Jump to content
  TPR Home | Parks | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram 

Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

p. 623 - New Epic Universe details, including Celestial Park!

Recommended Posts

Call me crazy, but when I go on vacation I prefer not to have to pick my meals months ahead of time, or predetermine which rides I’ll go on (and when) because all of the popular Fastpasses book up so quickly. The Disney Deluxe hotels are convenient for getting to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot but good luck getting to Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios in under an hour via the inferior bus system in the middle of summer. Contrast that with Hard Rock, Portofino or Royal Pacific where I can walk (yes walk) to each of the hotels in 5-7 minutes. I can leave either park whenever I want and have lunch poolside, just by walking. Same goes for City Walk and probably Volcano Bay. You just can’t beat that convenience.

 

And then there is the Fastpass v Express Pass comparison. The reality is there is no comparison. Express Pass Hands down. They could charge double for that thing and I’d still pay it. We've always left Disney missing out on certain rides because the lines were too long and we didn't have a Fastpass (because they run out). That just doesn't happen at Universal. Sure, Harry Potter fills up quick, but that's when early park entry comes in handy - yet another convenience factor.

 

Don't get me wrong here I'm not saying there is anything wrong with Universal's approach at all, it is different than Disney's for various reasons but it is perfectly fine. Personally I do kind of enjoy picking my meals and making dining reservations and fastpass+ reservations months ahead of time, I completely understand how some people prefer the spontaneity but for me planning out the trip out in advance is kind of part of the fun. Even when I make last minute short weekend trips (which are most of my trips) honestly I've never had a problem getting fastpasses/dining reservations for anything I wanted with a few exceptions like 7 Dwarves Mine Train, Be Our Guest, Ana Elsa, TSM but honestly even those attractions I've gotten FP+ the day of many times. Heck I had a FP for Frozen Ever After even though I couldn't make it down that day.

 

And the Fast pass+/ Express Pass comparison well there isn't a comparison because they are completely different. Next time I go to Universal (it's been a while) I'm going to stay on property and get an Express Pass because it's been so long since I've been, but it is nice at Disney to know that I can reserve 3 or 4 of my favorite attractions ahead of time anytime I want without having to drop an extra $100 a day to do so. Sure it is nice to throw some more money at Universal to have a great day, but it's also nice to have an AP to Disney where I don't have to spend extra money to get on whatever I want whenever I want to on a dozen trips per year with just a little bit effort in planning.

 

Again I'm not knocking Universal's approach at all, I'm looking forward to staying on property and getting Express passes, just gonna have to wait a few years until my kids are taller than 40" so there are more than 3 rides I can take them on..........(that part was me throwin some shade at UO)

 

If I was an annual pass holder who lived locally I would love Fast Pass at Disney. If you're a day guest on vacation though I prefer Universal's system because it's easier, more exclusive, there's no initial setup like with Disney's system (though is is much easier if you stay on property) and when you're on vacation you don't care about dropping some extra cash which wouldn't be at all feasible if I were a passholder that just dropped in for a few hours at a time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just got back from a week long Orlando trip, My first time there. I was able to get 1 day in at Sea World to ride Mako and see what it had to offer, then a 3 day pass to the Universal Resort.

 

First let me say I was very impressed with Sea World, it was very well themed and the shows and rides were all very good. Mako and Manta were the two favorites. I have ridden a few hyper coasters and both the giga coasters having now moved to the east coast and I would say Mako fits into exactly what I was expecting. B&M make great coasters and this one is right there with the others. The First drop, overbank second hill, and low airtime hill are easily the highlights of this ride. I wish the had done more with everything past the mid course brake as it seems to just kinda cruise into the brake run. I do love the music that is played outside the que when the train comes flying through, its very startling.

 

On to my Universal trip. Everything was great! I was loving the details in theming and I cant say I didnt like a single ride I went on. IOA was a dream park of mine and I loved every second of it. Each area was visually amazing and has at least one ride that I had to do at least twice. The only ride I felt was a little lack luster was the Jurassic Park River Adventure. I guess I was expecting more having ridden the Hollywood one and thinking IOA would have had a bigger budget to plus the ride up a bit more.

 

When we scheduled our trip we knew there was a chance that Kong would be open, but we weren't sure. The first day there we were told that the ride would be down and was not expected to open so we moved on through our trip. Day two came along and we were at the studios side and thought it was worth a Hogwarts Express trip over to the park to check on the status. We walked up to the ride and noticed that all the outdoor effects were on, so I asked the attendant and she said that the ride could open but no promises. I decided to wait just a bit due to the odd amount of activity happening behind the barriers by higher level looking people. After about 25 minutes a nice man came up to the fence where we were standing and said "follow me" and we did. So here is my experience and thoughts on Kong.

 

***** SPOILER REVIEW******

 

Walking into the que under the large rock formation of Kong is really neat, but the rest of the outside que to the left of the main building was a surprise. You take a trail over to the left of the main building that really feels grown in and tropical, they have misters all along the ground to simulate low hanging fog. Sounds of the jungle are piped in to really make you feel that you are not in Kansas anymore. Every now and then a large expedition truck would lumber by followed by the loud booming sound of the large gate opening and closing swallowing its sacrifices. Past the outdoor que finds you in a quassy outdoor/indoor que with a 1920's NBC radio loop playing through the speakers. If you listen to the broadcast it really gives you a good run down of whats going on. Apparently an island has been found and a team of scientists have been dispatched to explore and retrieve items in the name of science. The 8th Wonder Expedition is what they have been dubbed and the individuals in the party are introduced through various news briefings. This plays very well into the ride as you meet a few of these people through the ride and one of them will be introduced to you as your driver at the platform. Now into the more intense part of the que.

 

Walking under the large black stone opening we find ourselves in what looks like a small temple. Large carvings are on the walls with various bones and sacrificial offerings placed in front, we head deeper. You pass by a large opening in the wall where a pissed off looking native stares back at you and growls. After a few switchbacks we make our way into a room where what looks to be a ritual is taking place. The room is tall and surrounded by large skulls carved into the rocks above us. A very cool orange glow comes from the empty eye sockets that get brighter as the ritual reaches its climax.

At the front of the room is a native witch/shaman chanting something that is obviously raising tensions in the room, this animatronic is amazing and you get very close to her. She gets louder and louder and the room shakes when she says the name Kong. This loops over and over and I would say it lasts about 15 minutes from start to finish, its really cool and definitely sets up the next part of the que.

 

We journey up a hallway that starts to get smaller until we are in a hallway bookended by dried up corpses. This hallway is dark for a reason as there is something waiting for you. Screams can be heard around corners and behind you. It looks like that pissed off native is back and doesn't want you around anymore. He appears through holes in the walls scaring you when you least expect it. Its like having a little bit of year round Horror Nights in the que, he got my wife really good on our second go round. Now we have reached the loading dock complete with crates and specimens ready to be shipped back for study. Most of the boxes have really cool labels and some of the boxes you can hear collected specimens. One box of course contains a large worm that watches you and reacts as you walk by.

 

We collect our safety glasses and are led to the dock where our huge vehicle has just pulled in. We are loaded up and our driver, in this journey it was "Frank" introduces himself to us and gives us a few warnings. This is where I really was blown away. Apparently each truck is driven by a different character so your experience changes slightly per trip depending on who you get, remember these people were introduced in the news reels earlier. You can clearly see someone in the cab but the glass is just dirty enough to not make out specific details. You can see them moving, talking, getting the truck into gear, and driving. Off we go!

 

The truck heads around the outside of the large temple past columns of rock and flames, chanting can be heard and Frank does his best to make light of the situation. A radio distress call comes through and Frank lets us know we need to make a detour to go get his pals. We enter the wilderness through the large gates that slam shut behind us. Frank lets us know that there are some strange things on the island but he has never seen anything to big. We see remains of a large ape to our left and large bats have taken up residence on the cave wall to our right. We move deeper and find our friends off to the left, they are in need of assistance and Frank offers to help. The bats have now awoken and are attacking. One picks up Kate (?) and flies her over us. We drive forward to find her, she has fought off the bat and is now in a ravine to our left. Large bugs and worms start to come from the ground and Kate fends them off with her machine gun, bug juice is flying everywhere. She tells us to get out of there and we do as she is grabbed by a claw and taken away. Driving forward we find ourselves in the jungle on either side, but not alone. Small raptor like dinosaurs have found us and begin chasing us as we drive away at high speed. As with all animal attacks, there is always a bigger one waiting and we are now in the midst of three large T-Rexes. They dispatch the raptors and turn their attention to our vehicle. They begin smashing into our truck with their large heads, their saliva hitting us in our faces. Just as it looks like we are finished Kong smashes through an old temple and saves us. This scene is amazing and having been on the Hollywood one I can say this is truly more immersive. The screens are closer to you and being that you are not in a huge train they can focus the action into a smaller area. Stuff is happening all around you and the movements of the vehicle match perfectly. Kong dispatches the dinos and we are free to drive away. As we turn the corner we get one last visit from Kong, there in all his humongous glory. I recommend taking off you safety glasses at this point so you can really see the detail involved with this amazing animatronic. Im also glad we get to spend more that a fleeting moment with this thing as its just amazing to watch. The sound is insane as well, you can feel him breath and his roar pierces you. Frank lets us know we have to get out of there and we head back to the loading dock.

 

My impressions? This will be a massive hit and I didn't see one person come off the ride that wasn't smiling. Its a little rough for small children, especially the que. We were able to get two rides in and each time I saw something new. I cant wait to do it again. Now for a few really bad pics:

kongentrance1.thumb.jpg.0984adbf5e7a66c01c4ae6f9e6b56b6c.jpg

kongwalkinginque2.thumb.jpg.83ce14dd1db4775079e0e13721263085.jpg

Followed the Rep through the que

kongswamp3.thumb.jpg.9bffe299995bd194ee4854ee900d23ae.jpg

misters all over the ground

kongquestatue4.thumb.jpg.d6a6a21b46a7f678fa5c31dd3694056f.jpg

898524303_kongwitch5.thumb.jpg.30f9a00304b0a9bcfc4414d1a1552d1c.jpg

kongworm6.thumb.jpg.b28199e7faa9b43e0dbeecf2f0995012.jpg

kongridestationA7.thumb.jpg.2e4c7a50330b519fe0b88edbab151411.jpg

load station

kongridestationB8.thumb.jpg.d7fd0d83ab709316e7b59d341e8e3c7f.jpg

kong8thwonder3.thumb.jpg.3d28a54bf80756a1039a38b6dd71f304.jpg

kongtruckincomming9.thumb.jpg.659bf970c3d10bed13e3da0e06449042.jpg

truck incomming

kongtruckloading10.thumb.jpg.66b61b2304fce13acf47dd4ae803f1b5.jpg

kongonride11.thumb.jpg.aaf8eb0c2b261ffefe4239f1501fd135.jpg

kongsign12.thumb.jpg.856ddfb941072e5ab9a2f15feb5eb5c2.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Call me crazy, but when I go on vacation I prefer not to have to pick my meals months ahead of time, or predetermine which rides I’ll go on (and when) because all of the popular Fastpasses book up so quickly. The Disney Deluxe hotels are convenient for getting to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot but good luck getting to Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios in under an hour via the inferior bus system in the middle of summer. Contrast that with Hard Rock, Portofino or Royal Pacific where I can walk (yes walk) to each of the hotels in 5-7 minutes. I can leave either park whenever I want and have lunch poolside, just by walking. Same goes for City Walk and probably Volcano Bay. You just can’t beat that convenience.

 

And then there is the Fastpass v Express Pass comparison. The reality is there is no comparison. Express Pass Hands down. They could charge double for that thing and I’d still pay it. We've always left Disney missing out on certain rides because the lines were too long and we didn't have a Fastpass (because they run out). That just doesn't happen at Universal. Sure, Harry Potter fills up quick, but that's when early park entry comes in handy - yet another convenience factor.

 

This is the biggest paragraph of truth in this topic! haha

 

A close friend and her family went to Disney last year for the first time, and they couldn't believe just how "micro-managed" their trip was. Trying to pick what you will be riding, when, at what park, months ahead of time was quite shocking to them. They ended up liking the parks, but LOVING Universal for this very reason. They didn't need to plan every tidbit, the express passes were far better to use and they just enjoyed their visit more. Mind you, this is a husband and wife and four kids (6-16 years old or so). Kind of the ideal Disney clientele.

 

In my personal experience, I have been to Disney World quite a few times, but never really love it. It's fun, sure, but they just fall so flat for me in terms of overall experience. Insane lines, sold out fastlane or I need to stop back 6 hours later or something silly. I dunno... Beautiful parks, great employees and all that... Sure.. Even a nice selection of rides at a few of those parks... I just don't get the "magic" most others do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^^^Thanks for that report! This is the first thing I've heard that really makes me take more interest in this. I love Universal and know that they always theme everything to the nth degree, but I was having a hard time getting excited for another attraction that requires me to wear special glasses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey everybody, so sorry to be the uniformed guy here but I have a question or two! I haven't been keeping up with every new update on Hulk's progress, but I'm assuming that the only work left to be done is final touches, queue theming, and an overall sprucing up of the area. Can anyone bring me up to speed on the possibility of soft openings and when they could happen? I know officially Hulk opens in "Late Summer," but given that the ride has been testing for quite some time, is an earlier opening possible?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Assuming Kong isn't fully open yet? I'm surprised at the lack of updates for such an anticipated ride.

Nope. Still in soft openings with lots of bugs to still work out.

 

Hey everybody, so sorry to be the uniformed guy here but I have a question or two! I haven't been keeping up with every new update on Hulk's progress, but I'm assuming that the only work left to be done is final touches, queue theming, and an overall sprucing up of the area. Can anyone bring me up to speed on the possibility of soft openings and when they could happen? I know officially Hulk opens in "Late Summer," but given that the ride has been testing for quite some time, is an earlier opening possible?

The queue has a long way to go, so even though the ride has been testing, the queue house won't be suitable for the public for a long time. I don't see softs until at least late July, maybe August.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Skull Island: Reign of Kong is officially OPEN!!!

 

The TODAY Show opened the ride today! Both times I went to the park recently, it rained in the afternoon just as they were about to open kong in "technical rehearsal" mode. I'll be sure that there is little rain chance so I can get a chance of "reign" on my next visit lol. Glad Kong is finally opened!!!

 

http://blog.universalorlando.com/extras/live-blog-reign-of-kong/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey guys. I;m sorry if I ask some questions that have already been addressed but I'm not a regular at the Universal thread.

 

 

I'm planning a trip for the end of next month for my anniversary with my girlfriend. She is a massive Harry Potter fan so I figured IOA and US would be perfect for her.

Just a few questions about IOA in general since i haven't been since Dueling Dragons was actually still Dueling haha.

 

Are there any ways to get cheaper combo tickets for both parks? The online price of 150 a person is steep but if I have to deal with it it could be worse.

 

Also does anyone know when the new Hulk coaster will be open to the public? I haven't been following it since it was announced. If it's closed I won't mind, this trip is really all about Harry Potter world anyway.

 

Also does anyone have any general tips for attacking both parks in a day?

 

Finally, I want to know good restaurants in the area to grab a dinner at. We're young, and easy to please. Just want something besides Wendy's haha.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^My recommendation for dinner is just eat in the park. It will be more expensive than fast food but it is very good and I never felt that it was unreasonable. Plus if your girlfriend is a huge potter fan I bet she would love the chance to eat at the Three Broomsticks or Leaky Cauldron. For example the Rotisserie Chicken Platter at the Three Broomsticks is $10.99 and comes with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes. Most of the meals range from $10 to $15.

 

I will warn you now that if she is a really big Potter fan I would not be surprised to see her wanting a bunch of other stuff when she is at the park. Wands are popular, and expensive, and some of them allow you to interact with objects around both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. The Butterbeer is fantastic and who can pass up an ice cream from Florean Fortescue's.

 

Which if you decide on the rib dinner at the Three Broomsticks at least consider the dining plan. You could then use the snack credit for either Butterbeer or ice cream. But the Rib Dinner is about the only good use for the dining plan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^My recommendation for dinner is just eat in the park. It will be more expensive than fast food but it is very good and I never felt that it was unreasonable. Plus if your girlfriend is a huge potter fan I bet she would love the chance to eat at the Three Broomsticks or Leaky Cauldron. For example the Rotisserie Chicken Platter at the Three Broomsticks is $10.99 and comes with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes. Most of the meals range from $10 to $15.

 

I will warn you now that if she is a really big Potter fan I would not be surprised to see her wanting a bunch of other stuff when she is at the park. Wands are popular, and expensive, and some of them allow you to interact with objects around both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. The Butterbeer is fantastic and who can pass up an ice cream from Florean Fortescue's.

 

Which if you decide on the rib dinner at the Three Broomsticks at least consider the dining plan. You could then use the snack credit for either Butterbeer or ice cream. But the Rib Dinner is about the only good use for the dining plan.

 

I was hoping 150 dollars should cover us for the day. Might consider bringing a little extra just to make sure she gets everything she wants. Also I will for sure eat in the park the day we are there but I will also be doing 2 full days outside of the park so I just wanna know about dinner places in the area for those evenings. However, thank you for bringing up the meal plan, I will for sure look into it. I've loved every park that offered a meal plan up to this point, so I'm sure I'll love this one too!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, something I have been thinking about for a while now.. If dragons has metal detectors and mandatory lockers, why are they still not dueling the two sides?? I assumed having them dispatched staggered was temporary, but its been multiple years now with no word of them returning to dueling. Does anyone else find this upsetting?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^Honestly, I find the presence of the metal detectors even more upsetting than the fact that the coaster does not duel. This has been brought up before, but Universal operates on probably the second largest budget of any park chain in the US, and yet almost every other major park chain currently has or used to have some kind of dueling coaster. And yet, they are one of only two parks with metal detectors. The other is Morey's, which has them on their SLC. However, Morey's gets a bit more of a pass in my book, because I am already expecting to get treated like crap when I am in New Jersey. Not in Orlando.

 

Also, the bunny organizing system is awful on Dragons; it is a cramped, crowded space that often has a shortage of bunnies, so you might have to wait in line just to get one. Also, why not redesign the station and have the bunnies there? There should be no excuse for having this bad of a system if you are a park with this big of a budget. And also, there is a park right down the freeway where you can take bags on a compact launched looping coaster.

 

Universal Orlando was my favorite park/resort before they put the metal detectors in. Now I absolutely refuse to rank them highly because of how they see their guests. I literally had to remove a penny from my pocket before getting in line on one of their coasters. Yes, I had to remove an object whose terminal velocity is not even fast enough to injure someone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Something really funny and unlucky happened to me and 3 other boats on Ripsaw Falls

 

So there is a waterfall on the lift that clears out so the boat can go through, but this time the waterfall didn't clear out. It rained ontop of everyone's head, and got all of us soaked. I asked a worker, and he say's it glitches from time to time on that effect. It can really get you DRENCHED, more drenched than you already get on that ride. I was soaked for the whole day after it. Anyways, has this happened to anyone else on here?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^My recommendation for dinner is just eat in the park. It will be more expensive than fast food but it is very good and I never felt that it was unreasonable. Plus if your girlfriend is a huge potter fan I bet she would love the chance to eat at the Three Broomsticks or Leaky Cauldron. For example the Rotisserie Chicken Platter at the Three Broomsticks is $10.99 and comes with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes. Most of the meals range from $10 to $15.

 

I will warn you now that if she is a really big Potter fan I would not be surprised to see her wanting a bunch of other stuff when she is at the park. Wands are popular, and expensive, and some of them allow you to interact with objects around both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. The Butterbeer is fantastic and who can pass up an ice cream from Florean Fortescue's.

 

Which if you decide on the rib dinner at the Three Broomsticks at least consider the dining plan. You could then use the snack credit for either Butterbeer or ice cream. But the Rib Dinner is about the only good use for the dining plan.

 

I was hoping 150 dollars should cover us for the day. Might consider bringing a little extra just to make sure she gets everything she wants. Also I will for sure eat in the park the day we are there but I will also be doing 2 full days outside of the park so I just wanna know about dinner places in the area for those evenings. However, thank you for bringing up the meal plan, I will for sure look into it. I've loved every park that offered a meal plan up to this point, so I'm sure I'll love this one too!

 

CityWalk is filled with amazing restaurants as well. Bread Box, Cowfish, Antojitos, and Red Oven are all amazing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My girlfriend and I are heading to both parks tomorrow. We want to be able to have an awesome dinner, consume numerous alcoholic beverages after the park, and take an Uber back to our resort. We were wondering if we can take an Uber to and from our resort to Universal without any problems? What would you all suggest? Thanks for your input!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^You shouldn't have any challenges using Uber to access the Universal Orlando Resort. Your driver will drop you off at the bus loop/pick up drop off location attached to CityWalk, which is where you'll later call for them when you're ready to leave.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^You shouldn't have any challenges using Uber to access the Universal Orlando Resort. Your driver will drop you off at the bus loop/pick up drop off location attached to CityWalk, which is where you'll later call for them when you're ready to leave.

 

You're a savior! We're crossing our fingers for a Hulk soft opening, but we know it's highly unlikely...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^Yeah, it hasn't even done team member previews so I would say it is almost definitely out of the question. Though Skull Island: Reign of Kong is now officially open nearby, so there is still plenty of new fun to enjoy during your visit!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use https://themeparkreview.com/forum/topic/116-terms-of-service-please-read/