Visited the big O in June. This is what happened.

Universal Orlando: A condensed Orlando trip report from last month. Including the grand opening of Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

From Manny Barron
Posted July 7, 2010 at 8:24 AM
Hi everybody, I visited Orlando from June 11-21. I'll try to keep it short. Hopefully my trip report can give people an idea of how crowds are in June for future trips. There were five people in our party(with a sixth one arriving midway into our vacation) ranging from age 5 to 52. So here you go.

Friday June 11- Left El Paso at 10:30 aboard Delta and arrived in Orlando at around seven. Checked in at our hotel(Springhill Suites at Sea World) and got a quick bite to eat.

Saturday June 12- Everybody is up and early on the first day of vacation. Hotel served breakfast so we ate there just about every morning. We were inside of the Epcot's Future World before 9. Epcot is awesome. We did A LOT that day. Soarin 2X,Living with the Land,Journey into Imagination,The Seas,Spaceship Earth,Mission:Space2X,Test Track2X,Universe of Energy,All of World Showcase except the France film. The longest we waited was 15 minutes for Test Track. We're like pros when it comes to touring and not having to wait in lines and using Fastpasses so we did quite a bit in this day and took plenty of brakes in the day. We're not that big on eating at sit down restaurants. We ate at the Land and the Electric Umbrella counter-service.

Sunday June 13- Universal Studios time. My favorite park in Orlando. The park was empty. We did the Simpsons,Jaws,RotM,E.T.,Twister,and Shrek 4-D before noon. Hollywood RRR is a great addition to the park. We didn't do everything in the park(since we were coming a second day) and left early at around 6. Swam at the hotel swimming pool and ate at TGI Friday's which was in the hotel parking lot(Enjoyed the food we really need a TGIF's here in far west Texas).

Monday June 14- Magic Kingdom. MK is traditionally packed on Monday and this was no exception. Woke up kinda late(which is necessary sometimes in an Orlando vacation) and got to the park at around noon. Record high temperatures were also present that day. We know that lines will be short at night since everybody will leave early after a brutally hot day like this so we saw the theater attractions(Carousel of Progress,PhilharMagic,Country Bears,Presidents) first while we gathered fastpasses for the mountains and Peter pan for later in the day. We found some seats indoors at the Starlight Cafe and just relaxed and talked for some time. After 6 when the weather was a lot nicer we did Splash Mtn twice,big Thunder,Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise,Snow White,Peter Pan,small world,Aladdin,winnie the pooh,Space Mtn,Buzz Lightyear,Monsters inc and the railroad. Touring the Magic Kingdom at night is truly wonderful.

Tuesday June 15- Our chill day. Leaving the MK at midnight we could use a day off. I can't stress how important it is to take a day off, or more, from theme parks in your Orlando vacation and this is coming from someone that can't get enough of these wonderful places. Swam at the pool, visited Downtown Disney(ate at T-Rex cafe), and visited the outlets nearby and picked up another vacationer at the airport that would join us for the next 3 days.

Wednesday June 16- Got to Sea World at around 11. Our hotel was just across the street from Sea World so that was nice. First day when rain started to fall during our stay. Still had an awesome time. Manta is now the wildest ride in Orlando. Got on it twice with a 5-minute wait after 7.

Thursday June 17- Animal Kingdom- Day was going smooth in the early hours. Got on Dinosaur,Expedition Everest and saw Lion King,it's tough to be a bug,Maharajah Jungle Trek before going to eat at Rainforest cafe. Then a nasty downpour started. We were stranded for about 90 minutes, but once the rain died down a bit the park was absolutely wonderful. Small crowds, no waits and cool temperatures. We got on an unforgettable Kilimanjaro Safaris. All the animals were out. It was as if though they were celebrating the cool temps. The best Kilimanjor Safari tour, ever. We did some other things after but unfortunately we ran out of time and didn't do Nemo,Flights of Wonder, or Kali River Rapids.

Friday June 18- Yup I was there for the opening of Harry Potter and survived to tell the tale. You probably heard of the insane crowds and madness for HP. I was in the middle of it all and from the moment I got to the line outside of IOA until I got on the Forbidden Journey i waited a total of 9 hours for that one ride. I woke up at 6:30 and from the moment i turned on the TV i knew this was gonna be an interesting day. Every local TV station was talking about one thing and one thing only-Harry Potter. Got to the park at 7:50am and got in line just past the USF entrance. It's amazing how hot Orlando can be at 8:30 in the morning. At least two people passed out in front of us before the park even opened. Well we waited 2 hours just to get into the park and finally got in at 10 and got in line for the new land right outside of the Hulk coaster. After 6 or 7 long hours we were inside the land, but still had to wait about 100 minutes for the Forbidden Journey. That ride is awesome and so is the rest of the land. Also got on Hippogriff and Dragon Challenge twice, both were walk-ons which was unexpected. Didn't do much else in the land since we really wanted to see the rest of IOA. After eating at Seuss landing we got on the Cat in the Hat,Trolley train ride, Spider-Man,Jurassic Park,Dudley Do-Right, and Incredible Hulk and ran out of time. Sure would have like to have gotten on the Popeye ride and seen Poseidon but hey I did get to experience the Harry Potter land on opening day. Was it worth the 9 or so hours wait? You bet. Sure beats sitting around and waiting months and maybe years before experiencing this for yourself.

Saturday June 19- Got to USF late and did some of the stuff we didn't do the other day and repeated our favorite attractions. Rain became a problem after 7 but they still had their summer concert series. Not much of a wait here at this park everything was 30 minutes or less. USF rocks.

Sunday June 20- Did absolutely everything at Disney's Hollywood Studios,except for American Idol. Crowds were average but nothing to bad. Most we waited was 15 minutes for Tower of Terror and Fantasmic still had good seats 15 minutes before showtime. Took my last ride on Star Tours. Last day at Disney World for our vacations.

Monday June 21- Time to go home, but not before a stop at Sea World:). Our plane took off at 4:50 so what better way to wait for our flight than to go to Sea World. After a farewell ride on Manta we left Sea World at around 2:30 and took our Southwest flight back home.

Just an unforgettable vacation. We had a blast and I can't wait to go back. If you've got any questions or need some advice feel free to ask. Thanks for reading.

From Tony Duda
Posted July 7, 2010 at 7:53 PM
I was at MK the same day you were, the 14th. Arrived a little before 9 pm (Epcot earlier) and left about 1:30 am. I rode all the Fantasyland rides my last 2 hours with time to spare. Really nice night, saw Main St. Electrical Parade twice, great view of new fireworks show. Nice experience all around.

From James Rao
Posted July 8, 2010 at 5:29 PM
Awesome trip, Manny, thanks for sharing your adventures. One question: did you get a chance to check out the Sum of All Thrills at Epcot's Innoventions? It was a very unexpected and pleasant surprise for us when we went in May. I am curious if you liked it after riding the advanced Kuka tech of Forbidden Journey....

From Manny Barron
Posted July 8, 2010 at 6:20 PM
Thanks James. We only got to visit Epcot one day during our vacations so time was precious there. I've been to the Innoventions attraction at Disneyland and have been underwhelmed by it, so we've always ignored it at Epcot, but after reading up a bit on Epcot's innoventions, it seems way different than the Disneyland version. Sum of all Thrills sounds great especially if it uses the Forbidden Journey technology. I'm definitely gonna check it out next time.

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