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Tell me about Universal Studios please

(24 Posts)
mistletoeandmerlot Mon 25-Nov-19 20:15:11

Am planning our second trip to Disney. The first time we just went for 5 days as I really wasn't sure I could bare to be there for any longer. DC were quite young at 4 and 7 so we just did Magical Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Epcot. I LOVED it!! So this time we are going for 10 days and DC are 8 and 11. So I want to add in Hollywood Studios (Toy Story!) and a water park and Disney Springs (can't believe this is me, I have so changed) and Universal Studios.

I'm clueless about Universal so if you've been please tell me how many days should we plan to go? Can I buy day passes? Should I book restaurants like in Disney?

OP’s posts: |
underneaththeash Mon 25-Nov-19 22:10:58

I’d get a 2 day park to park ticket (if you don’t get a park to park you can’t go on the hogwarts express).
No, you don’t need to book restaurants, but make sure you go to Florian Fortescue for butter beer ice cream. Most of the restaurants are quite average.
If you stay on site in one of their more expensive hotels, you get to skip the queue on all the rides, or you can pay extra to skip all the queues - they are not as long as the Disney ones usually though.

I’d also recommend making time for olivanders, even if you don’t buy a wand, the show is lots of fun.

mistletoeandmerlot Mon 25-Nov-19 22:36:49

Underneath thanks very much, I didn't know about park to park tickets. And yesssssss we really want to ride on the Hogwarts Express so that sounds like the way forward.

And I'll look into Olivanders too, thanks.

OP’s posts: |
Quartz2208 Mon 25-Nov-19 22:38:31

where are you staying. I would get a night at one of the hotels that gives express passes and get a 2 day 2 park ticket

we love universal (annual passholders now)

Verily1 Mon 25-Nov-19 22:42:42

Islands is even better than universal. Note that you need a 2 park ticket to get the Hogwarts express between the 2. I could spend a whole week just at those 2 parks!

edgewater Tue 26-Nov-19 06:57:54

That’s a lot to do in 10 days. We did 5 at the hard rock with express pass and don’t free like we covered it all enough.

Ideally for universal stay at an onsite hotel for the night to get express passes. Go to IOA first and work your way round as it’s often quieter.

Food wise we enjoyed Hard Rock Cafe and Bubba Gumps.

Disney Springs is a night time thing - in my opinion so don’t waste day time there.

Water park we preferred Volcano Bay which can come with a universal ticket rather than the Disney water parks.

reenon Tue 26-Nov-19 14:37:48

Hagrid's Motorbike Ride is THE ride to go on at the moment. You either need to buy express tickets OR get to the park when it opens which is what we did. As soon as the gates opened everyone sprinted to Hagrid's and even by the time we got there the queue was 35 mins long. Within an hour of the park opening the queue was 3 hours long.

We did ALL of the rides in two days in both parks. We absolutely blasted it and that was with a 7 & 8 year old in tow.

Oh, and to warn you.... Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls... do it last thing or absolutely cover every inch of you. You get soaked. And I mean soaked. It's like going in a shower with all of your clothes in and standing under it for a minute.

mistletoeandmerlot Tue 26-Nov-19 14:43:22

Quartz we are staying at Disney's Mickey Beach Club Resort. So easy access to all the Disney stuff but not sure yet how I get to Universal. Hmmm maybe I am trying to do too much. Seriously impressed that you are annual pass holders! I'm assuming you live in the US then?

Verily I have never heard of Islands - is that another park? Jeeez I need to do more research don't I!

Edgewater thanks for the tips re Disney Springs. Is it just a fancy shopping mall?

I'm now wondering whether to save Universal for another holiday and stay on site. What do you think? And there's Bush Gardens as well isn't there? Is that worth a day trip?

OP’s posts: |
underneaththeash Tue 26-Nov-19 15:03:24

Just get a Uber to universal (but remember as a PP said that you will be very wet after the ripsaw falls), so allow drying off time before getting the Uber back to the hotel.

You'll have plenty of time to do both Disney and universal in 10 days.

edgewater Tue 26-Nov-19 15:37:09

Disney Springs really comes to life at night. It’s outside and is shops and restaurants. Not just Disney shops but there is a Sephora and clothes etc. some Disney shops. Restaurants are good. We particularly like the Boat House.

From memory, there is a cinema there too.

Quartz2208 Tue 26-Nov-19 16:43:12

Nope UK just go quite a bit and last year an 18month annual pass was £120 more than 14 day passes and we got 2 trips out if it.

its not too much I dont think for 10 days - are you at Beach Club for those? Its sounds odd but I still think a night at one of the 3 universal hotels that give express passes and then get 2 day park to park passes. No need to book restaurants though we never do. its what we did the first time. Now we split it so stay onsite at both

mistletoeandmerlot Tue 26-Nov-19 23:05:04

Yes we are currently booked into Beach Club for ten days but I've only paid a small deposit so far so can maybe make changes. I will look into the Universal hotels, thanks Quartz. The 18 month annual pass sounds like great value for you. And if you manage to get there a couple of times a year then why not?!

OP’s posts: |
Verily1 Tue 26-Nov-19 23:09:30

Islands is ioa- islands of adventure- the sister park to universal- with the better rides

Quartz2208 Tue 26-Nov-19 23:17:20

You would be surprised how cheap it can be if you get the flights right. I only go if I can get them for under 2000 for 4 (indirect) then the hotels are really good value and the weather is always good

Ginfordinner Tue 26-Nov-19 23:19:40

I agree that Islands of Adventure is better, but both are great if you are Harry Potter fans. I don't "do" white knuckle rides and swerved quite a lot of them while we were there, but there was still plenty to do.

I was underwhelmed by Hollywood Studios TBH. We don't "do" water parks either so had a day out at the Kenneday Space Centre and another morning out at Boggy Creek on an airboat to look for alligators.

mistletoeandmerlot Wed 27-Nov-19 14:20:53

Ok so today I'm busily researching Islands of Adventure and Kennedy Space Centre. !!!!! I suddenly am desperate to go to the Kennedy Space Centre!!!!!

Express Tickets seem to be a must for Universal as we will probably only have a couple of days there. Couldn't see any reference to the park to park tickets on their website.... the research goes on.... thanks again for all your advice. Please do tell me more if anything comes to mind!

OP’s posts: |
edgewater Wed 27-Nov-19 16:56:53

Easiest way and probably the cheapest is to spend a night at one of the universal hotels that give express pass.

Purpleartichoke Wed 27-Nov-19 17:08:50

Express passes at universal can be purchased separately from the hotel, but they only go on sale x number of days before the day and they are date specific. I don’t remember how long the advance window is. It’s not small so you can definitely plan.

There are 3 universal parks. Universal studios, islands of adventure, and volcano bay. Volcano bay is a water park. The Harry Potter stuff is at universal studios and islands of adventure.

How long you need depends on how complete you want your visit to be and how long you want to spend in the parks each day. We are getting 4 day passes to universal studios and islands of adventure next spring, but on at least 2 of those days will be shorter visits to the parks. I tend towards heat exhaustion so have to take it slow. Your family may be better equipped
To go from open to close.

Check the height restrictions before you go. The first time we went, dd saw those big giant roller coasters at islands of adventure that she was far too small to ride and it helped that we could immediately remind her that she was too short for those rides. She will be tall enough this year, hence our return.

Kennedy is doable, but you will need
To rent a car. You can actually rent cars from offices collocated at many of the hotels so look into that.

Universal to Disney can be a taxi to I think there are some private bus companies. When I looked into it, once you have more than two people, the taxi really isn’t expensive compared to the bus and it’s so much easier.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 27-Nov-19 17:18:00

Uber is also widely available in Orlando and those drivers would also drive out to the Kennedy space centre

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 27-Nov-19 17:21:25

You will still need to purchase park tickets for admission. The express passes can save some time in terms of waiting in line to ride

CoolShoeshine Mon 16-Dec-19 23:17:27

We did a fortnight just at Universal but it really depends on your stamina in the heat! We quite like adding in afternoon rests and swims, mainly going to the parks for a couple of hours after breakfast and again in the evening. However I think you could easily do most of it in one day is you are happy to get there at opening and stay until close. It’s much more compact than Disney (more similar to the two Disneyland Paris parks) and we found the queues much shorter.
If you wanted to stay for a night or two the cabana bay hotel is lovely and relatively inexpensive compared to Disney. The best bit is that you can literally walk straight out of the hotel via a side entrance straight into volcano bay. it’s a fantastic feeling when you are all hot and sweaty at the water park to be able to walk back to your room in shorter time than it would take you to get to the bus stop at Disney! Uber is a great service in Orlando, there are a constant swarm of taxis hovering around all the main sites and big hotels. Way cheaper than other taxi firms.
If I was visiting for 10 days I’d have the first 2 nights at universal and then Uber over to Disney for a week. My idea of heaven!

HermioneWeasley Fri 20-Dec-19 16:56:59

Is 14 days an option?

I’d do 3 days at universal staying 2 nights at a hotel that does express passes included (we always like the royal Pacific). As a hotel resident you also get early access to one of the parks, and can then take the hogwarts express to the other. It’s usually cheapest to get a Bundle of tickets for Disney and universal - have a look on money saving expert website for which sites are running offers.

Most big rides for universal now require you to put your items in a locker. Very small lockers are free - you can get a small bag in, but you can have one per ticket holder, so you can use the kids’ ones too.

HermioneWeasley Fri 20-Dec-19 16:57:30

Forgot to say Kennedy Space Centre is amazing - nothing like it elsewhere in the world

sleepwouldbenice Sat 21-Dec-19 00:51:04

Go to thedibb website. It's lots about Disney but also plenty on universal and practical things from airport to meals out. Enjoy

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