They also seem to love Halloween Horror Nights. Although I've never been, it seems that every second guest they interview at the event is from the U.K. Can anyone comment on this?
I can't imagine visiting IOA at a busy time of year. I'm so used to visiting in late April, early May, and early September when virtually all the rides are walk-ons and I don't need to pay $280/night for a hotel room. IOA has some terrific rides, but unlike its neighbour at Universal, the queues are uninteresting (save for a couple).
Good report! Can't wait to hear your opinions on Mythos and the south side.
Remember that Harry Potter depressed Universal's attendance for the past two-plus years, making the park an easy visit for most of the year. But Potter's here now, so I think that Universal's days with ultra-short wait times will be much harder to find going forward.
With students returning to school over the next month, we'll soon see.
Also it wasn't so long ago that people in the US would ask me to repeat something I'd said because they found my english accent so unusual/ funny / different. But nowadays we Brits are with you in ever increasing numbers which, apart from the revenue bonus, probably isn't such a good thing................That may change though with the charge for ESTA ( US Visa ) and a departure tax by our own Govt too just to leave the UK.We might become a rarity again because we won't be able to afford the trip.
I went during this week last year and walked on everything everywhere I went.
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People these days are used to seeing raw action, whether it's MMA fighting or 3D CGI planets being destroyed. A couple of bad actors slowly swinging swords on a screen is not going to impress many people.
Your mention about the quality of film/video for Poseidon is not unlike what I experienced today at Kings Dominion. We went on the SpongeBob attraction. Not only was the 3D technology outdated, but the right half of the screen was darker than the left.
Trip report coming soon.
Anyway, thanks for the report!
And we did one thing only -- HPFJ. It was a 90-minute ride, partly because it broke down while we were in the castle. We decided since we were tired, and knew we wanted to walk through the castle at least once, that we'd do the regular line rather then single-rider. We started at 8:40, and finished just after 10pm, but the ride was way cool.
I will say that we are having no problem with USF/IOA without room keys or fast passes. We've waited in some long lines, waited in some short lines, done the single-rider thing, and almost had a hookup for a quick trip to the front of one ride because we were Dr. Who geeks (ride broke when we came to partake of that offer).
Sure, it's annoying to see people just moving up to the front, but we had 4 days to enjoy the park and the queues seem to be part of the fun.
We did ride Mummy several times in a row in single-rider, and another time today, and RRRocket was also a quick trip.
But my trip would have been perfect if I had run into you at HP. (BTW, we also waited in line and ate at 3pm at 3 broomsticks, and I agree the fish and chips was the best).
Good to know that Universal is taking it easy on their food prices. Have they maintained the quality of their food? Last time I was there it was some of the best I'd ever had at a theme park.
Point is, you can splurge on a few special things on a vacation if you economize effectively elsewhere. Mix one night at a Universal hotel with other nights in El Cheapo Motel, for example, and you can get two days of front-of-line access for a family of four while not breaking the bank on hotel costs.
And, believe me, plenty of other people are paying $280-plus to stay at the Universal hotels. WWoHP was packed with hotel guests in that first hour.
Let's look at this from another direction, too. At $70 per person for the Universal Express passes, we got the front-of-line and early Potter access for four for $280... and one night in a four-star hotel for free.
I was very suprised to read that you can't use the front of the line pass for some attractions, including Harry Potter. I think that is a huge misstep because it would cause, in my opinion, more people staying at the Universal resorts. Maybe they are already packed. However, you did get to enter early.
However, that same room (w/ that same Express Pass) in the off-season will run at least $60 - $80 less (rack rates), and if you utilize the "Stay More, Save More" option, you can get an insanely low rate of about $130/night.
Time to start home schooling, then you can travel in early May and September when prices are low, and crowds a non-factor!
Flyers won't ever go Express due to the insanely low capacity for that ride.
I'll be interested in seeing how attendance patterns change at Universal Orlando over the next year. I suspect that some periods that saw little or no crowds before will see significant lines now that Potter's bringing crowds back to the resort. But which periods and for how long remains to be seen.
Also, agree with the benefit from staying at an on-site hotel. If you are on a short trip, the time saved not waiting in line makes the cost worthwhile (though, I'm talking more about $100-$150/night, not the $280 mentioned). Last year I took my son (pre-HP), and we dodged big lines and did almost every ride in both parks in one day thanks to the pass (and didn't feel like we rushed).
Question: Robert, you said you wandered through the shops in the morning. So they didn't have lines yet? If those didn't materialize until midday, then that's a change. I was there opening week and everything had about an hour wait all day long. Ollivander's was more like two hours.
As the exchange rate is still not as good as it once was for us brits, I think that's an amazing achievement to fill out the parks with the current recession and a sign that universal really does know how to make great theme parks.
Now all we need is a Universal UK resort. We have some great space around Pinewood, great theming to go off and if they can create a lot of indoor attractions, this could be an all year, all weather resort - c'mon universal, I know you have considered it before, but perhaps its time for a fresh look?