Earning My Ears
- Apr 11, 2014
Checked in late Friday to the Royal Pacific, visited Studios on Saturday, IOA on Sunday and checked out Monday to head over to Disney for the rest of the week. We did some park hopping to experience the HW Express and EMH. Overall we had a great time and plan to go again. The Express pass is a huge advantage and while crowd levels were moderate to high, we encountered no significant delays. The longest we waited was 30 minutes for Gringotts on Sunday early evening (posted at 80). The only attraction that we saw any downtime posted was Spider-Man, on Sunday we rode it shortly after it reopened after a lengthy breakdown and unfortunately we were evacuated from the attraction. Cool behind the scenes tour, but less than ideal for our kids. We were finally able to ride it late Sunday night. The staff was friendly (shout out to the bartender at the Hog's Head on Sunday at 11) and the grounds were clean. Both my wife and I took note that the bathrooms seemed cleaner than those at Disney, at least during our stay. There was ongoing improvement projects for Jurassic Park and Hogsmeade, but neither interrupted traffic flow or were massive eye sores like other construction projects have been. One criticism I would have for the park is the locker situation. This is such a pain in the rump. Most free lockers have been reduced to the size 4x8". We had a small backpack with sunscreen, a digital camera, sunglasses and wands and we had to jam it in, very tight fit. Most lockers we had to empty the bag into the locker first and then stuff in the bag. Whoever designed the locker layout for the Potter attractions should be fired, what a cluster. Things made worse by entire families who have to team up to work a locker. I was the designated locker tribute for my family. We can take our bag on Space Mountain, but not Gringotts or Mummy, which seems odd. The park photography option was not worth the cost. There were barely any park photographers out in the midway (we saw 3 in 2 days) or with the characters (Madagascar Penguin had a photographer, Dora and Scooby did not). The on ride pictures were good, but out of focus most of the time, they need some service/cleaning (no picture before Gringott, camera rooms still there, but nobody available to take the picture). The post ride ET picture is hilarious. The end of the night shows need improvement. The water show at the Studios is meh, worth seeing once, but by no means a must do. The projection show in Hogsmeade was cool, but you are crammed in to watch it like sardines looking almost straight up. They should bring back some form of lagoon show at IOA, spreads the crowd out. The hotel met all of our needs, comfortable room, friendly staff and overall a good value. The walk to IOA was 6 minutes and the boats were running what felt like every 5 minutes, very frequent and not crowded on board at all. A criticism I would have for the hotel is the pool. They needed to reset the chairs mid-day and have more waitstaff, we waited 30 minutes for lunch (4 burgers and fries) and barely saw our attendant to order drink refills (we were not alone, others I met at the bar were having the same experience and we all notified the bartender of this fact who was overwhelmed with his line), it was still faster to walk to the bar and wait in the line. For a deluxe resort the pool should have a slide like PB and HR do. Another needs improvement is the main gift shop, it should be bigger with more souvenirs, snacks and drinks. There were two other gift shops, but those focused on specialty items like bathing attire or evening wear.