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Weekend Florida Trip Advice


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Hey everyone!

 

After watching the awesome video of the Hogwarts Castle Christmas show that Robb put up, I decided to give my wife a trip to go see it as a Christmas gift since she is a big HP fan. Our flight lands at noon on Friday and departs Monday morning (1/5-1/8). Since the trip so quick, I wanted to get some opinions on maximizing some time. We're going to do Universal on Saturday since it's the last day of the show. I'm assuming the crowds will be big because of Christmas break and such; accurate assumption? I've never been to Universal or IOA; we'd like to be able to get all the coasters and rides in, but we're not expecting to.

 

Also, I wanted to shoot over to BGT to ride some of those coasters. Crowd wise, would it be best to go Friday evening, or Sunday?

 

I'm just looking for some helpful hints to maximize our time! Greatly looking forward to the trip! Should be an awesome surprise for her!

 

Thanks in advance!

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We went to BGT last Sunday and while crowds weren't what I would consider "light", the ride lines were not bad as everyone was mostly there for Christmas Town to see the lights and get photos with Santa, Rudolph and friends.

 

The ride waits were about the same as others have posted in recent reports - meaning that all of the B&M's were a walk-on to a one or to two train waits max (unless waiting for the front, of course), while Cobra's Curse and Cheetah Hunt were sporting their usual 30-45 minute waits. Falcon's Fury was down most of the day, so I never got to ride it and it was way too freaking cold for any of the water rides.

 

Can't comment on USF and IOA as we haven't visited during this time of year. But based on common knowledge of how theme parks can be during holiday events during Christmas break, I would say plan on all parks to be extremely busy during this time unless it rains or the temps are cooler.

 

You might want to play it by ear at BGT with regards to Quick Queue. I would recommend going to Sheikra and if that is sporting a big line, you may want to consider it as that usually has one of the shortest lines in the park due to it's quick through-put. Don't base buying QQ if you do Cheetah Hunt or Cobra's Curse first though because as mentioned, those always sport the longest lines in the park - especially early in the day because everyone seems to gravitate that way first thing upon entering the gate.

 

Oh...and make sure that you try the bacon pretzels in Pantopia (near Falcon's Fury). As others have mentioned, they are delicious. And if you like to drink, they have a good Cinnabon hot chocolate with vodka in Christmas Town, although if it's warmer than it was when we were there (48 degrees), you may want to opt for cold beer which is served just about everywhere in the park.

 

What a great surprise for your wife...I am sure that you are both going to love all of the parks, even if they are crowded!

 

Have fun - and be sure to let us know how your visits went!

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The BGT crowds should be pretty light as it is after the holiday rush. Xmas day is slammed and up till New Years. After that it tends to die down. If you are staying in O-Town, don't miss a late night stop at Fun Spot Orlando which is just across the highway from Universal. They are open till midnight. If you are staying near Kissemmee, the Fun Spot there is also open till midnight and is well worth the stop. You'll kick yourself if you don't try either Fun Spots, trust me.

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^ I agree on Fun Spot. The Orlando location was packed on a Saturday night (20 minute lines for both coasters) but the Kissimmee one had walk-ons both nights. When I returned to the Orlando location the next day, I got the walk-ons everyone has mentioned.

 

Universal has single rider lines for almost every major attraction. If you don't mind splitting up, those will save you a ton of time.

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I have never been to Universal so can't offer you advice there but wanted to co-sign on Fun Spot. If you are staying in Orlando just go there Friday night, its a real blast. We went on a Friday beginning of this month and had the place to ourselves. Then you can do Universal Saturday and BGT Sunday.

 

BGT like others said you won't need Quick Queue if you can manage to knock out Cobras Curse, Cheetah Hunt and Falcons Fury right at opening. Waits shouldn't be bad for the B&Ms.

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Thanks for all the advice, everyone! It seems that Fun Spot is a can't miss! I will add it to my list for sure! I'm pretty excited because I have never been to any of these parks. I'm really looking forward to it!

 

I will be sure to post a TR when I return! Until then, thanks again!

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  • 3 weeks later...

After a fun filled weekend, I'm back from our trip! Thanks, again, to everyone who offered up some advice. We took most of it, and had a great time! Here's a TR for anyone interested!

 

My wife, two friends, and I left Tulsa in the morning and arrived in Sanford/Orlando early in the afternoon. Because we arrived so early, we got to have some fun on Friday. Allegiant offers flights from Tulsa to Orlando for super cheap. Let me say, I'm not a fan of Allegiant, and you get what you pay for, but the deals are too good to pass up. We left the cold in Oklahoma for Sunny Florida! As luck would have it, it would be one of the coldest weekends on record for Florida, so that kinda stunk. With that being said, we landed in the afternoon and we starving. I surprised my wife by taking her to Culver's. Culver's is her favorite burger place, and we don't have them in Oklahoma. We have them in Missouri, and Texas, but not OK. Any chance we get to have it, we do. She didn't know they were in Florida so this was quite the surprise for her.

 

When we were eating, my wife said she wanted to see the ocean, so we made the hour and change trek to Cocoa Beach. It was a nice drive (I forgot how many tolls are in Florida). We got to the beach, took some pictures, sat on the sand, and watch the Disney cruise ship depart in to the sunset. It was really nice and made for some good pictures.

 

Shortly after we drove back to the Orlando area. I casually mentioned Mine Blower over at Fun Spot to see if it was spark her interest. One of the things I love about my wife is that she humors me in this hobby. She seemed excited to see another park other than the ones she knew about, so this was exciting. We rode Mine Blower and, although it was a fun ride, I found it kind of rough for being a relatively new coaster. I wasn't a big fan of spending $20 for us to ride once, but that's ok. I'm glad we did it. Fun Spot was an awesome park to walk around; very photogenic. We loved it and wished we could have spent a little more time there. It was getting late and we were getting hungry.

 

Sea Dog Brewing makes some of our favorite beers, so to see that they had a brew house in Orlando, we had to go there for dinner and beers. It was quite the surprise for us because we knew it was brewed in Maine somewhere. The food was sub-par, but the deliciousness of the beer made up for it! If you get out there, they have a Maple Bacon Stout right now that I thought was awesome. 12% as well (It does a number seeing how OK has 3.2% beer).

 

We started our day early on Saturday by getting to Universal Resort around 8am. We waited just a little bit before the park opened to anyone that didn't have early entry. It seemed that everyone was headed to the Wizarding World like most of your mentioned. We opt to head straight for Mummy, Transformers, and Rip, Ride, Rockit. We were able to knock out all those in the first 30 mins of being in the park! Mummy was great, and better than I remember the Hollywood being. RRR, was an awesome coaster and my first to feature a non-inverting loop. I really enjoyed it. So many break runs, but a good coaster nonetheless. We did the rest of the rides in the park, but all the 3D started to get to me. After being in the park for a few hours, we went over to the Wizarding World. All I can say is, wow! The amount of detail in everything is hard to comprehend. For someone who wasn't a huge fan of HP, I was in shock. My wife absolutely loved every aspect of it, and would have spent all our money at Diagon Alley if given the opportunity. If you are even the smallest fan of the HP books/movies, you'll love it and I would highly recommend it. Since it was so cold, we were able to really appreciate the warm Butter Beer. It was delicious, and We really enjoyed it! We were very thankful that Universal has Single Rider lines, The Gringots coaster had a wait for 180 mins... yeah, no thanks. We did single rider, got to ride together, and only waited 15 mins. This was the case with most of the rides!

 

I'll leave you with some pictures before I post next about the rest of our day at IOA. Enjoy!

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Early morning flight to star the day!

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The iconic Universal globe.

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The Universal Studios Entrance. We were there on the last day of the holiday celebrations.

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Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit!

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I'd always wanted to have a beer a Moe's.

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The Krusty Burger was not good, and I wouldn't recommend it.

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My wife was super excited to be at The Wizarding World!

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Diagon Alley

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There are people everywhere with the interactive wands. We saved the $50 and watched them.

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The Knight Bus attendant did an amazing job of staying in character when anyone would ask anything.

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Surprise of the trip, and boy was she excited!

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The Dark Arts Shops.

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Even at 45 degrees, we had to try the frozen Butterbeer.

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Escape From Gringotts

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Again, the detail is amazing here; Nothing was overlooked.

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People without Park Hoppers thought it was an attraction, it was quite confusing for them.

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The Hogwarts Express was something out of the movie! Very well done!

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Cocoa Beach!

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Artsy fartsy.

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My wife, friends, and I at Fun Spot!

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Perspective shots can be fun.

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