"So what happened after the dragon?" a Feb '17 Universal TR - Final POSTS - May 19th!

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Trip Reports' started by skier_pete, Mar 2, 2017.

  1. ChipDale

    ChipDale Earning My Ears

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    Glad you had a nice dry day! I like your version of why Butterbeer ice cream must be served plain better than Universal's explanation. :D Thanks for another enjoyable read!
     
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  2. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    There were a few other cases of where CM's "broke the spell" while we were there, but this was the worst and was clearly something they are told to say. Sort of wierd to me considering how insistent that JK Rowling was on "authenticity" including serving traditional English fare at the restaurants.
     
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  4. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    I want to go back to Universal, but I think we'd enjoy it more if we didn't arrive directly from the long flight from California. There's a few of those rides I'd like to try, but every time we've been it's the day after the flight and we spend hardly any time there.

    The butterbeer story was lame. It's one thing when a McDonald's employee tells you that you can't put ketchup and mustard on a Big Mac because it's not trademarked, but I like your story a out the enchanted ice cream.

    We are planning a trip (yes I sucked it up and booked a cruise for August 2018), and there are five other DIS friends on the cruise. Two of them are going B2B on the next sailing, but three of us are planning to go to WDW for 3 nights and I'm hoping for a Grand Villa at OKW. Probably little or no parks (way too hot), but Yeehah Bob is on the list for that trip!
     
  5. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    I would suggest with your circumstances that you have plenty of DVC points to just stay at Disney and take a 1-2 break in the trip to rent a vehicle to go over to Universal. I know with the ECVs this might not be that easy, but maybe even rent ECVs at Universal for the day? I don't know, DW and I are considering taking the first day of our November weekend getaway trip and stopping at Universal after our flight down for the first day. Of course, it's a big difference a 2 hour flight from Buffalo versus a 6+ hour flight from Cali with a 3 hour time change. We can leave our house in the morning and nearly make rope drop!

    And yes, I heard someone else say they were told the "it's trademarked" story, and I almost cannot think of a single moment that more took me out of the "world" occuring in a theme park than that. I thought they could use the "it's magic" point and at least 99% of the time people would stop asking, and then if the person still insisted, then they could say "it's trademarked". Of course, imagine the world of Harry Potter existing alongside the real world of lawyers. Every parent would be suing Hogwart's every single year for the danger that they put their children into in EVERY SINGLE CLASS.

    Whew - I would be a bit nervous doing a cruise in August being hurricane season...we will be there end of August 2018 so maybe see you if the dates overlap. Agree that August can be brutal, so I suppose for only 3 nights might skip the parks and enjoy things like Yeeha Bob, Jellyrolls, DS and other stuff like that. We have to do trips then a few more times until our daughter gets through high school, but then it will be bye-bye August. However, I don't find it too bad as long as we plan that we only stay in the parks until around noon, and then back after 6 PM. Lots more pool/room time is involved, that's for sure!
     
  6. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    After replying to your TR, this is exactly what was going through my mind. And doing it once we had a chance to adjust to the time zone and rest from the plane trip.

    Oh no, our models travel easy. I cam disassemble one and have it in the trunk, hatchback or whatever in 3 minutes or less (if necessary). We would need a small SUV to take both, but it would be easy to load them up and go.

    Yeah, the trip there wipes us out completely, and we take a but to bounce back.

    This totally made me laugh!

    I hadn't thought about that, but one of the people who invited us to join them is a teacher in Austria so she has to be back in time for their school year. We bought trip insurance.

    We arrive at WDW on Sept 1, Saturday, so not only is it hot, it's Labor Day weekend. We've already decided to have one night where we fix dinner in the villa and share some regional specialties, Southwest, Austria and Midwest...although who knows what the gal from the Midwest will choose, she may he the bartender!

    That is totally the plan, pool time too! We have APs so we could go in a park if we want.

    We've never been at that time of year. The trip is more about spending time with friends and WDW is a great place to do that.
     
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  7. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    Day 7 – Return to the Mouse

    While we liked Universal a lot, it still does not scratch our Disney itch. And as it happens, we lucked out in that while we were down here, Disney scheduled a DVC event at the same time, a party night at Magic Kingdom where we were allowed to get tickets to go in from 8 PM to 1 AM for an exclusive window. Our original plans actually had us taking a break during the week (which would’ve been the rainy day) but instead, we compressed our Universal visit and had today off in the morning. DW and I actually met some friends and went over to the Theme Park Connection warehouse, looking for Disney merchandise. They were having a big sale, but they were moving and all the good stuff was picked clean.

    The plan for today was that we were going to have an early dinner in Disney Springs, then DMIL and DD were going to go and watch La Nouba. (DD has wanted to see it again for a while, while DMIL hadn’t seen it. DW and I saw it once, and while good, once was enough.) While they stayed at La Nouba, we were heading for the DVC event.
    First we stopped at the La Nouba theater to pick their tickets, and then we walked through Disney Springs.

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    Edison is coming along nicely, I guess.

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    DD really likes T-Rex, so we let her choose that as our restaurant.

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    Inside the T-Rex

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    This Triceratops looks a lot like Trixie (from Toy Story 3) to me.

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    DD had the shrimp with pasta – which she really liked last time we were here:

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    DW had salad and a quesadilla
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    DMIL had the chicken flatbread. I had this last time and really liked it, but she just thought it was so-so.
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    I had a burger that was pretty good.
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    Overall the meal was fine but nothing very special. After we were done, we headed out, and parked over at the MK. DW decided since the parking was free she would pay for us to have the preferred parking for $15 more. We got to park basically in the front row by the TTC. The thought was were would be leaving at between 1 and 2 AM, we might like having a short walk to our car. It's also practically the only $$ we spent the entire evening.

    We took the monorail over to the Polynesian and met our friends that we were going to hang out with for the evening. I got an UH-OA, which is pretty strong, but should be for $22. DW refrained from drinking.

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    We got over to the park, and we were let in pretty much right at 8 PM. The park itself was open to the public until 10 PM, so we were expecting pretty big crowds.
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    We decided to head to Pirates first – 25 minute wait with the day crowds still here.
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    You can see based on the clock it was about 10 after 8 at this point.
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    Why can I never get Captain Jack in focus!
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    Once we were done with the ride, we headed to the hub…it was time for our last ever viewing of WISHES! I actually didn’t take any pictures or video, because basically I wanted to enjoy the show as it was. Like many people, I really love this show and was happy to have another chance to see it, but I am very much looking forward to them coming up with a new show integrating the projections into the show. Look forward to seeing it in November!

    To be concluded in next post...
     
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  8. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    We next headed over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We were starting to approach closing time for the park, which was scheduled to close to the public at 10 PM. The line for BTMRR was probably 20 minutes, but it went really fast. We were off the ride before 10 PM, so we decided to get in a character line before the event actually started. This probably wouldn’t have been my first choice, but it was the Country Bears – Big Al and I forget the other guy.
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    We considered getting in line for Abu and Aladdin but line was already like 30 minutes long, then the same thing with Dr. Facilier. Instead, we went and rode Haunted Mansion.
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    On our way out, it was pretty amazing there was something we had never heard of or seen before, they had a character out representing one of the stretch paintings talking to the crowd.
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    I forget the characters name (NOT Leota), but it was pretty cool. When we were here for MNSSHP a few years ago it was a different ghostly character. I don’t know if this is who they have out nowadays at the Halloween party – but this was much better.
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    Just around the corner was where Rapunzel and Flynn Rider were meeting. Our friends really, really, wanted to meet them, so we got in line. Unfortunately, we waited about 15 minutes, and then the characters went in for a while, and then came back out. I think overall we waited about 45 minutes, even though there were probably only around 30 people in front of us.

    In the meantime, we ran into some OTHER friends in the line – who we stayed with for the rest of the night - and some OTHER friends as well that we didn’t see again. Disney is becoming a real “small world” for us!

    We decided we were all hungry, so we did a bit of a split-up at this stage. Some stayed in line, while a few of us went into Columbia Harbor House. I had heard it was “soda and cookies” they were giving out, but turns out that they were distributing Hot Dogs, Sodas, Chicken Nuggets, Veggies (carrots and celery) and Cookies. We basically got a couple of trays loaded up and brought it out to the group. Not the most convenient way to eat, but we eventually made it to the front of the line. The interaction was great. Rapunzel told me that Pascal would very much like my shirt because it would be good to hide in. I had to say she had a very good point.

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    We next headed into Fantasyland, and though we thought about Peter Pan, the wait was much too long. (I think it was 40 minutes.) So we decided to do DWs favorite, It’s a Small World. (There were some other votes for this as well, though I like it - it wouldn’t have been my key pick.)
    It was getting close to midnight at this point, and we were debating about trying to get to the front of the castle for the fireworks. Because the way they had things roped off, that was not a great option, so instead we decided to try and squeeze in another character greet. Over in Storybook Circus, they had THREE meets going. I forget what the third one was, but there was about 15 people in line for Darkwing Duck. While we were waiting in line for that, we notice there was ZERO line for Clarice.

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    Clarice is an odd character to meet, as she only ever appeared in one single animated short, as a competitive love interest for Chip and Dale. I wonder if the animators could have imagined that 65 years later this character would still be around.
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    DW wasn’t as impressed, so stayed behind in the Darkwing Duck line, even though she had no idea who he was either. Truthfully, I only vaguely remember the show. Ducktales itself was on when I was in college, so we occasionally saw that show, but really by the time Darkwing Duck was around I was not regularly watching cartoons.
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    As we were leaving Storybook Circus, the fireworks started. They were about 15 minutes late, so they started at almost 12:15. We ended up watching them from next to the Mine Train ride. They were wholly original fireworks, and went on for about 10 minutes. It was actually a fantastic show, I was very impressed with what they did for a "free" event.

    We wanted to check out Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps in the tomorrowland dance party. They weren’t meeting, but were out dancing. Mickey and Minnie were out first though.

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    Mickey pulled out some sweet moves:
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    Our last ride was on the Seven Dwarves Mine Train. We waited until nearly 1 AM to get in line, hoping it would be shorter. It was still showing 40 minutes, and while it was maybe a little less than that it was pretty close. This is the longest I’ve waited for this ride, or really any Disney ride in recent memory. I was also winding down a bit at this point! Didn’t mean we didn’t enjoy the ride!
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    When we got off, we slowly wound our way out of the park. A super great night I think, I would’ve liked to have gotten in a few more rides, but we did 5 rides total, met 6 rare characters, got some free food, and had a good time with friends. And it was 100 % FREE.
    I love this picture!

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    The whole gang of us in front of the castle a 1:45 AM.
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    Bye Walt and Mickey – until November!
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    Stragglers leaving the park.
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    In what’s an extremely rare occurrence for us –we had to take the Ferry from MK to the TTC. I can only think of ever having done this in the last ten years of trips one time – December 19, 2009 coming to see the Christmas parade at MK.
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    And that is the end of that! We drove back to the condo at around 2 AM. There were a lot of workers out on the road, setting up for the Princess 10 K, which was starting in about 3.5 hours. We slept in a little bit the next day, but had to pack up our stuff and head for the airport. We had a 2 PM flight, which went to Pittsburgh and then was followed by a 5 hour drive – in light snow no less – to Buffalo, arriving around 11:30 PM. The return trip was mostly uneventful except for finding out that a purchase we had made back in January was through a site that had a bunch of credit card information stolen, so part of the drive was spent on the phone with the CC company. (We didn’t end up canceling the card because OUR card was not corrupted, but it was a few weeks later!)
    Overall it was a pretty good trip. I like Universal a lot, but I was not surprised but a bit disappointed that our DD still can’t get over her dislike of 3D and her fear of rides to really enjoy our time there. However, it was a good lesson for all of us. We love Harry Potter, but we are still a Disney family at heart.
    For anyone that enjoyed this trip report –be aware I write a lot of them! We have FOUR (yes 4) trips coming up in the next 18 months, so if you want to follow along with what is going on there, check out my PTR about these trips.

    LINK to Pre-trip reports...
     
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  9. rteetz

    rteetz Rumors and News Moderator Moderator

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    Looks like a great end to the trip! Those DVC events always look great and they always have great fireworks shows for them too.
     
  10. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

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    Great trip report

    Hope to read more when it's Orlando time again
     
  11. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    You know - it wasn't until I was writing this up that I realize how many really unique character interactions we had, and we didn't even get to them all. I could see a character lover just going nuts with one of these events and going around meeting rare characters. (We didn't get to Abu or Dr. Facilier or a few others.) The fireworks were excellent, big props to Disney for doing that!

    Thanks for joining in!
     
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