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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Discussion in 'Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure Forums' started by Caribbeanprincess, Jul 2, 2009.

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  1. Qtips4Mick

    Qtips4Mick Mouseketeer

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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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  3. Lou Holtz

    Lou Holtz DIS Veteran

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    Hopefully this gets him to quit whining incessantly about his cup of coffee.
     
  4. QueenMary

    QueenMary Earning My Ears

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    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.
     
  5. Deb in IA

    Deb in IA Knows that KIDS are better

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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.
     
  6. QueenMary

    QueenMary Earning My Ears

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    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. :confused:
     
  7. the Dark Marauder

    the Dark Marauder <font color=red>Proud Redhead<br><font color=green

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    He had coffee before this picture was taken. :rolleyes1
     
  8. Momw/aplan

    Momw/aplan Mouseketeer

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    Oops. Wound up with a double post due to a technical glitch.
     
  9. Momw/aplan

    Momw/aplan Mouseketeer

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    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. :goodvibes

    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!
     
  10. Violet Parr

    Violet Parr DIS Veteran

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    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
     
  11. QueenMary

    QueenMary Earning My Ears

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    Thanks for all the great advice. This really helps!
     
  12. FloraFauna

    FloraFauna DIS Veteran<br><font color=magenta>I was really go

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    This made me laugh out loud:lmao:
     
  13. Momw/aplan

    Momw/aplan Mouseketeer

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    No problem! I love talking about it, in case you couldn't tell. :blush:

    I hope you have a great time!
     
  14. bubba's mom

    bubba's mom <font color=red>Proud Redhead<br><font color=darko

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    What discount is this? I'm not aware of any discounts just for staying onsite?

    There is AAA and AP discounts afaik.
     
  15. Momw/aplan

    Momw/aplan Mouseketeer

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    You're right. My bad. We used the AAA discount the whole time, so I'd already forgotten some of the details of the rest.

    The other discounts I was thinking of which we could have used had we not been AAA members were the coupon discounts I'd found on Orlando Dining http://www.orlandocoupons.com/directory_cat_list.php?cat_id=1.

    Most of the restaurants we were interested in had 20% off coupons available--the same as our AAA discount. We just decided to use AAA instead though once we learned about it, because that was easier than printing a coupon for each member of our party and then bringing them with us everywhere.

    I'd found the coupon discounts pretty early on in my planning, and once I found out about AAA I decided to go with that instead and forgot all about the coupons. I got confused earlier and thought that the discount had come with our on-site package, but it didn't. I had to look back at all my old notes just to figure out what on earth I'd been remembering. :confused:

    I blame it on baby-brain (even though my youngest is 7). The old memory just hasn't been quite right since then. :sad2:

    Sorry for any confusion this caused. And thanks for correcting me Bubba's Mom.

    The priority seating with on-site is right though--I double checked just now to make sure. :thumbsup2
     
  16. Dragontears

    Dragontears Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for all the information here.

    I have been lurking for weeks now, getting ideas for our trip in October. We will be in Orlando Oct 11-15. (Since we are driving - add four more days for travel. :sad1: ) We will be at WDW for three days and US for two.

    "We" = Me, DH, DD & DS (in Law- but just like my own)

    DD married a blok from London, so this is his first for WDW and none of us has been to US.

    I am a "planner" and you all have been a great help in figuring out IOA and it's "finer points".

    Thanks all.
     
  17. sheldnw

    sheldnw Earning My Ears

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    I see this thread isn't very active, so hopefully someone is out there to answer my question. We're spending 5 days at WDW the last week of January 2011 and one day at Universal soley to visit WWHP....So what day of the week is best to visit Harry? Are the crowds less now that it has been open for a while?
     
  18. tzuhouse

    tzuhouse DIS Veteran

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    We were there 10/13 and 10/15. The crowds were crazy. Maybe not as much as they were before, but as much of a Harry fan as I am, I left very disappointed. There was only 1 ride for my 8 year old to do. He did Forbidden Journey which we waited an hour for, and was terrified. I wouldn't have taken him on it had I paid attention to the posts ahead of time.

    At one point we wanted to go into the store and buy a wand. There was a line just to get into Ollivanders, then you could barely move once inside and then there was a line to check out. This wasn't the line for the show. This was just to spend money. Same was true with Honeydukes.

    Overall, we weren't impressed with Universal. We don't really go along with the Worldview that many have and we found a number of things at Universal that we found inappropriate for children even in places that we felt were safe, like the animal training show. I hope you have less of a crowd that we did and find it much more enjoyable.

    Universal won't be getting any more money from us for a very long time. At least not the theme park. Buying movie tickets for November 19th, absolutely. :thumbsup2

    Mary
     
  19. iluvwdw4ever

    iluvwdw4ever DIS Veteran

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    I need some help please!!!!! We willl be visiting WWoHP on December 17th and are completely clueless!!!! Will they be busy?? What time should we arrive?? How long should it take to see everything?? Do we need dining ressies??

    Any help would be very much appreciated!!!!! And any tips and suggestions would help too!!!!

    Thanks!!!!!
     
  20. SmallWorld71

    SmallWorld71 DIS Veteran

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    Based on most reports I've seen, Sundays are the best and Fridays are the worst. Subject to change I'm sure. People are reporting that is has been very busy (as WDW reports are saying as well) , but I would think that the end of January would be quite manageable.
     
  21. sheldnw

    sheldnw Earning My Ears

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    Thanks so much for your replies...We are huge fans of HP but it will have to be pretty amazing to match the Disney magic. I am crossing my fingers that it will calm down come January. We visited WDW the same week in 2008 and for the most part we did not need a touring plan, except for Toy Story Mania and a few other heavy hitters. I also hope IOA has some dry, kid-friendly attractions once we do the Forbidden Journey and the smaller of the two coasters. We're booking today!!:wizard:
     
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