Insider's Update: Details on Universal Orlando's fifth hotel, plus first public access to Diagon Alley
Published: June 27, 2014 at 9:44 PM
For everyone else, NBCUniversal is offering another tease of Diagon Alley with an hour-long, prime-time "making of" special on NBC, airing 8pm on Monday. Don't want to wait for the TV show? Theme Park Insider's been on top of all the Diagon Alley news for more than two years, and we were one of the few publications to get a complete, uninterrupted ride on the new Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts attraction. Read (and watch!) all of our Diagon Alley and Hogwarts Express coverage from last week's media preview:
- First impressions: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and the Hogwarts Express
- Ride Review: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts at Universal Studios Florida
- Ride Review: The Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando Resort
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, reviewed
- Universal Creative's leadership talks about the development of Diagon Alley
- The stars of Harry Potter talk about Universal Orlando's Diagon Alley
- A look at Universal's new drinks for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley
Parkscope found some interesting public documents detailing plans for the fifth hotel at Universal Orlando. We then went digging on the Orange County Comptroller website (search for "Universal City Development Partners" then go to the "Last" records returned), and found a more recent document with additional details [PDF - 149 pages].
Here's the TL;DR:
- The fifth hotel will be located on the now-vacant lot between the Royal Pacific and the Cabana Bay. Construction trailers and equipment are already on site.
- The hotel will include approximately 1,000 guest rooms and 159,000 square-feet of meeting space
- Guests staying at the hotel will not have complimentary unlimited Universal Express access, but will enjoy extra park access benefits at least equal to that given guests at the Cabana Bay.
- Universal has at least two more hotels in the planning process, as there are multiple references in the "sixth" and "seventh" hotels.
- Loews, Universal's hotel partner, is explicitly barred from selling to Disney or anyone else operating theme parks in Florida or Southern California
- The hotel's code name is Project 664
Here are two drawings from the document that show the location of the new hotel, as well as its new shared parking lot with the meeting facilities at the Royal Pacific.
By the way, if you didn't catch Ben Mills' coverage of the press preview of the new Ratatouille-themed ride and restaurant at the Disneyland Paris Resort, take a few moments and reward yourself by catching up. Theme Park Insider was one of the few U.S.-based theme park websites to have a writer on-site at the Walt Disney Studios Park for the event, and Ben really came through for us with some outstanding coverage, photos, and video:
- Ride Review: Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy at Walt Disney Studios Paris
- Where to Eat: Lunch at Bistrot Chez Remy at Walt Disney Studios Paris
The new La Place de Rémy
Finally, Walt Disney World is offering two new VIP tours, for $299 per person. "The Ultimate Day of Thrills" and "The Ultimate Day for Young Families" each lasts 6-7 hours and includes a table-service meal and access to selected attractions at the Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom. You can compare these tours with the other guided tours at Disney World to find if it's the best option for you and your family. These new tours aren't listed yet on that page, so you'll need to call +1-407-WDW-TOUR to book, if you're interested.