Category: Travel

The Bourne Stuntacular is Now Open at Universal Studios Florida

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

EDITOR’S NOTE: The imagery shown throughout this blog post does not represent current operational and safety guidelines at Universal Orlando Resort.  Please refer to our safety guidelines. 

“HOLY SMOKES! How did they do that AND can I see it again?!” – Me, during my first time seeing The Bourne Stuntacular.

Walking in, I knew there was going to be all the action that the Bourne film franchise is so well known for and real stunts blended with cinema. What I didn’t expect was my eyesight tricking my mind in the most delightful way possible.

I know what you’re probably thinking – what does that even mean? Well, for example, in one of the first scenes that I saw, there was a group of performers on the stage…or so I thought. In reality, there were only a few performers physically on the stage, while the rest of the group was in the cinema on the screen. But for the first few minutes, I didn’t even realize the difference until a show producer pointed it out to me!

And that’s just one example.

But before I get ahead of myself, let me share the good news that you can now experience everything I did, and trust me, you need to see it to believe it.

The Bourne Stuntacular in Universal Studios Florida delivers a hybrid form of entertainment that has never been seen before. Here are all the details about the all-new live-action stunt show.

You’ll Be Surrounded By Your Favorite Scenes AND Actual Props From The Bourne Films

As you walk into the queue of the attraction, one of the first things you will see are images of your favorite scenes from “The Bourne Identity,” “The Bourne Supremacy,” and “The Bourne Ultimatum.” My favorite scene is featured as a real prop from the films – the car from an iconic chase down several flights of stairs from the “The Bourne Identity.” You will also see Jason’s go-to form of transportation in “The Bourne Ultimatum” — his motorcycle.

Experience An Original Storyline That Takes Place Within The Bourne Universe

You’ll pass through security scanners into mission headquarters where you’ll be welcomed and briefed by my favorite character in the franchise, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), Jason Bourne’s main confidant who helps him remember his past. Nicky, who can’t be in the field, will ask for your help tracking Bourne to ensure he does not get fooled by rogue double agents.

Then, as you enter the theater, you’ll join Jason Bourne as he travels across three continents and the cities of Tangier, Washington D.C. and Dubai, to uncover classified information all while trying to evade capture at every turn. Being a bit of a travel nut myself, I loved this part of the show, with Dubai being my personal favorite. I felt like I was really in the city and there’s even a chase scene through the desert!

Extreme Stunts = Extreme Action

The Bourne Stuntacular

Ya’ll, believe me when I say the stunts in this new show are next-level and here are a few reasons why:

  • The principal stunt trainers have doubled for A-list celebrities in some of the most popular action films and TV shows of all time. They have been working closely with the cast to deliver stunts that rival what can be seen in blockbuster films.
  • By the time the show opens, the performers and technicians will have trained and rehearsed for more than eight months to prepare and learn the intricate technical systems and maneuvers.
  • Two high free-falls – one reaching 22 feet from atop a Dubai apartment building.
  • There is as much action behind-the-curtain as there is on stage, with performers interacting with high-tech props beneath the stage on lifts, from the sides on automated traveling scenery like an apartment high-rise, and from overhead on a helicopter, a wrecking ball, ladders, and much more. It got to the point where I realized I kept turning my head in every direction just to keep up with the movements.

Without giving away too many spoilers, there is a scene where the character of Jason Bourne is being chased on a motorcycle when suddenly both the screen and Bourne go from normal speed to slow motion. At first I thought the performer was in the cinema of the show, but no…the live actor was holding himself up and moving in slow motion in a way that still gives me goosebumps.

Cutting-Edge Technology You Have to See to Believe

The Bourne Stuntacular Technology

The Bourne Stuntacular features some of the most advanced technology of its kind, like automated vehicle-tracking-systems, pinpoint-accurate projection mapping, and more. Fun-facts about the tech:

  • There is an immense LED screen measuring 3,640-square feet at 130-feet wide and 28-feet tall. This is code for one really, really, really BIG screen.
  • Advanced projection mapping works seamlessly alongside the cinema of the show, projecting pin-point accurate images on top of moving scenes.
  • One of the largest action show structures ever created for a Universal show – the car lift – sits beneath the stage and measures nearly 20 feet tall. The lift is capable of lifting and rotating two vehicles 280-degrees and raising and lowering each car independently from seven feet beneath the stage to above stage level. Putting this into perspective, when I watched the show the first time I had no idea there was anything beneath the stage, let alone two cars and a 20-foot wide structure that they operate on. All I saw were two cars suddenly racing, which left me wondering, “how did those get on stage?!”

You Won’t Just Watch The Action Unfold – You Will Feel It

The Bourne Stuntacular Flying Stunt

Rounding out the experience are captivating practical effects that will make you feel like you’re right by Jason Bourne’s side through the use of fire, smoke, wind and more, including:

  • Eight moving set-pieces ranging from a three-wheeled motorcycle, a tower in a Tangier marketplace, and the front entrance of a grand mansion.
  • Gusts of wind as a helicopter travels overhead, the blast of a steam boiler, and several other explosions, including flames reaching a height of 20 feet.

Plus, our Entertainment and Creative Teams have been working hand-in-hand with the filmmakers and producers that worked on the Bourne film franchise to create an authentic and action-packed experience that will fully immerse you in the world of Bourne.

Let us know in the comments below what you’re most pumped to see. The chase is on!

Click here to learn more about the current operational adjustments that have been made to ensure safety measures are in place during your upcoming visit.

Hailey Fitch
Hailey Fitch

Hailey Fitch is a Public Relations Representative for Universal Orlando. When she isn’t obsessing over when to use the oxford comma, you can find her geeking out over super heroes, planning her next travel adventure and drinking wine on the couch. Hailey is a coffee addict and a proud New Yorker.

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack: Defending the Galaxy for 20 Years and Counting

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

EDITOR’S NOTE: The imagery shown throughout this blog post does not represent current operational and safety guidelines at Universal Orlando Resort.  Please refer to our safety guidelines here. 

“You can choose from these three rides.”

“Let’s go with Men In Black,” I said. “I can rock a necktie.”

This was 10 years ago when I interviewed for a job at Universal Orlando Resort. I was given the choice of which attraction to work, and I chose MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack. Admittingly, I based my choice solely on what wardrobe I thought I would look best in. Little did I know that this would become one of the biggest life-changing moments for me…but more to come on that later.

Fast forward 10 years and I find myself now writing for the Universal Orlando blog about this attraction turning the big 2-0. 20 YEARS. It’s no wonder to me how this ride has endured and remains one of the fan-favorites at the parks. I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of joining a secret agency that defends Earth and the universe from alien scum? And with new movies released over the years, the viral sensation of storming Area 51, and the recent confirmation of unidentified objects, it only continues to remain relevant.

Join me on a trip down memory lane (if you haven’t been wiped by a neuralyzer) to see how this attraction first came to be, all the way to present day as the fandom continues to grow. Here’s why MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack is one of the best of the best of the best in Universal Studios Florida.

It Opened at the Right Time

Photo Credit: Steven J. – UOAP Facebook Group

On July 2, 1997, the first Men in Black film hit theaters with wild success. It had the perfect formula; an incredible cast, great comedic and action-packed writing, and a storyline that hooked into the age-old question of does intelligent alien-life exist? It was just begging to be made into a theme park ride, and who better to make that a reality than a destination that touted the tagline “Ride the Movies!”

Five years later on April 14, 2000, the ride opened to a wave of fanfare. Following the grand opening of Universal’s Islands of Adventure the year before, it was great timing to open a new ground-breaking themed attraction to Universal Studios. But you may be saying, “Deni, there were other laser-shooter style dark rides before this one. What makes this one so special?”

Well, let me tell you.

When the ride opened, it was the most ambitious in regards to animatronics at Universal Orlando. It had the largest one in the parks with the big bug you defeat at the end.

And not only did it bring an interactive element by hooking into the competitive nature in all of us, but it expanded upon the universe of Men in Black with a unique storyline and theme.

Welcome to The Universe and You!

After seeing the movie in theaters, I think we all wanted to believe there’s a secret alien agency that monitors and protects us from extraterrestrial activity. I also think we all wish we could be one of those agents in the black suits, rocking a pair of shades and giant bug-blasters. MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack makes that real, but the storyline behind the attraction makes you believe you’re experiencing something completely different… at first.

As you walk through the World Expo through the ride entrance, you see posters advertising  The Universe and You. This is the entertaining “ride” you think you’re about to experience where you discover the truth about what lives beyond our solar system. But that would-be experience is over before it begins when it’s interrupted by Agent Z, and you’re recruited to train as a MIB rookie.

MEN-IN-BLACK-Alien-Attack-in-Universal-Studios-Florida

In the queue, you’ll see familiar scenes like the “worms” having coffee in the breakroom, the main headquarters where you see the two recognizable twin aliens, and even a weapons room, complete with the Noisy Cricket.

After you board the ride and your training begins, you’re interrupted again and told that your help is needed with an alien invasion that has hit New York. It’s your job to zap those alien bugs and save Earth! The more aliens you defeat and the more points you get, the closer you are to earning your very own MIB suit.

999,999. That’s the magic number. The precious sequence of digits that gives you bragging rights for “maxing out” on the ride. I’ve gotten it a few times, although I’m lucky if I break 700k nowadays as I’m a terrible shot. You can check out my tips blog post if you’re looking for how to get a high score. But no matter what you do, don’t forget to push that red button!

MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack Ride

The theming and storyline don’t stop with the ride. It extends to MIB agent characters that will periodically make their presence known in-park for meet and greets. You can also enjoy a special tour of the downstairs level of the main headquarters room if you ask one of the agents working (pending availability).

Details That Are Out of This World

Have you ever stopped and really appreciated the level of detail put into this ride? Well, I have and it’s AMAZING. The creative teams developing the ride made the perfect blend of iconic scenes and details from both the film and our very own Universal designs. You may recognize the sleek, futuristic design of the architecture from the movie, complete with the iconic towers from the New York World’s Fair. And keep an eye out for the posters advertising The Universe and You in the beginning of the ride. These were designed by our creative teams, as well as the lyrics for the song playing in the attraction (I got the song stuck in my head all the time when I worked!). You can also find fun notices, news clippings, and advertisements on the bulletin board in the break room where the worms are grabbing their coffee.

MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack - Green Blue Alien

The ride also expands on the diverse MIB universe of alien species, many of which were exclusively designed for the ride. You may recognize the little green and blue guy with the long arms below, the giant tentacled eye alien waving the ray gun, and of course the giant bug at the end. We’re talking a whopping 120 different kinds of aliens, with a large number of them being the animatronics I mentioned earlier. Something I loved to do when I walked the track after closing is look for a new alien I hadn’t noticed. Some of my favorites are just the eyes you see hidden in the bushes or on the walls, but of course, my all-time favorite is Frank the Pug.

Men In Black Alien Attack Easter Egg

You can even find fun easter eggs cleverly disguised. In the main headquarters room, if you look down at the desks, you can find unique paperwork and alien phenomena on the screens. Our horticulture team shapes the trees outside to resemble UFOs. There’s even an alien using a certain famous filmmaker’s head as a disguise reading a newspaper in the New York area of the ride.

20 Years and Counting of Training Agents

Many of us have a Universal attraction that holds a special meaning in our lives. Whether it was the first ride you ever did as a kid during your family’s first vacation to the parks; stepping into your favorite fantasy world you’ve only ever seen on the big screen; or even making lasting relationships with friends or loved ones that you met there. For me and many other fans, MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack is that favorite attraction.

Men In Black Alien Attack Fan Photo
Photo Credit: Chelsea W. – UOAP Facebook Group

Throughout its 20 years, there have been guests who’ve gotten engaged there, designed shirts and outfits themed to the ride, and countless couples or friends who ride to settle bets or prove who’s the best. And it continues as the fan base grows! I just recently learned about a group of fans who call themselves the MIB 900 Club and meet up to ride. I even met my husband during my year of working the ride, and we took our pregnancy announcement photos there.

Men In Black Alien Attack Fan Photos
Photo Credit: Denielle R.

Even the Team Member agents get caught up in the fandom, bringing a passion and dedication that gives our guests a unique experience. From offering tips on how to get a high score to epic elevator spiels to even joining guests on the ride for some 1-1 training. I have fond memories of taking breaks and hanging out downstairs in the main headquarters room at a desk, or work friends who would take theming to the next level by carrying around a Noisy Cricket or having a little bug perched on their shoulder.

So, here’s to many more years of laughter, competitive banter, zapping bugs, saving the universe on a daily basis, and forever earning the last suit you’ll ever wear. MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack, you make 20 years look good.

Men In Black Alien Attack Entrance
Photo Credit: Mikey M. – UOAP Facebook Group

What’s your favorite memory from MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack and when are you coming to make new ones? Share below and on social by tagging us on Twitter @UniversalORL and Instagram @UniversalOrlando.

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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Norwegian’s Staycation – Glacier Blue

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

From our friends at Norwegian Cruise Line. Call us to get your reservations made today! 810 877 1814

 

Get ready to chill out with our Glacier Blue cocktail, a nod to Alaska’s spectacular landscapes. You’ll go wild for it! #NorwegianStaycation #CruiseNorwegian

 


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Aloha! Holoholokai Beach – Go Visit Hawaii

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

 

Mahalo to Bob Lafond for sharing this beautiful shot with us!

Bob took this shot while visiting the Big Island of Hawaii in September. This area fronts the lovely Fairmont Orchid Resort.

The blazing tiki torches, palm trees and sunset sky just make us want to sigh. Such a delightful scene!

 

Just as a reminder, Hawaii is not open for tourism at this time as incoming travelers are required to quarantine for 14 days. Follow our site for ongoing updates.

Book your Hawaii vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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Welcome Back | A Letter From Universal Orlando’s President, Bill Davis – Discover Universal

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

Dear Universal Orlando Guests,

When we first made the decision in March 2020 to close Universal Orlando Resort in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we didn’t know how long it would be for. We didn’t know what the future held or what a reopening would entail. However, we did know that whenever we did make the decision to reopen, we’d want to make sure we’re letting our guests enjoy everything they love about our parks in a cautious and thoughtful way.  And we knew that we’d be stronger, more resilient, and even more eager to welcome our guests than ever before.

Today we are excited to invite you to see that for yourself. Today Universal Orlando Resort ends its two-and-a-half month period of closure as we begin a phased reopening to the public.

Getting us here has been an in-depth process, and I am incredibly proud of the ways our Team Members have listened to experts and implemented new operational guidelines for the safety of our guests. At Universal Orlando Resort, we are following what we’re calling the three Ss. That’s screening, meaning we’re taking everybody’s temperature before they enter; sanitization, because we are constantly sanitizing areas and high-touch surfaces in the parks; and spacing, providing markings and reminders throughout our resort so guests can socially distance themselves from other parties.

Things are going to feel a little different, and I encourage everyone to become well-versed in our updated operational guidelines, but know that everyone at Universal Orlando is looking forward to having you back. We’ve got a bit of a service mentality around here — whether we’re serving you food, getting you on a ride, selling you a T-Shirt — serving our guests is what we do and our Team Members are grateful for the opportunity to go the extra mile on your behalf.

Personally, I’ve missed the parks, too. Since I started at Universal Orlando in 2006, I have taken a weekly walk around the parks on Saturday mornings. This is how I stay in touch with our product, stay in touch with our Team Members, and get to know guests like you. Seeing people in our parks enjoying themselves and making memories with their families is energizing and invaluable to me. These past few months I’ve still gone for that weekly walk a couple times, and I can tell you with confidence that the parks just aren’t the same without you.

BillWalking

If you are ready and set to come back, to let loose in our parks and enjoy all our destination has to offer, we are more than ready to welcome you. If you are hesitant for any reason to come back now, we will be just as thrilled to welcome you through the arches when you’re ready as we are today.

On June 7, Universal will be celebrating its 30th anniversary here in central Florida.

We’ll be here. We hope you will be here soon, too.

Sincerely,
Bill Davis

BillWithGlobe

Universal Orlando Resort is adhering to the safety guidelines found here. To prepare for your upcoming visit, please read through these new guidelines, download the Universal Orlando App, and set up an account for ease once you get to the parks.

Bill Davis
Bill Davis

Bill Davis is president and chief operating officer for Universal Orlando Resort.

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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RECIPE: Universal’s Volcano Bay Chocolate Pineapple Upside Down Cake

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

With temperatures warming up and sunshine making a daily appearance as we get closer to summer, I think we could all use an at-home vacation experience right about now? Right?!

I am imagining something that evokes palm trees, warm wave pools, and soft sand underneath my toes …the exact experience my family enjoys when we visit Universal’s Volcano Bay.

Those tropical memories came flooding back when I baked and tasted this Chocolate Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Volcano Bay.

This recipe is pretty easy to master with a layer of sweet tropical fruit baked underneath a simple cake, then flipped over to reveal an eye-appealing classic treat with a chocolate twist.

It is the perfect virtual vacation solution for the entire family.

Chocolate Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Makes 12 mini cakes or one 9 x 13” cake

Baker’s Tip: Read the recipe thoroughly so you understand the steps, get all your ingredients prepped and “Mise en Place” (or fancy French for “putting in place”) before you start.

COCONUT SMEAR:

  • 1/2 cup room temp butter
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup

In an electric mixer using a paddle attachment, combine above ingredients, mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until a coarse paste is formed, set aside.

CHOCOLATE CAKE INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (Or 1 cup of milk mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar)
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • ¾ cup water
  • 12 canned pineapple rings
  • 12 maraschino cherries

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
  2. Coat 12 three-inch round mini cake pans with non-stick baking spray. (If you don’t have mini cake pans, try using a large ramekin, a large non-stick muffin tin or making a 9×13 cake instead of individuals.)
  3. Place 1 pineapple ring in the bottom of each pan, OR arrange all 12 rings in your larger cake pan. Then place 1 cherry inside each pineapple ring and drop 1.5 tablespoon of coconut smear on top of each pineapple ring, using a teaspoon to spread the smear evenly.
  4. To make the cake, combine all dry ingredients, sift or whisk together and set aside.
  5. In an electric mixer using a whip attachment, combine eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla; mix on medium speed until combined.
  6. Add dry ingredients, mix on low speed for 1 minute, stop mixer, scrape sides of the bowl, mix for an additional 3 minutes on medium speed. Stop the mixer, scrape sides of the bowl, add water, mix on low speed for an additional 1 minute.
  7. Place mini cake pans evenly on a baking sheet
  8. Pour equal amounts of batter on top of each pineapple slice.
  9. For mini cakes, bake 350℉. for approximately 20 minutes or until the cake is set.
  10. For a 9×13 pan, bake 350℉. for approximately 40-45 minutes or until the cake is set.

Remove from oven and allow to cool approximately 20 minutes before removing cakes from their pan(s) and flipping onto a platter or plate.

When removing the cakes from their tins, make sure the pineapple slice is facing up.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

Can be served warm or cold.

Can be served with fresh fruit, or fruit compote, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, or your favorite ice cream.

Share your Chocolate Pineapple Upside Down Cake creation with us in the comments below or by tagging us on Twitter @UniversalORL and Instagram @UniversalOrlando.

Julia Stewart

Julia Stewart is a food loving mom of four and sometimes food and lifestyle blogger based in Florida. Her happy place is hanging out with her family enjoying spectacularly comforting food.

Book your next vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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We’re positively enchanted by Northern Europe. Join us in daydreaming!

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

From our friends at Norwegian Cruise Line. Call us to get your reservations made today! 810 877 1814

 

We’re positively enchanted by Northern Europe. Join us in daydreaming of deep fjords, spiraling castles and ornate palaces in distant lands. #NorwegianStaycation #CruiseNorwegian

 




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Aloha Photo: Rainbow Presence

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

Mahalo to Mark Dietz from Ridgefield, Washington for sharing this great rainbow photo with us for Aloha Friday Photos.

Mark took this shot from the Waikiki Banyan facing mauka on January 7, 2017. He shared this touching insight into this rainbow as well as the meaningful purpose of this trip to Oahu:

“We were on a trip to take my father-in-law Al to his final resting place at Punchbowl. We felt his presence everywhere we went that trip, including in this beautiful rainbow.”

If you aren’t familiar with Punchbowl, it’s the National Cemetery of the Pacific, where men and women who served in the armed forces are laid to rest.

This is Memorial Day weekend. Although, the long-standing (70 years) ceremonies at Punchbowl are cancelled this year due COVID-19, we can still take the time to remember the the service to our country and the many sacrifices that were made.

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Book your Hawaii vacation today through M & M Travel and Tours! (810) 877 1814

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#FeelFree to pair your dinner with a sunset. #CruiseNorwegian: Stephanie L.

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

From our friends at Norwegian Cruise Line. Call us to get your reservations made today! 810 877 1814

#FeelFree to pair your dinner with a sunset. #CruiseNorwegian
📷: Stephanie L.
http://ow.ly/RQNz30kcN3v

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Remember that phrase “life’s a beach?”

By MM Travel and Tours in Travel

From our friends at Delta Vacations. Call us to get your reservations made today! 810 877 1814

 

Remember that phrase “life’s a beach?” Anyways, share this postcard to the friend you should be lying next to on some sunny sand and tell them you miss ‘em.

 


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All content is property of the owner, unless otherwise specified. This content is not owned, or maintained by M & M Travel and Tours, and is used only for informational purposes. Please visit the content owners link via the source link for more information.