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Old 12-03-2012, 10:28 AM   #1
mrswh
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Universal Questions

I know DLR like the back of my hand and have a few WDW visits under my belt, but have never been to Universal. My DD (8) has been wanting to visit WWHP and we're considering a January trip. She has read the first three books (I am a mean mother and am making her wait before she reads the rest - I think they are a bit dark for a 3rd grader). My DS (6) has seen the first two movies.

For our trip - we'll probably stay in the area for 3 nights and spend one day (or less) in the park - our main purpose is to see WWHP, and I don't see that much else that would appeal to them.

I think we are going to stay offsite, as it seems that with the onsite hotels, you pay for location, but the reviews indicate the hotels are not up to par for the price. We are considering staying at the Omni Champions Gate.

A few questions:

(1) Any opinions on the Omni?
(2) If I purchase the Express Pass, is there any reason I would need to stay onsite to get the early access?
(3) Does the Express Pass work pretty much like a Fastpass? Are any of the HP rides/attractions excluded from the Express Pass?
(4) I'd love more info about the rides - Hippogriff sounds doable but I am wondering about the other two. My DD is not really a thrill seeker - she loves BTMR, Matterhorn, GRR and RSR at DL but not a fan of IJ or Space Mountain, and will not even try Screamin'. How intense are the other two rides? And can someone explain what Forbidden Journey is?
(5) What about DS (6) - will he enjoy WWHP or is he too young? I am not sure he will be 48" by then. Probably not.

Thanks for any insight!!
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:37 AM   #2
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not an expert either - but you are better off going to one of US/IOA hotels

the express pass that you buy (and it is expensive) is not as good as FOLE and early access especially for HH - is much better.

I like Royal Pacific - it was very nice and it is the closest hotel to IOA

there is a US/IOA board here -
http://www.disboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=75

they can probably tell you which is best in your situation - but would think staying at US
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:45 AM   #3
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(1) No, stay on site. The onsite hotels are equal or better than a Disney deluxe. Besides paying off site rates + express pass costs in the end its a better value to stay on. The set up for onsite is much like DLR where 2 parks are split by a common area. We saty off site at WDW, but on at Universal and DLR.
(2) See above, the of WWoHP opens an hour early to onsite guests, cant use express pass for the two high lights of WWoHP (forbidden journey and the wond shop if you are HP fan are the coolest attractions there).
(3) Kinda, but its better.
(4) Hippogriff is a kiddy roller coaster. The other coaster is radical and Forbidden Journey is tame enough that if the kids arent thrill seekers they will put up with its motion to still enjoy it. My kid is older but not a fan of coasters, she loves Forbidden Journey.
(5) Junior will like the whole area and the wond shop, Hippogriff is tame enough for him.

WWoHP if you arent a fan isnt nearly as good if you are, the detail is what makes it for some and those who saw a movie or 2 I can understand how they go through the area in an hour and cant understand what the big deal is.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:55 AM   #4
Tink2Day
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrswh View Post
I know DLR like the back of my hand and have a few WDW visits under my belt, but have never been to Universal. My DD (8) has been wanting to visit WWHP and we're considering a January trip. She has read the first three books (I am a mean mother and am making her wait before she reads the rest - I think they are a bit dark for a 3rd grader). My DS (6) has seen the first two movies.

For our trip - we'll probably stay in the area for 3 nights and spend one day (or less) in the park - our main purpose is to see WWHP, and I don't see that much else that would appeal to them.

I think we are going to stay offsite, as it seems that with the onsite hotels, you pay for location, but the reviews indicate the hotels are not up to par for the price. We are considering staying at the Omni Champions Gate.

A few questions:

(1) Any opinions on the Omni?
(2) If I purchase the Express Pass, is there any reason I would need to stay onsite to get the early access?
(3) Does the Express Pass work pretty much like a Fastpass? Are any of the HP rides/attractions excluded from the Express Pass?
(4) I'd love more info about the rides - Hippogriff sounds doable but I am wondering about the other two. My DD is not really a thrill seeker - she loves BTMR, Matterhorn, GRR and RSR at DL but not a fan of IJ or Space Mountain, and will not even try Screamin'. How intense are the other two rides? And can someone explain what Forbidden Journey is?
(5) What about DS (6) - will he enjoy WWHP or is he too young? I am not sure he will be 48" by then. Probably not.

Thanks for any insight!!

The hotels there are beautiful, but expensive.
Forbidden Journey is excluded from the Express Pass and if you consider Olivander's an attraction I believe it's excluded as well.

Forbidden Journey is VERY intense, (and believe the part about motion sickness if you are prone to that), but amazing. Take the castle tour though if the ride scares you off, you will be able to walk through the majority of the castle and it's just like you'd imagine Hogwart's (minus a few things you'd see in the ride queue).

FJ is an interactive movie/ride just hard to explain but the best ride I've ever been on and at my age I've been on about anything you could imagine. I too am a DLR veteran (figure since the park opened I've been there more times than I can count) while DL has more ambience than WDW I'd say WWOHP tops that. Lost Continent also has a neat feel as does the Dr. Suess area. I think the best way to get a feel for it is to look at some of the dozens of videos on the internet.

Dragon Challenge is a suspended rollercoaster, also very intense probably too much so for a non-daredevil child. But do the queue.
Flight of the Hippogriff is a kiddie coaster, it also has a pretty neat queue and a great view of the castle.
WWOHP is so much more than the rides, it's the atmosphere. Be sure to visit Moaning Myrtle, the owl post and all of the stores. Go to the Three Broomsticks and watch for surprises there.
Don't sell this park short. We enjoyed more than just WWOHP. I'm a huge fan but my sister, who went with me, loves the other parts of IOA more.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:22 PM   #5
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There is more to IOA than WWOHP. I loved Suessland, which has a lot of little kid rides that your 6yo may enjoy. And FWIW, I don't do coasters at all and I LOVED the WWOHP! Just walking around, having lunch or dinner at the 3 Broomsticks, walking through the castle, etc. It's absolutely amazing. And overall, universal is fun. It's not Disney, but it is fun.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:40 PM   #6
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PP is correct. The Universal hotels are on the same level, maybe better, then the Disney deluxe hotels including the GF.

The Universal hotels are generally much less expensive then Disney deluxe hotels. Frequently the cost isn't much more then a Disney moderate.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:48 PM   #7
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Universal Questions

Most definitely stay at one the onsite Universal hotels. We have stayed at both Hard Rock and Royal Pacific and prefer Royal Pacific. Staying one night at one the 3 Univeral hotels allows you express pass entry for two days at both IOA and US. It also allows you 2 days of early entry to Harry Potter. Without early entry to HP sometimes the wait for FJ can be quite long especially during the summer months. One thing about Univeral to keep in mind though is that they nickel and dime you to death in that they charge you for everything, i.e.---parking, internet. Anything they can charge you for THEY DO.

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Old 12-03-2012, 11:51 PM   #8
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Thanks so much for all the replies! After watching the Forbidden Journey ride on Youtube, I think we will wait a few more years to visit. DD will be scared of the dementors and the whole ride just looks like you are being chased by frightening creatures. And I think my DH might puke if he was made to ride it. Good to have the info, though, when we are ready to visit!
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrswh View Post
Thanks so much for all the replies! After watching the Forbidden Journey ride on Youtube, I think we will wait a few more years to visit. DD will be scared of the dementors and the whole ride just looks like you are being chased by frightening creatures. And I think my DH might puke if he was made to ride it. Good to have the info, though, when we are ready to visit!
I'm glad you thought of this. I was actually going to suggest it, but didn't want to be a debbie downer. lol. Universal is "maybe, probably" adding another part of Harry Potter's World (Diagon Alley) in Universal Studies which will be done in a year or two. By then, both your kids will be big enough for everything, and maybe even have gotten a bit braver to try the wilder rides.

That said, there is soooo much more to Universal than HP. We went before HP opened (2008) with an 8yo, 10yo and 11yo and they LOVED it. The Royal Pacific was amazing with a great kids play area at the pool. And, you can pool hop to any of the three hotels.
Staying onsite was like staying deluxe at disney with perpetual fast passes. It was so relaxing, which I would have never believed possible for a theme park vacation.
We're booked to go back next July and I can't wait!!!
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indimom View Post
I'm glad you thought of this. I was actually going to suggest it, but didn't want to be a debbie downer. lol. Universal is "maybe, probably" adding another part of Harry Potter's World (Diagon Alley) in Universal Studies which will be done in a year or two. By then, both your kids will be big enough for everything, and maybe even have gotten a bit braver to try the wilder rides.
Good to know, thank you! Have a great trip next summer!!
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:56 PM   #11
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Wwhp

Go there in the evening after all the morning crowds have dissipated. Waits are about 1/4 of what they are in the morning, and the entire area is more striking later in the day. In January, during the last couple hours of the Park, the wait is usually about 15mins. Even shorter if you use the single-rider line (which I would only do after going through the normal queue at least once).

Depending what time of January you are going you can do all of IOA twice over in about 4 hours.

And no need for an Express Pass at all unless you're going to be there January 1st.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:01 PM   #12
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WWHP part 2...

And the Forbidden Journey is AMAZING!!!... but also very nauseating. Last time we went we did every IOA ride 2-3x with no prob. But by my 2nd time on Forbidden Journey I was ready to hurl (but didn't). Still... an AMAZING AMAZING experience.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:09 PM   #13
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Forbidden Journey is essentially the same robotic KUKA arm used at Epcot's Innoventions Sum of All Thrills attraction.The differences are that Forbidden Journey is on a track and goes through different interior scenes as well as video scenes that immerse you in the screen creating a simulator experience.Other differences from Sum of all thrills are that Sum of all thrills uses an enclosed cabin,is only two across instead of the 4 across rows at FJ and Forbidden Journey doesn't totally flip you around like Sum of all thrills does if you design it to flip you over.Here's a vid of SOAT at EPcot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXzsVAKIszM
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