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Old 11-04-2017, 04:07 PM   #11
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Join Date: Jul 2016
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Originally Posted by noreen99 View Post
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?
We were there June 5/6th and we did not have express passes. We did not hit VB, but we saw everything else. 2 days should be fine.
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Old 11-04-2017, 08:42 PM   #12
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Staying onsite should be a lot of fun. Especially if you're willing to get up & go early mornings, two days will be plenty of time. I'd pass on the dining plan; just don't see it as worth it.

One friend stayed offsite over the summer & just did Volcano Bay. They got a cabana for the day and loved it. Water parks in general seem hit or miss to me - either a family really enjoys them or just doesn't care.

If you are traveling with active young kids, plan extra time at the Jurassic park play area. DD and DH easily spent two hours there playing and would have happily played more. Also the dinosaur egg hatching is fun in that part of the park.
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Old 11-05-2017, 08:30 AM   #13
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I haven't been in years. Going next Aug to Royal Pacific for express pass. We always stayed onsite 2 nights, for the express pass. Is Jurrasic Park play area in Volcano Bay?
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Old 11-05-2017, 02:54 PM   #14
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Question Universal hours in June

Thinking of going to Universal in June while down at Disney. Do they have late hours for nighttime visit? Was there last December[ beginning of month] and they closed at 7pm.
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Old 11-05-2017, 05:38 PM   #15
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I was there with my DD and her BFF and BFF’s mom in later August 2016. We stayed at Hard Rock so we had the front of the line passes + park to park option!

We arrived mid afternoon from MCO so a very short first day. Decided to go to Island of Adventure because they closed the earliest that day I think it may have been 6. Hoofed it back to Harry Potter and got onto Hogwarts Express. Literally all we had time for because it was so hard to find where we were going. Definitely missed the hub style Disney park! And their maps were very confusing. Arrived in Studios park and took us several minutes to figure out that while we were looking at a London style street there was an entrance to Diagonal Alley that we initially mistook for an entrance to a bathroom! I know! First time visitors but This gave us only a short time in Studios as they closed at 8 or 9 but the girls are HUGE HP fans and at 12 they loved every minute!

I found that their parks close MUCH earlier than Disney does - except for AK so you need to be on your feet first thing in the AM and that front of the line pass makes a huge difference! The lines quickly become much too long! Felt a little guilty walking by people who were waiting for rides we were able to walk onto with out too long of a wait!

We did try Volcano Bay. We had fun but we should have left around lunch time and headed either to another park or back to the hotel! Lines were insane by mid afternoon and the lazy river was more like river wading. It was easier to walk than it was to try to float there were so many people!!! if you do VB make sure you have your own towels or be prepared to pay a lot for them! Don’t remember the cost right now! Then there’s the locker fees! Everything in the park uses a “tapu-tapu” (MB ripoff) so that needs to be set up either before you arrive in the park or when you get there! This was annoying to me since I didn’t think to bring my reading glassse to a water park!!!

The BEST ride in VB is a tube that drops you down the inside of the volcano! 5 stories up! The climb nearly killed me - with arthritis in knees and hips but an awesome view and a lot of fun for a really “old” lady!

And those water cups are an awesome purchase! I think it was $17 for the day but you can fill them continually all day - similar to a resort mug but only in the parks. The best part was there are several choices of water and seltzer so you don’t have to drink sodas all day! You can also take the mug to any park the next day and pay a fee to reuse the mugs again the next day too! Wish we had bought these on our first day as it would have saved us a lot of money on water!

I was surprised at how small the parks actually are. They are very compact but there are a ton of dead-ends inside the park. Looks like you’re heading to an exit only to find you can’t continue and have to back track a lot! Rather annoying. Found their signage and employees weren’t as helpful as Disney either!

We spent the partial day plus 3 full days with the park to park and front of the line options. I think we got to see or do everything that we wanted to. I could see my DD AND my 2 DS having a lot of fun in the parks but I’m not sure that I’d go back! There were just too many rides that I wasn’t able to do due to various reasons - mostly size but the strobes, and neck and back problems limited me a lot!

We didn’t do the meal plan. We would have had to wait 40-60 minutes if we’d wanted to eat inside the Hard Rock Cafe. Opted to eat outside and were seated immediately! Had no issues getting into Margaritville and seated right away.

Hope you have fun!!!
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Old 11-05-2017, 08:03 PM   #16
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We were just there in September, hot!
2 days is all you need. We did not do volcano bay.
Stayed at Portifino Bay, fabulous! On property rocks, I agree with others if you do both.... Disney second!
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Old 11-05-2017, 08:21 PM   #17
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CityWalk has a fun miniature golf location near the Theatre and it is so much fun.
I am not one to normally recommend anything like this but even had to get the t-shirt to remember the fun! It is easy to not see this when you walk around CityWalk!
Hollywood Drive -in Golf
Look for discounts online ... they have 2 versions One is Alien themed and one is Monster theme... they are both fun. Seems like they offered us a deal to purchase both sides.
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Old 11-06-2017, 01:30 AM   #18
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see my replies in red

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. I would make on ressie for Choc. Emporium, but the places in side the parks don't really require reservations. We made reservations for Margaritaville ..otherwise the wait was realllllllly long!

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? We prefer the flexibility of just paying as we go. Since we were new to Universal, I was not sure how and when and where we would want to eat ...so we went with the flow and just winged it. Universal is less structured than WDW

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. Yes...three days is great but two days is enough. We are HUGE Harry Potter fans so we were glad we had the third day to re- visit our favorite things. These sections of the park are AMAZING and fill up fast! Arrive early and take advantage of early park entry. I suggest arriving to the line at 7:25 am if the park opens at 8 am.....even with early entry, it fills up fast!!!!!! We loved it so much we ended up upgrading to APs and went three times in 2016

4) Last question is Volcano Bay worth it? My family has been to Blizzard and Typhoon and love them both. We have not been to Vol. Bay but it looks AMAZING and I am not even a water park person...lol...if you are trying to do the water park and both Universal parks [including the Harry POtter stuff] if would allow 3 days....

Thank you for any feedback.
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Old 11-06-2017, 10:58 AM   #19
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I'd prefer 3 days, but you can do 2 days. We are big HP and Simpsons fans, so we spent hours in both of those areas after doing the rides.
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:47 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by noreen99 View Post
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?
We live close enough to drive-up for the day. January (and early December) is the best time of year we have found to avoid crowds. You can definitely do both Universal parks in one long day... especially if it's a weekday and/or if you stay on property and get the express pass included with your room (beware, not all properties include express pass so check before you book). The non-private VIP does not include park tickets - so you are not saving money with it. If you don't stay on property, I would see how the crowds are and add the express while you are there if it is too crowded as they are sold at most park gift shops.

I love Universal because of the express pass - makes the park so much more enjoyable. In case you don't know, it's like a Fastpass, but works for every ride at anytime (except two Harry Potter rides). To make-up for the HP rides not being part of the express pass, Universal allows guests staying on property entrance an hour early before park opens to enjoy HP with less crowds. I heard a rumor they were going to add these to the express pass, but a few months ago they were not part of it.

If you try to do one day, get maps of the parks and plan-out the must do rides. As others have noted, Universal is a little hard to navigate. Parks are laid out in a circle pattern in general with a lake in-between so you want to hit everything in the same region before moving on or you'll find yourself doubling back the entire day. "The Unofficial Guide of Walt Disney World" has a good 'touring plan' for Universal that may be helpful. If you don't have a copy, your library may. They also have a book just for Universal too... but if you doing both WDW and US, the one book is fine.

Have never done the dining plan or Volcano Bay.
Also, check the park hours when for the day you plan to be there as they sometimes close fairly early.
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