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  1. #1
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    Default First Trip to Universal- After 38+ years at Disney....Help!!!!

    Hi there! We are Disney veterans, and for the first time in almost 40 years are headed to Universal Orlando in a couple of weeks. My kids (7 and 9) are OBSESSED with Harry Potter, and I am too I am so excited to take them to the Wizarding World. I'm a little iffy on taking a trip to Orlando and NOT doing a Disney day, but we may try to sneak one in.

    Please tell me all I need to know. How is Universal different from Disney? What are your favorite rides, meals, experiences, etc... What do we need to know about parking, and passes, and everything?! I am trying to go into this with low expectations...I know Disney and I know what to expect. Universal I have no idea, other than what I've googled.
    I am looking at getting annual passes- its the same price as a 2 day park to park ticket, and that way we can go every day, and come back!

    Thank you!!
    1980-2001 CR;CBR 2001 AKL 2002 AKL 2003 AKL 2004 AKL; CB; AKL 2007 WL 2008 AKL 9/09 AKL Jambo 12/10 AKL Kidani 9/11 AKL Kidani 9/12 AKL 12/12 AKL 5/13 AKL 12/13 SS 9/14 BLT 12/14 SS 2/15 Aulani DVC 7/15 CBR 10/15 Yacht Club 12/16 DS 7/17 Aulani 01/19 POR 08/19 Yacht Club

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  3. #2
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    Where are you staying? On Universal property?

  4. #3
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    We just did Universal for the first time in December! Here are my thoughts:

    The HP sections were by far the best! We liked Diagon Alley a lot more than Hogsmeade. But both were very cool and immersive. DH19 and I are big HP fans and we loved it!

    The rest of the park areas are really fun, decorated well, but I would say not as immersive, except for possibly the Seuss area. It's definitely not Disney, but that also means you don't have to be a planning juggernaut to go there. We showed up not having really done any homework!

    We also used Magical Journeys. I've never tried them for a Disney trip, because I'm kind of a masochist and like planning myself. But Universal... I just didn't know what to do with that. I kept going to the site and just backing away. SO glad I did that! MJ made it so much easier!

    The ticketing system was weird and frustrating. We had paper tickets to get into the parks, and then we had plastic cards from the hotel for our fast passes at rides (can't remember what they call them). And then we had another card for our photo package. We stayed at the Royal Pacific so that the fast passes were included in our package. But, I wouldn't recommend that hotel.

    Food was crazy expensive!! More than Disney food costs for sure. Do not make the mistake of buying "Gilly Water" in HP lands. It was $5 for a very small bottle. And it wasn't like they did anything really special with the look of the bottle - nothing souvenir worthy.

    The rides are simulator heavy, which is something we had to stay aware of since two of us (DH19 and I) tend to get motion sick. We took bonine every day though and for the most part that got us through. The two rides that almost completely did us in were Forbidden Journey in Hogwarts and the Simpsons ride. The Simpsons was much worse than FJ.

    Other than HP, the only must do experience I would suggest is meeting Blue the Velociraptor. It was so cool and so well done!

    Oh, and getting ANY food in City Walk in the evening was a huge challenge. There were tons of people, really long lines for everything, from sit down to snack kiosks. Of course, this was right before xmas, including weekend days, so possibly it's not like that all the time.

    In the parks we felt the crowds were really light, even on the weekends! There was only one evening in Hogsmeade that people were packed in shoulder to shoulder and that was to see the light show on the castle. And, easy to avoid.

    If I can think of anything else, I'll share!
    Susanne

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  6. #4
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    Wow! Thank you so much for all that info. I've been reading that food at US is very expensive. I'm hoping we can plan well and not waste money. I truly appreciate all your input!
    1980-2001 CR;CBR 2001 AKL 2002 AKL 2003 AKL 2004 AKL; CB; AKL 2007 WL 2008 AKL 9/09 AKL Jambo 12/10 AKL Kidani 9/11 AKL Kidani 9/12 AKL 12/12 AKL 5/13 AKL 12/13 SS 9/14 BLT 12/14 SS 2/15 Aulani DVC 7/15 CBR 10/15 Yacht Club 12/16 DS 7/17 Aulani 01/19 POR 08/19 Yacht Club

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bleen3162 View Post
    Where are you staying? On Universal property?
    I got a crazy good deal at Caribe Royale. This was a very last minute trip and we've been to Disney a million times. I love the Disney deluxe resorts, and we've also done the Hilton GVC at Sea World and Disney Springs, but we wanted to try something new this time. We'll see how it goes. We're renting a car so we have a little more freedom.
    1980-2001 CR;CBR 2001 AKL 2002 AKL 2003 AKL 2004 AKL; CB; AKL 2007 WL 2008 AKL 9/09 AKL Jambo 12/10 AKL Kidani 9/11 AKL Kidani 9/12 AKL 12/12 AKL 5/13 AKL 12/13 SS 9/14 BLT 12/14 SS 2/15 Aulani DVC 7/15 CBR 10/15 Yacht Club 12/16 DS 7/17 Aulani 01/19 POR 08/19 Yacht Club

  8. #6
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    Can't wait to hear how things go! I hope you guys have a blast!
    Susanne

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