General Universal Questions

mom2rtk

Invented the term "Characterpalooza"
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
We're heading down for a couple days soon. I'm looking for updated info so I can make a plan. Haven't been in more than 15 years, so pretty new at this.

1) If I'm reading the website correctly, USO and IoA will both have early open when we're there (6/21 and 6/22). We're doing 2 day single park tickets. Parks open at 8 on Monday and at 9 on Tuesday. I'm assuming they expect it to be busier on Monday because it opens earlier? But that also means the early entry should be earlier so maybe worthwhile? I want to do IoA on the day it will be easiest to do Hagrids and/or VC. Which day would you do IoA?

2) I have the app, but am not sure of the best way to stay in touch with Hagrids and VC going to VQ. Where am I supposed to watch? I'd like to ride both, but Hagrids is the priority. We probably won't wait if the line is over an hour.

3) We're onsite so have EP, but obviously not for those attractions.

4) I'm worried about the heat and the food. I need to get breaks from the heat, but I'm seeing reports of half hour waits just to get indoors at a food place. What's your best "go to" plan for this? I get lightheaded when I don't eat. And I get overheated easily. So I need a plan for dealing with both issues. I did make a TS reservation each of those 2 days but not at great times. But I'll need a second break on each day. Not sure with one day per park that I want to leave the park.

5) Staying at Royal Pacific. How far ahead of rope drop should we leave the hotel to head for the parks for early entry?
 

macraven

Proud Redhead
Moderator
Joined
Apr 21, 2003
I’m a tad confused on what you wrote but will try to help
Early entry is for hotel guests staying on site at UO

All is needed is your park ticket and hotel room key to enter the designated park of the day

My go to plan for food is to eat at off times

I don’t use the app at all for Hagrids, etc
Others that do will share advice with you
 

DoryGirl1963

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 14, 2016
Since you only have 2 days, I would go to IOA on Monday just in case Hagrid's has any down time. It's still a bit finicky, so if Monday doesn't pan out, you've still got a shot at it Tuesday. I haven't seen Velocicoaster go on VQ so far. Hagrid's may go VQ if the line starts spilling out too far, but it isn't a predictable'"set in stone" thing. The line for Hagrid's is wicked cool & moves constantly :) & it's been quite overstated time-wise every time we've ridden.

We completely bailed on the QS places when we were there in May. We came up out of the parks for a big lunch in Citywalk each day, then ate light for dinner at our resort each evening. It was very hot the week were were there (5/9-5/14/21) so it was a nice break to sit down in the AC for awhile. I'm SOOO hoping the QS mobile order fiasco is over by the time we go for Christmas - complete PITA :(.

For EE, I'd plan to leave your hotel no later than an hour before EE starts.
 
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mom2rtk

Invented the term "Characterpalooza"
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
I’m a tad confused on what you wrote but will try to help
Early entry is for hotel guests staying on site at UO

All is needed is your park ticket and hotel room key to enter the designated park of the day

My go to plan for food is to eat at off times

I don’t use the app at all for Hagrids, etc
Others that so will share advice with you
Sorry. I think my mind is a jumbled mix of questions, which is probably why it came out that way!

We are onsite so will have access to early entry. I just want to make sure I'm reading the calendar right and both parks have early entry the same day in late June?

When you say to eat at off times, are you talking about lunch at 10:30? I still don't feel like I have a good plan for that. Sounds like maybe I need some snacks in my bag.

Since you only have 2 days, I would go to IOA on Monday just in case Hagrid's has any down time. It's still a bit finicky, so if Monday doesn't pan out, you've still got a shot at it Tuesday. I haven't seen Velocicoaster go on VQ so far. Hagrid's may go VQ if the line starts spilling out too far, but it isn't a predictable'"set in stone" thing. The line for Hagrid's is wicked cool & moves constantly :) & it's been quite overstated time-wise every time we've ridden.

We completely bailed on the QS places when we were there in May. We came up out of the parks for a big lunch in Citywalk each day, then ate light for dinner at our resort each evening. It was very hot the week were were there (5/9-5/14/21) so it was a nice break to sit down in the AC for awhile. I'm SOOO hoping the QS mobile order fiasco is over by the time we go for Christmas - complete PITA :(.

For EE, I'd plan to leave your hotel no later than an hour before EE starts.
We're only doing single park tickets. So if we miss Hagrids the first day, we'll be at the other park the next day anyway. I just need to decide which day to do which park.

I didn't realize VC was only standby so far. I wonder if the fact that it has only been soft open up until today. At least I'm thinking it officially opened today.

So I guess my question is, what's the best way to know if the ride (at least Hagrids) goes to VQ? (So that I know to watch the app for times). Does the app give push notifications for that or do I need to just keep refreshing that ride's wait time?

I appreciate the feedback on Hagrid's line. I'll try to be be open to a little longer wait so we can do it.

I expect it to be very hot when we're there so am still contemplating whether to leave to eat. The QS stuff really has me worried. Did you have a City Walk reservation each day? And how long does it take to walk between the parks and City Walk? With only 1 day per park, we don't want to leave for too long.

Thanks so much for the feedback!
 

DoryGirl1963

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 14, 2016
We went out to Citywalk & ate between 12:30-2:30 with no reservations. It's my understanding that after 4:00, reservations are now highly recommended. Citywalk is directly outside the entrances from both parks so VERY close :) and it's a very short walk between the parks - they're right next to each other - maybe 3-5 minutes at most depending on walking speed.

No push notifications that I know of - pretty sure you'll have to check the app to see if Hagrid's goes on VQ - you can see it on the Wait Times or under Virtual Lines. We never have used the VQ for Hagrid's, prefering instead to rope drop it or ride stand by.

Tuesday's seem to us to be the least crowded day of the week, so that might be the best day to hit IOA since you only have 1 park tix.

Velocicoaster has had VERY little down time during the month of "technical runs" & has a looong self-contained line, so I doubt it'll go to VQ.

I looked at the app & I see that both 6/21 & 6/22 have Early Entry at 8:00 and regular park open at 9:00 for both parks.
 

mom2rtk

Invented the term "Characterpalooza"
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
We went out to Citywalk & ate between 12:30-2:30 with no reservations. It's my understanding that after 4:00, reservations are now highly recommended. Citywalk is directly outside the entrances from both parks so VERY close :).

No push notifications that I know of - Pretty sure you'll have to check the app to see if Hagrid's goes on VQ - you can see it on the Wait Times or under Virtual Lines. We never have used the VQ for Hagrid's, prefering instead to rope drop it or ride stand by.

Tuesday's seem to us to be the least crowded day of the week, so that might be the best day to hit IOA since you only have 1 park tix.

Velocicoaster has had VERY little down time during the month of "technical runs" & has a looong self-contained line, so I doubt it'll go to VQ.

I looked at the app & I see that both 6/21 & 6/22 have Early Entry at 8:00 and regular park open at 9:00 for both parks.
Very helpful! Thank you.

And I just looked on the app at the park hours as well and see 9 AM open for both days. Very strange since the website says 8 AM open for Monday. I'll have to keep an eye on that and see if they sync up to the same time at some point.

So what was your favorite City Walk lunch place? Did you have to wait long for a table with no reservation?
 
  • DoryGirl1963

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 14, 2016
    Very helpful! Thank you.

    And I just looked on the app at the park hours as well and see 9 AM open for both days. Very strange since the website says 8 AM open for Monday. I'll have to keep an eye on that and see if they sync up to the same time at some point.

    So what was your favorite City Walk lunch place? Did you have to wait long for a table with no reservation?
    We've found the app to be more up-to-date than the website.

    We ate at Hard Rock Cafe (not that great this time - was super last August when we went - disappointed), Bubba Gump's (fantastic both times) & NBC Sports (also very good.) My husband is not a very adventurous eater, so that restricts my options, LOL! Very little/no wait - seated immediately (or within a few minutes) at all 3.
     
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    Bethany10

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 17, 2016
    We are onsite so will have access to early entry. I just want to make sure I'm reading the calendar right and both parks have early entry the same day in late June?
    Only one park will have early entry for hotel guests. Typically that's Studios (Hagrids and Velocicoaster are in Islands). The app will tell you which one is open early and when. It's the small text under the main open times.

    Expect long lines, that's all I can tell you. Bring water with you and I'd pack some snacks. We found the bar next to Bruce the shark had a very short wait time compared with the food carts/quick service if all you want is water. There are food carts participating in a "summer food festival" AKA we need to give more people places to eat that are QS - that did not appear to have as long a lines as the other more established place.

    If you can find somewhere in the shade to eat that will help. The discovery center in jurassic park has AC and places to sit if it's open. we found the benches outside of mythos to be not too bad. If you're desperate duck into a store and take a swig of water.

    Take the boat over in the morning from RP, you'll bypass the big security line and be halfway into citywalk once you dock. We got there at 7:30 thinking we were going into early entry for studios but got in line for Islands instead. Park was supposed to open at 9, they opened at 8:30 (ish) and let the hoards in stopping us at the entrace to hulk and seuss (for those running to Hagrids and VC). Those lines were then let in about 8:45 to the rest of the park.

    Hope this helps!
     

    georgina

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    Only one park will have early entry for hotel guests. Typically that's Studios (Hagrids and Velocicoaster are in Islands). The app will tell you which one is open early and when. It's the small text under the main open times.
    The Universal website (also the app) lists both parks for EE from June 14-30.
     
  • TwoMisfits

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2002
    We're heading down for a couple days soon. I'm looking for updated info so I can make a plan. Haven't been in more than 15 years, so pretty new at this.

    1) If I'm reading the website correctly, USO and IoA will both have early open when we're there (6/21 and 6/22). We're doing 2 day single park tickets. Parks open at 8 on Monday and at 9 on Tuesday. I'm assuming they expect it to be busier on Monday because it opens earlier? But that also means the early entry should be earlier so maybe worthwhile? I want to do IoA on the day it will be easiest to do Hagrids and/or VC. Which day would you do IoA?

    2) I have the app, but am not sure of the best way to stay in touch with Hagrids and VC going to VQ. Where am I supposed to watch? I'd like to ride both, but Hagrids is the priority. We probably won't wait if the line is over an hour.

    3) We're onsite so have EP, but obviously not for those attractions.

    4) I'm worried about the heat and the food. I need to get breaks from the heat, but I'm seeing reports of half hour waits just to get indoors at a food place. What's your best "go to" plan for this? I get lightheaded when I don't eat. And I get overheated easily. So I need a plan for dealing with both issues. I did make a TS reservation each of those 2 days but not at great times. But I'll need a second break on each day. Not sure with one day per park that I want to leave the park.

    5) Staying at Royal Pacific. How far ahead of rope drop should we leave the hotel to head for the parks for early entry?
    Cowfish is great on City Walk, and a perfect lunch spot. Book that for one of your days for lunch.
    Book a 2nd lunch on City Walk - it is where to be at lunch time. And if you book it, it's no harm, no foul...you can always cancel that morning when they text you.

    Book dinners back at your hotel (or plan the CS there).

    Bring snacks and water to fill in for the times you aren't eating.

    And get snacks where folks don't want to get them. The Dole Whip in Marvel land is the same Disney dole whip, but a $1 cheaper with almost never a line...don't get in line for snacks in Harry Potter land unless you want to wait...and if you want those snacks, go early (ie - before lunch)...
     
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    gatormom2tots

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 13, 2010
    We rode Hagrids 4 times last week, 3 times at park opening and once in the virtual que. Our days the park opened at 9 (early entry only at US). We were in line at 7:45. Opened up gates at 8:30 and let us get to Suessville. At 845 they let us go to Hagrids. We rode walk on, and then immediately went to velocicoaster and rode 3 times (twice it was walk on and once we did single rider and had to wait like 5 minutes). We did snag a virtual que for Hagrids and that wait was 105 minutes. We all agreed we would rather wait in the morning and walk on it rather than sitting through the vrtual que.
     

    RocketCityMama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2009
    Take a few snacks with you, trust me on this. We just returned from 8 days and wised up after a couple of days. Our biggest issues were staying hydrated, the lines at all the kiosks were long, the freestyle lines were long, BUT here's a hint that will help you. A lot of the gift shops have a cooler with bottled drinks and little to no line - esp during the day to check out. Pop in there and get something to drink. Now don't everyone go doing that, so I can't in November LOL

    Also if you go eat at 11 am you will probably be ok. we went to simpsons at 11:30 and didn't have to wait very long. 11 am at Finnegans, we got right in. We also could have got right in at 12 on our last day if we had wanted. Any sit down meals you want, go ahead and make reservations NOW, save yourself the headache of trying to find something when you're tired, hot and hungry.
     

    Kit Jackson

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 2, 2014
    Expect long lines, that's all I can tell you. Bring water with you and I'd pack some snacks.
    Hope this helps!
    Sounds like maybe I need some snacks in my bag.
    Packing snacks in your bag is a really smart idea. I have no idea what the specifics of your health issue are, but as long as you are not bringing a large solid cooler, you can bring snacks into the park. Not knowing what your needs are (or what kind of bag you are bringing), energy/granola bars work well for a quick snack.

    I use this water bottle in my day to life and in the parks. It clips onto my bag (whether or not it will clip onto your bag depends on what kind of bag you use). I'd fill it the night before, put in the hotel fridge, and I was set for the day.

    It comes in multiple colors and sizes. What's great is that it collapses, so it's easy to pack and store when it is empty. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008VEU7P0/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_2?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

    I hope this helps you.
     

    TwoMisfits

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2002
    To answer a different question - a great break from the heat is the Universal Horror and Make Up show in the Studios - you can go in early (and they have Beetlejuice doing a preshow, or did when I was there) and the show itself is 20ish minutes...I'd plan that for one mid-afternoon for a break.

    In IOA, well, I got so soaked in Toon Lagoon I was freezing for a few hours...it may not be the typical desired way of cooling off, but damn, I was so cold and still wet after the river barges that I changed clothes 5 hours later in my room. That one might be extreme, but if you're overheating, it will work:)...
     

    WDWRook

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 4, 2016
    Packing snacks in your bag is a really smart idea. I have no idea what the specifics of your health issue are, but as long as you are not bringing a large solid cooler, you can bring snacks into the park. Not knowing what your needs are (or what kind of bag you are bringing), energy/granola bars work well for a quick snack.

    I use this water bottle in my day to life and in the parks. It clips onto my bag (whether or not it will clip onto your bag depends on what kind of bag you use). I'd fill it the night before, put in the hotel fridge, and I was set for the day.

    It comes in multiple colors and sizes. What's great is that it collapses, so it's easy to pack and store when it is empty. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008VEU7P0/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_2?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

    I hope this helps you.
    What is the rule for having a small bag or backpack in the parks? I though you had to stow them on the rides?
     

    Kit Jackson

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 2, 2014
    What is the rule for having a small bag or backpack in the parks? I though you had to stow them on the rides?
    On some rides (not every single ride in the park) you do have to stow your bag, but there are lockers next to or incredibly close to the ride. It's super easy and not something you need to worry about.

    I bring the same crossbody bag to the parks that I wear in my day to day life and I've never had a problem fitting it in the lockers.

    For me, I would rather have what I want for the day with me as opposed to saving a few minutes by not having to use a locker, but that is my own personal preference. There are people who disagree with me on this, which is fine. Everyone is allowed to make different choices and do what works best for them and thier family/travel companions.
     

    NYHeel

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2015
    1) If I'm reading the website correctly, USO and IoA will both have early open when we're there (6/21 and 6/22). We're doing 2 day single park tickets. Parks open at 8 on Monday and at 9 on Tuesday. I'm assuming they expect it to be busier on Monday because it opens earlier? But that also means the early entry should be earlier so maybe worthwhile? I want to do IoA on the day it will be easiest to do Hagrids and/or VC. Which day would you do IoA?
    Why do you think the park hours are different for Monday and Tuesday, 6/21-6/22? I'm seeing a 9:00 open both days with 8:00 early admission both days. Is there a change for Monday, 6/21?
     

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