First Solo trip to Universal Studios-Long

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Trip Reports' started by angiepharm, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. angiepharm

    angiepharm Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2016
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    Hello all, i'm mainly a lurker, but decided to post about my first solo trip. Firstly, i must say that I am an introvert, but I'm an introvert who likes the company of friends if that makes sense. I recently moved to florida and am only 45 minutes-1 hour north of WDW and Universal. I love theme parks, sightseeing and travel. S/o hates theme parks and crowds, yet is an extrovert and dd is only 3. After taking dd to disney, a few times over the last year, its hit or miss, but last time i took her solo, i was worn out. I debated rather or not to bring her to universal, however i she HATES strangers and crowds and likely would've been ready to go without having any known characters to encourage her to stay like mickey, doc mcstuffins, or sophia, so i decided against bringing her. S/o and i came to universal for HHN, but that was miserable due to the crowds and rain(something came up every week end, and we ended up going halloween saturday, which i knew would be a disaster due to the crowds), so for him his theme park commitment was taken care of for the year.:-( So, i finally decided, i'll go by myself, b/c otherwise i'll be miserable, either dealing with an overstimulated toddler or her dad who would likely not get on any rides either. I don't really know anyone else here, and most of my friends are in GA, LA, or MD. :-( Also, i've never even gone to a restaurant by myself, and have only been to 1 movie solo(and that was just last year).

    Although we came to HHN, we didn't do any rides bc myself and s/o are afraid of roller coasters. i've been to universal 1 other time when i was 13 on a school trip, so this was kind of a first trip as well, since none of the old rides are there. i only remember back to the future, king kong, jaws, and ET.

    I've also been wanting to go to Animal Kingdom to see Pandora. Last time and only time i went to animal kingdom was last year, but was a friends and family trip and we were there 1 hr prior to park closing in a mad dash to get dd her mickey and minnie pic she'd been wanting the whole trip. She ended up falling asleep while in line for the pics. However, what swayed me to universal was universal solo ride lines, and universal being more "adult" oriented, so i figured more people would be there solo vs animal kingdom which would likely be families.

    So thats the background on this trip. So I researched how to go to a theme park solo, and read others experiences. That was very helpful, as i knew what to expect, and what to prepare for. i decided on Friday 11/10 due to it being the 1 day i was off of work, but dd and her dad would be at work and school. I figured this way, I wouldn't back out of the trip, since i would've been home alone anyways vs me leaving them for the day. I ended up waking up at 4am, b/c i was sooo excited. I charged all my back up chargers, and brought my bluetooth headphones, my apple watch i rarely use, and my cross body bag. I dressed comfortable with my comfy shoes. i decided it was meant to be, due to the temp being cool, vs unseasonably warm like it had been all week. I walked out the house at the same time as everyone else at 645am. I read to try to arrive at the park 1 hour prior to opening and an extra 15 minutes on top of that if you needed to pick up your tix from will call. Traffic was light, and i was happy, as i likely had left so early i bypassed the traffic. I got to the parking garage at 750/8am, and was shocked that there were so many people already there. I'd checked the school calanders, and orange county appeared to be in school for the day, so i was a bit surprised to see so many family with school aged children(assuming they were florida residents by the plates)

    So, after first getting up the courage to get out the car, i headed towards universal. I contemplated coming back home, checking out dd from school and bringing her back down, but figured, well, let me first try this by myself, if i don't i will regret it. I told myself, if I'm miserable, i'll bring down dd, and we'll enjoy the park for the afternoon. So this way, i had an alternative plan. I read occasionally universal will open the gates early 30 min prior to park opening, but today wasnt that day lol. i used the will call machines to get my tix, which was cool. i bought my tix from working advantage, and immediately regretted it b/c i didn't realize they had up to 24 hrs to send you the tix. i was prepared to call, and plead and cry if i didn't get my tix that day. anyways, they sent me the tickets at 815am(whew close call), and was happy to see i was able to bypass the long will call window line. The line to get into the park was pretty long, and again i was shocked how many people, mainly families were there. i had checked undercover tourist for crowd ratings, and it was a "average crowd" rating, which i wasnt sure what that meant. when i went to disney last year in july which is peak season, the park crowd levels were very very low, compared to what i imagined, which is why i guess seeing universal on a friday morning with those crowds was shocking.

    Anyways, armed with my headphones, and a bunch of podcasts, i didn't feel so out of place. i was able to crack up and laugh at the podcast, and plan out what rides i wanted to do. They opened the gates at around 850ish, and the 1st thing i saw was minion mayhem, i headed for that since it was the first thing within site. the line was pretty long, considering, and figured well i guess everyone came here. it was a bit awkward at first, b/c i was the only person in my que line for a while. The ride was actually pretty fun, and i think set the tone for the rest of the day. I considered doing shrek 4d, but in my rush to get to the park, realized i forgot to eat breakfast. I thought i read about the bakery being pretty good and stopped by there. I got a breakfast sandwich, and wanted to sit outside, but the tables were all taken, by now its only 910am, so i ate inside, still listening to my podcast. the food was "okay", next i decided to go a route, where there weren't as many people, and ended up at the simpsons ride. I am afraid of rollercoasters, so i found myself asking the cast members(i think thats what their called?) at each ride, is this a rollercoaster? i couldn't tell, bc some of the simulated rides were listed as "thrill" rides. only 2-3 rides are listed as 3d/4d, and everything else is under thrill ride. so i was happy to eventually realized other than rock 'n roller coaster and the Hulk, everything was was right up my speed. I ended up riding The Simpsons, MIB, and harry potter gringots, riding the single rider lines helped immensely b/c by 930, most of the rides had 45 min wait times. By this time i wished i'd followed the tour plan from Undercover tourist, but i didn't want to do a lot of back and forth and didn't want to go to harry potter 1st bypassing all the other rides, but quickly realized i should've done just that.

    I've never seen the harry potter films, although i always promise myself i will watch and read the books soon. but from the little i do know, it was pretty amazing. we'd already seen the dragon spit fire at HHN, which was very very cool, so i was able to walk through the thick crowds that were waiting with phones out for that magic moment. by now its around 10ish, and the crowds were unbearable in the potter area of universal. the wait time for the ride by this time was 70 minutes, i got in the single rider line which was pretty long, but moved steady.

    this brings me to my 1st gripe. Air conditioning during the wait ques. I was sooo hot, and happy i tend to try to prepare for all scenarios, and brough my portable fan, despite the 60 degree morning temp when i left. b/c by now the sun was peeking out from the clouds and it was pretty hot inside waiting in the lines. My 2nd gripe was the amount of families waiting in the single family lines. sometimes a family of 4, who a few times, were requesting to sit together. This really irked my nerves. From my research, a lot of people stated about meeting other solo travelers, and meeting others whom they struck up conversations and ended up hanging out in the park with. I think i kind of was hoping for the same, but no luck. i met no one else who was there by themselves in the lines. EVERYONE was there with family and friends, who were typically in line with them.i was very irritated by this, i guess b/c this made the single rider lines pretty long.

    So, i see this is getting really long, so i'll wrap it up. lol. I ended up riding all the rides i wanted. I rode, the simpson, MIB, harry potter gringots, transformers, the mummy, harry potter the forbidden journey, and spider man. i considered the harry potter flight of the grippindorff, (spelling?) but the wait time was 45 minutes, and i didn't see a single rider line, and i hate roller coasters. Sometimes it was a bit awkward, b/c couldn't have my phone with headphones for some rides, b/c you had to put everything in the locker, and some of the single rider lines were 20-30 minutes long. so, being in the lines sandwiched between families and large groups of friends was kind of weird. and occasionally i got in the ride car with a group of friends. the simpsons ride was the most awkward, b/c they didn't speak english, so i was unable to speak with the group, and it seemed like they didn't really want me to sit with them. but i put that out my mind and enjoyed the ride. i ate butterbeer ice cream, and got on the hoggswart express. I walked all around islands of adventure, and when walking through seus land, temporarily wished i'd brought dd, and imagined all the rides we could've done together there. by this time, i was getting a bit tired, and hungry. i got a photo sketch done, which was really nice. The artist were super funny and friendly, and i probably talked their head off with all the conversation lol. i'd read three brooms was a good restaurant due to the ambiance, so decided to go there to eat lunch. the line was pretty long, with a long que starting outside the restaurant. i decided, hey I'm not doing anything else, might as well, and stood in the line. i'd read to try the fish and chips, and decided on that with a frozen butterbeer to round out the experience. Since it was so busy, i ate outside, which i preferred since it was less crowded and busy, although most of the chairs and tables were taken outside too. i'd waited to have lunch so late, since i'd read avoid going around 12, and by now, it was ~2ish and was surprised it was still so busy. i wanted to go to skull island, which was one of the reasons of me getting the park 2 park pass, but they didn't have a single rider line and it was a 95 minute wait. so, that was out.

    I made my way back to the train, and last i'd checked the wait was 15 minutes, and by the time i got there it was now a 40 minute wait. now i was ready to go, my feet hurt, and i was tired. that line was the worse, but i got some reprieve towards the end, since they were looking for a single rider, and was able to get on the train finally, about 30 minutes into my wait.

    Arriving back in universal, i still wanted to see transformers, the mummy, shrek, and jimmy fallon. i was able to ride transformers and the mummy. the mummy really scared me initially b/c i thought it was a roller coaster, so i closed my eyes most of the ride, and then it was over and i felt like a fool. :-( now i was absolutely ready to leave, and it was 5pm, and starting to get dark too. I'd been in the park an entire work day 9-5 lol. i was sleepy, and my feet were killing me to the point i was trying to figure out how was i going to walk through city park to the garage. :-( jimmy fallon and shrek, i only wanted to do for the experience since they were there, they were not MUST DO'S. most of my friends had started calling to ask how my solo trip went, and I talked to them about my trip. i was happy to have done it, and had so much fun.

    If you made it this far thanks. I tend to be very detailed oriented, and i know sometimes its too detailed. so sorry for so long. hopefully this helps someone else contemplating the same.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
  2. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,229
    :welcome: and we love details on this board!!!!! :D

    Glad you managed to have such a nice day. I can understand your feelings regarding going solo.

    Many do and enjoy it, some have reservations. But sounds like you did really well. I know when I first ate in a restaurant on my own, many, many years ago now I felt slightly uncomfortable......it was business though so had no choice, but soon got used to it.......so I applaud you for doing that when you were doing something so new to you.

    Team Members (TM) are very good at letting families and groups in single rider lines that they won`t be sitting together......sometimes if there`s a space for two together on the ride then two of a group will be lucky.......DH and I got to sit together on Gringotts a few times before it had EP......we were just lucky and didn't expect it.

    I`m sorry you didn't get to strike up any conversations with others, think you were just unlucky........maybe next time......

    Thanks for the report though.......and hope you would consider doing the parks alone again sometime.......:wave2:
     
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  4. Lynne G

    Lynne G DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
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    Nice thing about solo, is you got to do whatever you wanted. Yeah, since I go solo sometimes, I find the single rider line with families or friends. Luckily, no one asked to be seated together most of the time I was in those lines.

    Great report, and hope you go solo to enjoy yourself again.

    Welcome to the DIS and please post more in the Dark Side threads. We are a friendly bunch.
     
  5. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Messages:
    88,108
    Glad you shared your UO park day with us!

    I do solo trips a lot
    Sometimes I can hit the main rides and take in the shows in by early afternoon
    Sometimes I don't start my park day until 11:00

    I'm there staying onsite so I make my agenda the morning I wake up

    If I was a day guest, I would work it like you did
    Go early and hit the popular rides early

    Hope you get to return soon and hit the rides you missed

    I always enjoy reading how others share their experiences at the darkside
     
  6. Metro West

    Metro West Nothing to see here...move along.

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    Apr 12, 2005
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    45,023
    Glad you had a nice time...I've been going solo for so long I don't even notice stuff anymore. Maybe next time you can have a park meet or something.
     
  7. HM

    HM My tag from the Tag Fairy is now too long to use.

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    Thanks for your report!
     
  8. WildernessMickey

    WildernessMickey Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Messages:
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    I have done a few solo trips at WDW now that my kids are all grown up. I am an introvert also, but my husband is so busy at times with work that it is either go on my own or don't go at all. It made me a bit self conscious at first, but I got used to it and I'm glad I did it! Now it isn't so awkward. I found out that if you go to a sit down restaurant and eat at the bar, you don't need a reservation and there is no wait as long as a seat is open. I even struck up a conversation with another solo person one night at dinner, which was nice.

    I'm so glad you ventured out of your comfort zone and had a good day. I'm planning a trip to Universal for later in the year. If my husband can't get vacation, then I will go on my own. I'm going to stay onsite so that it is easy to get around (either Cabana Bay or Aventura). It will potentially be my first solo trip to Universal. I haven't been since the first Harry Potter section opened when I took my kids (who are huge HP fans). I'm sure a lot has been changed and updated. I'm starting to get excited about it! I still have a lot of research to do, but I enjoy that.
     

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