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Universal Orlando?

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Mike Barrett
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joined:4/13/13
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Universal Orlando? #1
Posted: 10/14/19 at 12:17pm

Hey all! Im not on social media or any other forums on the internet so I figured why not ask here lol. Anyone ever been to Universal? I went once when I was little, pre Harry Potter, but I honestly don't remember much. I am a DIE HARD Potter fan. My mum and I plan to stay for a week (she's also massive potter fan) but I had a few general questions for anyone who has stayed at this resort before? 

- Best hotel to stay at? My mum is upper middle class, she's happy to spend a little extra to get a little extra. She's a marathon runner so we would prefer a walk over to the parks if possible. 

-Restaurant recommendations? I know many Disney hotels offer great dining experiences on top of Downtown Disney, is it the same at Universal? 

- I see there opening a new park, but doesn't give a date. Is this opening relatively soon? We'd hold back for a year if that were the case. 

 

 

I understand might be a reach here on a Broadway forum, but a lot of you seem well traveled so I thought it was worth a shot posting before we booked anything. Thanks in advance for any thoughtful responses! 

carobie
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Universal Orlando? #2
Posted: 10/14/19 at 12:50pm
Hope this answers some of your questions (to also caveat that it was several years ago that I was there, so it’s possible some of this info may have changed):

We stayed at the Loews Pacific Rim. Which is a beautiful resort. We also went to the spa at the Universal Portifino which was stunning. They are corrected to city walk/ the universal parks, so would be the best bet for walking.

The best part about staying in the universal resorts is that you recieve access to the rides without waiting in line (essentially a fast pass). I don’t think that applied to the Harry Potter world, but this was about 6-7 years ago, so may have changed.

I can’t recall where we ate. Believe we had the buffet at the Pacific Rim luau show, which I am sure was good.

Can’t answer to anything else but hopefully that was helpful!

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Mike Barrett
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joined:4/13/13
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Universal Orlando? #3
Posted: 10/14/19 at 1:41pm

carobie said: "Hope this answers some of your questions (to also caveat that it was several years ago that I was there, so it’s possible some of this info may have changed):

We stayed at the Loews Pacific Rim. Which is a beautiful resort. We also went to the spa at the Universal Portifino which was stunning. They are corrected to city walk/ the universal parks, so would be the best bet for walking.

The best part about staying in the universal resorts is that you recieve access to the rides without waiting in line (essentially a fast pass). I don’t think that applied to the Harry Potter world, but this was about 6-7 years ago, so may have changed.

I can’t recall where we ate. Believe we had the buffet at the Pacific Rim luau show, which I am sure was good.

Can’t answer to anything else but hopefully that was helpful!


"

Oh I do like that perk, I believe one hotel we looked at didn't offer the fast pass but ill look into it. They seem to have about 8 hotels in total, so ill be sure to look into Pacific Rim. Thanks! 

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FosseTharp
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Universal Orlando? #4
Posted: 10/14/19 at 7:26pm

The high end “Preferred” Universal Resorts are all within walking Distance to the Parks— The three Loews resorts (Portofino Bay, Royal Pacific, and Sapphire Falls), and The Hard Rock Hotel. Universal’s comparable to Downtown Disney is City Walk which had a ton of great restaurants and the a fun nightlife, which is right outside the entrance to the two parks and the resorts.
 

I highly recommend the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium For dining. Emeril’s (Cajon), Antojito’s (Mexican) and Vivo (Italian) would be my next recommendations. If you’re a BK Whopper fan they have a giant Whopper Bar which is actually pretty cool.

 

You’re going to want to make sure you have a park hopper at least one of the days so you can take the Hogwarts express between parks as half of Wizarding World is in Islands of Adventures and half in Universal.

 

I also recommend taking a day and visiting Disney to “resort hop”. There is so much to see, do, and places to eat by just visiting different Disney Resorts. If you’re going around the Holiday The Grand Floridian is a must.

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luvcaroline
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joined:10/19/05
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Universal Orlando? #5
Posted: 10/14/19 at 9:30pm
We also stayed at the Pacific Rim and absolutely loved it. You can take a boat to the parks but it’s also an easy walk. We wished we had stayed extra days just to have time to chill at the resort pools and such. They had a great buffet brunch there.

You will absolutely love the Harry Potter parks. Be sure to explore all the nooks and crannies, it’s really a lot of fun. Don’t forget to have.a Butterbeer!
AEA AGMA SM
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Universal Orlando? #6
Posted: 10/14/19 at 9:41pm

Agree with those who said that at least one day you have to do the Park Hopper option so you can ride the Hogwarts Express between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
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Mike Barrett
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Universal Orlando? #7
Posted: 10/15/19 at 10:15am

Thanks for the advice! I am definitely getting park hopper. They have a deal where its 4 days, 5th free that we're going to take. The other day we may do their water park or just relax by the pool. Thats awesome immersion though to connect the 2 parks with the Hogwarts Express. God I cant wait haha. As long as Spiderman and the Hulk are still there too then this will be a wonderful week. 

AEA AGMA SM
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Universal Orlando? #8
Posted: 10/15/19 at 12:07pm

Awesome immersion, but also a 100% business decision. By splitting the sections of the Wizarding World between the two parks they guaranteed that anyone who's only visiting for one day will have to buy the park hopper option, as nobody who's visiting for just one day will be satisfied with only experiencing half of the Wizarding World.

Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
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Mike Barrett
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Universal Orlando? #9
Posted: 10/15/19 at 1:56pm

AEA AGMA SM said: "Awesome immersion, but also a 100% business decision. By splitting the sections of the Wizarding World between the two parks they guaranteed that anyone who's only visiting for one day will have to buy the park hopper option, as nobody who's visiting for just one day will be satisfied with only experiencing half of the Wizarding World."

Oh, absolutely. Still glad they did it nonetheless and its somewhat genius on their end haha. Hoping their new park has a wizarding world of some sort. 

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TheGingerBreadMan
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Universal Orlando? #10
Posted: 10/17/19 at 10:36pm

I actually prefer Universal to Disney - I think it's more fun, especially for adults. I can't make a recommendation on resorts since when I go I usually get a cheaper hotel a few miles away and drive over every day to save a few bucks, but from what I've seen, all of their resorts are gorgeous.

I've eaten at most of the restaurants in City Walk and the only that I didn't care for was the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. I found it overpriced for pretty mediocre food. The milkshakes are delicious though (and huge! a meal in themselves) and the steampunk theme is really cool. Vivo is my favorite city walk restaurant. I highly recommend having a dinner there. Cowfish is really good too, especially if you're a sushi fan, and they have some crazy, over the top burgers that are delicious. The in-park dining options are good as well.

The rollercoasters are fun, but I prefer to hit the "experience" rides first and do the rollercoasters after if there's time. Some of the experience rides actually have some great thrills that are rollercoaster-esque if you're a thrill seeker - The Mummy especially. The rollercoasters have cool themes, but the actual rides aren't super different from coasters at other parks. You won't find anything anywhere else akin to rides like Jimmy Fallon, King Kong, Poseidon's Fury, and Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey (which is my favorite ride in the park - as a diehard Potterhead like you, the first time I rode it I actually teared up because of all the nostalgia and how the ride actually makes you feel like you're in the movies.) Don't miss out on trying the Butterbeer - although I wish they had an alcoholic version of it :)

 

 

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Mike Barrett
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Universal Orlando? #11
Posted: 10/18/19 at 9:46am

TheGingerBreadMan said: "I actually prefer Universal to Disney - I think it's more fun, especially for adults. I can't make a recommendation on resorts since when I go I usually get a cheaper hotel a few miles away and drive over every day to save a few bucks, but from what I've seen, all of their resorts are gorgeous.

I've eaten at most of the restaurants in City Walk and the only that I didn't care for was the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. I found it overpriced for pretty mediocre food. The milkshakes are delicious though (and huge! a meal in themselves) and the steampunk theme is really cool. Vivo is my favorite city walk restaurant. I highly recommend having a dinner there. Cowfish is really good too, especially if you're a sushi fan, and they have some crazy, over the top burgers that are delicious. The in-park dining options are good as well.

The rollercoasters are fun, but I prefer to hit the "experience" rides first and do the rollercoasters after if there's time. Some of the experience rides actually have some great thrills that are rollercoaster-esque if you're a thrill seeker - The Mummy especially. The rollercoasters have cool themes, but the actual rides aren't super different from coasters at other parks. You won't find anything anywhere else akin to rides like Jimmy Fallon, King Kong, Poseidon's Fury, and Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey (which is my favorite ride in the park - as a diehard Potterhead like you, the first time I rode it I actually teared up because of all the nostalgia and how the ride actually makes you feel like you're in the movies.) Don't miss out on trying the Butterbeer - although I wish they had an alcoholic version of it :)




"

Awesome, great info to have! I remember riding the Mummy back when I visited a long time ago. Was incredible and I remember it well to this day! We're making that a priority on day 1 for sure. 

I can get emotional over Potter (and Star Wars) so I'm expecting to cry after Forbidden Journey and the new Hagrid ride. My lord I just can't wait its taken me way too long to visit these parks. Good to know on the citywalk restaurants. Anyone know how long in advance you recommend making a reservation? 

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TheGingerBreadMan
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Universal Orlando? #12
Posted: 10/18/19 at 10:47am
I’ve never made a reservation for a City Walk restaurant and I’ve always been fine. I never expect to be able to walk right up and get a table, but I’ve never waited more than an hour or so.
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Universal Orlando? #13
Posted: 10/18/19 at 10:52am

Just a warning if you are sensitive to motion sickness; some of those motion simulator rides can really mess you up. For as much as I loved the Wizarding World, that Hogwarts ride had me feeling nauseous for a good 30 minutes afterwards. I do love the Escape from Gringotts ride though, as it's less intense in regards to the video and motion simulation integration.

Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
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Mike Barrett
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Universal Orlando? #14
Posted: 10/18/19 at 12:59pm

Good to know on both ends, thank you! Ive never really had an issue with motion sickness but I guess ill find out here since ill be doing these rides all week. Anyone been on the new Hagrid ride yet? Looks really fun too

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Universal Orlando? #15
Posted: 10/18/19 at 1:59pm

When are you looking to go? The new park called epic universe hasn't even broken ground yet and they haven't made an official announcement of when it will open but since it's an entire new build its probably going to be at least 3-4 years before that's open.

That new Hagrids line has been having insane lines lately to the point where they are shutting the line down in the mid afternoon. Best bet to get on that ride is just to go first thing in the morning. You would have to double check exactly what areas in each park but they open like an hour earlier for some hotel guests and annual pass holders.

Emerils restaurant closed last year and was replaced with big fire which is like a wood fire based restaurant, I haven't eaten there so can't say if it's any good or not.

Also the express passes include the Harry Potter rides now besides the new Hagrids ride. Spider-Man and Hulk are still there too. They just recently tore down the Hulk and rebuilt it so it's even smoother now. 

Fast and the furious is easily one of the worst rides ever done by Universal so check that out just to say you've experienced it lol it's amazing that they somehow screwed up what should have just been something as simple as two cars racing against one another.

I love Universal though, the Harry Potter lands are truely incredible and you can easily spend a lot of time just exploring those because there are so many details there. It really is like walking into the movie. They also have shows now on the outside of Hogwarts castle at night that change depending on when you're going as well. The frozen butter beer is my favorite. If you go during Christmas time they have hot butter beer as well but I haven't tried that. 

I think they have leaned too heavy on the 3d rides and screens in the past but with the mistake that was made with fast and the furious it really seems like they are going to be shying away from that in the future with rides more like Hagrid.

Updated On: 10/18/19 at 01:59 PM
yankeefan7
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Universal Orlando? #16
Posted: 11/9/19 at 7:03pm

"The frozen butter beer is my favorite. "

It is awesome but don't drink it too fast otherwise you may get a "freeze head headache" -lol