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Universal Studios 20+ yrs ago...going now...tips/suggestions

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Universal Studios 20+ yrs ago...going now...tips/suggestions

Going to Universal Studios with grandma, hubby, and 2 kids (ages 9 and 6). We don't do roller coasters, but love the parks. Any tips, suggestions on how to make the most of our trip. Saw there is another park now too. How many days would you suggest going here and is there a site for vacation package that I should look into.

Thanks! Really appreciate it!


Metro Orlando
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for Daytona Beach
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1. Re: Universal Studios 20+ yrs ago...going now...tips/suggestions

Man, 20 years. I think each of the parking garages they have now is bigger than the whole park was back then.

You're definitely going to want to see both parks, especially with the kids. Both the parks have roller coasters (I guess Universal only has one), but they also have virtual coasters where you're in a car that actually doesn't travel that far but simulates falling off buildings and stuff like that. The new Harry Potter ride takes it a step farther but still isn't technically coaster. You might want to decide ahead of time if you want to try those. I'd suggest giving them a go.

City Walk is fun too. It's a restaurant, club, and entertainment area you walk through before you actually get to the parks. It's somewhat adult, but they've got at least a little something for everybody.

Staying at one of the on-site hotels makes for nice visit. You don't have to worry about driving or taking a shuttle bus (unless you stay at their new value resort I think) you just hop on the ferry or walk over to the park. If you stay at the older (but still very nice) hotels you're also given Express Passes for your stay. They allow you to jump the lines at many of the attractions and you can probably see 3 or 4 times as much. Much as I loath them they sure are nice to have. They will not be included with rooms at the new value resort.

You could get by doing both parks in maybe 3 days, although 4 or 5 might be fun too. As often as I've been there over the years it's hard for me to say. I will say that Disney is a lot of fun too, but right now Universal has better annual pass deals, and it's a little closer, so we've been going there.

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2. Re: Universal Studios 20+ yrs ago...going now...tips/suggestions

Went to Universal last Feb. because we wanted to see the Harry Potter stuff. That area is still very crowded during most of the day so I would suggest you go to tour the HP village first thing in the morning when you arrive at the park. Also, Universal doesn't advertise this, but if the wait time for the ride in the castle is about an hour or less, they will allow people to tour the castle without going on the ride itself. They leave a section of the queue line open for you to walk through the castle (which is the best part of the ride). When the ride line is too long they use all of the queue, so this option isn't available. Just tell the staff member at the entry way of the castle that you want to tour the castle only and they will direct you where to go.

If you want to go on the ride itself come back at the end of the day, like 30 or 60 minutes before the park closes - we walked right onto the ride then. Warning though, the ride itself has none of the charm of the early HP movies and is very scary.

Kenai, Alaska
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3. Re: Universal Studios 20+ yrs ago...going now...tips/suggestions

I would start with the Orlando Informer website. It lays everything out for you, as far as the park, hotels, City Walk, crowd planning, etc. Plus, it is fun to look at and get excited about your trip!

We did book a vacation package directly through Universal Orlando, and saved about $130 over buying the room and tickets separately, so not a huge amount, but enough money to make it worth it to me to book that way. It just depends on what specials are being offered at the time.

Staying onsite was mighty convenient and the Unlimited Express passes were fantastic. We spent nearly 3 full days (my kids were 5, 7, 9 at the time), and are already planning to do 4 days next time. My 9 year old is a coaster fanatic, so he and my husband rode them all, but the rest of us didn't and had a blast with the other rides. We also really liked the photo connect package, and it was cheaper to buy ahead of time online. There are great meet and greets with Transformers, Superheroes, and the other characters- they don't publish all the times for those (some are in the park map, but most aren't). If you ask at the venue, though, they will tell you when someone is coming out, so you can be there if you want (we wanted to catch all the Transformers and found out they cycle every 30 minutes).

Hope you have a wonderful trip!!

Orlando, Florida
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4. Re: Universal Studios 20+ yrs ago...going now...tips/suggestions

When are you planning on going? The new Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley will be opening up sometime in June. Both parks offer stuff to do for everyone in your family!

We would say 2 full days in enough time to see and do everything but that is depending on the time of year that you are planning on going.

We highly recommend going to go see the Harry Potter attractions later in the day - typically an hour or two before the park closes. This will result in shorter lines for you guys.

The Cinematic Spectacular firework show is awesome! That is a must see..

Also there is a cool magic show that is located right next to Mel's Drive In Diner that is a must see. The show won't be listed on the maps - however if you are walking along the Hollywood Blvd section of the park and see a person holding up a live magic show sign - be sure to see it. Very small room that only holds around 15-20 people and the show last 12 minutes!

At the end of the Men In Black attraction - be sure to push the red button - can't tell you why :) but trust us... it will help your score.

Have fun! And most importantly enjoy your trip!

Valley Stream, NY
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5. Re: Universal Studios 20+ yrs ago...going now...tips/suggestions

Agree with JLH. We always stay on site when visiting us/ioa (usually stay 6 nights). The built in express pass is wonderful. You can pop back to the hotel easily to relax by the pool. All 3 hotels are great, we've only stayed at Portofino (love it). Especially with the different ages, some can stay in the park, the others can take the boat back to the hotel. We also booked through universal with a package hotel/tickets. Wet n Wild was included with our tickets. The hotels have a free shuttle to Wet n Wild and Seaworld :)

6. Re: Universal Studios 20+ yrs ago...going now...tips/suggestions

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