Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
TTD-120-420

Advice from people who have been to Universal

Recommended Posts

My family and I are leaving for Orlando on January 28th. (So excited!) In a different topic i had some great tips for Universal, but am looking for more opinions and ideas. We plan on getting the package with Discovery Cove to swim with the dolphins and get into Seaworld as much as we want. We are debating now whether to go to Universal Studios (2 day park hopper pass) or one or two days at Disney. Some questions I have are:

With these parks being open year round I realize that they shut down some of the rides every once in a while to do regular inspections and check ups. Are there any scedules that the park has that tells us if any of the rides will be closed when we go?

My dad is a pretty large dude. Do rides at Universal accomodate larger people?

Are the parks busy late January to early February?

I am pretty sure two days at Universal is long enough to do everything, but what about if we go to Disney? If we had only one or two days what parts of Disney do you guys suggest? (The youngest person going is 13 so we are more thrill people so not really into teacups)

Is citywalk at Universal included with park admission? What are some of the fun things to do there? All but one of us are 18 and older, what can and can't we get into?

Any other tips, advice, opinions, and discussion is very much appreciated. I know the people on this site are very smart and friendly so I am looking forward to the help from all of you.

Thanks in advance. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest TombraiderTy

With these parks being open year round I realize that they shut down some of the rides every once in a while to do regular inspections and check ups. Are there any scedules that the park has that tells us if any of the rides will be closed when we go?

According to ScreamScape, which catalogs ride closings, the following attractions will be closed while you're down in Florida: Big Thunder Mountain Rairoad, Dumbo, Liberty Square Riverboat, Fantasmic!, and Kali River Rapids. Take note that ScreamScape doesn't guarantee this information to be 100% accurate and that other attractions may also be closed.

My dad is a pretty large dude. Do rides at Universal accomodate larger people?

He'll probably be fine on most rides. Certain attractions at Universal, including Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge, and Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster, even offer larger restraints for larger guests. I'd only be concerned if he's ever had problems with other rides.

Are the parks busy late January to early February?

Not at all - enjoy the emptiness :)

I am pretty sure two days at Universal is long enough to do everything, but what about if we go to Disney? If we had only one or two days what parts of Disney do you guys suggest? (The youngest person going is 13 so we are more thrill people so not really into teacups)

Once again, it shouldn't be too crowded. This means you'll be able to hit-up most rides without having to wait too long. Regarding what you should try and do, based off my personal favorites, I'd make sure not-to-miss: Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Tower of Terror, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Toy Story Midway Mania, Star Tours, Test Track, Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Those are only the highlights though - make sure to do as much as possible, because the majority of Disney's rides are entertaining.

Is citywalk at Universal included with park admission? What are some of the fun things to do there? All but one of us are 18 and older, what can and can't we get into?

CityWalk is included, but it's mainly limited to shopping and dining opportunities. There are also some clubs, but I'd be of no assistance in informing you of those :P A quick Google search would probably help though.

Have a great time down in Florida :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will say this much: I had a very similar trip, though more aimed towards Universal. I would always, always, always suggest two or more days at Universal. I am an avid, rabid fan of Disneyland in California, and have been to Walt Disney World on nearly a dozen occasions. Still, I find Universal to be a far superior resort to the Florida Disney one. Disney World is fantastic and immersive and spectacular and grand, but I suppose I'm old fashioned: I like Disneyland and Universal Orlando for the comfort, closeness, and interrelatedness of the resorts. They're small and delightful and unique. And I can say (as I probably said in the other thread) that Universal's Islands of Adventure goes above and beyond anything you'll see at a stateside Disney park as far as themeing, immersion, and thrill. It is, without a moment of hesitation, the best theme park I've ever been to (and that was before Harry Potter came along).

Universal Orlando Resort uses the close proximity of the parks probably better than any other resort I've visited. You enter into Citywalk (which is free and open to public access). CityWalk is horseshoe shaped. Universal Studios Florida is at one end. Universal's Islands of Adventure is at the other. I like the setting that that creates, because you immediately choose whether to head towards the Universal globe and studio arch (Universal Studios) or the crashed seaplane and lighthouse (Islands of Adventure). It's a cool notion. As far as CityWalk, it's much like Downtown Disney or any other entertainment district: shops, karaoke bars, "clubs," theaters, and restaurants. Others can probably give you better advice on which are the most fun, but it's not something you'd plan a day around. If anything, you'd probably just stroll into a restaurant after you leave the park, go to the Burger King Whopper Bar for lunch while you pass between the two.

map-citywalk.jpg

The parks are not busy in January or February. It's one of the slowest times to go. The thing that caught me off guard is that both Universal Studios parks closed at 6:00. It seems odd, but by 5:00, every single ride was a walk-on, so I could understand why. Just check the parks' operating hours and factor that into trip planning. A 10:00 to 6:00 day is 8 hours. That's much different from a 9:00 to midnight day, in which you have 15 hours in the parks.

As for the Disney Parks, it's a tough choice. I'll say that, on my trip, we used a one-day park hopper to get as much done as we can and chose to visit all of the parks except The Magic Kingdom. That's because we were returning visitors. If you have little exposure to Disney World or have never been, The Magic Kingdom is basically essential. My favorite of the parks is Disney's Hollywood Studios, and it has its fair share of un-missables (like Tower of Terror, Rock n Roller Coaster, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, The Great Movie Ride, Muppet Vision 3D, and Star Tours). Animal Kingdom is also a really incredible park, and Epcot has a few really awesome attractions too. I can say that if I could construct a perfect limited-time visit to Disney World for myself, it would be three days: a full day at the Magic Kingdom, another at the Studios, then a day split between Epcot and Animal Kingdom (despite those two being the largest parks, they can be tackled from a "thrill seeker" point of view fairly well in five or six hours apiece).

Also remember to factor in transportation. At Disney World, you should plan at least 30 minutes to get between parks because of the transportation system. To get from the Magic Kingdom to Epcot, for example, you must take a monorail to a connecting monorail. From Hollywood Studios to Epcot, a boat is usually easiest. To Animal Kingdom, you must take a bus. And if you're staying at an off-property, non-Disney hotel and not renting a car, figure out the hotel's shuttle schedule. For example, my hotel's shuttle went to Disney one time at 8:00 AM and returned one time at 9:00 PM, with the pick-up/drop-off spot being at Epcot. That meant that, by 9:00, we had to be back at Epcot, and that's something you can't miss. Even if you're driving, consider a hotel shuttle to save $14.00 on parking if it works in your schedule. If your hotel is near Universal Orlando, it's a pleasant walk along the waterfront to the parks, or a brisk trip through the massive parking deck with moving sidewalks - another way to save $14.00 a day. The areas around the resort are built for pedestrian traffic from nearby hotels.

The dolphin swim package is great at Discovery Cove, but if time (and not money) is your only issue, know that you'd honestly be hard-pressed to spend more than a few days at SeaWorld and stay engaged. It's a beautiful park with much to offer, but even at a leisurely pace I think you'd be just about finished at the close of day two. Everyone's different, but I understand that you're looking for a more thrilling, fast-paced trip with a teenage age range, so in that case, SeaWorld is certainly a full-day attraction, but not something you'd want to visit for three, four, or five days. Again, that's my opinion.

Wow. I just typed a lot. Sorry!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ Thanks GYK, for your insight on Sea World. I am heading down in early May (which I'm sure the lines will be longer) and was wondering how much Sea World had to offer. We have been to Universal, and love it, but decided to get the Flex tickets so we can go to Sea World, and water parks also. Now I know Sea World won't take up 2-3 days of my time :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SeaWorld has a couple of fantastic shows and three or four great thrill rides, but in my opinion it's a lot like Universal Studios Hollywood - an add-on, not meant to be the center of one's trip. That being said, everyone is different. I opt for five days at Disneyland where others might find that repetitive. I can spend three or four at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and feel it was time well spent. I can hardly fill a single day at Cedar Point.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. I just typed a lot. Sorry!

Don't be sorry! That is what I was looking for. Thank you. :)

I'm happy to hear that the parks wont be jammed packed when we go. I looked at Universal's day schedule a few weeks ago, and with the really early closing time I was looking forward to Citywalk. I guess, since it is just shops and food, we can go somewhere else and find something to do.

To those who asked, we arent staying at any park resorts. We rented a house somewhere a little outside Orlando.

Thanks to everyone for all the help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You'll find good restaurants at CityWalk, and I'm sure that if the 'clubs' are you thing, you would enjoy them immensely. Universal attracts a younger, hipper crowd than Disney and the folks who populate CityWalk at night reflect that. It's a fun entertainment district, but nothing more. There's a karaoke club that's relatively new that they've been promoting.

And the restaurants are good, too. I've been to Pastamore, and thought it was a fun, unique, modern Italian restaurant. Just remember that you're talking theme park prices, even though it's not directly in either park.

If you have time to spare for a sit-down lunch, don't pass up Mythos in Universal's Islands of Adventure. It's a beautiful restaurant with delicious food, and should rumors turn to facts, it won't be there too awfully much longer. Don't miss Poseidon's Fury either. Not much of a fan favorite anymore, but it's got some really outstanding effects that might also be gone before long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being 18, I don't think we will be able to get into clubs unless they have a teen night. Not really a big deal.

Poseidon's furry is a restaurant? What kind of effects can restaurants have? Sounds interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Groove has teen nights. Not sure if they are weekly, or of rarer occurance, but when I was there last year we could not get in because we were not teens.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ Thanks GYK, for your insight on Sea World. I am heading down in early May (which I'm sure the lines will be longer) and was wondering how much Sea World had to offer. We have been to Universal, and love it, but decided to get the Flex tickets so we can go to Sea World, and water parks also. Now I know Sea World won't take up 2-3 days of my time :)

I went to Sea World in late May this year and everything was a walk-on. Our longest wait was 12 minutes for the water coaster Journey to Atlantis.

I also went to Bush Gardens in late June and everything was a walk-on. Great times, I miss living in Orlando.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mythos is a restaurant. Poseidon's Fury is a walk-through / show / mystery tour. Both are all that remains of The Lost Continent, one of the most impressive themed areas I've ever seen. If one set of Harry Potter expansion rumors is true, they'll both be removed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only ride I have ever been too big to ride on was Drop Tower at King's Island, but now that I have been to Universal Islands Of Adventure, I can add The Hulk roller coaster to that list. The good news is that in row six they have a custom seat that I was able to fit on, but the bad news is The Hulk has those over the shoulder harnesses that box your ears like Flight of Fear used to do and Invertigo does currently. It's no fun riding a ride when your ears are constantly smashing against the head rests. The Hulk was my only disappointment with Universal Islands. Ripsaw Falls is easily the greatest Log Flume ride I have ever been on (and it has dark ride elements) and I think the Harry Potter ride inside the Hogwarts castle is the greatest dark ride that I have ever been on. They have a $21.00 meal deal where you can eat as much as you want at three different restaurants. They also have a $10.00 free refillable cup at those same three restaurants or you can get them refilled for $2.00 at other restaurants. The all you can eat restaurants have pretty good food and is a great deal. Like has been said above, the theming in this park is incredible, especially in Hogsmead, Suess Landing and The Lost Continent. I'm wanting to go back really bad.

The second day we went to Disney Hollywood. I really enjoyed the Twilight Zone Tower, the Star Wars tour ride, and I thought the Beauty and The Beast, Indiana Jones and Car Stunt shows were really good, but was not much impressed with the rest of my experience there. The Areosmith Rock N' Roll roller coaster is just Flight of Fear with a different theme and a longer wait. We walked up to the Honey I shrunk The Kids attraction at 5:01 only to be told, kind of rudely, that it closed at 5:00... for no particular reason. Then we went to ride the back lot tour only to find out that it closed at 5:00 as well... for no particular reason. No meal or drink deals. I bought a dry $10.00 hamburger that was a five dollar burger at best. The employees didn't seem like they were having fun like the Universal employees did. The park was extremely crowded (maybe because it was the eve of Veterans Day) and I just don't feel like I got my money's worth out of the visit.

I can't wait to go back to Universal, but if I never make it back to a Disney park I will be okay with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mythos is a restaurant. Poseidon's Fury is a walk-through / show / mystery tour. Both are all that remains of The Lost Continent, one of the most impressive themed areas I've ever seen. If one set of Harry Potter expansion rumors is true, they'll both be removed.

Speaking of rides being removed at Universal parks, considering TTD's trip to Uni is set at the end of January, you won't be able to ride JAWS, as it and the entirety of the Amity zone will be closed on the 2nd. Hopefully by either then or by the time you go they'll have announced its replacement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The All-Day Dining Deal at Sea World is a great deal, and the food is fabulous. (Even better at Busch Gardens.)

http://seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-orlando/Dine-and-Shop/Dining/All-Day-Dining-Deal

At each participating restaurant, you get a 21oz drink, desert, and main dish each time you go through the line. Even if you just want a drink, or a desert, just go through the line and take it, show your arm band and enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bear in mind the "dolphin swim" at Discovery Cove is not a swim (the dorsal tow is the closest thing to swim even tho it isn't). Its mostly standing in waist deep water to interact with the dolphin. Its still fun tho :) Discovery Cove is a nice park!

If you haven't been to SeaWorld, you may enjoy Manta and Kraken. When I go to SW tho, I tend to shelve the coasters and spend all my time seeing the animals ignoring the rides, lol.

EDIT for spelling fail..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So you like seeing the animals ignore the rides?

Terpy, who is glad the dolphins don't ride Kraken! Wet seats! (yep, he's working all week folks!)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL Y'know I wouldn't be surprised they couldn't even hear the rides, they can't even hear our voices hardly that well :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The second day we went to Disney Hollywood. I really enjoyed the Twilight Zone Tower, the Star Wars tour ride, and I thought the Beauty and The Beast, Indiana Jones and Car Stunt shows were really good, but was not much impressed with the rest of my experience there. The Areosmith Rock N' Roll roller coaster is just Flight of Fear with a different theme and a longer wait. We walked up to the Honey I shrunk The Kids attraction at 5:01 only to be told, kind of rudely, that it closed at 5:00... for no particular reason. Then we went to ride the back lot tour only to find out that it closed at 5:00 as well... for no particular reason. No meal or drink deals. I bought a dry $10.00 hamburger that was a five dollar burger at best. The employees didn't seem like they were having fun like the Universal employees did. The park was extremely crowded (maybe because it was the eve of Veterans Day) and I just don't feel like I got my money's worth out of the visit.

I can't wait to go back to Universal, but if I never make it back to a Disney park I will be okay with that.

I think a lot of the problems you experienced at Hollywood Studios were (depending on when your trip was) just off-season things. If the park closed at 7:00 or so, a lot of longer attractions like the studio tour might close earlier since they have lengthy, in-depth parts and are long by their nature. So sending a tour off at 5:00 might have them finish after the park closed. Also, during low visitation periods, parks close a few attractions early to save payroll. It sounds lame, but it's better than having ten or fifteen people in the theater for Honey I Shrunk the Audience with ten or fifteen employees assigned to it.

Disney does have a meal plan of sorts, but to me it seems confusing and redundant. Like, you can only get it if you stay in a Disney hotel, then you choose one of five tiered levels of meal plans, which afford a certain number of "snacks," "drinks," and "meals," all of which are very specifically defined and only available from certain pre-approved restaurants. It's no where near as simple and useful as Universals or SeaWorlds from what I can tell.

Just so that the OP doesn't skip Rock n Roller Coaster thinking it's a clone of Flight of Fear, I also have to point out that it isn't. It's a different coaster from a different manufacturer, albeit, their "version" of the compact launch coaster that Flight of Fear originated.

m9dj4lff00uq0484002khb.jpg

Joker's Jinx, a Premier Rides LIM launch coaster (Flight of Fear's outdoor equivalent)

3of1a9lpianng10vg30400.jpg

Xpress, a Vekoma LSM coaster (very similar to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster's layout, different only to compensate for the reduced weight of the train since Rock n Roller Coaster's have on-board audio)

In other words, don't pass up Rock 'n' Roller Coaster thinking it's a clone of Flight of Fear. And Fastpass is your friend. Each Disney park only has a handful of "major" rides, so working the Fastpass system can save your day!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...not to mention that Tower of Terror is my absolute favorite flat ride anywhere. The level of detail exquisitely on display is simply stunning. I could happily spend days riding that thing. In fact, I have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...not to mention that Tower of Terror is my absolute favorite flat ride anywhere. The level of detail exquisitely on display is simply stunning. I could happily spend days riding that thing. In fact, I have.

Yes! Absolutely. Same here. And after a number of years and a dozen rides, I have a real appreciation for California's, too... Since the drop mechanism also transports the dark ride, there are a few fun, expected transitions and "fake outs" that Florida's slower dark ride tower can't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed, the Rock N Roller coaster is a must ride. Much different than Flight of Fear.

I trust that you guys know what your talking about, but for me personally, I've ridden Flight of Fear many many times and could not tell a difference when I rode the Areosmith coaster. They even do the thing where the passengers get off at a different point so the train always returns empty. I did like the theming of the ride, especially when the band talks to you from the recording booth while your waiting in line, and the ride itself was enjoyable, but I would never wait more than 20 minutes for the Areosmith coaster because it just did not offer enough of a ride difference from what I am used to on Flight of Fear. That is just my experience. I think anyone who hasn't rode Areosmith should give it a spin and judge for themselves. And despite what I said about Hollywood being crowded, the ride lines weren't to bad. I think we waited about 35 minutes for Twilight Zone and 35 minutes for Star Wars and those were the two longest lines we stood in all day. Areosmith was 75 minutes during the day and 60 minutes after dark, but a guy gave us a free 'one time use' fast pass so we ended up only waiting about 25 minutes. All the crowds did was keep me from taking in the scenery and making it difficult to walk around. We would of had time to do everything we wanted to do if certain attractions did not close down early. If we had known they were going to close early we would have done those first. We actually ended up leaving before the park was closed because we ran out of things that we wanted to do and we were all feeling quite deflated about the Honey I Shrunk The Kids thing. We chose that park instead of Universal Studios because my friend's wife loves that attraction for some reason (I've never been through it so I don't know what it is about it) only to miss it by 1 minute and then the employee being rude about it because we were probably the 20th group of people she had to tell that they were closed... It wasn't even starting to get dark yet at 5:01 p.m.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK sorta a bad change in plans. Mom sprung a divorce on us all last night, so the Florida trip is all messed up. We are still going, just without mom.

Now I'm looking for help finding some things my dad will enjoy. This was suppossed to be my senior trip, but now all I really want it to do is to take my dad's mind off of it. So I, not being a 43 year old guy, have no idea what would be fun for him. He likes to fish a lot. Any suggestions on what would make him happy around Orlando?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...