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

P. 625: Dark Universe revealed!

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Hey guys! We have a Florida trip coming up in a few months and I had a few questions...

 

We weren't planning on doing a Florida trip this year, but I was surfing around on the Allegiant Airlines website (I love them by the way... like so much) and something popped up that was too good to turn down, so now we're heading to Orlando on Friday June 9th (at night, after work) and flying back Monday afternoon (June 12th).

 

We're flying to Tampa (well... PIE, Allegiant isn't fancy enough for TPA) so we're planning on hitting BGT for a few hours before we have to head out on Monday (we have Busch / Sea World season passes). That leaves us with all day Saturday and Sunday to hit some parks in Orlando. One of those days has to (of course) be spent at Sea World so Brit doesn't divorce me before we even get married, but I'm sort of torn between Disney and Universal for the other day.

 

I'm leaning towards Universal, but I had a few questions.

 

- Is there generally a major difference between crowd levels on a Saturday or a Sunday? I'd rather hit Sea World (and of course Fun Spot) on Sunday, but lines are less of an issue there (and aside from Mako, we've done everything a ton) so if there's a major benefit to going to Universal on a Sunday as opposed to a Saturday we can switch that.

 

- We're on the fence about the skip the line passes. Normally the argument is that since we spent so much on airfare and everything we might as well spring for it, but the truth is we didn't spend sh*t on airfare because we're flying Allegiant and the cost from Trenton to Tampa, round trip, total for both of us was less expensive than a one day Universal 2 park ticket for 1 person. We weren't going at all since we're trying to save for a wedding but I can't help myself sometimes

 

We don't mind missing some things we've ridden before. We want to spend a good deal of time in Diagon Alley and aside from that the only must-ride things are probably Forbidden Journey, Kong, Simpsons, Spiderman, Transformers the 3 major coasters and Ripsaw Falls / River Adventure. Is skipping the express pass a mistake or is that reasonable?

 

- Am I correct in my understanding that you don't get the express pass if you stay at Cabana Bay?

 

- Any good option for discounted 1 day park-to-park tickets? If not, that's fine, but it never hurts to ask.

 

Thanks guys!

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Mmm.. PIE. -- Undercover Tourist is the only legit / not sketchy / timeshare ridden / site I know of that sells 1 day discount tickets. The price their includes tax whereas at the universal site I don't believe it does. It's not a huge discount. That said you are spending $175 per ticket since its peak (plus parking?) and that to me is absolutely insane. Maybe because I used to have an annual pass so I'm biased and bitter, but, damn.

 

From what I remember Saturdays and Sundays arnt much different in the Orlando area. It no longer matters when you go, its crowded.

 

You listed 10 rides so that's $17+ per ride per person provided you get to everything. Plus the cost of butterbeer -- That's without express. Granted there is more to the experience than just the rides.

 

Good luck. I guess I just don't see the value with all the Universal price hikes as of late especially when you have Busch, SeaWorld and fun spot with rides that aren't just screens and simulators. I havnt lived in Florida for a few years but things have only gotten worse from what I hear.

 

No express for Cabana Bay.

 

Someone who lives their now can probably give you better crowd details than myself.

 

Sorry for being a Debbie Downer. Just spend 2 days at Busch or go to Cedar Point instead

 

You didn't mention, when WAS the last time you were at Universal? Just to get an idea of what's new for you.

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I'll be honest, I was pretty blown away by the price compared to what it was a few years ago. Generally our Florida trips don't include the Disney or Universal parks since I honestly prefer Busch Tampa and Brit's in love with Sea World but we're in the mood for something a little different (though we'll still hit those parks).

 

Our last visit to Universal was in the spring of 2013, so after Jaws closed but while Diagonal Alley was still under construction.

 

As for the rides, those are the "must-ride" attractions but of course there are a lot of others we'd love to ride. Luckily we rode pretty much everything last time (with Express passes) so as long as we get on those things, I'm happy.

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Sorry I know it's a Universal thread but you said it was between this and Disney.... when was the last time you were at Disney / what parks have you been to? You seem like an Epcot kind of guy (though you'd be missing one of the food festivals by a few days -- then again if you are watching your pennies that adds up QUICK; but it's still awesome!!). I'm guessing the new stuff at AK is going to be insanely busy but at the same time it's all new and I know nothing about it or if it would be worth visiting. With SeaWorld and Busch you may already be getting your animal fix so I recommend Epcot for a change of pace and with the money you'd be saving you can eat a lot!. Let me know if you have any questions or PM me since I stopped following the Disney threads.

 

My fiancee says go to the bar INSIDE Mexico on the right hand side and get a margarita because it will quote: "f you up" lol

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you may already be getting your animal fix

 

I see you've never met my fiance.

 

As far as Disney goes, we visited Magic Kingdom last year, I haven't been to Epcot or Hollywood Studios since I was a kid and I've never been to Animal Kingdom.

 

Basically what it comes down to is that I'd much rather go to Universal but Disney would be cheaper. We have lifetime passes from like 20 years ago and I assume I could upgrade them to park hoppers (can anyone confirm)?

 

To be honest, if we went to Disney we'd probably never get to Epcot (as much as I'd like to go). I was thinking of starting out at Hollywood Studios and riding coaster and tower (Ive never ridden either of them), going to Magic Kingdom (even though getting there is a complete pain in the ass) for Pirates, Mansion, Splash, Thunder and Space and then spending the rest of the day at Animal Kingdom since they close late, we want to check out Pandora, Brit's obviously going to lose her sh*t for the Safari, I'll whore the mouse (that I still can't believe exists at a Disney park) and I want to get a few rides on Everest.

 

With all of that I don't really see any time for Epcot as much as I'd love to go. Even if we went I feel like we'd be rushing around which isn't really the right way to approach Epcot. Normally I'm pretty decisive with theme park stuff but this is a really tough call. I feel like the pull of Diagon Alley is too much for me to resist though. lol

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That's a LOT to do for Disney on a 1 day pass on a weekend. Yes there is fastpass+ but I think you are underestimating how much time it will take between parks and just how insane AK is going to be considering Pandora will have just opened. Not sure how same day fastpass between parks is... according to the website after you use yours for the day at one park and go to another park you can book more but I'm sure you'll be pretty limited come afternoon? The standby lines will be long. Fastpass strategy for an itinerary like that would be a question for a Disney expert. I wish you luck if you decide to go that route

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That was sort of my thought. I know Magic Kingdom is a major production to get to and I assumed we'd end up cutting a bunch of things we don't want to cut at Magic Kingdom which is another reason I feel like Universal makes way more sense for us. I'm sure I'll cave and pay the 300 something bucks... f*ck you Universal and your stupid boy wizard bullsh*t. Why do you have to be so cool?

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10-year Disney Cast Member here. I could help make an argument for doing Disney instead, and assist you in making an itinerary.

 

The night you arrive, June 9th, Animal Kingdom is open until 1AM. Depending on what time you get in, it might be worth it to do that. Stay at a cheap Disney Resort, get night rides on Everest and Safari, and see Pandora. DAK is a beautiful night park!

 

If you don't get in early enough on Friday, I see that DAK is also open until 1AM (EMH) on Saturday and Sunday, too. If you're willing to go there after Sea World, which generally closes early, this would be just as good an option as the one above.

 

This would leave a full second Disney day in which you've already done DAK. As you said, you could start with Studios for Coaster / Tower. Maybe walk to Epcot after that and spend 4-5 hours? Finish the night by monorailing to Magic Kingdom, ride some classics, see the new fireworks.

 

I would hope that this all sounds more appealing than sitting in moving chairs with 3D glasses on all day.

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I'm really surprised nobody has mentioned this yet:

 

Rumor: Universal's Dragon Challenge coaster making way for new Harry Potter dark ride?

http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/news/2017/03/21/rumor-universals-dragon-challenge-coaster-making.html

There's been lots of chatter among many theme park fanatics that the days are numbered for Universal Orlando Resort's Dragon Challenge coaster at Islands of Adventure, even though nothing substantial has been found on the topic. But where there's smoke, there just might be fire.

 

Several websites and forums of theme park insiders have discussed how the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade-area ride, which debuted in 1999 with Islands of Adventure as the Dueling Dragons coaster, will be replaced with some other take on the Harry Potter franchise. Some sites have speculated that Universal may tap into the new "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" series of the Harry Potter universe for new ride inspiration.

 

And, not surprisingly, Universal has decided to stay out of the chatter. "We’re not going to comment," a Universal spokesman told Orlando Business Journal.

 

But an industry source, who asked to be unnamed due to having a close relationship with the theme park, told Orlando Business Journal that the rumors of the coaster's nearing end are true.

 

"Universal and Warner Bros. are working on a replacement for Dragon Challenge. When you think about how they redid the Hulk a while ago, a coaster can last only so long, and since [Dragon Challenge] wasn’t built as an original Potter attraction, it makes sense to change it out," the source said.

 

The new rumored ride would do away with the entire coaster approach and go with more of an indoor/outdoor dark ride concept using approaches made popular by other rides.

 

"From what I was told, it may have a portion as if you are in a forest — with part of the ride outside — and other parts indoor designed to make you feel like you're outside. It sounded more like a dark ride using technology like The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man as opposed to a true coaster where the G-forces guests feel come from the track," the source added.

 

This most certainly lines up with some of the we've been hearing for a while now. I really wonder what the park will be like removing two big coasters and hopefully not replacing them with screen-based rides!

 

Thoughts on this?

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10-year Disney Cast Member here. I could help make an argument for doing Disney instead, and assist you in making an itinerary.

 

The night you arrive, June 9th, Animal Kingdom is open until 1AM. Depending on what time you get in, it might be worth it to do that. Stay at a cheap Disney Resort, get night rides on Everest and Safari, and see Pandora. DAK is a beautiful night park!

 

If you don't get in early enough on Friday, I see that DAK is also open until 1AM (EMH) on Saturday and Sunday, too. If you're willing to go there after Sea World, which generally closes early, this would be just as good an option as the one above.

 

This would leave a full second Disney day in which you've already done DAK. As you said, you could start with Studios for Coaster / Tower. Maybe walk to Epcot after that and spend 4-5 hours? Finish the night by monorailing to Magic Kingdom, ride some classics, see the new fireworks.

 

I would hope that this all sounds more appealing than sitting in moving chairs with 3D glasses on all day.

 

Thanks for the advice! Unfortunately we're getting in around 11 PM and we need to rent a car, so Friday night really isn't an option, especially since we're not passholders. At best we'd get there like 30 minutes before close and I don't even think that's likely. We'll probably stay in Tampa that night and drive to Orlando in the morning.

 

As for going to Disney after Sea World, it seems like a ton of money to spend for a few hours and to be honest... that's really cutting into our precious Mine Blower time (or White Lightning and Paratrooper from hell at the other park if Mine Blower isn't ready yet ).

Edited by coasterbill
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"It meets a need if they build a more family friendly dark ride!" is the often pushed narrative online, but honestly, I personally don't care. If people want a park full of family friendly dark rides, they'll go to Disney World. Point blank. Their entire marketing scheme is built around not being for little kids, so no one should know it better than themselves. Universal should be building rides with balls, and when they don't in favor of attractions that are intended to accommodate youngsters, a little part of me dies.

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^Agreed. Bringing Japan's The Flying Dinosaur over would certainly mitigate the loss, but that seems like a long shot. Does anyone have the ridership numbers? Dragon Challenge never has much of a wait but I figure at least part of that is because it's also a capacity monster.

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Please don't please don't please don't please don't please don't please don't please don't please don't please don't please don't please don't please don't please don't please don't please don't please don't please don't please don't

 

This x 1,000, please don't take out a pair of great coasters for more screen based rides. Hulk and the Dragon coasters are Islands of Adventure and it would be said to see them go.

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This x 1,000, please don't take out a pair of great coasters for more screen based rides. Hulk and the Dragon coasters are Islands of Adventure and it would be said to see them go.

Yes, but Universal would be sad to see themselves make less money.

 

Seriously though, hasn't the writing been on the wall for years and years? We're lucky that Hulk, Doctor Doom, and the other outdoor attractions have stuck around for so long.

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This x 1,000, please don't take out a pair of great coasters for more screen based rides. Hulk and the Dragon coasters are Islands of Adventure and it would be said to see them go.

Yes, but Universal would be sad to see themselves make less money.

 

Seriously though, hasn't the writing been on the wall for years and years? We're lucky that Hulk, Doctor Doom, and the other outdoor attractions have stuck around for so long.

Well, to be fair, Hulk is kind of the park icon, so...

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A pair of non-dueling B&M dueling inverts that one must go through a metal detector and complicated rabbit storage to ride or the park's 100th screen-based attraction. Decisions, decisions.

 

I'm in the camp that says the coasters be split up and sent to other Universal parks or sent to a place where they could duel.

 

Either way, that article makes it sound like the new attraction would be similar to Kong.

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Their entire marketing scheme is built around not being for little kids, so no one should know it better than themselves. Universal should be building rides with balls, and when they don't in favor of attractions that are intended to accommodate youngsters, a little part of me dies.

THIS! THIS! THIS! THIS!!!!

 

If there is one reason why I feel like I've been going to Universal less and less lately is because of EXACTLY this! Back in that day when I used to go to Universal just as frequently as I would go to Disney it was because they were offering a type of attraction and atmosphere that Disney didn't have, but I was still looking for. And you're right, if I want immersive dark rides and family based attractions, I'll go to Disney. If I want something more with an edge, I'll go to Universal.

 

Unfortunately, since I'm not into Harry Potter, and those two rides don't really appeal to me, those expansions started my download of visiting those parks less. Then add rides like Despicable Me, Kong, Fallon, and the upcoming Fast & Furious, and that just adds more attractions that I'm going to to be rushing to the park to experience. And for the attractions that I *DO* like a lot: Hulk, Dragons, Rip Ride Rockit, Mummy, Spider-Man, etc, I'm now required to dump all my crap and walk through a metal detector to ride them 3 out of 5 of them, and I can't be bothered with that.

 

The idea that Universal would take out Dragons for (what I assume) would be more Potter-based attractions is just something that interests very little and isn't going to increase my desire to go to the park. Unless of course we're talking a Potter-themed version of Flying Dinosaur or something like that!

Edited by robbalvey
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I'm sure you've heard this plenty about it heading out the door, but when that was first presented to me, it was with the caveat of "well a new coaster will be in its place." What I hear round the rumor mill is that the replacement is something along the lines of Arthur at Europa Park or Puss in Boots at Singapore. That's not technically a bad ride, but what I WANT is something big and steel and like something Orlando doesn't have. A big launched wingrider would be awesome. If they still want to go the metal detector route for rides that pass over guest areas, then they can design all sorts of things to prevent that when doing the ride from scratch. That's the kind of ride I want. $45 million dollar Harry Potterized Puss In Boots is a "I'd rather be riding the Fun Spot woodies" attraction.

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I'm sure you've heard this plenty about it heading out the door, but when that was first presented to me, it was with the caveat of "well a new coaster will be in its place." What I hear round the rumor mill is that the replacement is something along the lines of Arthur at Europa Park or Puss in Boots at Singapore. That's not technically a bad ride, but what I WANT is something big and steel and like something Orlando doesn't have. A big launched wingrider would be awesome. If they still want to go the metal detector route for rides that pass over guest areas, then they can design all sorts of things to prevent that when doing the ride from scratch. That's the kind of ride I want. $45 million dollar Harry Potterized Puss In Boots is a "I'd rather be riding the Fun Spot woodies" attraction.

Yep, 100% agreed. And even Arthur, which IS a decent ride and a great ride system, still says "not an edgy Universal ride" to me. Which you're right, it's absolutely ironic that their most recent ad campaign is "come to the grown up parks" and their latest ride offerings are some of the weakest they've produced to date.

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