Wednesday, July 22, 2015

This week, Universal
Orlando Resort threw down the gauntlet of its ambition (and eternal
competition with Walt Disney World Resorts), giving theme park devotees the
option to begin booking reservations at the newest on-site hotel at Universal
Orlando Resort, the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. The 1,000-room property,
the fifth hotel at Universal Orlando, opens in the summer of 2016 with a
waterfall and a 16,000-square-foot pool. (Orlando believes in being
Vegas-style big. ) As with Disney's on-site hotels, Universal lobs out all
manner of theme park deals, from early admission to complimentary water taxi
service, to Universal theme parks and Universal CityWalk.   Since
2010, Universal Orlando Resort has launched 18 new attractions, including the
Cabana Bay Beach Resort, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter—Diagon Alley,
and TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D. Next year, Universal will put Skull Island:
Reign of Kong into the mix; in 2017, it launches the water park Volcano Bay.
Walt Disney did pretty well in life: in July of 1955, he launched Disneyland
and established the model for the contemporary onslaught of corporate and
entertainment synergy. Then, he looked east, opening Walt Disney World Resort
in October of 1971. For the past 25 years, Universal Orlando Resort has been
snipping at Disney's heels, and is evolving into a younger,
hip-in-a-theme-park-kind-of-way destination: after all, there's nothing
quite like a Krusty burger with Homer Simpson at Universal's mock
Springfield.     Tom Austin is based in Miami and covers the
Florida beat for Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter at @TomAustin.
More good reads from T+L:
• Can a Full-Grown Adult Have Fun on a Disney Cruise?
• Best All-Inclusive Family Resorts
• Best Places to Travel in 2015 Did you enjoy
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Millennials Will Pay More For These Air-Travel Extras Next Article How to Make
the Las Vegas Power Pass Worth It Universal Orlando Resort is now
taking reservations at its fifth hotel, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, opening
summer 2016.

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