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Old 02-20-2017, 01:18 AM   #61
logan115
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Originally Posted by kiapgh23e View Post
Great mini TR Chris. I disagree about the Hulk. I rode it about 10 yrs ago and I was the same color as the Hulk. I was done for the day, I couldn't ride anything else. It was then that my hard core riding days were behind me. But Im hoping for a US visit soon. Wife is a HP junkie.
I can obviously see it both ways as I said both yes and no to the Hulk. If your wife is a HP junkie don't overthink it and just go check it out when you get a chance.

Both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are really well done, but do get very crowded so get their early then get outta there and head to other parts of the parks.

Here's a great tip if staying on site. I'm not sure if they ever have early opening (ie Extra Magic Hours) at US (they didn't for our whole trip), but go into IoA early, go straight to the Hogwarts Express and take that to US and it drops you off right at Diagon Alley. We did this yesterday and were on the first train and were among the first 10 people at Gringott's, although unfortunately it was down. But, you will actually beat the people that come in straight thru the turnstiles at US. Front desk staff gave us this tip at check-in and it worked to perfection except for the ride being down.....

Chris
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Old 02-20-2017, 01:46 AM   #62
logan115
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More ramblings....

As others have said, even after Volcano Bay opens, I can't really see spending a full week there like you can at WDW, if you usually spend most of the day at the parks.

We had 4 nights but our first night was checking in after 11pm and we did spend a day at SeaWorld, meaning we had about 2.5 full park days and pretty much did everything we wanted to. This was with FOTL which really helped, but like FPs on some rides you can still have a 20-30 minute wait when it's crowded. If we skipped SeaWorld (which we would in the future) and arrived early in the day on our arrival day that would've been plenty of time to do everything - and also relax a bit and spend some time at the pool during the day.

Royal Pacific was great, but our next trip I may pony up to stay at Hard Rock for the proximity to the parks and the City Walk (and to try somewhere new). The walk wasn't bad from Royal (10 mins or so) and we didn't take the boats at all (I hate waiting for transportation to get to the parks when I can just walk), but walking out of the hotel and being right there has plenty of appeal too.

While still very much family friendly, Universal "outfits" worn by the staff are a bit more risqué for some staff than what you'll ever see at WDW. Not over the top by any means, and for some of the Mardi Gras related stuff I guess that makes sense, just not used to seeing anything more than hands, faces, and occasionally some shins showing on the CMs and some of the outfits were, shall I saw form fitting (ie tight). Definitely more themed to a slightly older crowd than WDW, but nothing that I had to shield the kids from.

Chris
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Old 02-20-2017, 03:14 AM   #63
Brian5581
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A few more general thoughts :

By no means am I turning in my Disney card or selling DVC because of this trip, but Universal did really exceed my expectations. A couple of things such as a magic band equivalent that captures room key, FOTL pass, park tickets, and room charging is lacking and was a bit annoying at times but falls under the category of first world problems.

We're not foodies and on vacation we by and large end up eating QS a lot, but with City Walk right between the two parks there are tons of options for everyone. We had a TS lunch at Confisco today that was really good, and only $60 with tip for the four of us - just keep in mind both kids had the $8 kids pizza. That being said by the time you add fries and a drink to 4 meals you're pushing $60 anyway for QS, so I thought that was a great value as my beef fajitas were good and my wife liked her chicken whatever.

Gringott's - for the 2nd day in a row it was down when the park opened, you just can't allow that to happen with your new signature ride (but damn that's an awesome ride). It opened about 20 minutes after the park opened and the line was ridiculous.

Given that it was our last day we got to US right at 9:00 when it opened with hopes of riding it one more time. The line was the equivalent of BTMRR having a line across the bridge by Splash - no thanks.

So instead we hopped on the Hogwarts Express to IoA to hit Hulk and the two coasters in Hogsmeade again for Logan, Spiderman for Jenna, then lunch at Confisco.

Figured we had time to give Gringotts one last try as the wait was done to 75 minutes (timed it and took us just under 60 minutes) and glad we did.

A few other notes on the ride/que - they have a beverage cart in line which is nice (surprised we don't see this at WDW), and the wait is not that bad as there are things to keep you interested (different scenes that I won't describe to avoid ruining it), and it's covered so no baking in the sun.

Even if you're not a HP fan (Brian) this ride alone merits a visit to Universal even if it's just one day. You kinda get that "first time you ever went on Soarin'" feeling of WOW that was amazing.

Finished the trip with ice cream at Toothsome - and ordered 2 sundaes which was overkill, 1 would have been enough for all 4 of us.

Chris


No no, Harry Potter is the area that will eventually lure me over, haha. Add in those slightly risqué outfits and I'm sold, haha...


Thanks again for taking the time on this excellent report, Chris. Any pictures?

Last edited by Brian5581; 02-20-2017 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:54 AM   #64
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No no, Harry Potter is the area that will eventually lure me over, haha. Add in those slightly risqué outfits and I'm sold, haha...


Thanks again for taking the time on this excellent report, Chris. Any pictures?
Took some on our phones but pretty light on photos this trip, didn't even bring our camera to the park.
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:05 PM   #65
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Took some on our phones but pretty light on photos this trip, didn't even bring our camera to the park.

Bah humbug, haha. But glad you enjoyed regardless.
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Old 02-26-2017, 07:34 AM   #66
jsweeney
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Originally Posted by logan115 View Post
More ramblings....

As others have said, even after Volcano Bay opens, I can't really see spending a full week there like you can at WDW, if you usually spend most of the day at the parks.

We had 4 nights but our first night was checking in after 11pm and we did spend a day at SeaWorld, meaning we had about 2.5 full park days and pretty much did everything we wanted to. This was with FOTL which really helped, but like FPs on some rides you can still have a 20-30 minute wait when it's crowded. If we skipped SeaWorld (which we would in the future) and arrived early in the day on our arrival day that would've been plenty of time to do everything - and also relax a bit and spend some time at the pool during the day.

Royal Pacific was great, but our next trip I may pony up to stay at Hard Rock for the proximity to the parks and the City Walk (and to try somewhere new). The walk wasn't bad from Royal (10 mins or so) and we didn't take the boats at all (I hate waiting for transportation to get to the parks when I can just walk), but walking out of the hotel and being right there has plenty of appeal too.

While still very much family friendly, Universal "outfits" worn by the staff are a bit more risqué for some staff than what you'll ever see at WDW. Not over the top by any means, and for some of the Mardi Gras related stuff I guess that makes sense, just not used to seeing anything more than hands, faces, and occasionally some shins showing on the CMs and some of the outfits were, shall I saw form fitting (ie tight). Definitely more themed to a slightly older crowd than WDW, but nothing that I had to shield the kids from.

Chris
As someone who grew up switching between APs at Universal and WDW, my biggest tip is stay on site. You get their equivalent of a FP with your room (a $199/day value there) and get in to the parks an hour early, and with that, you can easily finish both parks in two days. It lacks the shows and extra things of that nature that WDW offers, which makes it easier to enjoy the entire park in less than a day. Save the money of an extra day in one of the parks with staying on site.
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Old 02-26-2017, 09:09 AM   #67
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We had a TS lunch at Confisco today that was really good, and only $60 with tip for the four of us - by the time you add fries and a drink to 4 meals you're pushing $60 anyway for QS, so I thought that was a great value as my beef fajitas were good and my wife liked her chicken whatever.
That's the main reason I always recommend Confisco. It's by no means great- but it's typically cheaper than a QS even after tip and being waited on in a nice air conditioned building with clean bathrooms and above average food

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Originally Posted by jsweeney View Post
It lacks the shows and extra things of that nature that WDW offers
That's the truth. Skip the night show. Skip the parade. They have wonderful Christmas stuff (grinch is fantastic as is the Macy parade). But otherwise for the year- very underwhelming.

One stand out show is the Hollywood horror make up show. It's very funny. My favorite line in it is after they call on an audience member- who will be a kid- they razz them a little and say "this isn't Disney- we don't have to be nice to you here"
It's all in good fun of course.
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Old 02-26-2017, 11:35 AM   #68
TexasChick
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We usually end up at Confisco, but the service is always terrible. It has a good variety, and the prices are reasonable, for a theme park. The food is ok, but again, the service to so insanely slow every time. Wait, why do we always eat here?!?
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