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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ok we just returned from a Florida Christmas trip and having been to Universal many times I have to say that Velocicoaster is amazing! I thought nothing would ever replace SV at CP for my son as his #1 but he is reevaluating that at the moment. It really is the whole package of great coaster and awesome theming. 

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2 hours ago, teacherkim said:

Ok we just returned from a Florida Christmas trip and having been to Universal many times I have to say that Velocicoaster is amazing! I thought nothing would ever replace SV at CP for my son as his #1 but he is reevaluating that at the moment. It really is the whole package of great coaster and awesome theming. 

Glad he loved it! It's so difficult to compare a RMC to Velocicoaster, but let's just hope the TPR poll certifies Velo as #1 overall  ;D

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18 hours ago, PKI Jizzman said:

Glad he loved it! It's so difficult to compare a RMC to Velocicoaster, but let's just hope the TPR poll certifies Velo as #1 overall  ;D

True, but that just goes to show how much we really liked VC, especially since he has always loved RMC. Now what happens when he gets a chance to ride Gwazi, who knows 🤨

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  • 2 weeks later...

I will be in Orlando and Tampa the first week of February to hit up SWO, BGT and both Fun Spots. I have been reading all the hype about Velocicoaster. Is it worth the admission price for someone who will probably only ride that and The Incredible Hulk? Any deals to be had that I am not seeing?

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10 minutes ago, hoppedup said:

I will be in Orlando and Tampa the first week of February to hit up SWO, BGT and both Fun Spots. I have been reading all the hype about Velocicoaster. Is it worth the admission price for someone who will probably only ride that and The Incredible Hulk? Any deals to be had that I am not seeing?

Harry Potter and the escape from Gringots, Rip ride rocket and Hagrids are worth a ride as well 

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2 hours ago, hoppedup said:

I will be in Orlando and Tampa the first week of February to hit up SWO, BGT and both Fun Spots. I have been reading all the hype about Velocicoaster. Is it worth the admission price for someone who will probably only ride that and The Incredible Hulk? Any deals to be had that I am not seeing?

So you're dedicating a full day to SeaWorld but just want to ride two rides at Universal and bounce?

This doesn't compute... help me understand.

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10 minutes ago, coasterbill said:

So you're dedicating a full day to SeaWorld but just want to ride two rides at Universal and bounce?

This doesn't compute... help me understand.

Not really. I'll probably have about 3 hours at Sea World the afternoon I land, Tuesday the 1st. Then do one or both Fun Spots that night. I plan on doing a full day at BGT on Thursday. I have a platinum membership to BG/SW parks so admission isn't a concern. I will probably bite on a Fun Stop pass as well since I will be in Atlanta this year as well. 

If VelociCoaster is that good I would plan on a 3/4 to a full day at IOA and ride it until I just couldn't anymore. That would probably be Wednesday, February 2. I haven't done a lot of research on UNiversal but it looks like adding Rip Ride Rockit would require a two-park pass? Just trying to gauge the value. IOA has never piqued my interest until this new coaster. I would assume parks aren't busy mid-week in February, but I really have no experience with Florida parks. 

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I feel like my tastes are clearly a lot different than yours, so it's hard for me to gauge how to answer this but Velocicoaster is one of the best coasters in America and possibly the world if that helps. If you only care about big coasters, don't buy a park hopper just to ride Rockit. If you have any interest in also riding one of the best dark rides in America in addition to Rockit then yeah... buy a park hopper.

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Bill is right. I say this as someone who has visited SWO 5+ times over the last 4 years and just finally visited Universal - both parks - just last month. Plan to spend time at Universal. You don't need to dedicate a day to SWO. Its a great park, I am a huge fan, but we always kind of run out of stuff to do there because while the B&Ms & Journey and Infinity Falls are great, that's really kind of it. If you want to hit coasters and don't care so much about animals, you can probably do SWO in like 2-3 hours if you get there at park opening.

Do yourself a favor and plan to spend more time at Universal, particularly IOA. It might be my favorite park ever, and I did not expect to have that opinion ahead of visiting in December, after years of just not really caring about Universal at all (no notable coasters that piqued my interest and whole lot of bitching from people about screen-based rides, etc). After spending one day 9am-7pm at both Uni parks, I only wish we had booked 2-3 days there. Seriously. While I'm kinda of ho-hum on the Studios park (I personally hated Rip Ride Rocket), Gringotts is amazing. So is Mummy but that's closed now. So if you want to ride Gringotts and try RRR for yourself then do the park hopper. But the real stars of the show are VelociCoaster and Hagrids. I was blown away by both. VelociCoaster is the greatest coaster on earth. Granted I'm a full blown Intamin fanboi and hadn't ridden any new ones in a few years so maybe it was just getting to ride those two back to back that made me blow my top, but I'm obsessed. And beyond that Universal -particularly IOA - is just awesome. Incredibly themed, clean, great ops, great staff, all the Potter rides are awesome (don't skip Forbidden Journey - amazing). We really loved everything about IOA. I cannot wait to go back and while we had an amazing trip all around (that also included SWO, Discovery Cove, Animal Kingdom and Funspot Orlando) my big regret was not booking 2+ days at Universal.

Did I mention VC is the best ever? Plan to spend as much time as you can there. And for the love of god don't skip Hagrids. I know some people will think I'm insane but its a top 10'er for me. I said what i said.

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Thanks for the advice, guys. Looks like I will at minimum spend a day at IOA with these kind of VelociCoaster reviews. And try the other suggestions out as well. If I find it really enjoyable, I can always plan a return trip with the offspring and spend more time.

1 hour ago, boldikus said:


And for the love of god don't skip Hagrids. I know some people will think I'm insane but its a top 10'er for me. I said what i said.

So you're saying it's better than Motocoaster at SFDL, or Pony Express at Knott's? lol

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Just now, hoppedup said:

So you're saying it's better than Motocoaster at SFDL, or Pony Express at Knott's? lol

It's a bummer because between the opening hiccups and the fact that its classified as a family coaster, I feel like it doesn't get the respect its due.

After riding it @coasterbill asked me "what did you think?" and the first thing I could muster was "it's a f*cking Intamin!"

It's not the most intense coaster by any means but its got some whip and bite for a family coaster. I think its absolutely phenomenal.

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For the first week of February, I would say just get an annual pass to Universal and spend the whole week there 😆  It pays for itself in like 3 visits.  VelociCoaster is worth the price of admission alone.  Also, I'm typing this at about 1:15 on a Tuesday afternoon and the current waits are 35 for VC (usually overstated) and 50 for Hagrid's (less than an hour is pretty good).  Single rider lines make a lot of the other good rides virtually walk-ons.  Plus you could come back sometime later when Ice Breaker and Iron Gwazi are open and use your pass some more.

Okay, I'm kind of kidding, the other parks in the area are worth visiting too, but Universal's worth at least one day for sure.

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15 minutes ago, hoppedup said:

Thanks for the advice, guys. Looks like I will at minimum spend a day at IOA with these kind of VelociCoaster reviews. And try the other suggestions out as well. If I find it really enjoyable, I can always plan a return trip with the offspring and spend more time.

So you're saying it's better than Motocoaster at SFDL, or Pony Express at Knott's? lol

I'll third coasterbill and boldikus and say you NEED to ride Velocicoaster. Hitting the brakes the first time you'll be like "WTF just happened?" Its definitely a top 2 or 3 coaster. Hagrid's is worth the ride as well, and dont miss Spiderman and Hulk. 

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2 hours ago, hoppedup said:

Thanks for the advice, guys. Looks like I will at minimum spend a day at IOA with these kind of VelociCoaster reviews. And try the other suggestions out as well. If I find it really enjoyable, I can always plan a return trip with the offspring and spend more time.

So you're saying it's better than Motocoaster at SFDL, or Pony Express at Knott's? lol

IOA/Studios are some of our favorite parks in the world. And for my not so enthusiast husband, who is always rather ho hum about parks, the first time he got off of Gringotts he thought it was the best ride he had ever been on, and he likes FJ as well (yes he is very GP much to the consternation of my son) And my 76 year old mom clapped and giggled like a schoolgirl the whole time on Gringotts, we made her read all the books before she came. But seriously, everyone is giving you good advice on VC, Hagrids and all the HP rides. As far as the screen based stuff, Spiderman still holds up and do NOT miss the new Bourne stuntacular show. Yes, it's a show, not a ride but well worth your time. We went to it twice in a 24 hour period. Don't be a coaster snob and disregard the non coaster stuff at Universal, they have some great attractions.

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21 hours ago, coasterbill said:

Think of Hagrid’s as Verbolten on a Universal budget more than something like Motocoaster or Pony Express.

Alright, I feel like I'm in the minority, but I really didn't like Verbolten.  Sure, there's some strong G's for about three seconds in the building, but that's all the ride has going for it.  It has far too many stop and go moments.  Launch, turns, stop.  Freefall drop, launch, turns, stop.  Slow, boring drop towards the river, turns, stop.  Just let the ride give me a ride!  The bridge drop should have been taken with no brakes but instead they slow you to a crawl or a full stop sometimes, so much so that even in the back of the train you barely get any forces going down.  This is all without mentioning the wicked shimmy the ride has developed, too.

I'm sure Hagrid's is fun but man Verbolten is just a slap in the face as a replacement to Big Bad Wolf.

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Sometimes rides are good because they're just fun, not because they're loaded with the most insane forces ever?

I stan for Verbolten hard, love the themeing, the trains, the indoor/drop track, the overabundance of auf wiedersehen.

Hagrids is everything I love about Verbolten but cranked up to 13 because its an Intamin built with Universal money. Lots and lots and lots of Universal money.

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Has anyone stayed at Aventura or Cabana Bay that could recommend either one (or not recommend)? Planning a late April trip. Never intended on staying on site, but they have a pretty good deal for 5 days of park to park tickets and 5 nights at either hotel above for $1290 for 2 people. 

My original plan was to spend 3 days, and a 3 day park to park ticket costs $700 for 2 people. Then an off site room would still cost $100 a night plus daily transportation, so the way I see it its worth ~100 more to spend a couple more days and be able to go at a more leisurely pace. Last time I was at Universal was 2012, Dragons were still there and Forbidden Journey was the only Harry Potter attraction open. So between the new Harry Potter stuff and Velocicoaster I have a lot to look forward to! Plus I plan on hitting Seaworld and BGT at the end of the trip as well as the Fun spots. Disney will have to be its own trip some other year.

I was leaning toward Aventura as they have the rooftop bar, but if anyone could let me know what they think it would be appreciated!

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2 hours ago, Zand said:

Has anyone stayed at Aventura or Cabana Bay that could recommend either one (or not recommend)? Planning a late April trip. Never intended on staying on site, but they have a pretty good deal for 5 days of park to park tickets and 5 nights at either hotel above for $1290 for 2 people. 

My original plan was to spend 3 days, and a 3 day park to park ticket costs $700 for 2 people. Then an off site room would still cost $100 a night plus daily transportation, so the way I see it its worth ~100 more to spend a couple more days and be able to go at a more leisurely pace. Last time I was at Universal was 2012, Dragons were still there and Forbidden Journey was the only Harry Potter attraction open. So between the new Harry Potter stuff and Velocicoaster I have a lot to look forward to! Plus I plan on hitting Seaworld and BGT at the end of the trip as well as the Fun spots. Disney will have to be its own trip some other year.

I was leaning toward Aventura as they have the rooftop bar, but if anyone could let me know what they think it would be appreciated!

I love Cabana Bay because the aesthetic totally matches my style but I can't really deny that Aventura is the better hotel otherwise.

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Just here to echo everything said about Universal (IOA in particular). I have never been a Universal or Disney person, and honestly if IOA had never built Velocicoaster I probably wouldn't have bought a pass. But after going multiple times now since moving to Florida I have to say the park is so much more than Velocicoaster too. I think Incredible Hulk is the best B&M looper - period. It's basically my favorite B&M behind Fury. I also love Hagrid's but low-key I sometimes forget it exists because Hogsmeade is always such a clusterf*ck of people and with the whole virtual line crap that's always maxed out to capacity it's just difficult to ride. (I work weekdays and can only visit the park on weekends so maybe that's why).

And yeah, you can do SWO in a couple hours if you only care about coasters.

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