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Universal TR (Coming Soon) - Questions Linger


Tuskin
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This will be my first time visiting Universal in quite some time, I think its nearing 5- 6 years now. The last time I was there they were just beginning the construction of the Harry Potter stuff which, I am sure I will be dodging tomaters at this one, I have never really been interested in. I did the deal they are offering where you get 3 tickets for the price of 2. Before we get started, no I did not get the park hopper option. Refer to my non interest in Harry Potter comment above. My questions are these:

  • Considering I have 3 tickets and they only have 2 parks, which park typical takes more time. My guess, given that of 5+ years ago, is that Islands of Adventure would eat up most of the time, or has that changed?
  • Are there any specific shows that I am not to miss. I usually go for only the rides, but occasionally I would like to check a show out.
  • I will be bringing someone with me that has never been, that being said what specifics should they see that I may skip over being someone who (even though it was a while ago) has been to. Hidden gems I may miss if you will.
  • I have heard they have a tribute to the old Jaws ride, where is that located? Although I am sure it wont be hard to miss, I want to make sure I see it.

Anything else you would like to add is greatly appreciated. Opinions on a line up of rides to ride in order for making sure you get everything in, etc.

- Tusk

(edit for spelling)

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Your disinterest in Harry Potter sincerely shouldn't change a single thing about your trip. If someone doesn't like the film Transformers, they 1) should still ride the ride, and 2) will probably love the ride, and 3) should probably watch the film before they go anyway so that they can appreciate the ride more fully. You don't have to have a heartfelt connection or appreciation for the intellectual property itself to be in awe of what creative people can do to bring it to life.

A three-day ticket is just right for Universal Orlando. The two parks are worth exploring with more than just a cursory jump between rides. Without the park-to-park ticket option, I'd tell you to spend your first day at Universal Studios Florida, your second at Islands of Adventure, and your third re-visiting whichever you enjoyed most. A park-to-park option is always preferred in my book. Again, I realize you may not be passionate about Potter, but the Hogwarts Express is sincerely an E-ticket attraction that should not be missed if at all possible. Very impressive effects. That's my two cents and I'd be remiss if I didn't say it.

And silly as it is, maybe try to get into Harry Potter before you go... I mean, watch the first two or three movies. Check it out. I realize you might've already, but you're going to see the darn thing brought to life; couldn't hurt to at least know what's going on. If one of your traveling companions wasn't into Jurassic Park or hadn't seen the movie in a long time, you'd probably encourage them to watch it anyway before you go. Same with Potter. You don't have to buy a wand and dress up, but geez... might as well prepare for two of the most highly rated and technologically advanced rides on Earth, right?

If you're "only going for the rides" you'll kick yourself! Universal Orlando is not Cedar Point. It's got two full-fledged theme parks full of rides, but also attractions, shows, entertainment, restaurants, hidden nooks and crannies, and Disney-quality detail. Family rides like Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem are worth your time.

At Islands of Adventure, don't miss Poseidon's Fury. Take a minute to check out the Mystic Fountain in Lost Continent. Walk along the coast in Port of Entry and check out the details. Ride Cat in the Hat and walk through "If I Ran The Zoo" in Seuss Landing. Walk through the Jurassic Park Discovery Center. Go into Hogsmeade's shops and get a glass of Butterbeer.

There's really no reason to intentionally skip over anything, so I hope you don't. You'll have time to probably do everything, so I'd hate for you to say "I was here 6 years ago, so I'm not going to do that again." That's the wrong perspective. The parks are worth exploring and experiencing. Go big or go home. Get into it!

There are many references to Jaws located throughout the Diagon Alley section of the Wizarding World (the half that's in the Studios park) since that's where Jaws used to be. They are very well hidden - just little "nods" to the previous ride (similar to the single golden ape statue in Revenge of the Mummy standing as a tribute to the King Kong ride it replaced). If you want spoilers, here's a good photo list of where to find things. Jaws himself is also still there for photo ops, strung up nearby in the San Francisco area.

The season you're going in will determine a ride order. Unless it's a very busy, obvious peak holiday time, you'll have plenty of time to do the things you want.

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I may of said a few things incorrectly in my original post, and for that I apologize. Its true, I do not like Harry Potter, but that doesn't mean I cant appreciate something for what it is. I am a big fan of architecture, so I am sure i will enjoy it thoroughly. I also didn't mean I will skip over specific things I don't like. I am going with a very stubborn woman who wont want to miss anything, no matter how much she dislikes transformers she will want to ride it anyway. :) What I did mean by that was more towards the shows or the hidden things I may miss, as you had stated about about the Jaws references in Diagon Alley. That's the stuff I don't want to miss, so thank you! That sounds like the train ride is really something special, but is it really worth the extra 40+ dollars? That's my debate here. Since I have 3 days at Universal and will probably have enough time to ride everything I want to ride (we are going at the end of February on a Monday Tuesday and Wednesday) is it really worth it to spend the extra just to ride the train?

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All good to hear! I knew you weren't saying you'd be unappreciative or anything. I just always hope people have the right attitude haha. I'm sure you do.

Since I have 3 days at Universal and will probably have enough time to ride everything I want to ride (we are going at the end of February on a Monday Tuesday and Wednesday) is it really worth it to spend the extra just to ride the train?

Depends how you like to tour. I'm very enthusiastic about Universal, so I like to get there and day one jump around to my favorites. It's also great on day three to be able to go back and re-ride your favorites. If I went to USF day one, then IOA on day 2, I'd probably decide to spend day 3 at IOA and I'd find myself going "Oh... I wish I could ride Revenge of the Mummy again... I did it on day one, and I didn't really consider how I wouldn't have another chance." But that's just me.

I can't say if Hogwarts Express is worth it. Really. It's a grand ride and very innovative and unique. But a big part of it is the narrative: getting to walk through Diagon Alley, then take the train to Hogsmeade. If that isn't something you think you'd be impressed with, then it may not be worth it. Up to you!

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Definitely buy the Park-to-Park option. Even if you don't want to do the Hogwarts Express, it's useful for hopping back and forth on your third day, and even in the evenings of your first two days if you start to feel bored. I bought Park-to-Park on a two-day visit and was glad I did, as I found myself jumping around in the evenings.

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Even if you don't like Harry Potter, the Hogwarts Express is also a heckuva lot easier of a trip than walking from all the way at the back of USF to IOA. I have to echo goodyellowkorn's sentiments (like I usually do) and say that even if you're not a Potter fan--an entirely foreign concept to me, may I add :P--there is so much to either Potter area that can be appreciated just for the theme park magic in it. And both Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice are really tasty in general.

I have to really highly recommend Poseidon's Fury, too. That experience really does not get the attention it deserves. I'm a HUGE Potter fan, and Poseidon's Fury is still within my top three favorite Universal attractions.

Have a great time! :)

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Your disinterest in Harry Potter sincerely shouldn't change a single thing about your trip. If someone doesn't like the film Transformers, they 1) should still ride the ride, and 2) will probably love the ride, and 3) should probably watch the film before they go anyway so that they can appreciate the ride more fully. You don't have to have a heartfelt connection or appreciation for the intellectual property itself to be in awe of what creative people can do to bring it to life.

Not a big fan of Spider Man, Transformers, Never did like any of The Mummy movies, but those are all some of my favorite rides! The Mummy being one of my favorite coasters!

As for Harry Potter, I seen all the films but wasn't big into it, and after visiting The WWH, I was more interested in the books/movies. Still haven't got to see the new part of it though. :(

Now as for Halloween Horror Nights and The Walking Dead... It has killed pretty much all excitement for the show for me... ( KI's Kill Mart was better than The Walking Dead! Both HHN 22 and 23!) In this case it worked quite backwards and I used to watch the show like crazy, now I'll watch it ounce a new season comes to Netflix.

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I have never read a HP book or watched more than twenty minutes of any of the movies. That being said, I spent two hours in Diagon Alley today. Just today. I rode Gringotts (20 minute wait) watched the dragon spit fire multiple times, watched people use their interactive wands, drank the warm version of Butterbeer, and just walked around. It is beautiful and fun. Same goes for the IoA side with Hogwarts. I love it.

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I appreciate all the replies everyone! They have been very helpful. I will look into upgrading (at least the final day) to the park hopper option at the park, if they allow it. I am hoping the crowds will be nice to us being that it is an off season. :)

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Inside the Magic was at Universal yesterday and they were talking about how Escape from Gringotts, only has a 20min wait for single rider! If you ask me, that seems quite long still! I don't think I've ever waited longer than 10-15 min in single rider line! also including the busier days.

I'm okay with waiting 20min, but that's quite long for the single rider line!

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That is one thing i truly remember from 5+ years ago. All the things to look at and be distracted by in the lines. Its a rejuvenating feeling when lines are forever long. However, this will be the first time I have been during whats considered to be an off-season, so I am hoping crowds are light, that of a KI crowd during a monday - wednesday :)

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I'd say as far as the park hopper option goes, if you can purchase an upgrade at the gate I'd get it your third day to check out the rides you like at both parks before you leave. If you are just wanting to re-ride some rides the last day there are some great ones at both parts that you can easily get to them all in one day. I went in the middle of summer when the first Harry Potter stuff opened and made it around both parks in a day, so sure in winter you should be able to.

I would definitely check out the queues for both Harry Potter attractions, but aside from those if the lines are long for something definitely try the single rider lines. They can save a ton fo time and all the major rides have one. Some are hidden so ask a worker if you can't find it. Last time I went my friend and I used them all the time and we were on most rides in 5-10 minutes while the standby lines would be up to 2 hours or so.

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I'd say as far as the park hopper option goes, if you can purchase an upgrade at the gate I'd get it your third day to check out the rides you like at both parks before you leave. If you are just wanting to re-ride some rides the last day there are some great ones at both parts that you can easily get to them all in one day. I went in the middle of summer when the first Harry Potter stuff opened and made it around both parks in a day, so sure in winter you should be able to.

I would definitely check out the queues for both Harry Potter attractions, but aside from those if the lines are long for something definitely try the single rider lines. They can save a ton fo time and all the major rides have one. Some are hidden so ask a worker if you can't find it. Last time I went my friend and I used them all the time and we were on most rides in 5-10 minutes while the standby lines would be up to 2 hours or so.

That's great help, thank you! I hope none of the lines are that long, but if they are I will definitely check out the single rider lines.

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Park Hopper is a registered trademark of Disney Enterprises, Inc., and should only be used to refer to the Disney admission ticket feature. The appropriate term for a Universal Studios ticket that allows visiting both parks in the same day is a Park-to-Park Ticket. :)

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I have been twice at the end of February. Both times we spent more time walking the queues than waiting in line! I would Park Hopper all three days if possible but definetly the third day. Have a blast, I'm jealous!

Glad to hear that as I haven't been at that time but am going down there myself the last week of February.

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My wife and I went to Universal last Thursday during our big Florida trip (may get a TR together if I have time). The highlight of the entire park was definitely Diagon Alley. I'm a HP fan, and my wife isn't so much, but we were both blown away by that area. I could have spent the entire day there. And yeah, the Hogwarts Express is a real treat in both directions, though I liked the trip to Hogsmead slightly more.

We tried the cold and hot Butterbeer and the hot version was sooooooo good. Especially since it was chilly when we were there. I highly recommend it.

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I'd rather wait in an immersive, hour long line at Universal or Disney rather than a boring twenty minute line in a hot queue corral at another park.

For me, the experience isn't always only about the ride itself.

I really wish I could get myself into this mind frame. Patience is a virtue that I cannot seem to find in myself when it comes to waiting in lines, no matter what is there to entertain/distract me.

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I'd rather wait in an immersive, hour long line at Universal or Disney rather than a boring twenty minute line in a hot queue corral at another park.

For me, the experience isn't always only about the ride itself.

I really wish I could get myself into this mind frame. Patience is a virtue that I cannot seem to find in myself when it comes to waiting in lines, no matter what is there to entertain/distract me.

That will come with age my friend. I am by no means old, but I am older than you, and I remember being the way you were when I was younger. Now its the complete opposite, or maybe I have just slowed down a little and enjoyed the little things more often. Either way it makes me sound old.

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I will be going at the end of February also, the 20th,21st and 22nd. We are mainly going because of the Harry Potter experience. Does the Mardi Gras celebration and concert usually bring larger then usual crowds? I am wondering how the crowds will be on the 21st since Kelly Clarkson will be performing then.

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Luckily I choose mon-wed for the 3 day ticket plan. Hoping that brings good luck with minimal crowds. Also, has anyone been to the Blue Man Group at Universal? Does it differ any from the show in Vegas? I went to the show in Vegas a few years back and I am curious as to any differences between the two, or is it the same basic show. Thinking about buying tickets and taking the lady friend as she has never been.

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Blue Man does incorporate some different elements into each of their shows, including Orlando. I've seen then there, in Chicago, NY, Boston, Vegas and Indy and each show has about half city-centric stuff and half the classics as I'll call them-spin art/marshmallow, paint drums, Cap'n Crunch and the big finale which I won't spoil for those who haven't seen it. Usually there are ticket offers for the Orlando show, so with a bit of sleuthing, cheaper tics can easily be found.

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