Universal Orlando Resort to extend virtual queuing and open tech-savvy hotel

Universal Orlando Resort to extend virtual queuing and open tech-savvy hotel

Universal Orlando Resort could extend its virtual queuing system to more attractions, according to Alison Montague, managing director EMEA for Universal Parks & Resorts.

Virtual queueing has already been introduced to its newest additions: waterpark Volcano Bay, which uses a TapuTapu wearable so visitors can tap in for their ride time; simulator Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon; and new ride Fast and Furious – Supercharged, set to open at Universal Studios this spring.

Speaking to Travolution in Orlando, Montague said: “the virtual queuing system has been really successful with the Jimmy Fallon ride and I can only imagine we’ll see more of that – anything that makes you forget you’re in a line has got to be a good thing.

“It gives you more time for enjoyment – we just want you to have a great time all of the time and not be confined.”

Technology is being ramped up beyond the operator’s attractions too. New hotel Aventura, opening on August 16, is set to mark a first for the resort with tablet-controlled features that will enable guests to change the temperature and turn on the TV at the touch of a button.

“It will be our first real introduction into everything being tablet based,” said Kevin Gibson, publicity and promotions manager for Universal. “It’s also going to be the first rooftop bar and high rise hotel on the resort, so it’s a really excitement development.”

It’s one of several other updates across the resort, including two new budget hotels which will offer rooms for less than $100 and a Harry Potter-themed ‘fully immersive family coaster’ at Islands of Adventure, both due to open in 2019.

A new trade portal is also set to launch “imminently,” according to Montague. The portal, which has been developed through talks with the global trade and is currently in its “final tweaks”, will provide selling tips, pre-fam preparation and other forms of training to an online community, complementing a string of fams planned for the fall.

The updates came ahead of the Saturday Night Takeaway finale, which was broadcast live from CityWalk at Universal Orlando on Saturday with guest appearances from Denise Richards, Craig David, The Rembrandts and Jason Derulo.

The show, headed up by Dec – without Ant MacPartlin following a drink driving charge – saw more than 250 prize winners fly out on a specially chartered Virgin Atlantic plane last Tuesday and is expected to see interest in the resort spike ahead of the new openings.

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