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

P. 625: Dark Universe revealed!

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Since you have express anyway it doesn't really matter if you have early admission on those two rides. Those early admission offerings are actually kind-of bad considering so many hotel guests have express passes and the rides that everyone wants to ride that don't have them are in the other park.

My honest recommendation is to just get to the IOA gates an hour early and rope drop Hagrid's.

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^&^^ Yeah, I agree with Bill here. We just had someone ask this on the Facebook Group as well and here was my answer:

Question: 

Hi! I’m visiting Universal Orlando next weekend for one day with a park hopper and express pass. Universal opens at 8, but IOA opens at 9, and I am debating if we should go to Universal to ride like one or two things and then walk to IOA so we can get on Velocicoaster first thing, or just stick it out to rope drop IOA to make sure we get on Velocicoaster.

Is the Hogwarts Express even an option too? Any suggestions would be great.

2 main priorities are Velocicoaster and Hagrids, but I want to make the most out of the one day I am there.

Answer:

Ooo that’s a good question. If Hagrid’s and VelociCoaster are truly your top two priorities and you have express I would head to IOA first and be there at 8 even though they don’t open till 9. Start checking virtual queue for Hagrid’s and head there BEFORE VelociCoaster. I believe anything you want to do back at universal will be covered with Express. So missing the first hour there to prep better for IOA won’t really hurt you.

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I stayed at Royal Pacific. In late June over 4 days, getting in line for park opening at 715am was not good enough. Either by boat or the sidewalk (which ends with *two* metal detectors) it took an hour to get in, and by then the lines were already 45 min +. Maybe that was height of craziness in June, but you've gotta get there eeeeeearly. I'd get up at 6am and head over at 645. Mind you this was all Tuesday-Friday June.  

From what I understood it was either boat, sidewalk, or walk all the way down to the opposite end of the resort to get a bus. Maybe I was unlucky but it really seemed like it was impossible to get in at 7am early entry unless you got up at 6am or earlier. If that's the way then fine, I guess I didn't know better.

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12 hours ago, PKI Jizzman said:

I stayed at Royal Pacific. In late June over 4 days, getting in line for park opening at 715am was not good enough. Either by boat or the sidewalk (which ends with *two* metal detectors) it took an hour to get in, and by then the lines were already 45 min +. Maybe that was height of craziness in June, but you've gotta get there eeeeeearly. I'd get up at 6am and head over at 645. Mind you this was all Tuesday-Friday June.  

From what I understood it was either boat, sidewalk, or walk all the way down to the opposite end of the resort to get a bus. Maybe I was unlucky but it really seemed like it was impossible to get in at 7am early entry unless you got up at 6am or earlier. If that's the way then fine, I guess I didn't know better.

September is historically WAY different (IE less) crowds than June though, so keep that in mind too

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^hope it's like that friday morning but I doubt it lol.  Can't wait for HHN to start.  Interesting enough they are not doing the passholders weekends for the first few weekends.  That should lessen the crowds hopefully.  That and the vinyl protectors lol lol.  

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People seem to think they may go on sale again next week.  Not sure if they are limiting capacity more, or if sales are just out of control.  The event is sold out tonight and I've hear Express is sold out for tonight and tomorrow already.

 

I'm also heard folks have been able to purchase multi-tickets by phone and the desks in the hotels on property today.

 

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On 9/3/2021 at 10:41 AM, tndank said:

People seem to think they may go on sale again next week.  Not sure if they are limiting capacity more, or if sales are just out of control.  The event is sold out tonight and I've hear Express is sold out for tonight and tomorrow already.

 

I'm also heard folks have been able to purchase multi-tickets by phone and the desks in the hotels on property today.

 

Hey! Thanks for the tip. I was able to order the multi-day ticket over the phone, and we enjoyed HHN 30 last night. Customer service said they were having an outage on their website, should be fixed on Monday. It was so much fun!

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Passes are available online again.

KT went the last two nights and we went last night and were very surprised at the lack of crowds for a "sold out" night. I really hope they're limiting capacity, but I wonder if we'll see it upped by next weekend. 

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If anyone is interested AEW Wrestling recently announced that they were going to start taping some episodes of their Dark and Elevation shows (both on Youtube currently) at the Universal Orlando Resort and the first event is this Saturday. Looks like this one sold out pretty quick (I think tickets were free but they're already gone), but if you're into this kinda thing it's something to keep an eye out for in the future as this should be a fairly regular, possibly weekly.  

 

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Went to Halloween Horror Nights for the second time ever tonight(last went in 2019) and we were able to do every house and watch the show in the lake without an express pass. It was definitely more crowded this time and closed at 1am instead of 2am the last time we went but the lines really weren't too bad. Longest we had was like 55 mins for Hill House. 

Overall I thought the original houses were way better than the IP houses. Case files and the pumpkin lord houses were our favorites. IP wise thought Texas Chainsaw massacre was the best. Bride of Frankenstein had a really awesome opening scene though. 

I would definitely have a frequent scare pass if we were closer but was really happy to get though everything again in 1 night without having to get an express pass. Happy to have the event back and didn't mind the actors being behind the screens but really looking forward to next year when we are hopefully back to a more normal world and  event. 

My only real complaint was that some of the staff inside some houses that had bright orange glow sticks like the airport tarmac workers use to wave people to go faster. Was completely unnecessary and distracting, even more so when everyone was in a close conga line to begin with anyway. 

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Just wanted to chime in and say that Velocicoaster is the real deal. The restraint system caught me off guard right away, the fact the the "lap" bar did not touch my lap at all and had several inches of room between me and the restraint. This provided an even crazier ride. I know people have watched the POV and know what to expect but POVs don't do the ride justice. I really really really really wish I could have rode it more than once. The ride closed around 10 or 10:30 am or so for weather. When the rain stopped after we had lunch it reopened, and when we walked by we saw an empty train going around the track. Turns out they were cycling people off and the ride was have a technical delay. We rode some other stuff and came back and just waited and waited and waited. There was nothing else left in the park I wanted to ride and we needed a rest so we just sat in front of the entrance for a few hours hoping something would start up. It never did.

We had Horror Nights to get to and the ride still hadn't opened by 5:30. It was so disappointing as there would be no other chance for me to ride it anytime soon.

Went over to horror Nights and did a few houses. I got an alert on my phone that the ride reopened. You have to be shitting me. I was in a long line for the house and debated my next move. I looked on my phone to see if they offered re-entry into Horror Nights but saw nothing on the official site about it. I also found a 2021 unofficial guide that said reentry is not allowed. I thought this was weird because I could have sworn people said they ate at City Walk and came back in. I decided to ask in a HHN Facebook fan group and immediately got answers that I would be able to get back in.

It was now 7:35, I was all the way in the back of studios near MEN IN BLACK and IOA closes at 8pm. I said F it and left my group behind (we were all in pain from walking around all day and they didn't think they could make it) so me and my Jell-O legs booked it as fast I could to the ride, hoping for the best. It didn't help my phone had 2% battery which was holding my tickets. Put it in airplane mode to conserve energy.

So I ended up making it by 7:55. The line was posted 45 min and single rider was closed. I waited it out and am so happy I did. For anyone wondering about lockers they work by scanning your ticket. I only had a digital ticket on my phone so I had no idea how this would work. Turns out they had little cards with barcodes on them to hand out for those in that situation. Phew.

Anyways, the ride is fantastic. The last inversion is absolutely bonkers insane. I loved it. Yesterday was a crazy day for sure.  I ended up in row 2 which made it very hard to see due to the high backs but I didn't care. I would love to try it again in the back I think I would have enjoyed it even more, but alas the ride closed for the day by the time I got off.

That's my story for now.

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9 hours ago, thrillseeker4552 said:

Velocicoaster really is perfect. I cannot find a single flaw with the ride. The layout, the trains, the restraints, the capacity, the theming - it all checks out wonderfully. Glad you managed a second ride!

Don't forget the queue. Free lockers and metal detectors IN the station instead of before, and uses your park ticket or annual pass to lock/unlock. Also stellar operations.

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Got 2 rides on Velocicoaster and then 1 on Hagrids in the last hour of the park being open. 

Can't possibly say anything that hasn't been said already but Velocicoaster is just absolutely incredible. Really impressed with the locker system and hope they do this on all future coasters. Such a better experience than what Dueling Dragons use to be like with the lockers and it is nice to not have to worry about getting smacked in the face with a cell phone.

Our first ride was in the front row and maybe took 8 mins, there was a decent line for the front row and the grouper was telling people it was a 30 minute wait but the staff here is absolutely booking it, it's just fantastic. Favorite part was definitely being completely out of my seat upside down right above the water. Such a wild experience. 

Only had been on Hagrids once before back when it opened and that was during the day. While we both liked the ride we both thought it was such a better overall experience at night. There were things that we simply missed during the day or didn't pop out enough themeing wise that were so much easier to notice at night, especially in the darkest part of the forbidden forest. I know it's more of a mental illusion thing but it just felt faster at night too. 

Earlier in the day we left the cell phones where we are staying and threw on  sandals so we could hit up the 3 water rides and not have to care about getting absolutely drenched. Jurassic Park really wasn't too much more than just having some wet hair but Dudley Do-Rights and Popeye & Blutos absolutely drenched us, especially Popeyes. I really forgot how much fun these rides are but typically avoid them since walking around with wet shoes and socks is just miserable lol we ended up doing Jurassic Park 1x and the others 2x. There was no line for Popeyes so they actually let us just stay on the ride to go back around again. Since it's been awhile I really forgot how great the themeing is on Popeyes and Dudleys. We left to go change after that since absolutely drenched really doesn't justify how wet we got on these rides lol

I really do love absolutely everything about these parks. Just wish I was in a reasonable driving distance from them and we would be here at least once a month. 

My only complaint is I simply wish they were open later. A 10pm close would make them perfect for me and it's something I keep filling out on the surveys they send and on the way out when the workers near the exits are looking for feedback. 

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My only ride on Bilge Rat Barges was years ago in October. They had turned off or toned down some of the water effects because it was cooler out. It didn't make any difference--still drenched from head to toe.

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