay water park. And the Urban Pantry food hall lets family members each choose a different meal, whether it’s sushi, pizza or burgers.
Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a colorful lower-rise hotel with retro rooms and suites and a design inspired by Florida beach resorts from the 1950s and ‘60s. There are two big pools onsite and a lazy river attraction, along with a bowling alley and game room.
Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval
About a month after the Christmas-season holidays wind down, Universal will celebrate again with its Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval festival.
Running each day from Feb. 4 through April 16, 2023 at Universal Studios, the party will boast food inspired by Carnaval celebrations from New Orleans to Brazil.
Visitors can also expect a parade packed with floats, where they can line the route to catch beads. Musical performances will take place on select nights.
As with the Christmas festivities, access to the Mardi Gras event is free with paid park admission. The concert lineup and food and beverage selections will be announced at a later date.
Bend The Bao
Fun eateries are constantly popping up at Universal CityWalk, and one of the more recent additions is Bend The Bao.
The quick service Asian fusion spot that opened in 2021 serves up bao, or steamed buns, packed with different options like crab cakes, pork belly or kimchee fried chicken.
Guests can find Bend The Bao on the second level of CityWalk, near the Universal Cinemark theater.
The joint is decked with pop art inspired by Chinese Zodiac creatures, and menu highlights include the Duck Bao, made with braised duck, kimchee slaw, XO sauce, cilantro and five spice aioli.