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A Universal Disappointment

Discussion in 'Canadian Trip Planning & Community Board' started by daver, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. dvcdisney

    dvcdisney DIS Veteran

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    I agree. Walking or taking the boat to US/IOA from the onsite resorts changes the feeling of the vacations. On our last trip we stayed at Portofino and, although it was a longer walk than we expected, we loved being able to just go back and forth to the resort for a swim break. Portofino is a beautiful resort - it was quiet, the Deluxe queen rooms were spacious, the pool was great for the kids and the grounds were well maintained. Although I would never book Club again - nothing wrong with it, just didn't find it convenient for us to make it worth it.

    But that's not why we stay onsite. If they stopped offering the free express pass for the onsite guests, we will not be staying onsite. It's much better for us to stay at the DVC villas and drive over to US/IOA. Although we thought Portofino was a wonderful resort, we would never book it without the free Express Pass.
     
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  3. EvangelineG

    EvangelineG Mouseketeer

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    We had a very different experience than the OP. IoA ended up being our favourite park of our whole trip! The theming was incredible, and the staff were even friendlier than at WDW (and we had allergies, a wheelchair and other special needs to contend with). We had a group of 10 with widely varying tastes and there was something for everyone. We got one night accommodation at Loew's Royal Pacific, mainly just for the two days of early entry to WWoHP and the express passes, and ended up spending one full day and a morning at IoA, and one afternoon at US, and having an absolutely brilliant time. Can't wait to go back again!
     
  4. damo

    damo Proud Redhead

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    There are so many hotels that are within walking distance to Universal, that without the perks, a lot of people would just stay offsite. I don't think that will be changing.
     
  5. monkey30

    monkey30 Dreaming of my next vacation!

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    So neither my DH or I could fit on the big rides, yet we did a few yrs ago... one kid later for me and I could not get the bars over my chest area.

    I did get on Harry Potter, I lucked out and the girl gave the bar a good shove, the sad thing is it was all because I am larger on top.. No problems fitting on any Disney ride. I enjoy IOA but I find its not as fun as Disney, the employees are not into like they could be, even just a smile or 2 would have made things a lot more enjoyable especially since you pay so much. In the end we stayed for about 4 hours.
     
  6. toutons

    toutons Earning My Ears

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    We didn't like it much either and have no plans to go back. We had planned for 2 days there but by 6pm on the first day we were done. Long lines, bad attitudes from some employees. I almost laughed in the lady's face when she told me they wanted 59.99 each for express passes.
     
  7. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Long lines and the occassional bad attitude can be found at any park.....even Disney.

    Why would you "laugh in the lady's face" when she conveyed the express pass price? Its a voluntary purchase....you are not bound to buy them. If crowds were bad and time was of the essence, then many folks would have seen value in that $59.99. I adored the fact that both the Universal parks and Seaworld offered an express pass or quick queue for sale, particularly when we were there over the busy New Years holiday period.....I loved having that option.

    I must say, it seems ironic that you bring up the negative attitude of "some" employees, then you mention almost "laughing in an employee's face" at the cost of an item that employee has no control over :confused3.
     
  8. toutons

    toutons Earning My Ears

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    Yes, "almost". As in, "I just paid this much for tickets and now you want me to pay extra for this? You have to be kidding me." Charging that much per person (which would have been an extra $240 plus tax on top of our 2 day tickets) is just ridiculous after I'd just bought 2 day tickets. Had it been 30 bucks (like it is sometimes) I may have considered it, although by the end of my trip this time I was pretty tired of being nickel and dimed by the parks in general.

    Sure I've encountered long lines at Disney as well. I just don't bother with those rides. No ride is worth waiting an hr+ in line for imo.

    There's no irony in being shocked by the cost vs obviously not liking your job and being curt to customers.
     
  9. disEAR

    disEAR DVC Member

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    The best advice I can give to Disney lovers going to universal for the first time is "don't expect Disney"
     
  10. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    You do understand that it is your CHOICE whether or not to purchase, right? At that no one is forcing you to do so? Its offered as an OPTION, much like Disney Dining is offered as an option. While the Express Pass may seem "ridiculously" priced for YOU, others might find it well worth it for the cost. Similarly, take the Disney character breakfasts.....you can get breakfast buffets WAY cheaper in Orlando, but for some families, its worth the hugely inflated meal cost to see the characters with no wait and have that personal time for autographs and photos. For others, it is an unnecessary expense when the characters are widely available at the parks and they can eat comparable food for 1/5th of the price at an offsit buffet. Its a CHOICE. Universal should be no more ashamed to offer Express Passes at a cost (which fluctuates with attendance and in peak seasons) than Disney should be mortified for charging excessively high prices for character meals (which also have a surcharge if travelling during holiday periods).

    And for the record......I LOVE the Disney character meals and think they are well worth the extra cost too!!

    Perhaps some of the bad attitudes you encountered was a result of the attitude you were putting out towards the workers at the park? Its human nature that if a guest is "sick and tired of being nickle and dimed" and "almost laughs in the face" of a staff member who is simply offering a product for sale that the guest finds overpriced and has to take any flack for that, they tend not to be as sunny and welcoming than if the guest is friendly as well. Perhaps the staff who you found unfriendly were reacting to your frustration?

    I do think everyone in a customer service capacity should be friendly.....that's their job. But that's terribly hard if someone is bent and bound to give you grief about something over which they, personally, have no control. Read the theme parks board for all sorts of reports of unfriendly staff in the Disney parks. They, too, are staffed by humble humans. People, by nature, simply don't measure up to expectations sometimes. At Universal, at Disney, and everywhere.

    I agree. But I am not sure why anyone would expect Disney at Universal (or at Seaworld or wherever). Different parks. Different corporations. Why should expectations be the same? And why would Universal WANT to be Disney? Each are special in their own way and offer some unique differences.....and they should. Disney is not for everyone, nor is Universal. As a consumer (and a tourist) I love the fact that there are choices!
     
  11. evnted

    evnted Tuesday night's plastic corrosion awareness meetin

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    Yea, that's why I'm not a fan. I also dislike the fact that every ride isn't completely themed. Yes it's a step up from Six Flags but the Hulk is just a green roller coaster. Rock n Roller Coaster and Everest are both completely decorated, have stories behind them, and (in the case of Everest) had a large mountain built solely for that ride.
     
  12. toutons

    toutons Earning My Ears

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    You have your opinion, I have mine. I can't be bothered to argue.

     
  13. chimo2u

    chimo2u DIS Veteran

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    :thumbsup2 Completely, unequivocally 100% right on target!! :) We feel the exact same way (My DS 16 and myself). We actually very much looked forward to visiting a new park and the whole new experience at Universal on our Mom n' Son trip in Feb 2011.....by the end of 6 days at WDW, we where very much ready to try out Universal! My son loved it. I even got brave enough to try All the rides, and I enjoyed it very much. We stayed onsite at HRH and found the staff even more welcoming, and truly made us feel important and like rock stars :) This upcoming trip, we are headed back to WDW for 6 nights again and then headed over to DC for a day and Universal/IOA for 3 nights.....My son and I are very excited to show his brother (DS20) Universal and all it has to offer, as he's a first timer! As much as we love Disney, I don't think a Florida trip would be complete for me without hitting up Discovery Cove, and Universal on my trips!!! I think all the parks are amazing!!
     
  14. damo

    damo Proud Redhead

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    There are rides that aren't completely themed at Disney too. I would rather have a great coaster that isn't themed, than a ho hum coaster that is. Give me Hulk, Dragon Challenge and California Screamin' any day over Space Mountain and Everest at WDW. That's why I prefer Universal and Disneyland to WDW.
     
  15. Csaks

    Csaks DIS Veteran

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    You will be disappointed if you go there thinking it's Disney run by another company. They are apples and oranges and as long as you treat them that way you should have a good time. I compare Universal to our local park and it blows it out of the water.
     
  16. Melanie230

    Melanie230 Ready to retire in Florida. Trading my Mommy titl

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    LOVE LOVE LOVE Universal! We go to Universal and come home relaxed. Nothing like staying onsite and using our FREE EP!!! Love staying onsite and enjoying the pools in the evening. We love Disney too. But to compare the two parks is just silly IMHO. It is a totally different trip. Both have their perks, both are fun in different ways.
     
  17. goofyintoronto

    goofyintoronto I really wanted to like it, but I didnt.

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    I loooove Universal's Express Pass! We always get them. Because of the express pass, we were able to do most rides at both parks in one day! Yes i paid $55 for each express pass, but it was so worth it!!!

    I agree. The themeing is INCREDIBLE. Harry Potter is my fave.

    You know why? Speaking for myself of course, for me its because of the family friendly rides. Most of the rides at universal/IoA makes me nauseous. I cant handle motion simulator rides. And thats what the majority of rides are. I still go on, for my son. I just pop a ginger pill and im ok (for the most part). But at disney i dont have that problem. I love the fact that disney focuses more on the visual than the thrill for a lot of rides. Its why i love disney.

    I was never really a huge fan of universal, took me a while to start liking it. I like it now. But I can still only handle one day there. Lol.
     
  18. MaMudduck

    MaMudduck <font color=teal>Disney <font color=deeppink>Princ

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    I am 100% totally a Disney freak, but when I went for the very first time to US/IOA, 2 yrs ago (in the fall the first yr WWofHP opened), I was quite pleased with Universal. Although my first reaction was to compare everything to WDW, my famous mantra soon became "Universal is not Disney, and they don't do things like Disney, but the things Universal does best, they blow WDW out of the water."
    What did I mean by that: Universal does movies (live action movies in particular!) the best! there is no comparison between FJ, Terminator Show (which I so loved) Spiderman, Shrek, MIB and the compatible at Disney. Thrill rides are great there but like others said no story. Things like ET ride, Mummy, Jaws, Dudley Do-right, Jurassic were lame...

    All in all Universal is great for what they do best, and yes if there's enough time & money I'll spend a day or 2 at US again, but this Disney Princess' heart will always belong to Walt & Mickey:lovestruc
     
  19. badiggio

    badiggio Mouseketeer

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    we're going back to Disney in November ,but we are doing a 1 day park to park at Universal,so we can say we did it.I'm happy to read the "movie"shows are great because even though we do SOME rides,we're not coaster people .IDK,but It just" feels" right being at Disney,whatever I'm doing or not for that matter.
     
  20. FayeW

    FayeW DIS Veteran

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    Our family goes to Orlando to go to the Universal parks. For us, WDW is just something else we do while we are there.

    There are things I love about WDW, certain rides and attractions in each park that I think are fantastic but I have to go to 4 different parks to do the specific things I enjoy. With Universal, all of my favourite things are contained within 2 parks, and I can easily walk from one to the other whenever the mood strikes me.

    We bought 10 day, non expiring park hopper plus tickets in 2005. We used 4 days in 2005, 5 days in 2008, and have 1 day left for our trip in Feb, along with several plus features. We are going to have to go like heck through 4 parks to see the attractions that interest us and try to get them all done in one day. These will probably be the last Disney tickets we purchase. Frankly, when compared to the similar ride or attraction at US/IOA they just don't hold up. The only notable exceptions are Mickey's Philharmagic and Soarin'. I believe both of those attractions alone are worth the price of admission.

    We will, however, happily buy 3 day tickets for Universal parks. They were building WWOHP when we were there in 2008 so I am thrilled to get a chance to see it. I've lost nearly 50 lbs so I won't have to worry about fitting on the ride!
     
  21. Bonnie40

    Bonnie40 <font color=red>Sweet tomatoes, yum<br><font color

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    Interesting thread.....I never understand the 'them and us' mentality when it comes to Disney vs Universal.....two completely different parks, but both great and well worth seeing!

    Just this weekend, my daughter (who works for Disney in Toronto) was telling me about a conversation she had with someone she was arranging a vacation for. The person asked her if they were getting Universal tickets as well....she patiently explained that Disney and Universal were competing companies, but she enthusiastically told them it was worth the price of admission to experience the Universal parks as well. Most everyone in the office does the same thing!

    So...if it's okay for Disney employees to suggest enjoying Universal as well, I think it's safe to acknowledge that they're both great parks with different things to offer. :thumbsup2
     

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