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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 620: Our video of EVERY house from HHN 31

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The next IOA expansion should be Krustyland, complete with the rides and robots that try to kill the guests, and the ZOOMINATOR roller coaster that looks like it's ready to collapse at any moment.

 

The next expansion at IOA is already under construction between Dudley Do Rights Ripsaw Falls and Jurassic Park River Adventure. Banana Breath is coming back.... Well at least thats the rumor

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Hmmmmm . . . so the fastest way to get on is the single rider line-up? How long is that averaging? Hey, how long is the Canadian line-up . . . ha! Wait! I saw someone with a Gringotts fast pass for between 4 and 5pm, someone posted a picture of the return ticket. It's on page 1048.

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Hmmmmm . . . so the fastest way to get on is the single rider line-up? How long is that averaging? Hey, how long is the Canadian line-up . . . ha! Wait! I saw someone with a Gringotts fast pass for between 4 and 5pm, someone posted a picture of the return ticket. It's on page 1048.

Yeah, that return ticket was to get into the area, not the ride. Gringotts is still having some technical issues and I'd expect even the single rider line to take between 75 and 120 minutes.

 

I would strongly recommend being at the park 1 hour before opening and getting to that area as soon as you can. Diagon Alley does open early for resort guests, so the best chance you'll have is getting in right behind them, so you want to be in FRONT of the crowd going in the morning. if you are in the back of the crowd, then you'll end up being behind the resort guests AND behind the crowd trying to get in for the morning.

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I don't get this . . . so, there is a line just to get into the area and then another line for Gringotts? So, you can fast pass into Diagon Alley and then you still have to line-up again for Gringotts? Please, correct me if I'm not understanding this. That would be like lining up for Fantasyland and then joining another line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, am I correct? I find waiting for any ride more than 2 hours crazy, 7.5 hours just would not happen . . . and these very technical rides are always going to have problems. We just got a new 4D interactive ride at Canada's Wonderland and they have had nothing but problems with the guns, with the screens, with the glasses . . . I think parks really have to rethink the reliability of these things, they will always have problems because they are just too technical.

Edited by HAUNT MANIAC
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I eagerly await my next visit to Universal to see all the new stuff that opened since the last time I visited two years ago, primarily to try all of the more exotic foods at the Leaky Cauldron restaurant (Scotch Egg, for example) because I have this fear in the back of my mind that the GP aren't going to be interested in all of the neat exotic offerings and pressure the park, through a lack of sales, to replace them with cheeseburgers and chicken fingers, or something.

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^^I personally would rather have a cutting edge ride system that breaks down while they learn how it operates vs. a standard buzz bar dark ride. That's not to say some incredible things can't be done with a traditional dark ride, but the reality is anytime you push the technological limits of what's possible on a ride system things are bound to go wrong.

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I don't get this . . . so, there is a line just to get into the area and then another line for Gringotts? So, you can fast pass into Diagon Alley and then you still have to line-up again for Gringotts? Please, correct me if I'm not understanding this. That would be like lining up for Fantasyland and then joining another line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, am I correct? I find waiting for any ride more than 2 hours crazy, 7.5 hours just would not happen . . . and these very technical rides are always going to have problems. We just got a new 4D interactive ride at Canada's Wonderland and they have had nothing but problems with the guns, with the screens, with the glasses . . . I think parks really have to rethink the reliability of these things, they will always have problems because they are just too technical.

 

Universal's "fast-pass" like system is called express and is really nothing like Disney's system other than it helps cut the wait time significantly. It cost's extra money more like Cedar Fair or Six Flags and can offer one to unlimited rides per attraction with no return windows. Universal only has these return ticket kiosks for Diagon Alley due to it's overwhelming popularity and capacity constraints. So if there is a day when it's packed and DA's capacity is reached guests can grab a return ticket and ride other attractions while waiting, and DA is more than just Gringotts so I personally wouldn't use the analogy you did or think as that as an extra wait per say to the Gringott's queue which for the next year is going to be ridiculous at times. That's just a given at this point with it being the new hotness and first of its kind (technical issues/breakdowns). Hope this helps.

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I think he's referring to the fact that much like a fast pass at Disney, they are giving out tickets with a time window to return in order to enter Diagon Alley.

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Thank you, necoastergp. but I have educated myself with the Universal express pass system in that you can just walk on rides without wait times. I have bought 1-day park-to-park unlimited express passes for my family . . . my questions are these, (1)How much are the express passes going to help me in saving waiting time, and (2)Are theses passes going to cut wait time at all for Diagon Alley, Gringotts, and Hogwarts Express? What do you think? Also, can you go both directions on Hogwarts Express with Unlimited Express Passes, or just one way? Sorry, more than a couple of questions, but if anyone could answer my questions, that would really help me plan my trip to these amazing parks next week. Thanks! I'll even post a Canadian review of the park and new Harry Potter area and let you all know what my family thinks of it! Our trip was planned months ago, it just happens to be a week after Diagon Alley opened, ha! Perhaps the rest of the park will be really empty. We're looking forward to going to Springfield and having a Flaming Moe. We are 5-pin bowlers here in Canada and we think there should be a bowling alley in Universal's Springfield area, what do you think?

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Gringotts, while not onExpress, IS offering a Single Rider line right now, and wait times for that are about half of the normal standby queue, which is not bad considering wait times leveled out to about 3 hours this weekend (thats 1 and a half hours for single riders).

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I would like to share my amazing experience at Diagon Alley yesterday!

 

First off, my family and I got to the park at about 6:55 and then headed straight for Universal Studios. The ticketing gates were already opened and we were put into a holding area in the Hollywood section of the park. They had metal barricades lining the streets. We went on the sidewalk and waited as we thought they would open every single barricade. At 7:30 they announced to us that we will be following workers with a tiny yellow rope into the Diagon Alley area. They also announced that they were opening only one barricade, the single middle one...and we were on the sidewalk. Once they opened it, I never felt so uncomfortable being pushed around and having so many people touching me. Anyway, we managed our make our way up towards the front of the yellow rope by sneaking around...a lot. They took us through Springfield and through MIB just to get in line. Then they said to us to get into single file line! With all of the people pushing, there was no way that was happening. Then we were led through the queue lines to get into Diagon Alley.

 

We then finally made it and we ran into the land and right into line for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts! However, the line was already at 150 minutes. We darted for Single Rider. We waited only 45 minutes in Single Rider to ride but that line filled pretty quickly!

 

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts 11/10

My family and I ended up riding in the same cart just all different rows. My sister was in the front right, my mom middle right, and me back right. I didn't know what to expect from the ride as I didn't read any reviews to ruin any spoilers. All I can say is WOW! I was blown away from the innovation and the whole ride experience itself! It is probably my new favorite ride Universal and maybe my new favorite ride EVER! It was so creative and was amazing! The sets were huge and the ride was so cool with many different effects. It is truly a combination of basically every ride at Universal. However, the ride broke down with one scene left. We were the first break down of the day. The train was brought back to the station and we exited the ride. However, we got to ride right back on because of the break down...and we all got to ride together! I didn't mind riding again! We were in the 2nd row this time and it was even better (since we finished the ride lol). It was amazing! We got out of the ride at about 9:10 and the ride wait was at 240 minutes! We managed to basically get 2 rides in an hour.

 

Now it was time to check out all of the shops. I personally bought an interactive Elder Wand and played around in the whole area with. Some of the spells I couldn't get and needed assistance with but most of them I got! There was an employee at each wand station helping out if needed. All of the shops were very well! I also had some Butterbeer Ice Cream! It was amazing! Knockturn Alley was pretty cool and again all of the employees were completely in character.

 

For instance, at one of the wand stations in Diagon Alley, the employee asked if we went to Gringotts and opened an account. We told them we tried but then we ran into issues. I said we encountered Bellatrix and "The name that shall not be said." The employee started to freak out! Haha.

 

After we experienced every shop, we left at about 10:00. 2 hours in the new land and we basically did everything there!

 

Hogwarts Express 11/10

We went to the Hogwarts Express which had a 10 minute wait. It wasn't even 10 minutes. It was like a 5 minute walk and then just a small wait for the next train to arrive. When we scanned out annual passes, I had my wand out. The worker said, "That's a weird looking stick!" I just laughed as she is portraying a Muggle! It was these experiences that made Diagon Alley even more of an incredible addition to Universal. I completely missed the Platform 9 3/4 effect as we continued to walk. I got a glimpse as we just kept walking but I didn't realize when or where the effect would be. Again, I refused to look up anything of the ride. But it was still neat to see! The whole experience had many neat effects that I didn't know how they did at all! It was so cool! I wish I could go back.

 

What an amazing day it was! I'll post pictures later on and I am still uploading them to my computer. Please excuse me as I watch Harry Potter Weekend on ABC Family haha.

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Thank you, necoastergp. but I have educated myself with the Universal express pass system in that you can just walk on rides without wait times. I have bought 1-day park-to-park unlimited express passes for my family . . . my questions are these, (1)How much are the express passes going to help me in saving waiting time, and (2)Are theses passes going to cut wait time at all for Diagon Alley, Gringotts, and Hogwarts Express? What do you think? Also, can you go both directions on Hogwarts Express with Unlimited Express Passes, or just one way? Sorry, more than a couple of questions, but if anyone could answer my questions, that would really help me plan my trip to these amazing parks next week. Thanks! I'll even post a Canadian review of the park and new Harry Potter area and let you all know what my family thinks of it! Our trip was planned months ago, it just happens to be a week after Diagon Alley opened, ha! Perhaps the rest of the park will be really empty. We're looking forward to going to Springfield and having a Flaming Moe. We are 5-pin bowlers here in Canada and we think there should be a bowling alley in Universal's Springfield area, what do you think?

 

The unlimited express passes will work on virtually every attraction in both parks other than the the two Harry Potter ride's (Gringott's and Forbidden Journey). They will cut your wait times to usually 15 minutes or less, usually less, unless the park is insanely busy still completely worth it in terms of riding everything and getting re-rides. The only ride whose express line could be longer is Despicable Me due to capacity and popularity. Some rides are essential walks thru the queue to the loading platforms with express though. To answer #2 from what I can tell Forbidden Journey's line has been manageable since Diagon Alley has opened as low as a half hour to an hour wait and the ride line can move quickly if people aren't stopping to take pictures in the queue consistently. The HE both ways also seems to be moving its line quickly with waits 30 minutes or less at times so express won't be missed too much. Gringott's will be the only real problem as the line seems to be over 3 hours consistently and up to two hours for singles which might be your family's best bet if a must ride. Other than that Springfield is awesome and you should love the express unlimited when touring the parks it makes a huge difference. Just remember if you have to wait even a little bit for anything in express it's still considerably shorter than the guests in the regular line and you can do these rides/attractions with a minimal wait as many times as you want.

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Thank you very much, necoastergp. You have been very helpful and thank goodness the wait times have gone down from 7.5 hours, we wouldn't have waited that long but 1.5 - 2 hours for single rider line is much more reasonable. I will post my reviews when I return in a couple of weeks. If you ever need any information about Canada's Wonderland near Toronto, then please, be sure to let me know, I'd be happy to give you the help you just gave me and my family. Thank you again, talk to you soon . . . off to Springfield, Jurassic Park and Hogwarts we go! . . . oh, and how big are the drops on Gringotts in terms of number of feet, as my nephew is 11 and doesn't like big drops.

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I left Cabana Bay at 5:50 am today on the first bus to the parks. We were in the park by 6:25am. We were in Diagon before 7am for early entry and Gringotts was posted at30mins. We actually waited closer to 60 mins. It was only running 1 side btw. When we got off the ride it was a 180 min wait, a full 20 mins before the park was open to regular guests. So while yes it's having issues and not operating at max capacity the demand for this thing is nuts. Amazing ride btw

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I would like to share my amazing experience at Diagon Alley yesterday!

 

First off, my family and I got to the park at about 6:55 and then headed straight for Universal Studios. The ticketing gates were already opened and we were put into a holding area in the Hollywood section of the park. They had metal barricades lining the streets. We went on the sidewalk and waited as we thought they would open every single barricade. At 7:30 they announced to us that we will be following workers with a tiny yellow rope into the Diagon Alley area. They also announced that they were opening only one barricade, the single middle one...and we were on the sidewalk. Once they opened it, I never felt so uncomfortable being pushed around and having so many people touching me. Anyway, we managed our make our way up towards the front of the yellow rope by sneaking around...a lot. They took us through Springfield and through MIB just to get in line. Then they said to us to get into single file line! With all of the people pushing, there was no way that was happening. Then we were led through the queue lines to get into Diagon Alley.

 

We then finally made it and we ran into the land and right into line for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts! However, the line was already at 150 minutes. We darted for Single Rider. We waited only 45 minutes in Single Rider to ride but that line filled pretty quickly!

 

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts 11/10

My family and I ended up riding in the same cart just all different rows. My sister was in the front right, my mom middle right, and me back right. I didn't know what to expect from the ride as I didn't read any reviews to ruin any spoilers. All I can say is WOW! I was blown away from the innovation and the whole ride experience itself! It is probably my new favorite ride Universal and maybe my new favorite ride EVER! It was so creative and was amazing! The sets were huge and the ride was so cool with many different effects. It is truly a combination of basically every ride at Universal. However, the ride broke down with one scene left. We were the first break down of the day. The train was brought back to the station and we exited the ride. However, we got to ride right back on because of the break down...and we all got to ride together! I didn't mind riding again! We were in the 2nd row this time and it was even better (since we finished the ride lol). It was amazing! We got out of the ride at about 9:10 and the ride wait was at 240 minutes! We managed to basically get 2 rides in an hour.

 

Now it was time to check out all of the shops. I personally bought an interactive Elder Wand and played around in the whole area with. Some of the spells I couldn't get and needed assistance with but most of them I got! There was an employee at each wand station helping out if needed. All of the shops were very well! I also had some Butterbeer Ice Cream! It was amazing! Knockturn Alley was pretty cool and again all of the employees were completely in character.

 

For instance, at one of the wand stations in Diagon Alley, the employee asked if we went to Gringotts and opened an account. We told them we tried but then we ran into issues. I said we encountered Bellatrix and "The name that shall not be said." The employee started to freak out! Haha.

 

After we experienced every shop, we left at about 10:00. 2 hours in the new land and we basically did everything there!

 

Hogwarts Express 11/10

We went to the Hogwarts Express which had a 10 minute wait. It wasn't even 10 minutes. It was like a 5 minute walk and then just a small wait for the next train to arrive. When we scanned out annual passes, I had my wand out. The worker said, "That's a weird looking stick!" I just laughed as she is portraying a Muggle! It was these experiences that made Diagon Alley even more of an incredible addition to Universal. I completely missed the Platform 9 3/4 effect as we continued to walk. I got a glimpse as we just kept walking but I didn't realize when or where the effect would be. Again, I refused to look up anything of the ride. But it was still neat to see! The whole experience had many neat effects that I didn't know how they did at all! It was so cool! I wish I could go back.

 

What an amazing day it was! I'll post pictures later on and I am still uploading them to my computer. Please excuse me as I watch Harry Potter Weekend on ABC Family haha.

 

Here are some pictures from my trip to Diagon Alley on 7/12/2014.

I know the pictures aren't the best of quality as my camera is getting pretty old.

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Arrived at 7am

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Hello Universal!

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We were told to go this way to a bunch of metal barricades.

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Through the Brick Wall! Into the entrance of Diagon Alley!

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Diagon Alley!

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Dragon!

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This was really neat to see

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Fire!

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Onto Kings Cross!

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Hogwarts Express!

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I had to post this. I took this of my sister. Thought it looked pretty cool!

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