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  1. #1
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    Default First time at Universal - what are your tips??

    We are headed to the "dark side" at the end of April! Just Husband and me, no kids to cramp our style, two full days and park-to-park tickets. Staying at Royal Pacific so will take advantage of early entry at least one of the days and using the Express Pass. We are very much looking forward to Harry Potter, Springfield, Minions, Spiderman, and roller coasters! What are your best tips for maximizing time? Where are the good places to eat? What should we avoid?

    Thanks!
    ~Nikki~
    Last Trip: July 2015 Birthday trip - Disneyland! April 2016 - Disneyland!!
    Next Trips: INTERCOT 20th Anniversary Meet October 2017!

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  3. #2
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    Do one park at a time to get the best ...you must do kong and harry potters gringotts
    And eat at toothsomes which is on the boardwalk..that is an amazing restaurant
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  4. #3
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    If you partake in adult beverages you have to stop at Moe's for a Duff's beer (Springfield) and Hog's Head Pub for a Fire & Strongbow (HP IoA). For a snack the Apple Fritter ($6) at Lard Lad Donuts (Springfield) is quite yummy but could serve 4 people as could the the Giant Pink donut.
    - Lynn -
    INTERCOT Staff: Theme Parks, DVC

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  6. #4
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    I would also recommend doing one park each day, but make sure to take HE back and forth since the trips themselves are both different. With Express you should have no problem doing everything in both parks in two days and should even have time for some re-rides of your favorites.
    Vivo is very good as well as Antojitos, while Toothsome is more of an overall experience. I do not recommend HRC after a bad experience we had there.

  7. #5
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    A little off topic but is there any way to get good discount tickets for Universal Studios in Hollywood...Thanks
    Offsite...(12/97 & 10/99)
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  8. #6
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    FOOD:

    Vivo Italian is one of my favorite places in CityWalk to eat.
    Sal's Pizza at Portofino is very good, as are their sandwiches.

    Quick Stuff In the parks:
    Studio's I usually grab a shake at Mel's, a loaded baked potato at the street stand near London. Not a huge fan of Leaky Cauldron, but the Egg, Leek, and Mushroom Pastry is good.

    IOA is a kebob at Doc Sugrue’s Kebab House in Lost Continent, chicken and ribs in 3 Broomsticks or Thunder Falls Terrace and next trip will be a cotton candy the size of a beach ball at Honk Honkers in Suess Landing.

    For sit down meals in the parks I was not impressed with Lombard's. Mythos is good, but service can be spotty, Confisco's is usually good as is Finnegan's.

    I think Margaritaville and Bubba Gumps in CityWalk are overrated.

    The Kitchen at Hard Rock has a nice buffet breakfast and dinner is always good there as well.

    Nanc
    Nanci Rossetti
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  10. #7
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    Park Tips:

    Most offsite people leave around 4-5pm. If the park is open until 7, stick around and enjoy the Potter areas with MUCH lower crowds. We usually leave mid afternoon and eat our big meal over at CityWalk or one of the hotels. Then when we see the mass exodus (really, that is what it looks like), we head back into the parks until closing. When it gets dark early, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are gorgeous lit up.

    Do not miss Monster Make-up Show, it is a hoot.

    Pull up a bench and really LOOK at the themeing in the different areas. Talk to some of the Team Members, they can give you great tips and tricks that will work at that specific time.

    Ride the Hogwarts express both ways.

    The Simpson ride can cause motion sickness LOL

    Nanc
    Nanci Rossetti
    Vacation Specialist
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    The Official Travel Agency of INTERCOT.com

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  12. #8
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    Royal Pacific Resort:

    Rooms are very nice and were just redone in the last year or so.

    At the Pool they have Cups and Ice Water, and sunscreen that is complimentary. Food at the Pool Bar is good and the Nachos are HUGE.

    You can bring your own small floats

    You can pool hop to any other resort.

    It can be faster to walk to IOA than to take the boat.

    Nanc
    Nanci Rossetti
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    Magical Journeys
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  14. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by luvdiznee View Post
    A little off topic but is there any way to get good discount tickets for Universal Studios in Hollywood...Thanks
    Not Really. Technically, that is a different company than UOR

    Nanc
    Nanci Rossetti
    Vacation Specialist
    Magical Journeys
    http://www.yourmagicaljourneys.com
    The Magic begins with YOU!
    The Official Travel Agency of INTERCOT.com

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  16. #10
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    Nanc, you're a wealth of information as always! It's true you can now use Express Pass for the two Harry Potter rides? Park hours are posted, they are only open until 6 p.m. Why close so early?
    ~Nikki~
    Last Trip: July 2015 Birthday trip - Disneyland! April 2016 - Disneyland!!
    Next Trips: INTERCOT 20th Anniversary Meet October 2017!

  17. #11
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    Yes, express pass works for Forbidden Journey, Gringotts and the Hogwarts Express!

    Universal does a lot of private after park events. I do not know your dates, but end of April has Grad Bash nights, the last 2 being the 27th and 28th.

    Their parks are never open as late as WDW parks except during peak season

    Nanc
    Nanci Rossetti
    Vacation Specialist
    Magical Journeys
    http://www.yourmagicaljourneys.com
    The Magic begins with YOU!
    The Official Travel Agency of INTERCOT.com

  18. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tink1 View Post
    Yes, express pass works for Forbidden Journey, Gringotts and the Hogwarts Express!

    Universal does a lot of private after park events. I do not know your dates, but end of April has Grad Bash nights, the last 2 being the 27th and 28th.

    Their parks are never open as late as WDW parks except during peak season

    Nanc
    Aha, that explains it. We are there the two Grad Bash nights. I didn't know those still happened at theme parks! We will just get up early and leave when the hoards of teenagers gets unbearable. Thank goodness for Express Pass!
    ~Nikki~
    Last Trip: July 2015 Birthday trip - Disneyland! April 2016 - Disneyland!!
    Next Trips: INTERCOT 20th Anniversary Meet October 2017!

  19. #13
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    Another vote for Mythos at IOA....And if you think you may get motion sickness from some of the simulator rides, take a Bonine each morning! I did and it was a lifesaver....
    Debbie Kuhns
    Vacation Specialist
    Magical Journeys
    www.yourmagicaljourneys.com

  20. #14
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    The wettest rides I've been on, IOA. JP, Dudley and Popeye. Whew, you will be soaked. Great rides, great themes. Love them all. Dudley is amazing on how wet you get. Make sure your wallet/phone are in a ziplock bag. Something I always bring to places with water rides, though useful too if you caught in the showers in Fla.
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