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Old 12-06-2012, 08:48 PM   #1
nboicepardee
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Touring plan needed?

Hi Everyone!
Disney veterans, but our first time to Universal. We are staying onsite so we will have the FOL access and early access to WWOHP. We will be there Saturday, January 5 and Sunday, January 6 (and maybe a couple of hours on Monday, January 7 in the morning). Do we need a "plan" or do you think because we are staying onsite we should be able to hop to whatever we want. We are planning on doing early access to WWOHP on Sunday, so that is definitely in the plan. Would love some help from Universal experts! Thank you!
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:54 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by nboicepardee View Post
Hi Everyone!
Disney veterans, but our first time to Universal. We are staying onsite so we will have the FOL access and early access to WWOHP. We will be there Saturday, January 5 and Sunday, January 6 (and maybe a couple of hours on Monday, January 7 in the morning). Do we need a "plan" or do you think because we are staying onsite we should be able to hop to whatever we want. We are planning on doing early access to WWOHP on Sunday, so that is definitely in the plan. Would love some help from Universal experts! Thank you!
since you are staying onsite, you can avoid longer wait times by using the express lines.

from what has been posted last january, the park still has some crowds that first week in january.
utilizing the early entry will save you from crowds for the harry potter section in the morning.

www.universalorlando.com
check out the locations of the eateries, rides, shows for each park.
this will save you time from wandering around in the park looking for places you want to see and visit.

check out the menu thread and also www.citywalk.com for what is available and let that help you decide which place to eat at.

when you are hungry and on vacation, you don't want to go to a place and find nothing on the menu that you would want to eat.
been there, done that and i have wasted lots of money by not checking things out in advance many years ago.

if you have kids, check the height requirements on the UO website.
use the child swap for those rides if the kids are too short or just don't want to do the ride. child swap is wonderful for families.

use the package pick up program. (free for any guest in the park)
shop and have the parcel sent back to your room.
it will be delivered to your room the next day.

if you buy something and want it later in the evening, use the package pick up that is sent to the front main merch store. you pick it up when you leave the park that day.

this way you don't have to make trips back to your room to put your bags there during the day, or rent a locker to hold the items you purchased.

spend time exploring your hotel and do visit the other hotel lobbies.
don't know if you all like pools but that is another thing you can explore and enjoy.

do check out citywalk if you can.
it closes at 2:00 am 7 days a week.

to answer your first question, yes, try to make a loose plan.
you don't have to decide what to do at certain times but a plan on the "must see or do" things in the parks and hotel.

decide if you are interested in the photo service program for the parks.
if you like character meet and greet, spend time doing that.
same for the street performer actions, the parade, etc.

i have been going since 1993 and still do a tenative plan for my yearly trips.
things i missed the year prior, i make a mental note of catching it the next trip.

since this is your first trip to the darkside, check out what is in the parks and read up on it.

i do recommend some of the shows to newbies.
(Horror Make Up Show, Animal actor show, Beetlejuice and the street show for Blues Brothers, at ioa the arrival of the superheros on atvs in marvel land)

shows do cut into park touring and ride time so always get the park map guide when you enter. times and dates will be listed for the day in them.

it is easier to work around the rides when you know the show times for the above events.

oh, if you have AAA or CAA, show it when you buy food or buy merch in the parks. you will get a 10% discount off the purchases.

hope you have a blast!
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:08 AM   #3
nboicepardee
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Thank you so much!!!! What helpful tips and advice. It will be great to have a general plan and "must see" list, but not have to plan for any specific order (other than early morning at WWOHP and show times).

Our girls are 9 and 7 and both LOVE thrilling rides (but might not like some of the scarier themes), so we will plan for some of the bigger rides. They will make many of the height requirements, but not all. We also love pools, so we will do (at least) our hotel's pool.

With regard to shows, how early should we plan on arriving for show times? Is 10 minutes before enough, or do you need to get there super early.

We are so happy to have the Express Pass and early entry! What an amazing perk.

You are the best!
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nboicepardee View Post
Thank you so much!!!! What helpful tips and advice. It will be great to have a general plan and "must see" list, but not have to plan for any specific order (other than early morning at WWOHP and show times).

Our girls are 9 and 7 and both LOVE thrilling rides (but might not like some of the scarier themes), so we will plan for some of the bigger rides. They will make many of the height requirements, but not all. We also love pools, so we will do (at least) our hotel's pool.

With regard to shows, how early should we plan on arriving for show times? Is 10 minutes before enough, or do you need to get there super early.

We are so happy to have the Express Pass and early entry! What an amazing perk.

You are the best!



i am sure you will get various answers to your question regarding the wait time for shows when using the express line.

but this is how it was for me:
some of the shows allow the regular lines enter 15 minutes prior.
depending on the show and crowds in line, it could be 20+ minutes prior.

with using the express line for the shows, you are allowed in around 10 (varies) minutes prior to the regular lines.

with that in mind, i would aim to be in the express line for a show 15+ minutes prior to show opening.

animal actors show, i was let in 20 minutes prior to opening while the regular line was let in 5 minutes later.
this is in an arena so it does take time to fill the stadium up. stairs involved and more of a slow seating time period.

for horror make up show, i was let in 10 minutes before the regular line.
the show began about 15 minutes, maybe less, after the rest of the peeps came in and were seated.

sinbad show express entered much earlier than the regular lines.


if there are large crowds in line for the show, i have been let in earlier than mentioned above when using the express line.

then the regular line followed about 5 minutes later so all could be seated for the show to start on time.

i was at UO for 10 days in early/mid october this year.
crowds were almost not there during the week, weekends were not that case.

when i went on a saturday, i was in the express line for shows a good 25 minutes prior as the regular lines were quite long for a few of them.


i suggest you ask the TM that is in charge of the lines for more accurate info on what time you should be in that show line (express).
if you are walking by a show you plan to see, they would have a better idea of the wait time before express is allowed in.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:05 PM   #5
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We got to the shows about 15 mins before and often they were just starting to let the express pass people in first..Its another nice perk of express pass.You get great seats at shows.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:30 PM   #6
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Thank you for more great tips! Do you think the Horror Makeup show would be appropriate for my kids?
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:42 PM   #7
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Thank you for more great tips! Do you think the Horror Makeup show would be appropriate for my kids?
We brought our 8 yr old to it and she loved it..It is done in a humorous way
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:14 PM   #8
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Loving this thread as we will be there Jan 3 - 8th, at HRH, planning 3 days at the parks. We are also newbies to the darkside (DD and I were there for one day a few years ago). It's me, DD (23) and DS (19) and we cannot wait. thanks macraven for your help!
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:36 PM   #9
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Loving this thread as we will be there Jan 3 - 8th, at HRH, planning 3 days at the parks. We are also newbies to the darkside (DD and I were there for one day a few years ago). It's me, DD (23) and DS (19) and we cannot wait. thanks macraven for your help!
if you are staying onsite, no issues.
offsite, you might have lines on weekends or if the btg are present.

last year, we had quite a few threads concerning the crowds from early to mid january.
many ran into tour groups for that part of the month.

i'm always willing to help by sharing my experiences in the parks.
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:22 AM   #10
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Thank you again for all of the tips! So excited to hear about the AAA discount. Any favorite places to eat? We will probably do mostly counter because but we really like sit-down as well. We are staying at the Royal Pacific.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:29 PM   #11
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Thank you again for all of the tips! So excited to hear about the AAA discount. Any favorite places to eat? We will probably do mostly counter because but we really like sit-down as well. We are staying at the Royal Pacific.
Mythos is really good
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:31 PM   #12
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Thank you again for all of the tips! So excited to hear about the AAA discount. Any favorite places to eat? We will probably do mostly counter because but we really like sit-down as well. We are staying at the Royal Pacific.
Bula Bar and Jakes at rph has great food.
the portions are large at Bula Bar.

orchid court in the lobby opens 6:00 am each morning.
all breakfast items if you are in a rush to use early entry.


the Kitchen at hrh has a fantastic menu, breakfast and lunch/dinner.


at the studios, i prefer Louie's for pizza/salad special, meatball sandwiches.
Boulangerie has great freshly made sandwiches on crossiants or rolls.
comes with potato salad, slice of cantoloupe and a strawberry.

Finnegans is a sit down and fantastic food!!

san francisco has great pastries.


at ioa, my preferences are confisco grille, Blondies for freshly made sandwiches that you pick the condiments for it,
Mythos, i get the appetizers here and call it a meal, (which is very good), fire eaters also a decent place.


there are others but the above i do repeats at on each visit.

the only time i end up with a burger is at Jakes.
I find enough various places in the park have a great range of food, i never get burgers there.

i'm sure i'm missing a few places in my list.
others will come around and probably mention them later.
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