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

Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

Recommended Posts

5 hours ago, KBrylczyk said:

^ You're being overly critical of a ride that hasn't even had a human on it yet.  Reserve your judgement until you ride the darn thing.

Your reading comprehension needs work.

obviously its not the final product but it seems slower

Much critical.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, KBrylczyk said:

^ You're being overly critical of a ride that hasn't even had a human on it yet.  Reserve your judgement until you ride the darn thing.

What else are we supposed to discuss right now?  There’s excitement for the ride and all we currently have are construction photos and now a testing video.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

On Sunday I ventured out to the Universal Orlando Resort for a chance to see the new holiday offerings at the two parks. This year is a little different thanks to COVID-19, but Universal has still managed to offer modified holiday experiences (including a few new ones) that keep the holiday season alive in fun and delicious ways. Over at Islands of Adventure, along with the holiday fun, Jurassic World Velocicoaster nears completion as theming installation is winding down. 


A familiar sight...


Construction on the new retail expansion in the former Fossil/PiQ!/Island Traders space is well under way in CityWalk.


Looking towards Islands of Adventure, you can see Velocicoaster's 155 ft tall spike from outside of the park.


It hasn't been indicated if this yet-to-be-announced CityWalk project will introduce several new options or one larger venue...


The entrance of Universal Studios Florida is decked out for this year's Universal Orlando Holidays event. 


Universal Orlando's Cinematic Celebration has resumed showing to socially distanced crowds at Universal Studios Florida, making this the first consistent nighttime spectacular to resume performances from inside of the Central Florida parks. 


In lieu of the typical Universal Holiday Parade featuring Macy's, the floats from that popular experience have been cleverly arranged inside of one of the studios to make for fun walk through and photo op experience inside.


This was a surprisingly effective alternative to the normal parade experience... I have to wonder if we could be seeing something similar for this year's Mardi Gras.


It isn't a Universal parade without Minions!


Madagascar floats are on full display inside of the exhibit.

012.thumb.jpeg.122b7948eb4bf091bbf1b86a6e0b276d.jpegPuss in Boats is out to take social distanced photos with guests.

013.thumb.jpeg.0a6c6033129cf9d907a3adf4395ba1b2.jpegThe experience is tightly packed into this one studio but is really well set up!

014.thumb.jpeg.e4db8dcf3e47c37505028691b2c5594f.jpegWith his signature float from the parade parked behind him, Santa Claus is present for social distanced photos!


While my visit was first thing in the morning with no wait time, the experience is capacity controlled and can be set up to require a Virtual Line reservation to enter.


The park's New York/Central Park area is dressed for the holidays with its signature Christmas Tree. 


Just a few weeks ago this was the Halloween Tribute Store. Universal quickly turned over the space to introduce their first ever Holiday Tribute Store. 


The interior layout is mostly the same as what came before the with the Halloween Tribute Store, but you'd never know from the interior furnishings. 


Universal has joined other parks in embracing the appeal of the retro Mold-A-Rama machines to offer fun made-in-front-of-you souvenirs. The Halloween machines were updated to offer holiday molds.


One of the Tribute Store rooms is themed to How the Grinch Stole Christmas and features some fun photo ops along with a large selection of themed merchandise.


One of the rooms is themed to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and features a selection of holiday gifts and apparel for Potter fans.


Earl the Squirrel is kind of an in-joke for Universal's creative teams but it is fun to see the character fleshed out in his own section of the Tribute Store, specifically hosting a collection of food and beverage counters.


Lots of treats to choose from!


I was a huge fan of the Beating Heart gummy treats from the Halloween Tribute Store so I was excited to see more of this concept fleshed out, but none of these flavors appeal to me for what I want in a gummy. I absolutely love the display approach though--the gummies you see here are the ones you're served when you buy one!


They have Sticky Buns... Unfortunately mine was obviously left over from the day before and was too hard to cut or eat... 


I do appreciate the effort that went into fleshing out the theming in this room.


I also tried the Peppermint Mousse Ornament and a Hot Chocolate Bomb... The Peppermint Mousse Ornament was really tasty, though really heavy on the peppermint, so plan to share it or be prepared to not be able to finish it all. 


The Hot Chocolate Bomb is neat in that they give you the chocolate ornament on the side to let you drop it into your hot chocolate. The hot chocolate already has marshmallows in it, but when you drop in your ornament and let it melt (you may have to flip it if you want to speed up the process like I did), you'll find even more marshmallows inside. Ultimately the melted ornament amped up the chocolate inside of the cup and made this an even tastier treat. Of the three items I ordered, this was the only one I'd go back for a second round. 

029.thumb.jpeg.f7fe58e5bbde0791e2b8d9bd150b663f.jpegAnother look at this year's Christmas Tree.


Diagon Alley has been dressed up for the holiday season... And fans of Warm Butterbeer will be happy to know this seasonal beverage is back on the menu at both Wizarding World of Harry Potter locations in Universal Orlando. 


A food truck has been parked over my the Animal Actors On Location! Theater...


It wasn't open during my visit but that Maple Bacon funnel cake is beckoning me to return...


The other food truck in the park near the Hollywood Bowl is the new Arepa Rellenas truck.


I really wanted to try the Beef Picadillo and I was not disappointed!


This is honestly one of the best quick service items I've eaten at Universal in a long time! I'll definitely be ordering it again before the end of the Holiday season.


Over at Islands of Adventure, the lines for Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure continues to send guests through the former Sinbad theater to queue... I had a Virtual Line reservation but when I checked in, I was told that it would be at least an hour from this point so I skipped this one for the day as I had places to be.


Velocicoaster really does look fantastic!


A few section of the fenced in portion of the coaster have been designed for spectators to look in from the outside.


This certainly looks different when compared to the view a year ago.


New lockers for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey have been built near the greenhouse portion of the ride's queue, but they have been masked by a new themed barrier since they face the Jurassic Park section of Islands of Adventure.


Nothing says Harry Potter like a coaster swooping right by the land... 


Hogsmeade is also dressed up for the holiday season, but it didn't need those added touches to keep it busy.


Seuss Landing has received its typical Grinchmas decor, even though the How the Grinch Stole Christmas show is not being offered this year.


Have I mentioned how much I'm loving the look of this coaster?


Two really fun looking maneuvers!


I can't wait to come back to ride this sometime next year when it opens to the public!

Overall, Universal has managed to put together a really solid holiday lineup including the modified experience offerings. If you're looking for a place to enjoy the holidays at a theme park, I could definitely recommend Universal Orlando as an option, based on my experiences!

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

that's a great report. 

the food all looks good (I'm not a fan of gummies, nor two of those 3 flavors, but I'd be awful tempted to try the Butterscotch one!).  As you note, the display is fantastic with some real appeal.

at first I was a little surprised at the food prices (I'm used to Six Flags prices, and was thinking. .that's pretty reasonable). . . glad to see it was worth it, as that Beef looks really yummy.

I think my favorite part tho, is the walk thru parade balloons.   That's brilliant, and I would SO be up for doing that.  

I applaud them for doing it that way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So on a positive note, I'm planning a week-long, first-time trip to Tampa/Orlando for my birthday in February.  I'm definitely planning on hitting Busch Gardens and Sea World (as I'll have the SEAS pass), as well as both Fun Spots, but I'm a bit torn about including Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.  A two-park, one-day ticket would be $180-185, which I'm having a very difficult time justifying for effectively 5 major roller coasters (Mummy, Hulk, Rip Ride & Rocket, Hagrid's, and VelociCoaster if it's open).  I couldn't give two cents about Harry Potter stuff so I don't anticipate enjoying Gringott's, and screen-based attractions are not my thing, nor does fancy theming in a park do anything for me.  So I've got a few questions for the Universal Experts that can hopefully help me out in planning:

1.  Are those 5 coasters alone worth the $180-185 admission?
2.  Would it be possible to do those 5 coasters at both parks in one day on a Friday in February without an Express Pass?

I'm really leaning towards skipping these parks.  Note that if I opt out of Universal, I'd likely cut my entire trip by a day and save another night of hotel and car rental, so that should be factored in to the total cost as well.

Please take a look at my favorites in my signature to get an idea of what I do like in coasters, and I'm a bigger fan of Kings Dominion than Busch Gardens Williamsburg.  I'd be a 38 year old single person traveling alone.  The full days in FL will be the 17th through the 19th (fixed, cannot change), with my current plan as Wednesday the 17th for BGT, Thursday the 18th for SWO and Fun Spots, potential Friday the 19th for the Universals (flexible on which parks on which day).

Any advice on the matter is greatly appreciated.


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keep a very close watch on the SeaWorld rides page. They may go back to budget cutting Kraken during the week and forcing you to go there on Friday if you want to ride it. You could also fly home Friday afternoon and pop in in the morning to ride just that and leave after spending a full day there earlier in the trip since you have a pass anyway. It probably won’t open with the park because they could save like $8 by opening it late so they’ll jump on that incredible opportunity but it should open at 10 or 11.

If you don’t like theming, screens or Harry Potter and only want coasters then yeah, don’t go to Universal.

I’m honestly having a hard time giving you advice since our preferences differ so much other than to watch SeaWorld’s budget cut page (I mean ride status page) like a hawk. Do you like animal stuff? What do you like in parks besides coasters? I’m just trying to think here... if you don’t I don’t even know what you would do at SeaWorld for a full day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^ In my small opinion, it just sounds like he's only interested in riding the coasters, and that's it. For this particular trip of his.

There's nothing wrong with that of course. But no Potter; no screen-based attractions; no "fancy theming" in a park..... I mean, it's pretty clear to me what he really wants to do/ride, etc.

But - what about food, Mike240SX? Anything that Universal offers, and nowhere else? (Dare I suggest Butterbeer?)

P.S. Have to add here, but if you want to not ride screen-based attractions, better avoid the Hogwarts Express train, between parks. Just suggesting. 😉

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's also a holiday week for some districts.  Add in the fact that we have NO CLUE what any travel or parks or vacations will be like then I would probably plan to skip Universal and wait till there's another coaster for you to get your moneys worth. This is based on your info and not normal advice I would give some one. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the input everyone, especially Elissa.

As for rides, yeah I mostly go to parks for coasters, but I also enjoy a lot of flats (that aren't spin-n-pukes) if there's down-time.  I'm kinda here nor there on food (I eat like a 5 year old), and yeah the butterbeer intrigues me, but not at that entry price honestly.  Animal stuff is cool if I can take it at my own pace (like a walk-through zoo); not a fan of sit-down animal shows but I do enjoy comedy/theatrical/musical-review type live shows.

I'll be sure to keep an eye on SWO's budget saving page LOL.

Thanks again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Busch Gardens Tampa and Sea World are 2 of my favorite parks. I am not a huge B&M fan but Mako, Montu and Kumba are great! Given that Maverick is also my number 1 I think you will like Cheetah Hunt for what it is. The atmosphere at those 2 parks is way different then a cedar fair or six flags park. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Family and I are coming here (Universal Studios only) this Tuesday 12/1 and are unsure about getting fast lane. The crowd tracker sites say it's light, but am curious if you guys have experience this week?

We're also doing Sea World Monday 11/30 and Magic Kingdom Wednesday 12/2. Any tips for those parks on those days would be great too! Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the past this is a VERY good week to visit Orlando parks, but in case you didn't notice this year is completely batshit insane so...


I wouldn't buy it ahead of time, but be prepared to if the crowds are above the level you want to deal with. If you're just doing Universal I can't imagine you won't be able to do everything with minimal lines. Just make sure to get there early!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wish Universal was a little more creative with their renewals for their season passes. I have 2 premier passes expiring pretty soon and was originally going to renew them because of the 20% discount for paying in full to renew but that was before Covid hit. Since I'm unsure when I'm going to get back to the parks I can't justify renewing since there's a chance we might not use 7+ months of the pass or not go at all in 2021.

If they gave me the option to still renew but the passes wouldn't actually activate again until we went to the parks I would renew. It seems like it would be a win-win for Universal and pass holders. They would get my money and revenue they aren't gonna get now and could collect interest on it for months and I get my 20% discount for renewing for whenever we return. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay.... question!! 

I’m currently planning a trip to USO for the summer of 2021. - I have never dealt with USO new attraction openings.... so when they say “summer of 2021” what month do they consider “summer” when it comes to opening attractions??? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • coasterbill changed the title to Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

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/