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Old 09-05-2017, 01:22 PM   #1
robgoofyrm
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Default Universal Studios questions

A very veteran Disney Vacationer who hasn't been to Universal Studios in about 15 years. Planning to go to Universal next summer. Question are below and thanks in advance for the help.

1) Do you really not have to make restaurant reservations? Even for new places like the Chocolate Emporium.

2) Is the dining plan worth it? Does a website have the participating restaurants for the Universal Dining Plan like allears.com has for DDP?

3) Can you pretty much see all of Universal in 2 days? I would be staying at Loews Royal Pacific so I would have express pass.

4) Last question is Volcano Bay worth it? My family has been to Blizzard and Typhoon and love them both.

Thank you for any feedback.
Rob
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:33 PM   #2
Joel0917
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Originally Posted by robgoofyrm View Post
A very veteran Disney Vacationer who hasn't been to Universal Studios in about 15 years. Planning to go to Universal next summer. Question are below and thanks in advance for the help.

1) Do you really not have to make restaurant reservations? Even for new places like the Chocolate Emporium.

2) Is the dining plan worth it? Does a website have the participating restaurants for the Universal Dining Plan like allears.com has for DDP?

3) Can you pretty much see all of Universal in 2 days? I would be staying at Loews Royal Pacific so I would have express pass.

4) Last question is Volcano Bay worth it? My family has been to Blizzard and Typhoon and love them both.

Thank you for any feedback.
Rob
Reservations: Chocolate Emporium did not take them last time i was there. not sure if that changed. Was 2 hour wait. MOst restuarants on the Universal City Walk are independent and you can make reservaitons if they take them. Inside the parks really only the harry potter areas have it and unless you want it as part of a package we could just walk in for breakfast or lunch.

Dining plan is awful. it's the same food at the same places just named different. Kids hated it. I hated it. we actually got our money back on the remaining days.

Yes 2 days is plenty. Get park 2 park tickets so you can go back and forth. but with express pass you cut all lines and get in easy. some still have a bit of a wait though once past the cue. but easy to do it all in 2 days.


I have not been to VB but based on feedback and reviews it is not worth it.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:04 PM   #3
Jedimom3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robgoofyrm View Post
A very veteran Disney Vacationer who hasn't been to Universal Studios in about 15 years. Planning to go to Universal next summer. Question are below and thanks in advance for the help.

1) Do you really not have to make restaurant reservations? Even for new places like the Chocolate Emporium.

2) Is the dining plan worth it? Does a website have the participating restaurants for the Universal Dining Plan like allears.com has for DDP?

3) Can you pretty much see all of Universal in 2 days? I would be staying at Loews Royal Pacific so I would have express pass.

4) Last question is Volcano Bay worth it? My family has been to Blizzard and Typhoon and love them both.

Thank you for any feedback.
Rob
We love staying at Royal Pacific. Being able to walk to both parks is really great.
We have never done the dining plan, and have not read/heard good things about it. We typically eat on City Walk, and try to do it at odd times. Like we did the Cowfish around 4:30 ish, and there was no wait. Then we went back into the parks to finish the evenings. I'm not sure if many or any places take reservations.
We did 3 1/2 days. That was great since we never felt rushed, took our time in Diagon, ate lunch at LeakyCaudron, etc. However, I think with express, and hitting the parks with that extra hour early for HP , you should be good with 2 days. Sometimes things take longer, like Shrek, even with EP, you are waiting for the next show, etc. We also like to ride the same ride over and over if we like it. We often ride MIB a few times, the Mummy a couple times, etc. EP is great for that.
Leave some extra time for Diagon Alley and especially go into Knockturn Alley and just wander around. that was fun.
We loved our last trip to US summer before last.
Sorry no experience with VB

Last edited by Jedimom3; 09-05-2017 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:11 PM   #4
EAR
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We just got back.
We were seated right away at Chocolate Emporium it was about 4:30.
2 days is enough but 3 is nice to have wiggle room.
Volcano bay was cool but you only need 1/2 day if you arrive early
You do not need advanced Dining reservations we go to the hotels to eat and almost never wait. The Italian restaurant at Portofino is delicious.
Stay onsite it's worth it.
The dining plan is not worth it.
We ate grab and go breakfast in the lobby every day never more than $10
Also a good lunch find is Duffs bar near Simpsons. You can get 2 huge hot dogs and drinks for like $15 it was enough for the 3 of us
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:42 PM   #5
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Just got back a month ago. 7 days in Disney and 3 at Universal
1. We didn't make reservations but had no problem getting a seat at either Margaritaville or Bubba Gump. We did stop at Toothsome, but we're told it would be a 2 hour wait; we didn't wait.

2. Volcano bay was my least favorite day of vacation by far. The park is a nightmare when crowded. It's very tight and everything looks the same. Directions are terrible and it seemed as if every employee was hired the day before we arrived. The Tapu Tapu wristband is a nice try at reducing wait times, but when every ride is a 2 hour plus wait, you might as well be in line. That and out of 6 of us, 4 lost their bands in the wading river, which only leads to finding and standing in line at customer service. Universal has a way of squeezing e wry penny out of its customers, so be prepared. A locker is $16.00. Need a towel, that's $5.00.
3. 2 days should cover you at Universal. You have the front of the line pass and if its not too crowded Volcano Bay would only be a half day. I would suggest the second half of the day, because everyone else is fighting to get into the park for the first half. Although my experience was a bad one, i will say that the 4 teens in the group did like the rides that they were able to get on and the crowds thinned after 2:00 pm.

My suggestion would be that if you are attaching Universal to a Disney trip; Go to Universal first then Disney. We did the opposite and noticed the differences between the parks. It is obvious that Universal is no Disney.
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Old 09-05-2017, 03:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robgoofyrm View Post
A very veteran Disney Vacationer who hasn't been to Universal Studios in about 15 years. Planning to go to Universal next summer. Question are below and thanks in advance for the help.

1) Do you really not have to make restaurant reservations? Even for new places like the Chocolate Emporium.

2) Is the dining plan worth it? Does a website have the participating restaurants for the Universal Dining Plan like allears.com has for DDP?

3) Can you pretty much see all of Universal in 2 days? I would be staying at Loews Royal Pacific so I would have express pass.

4) Last question is Volcano Bay worth it? My family has been to Blizzard and Typhoon and love them both.

Thank you for any feedback.
Rob
1. Really, you don't need reservations for the restaurants. Friday and Saturday nights at the places on City Walk can get pretty crowded though.

2. I grew up with AP at both WDW and US. Only got the dining plan at universal once on a birthday trip. Depending on how much you want to eat, it can definitely be worth it. Needless to say I ate a lot that weekend....

3. Yes. Especially staying on site and having their front of line passes, very easily. You might even be running out of things to do on Day 2.

4. Haven't been yet, but if you love water parks, I'm sure it'll be worth it.
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Old 09-06-2017, 07:44 AM   #7
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One possible exception to the 'don't need dining reservations' is at Mythos in IOA. In days past, it was voted one of the best theme park restaurants around. We have been there a number of times; either it's become old hat to us, or things have declined a bit in value (I suspect that latter). However, it is still a nice sit down restaurant inside the park, and while you don't need to do reservations way in advance, if you want a popular time (and their hours seem to have gotten more limited over time as well), you probably want to make a reservation a couple of days in advance. You can always cancel with no penalty.
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Old 09-06-2017, 10:02 PM   #8
brp
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3) Can you pretty much see all of Universal in 2 days? I would be staying at Loews Royal Pacific so I would have express pass.
You can see both parks pretty much completely in one (long) day. We did that a couple of years back. This was before Diagon Alley, though. We went again and did 2 days, and only the morning each...and saw both parks (and all the Potter) pretty completely. So, two half days are quite adequate.

Cheers.
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Old 11-04-2017, 01:58 PM   #9
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You can see both parks pretty much completely in one (long) day. We did that a couple of years back. This was before Diagon Alley, though. We went again and did 2 days, and only the morning each...and saw both parks (and all the Potter) pretty completely. So, two half days are quite adequate.

Cheers.
Hate to be a nuisance, but can I ask what time of year that was?

We are going in January and I promised my son a day in Universal.
When I run the costs for park tickets for 2-days, plus parking, meals and express pass my head explodes...it seems to work out cheaper for the one day Non-private VIP?

The crowd calendars have it listed as a probable 8 out of 10 for the day we are planning to go?
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Old 11-04-2017, 02:31 PM   #10
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One thing that IS worth paying for at Universal is the in-park refillable cups. If you're likely to want more than a couple of colas or whatever, it's worth the price.

As a family of wimps when it comes to coasters, we spent around 6 or 7 hours there on our last trip (Jan 2nd), specifically for WWOHP - plus ET which I insisted on We didn't do the interactive wands though we watched others with some amusement (some people really do get worked up over the "magic"), explored Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, rode the train both ways and rode Gringotts twice but passed on FJ this time. I would have liked to have just done the walk through Hogwarts but time was running on and youngest DS was back in WDW on his own.

So 2 days with the express park should be fine I would think. Especially now that it's good for HP rides too.

Can't help with VB or dining.
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