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Old 08-10-2010, 06:47 PM   #3676
Caribbeanprincess
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How bad will crowds be on Dec. 23 and 24? Unfortunately I had to push back our vacation and those are the 2 days we'll be at Universal...
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:07 PM   #3677
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Courtesy of Manx27, Orlando United
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Put this pano together after today's quick trip

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Old 08-10-2010, 10:52 PM   #3678
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Brendan Fraser and new wand kiosk show up at Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter









Brendan Fraser may be more closely associated with the Mummy ride at Universal Studios, but he showed up this week at Islands of Adventure to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can see him at right sporting the trademark butterbeer foam mustache after trying the sweet concoction, with Hogwarts Castle in the background.

I noticed another "appearance" when visiting the Wizarding World over the weekend. A new wand kiosk has magically popped up near Hogwarts where you can purchase the same wands sold inside Ollivanders. They used to be offered at a cart in the same area, but that cart was transformed into a general souvenir stand when the wands were temporarily sold out. Now they have a new sales spot, as you can see in the photos below. Sorry they're dark, but they were taken with a flashless cell phone camera:









This new merchadise cart, plus other additions like the sometimes-open "secret" butterbeer stand just past all the stores, are all evidence of Universal's ongoing tweaks to handle the crowds who are eager for more shopping opportunities with less lines at the Wizarding World (Ollivanders always has a long line, and the other stores have a wait to get inside, too, on the busiest days).






Source: http://******************/x-2200-Orlan...f-Harry-Potter




.
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Old 08-11-2010, 03:11 AM   #3679
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Don Pacho- love the panoramic shot - really shows the "atmosphere"

Cheers
Tessa
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Old 08-17-2010, 09:28 PM   #3680
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Found new pictures from June 25th on my other family camera, enjoy:














Sorry if it was blurry, it almost nipped me. :S

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Old 08-17-2010, 09:57 PM   #3681
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Just back yesterday! We arrived last Tuesday and waited till Thursday to attempt the 7 AM pilgrimage. Made it out about 7:45 and that was painful. Waited on line for Olivanders which was about 35 minutes. Apparently Forbidden Journey was "down" also. When we were done the ride was working but had a 90 minute wait. We had a butter beer, ( My Grand daughter and I loved it, my Grand son, no) my Grandson rode the dueling dragons , we rode the family coaster and left. The crowds got very heavy come Friday so we waited till Sunday to try again. Left the Portofino at 7. There was a 10 minute wait for the Forbidden Journey. Well worth the early wake up call. It is awesome. Back to the room, nap, pool and back to parks. Around 8 PM we decided to see if the lines were long. It began to pour and people ran to the castle. We waited about 30 minutes. I think if it hadn't rained it would have been a short wait.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:04 PM   #3682
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Pacho View Post
Brendan Fraser and new wand kiosk show up at Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hopefully this gets him to quit whining incessantly about his cup of coffee.
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Old 08-18-2010, 06:26 PM   #3683
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3 Day Park-to-Park Pass (When do I go??)

Would love advice on how to use a 3-day pass during 4 days. Arriving at airport at 11:30 a.m. on Friday. Taking a pre-arranged shuttle from the airport to Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Flight out is at 5:30 p.m. on Monday. Taking same shuttle back to airport, so no rental car to deal with. Obviously will go Saturday and Sunday. Assuming flight is on time Friday, should we go Friday? I saw a calendar on a website that shows park time is 9-9 on Friday. Does it really close at 9:00 this Friday (August 20)? We have the 3 Day Park-to Park pass, but we're really going for Harry Potter.
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Old 08-18-2010, 06:44 PM   #3684
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Just my opinion, of course, but if you land on time, and if the park is open until 9 pm, I would go ahead and use your first day on Friday, especially since you are onsite and will have unlimited Express. If you land at 11:30, even with the shuttle and check-in, you should be able to be in the park by 1 pm and will have a good 8 hours of touring time.

I personally like to have the last day for resting, packing up, buying any last minutes souvenirs, etc.
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Old 08-18-2010, 11:20 PM   #3685
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Dining/Food Advice

Also wondering about eating. We're eating at the Three Broomsticks Saturday morning. Yay! But I didn't make reservations anyplace else. We didn't do the meal plan. Decided it wasn't worthwhile. I feel so unprepared. I went to Disney three years ago with husband, both sons, and in-laws, and we had each day mapped out. My MIL had "the book" she had read for an entire year before we went, I think. Each night before we went to a park, we sat down and mapped out our strategy for the next day. We had several dinner reservations months in advance. This, however, was kind of a last-minute birthday gift for youngest son, so I'm taking him alone and frantically researching stuff on the Web. Will take any and all advice! My son just turned 10, so he is now a Junior, not a Child.
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Old 08-18-2010, 11:27 PM   #3686
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou Holtz View Post
Hopefully this gets him to quit whining incessantly about his cup of coffee.
He had coffee before this picture was taken.
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:43 AM   #3687
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Oops. Wound up with a double post due to a technical glitch.
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March 2014- YES! Spring Break at the dark side!!! WooHoo!
Sept/Oct 2012- 3 Nights @ RPR Grownups only for my (BIG) Birthday Weekend!!!
May 2012- Our triumphant return to the dark side!!! (7 nights @ RPR w/ 1 day @ MK & 1 day @ Epcot!)
June 2010- Pre-Grand Opening WWoHP Pkg(3 Nights at Royal Pacific Resort)!!!! <-- Trip Report: (begins w/ post #82)http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2478909&page=6
Nov 2009- Our first official family visit to the world! (6 nights at AKL!!)

Last edited by Momw/aplan; 08-19-2010 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:50 AM   #3688
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenMary View Post
Also wondering about eating. We're eating at the Three Broomsticks Saturday morning. Yay! But I didn't make reservations anyplace else. We didn't do the meal plan. Decided it wasn't worthwhile. I feel so unprepared. I went to Disney three years ago with husband, both sons, and in-laws, and we had each day mapped out. My MIL had "the book" she had read for an entire year before we went, I think. Each night before we went to a park, we sat down and mapped out our strategy for the next day. We had several dinner reservations months in advance. This, however, was kind of a last-minute birthday gift for youngest son, so I'm taking him alone and frantically researching stuff on the Web. Will take any and all advice! My son just turned 10, so he is now a Junior, not a Child.
Don't sweat it. Universal is a whole other world compared to Disney when it comes to schedule and dining.

We went to Disney this past November, and like you we had it booked a year in advance, bought all the guides, made our touring plan, booked ADRs the first morning we could (and had our days and times for ADRs all lined out weeks before that). I don't regret any of it--that level of obsessive planning made it possible for us to fully enjoy our first trip to Disney World.

But then we also went to Universal this past June--we had a Wizarding World package for the week of grand opening, checking out the day before grand opening. The parks were packed. We had no touring plan and didn't make a single dining reservation. And I didn't regret it in the least. It's so much more relaxed--especially since you'll be staying on-site. With an on-site hotel stay you not only get the express pass cutting WAY down on the amount of time you wait in lines, but you also get priority seating at many of the restaurants in the parks and at City Walk. If there is a wait at the restaurant of your choice, just tell them you're staying on-site and they'll give you the next available table (behind other on-site guests ahead of you of course).

The longest wait we had for food the entire trip was about 25 minutes for Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville (which was WONDERFUL by the way; much better than we expected). Plus, staying on-site, it's a snap to go back to your room for a quick break in the middle of the day without feeling like you're losing out on anything.

It was great to have free dining at Disney, and I'm glad we got to do all of the character dining stuff with the kids for that first trip, but, free or otherwise, without a doubt I'd choose the dining situation at Universal over the dining at Disney any day.

We ate lunch at Mythos in IOA and were blown away with how good it was for a theme park restaurant (they are usually only open until 2 or 3:00 though, so keep it in mind for lunch)--plus the themeing in there is spectacular.

We also ate at:
Nascar Grill--Fabulous burgers, amazing nachos, and excellent service.

Pastamore'--Food was good, and service was okay, but the place was seriously lacking in air conditioning. I don't know if that was normal or not, but the front of the restaurant is open-air straight out into City Walk; even though we sat near the back of the restaurant we couldn't feel any cold air blowing at all. It was hot and HUMID! I wouldn't go back there in summer unless I knew this wasn't normal for them.

Three Broomsticks--We ate there for breakfast as part of our package. The food was just okay (although the Pumpkin Juice was addicting!!), but we still LOVED the place. After all, it is the Three Broomsticks!!!

Honeydukes--For breakfast pastries the second morning. Chocolate Cauldron Cakes and Rock Cakes with Pumpkin Juice--YUM! Just thinking about it makes me want to go back right now.

And there were many more places we would have loved to eat at had we been there longer (Bob Marley's, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., NBA City, and maybe Hard Rock Cafe just off the top of my head).

Also, don't forget to tell them you're staying on-site when you order at the restaurants--you get a discount! (And if you're not staying on-site, you can still get a discount if you're a AAA member, so bring your AAA card with you if you have one. These discounts also apply to merchandise in most of the gift shops, even in Wizarding World.)

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Disney and I can't wait to go there again sometime in the future, but Universal was just so much more our pace. We still had to get up early, since it was grand opening week and our time in Wizarding World was seriously limited, but we got most everything done in IOA we wanted, had time to rest at the hotel, and decided at the last minute what we were in the mood to eat, when we were in the mood to eat it, and still had great food, phenomenal service, great atmosphere and above all a relaxing time together with every meal. It was truly a vacation in every sense of the word, and I want so badly to go back right now!!!

Do a little researching on the restaurants in City Walk to see what interests you, if that's something you enjoy doing (I do!), but otherwise don't worry about it. Just go, play it by ear, and have a blast with your son!
__________________

March 2014- YES! Spring Break at the dark side!!! WooHoo!
Sept/Oct 2012- 3 Nights @ RPR Grownups only for my (BIG) Birthday Weekend!!!
May 2012- Our triumphant return to the dark side!!! (7 nights @ RPR w/ 1 day @ MK & 1 day @ Epcot!)
June 2010- Pre-Grand Opening WWoHP Pkg(3 Nights at Royal Pacific Resort)!!!! <-- Trip Report: (begins w/ post #82)http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2478909&page=6
Nov 2009- Our first official family visit to the world! (6 nights at AKL!!)
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:13 AM   #3689
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Will be staying at WDW from 12/4-12/17...best day for WWHP?

We're going to take one day out of our Disney Trip to head to WWHP. We have NO idea when to go. What day of the week? What time? Any touring strategies? We're big on Touring Plans and Tour Guide Mike, but have never ventured into Universal before. I know school will still be in session, but I have this feeling the holidays will bring people out to Hogsmeade in droves! I'm assuming a weekday would be best?

Any tips?

Thanks!

VP
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Old 08-19-2010, 12:58 PM   #3690
QueenMary
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momw/aplan View Post
Don't sweat it. Universal is a whole other world compared to Disney when it comes to schedule and dining.

We went to Disney this past November, and like you we had it booked a year in advance, bought all the guides, made our touring plan, booked ADRs the first morning we could (and had our days and times for ADRs all lined out weeks before that). I don't regret any of it--that level of obsessive planning made it possible for us to fully enjoy our first trip to Disney World.

But then we also went to Universal this past June--we had a Wizarding World package for the week of grand opening, checking out the day before grand opening. The parks were packed. We had no touring plan and didn't make a single dining reservation. And I didn't regret it in the least. It's so much more relaxed--especially since you'll be staying on-site. With an on-site hotel stay you not only get the express pass cutting WAY down on the amount of time you wait in lines, but you also get priority seating at many of the restaurants in the parks and at City Walk. If there is a wait at the restaurant of your choice, just tell them you're staying on-site and they'll give you the next available table (behind other on-site guests ahead of you of course).

The longest wait we had for food the entire trip was about 25 minutes for Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville (which was WONDERFUL by the way; much better than we expected). Plus, staying on-site, it's a snap to go back to your room for a quick break in the middle of the day without feeling like you're losing out on anything.

It was great to have free dining at Disney, and I'm glad we got to do all of the character dining stuff with the kids for that first trip, but, free or otherwise, without a doubt I'd choose the dining situation at Universal over the dining at Disney any day.

We ate lunch at Mythos in IOA and were blown away with how good it was for a theme park restaurant (they are usually only open until 2 or 3:00 though, so keep it in mind for lunch)--plus the themeing in there is spectacular.

We also ate at:
Nascar Grill--Fabulous burgers, amazing nachos, and excellent service.

Pastamore'--Food was good, and service was okay, but the place was seriously lacking in air conditioning. I don't know if that was normal or not, but the front of the restaurant is open-air straight out into City Walk; even though we sat near the back of the restaurant we couldn't feel any cold air blowing at all. It was hot and HUMID! I wouldn't go back there in summer unless I knew this wasn't normal for them.

Three Broomsticks--We ate there for breakfast as part of our package. The food was just okay (although the Pumpkin Juice was addicting!!), but we still LOVED the place. After all, it is the Three Broomsticks!!!

Honeydukes--For breakfast pastries the second morning. Chocolate Cauldron Cakes and Rock Cakes with Pumpkin Juice--YUM! Just thinking about it makes me want to go back right now.

And there were many more places we would have loved to eat at had we been there longer (Bob Marley's, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., NBA City, and maybe Hard Rock Cafe just off the top of my head).

Also, don't forget to tell them you're staying on-site when you order at the restaurants--you get a discount! (And if you're not staying on-site, you can still get a discount if you're a AAA member, so bring your AAA card with you if you have one. These discounts also apply to merchandise in most of the gift shops, even in Wizarding World.)

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Disney and I can't wait to go there again sometime in the future, but Universal was just so much more our pace. We still had to get up early, since it was grand opening week and our time in Wizarding World was seriously limited, but we got most everything done in IOA we wanted, had time to rest at the hotel, and decided at the last minute what we were in the mood to eat, when we were in the mood to eat it, and still had great food, phenomenal service, great atmosphere and above all a relaxing time together with every meal. It was truly a vacation in every sense of the word, and I want so badly to go back right now!!!

Do a little researching on the restaurants in City Walk to see what interests you, if that's something you enjoy doing (I do!), but otherwise don't worry about it. Just go, play it by ear, and have a blast with your son!
Thanks for all the great advice. This really helps!
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