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Universal Orlando Resort (USF, IOA, Epic) Discussion Thread

P. 625: Dark Universe revealed!

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Hi I am new here,

 

I signed up a couple weeks ago but didnt make a post. I have been watching this thread and screamscape religiously for updates on Harry Potter and it looks great btw. I have reservations for May 30 - June 6 to go to USO at the hard rock. I assumed anytime after May 28 would be fine so that I could go to HP while there. Now with the grandopening on June 18 I am worried if I will get the HP experience. I know they have the vacation deals could it really be open only to the vacation deal buyers or will it be in the soft opening phase for everyone???

 

 

Thanks Rob

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^^^Welcome to the Boards!! You will be cutting it really really close. There usually is some kind of soft opening, but with how big this is for them, it may be opened in waves like you mention. Having a package deal from Universal would probably be the best way to go, but you never know. Changing your vacation days would be the best bet, but only if you can. Once again, WELCOME!

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^^^Thanks I am glad to be here instead of talking about themeparks with the GP But yeah we may change the dates I assumed that if the vacation deals started on May 28 that we would be there with it open... But what if its only for the buyers of the vacation package that would suck and I am not going to get the package I have an annual pass

 

Rob

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When I think of "Hour queue and ride experience" I think of Indiana Jone and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye at Disneyland. The queue is VERY well themed and even has interactive parts and it also has length AND a pre show/video room. With no line, I think it would take about a half an hour to walk through, ride, get off and walk out. With a decently moving line, I'm sure it could take about an hour to move through.

So maybe they're saying the same with Harry Potter. I can't wait to see all the details when it opens!

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As a major HP fan I'm very excited for the whole land, and especially the ride. It sounds incredible! But I also think of a queue along the lines of Indy when they say "hour long" and on a good day at Disneyland I can get in an out of Indy in 15-20 minutes, so I'm not sure that the queue would always take an hour to get through.

 

Having never been to Universal in Orlando, this REALLY makes me want to go even more. Hopefully I'll be able to save enough money and get out there one of these days!

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Anyone else disappointed to hear this is a "360 degree filmatic experience" and not an animatronic-heavy dark ride? I like that we're getting a nice queue (no fastpass?) but doubt the ride will meet people's expectations.

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Number of times "Islands of Adventure" was listed in the press release: 0

Number of times "Islands of Adventure" was listed in the video: 0

Number of times "Islands of Adventure" was listed at http://www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter/ : 1 (halfway through a hard-to-find video)

Number of times "Harry Potter Theme Park" was mentioned at http://www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter/ : 2

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Anyone else disappointed to hear this is a "360 degree filmatic experience" and not an animatronic-heavy dark ride? I like that we're getting a nice queue (no fastpass?) but doubt the ride will meet people's expectations.

 

Every "reliable" rumor thus far has pointed to it being a combination of 3D film and traditional dark ride stuff, sorta like Spiderman.

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^Wow, a theme park experience LIKE NOBODY HAS EVER EXPERIENCED BEFORE.

 

I like Spiderman and DarKastle, but I'm not sure anything will live up to all this hype. I'd be shocked if it did. At least for non-fanboys like me.

 

Like some of the others here, I'm most excited about John Williams being involved.

 

Joe "I'd be much more excited if they were opening the Dave Thomas theme park" C.

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I am literally squealing with joy here. Words cannot express how excited I am for this park. (Yes, I am excessively nerdy).

I have to wait until summer of 2011 to go, though. That is FAR too long a wait.

 

A few things, though...

"As you venture through Hogwarts castle, you meet Harry, Ron and Hermione who convince you to skip a planned lecture and follow them." - This bugs me so much. Hermione would never skip a lecture. /nerdrage

"Room of Requirement: Here, with hundreds of floating candles above, you take your seat on an enchanted bench and begin the Forbidden Journey" - Um. The floating candles are in the Great Hall, not the Room of Requirement (I mean, they COULD be in the Room of Requirement, but I can think of no reason as to why they would be). Also... ENCHANTED BENCH?

"The queue includes the following Harry Potter book and film elements: Headmaster Dumbledore's office, Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, Gryffindor common room, Room of Requirement, and the greenhouse; talking portraits including the Fat Lady and the never-before-seen four founders: Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw; the Sorting Hat, the One-Eyed Witch statue and the Mirror of Erised" - Holy crap, I am actually more excited for the queue than ride. Like, that sounds amazing. I wanna see the talking portraits!

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Yesterday I went back to Universal to check out the latest progress on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and was pleasantly surprised to find plenty more completed since my last visit.

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A new, themed wall has appeared at the entrance to Hogsmeade.

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Remember the wall of windows? It's done! Oh, and I count 1 curvy chimney!

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I plan on taking all of the photos I've done like this to show the progress once Potter opens.

 

We have two curvy chimneys!

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The buildings of Hogsmeade have a nicely-aged look to them that think makes them look even more authentic.

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A new covered area has appeared outside of this building.

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The last time I was here, the building over the bridge was only a steel frame.

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It looks like Hogwarts itself is done.

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The queue to/from Dueling Dragons has now been covered beyond this point to prevent guests from looking into the soon-to-open section of the park.

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I do like the look of this little addition.

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You thought I missed this one, didn't you?

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This is the closest view you can get of Flight of the Hippogriff now.

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The greenhouse has been dirtied to further its theming and while from the outside it looks a little strange, I'm sure it will make sense inside.

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A review of some of the food has been released:

 

Last week at Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I was not only lucky enough to be able to get a tour of Hogwarts castle, but also to get a first tasting of some of the "Potter"-themed food and drinks the park will be providing. The restaurant menu for The Three Broomsticks and Hog's Head Pub is up at MTV Movies, but here is a chance to give you a chance to read what you really want to know: how it all tastes!

 

The high point was definitely getting a first sip of butterbeer. It's something I've been looking forward to for a while, and drinking the refreshing beverage out of a chilled plastic tankard was the culminating experience in my long search for the authentic taste of butterbeer.

 

How can something with a taste reminiscent of shortbread cookies and butterscotch be refreshing, you might ask? Probably because the delicious foam on top manages to stay separate from the actual cool beverage the entire way down. Trust me, this one doesn't disappoint.

 

There's also a frozen version of butterbeer which isn't quite as good. The flavors don't come across as strongly, and the taste just isn't the same. But we were also doing the tasting in mid-March when the temperature was in the 70s, so by the time June, July and August roll around and guests are dying for something chilly, frozen butterbeer will probably be the way to go. The pumpkin juice is also surprisingly refreshing for tasting like pumpkin pie and having a nice aftertaste of nutmeg. It's a bit tough to get through more than a couple of sips of the strong, rich beverage though.

 

Surprisingly, the second most delicious thing on the menu is the strawberry peanut butter ice cream. I am a bit of a peanut butter and ice cream buff myself, but this is the surprising king of the (semi-)solid treats. The flavors blend together perfectly, another perfect treat for a very hot Orlando summer day. If you're having trouble remembering where exactly in the books strawberry peanut butter ice cream pops up, it is when Harry and his friends are walking around Diagon Alley in "Prisoner of Azkaban." If you were curious.

 

Universal head chef Stephen Jayson said that he's been very conscious of making the food as authentically English as possible when constructing the menu. The fish and chips are by far the high point of the faithfully British fare. The fried fish are made with fresh Boston cod, and the combination of the delicious fish with the perfect fried exterior was all together mind-blowing. Forget the fact that this is way better than any food you should expect to get at an amusement park; it is hands down the best fried fish I've ever had. Unfortunately, the potato wedges that come with the fish aren't as impressive.

 

On the food side, the honorable mentions are the side dishes. The corn on the cob is roasted in the husk, the roasted vegetables and potatoes are both delicious and healthy and the side salad that comes with the meal is a high step up from any theme park salad I've had before. Though I missed out on tasting the rotisserie chicken, the others that did said it was quite tasty, and that the ribs were similarly good as well.

 

The shepherd's pie is not your typical Americanized version with layers of ground beef, mashed potatoes, cheese and corn. The small dishes we got of each were decent, but didn't do much to impress. However, here's a theme park that's selling shepherd's pie to begin with, which is impressive enough. Also, the apple pies are overly sweet and loaded with way too many raisins. Stick with the strawberry peanut butter ice cream, folks. It will be very much worth your while.

 

While no prices have been released yet for the menu, you can expect it's going to be a bit more expensive than your typical chicken fingers or cheeseburger (which are already ludicrously overpriced). The one thing that can be said about the menu at the Three Broomsticks is that Universal has really put out the effort to make their food as healthy as possible, if that is any compensation.

 

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Is Butterbeer alcoholic?

 

editz: Nope

 

Though J.K. Rowling made up the wizard beverage, she once told Bon Appetit magazine it tasted like a "less-sickly butterscotch." In the books, it is served both hot and cold, and contains enough alcohol content to give Harry and his friends a bit of a buzz when they drink it. Universal's VP of creative development, Thierry Coup, shared with us that the Wizarding World's version of butterbeer would not be alcoholic, but was still done right.

 

"It was really fun to be a part of the whole tasting different [attempts at butterbeer] to try until J.K. Rowling really felt, okay, this is it, this is what I always thought butterbeer should taste like," Coup shared with us in a phone interview. "It was a very exciting moment to see her smile and actually taste it. It's a delicious thing, first of all. It's everything you expected it to be."

Edited by Wes
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