We have always been a "Disney" family, will we like Universal?

Discussion in 'Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure Forums' started by barefootMom, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Metro West

    Metro West <font color=red>Proud Redhead<br><font color=blue> Moderator

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    True but if someone is torn between spending the money for onsite as opposed to offsite, it really depends on when you're going. If the parks are really slow, it doesn't make sense to me to spend the money and stay onsite as you wouldn't need unlimited Express. We all know what the parks are like during heavy travel periods so staying onsite is definitely worth the money then.
     
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  3. damo

    damo Proud Redhead

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    Staying onsite adds much more than just express passes, IMHO. Being able to just walk everywhere is what makes the visit a vacation. Being able to do a little bit of this and then a little bit of that is really relaxing. That is the major difference, to me, from Disney. As Disney, you rarely plan on doing just one ride at a park because of the hassle it is to get there in the first place. At Universal, we often would just pop over to USF to do Men In Black several times. It is a very self driven vacation as opposed to the crowd driven visit to WDW.
     
  4. barefootMom

    barefootMom Mouseketeer

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    I am finally starting to do my research and look into Universal and think I would stay onsite. Am I right in thinking that the only hotel of the 3 to have balconies or patios is Portofino?
     
  5. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead

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    none at rph and hrh
     
  6. RMulieri

    RMulieri DIS Veteran

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    Correct and even at Portofino, its not easy to get one.There aren't that many..I thought it would be a deal breaker for us, but we never missed it at all
     
  7. damo

    damo Proud Redhead

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    We spend very little time in the room except to sleep. Since you can simply walk everywhere, you tend to be out of the room more.
     
  8. keishashadow

    keishashadow <font color=red>Proud Redhead<br><font color=green

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    I rarely venture out onto any hotel balcony in FLA other than to drink morning coffee or catch fireworks if we happen to luck into that view. After a few minutes the bugs come to visit and it's oh-so humid (if not just plain so darn hot) i tend to just soak up the ice cold AC when in our room.

    We only stayed offsite once and certainly prefer being onsite...if only for a few days as part of a split trip. IMO the walk from the parking garage burns a lot of time. We always move our rental car over the last day. In retrospect the timeframe is comparable to just missing a boat to MK from the parking lot:hyper: but I find that walk back very tiring at the end of the day.
     
  9. anierodzik

    anierodzik Earning My Ears

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    We just got back last week from a 2 night trip to US/IOA. This was our third trip this year. We used to be a Disney only family, and I know we will go back again someday. My kiddos are 11, 10 and 8, and as a family we have found that Universal and SeaWorld allows us to come together and enjoy each other as a family in a way that Disney did not. At Disney, I was always playing tour guide, juggling fast passes, trying to find the right busses, hurrying everyone to dining experiences. Universal is so much more laid back. If the kids want to ride something right then, well we do that. If they want to go back to swim, well we do that. If we want to go eat over at CityWalk, we do that. We love, love, love Universal. We have stayed in all three hotels, and they are all wonderful and unique. (I'd be happy to try to answer questions about them.) We love the Express Pass. Being able to bypass long lines is amazing. The Annual Pass has great perks, the best being the discount on the rooms. Yep, we love our Disney, but Universal is the place for us.
     
  10. CTDisneyfan816

    CTDisneyfan816 DIS Veteran

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    You've gotten some great responses so far and I'm a fan of both Disney and Universal. I try to go to both when I'm down. I'm going down from December 10-17 and plan on doing two days at Universal and five at the Disney parks. I have Universal down to where I can do everything I like in both parks in one day. I agree with the point of Universal being more ride oriented and Disney more theme and scenery oriented.
     
  11. tiggeriffic44

    tiggeriffic44 Mouseketeer

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    I got back home from my trip today. We did 4 days at dizney and 1 at IOA. We stayed on site to get into Harry Potter world early and to skip the lines.

    1. Do you like reliable crowd calendars? The only one I am aware of is undercover tourist. Yesterday (Thursday 11/29) was a yellow, use caution kind of day. Apparently that means no lines anywhere in the park over 10 min. Empty seats on the dragon racers. So yeah, the crowd calendar isn't so good. Obviously not Universals problem, but the reliable outside research just isn't there. (Anyone else want to pitch in here?)

    2. The big fancy harry potter ride is awesome. BUT it's an awesome motion simulator. Those type of rides wreck me. If you have similar concerns consider: one of the super headliners is out of bounds and one of the major reasons to stay on site (getting onto that ride before the crowd) is a moot point.

    3. The Marvel characters are not as well costumed or as good as match to the template as WDW. At both parks there are iconic characters (Mickey and Spiderman) and less iconic the (kid from up and Woody Woodpecker). [Find me 50 kids under 14 familiar with woody woodpecker and I will change this line]

    4. The roller coasters are awesome. If your party is tall enough it's a good time. (not as good as Cedar Point, but better than most of WDW)

    5. Butterbeer is Yummy. Pumpkin Juice is not.

    6. If you want to have a youngin do the wand thing Olavanders is awesome!! We stayed on site, immediately got into line for Olavanders, my kid was first in the shop for the day and was duly chosen. He has read the books and was psyched. If you do not intend to buy a wand or are a muggle skip Olavanders.

    7. If you have food allergies U.S. isn't even in the same ballpark as WDW. I mean not even close. NOPE NOPE NOPE. The head cook at one place came out to talk to my wife about her gluten allergy. That's good right? He recommended the normal Spaghetti. Epic Fail. There are three safe places to eat at IOA. Two sit down and a counter service kind of place (so I'm told, we didn't go to them). It's a small park so maybe not a huge inconvenience, but not nearly as good as WDW.

    8. As someone else mentioned Theme. The staff in Harry potter world didn't really carry through on the theme. The details of the buildings are cool. The pre ride area for the ultimate harry potter ride is worth getting in line for, but then the staff just doesn't carry through. I noticed and it did detract from the experience.

    9. On the other threads you will hear folks who drink too much Disney kool-aid talk about Magic. Magic is just a well executed customer service strategy; however, they execute that strategy really well. In my - limited - experience the difference is noticeable.

    With all that said, wait for the 8yr old to grow a bit taller then go. The best part of the park (again note I only went to Island of Adventure) is the thrill rides. Your girl is too short for the best part.
     
  12. BrinkofSunshine

    BrinkofSunshine DIS Veteran

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    Just curious, what didn't the staff do to carry it through? They usually call people muggles and such.

    Also, I have to disagree a bit about the magic part. I think it is as much about atmosphere as it is about customer service. The most truly magical part of Disney (in my opinion), is Main Street in MK. The smells, the music, the scenery... it's just incredible. I also think that "magic" has a strong link to nostalgia. IOA/USF don't have that gooey homey nostalgic feel Disney manages to capture; Uni's atmosphere feels more energized and adventurous to me.
     
  13. Planogirl

    Planogirl I feel the nerd in me stirring

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    I agree. Plus you know what they say about opinions. Everyone has one and the only correct one is your own. ;)
     
  14. RMulieri

    RMulieri DIS Veteran

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    There is another crowd calendar available as part of another site, but can not mention it here on Dis.Googling it will bring it up.As for Marvel characters ,they are SUPPOSED to look like that..like out of the comic books.I found universal quite magical and well themed too
     
  15. Seeker615

    Seeker615 Harry Potter Fanatic!

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    I also agree that Universal is very well themed.

    Each section of both parks conveys a feeling for me. As you head in to the superhero section it feels like you stepped into the marvel Comics. Plus watching the superheros come out on ATV's was pretty fun and my favorite pic is me with Wolverine!

    Same with Toon Lagoon. We had a blast with all the photo op areas!

    At the Hogwarts area we had a great conversation with one of the "castmemebers" over my camera. She insisted it was broken because the photo she took of me and my daughter was not moving! :rotfl2:

    Over at the studios we had no issues getting photos with the characters. Yes there is old school characters like Rocky and Bullwinkle, but there is Shrek and Donkey, Madagascar characters, Scooby Doo, the Simpsons, Sponge Bob and Dora the explorer. And the lines for the characters are easy to access and the handlers are great at using your camera to take photos.

    I think your kids will love Universal. The feel is different from Disney but what would be the point of going if it was just like Disney? Sometimes a trip to the darkside is indeed more fun!
     
  16. keishashadow

    keishashadow <font color=red>Proud Redhead<br><font color=green

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    4. The roller coasters are awesome. If your party is tall enough it's a good time. (not as good as Cedar Point, but better than most of WDW)

    OP - agreed, CP has best selection of coasters:thumbsup2 However, even when staying at the Breakers and getting that 1 hour jump in the park the lines we've experienced during many trips to CP are formidable.:crazy2:
     
  17. johde

    johde DIS Veteran

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    Not go derailing the topic. But the best times to go to cedar point for crowds are spring and September. If you can't swing those times, choosing a day during the week to go. Cedar point is nearly as popular as Universal based on the numbers. In 2011 Universal Studios FL, had about 6 million visitors (7.6 million for IOA) with a 12 month operating calendar. Cedar Point does just over 3 Million visitors from mid May through October. It is the 2nd/3rd largest season park in term of attendance in North America. Canada's Wonder Land is 1st, Kings Island and Cedar Point are neck and neck for 2 and 3.
     
  18. TheAviator

    TheAviator <font color=blue>I don't always live dangerously,

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    Everyone is different, but I personally prefer Universal Orlando to Disney, although I do love Disney as well. I do both, and sometimes both during the same trip. I think if you look at the Pictures of the Day thread here, you will see for yourself how amazing Universal is. Its kind of like asking someone what do you prefer Steak or Lobster, both are great and different. But in some ways I do think Universal has surpassed Disney in the theming and just the feel like you are in another world. I think the resorts are as nice or nicer as well.

    And if you are under the impression that Universal is a roller coaster park, its not at all, its much more of a theme park with major themed areas, the rides are almost 2nd to the theming. IMO its the best theme park in the world and I've been to a bunch. I put Universal 1st, Disney 2nd, Bush Gardens 3rd, 6 Flags or Cedar Point 4th. But I prefer the themes to the rides, so that's why, if you were just into roller coasters, Cedar Point would be No. 1.
     
  19. CTDisneyfan816

    CTDisneyfan816 DIS Veteran

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    I love both parks for different reasons. I go down yearly and make it a point to hit every Disney park and both Universal parks.
     

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