US Early Entry and IOA Monday the 13th Report

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Trip Reports' started by nighttowll, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. nighttowll

    nighttowll DIS Veteran

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    I promised in another thread, I’d report on the crowds now that we are getting into mid August, and they are beginning to drop off, so I decided it would be easiest to do a little mini trip report.

    We went Monday the 13th. There were only two of us, two sisters, both adults, no children. We had an hour and a half drive, so up at 4:50 am for early entry to avoid I4 rush hour in Orlando. We made good time and arrived to a completely empty parking garage at 7:06. I think we might have been the first car in the lot. After a quick bathroom break, we were outside the US gates at 7:25. There were maybe 10 people in each line at this point in front of us. They opened the gates at 7:40. There still wasn’t a huge crowd, maybe 2 to 3 hundred people total. The crowd barely stretched back to the ticket booths with lots of space between lines.

    Once in the park, we headed straight back to Gringotts first. I think we had the very first ride of the day and were off the ride by 8:07. We did a quick walk around the gift shop, then headed over to ride Mummy. This was a walk on as well, and we were off by 8:22. Front row center on both rides; made me really happy. Next, we headed over to see if Transformers might be running early, but sadly it was not. At 8:25, it was just too early, so we headed toward Despicable Me, the only other ride open.

    My sister doesn’t like this ride as she says even the stationary seating makes her sick, so she went to look for a birthday gift for a friend in the gift shop while I rode. I got lucky with the timing. The preshow to the preshow was just finishing up as I arrived, so I was able to walk straight into the second preshow room and was off the ride by 8:40. It is important to note, I did the stationary seating. I’d never have been able to walk up and on doing the regular seating. The standby wait was already up to 45 minutes, 30 minutes before official park opening.

    After riding, I joined my sister in the gift shop for a quick look around. It was funny because after who knows how many trips, she only now realized that the gift shop is the fair at the end of the ride. She was so excited to tell me she had figured that out while waiting for me. I guess she’s never looked up before. We found a minion jump drive we thought would be perfect for our friend’s birthday, and I did my talk myself out of buying a shirt ritual. I really like the minion shirts with them driving to Orlando, so I always have to stop and debate getting one, but I really don’t need one and don’t think the cut will fit me right anyway.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
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  2. nighttowll

    nighttowll DIS Veteran

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    As a note:

    For those of you wanting to do the stationary seating, there is a separate line. Do not get in the regular or EP lines. They will be longer. There is usually a large white sign outside the ride designating where to line up. However, the sign is not always there. This morning it wasn’t out. If you don’t see the sign, follow the standby line around until you get to the very front of it where the doors are located to go inside the building. There will be an attendant there. This is where you line up for the stationary seating, right on the sidewalk, on the other side of the chain from everyone else. Simply tell the attendant you would like to ride stationary, and they will open the chain for you and let you inside to the preshow area. Stationary seating is great for those who get sick easily, small children who you need or want to hold, or those who simply may not have enough time to wait in the regular line but would still like to see the attraction. You miss the motion of the moving seats, but the movie is still the same. I have issues with migraines, and there’s something about the vibration of the moving seats I can’t handle. It’s weird how some rides effect you and others don’t. I can handle Hulk, but not moving seats, so weird.
     
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  4. nighttowll

    nighttowll DIS Veteran

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    At this point, we switched parks. We rode Dr. Doom, Spiderman, and Storm Force all as walk ons. Front and center on Spiderman which again made me happy. We were going to do Hulk as well, but when we arrived at the park at 8:57, the Hulk area was already swarming with a huge crowd of people. We went back at 9:20, but it was still packed. I was hoping the initial gate crowd might have moved on. The posted time was only 20 minutes, but we didn’t think that was correct. The line was really backed up, and the locker attendant was having to open everyone’s lockers since they had gone over the time limit, another sure sign the posted time was not correct. Also, there were no available lockers anyway. We decided it wasn’t worth the locker hassle and a possible long wait. We then took a short beak for a snack and a much needed blood sugar correction before riding Kong at 9:40. It had a posted wait time of 20 minutes, but we were on in right under 15. Then we went and visited the baby dino in the nursery, so cute, and I stopped to check out the park times board, so I could report back here.
     
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  5. nighttowll

    nighttowll DIS Veteran

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    Wait times as posted at 10:15.

    From what I could tell, these all seemed to be close to accurate except for Kong which is definitely a glitch.
     

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  6. nighttowll

    nighttowll DIS Veteran

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    Next, we went to Hogsmeade where it was really apparent crowds have died down some. For one, you could see the ground. I’m not sure I remember the last trip I could see the ground during the middle of the day.

    We had an early lunch in the 3 Broomsticks as we were both starting to get hungry after getting up so early. Lunch was good as always. I had the little beef pastries. My sister had chicken and vegetables. We had a bit of a hard time ordering which I expected. My sister has a lot of food allergies, so it is always an adventure eating out. It’s kind of a game, how many managers / chefs / interpreters will it take this time to order? This time it only took one chef. Although, I just asked my sister about it again, and I think she should have asked for a manager since she said they charged her for food she couldn’t eat which I think is ridiculous. Last time, they subbed stuff out, but it was a mess getting it done. This time, they refused to sub or reduce the price and made her pay extra for the only thing she can eat broccoli. Disney definitely wins when it comes to allergy issues. Ok, getting off the soap box now. They were letting you sit wherever you wanted, another sign of the lower crowds, so that was nice. We wandered around a bit trying to decide. We even debated inside verses outside before remembering how hot it was outside. Finally, we decided on a nice spot near the main doors with good lighting. Except for being dive bombed by a couple of rogue birds, it was a very nice meal.

    Deciding the food needed to sit a bit before riding anything, we saw the wand show. Again, we got lucky with the timing. We waited maybe 3 minutes before walking right in. The girl they picked looked to be in her early teens and was really getting into it, so the show was quite entertaining. Then we rode FJ by the single rider line. It was almost a walk on. There were maybe 10 people in front of us, so it took no time at all, and we were on. They ended up needing a party of two and couldn’t find one in the standby line, so we rode together anyway. First time that’s ever happened to us. I definitely wouldn’t count on it. It was about 11:45 and the standby wait was 45 minutes. When we got off, Flight of the Hippogriff was at 35 minutes, and we weren’t willing to wait for such a short ride, so we decided we were done for the day with HP.
     

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  7. nighttowll

    nighttowll DIS Veteran

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    Next, we headed over to Lost Continent where I was really hoping to catch the fountain awake. I’ve had bad luck with this all summer and haven’t caught him yet. There were some people camped out on him. I really hoped he’d wake up and scare them. I’m mean I know, but you could tell they had no idea, and I knew it’d be really funny. We hung around the area looking in gift shops a bit, but he never did wake up, so we decided to move on. I tried to convince my sister to do Poseidon’s Fury, but apparently I’m only allowed to do that once per month, and I’ve already met my August quota. We compromised, and she agreed to do Dr. Seuss rides with me if I didn’t force the issue of Poseidon.

    At 12:25, the Trolley Train was only a 5 minute wait. We were on in 3. We spent a few minutes eyeing the confections in the shop on the way out. I really want to try one of the book cookies one day, and I love looking at the candy apples. The Grinch is especially funny with his downcast evil eyes. My sister refuses to ride One Fish with me, so I didn’t even bother asking her, but I did plan on doing Cat in the Hat. However, when we got there, the wait was 20 minutes, and since we are lazy people, we decided to skip it. We’d been at the parks for about 5 hours at this point and between that, the heat, and the early start were starting to fade.
     
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  8. nighttowll

    nighttowll DIS Veteran

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    At 12:45, we stopped by the board in Port of Entry so I could report back here. Again times seemed accurate except for Hulk.
     

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  9. nighttowll

    nighttowll DIS Veteran

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    We decided to try Hulk one last time before leaving. The boards and the app had it listed as 5 minutes. We assumed that had to be a glitch, but on the off chance, we thought we’d go check the time. It was 75 minutes. Storm Force was posted at 15, so since we were already there, we decided to do that instead. It ended up only taking about 7 minutes to get on. We rode it once. By the time we got done, Hulk was up to 90 minutes at 1 pm. Standby was definitely a no go for us, and with the single rider line not even starting until you pass the metal detectors, we weren’t going to try that either. At this point, we debated going over to US, but decided we were done for the day.

    We spent some time looking around the gift shop at the front of the park. Then we made a stop at the bakery / sweet shop to get a chocolate peanut butter cookie before leaving. I had tried to buy one in the candy shop in Seuss land, and they didn’t have any. I was worried maybe they had discontinued them. Thankfully, they haven’t. We made one last stop at Starbucks to keep us awake on the drive home. We were in the car finally leaving Universal at about 1:45. After a detour to Celebration for cookie dough and a stop at Sweet Tomatoes for a family pack to go, we finally made it home at 4:30 where I fell on the couch and stayed exhausted until bedtime. All in all, a very nice day.
     
  10. RJstanis

    RJstanis Negative, I am a meat popsicle

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    Thanks for your report! Between this and your recommendations on another post to me it gives a realistic idea if what to plan and accomplish with EE at USO ;)
     
  11. pattyw

    pattyw DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like a GREAT day!! :thumbsup2 I like where you say in Hogsmeade you could "see the ground":laughing: So true! When we went to see the castle light show last week, no ground in sight!!

    You certainly accomplished a lot!

    Thanks for all the details! :)
     
  12. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

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    Thank you for on the spot reporting here to us

    You were in the right places at the right time for those short line waits !
     
  13. cadawson

    cadawson IrishDore

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    Fun day! Thank you for reporting how to utilize the stationary seating at Minions. I’d like to take my DS7, but line’s always 45min+, even when we go EE. He wants stationary seats anyhow, so this is perfect advice!
     
  14. HM

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

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    Monday was our second day at the park of three days this week.
    We felt Sunday was much less crowded. We may have been eating at the Three Broomsticks when you were...but we did sit outside.
    We loved that we could actually do most things that we hadn't on Sunday without much waiting.
    Definitely better than our last trip in mid-December.
     
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  15. Disney Addicted

    Disney Addicted DIS Veteran

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    I think this is the first time I have read about stationary seating at Minions. Thanks for that information!
     

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