“That’s brimstone…we must be close.” Update 07/01 - Finally! An Update!
I’m venturing over from the Mouse’s side of the house to also post a PTR over here. I am planning a trip to Orlando for August 21 to September 1 of 2013 and I plan on spending two days at UO. I haven’t been to UO in at least 20 years and my kids have never gone, so I know next to nothing about the “other” theme park in Orlando! Maybe I should start out with some introductions. I am Erin:
I am 39 (I’ll be 40 at the time of the trip) and I am a divorced mom of two awesome kids. As far as Universal goes, the only thing I can remember from my last trip there is the ET ride. I think I also remember Disaster. Was that there 20 years ago? I love coasters and I am a huge Harry Potter geek (books and movies), so I can’t wait to see what Universal has to offer. I love Dr. Seuss’ books, so I am looking forward to exploring Seuss Landing with my kids. I used to read all of the books to them, so I am planning on dusting those books off and rediscovering them with the kids before our trip
This is my 13 year old son, Coy:
Cool skull and crossbones Snuggie, huh? :lmao: (I do actually think it is kinda cool!) He will be 14 at the time of the trip and he is looking forward to going to a new theme park. He and his sister have been to Disney World twice, but he asked on the last trip if we could go to UO too. He saw The Simpsons Ride billboard one day and he immediately knew he wanted to go. He loves cartoons such as SpongeBob and he loves action movies. I know he will get a kick out of meeting the Marvel Comic Superheroes. He’s also a big fan of coasters – I took him on his first one a few years ago at Hershey Park – and he likes the Harry Potter movies.
This is my 9 year old daughter, True:
She is my little diva and this picture of her was taken after she asked me to buy her that Michael Kors bag! Um, no. :laughing: She will be 10 at the time of the trip and she’s excited about going to UO, too. She loves movies like Despicable Me, Shrek and Madagascar. When she was very little, she used to pronounce “Madagascar” by dragging out the M and saying the rest of the word very quickly, “Mmmmmmmmmmadagascar!” We still pronounce it like that to this day and laugh every time! I think she’ll like meeting those characters! She kinda sorta likes Harry Potter. She likes the first two movies, but the shrunken head in Prisoner of Azkaban scared her and she refused to watch any of the other movies until very recently. She enjoyed the last three movies, though, so I think she will get a kick out of going to WWoHP.
For right now, the plan is to spend two days in UO, but I have been thinking about spending three days here. If it is two days, I thought the best two days to go would be Saturday, August 24th and Sunday, August 25th. My logic behind choosing those two days was that those dates had the lowest crowd levels predicted for Disney World, so I figured the crowds would be low at UO as well. Does that seem right? On the other hand, crowd levels wouldn’t matter very much if I got us the Universal Express Passes, right? I have a lot of research to do, so I appreciate any tricks and tips you might be able to give me! As you can see in my siggie, I have a PTR going for Disney World right now too. I created this separate PTR just for UO because I didn’t know how “The Darkside” forums viewed posting about the Mouse over here. Please, feel free to come on over to my Disney Every Day PTR if you’d like to see what’s going on with my Disney trip planning.
Universal Studios Rides, Shows and Play Areas
It’s time to do some Universal planning! I was on the UO website and I realized that I know little to nothing about these parks! First, I looked at the rides, shows and restaurants offered at each park. Then I took a peek at City Walk, but I don’t think the kids and I will be doing anything in that area this time around. Finally, I toyed around with the onsite resorts, but I quickly realized that it makes more financial sense to stay in WDW on the DDP while we take a few days off to visit UO. I would love to stay at Portofino, but a split stay between UO and WDW isn’t in the cards right now. It’s entirely possible that I am not working the numbers the right way – Disney has fuzzy math, so I am sure that UO does too – but I think that getting two or three day park-to-park tickets is the best bet. Yes, I am considering three day tickets. I can’t believe that I would allow myself to be out of the Disney Bubble for that long, but I’m starting to wonder if the kids and I could really experience all that we wanted to in only two days :confused3 The extra day will probably replace my “relaxing” day. I mean, who needs to relax on vacation, right? :hyper: I am also wondering if getting the Universal Express Pass is worth it. Or is it the Universal Express Plus that goes with the park-to-park tickets? In any case, I like the idea of skipping the lines. I’m definitely going to be seeking advice as I go along with my UO plans.
As I stated in the intro to this PTR, we are staying at a Disney resort and we will most likely be going to UO on Saturday, August 24th and Sunday, August 25th. I chose these days because – according to touringplans.com – WDW will have the lowest crowd levels on those days. I figured that, by extension, the crowds would be lower at UO on those days too. Am I completely off base here? I’d welcome some opinions on what days are best to go to US and IoA. Now, when I went to the Express Pass website, I put in my dates and I saw that the passes were only available on August 23rd, 25th, 28th, 29th and 30th. What’s up with that? :confused3 Are passes only available on certain days or do passes sell out that quickly? Also, while on the subject of touringplans.com, are there any other websites that Darksiders frequent? For instance, I also use allears.net and mousesavers.com in my travel planning. Are there any sites similar to those for UO that anyone would recommend? I am the kind of person who hates not knowing something, so not halving all of the information about UO that I would like is driving me nuts! At the same time, I love the researching part of trip planning, so I am having fun while going nuts! :lmao:
It’s been at least 20 years since I have been there and the only attraction I can remember with any real clarity is ET. I looked at the UO website and decided my first step in planning would be to get familiar with the rides and shows. I am a list maker, so what did I do? I made a list! I listed all of the rides, all of the shows and I marked if they took Universal Express Passes or Universal Express Plus. I also listed the play areas but hopefully, my kids won’t want to actually play there and I can just get some pictures of the areas if they have cool theming. Finally, I listed all of the restaurants and categorized them into Fine Dining, Casual Dining and Quick Service. Dining is a whole different topic and I am not even close to ready to discuss that yet! :laughing: Based on my lists, I think the kids and I will want to do everything! Ride all the things! :rotfl:
I’m going to start off with the rides at Universal Studios:
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem – I am so glad this is open! The kids and I love Despicable Me and I can’t wait to do a movie night for this movie. For those who haven’t read any of my past PTRs, I like to have what I call Dinner and a Disney Movie nights. Well, I have only had one in recent months, but I need to get on the ball and start having them again so that the kids can get familiar and/or reacquainted with some characters we will see at UO. I guess I will have to call those theme nights “Dinner and a Universal Movie Nights” :rotfl2:
Disaster! – this is the only other ride that I think I remember from when I was a kid. I’m not totally sure I have ridden this since so much has changed over the years.
ET Adventure – I know that I rode this years ago and I really liked it. The kids have seen the movie several times, but I think it would still be fun to do a movie night for this one too.
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit – the kids and I love coasters and I am so glad that they are both tall enough now to ride them all. The height requirement for some of the rides was what prevented me from planning a UO trip before now. The kids are more than tall enough at this point since my baby boy is about 5’9” now (half an inch taller than me! :scared1:) and my little girl is about 5’ even!
Men in Black Alien Attack – The kids have seen the MiB movies too. I liked the first one but wasn’t all too into the second. My kids loved both. I smell another theme night coming on! Maybe when the new MiB comes out. Oops! I just checked IMDb and saw that it already came out! In May! Shows how much I wanted to see that movie! :rolleyes:
Revenge of the Mummy – None of us have seen any of the Mummy movies, so what do we have to do? You guessed it! Have a movie night! I checked Netflix, though, and they don’t have those movies available for streaming. They are available for DVD, but I don’t really want to mess up my queue :lmao: Maybe I can borrow them from someone or maybe I can catch them on cable and record them.
Shrek 4D – we have all of the movies (including the Halloween and Christmas specials) and we have watched them all several times! Shrek said the quote I have for my title to this PTR! Movie night!!!
The Simpsons Ride – the kids really like the Simpsons. I LOVE The Simpsons! I have watched them from the very beginning and I cannot wait to go on this ride. We don’t really need a movie night for this one, considering that The Simpsons comes on every Sunday night, but I think it might be fun to watch The Simpsons Movie since the kids really enjoyed it when we watched it before.
Terminator 2 3D – I loved the Terminator movies when I was younger, so I was happy that the kids liked The Terminator when they watched it a few years ago. Funnily enough, the kids have seen Terminator, Terminator 3 and even The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but they have never seen Terminator 2! I am a terrible mother! :rotfl: I have to make it up to them. How? Say it with me: Movie night!
Twister – this was on basic cable just the other weekend! This is one of my all-time favorite movies because of the strong female lead. I love the part when Helen Hunt’s character – Jo – and Bill Paxton’s character – Bill (LOL) – get caught in the twister, they take cover and her truck gets tossed. After it is over, Bill goes to his fiancé – who is very shaken by what she saw – and Jo passes by her, looks at her and asks calmly, “You OK?” and just keeps walking as if getting caught in a tornado is no big deal. Love it! Unfortunately, I only have this movie on VHS and I no longer have a VHS player. I might have to buy it on DVD because the kids would LOVE this movie! I know you all are tired of hearing it by now, but: Movie night!
Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster – to be honest, I’m not sure how familiar my kids are with Woody Woodpecker. I’m guessing not very. I mean, when would they have had the opportunity to watch Woody? I wasn’t too into Woody myself when I was a kid. I mostly watched him because there was a limited selection of cartoons back in the day! I looked on Netflix and they have the old cartoons on DVD, but I am most definitely not screwing with my queue for those! :laughing: What’s this called “The New Woody Woodpecker Show”? That is available for streaming. I’ll check it out one day, but I have a feeling that I’ll just end up looking for a few Woody Woodpecker cartoons on youtube. No, I will not be doing a movie night for this guy :lmao:
Next are the shows at US:
Animal Actors on Location – my kids are both animal lovers, but True especially loves anything to do with animals. I think we will enjoy this show.
Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Review – oddly enough, Coy asked me who Beetlejuice was the other day. I think he was watching something on TV and a commercial came on for a movie or something. In any case, I think they might find that movie to be interesting. I always thought that movie was a little weird, but we’ll see what the kids think.
The Blues Brothers Show – my kids have no idea who these people are and I don’t really have an interest in stopping to seek out this show. I heard it’s a good show, though, so we might stop if we happen to pass by during a performance.
A Day in the Park with Barney – Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Need I say more? :lmao: I never ever liked the purple dinosaur and I was so thankful that my kids never got into that show either!
Fear Factor Live – Coy discovered Fear Factor on Netflix a few weeks ago and has proceeded to gross out his sister by making her watch with him :rotfl: I never cared for the show, but I have a feeling that Coy will want to stop to watch this at US.
Lucy – A Tribute – Imagine my surprise when I saw my 9 year old daughter watching I Love Lucy on TV a few weeks ago! At first, I thought that she was asleep on the sofa and the TV was just on Lucy, but no, she was actually watching it! She finds Lucy to be hilarious and she couldn’t believe that I used to watch reruns of it when I was her age too! :goodvibes I think she will really enjoy seeing Lucy in the park and I hope she gets a chance to meet the character too!
Universal Orlando’s Horror Make Up Show – I think all of us will enjoy this. The kids like seeing the “behind the scenes” parts of movies, so this make up show should be pretty cool.
US Play Areas:
Curious George Goes to Town – I just want to see what is over there and maybe take a few pictures because I really liked Curious George as a kid. The kids like him too, but I don’t think they will actually be interested in playing in that area.
Fievel’s Playland – what the heck is a Fievel? Oh, I looked it up. He’s from An American Tail. Well, I doubt the kids have ever seen those movies, but I know I haven’t. Movie night? Maybe. I have so many other ones to do that I don’t know if I’ll have time to do one just so that the kids and I can be familiar with the theming of a play area.
In any case, it looks like I have quite a few movie nights to plan! This is only US! I haven’t even gotten started on IoA yet! Oh, and a Harry Potter marathon is definitely in the works! But, shhh! I don’t want to spill the beans on that one yet!
Hi, Erin! :wave:
Coy's snuggie is so funny! :lol:
I went back and forth quite a bit about two or three day tickets and finally settled on three because I figured we were going to want to fly with Harry another time. :wizard:
Staying at Disney for your dining plan is probably a good idea you guys can eat breakfast at your resort and possibly even have dinner back at Disney if you have a late lunch.
I haven't looked at a crowd calendar for your dates so I'm not sure about needing the EP. We've opted out for our dates but I don't want to steer you wrong since some schools will still be out during your dates.
I'm glad you ventured over here so I'm not the only obsessive planner on the dark side boards with a ptr for a trip nearly a year out. : laughing:
:welcome: So glad you’re here! :yay: Am I looking at the right area on these boards? Are we the only two with PTRs going? I saw a few TRs. How can people not plan a year out? :rolleyes2 I guess we are the only obsessive ones over here right now :rotfl: Yeah, my mom got Coy that Snuggie! It was one of his favorite Christmas presents last year and he went through a months-long phase of wearing it EVERY DAY :faint: Now he only wears it occasionally :laughing: Good point about breakfast and the DDP. We are big breakfast eaters on vaycay and I think it would be nice to get an early start at a character breakfast or something, hop over to UO and then have a late dinner back in The World. Oh, and I looked at Mythos! I think we will have to have a meal there one day! Thanks for the tip :thumbsup2
Islands of Adventure Rides, Shows and Play Areas
Next up is Islands of Adventure! Just a heads up: I’ll be doing a whole separate post on WWoHP, so I’m not going to go into that here. The rides are up first!:
The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man – the kids and I love the movies, so I think we will enjoy this! We haven’t seen the most recent movie. Anyone have any opinions about if it is worth seeing?
Caro-Seuss-el – anything Dr. Seuss is fine by me! Oh, and the kids might like it too :laughing:
The Cat in the Hat – I actually picked up the Mike Myers version of this movie a couple of months ago at Target for like $5! I couldn’t believe it was that cheap because I love this movie! Coy remembered watching it, but True didn’t. I think I might have to do a movie night with this version as well as the cartoon version one day.
Doctor Doom’s Fearfall – I think the kids and I might have watched The Fantastic Four once…but who cares? This ride looks AWESOME!!!
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls – um…who in the world is Dudley Do-Right? Quick Google search… :surfweb: … Ohhhhhhh. From Rocky & Bullwinkle! I used to watch that as a kid, but it was another one of those deals where I only watched it because nothing better was on :lmao: I used to like Boris and Natasha, though. I wonder if my kids have ever seen any of the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons? Doubt it. Anyway, back to the ride. So it’s a log flume, right? Any chance they have lap bars on it? True and I absolutely HATE that feeling of being thrown out of the log – like in Splash Mountain – but I know Coy will want to go on this. Give me a coaster any day! Spins, loops, drops, whatever! Bring it on! But log flume rides scare me silly! :scared:
The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride – Dr. Seuss! I read a tip on a TR somewhere to ride both sides of the tracks so you can see different things. Any truth to that?
The Incredible Hulk Coaster – OK, this is usually a good debate starter: Who was a better Hulk in the most recent movies? Eric Bana or Edward Norton? Which had the better storyline? In any case, I can’t wait for us to ride this coaster!!!
Jurassic Park River Adventure – the kids and I have seen every single one of the Jurassic Park movies. The first one will always be the best, though. I think we’ll like this attraction.
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish – Dr. Seuss!!! OK, I’ll stop acting nerdy and ask about the ride :rolleyes2 So this is basically Dumbo, but with water, right? Well, since it will be August, I’m up for any water ride! Well, not Ripsaw Falls, but we already talked about that :blush:
Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges – I don’t know how, but my kids are familiar with Popeye. Seriously, no idea how. Is there a new cartoon featuring them? Anyway, I used to hate Popeye, but he made me want to eat my spinach! Love the stuff! So, I am looking forward to this water ride, too!
Pteranodon Flyers – I love these types of rides! Wait. Is this only for kids? I don’t really understand how adults could be excluded from all of this AWSOME! It’s like a swing set in the air! They let me ride something similar in Hershey Park. So, seriously, help me to understand. There are certain rides that adults can’t get on unless their kid is within a certain height range? For this one, I think the limit was 56”, but True is 5’, so that is 60” right there. Who knows how tall she will be in a year! Probably my height, the way she is growing! :laughing: Oh well. If there are certain rides that I can’t ride, I will admire them from afar :sad:
Storm Force Acceleration – I think we might do an X-Men movie night because the kids are familiar (and like the movies) but I am not. This is yet another group of movies that isn’t available for streaming on Netflix! Ugh! My queue is going to be so messed up! :rotfl:
The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad Show – Well, The 7 Adventures of Sinbad was on Netflix streaming. That is, after I scrolled past all of the stand-up shows of the 90’s comedian, Sinbad! :lmao: I was looking for the Sinbad starring Brad Pitt. I really liked that one. I think I have that on DVD, actually. Coy and I used to watch it all of the time when he was little. True was just a baby, so I doubt she has ever seen it. I’ll have to look through the box of DVDs that we never play. Anyway, I think this might be an interesting show because the kids and I like watching stunts!
Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear! – Dr. Seuss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Poseidon’s Fury – I heard this was a good show. Thoughts?
The Mystic Fountain – Does this really qualify as a show? :confused3 Well, the UO website had it listed under shows, so that is where I will put it!
IoA Play Areas:
Camp Jurassic – we’ll probably only stop for pictures
If I ran the Zoo – I’m curious to see this one
Jurassic Park Discovery Center – I think the kids and I will really enjoy this! I’ve read that other people sort of felt let down because they expected more, so I’ll try not to get too amped up about the possibility of seeing a dino egg hatch! :hyper: It just seems like a really cool place and I think the kids will like it.
Me Ship, The Olive – pass!
Looking at this list, I think we will want to see and do nearly everything! Yeah, an Express Pass is looking better and better :thumbsup2
On board here!!!
I just LOVE when a new family decides to try Universal :thumbsup2
We are all here to help if you need it!!!
:welcome: Thank you so much! I can’t wait to go to Universal and it’s going to be practically a brand new experience for me since I haven’t been in over two decades! ::yes:: I think the kids are going to love it! :goodvibes
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Let’s be honest here. Harry is the only reason I am considering leaving the Disney Bubble for three days! :wizard: Otherwise, if we ever did go to UO, it would have been for maybe a day or two. It was such a funny coincidence that I was on Pinterest earlier and what should I see but this meme?:
That was very fitting for today’s post! Anyway, I have been waiting to go to WWoHP for so long and I don’t even care that it only has a few rides and shows! Speaking of rides:
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – this ride doesn’t have Express Pass, so is this best to do first thing?
Dragon Challenge – I just read today that the dragons are named for dragons that were in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Whenever we watch Goblet of Fire and they get to the dragon part, we always say along with Barty Crouch, “Chinese Firebolt!. Oooohhh!” :lmao:
Flight of the Hippogriff – yup!
…and that’s it. Ugh, I wish this part of the park was bigger! Oh well, I’m still excited about seeing everything! I also have seen a few shows on YouTube. They weren’t listed on the UO website, but I know the Beauxbaton ladies and the Durmstrang men have a performance at certain times of day! True and I love us some Durmstrang men! We call Vicktor Krum “Vicktor Yum”! I know the dude is 12 years younger than I am, but he is one fine piece of… oops! Sorry! I wonder if I can come up with a reverse aging spell? :stir: OK, let me regain my sense of composure and talk about the chorus. I don’t know what it is called, but there is a chorus that sings “Boil, Boil, Toil and Trouble” with the toads and everything! I’m so glad that they included this in the park! I listened to a couple of other songs that they sang, but I didn’t want to spoil it for myself. I also didn’t want to spoil it for the kids, so I haven’t showed them any of the performances either. Wait, I just looked at the IoA map and I saw that the Beaubaton/Durmstrang performance is called the Tri-Wizard Spirit Rally and the chorus is called the Frog Choir :thumbsup2
The UO website lists food next. Well, I heard the food is nothing to write home about – which is a shame because I really wanted to go to the Owl Post! :rotfl: I know, I am corny! A tip I read was to buy the postcards and to have them stamp it with the Hogsmeade post mark, but to bring my own stamps because the Hogsmeade stamps were very pricey! Has anyone mailed a letter or a postcard at the Owl Post? But wait, we were talking about food! Is there any food item anyone would recommend at WWoHP? We definitely have to try a Butterbeer. So far, all but one of the reports I have read said the regular Butterbeer was much better than the frozen. I might have to tempt fate and try a frozen one, just to say I did it. How’s the Pumpkin Juice? To be honest, it sounds repulsive to me because all I can imagine is a pumpkin pie in juice form :crazy2: I imagine, that after we drink our fill of Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice, we’ll have to visit the restrooms – and hear Moaning Myrtle! Oh! I almost forgot about Pumpkin Pasties? Do they sell those at Honeydukes?
While we’re on the subject of stores, it is my understanding that Ollivanders must be done first thing in the morning. I really want to see this! Sadly, I’m not even hoping one of my kids gets picked… I’m hoping I get picked! :wizard: No chance of that, though, huh? :laughing: I’m just picturing that the wand chooses me and my hair gets blown back and my wand glows and I feel this sense of connection to the wand and everyone looks at me in awe as I start my journey to be the brightest which of my age! Yeah, the crazy runs deep over here :lmao: Back to the shop – if we go to Ollivanders first, then we would have to go to Forbidden Journey right after that, right? Or is the line already too long after being open for 30 minutes? I want to visit each and every shop there! I heard that WWoHP gets much slower close to closing (I guess that’s typical of any park, though) and I hope that the kids and I can get some shopping done without being squished between all of the people in there :crowded: Does anyone have any tips for shopping? Does anyone have any tips for getting picked…I mean, getting their kids picked for Ollivanders? :blush: :rotfl:
If you go on the water rides at IOA prepare to get drenched. The drops are much steeper on the flume rides. The theming isn't super on DDR but it's a blast. The Bilge rapids? You will get soaking wet, if not from the rapids then from the people who are shooting the squirt 'guns' (i.e. water cannons) at you. Now WHO would do something like that to a complete stranger?:rolleyes1
As for WWOHP? I could have stayed there all day soaking up the atmosphere (well I pretty well did;)).
The theme Harry's Wondrous World playing throughout Hogsmeade (well forget that Olivander's is there, just pretend they have a branch not in Diagon Alley) the theming is absolutely fantastic. The shops all of the minute details? Just incredible. I'm a grandmothery age and I absolutely adored it. But I'm a Potterhead (second childhood).
The FJ can be a bit rough on some people so believe it when you read about motion sickness. Not that it bothered me but I sure heard a lot of complaints about feeling ill.
If you go on the FJ 6 or 7 times then also be sure you do the castle tour. That way you can take your camera and stop to enjoy every detail.
Be prepared though, the shops are very true to scale and all but Filch's are very small. In fact the longest line we stood in was Dervish and Banges, tiny but well worth it to see some of the more collectible items.
I loved the Butterbeer (regular for me). Be sure to get it at the Hogshead Pub in a souvenir mug. The pumpkin juice not so much but the bottles are really cute.
Chocolate frogs are a must have, they have cauldron cakes that are yummy but very rich.
Take some of the negative that you hear on these boards with a grain of salt. It seems that people feel disloyal if they love the park. Just being in the Three Broomsticks is well worth it and the food is not bad at all.
Seuss Landing is adorable, the theming in the Lost Continent is great, I'd go to the shows just because rumor has it that area may be turned into more HP. Poseidon's Fury was quite well done, but a little overly dramatic by the 'guide'. Still fun.
Have a wonderful time!
Sadly I hear the Dragons don't run at the same time any longer, but the ride is still wild, along with the Hulk, Dr Doom an Spiderman? Insane.
:welcome: Thanks for joining in! My kids will LOVE getting drenched on the water rides. I'm starting to wonder if we should wear bathing suits under our clothes? At the very least, I'm thinking I should bring a change of clothes for them because they will probably want to ride those rides over and over again. I am very excited about visiting WWoHP and I'll probably be in a trance there for hours just soaking up the details. That is, until my kids pull me away! That's a good tip about the castle tour. I'll be sure to do that :thumbsup2 I like that the shops are true to scale, but it still seems like a shame that they're so crowded. But, I have to think of it this way: The shops were depicted as super crowded in the movies, so it will just make us feel like true Hogwarts students on a day trip to Hogsmeade :wizard: Thanks for the info on the food and drinks. We might have lunch at Three Broomsticks just to say we did it. I'm so excited to see the rest of the parks too! Thanks so much for the tips!
Joining you over here :) Harry Potter is also the only reason we would even think of leaving The World. So excited :cool1:
They do have 'people driers' there. That was hysterical in it's own right.
Do take a poncho at least. We rented a locker for a bit and put our jackets and sweatshirts in them wearing our ponchos and short sleeve shirt that we had under the sweats. My shoes and socks were soaked, my sister's face makeup, well let's just say she looked worse for the wear.
There are also in ground fountains that kids play in and some unexpected soakings. So swimsuits under clothes might be an idea and save that for last.
Although August will be better weather for it than an almost record cold November, so take that into consideration.
I was going to say earlier, on the food there is a wonderful place right in Jurassic Park by the 'soak zone' called Thunder Falls Terrace. They had a delicious chicken wrap and the other selections looked yummy too.
Keep an eye out for all the detail it's everywhere.
I know the fees are sort of costly but the ATM has (or did have) Gringott's Bank on the receipt, Moaning Myrtle in the bathroom, send a postcard to yourself from Owl Post, it makes a terrific souvenir.
Yes when I was in Honeyduke's I kept seeing Neville with his lollipop being swiped by Harry!
It is magical pixiedust: and I am someone who grew up on Disney, went to Disneyland every year for decades since opening, met Walt and have a lot of Disneyana.
Nothing in my experience compares to the theming and the experience of the Forbidden Journey.
:welcome: How cool of you to join my Darkside PTR and my WDW PTR! Thanks for reading along!
People dryers? :lmao: OK, that I have got to see! Yeah, the food is looking better and better now that I have really been looking at it! :thumbsup2 I think I am going to have to use one of those ATMs because I would love to see Gringotts on the receipt. That would be so cool!
You all that know me are going to think I have gone off the deep end. You all who are just now getting to know me are going to think that this is pretty early in the PTR to be contradicting myself. Trust me, ladies and gents, I have only just begun turning all my plans on their ears! :lmao:
I hope that you guys don’t think it is tacky of me to talk about money here, but I need to work something out to make sure I am getting the best value with my vacation. I came from a family where money was “the root of all evil” and we were discouraged to discuss money matters with our parents. I actually think that this was the reason why I had so many money issues when I was a young adult. If you can’t discuss and understand money, budgeting etc. with your parents, who is supposed to teach you? OK, I won’t start ranting about this, because you know I will! :laughing:
I was looking at the UO tickets portion of the website again and I was able to see the prices for the days we wanted Express Passes in August. I’m not sure why it seemed that certain days were blacked out when I checked this site last time, but whatever. For all three days for the three of us, the price would be $936.09 including taxes and fees. That would be worth it to me because I like the idea of having front-of-the-line access all day. My kids and I would be able to do most (if not all) of what we wanted and we wouldn’t be stuck in the infamous heat of the UO queues! It’s expensive – I’m not saying it’s not – but sometimes I am willing to pay a premium for things that my kids and I really want.
I tried to look up the on-site hotels again, but I wasn’t able to build a package with a resort stay plus tickets :confused3 The UO website and I really don’t get along! On Monday, I decided just to go ahead and give UO a call. Let me get the bad stuff off of my chest first: Besides the not-very-user-friendly website, I found that the customer service at UO left a lot to be desired. I called the Portofino Bay resort, not knowing if this was the proper place to contact for package reservations, but it was the only number I saw on the UO website. The woman who answered was pretty abrupt when she said she was going to transfer me to the right number. Admittedly, I thought I may have been calling the wrong place, but she was a little rude. On top of that, she transferred me to the wrong number! The woman who answered that line was a bit rude herself until I said that I was transferred to her. She lightened up a bit and gave me the correct number to call before transferring me to that number. Then things turned around because a very nice man named Lee answered my call and, subsequently, all of my questions. I know I am spoiled by the Disney CMs, but I have been in the customer service industry for years and years, and I know poor customer service when I see it. I wish I was asked to take a survey after I spoke to Lee because, as I said a second ago, he was great.
So what made Lee so great? I’ll tell ya! I let him know up front that I wasn’t going to make a reservation today, but that I only wanted to get some pricing. I said that because I didn’t want to get that sales pitch and I just wanted the numbers :teacher: So I asked him how much it would be for me and my two kids (adults by the standards of WDW and UO) to stay at Portofino Bay from August 21st to August 23rd with three day park-to-park tickets. He did a few calculations and said, “For August 21st through August 23rd at the Portofino Bay, in a Garden View room, with three day park-to-park tickets, unlimited front-of-the-line access and free early entry to the parks, your total would be $1139.03.”
I said in disbelief, “That’s it? I thought it would be much more!”
He laughed as he asked, “You did?”
I said, “Yeah,” and I asked him, just for information’s sake, what the rates were for the other types of rooms. The same package in a Bay View room would be $1206.54 and in a Deluxe room would be $1274.03. What??? This can’t be right! Is this right? I’m not sure if these prices included taxes and fees, but still!!! So to stay on site and get the tickets I want would only be a little over $200 more than the three day Express Passes?
I needed to do some comparisons. For a stay at Pop those same nights and with Park Hopper tickets (I didn’t include the DDP) it would be $1184.92 before tax. Same thing at Port Orleans French Quarter would be $1341.42. Hmm... Maybe what Lee was quoting me for a two-night stay in UO was right… So then I did the calculations for Pop just staying from August 23rd to September 1st. Then I did it with the free dining plan, since that is a popular promotion for that time of year. To make sure I was really looking at the numbers right, I even calculated the cost for if they offered free dining but I decided to upgrade from the QSDP to the DDP. I should also mention here that I did not do any comparisons with a AAA discount. I just wanted to work in raw numbers. It was looking more and more like it would make a lot of sense to stay onsite at UO for a couple of days! :yay:
These plans are subject to change on a whim (like they just did :rolleyes: ) but I have decided to stay at the Portofino Bay for the first two nights of the trip so that we can have the Express Passes all three days. Not to mention the early entry all three days! OK, I’ll mention it! I think we will go to WWoHP each of those mornings to make sure we can really do it all. Then we can focus on the rest of the parks :thumbsup2 We’ll probably leave the parks around lunch time on August 23rd and go check into Pop, then go back to UO for the rest of the day. That way, when we’re in UO, we won’t have to worry about transportation back and forth between there and WDW and we won’t have to leave UO in order to make an ADR at WDW. Plus, once we lay our weary heads down at Pop that first day in WDW, we won’t have to leave the Disney Bubble. I’m worried that I’ll spend a lot of time comparing UO to WDW and vice versa if we stay in WDW while we tour UO, so that takes care of that! Also, as I do more research on dining in UO, there are a lot of restaurants that I want to try and that I think the kids will like. It’ll be easier to plan meals if I don’t have to worry about using up DDP credits. I’m sure I could use up those credits somehow (my kids and I are hardly ones to pass up a meal!) but this will make things flow a little smoother, I think. On top of all of this, I won’t have to use up WDW low-attendance days in UO and I can plan my days at WDW accordingly :goodvibes
So why Portofino Bay? I have wanted to stay there ever since I saw Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel stay there a few years back. The rooms look really beautiful and I love the Italian theme! Also, this is the only onsite hotel that I researched :rolleyes2 Maybe I’ll change my mind once I look a bit more at the Hard Rock, but I don’t think so. I’m curious about eating at Kitchen, though. The Royal Pacific Resort looks cute too, but I don’t know much about it. Believe me, I was tempted to just go ahead and book the package with Lee, but I was able to keep my credit card safely tucked away this time! :rotfl: I have to redo my plans for WDW before I’ll feel comfortable making any deposits, but since I have slept on this for two nights, I really do believe this is the best plan so far :yay:
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