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Everything posted by timfreeman

  1. Just to clarify, that is the Platinum pass that is for all parks. Not a bad deal for just Cedar Point and Kings Island alone. A normal pass is $99 just for Kings Island. I think we got our Gold renewal for about $70 if I remember correctly.
  2. I'll be there with my son. With the characters dressed in Star Wars garb, the stunt show, and Star Wars themed fireworks, I couldn't pass it up. It's the closest I'll get to Star Wars Weekend, possibly better with the new show. I don't care about the autographs, so they can keep that at the Celebration in the convention center.
  3. We bit the bullet this year. We normally go down there twice a year, so we'd break even on the passes. In the past, we'd always stay on site, so the food discounts out-weighed the passes. Now, with the passes, we just rent a house/condo as it saves quite a bit of cash. We also now drive instead of fly, which saves even more. With the passes, we have more of an excuse to pick up and go at any time. We are heading down next week for the third time this year. I just found out the last flight to Endor stuff is next weekend, wish I had the cash to go to it.
  4. Just because you think they are older than 3 doesn't mean they are. All my kids look much older than they are. My current 2 year old frequently gets the "he's only 2???" statement. We normally don't get stopped because we have passes, but I try to always carry a copy of his birth certificate for this reason. I'm not saying some people don't try this, but not everyone that is "clearly 3+ years of age" actually is. To stay on topic, despite the regular price increases, I'm guessing attendence has actually increased in the "off season". I don't have any data to back it up, but the parks seem much busier. We always tried to go during the slow months, but the crowds are getting to where it doesn't make a huge difference.
  5. This is what I was alluding to when speaking of the Premier Pass. You get free fastpass after 4pm. At this juncture, I'm not sure why anyone would really pay for fastpass. At night, there were never lines a couple weeks ago, probably due to the Potter affect. We used the passes mainly for less walking. All the lines were at the rides that don't offer it including Potter, RRRokit, & the flying dinosaur (can't spell it, but it's had a line for 8 years). The exception may be the water rides during the day, but I'm not paying $200+ (2 adults, 3 kids) to skip a line once. The ticket really is the single rider line. With the normal Potter line being 120+ at times while there, the single rider would take less than 30 minutes.
  6. I think it has more to do with age than anything. Some people and their kids are extremely annoying, but I've learned (sometimes) to look past them and enjoy the moment. I enjoy watching my kids more than most rides. To see the sheer enjoyment and happiness on their faces really is priceless to me. Watching the electrical parade, Snow White came up and kissed my 2 year on the forehead. I'll remember his face long after the thrill of riding any ride. When my middle son was 3, Snow White (I see a theme) kissed him on the cheek during a breakfast at the castle. He wouldn't wash his face, swim, or ride any water rides for 2 days because he didn't want to loose the lipstick. At 19 though, I don't see making a trip to central fla and not at least try to hit UO/IOA
  7. A few things people mentioned may be fixed due to the whole WWHP thing. Normally my family doesn't go to Orlando in the summer as we don't like the heat. We went a couple weeks ago and noticed immediately things had been touched up. I also noticed many affects and items that aren't normally there on the rides (T-Rex was actually working!!). I can't list all the little things, but it was enough for the kids to notice too. I thought maybe they turned some of them off during the off months to conserve money, but they could have just been broken and never fixed. The downside was Spiderman seemed to break down on a daily basis at night. I don't recall one night where it didn't break down on my wife or I (child swap with the little one). Here's the issues I see that would drive attendance: 1) Resort - Universal has been trying to change this, but right now there is no competing with the Disney Resort. They pick you up from the airport, have "affordable" hotels, stores on-site (or Downtown Disney), and drop you back off at the airport. To add Universal to this mix means a $50 cab ride or rental car on top of the park tickets ($10 extra a day for Disney or $100 for Universal?). It's just not economically feasible. Universal's on site resorts are great, but I would compare them to the moderate or deluxe at Disney. If you want to go the Value route, you are either stuck off site at a run-down hotel, or paying $120+ a night. 2) Rides - I love Universal/IOA, but I doubt I'll ever go back before 4pm, especially with a Premier Pass. Most don't have a pass, so I'll not delve into that. UO/IOA just don't have enough rides to keep a full family entertained for a full week. If you have little kids, you are even more limited. IOA has the Cat, One Fish, Carosuessel, and Trolley. I guess you could also count Storm as it doesn't have a height restriction. UO has Shrek, Neutron (height restriction, stationary seating), Animal Show, and Barney. You can count Twister, Disaster, and Jaws if you want as they don't have height restrictions, but can be scary to certain kids. They do have the play areas, but my kids can play at the park in town for a lot less money rather than sit there all day with them and we have passes locally to Kings Island and the water park. We do visit them, just not all day. There is no comparison to the 4 parks full of rides at Disney. 3) Staff - While both Disney and UO/IOA have gone way down hill in the last years with customer service, IOA just plain stinks and I'll give an example. We were at the Cat a few weeks ago. Someone had a scooter, so we went up and asked the attendant what to do. The conversation went like this: Me: Do you guys allow the chair in the line? Girl: No (that was it, looked at me and walked to the other side of the line and stared at the sky) Me: How do we get [the person] into the ride? Girl: I don't know (again looked away) Me: (now irritated) You mean Universal has no policy to get a handicapped person into a main attraction ride? Girl: (shrugs her shoulders and turns around again) At this point a manger (plain clothes but has a tag on her shirt) walks up and explains that the motorized chair isn't allowed in the queue, but they can transfer to a push wheelchair to get to the ride. I'm hoping the manager gave the worker a flogging, but I doubt it fixed anything. This is only the first example that popped into my head. 4) Disney - There's really nothing to compete with the Disney brand. Mickey and friends, Princesses, Cars, Toy Story....the list goes on and on for little ones. UO has Dudley Dooright, Popeye, Woody Woodpecker, Barney, Fievel.... While my older kids have always liked the rides (been going since they were around 3), I doubt they have ever seen a show with any of the above in it other than Barney. 5) Shows - Disney has 400 parades (maybe a slight exaggeration ) and fireworks at most parks daily. Illuminations and Fantasmic are about the best things I've seen anywhere. The sheer mass of fireworks in the new show at Magic Kingdom is outrageous....UO just brought back Universal 360, but that's it. Bottom line on attendance is I don't think UO/IOA is little kid friendly. Harry Potter will definitely spike attendance, but I don't think it fixes the overall issue. I'm not really sure anything could fix it though as you can't compete with the mouse or the girls.
  8. I read this earlier too and it doesn't really make sense to me. Although I never visited in the mornings, we were there most nights for 2 weeks. The one place that never was really busy was the tavern. While I (and the family including kids) were in the tavern, I ordered the Hogsmeade and a couple Butterbeers. There were a couple people follow us in and ordered the Butterbeer. The barkeep seemed surprised we were in there ordering and when I told him the line outside was about 30 minutes. At no time when entering the tavern was it extremely busy. The main Butterbeer cart always had a line and the other "extra" carts charged an extra dollar just cause they could. There were also lines into all the shops. Never of those issues really get rectified by not selling alcohol. Maybe I was just there always at the right time. My first thought was that the specialty brew's stock was depleted faster than they thought. Does this mean those wanting the souvenir cup can't get it?
  9. I didn't take offense, there is always a counter-point to my point. Anything I say is most likely an exaggeration, I don't think my big toe is larger than 2% of the population. To me, there's no point of debating things of this nature, especially in a die-hard forum as you'll always have people adamant to both sides of the argument.
  10. This is why I didn't bring it up to begin with. I shouldn't have to defend my height or that my big toe is 2% larger than the "general" population. I buy my 2X shirts off the rack at any store, but who cares. The point is, nothing on the ride is standard and no warnings are given. I can fit on the Hulk or any other other the shoulder harness, why did this one have to be made 2 inches shorter than the rest of the rides in the world? I don't really care to miss the ride as hearing descriptions from family and friends, I would probably get sick anyway. Plus most of my family was disappointed in the ride itself before they even knew I didn't ride it. I got to see all of the castle and decorations, so I'm happy. Just wish it didn't take 2.5 hours.
  11. I didn't bring it up in my previous posts as I didn't want to cause a stir. Since it's already brought up, here was my experience.....You guys are focusing on the "fat" part of the issue. To me, that's not the whole issue. I'm 6'5" and ~270 pounds. Sure, I'm a bit over weight, but no where near obese. I don't think 6'5" is ridiculously tall either. In my case, the issue wasn't my weight, it was my height. The restraints pushed down on my shoulders before it hit my stomach. They couldn't manage to fit a seat that fit slightly taller people? I got 2 clicks, but couldn't get the 3rd. My worry was my son as he won't ride any ride by himself for the first time. There was a lady with us that wasn't obese by any standard. She rode the first time with no issue. We called them to come up and ride with my son (we were taken to the "special" loading station). After just getting off the ride, she couldn't get 3 clicks in that loading station. We ended up just sending the 2 kids on by themselves. I knew of the issue before hand, so wasn't really surprised. I was surprised that all seats aren't nearly the same size as one seat I couldn't get one click in, the inner seat I got 1, and the outer right seat I got 2. Add to the fact that the lady with use rode in the normal queue with no issues at all (wasn't any type of struggle to get the 3 clicks), then couldn't ride in the special queue, something is not right. In addition, there was absolutely *NO* warnings that if you aren't 5'10" and 150lbs, you may not be able to ride. I read every sign expecting some type of disclaimer, but there was none. If I would have waited in that line for over 2 hours like I did, and not know I wouldn't be able to ride, I would have been extremely angry.
  12. Went back around 8:00 2 nights ago and FJ had a 90 minute wait. Waited in line for over 2 hours as it broke down 3 times as my son really wanted to ride it. Ended up getting on the ride around 10:30. Got out of the tower around 11:00 and browsed the shops until around midnight. At 10:00 when the park "closes" the line was still past the greenhouse and out the door. Went back again the next night at 8:30 and stood in line for the Olivandars show. He did pick my son out of the group, so it was awesome. Also stood in line with a group of guys doing a 18 day road trip. Wouldn't surprise me if they were here on the boards. Made the line seem to move quickly and enjoyable. FJ was still packed at closing again.
  13. (06.22.2010) People were herding in like cattle all morning. At 1pm, there was still a line all the way to Super Hero Island. Workers were saying there was still at least a 4 hour wait at that point. Going to head back that way later tonight to see...
  14. It's always nice to see a Brazilian tour guide leading 30 people around.
  15. I don't put much stock into sneak peeks like this. If I just looked at pictures of most areas, it's not going to make me have to visit the park. A singing frog? Really? It's going to look great if it's half of the other IOA standards. The issue I see with Potter is that it's *ALL* thematic with the re-purposing of 2 existing rides with one new ride for the whole area. With this, people are making it out to be the second coming of Mickey Mouse. It's like Suessland, it looks great, especially the first time you see it. Once done, is there really a "must-do"? I'd say yes to Potter with the existing coasters, but we'll see with the new ride. With Suess, we'll walk through it every time we are there, but only ride anything if it's not busy. Look at the other lands now, are there more than 1 or 2 good rides? Marvel has Hulk and Spidey, Toon has Ripsaw and Bluto, and Jurassic has no must do for my family. We'll ride the boat if it's not busy, and we haven't rode the flyer in a couple years. The things we tend to do are the non-rides. The kids play on the nets and in the water for a while. We always have to visit the activity center at Jurassic. Potter will be different in that it already has 2 popular rides and now it has all the Potter theme. Going back to the new ride, they are really limited in what they can do without alienating demographics. If they start putting flips and high amounts of motion sickness inducing elements, they limit the age (height limit) and the amount of people to ride. I'll admit I didn't watch the video, but I'm guessing it's an average ride that will appeal to most people, but the hard-core will eat it up. You never know what's going to catch on either. Who would have thought a hang-gliding ride would have taken off? It's basically just a "theater-in-the-round" from the 80s with cool seats. My family are not Potter fans, so we didn't make any special plans as we already planned on visiting in the fall. We have passes since we ended up going down early for our vacation last month, so we can stay our normal 4 days or have the option of sticking around if we want.
  16. That looks like they just replaced Scooby and Shaggy. The organ was existing, they replaced Shag running in the circle, the brick wall existed, the bed, the table, the backgrounds are the same, etc, etc
  17. Fair Board Sues Park Owner Over Rides Weeks after Six Flags decided to shut down Kentucky Kingdom, state officials are now involved in a legal fight over the remaining thrill rides. The Chang rollercoaster was removed last year to make way for a water-park expansion. That expansion never started and the Kentucky State Fair Board claimed it was never going to happen. That claim was made in a lawsuit filed by Kentucky officials suing Premier, the owner of Six Flags. At issue: they want the bankruptcy judge to declare the rides and other attractions on the land owned by the fair board as fixtures, or part of the property. They're also suing for breach of contract and damages caused by Six Flag's removal of any rides. The suit accused Premier of fraud regarding the removal of Chang and the promise of improvements. Earlier this month, when the park closed, the president of the state fair board said he was just as shocked as the public. "We were surprised by the news release. We weren't notified ahead of time. We didn't receive one," Kentucky State Fair Board President Harold Workman said on February 5. The state is hearing from Six Flags in the form of a countersuit. The company disputed the ownership of the thrill rides and asked a bankruptcy judge to declare that the contested rides are not the landlord's property and the company should be allowed to remove those rides. State officials said there are other parties interested in running the park, so the ruling on who owns the rides is crucial. This case is playing out in bankruptcy court because the amusement park operator filed for Chapter 11 in June 2009. Barring a settlement, the judge overseeing the Chapter 11 case will decide who owns the rides. E-Mail Headlines: We Send The Latest Headlines And Breaking News To You! Mobile: Get WLKY Headlines On Your Phone, BlackBerry, PDA Twitter: Follow WLKY Facebook: Become A Fan Of WLKY u local: Share Your Photos And Videos With WLKY RSS: Add Us To Your iGoogle Or My Yahoo Page
  18. I received an "exclusive" offer this evening from Universal. The offer is valid starting 5/28/2010. I'm guessing they put it out to the end of May to be safe that it's actually open, but who knows. This EXCLUSIVE vacation package includes: * Early Park Admission◊ to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter * Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks™ - one per person^ * Commemorative GRAND OPENING ticket – one per person * Hotel accommodations at a Universal Partner Hotel * 3-Day Base Ticket^^ to both Universal Orlando® theme parks – one theme park, per day * Access to live entertainment◊◊ at Universal CityWalk®
  19. If you take the boat from the campgrounds to WDW, you pass right by Discovery Island. Can't see much of anything there. The remains of the original wave machine also exist outside the Grand Floridean beach. It was shut down due it working too well. The waves caused erosion of the sand and beach and was shut down.
  20. Many thanks, I saw that on the site. A few years ago they had specials up to 40% unadvertised. Doubt that will happen with the Potter Phenomenon, but one can hope. In the past, it had a promo code that you applied to the web site to show the rates. Since most of my travel is flexible, we find the cheapest and go then. I prefer the Royal Pacific. The restaurant (name is escaping me at the moment) has the seafood buffet on certain nights, the kids room, and the staff is always great. We had most of the staff waiting on us constantly as it was mostly empty and they were awesome with the kids. They even gave my daughter a hula dress as we were leaving.
  21. Still trying to decide what vacation options this year and was wondering.....when I had passes 2 years ago, they offered up to a 40% discount depending on the date and hotel. Do they still do that? If so, can someone send me the booking code so I can see the prices of when we are going? You have to show your pass upon check in, so there's no danger of misuse. Many thanks
  22. I doubt Comcast is the whole reason. The survey I saw was sent out last summer (think before Comcast) with similar pricing in their questions. I was looking at the Flex option again as it seems the best deal, but for $1200, we'd spend the extra $100 and just get Disney tickets. We used the prices to justify spending more time in Orlando, not to replace WDW with Universal. So instead of staying just 10 days at WDW, we'd spend 14 days in Orlando, with 10 in WDW and 4 in Universal. Now with their costs, they won't be seeing us in the near future.
  23. The price last year for an advance purchase 7 day ticket was $99. Potter doesn't justify that type of price increase. They increased the price 70% which would add $300 to our price which to me is not acceptable. In reality, there's only enough to keep occupied for 4 days as 2 days at each park is more than enough. Even then, it's $145. To compare, a 3 park (Sea World, Aquatica, & Busch Gardens) ticket for 14 days is only $150. I actually thought the $150 was too expensive, which is why we haven't visited those parks in a while. Maybe it's just me....
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