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“Look elsewhere for a better value”

Universal Studios Florida
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Universal Orlando Tickets - USA / Canada Residents
Ranked #8 of 442 things to do in Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: This vast complex houses two theme parks (Universal Studios, for movie rides, and Islands of Adventure, for thrills), an entertainment/nightlife complex (CityWalk) and a variety of hotels. You can buy passes for admission to the parks or just visit the bars, restaurants and stores on the CityWalk.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Lockers / storage, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Stroller parking, Stairs / elevator
Reviewed April 30, 2013

This latest visit was with my wife and children (1 teen and 2 tweens). Not much has changed since the last time we visited 3 years ago. Oh wait, there was one big change, THE PRICE. Universal tickets now go for about the same price as Disney single day (their most expensive option), but you end up getting only about a quarter to half what you would get at Disney. The roller coasters are better than what you'd find at Disney, but not much else. The 3-D rides don't have the same pizzazz they once had. The newer Harry Potter ride was a big disappointment to me. I know that was sanctimonious to all the muggles out there, but I couldn't believe I waited almost 2 hours for that 2 minutes. There were even lines just to get into the section of the park, where the Harry Potter rides were at. Mind you, we went during Spring Break, so everything was packed and all the lines were long. But that ride just made you feel like you got cheated out of your time. My younger children are a little older and could enjoy more of the rollercoasters, so it was a bit more fun. The parks are open later which is helpful if your family gets a late start like mine. We were probably the last family to leave.

Other points to consider ... The meal plan was worth it, it helped in a big way. Their 'express pass' type of program (called unlimited express) is a big joke. The express tickets can cost more than the tickets to get in on certain days. During spring break they were asking $90 each, just for the option to skip most of the wait. I ended up doing the same thing for free by opting to ride as a single rider or letting them split up our group. Another helpful hint, if you can stand it, is to go on the water rides later in the day. Most of them will have short lines because everyone wants to dry off and not be soaking wet on the cooler Florida nights.

If you have never gone to Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure and you have teens then it is the place to go. Otherwise, take them to Disney instead.

1  Thank blacklionattacks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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20,815 - 20,819 of 31,149 reviews

Reviewed April 30, 2013 via mobile

Spent my bday there on 24th April, 2013 was indeed a great life experience. Such great attraction, with all the great restaurants and bands along the way.
Nothing like this in Canada except Niagara Falls. Great city. I can not wait to come back. From Canada

Thank bissod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 30, 2013

It's big. It's fancy. Their advertising is wonderful. But frankly, starting from the web site right through exiting the gates at the end of the day we were not impressed. Theme parks want you to believe they are like cruises stranded in time. That you will be treated so well and enjoy yourself so much that you can't wait to return. Where to begin.
First - for an entertainment company to have a web site that is not mobile compatible is, well laughable. We tried to buy tickets on our Android phones and could not see the screen to make out the information. We then drive 1.5 hours to stand in line to buy tickets at the gate. But this is not your normal "how many, please?" ticket sale. Instead, you get a laid back groaner of a sales presentation encouraging you to buy more, more more options. This could have better been taken care of with someone working the line ahead of the ticket booth. We waited 30 minutes - and were ninth in line.
Next the noise. We did the older part, not the Harry Potter Island piece. But what a racket. There is loud music playing over loudspeakers in many parts of the park. One might want to take a break and sit and enjoy the gardens or just people watch. Not gonna happen here. And, what we could not believe - with all the great music Universal movies have generated, not one tune was recognizable. From grunge to rap to elevator music - it was all generic and loud.
The attractions were fine. We enjoyed seeing most of them in one long day. We did stop at the diner for lunch - and true to our experience so far, the lunch was well - if gas station sushi is your thing, you will find the lunch delightful. And so we make our way to the gate and enroute we see a "fresh squeezed lemonade" stand. It is hot and this sounds perfect. I get two ice cubes ("we're out of ice") and thinking the lemonade spinning in the churner is cold, accept that. It's not. We share a lukewarm lemon syrup instead. Sorry Universal, but I've been spoiled by growing up near Cedar Point in Ohio - where the staff is truly friendly and everyone is anxious to please.

Thank Dad58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 30, 2013

I used to enjoy Universal more than Disney, because there are some incredible attractions and 15 years ago I would have given it 5 stars.

However, the people behind the idea to 'cater for the rich only' Express Pass need shooting or at least being made an example of. Blatantly fleecing those that can afford it and making the rest of the paying public feel like 3rd class citizens chained in the lower depths of the Titanic is one of the most depraved and elitist money making schemes that I have ever seen. A family paying hundreds of dollars to get in shouldn't be made to feel like this. The message is clear on your already expensive Easter day out: it's queue for at least 2 hours to do Men in Black or take another mortgage out to jump the queues and make the poor peasants wait even longer.

Disney's FastPass system is much fairer and treats everyone the same because they realise we've all had to already pay a huge amount to get there.

The finale was a damp squib too - what happened to the jaw dropping war-on-the-lake? Now we have this pretty, but private back slapping session for 20 minutes. Pity. The attractions are still great though.

1  Thank ChrisWri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2013

We spent the day from 9AM till 7PM at both parks. We first went online and bought the tickets for annual passes right now they have the best price. AAA has them $3 cheaper but did not have them in the Melbourne office after they told me they did. We also bought the meal deal which was not forth it for us. If you plan on eating more than 2 times in a day buy it but if not don't. We only ate 2 times so it was not a deal. We got to the parks at 9 and picked up the passes at the kiosk which went very quick and smoothly. The park lines were very reasonable. The longest was about 40 min.that day which was a Sunday. We headed for Harry Potter first and this had a line of only 10 minutes !! The ride was longer than I expected and quite good. The village they built was amazing. The wand shop was fun. They choose a child and have a wand choose that child like Harry did in the first movie. Butter beer was interesting. Hulk had a 30 min ride, Spiderman was 10 min, Disasters which use to be Earthquake was 10 min, Twister was 10 min, Despicable me was the longest about 50 minutes, Dragon challenger was 10 min, Revenge of the Mummy 10 min,and Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket was closed for the day. It was a fun day for our family of 2 teens and parents. The food was normal park quality food and not very good. They have lockers outside of all the big rides for your bags because you can not bring anything on the rides. The lockers are free for the first hour only.

1  Thank Deb-NY-FL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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