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which universal park

Universal Orlando: planning day trip never been

From Betty Rohrer
Posted February 19, 2011 at 6:47 PM
which universal park would you pick for a trip including 2 adults,one is a nonrider, 4 boys, ages3,5,6&14? only have one day ticket and none are into Harry Potter. i have never been to either park and got elected to be planner.


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Hermione Potter
Posted February 19, 2011 at 8:22 PM
With so many younger kids, I would say that Studios is a better bet because it has lower height restrictions overall in comparison to Islands. You do have to take into account that the reason for the lower height restrictions is that most of the attractions are 4D shows and stage shows, but they are all still fun and enjoyable.

Plus if the older one is into coasters Studios does have the Mummy and Rockit, which is only one coaster less than Islands anyway. Another plus for Studios is that it is often less crowded than Islands because everyone wants to see Wizarding World.

**If you go on a mardi gras or summer concert night (not sure when you plan to go) then it will be crowded later on during the day. The mardi gras parade is family friendly and depending on who the concert is you may just want to leave immediately after the parade - the artists keep it pg13 but not all guests do as far the concert crowd goes. Again, the parade is well regulated and great for families.**

From James Rao
Posted February 19, 2011 at 8:51 PM
If the majority of your kids are not at least 48" tall, I wouldn't go to Universal at all. However, if you are dead set on going, I would travel to IOA because at least most of them will be able to ride Spider-Man (40") which is still one of the best attractions in the world, and the 14 year old will get a real kick out of Hulk and Dragon's Challenge.

Honestly, with your group, I'd probably head to the Magic Kingdom or Disney's Hollywood Studios instead.

From Tom Rigg
Posted February 20, 2011 at 5:37 AM
I disagree with the first response, Islands of Adventure if s much better choice than the Studios. For younger kids Dr. Seuss' Landing and the Kids area in the Jurassic Park section are great. Also, even if you aren't into Harry Potter, the Wizarding World is a very cool section of the park. Also, for your older son, the Superhero Island is pretty cool.

From Betty Rohrer
Posted February 20, 2011 at 11:27 AM
james we are part of make a wish and the tickets include universal, not my choice. i grew up with old and mean old universal hollywood never been to flo. trip is for the youngest. the oldest will probabily want to ride the coasters but not sure how brave he is. these are my "adopted" grandsons. part of the large group from Disney last summer. looks like we are going in june.

From James Rao
Posted February 20, 2011 at 12:18 PM
I think you will have an awesome time, regardless of where you go! Check the attraction listings and descriptions and see what would be most entertaining to your posse. Hey, it's all about being together as a family anyway.

Just make sure to check on the rider swap procedures for the two parks, as that 14 year old is going to have a lot more ride access than the rest of the kids. Also, try to get the younger kids to be at least 40" by the time you travel (platform shoes, better posture, big hair, whatever it takes!) because that Spider-Man ride (if you go to IOA) is worth the price of admission.

From Hermione Potter
Posted February 20, 2011 at 2:26 PM
Oh, the make a wish tickets usually let you go to both parks so you should go ahead an explore both parks then. Both parks have children's areas that are fun to explore

I agree with James that Harry Potter is amazingly themed no matter whether you like the books and movies or not, but I was saying avoid because the height requirement for the castle ride is 48 inches and dragons coaster is higher. I think hippogriff is like 38-42 somewhere around there (universal's website will say exactly).

And now I have to disagree in the extreme with something else that was said: do NOT try to make your child look or measure taller with hair, hats, or shoes. First of all, the employees will force you to remove the hat and flatten the hair if they have to. They are even allowed to make kids take off their shoes if they've got on platforms or heels if they feel the need, although I've never seen it happen. Secondly, the height requirement exists for a reason - it is a safety issue to allow a child (or anyone) who is too short to ride onto the ride. If the ride were to stop they may not be tall enough to safely exit or be suddenly stopped during an evacuation. They could also (depending on how much height you try to add) oh I don't know...fall out of the ride restraints?

(Yes, I have had this happen to a family member. My brother came out of his seat and ended up on the floor on a Disney attraction in the early 90s after sneaking him in with a tennis ball under his hat and stuffing his shoes. Said attraction now has a different restraint system and cast members are way better about checking heights making it near impossible to happen again which is why I'm not naming it - and it's not splash)

From James Rao
Posted February 20, 2011 at 3:50 PM
Ease down, Miss Granger, it was just a joke. Yes, parents should be careful to observe all theme park rules. I only made the point about hitting the 40" mark to stress that height requirements will play a big role in this family's day at Universal....

From Hermione Potter
Posted February 20, 2011 at 5:15 PM
Sorry, but due to the personal experience I'm a little touchy about that. It's a pet peeve what can I say?

From Betty Rohrer
Posted February 21, 2011 at 6:50 AM
our little one will not make height and as grandma i do not believe in trying to make child taller. i am just excited to go along. as my adopted daughter does not ride i know who is getting to the rides with 14 year old. i have never been universal so i am looking foreward to going there. just want it to be fun for all my boys.

From James Rao
Posted February 21, 2011 at 8:15 AM
Okay, the next step then is to have a touring plan. I submit the following touring plan for IOA, keeping in mind that you can split the group at times (I hate doing that, personally) and let your taller riders "do their thing" while the shorter/younger kids take extended time in one of several play areas at IOA.

Universal IOA Touring Plan – 2011

1. Arrive 45 - 60 minutes prior to opening
2. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Take the route through Seuss Landing (unless directed otherwise), it should be faster
- Visit Ollivander’s Wand Shop
- Experience the Forbidden Journey – 48”
- Ride Dragon’s Challenge (Red & Blue) – 54”
- Ride Flight of the Hippogriff – 36
- Visit Other shops (and have a Butterbeer)
3. Visit Jurassic Park Discovery Center (Interactive play area)
4. Ride Jurassic Park River Adventure – 42”
5. Ride Pteranodon Flyers – 36”
6. Visit Camp Jurassic (Playground)
7. Ride Ripsaw Falls – 44”
8. Ride Bilge-Rat Barges (You will get soaked) – 42”
9. Visit Me Ship, The Olive (Playground)
10. Ride Spider-Man – 40”
11. Ride Hulk – 54”
12. Ride Cat In The Hat
13. Visit If I Ran The Zoo (Interactive play area)
14. Ride Caro-Seuss-El
15. Ride One Fish Two Fish
16. Ride High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train – 34”
17. See Poseidon’s Fury!
18. See The Eighth Voyage Of Sinbad

Skipped Attractions:
Dr. Doom’s Fearfall (common, slow loading, space shot ride)
Storm Force Accelatron (common, slow loading, spinning tea cup ride)

From James Rao
Posted February 21, 2011 at 8:40 AM
And here is a suggested itinerary for Universal Studios Orlando. Please note that while several attractions have no height restrictions, they are rated (by Universal and concerned parents everywhere) as PG-13.

Universal Studios Touring Plan – 2011

1. Arrive 30 – 45 minutes prior to opening
2. Ride Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (Use single rider line) – 51”
3. Ride The Simpsons Ride – 40”
4. Ride Men In Black – 42’
5. Ride Jaws (PG-13)
6. Experience Disaster!
7. See Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue (PG-13)
8. Ride Revenge of the Mummy (Use single rider line) – 48”
9. See Shrek 4D
10. Ride Jimmy Neutron – 40”
11. Experience Twister (PG-13)
12. See Terminator 2:3D (PG-13)
13. See Universal Horror Makeup Show (PG-13)
14. Ride ET
15. Ride Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster – 36”
16. Visit Fievel’s Playground
17. Visit Curious George Goes To Town (Playground)
18. See A Day In The Park With Barney
19. See Animal Actors On Location
20. See Cinescape 360 – Seasonal Nighttime Spectacular

Skipped Attractions:
The Blues Brothers Show (Fun, but there are bigger fish to fry)
Fear Factor Live (Is it even still open?)
Lucy - A Tribute (Unless you are a big fan of the world’s favorite redhead)

Have a great time!

From Betty Rohrer
Posted February 21, 2011 at 10:59 AM
thanks James, i know we are going to be slower with the little guy and his problems. not going to get everything done and we know that. ps how is silver dollar city? just still wish that park was closer to Pa.

From James Rao
Posted February 21, 2011 at 1:06 PM
Understood, Betty. Just do your best, and feel free to let the tall riders head off on their own for a bit.

As for Silver Dollar City, it is still the best park west of Orlando and east of California! Visited about a dozen times last year, but we may be taking a year off while we wait for them to build the oft rumored "Mystery Mine"-type coaster in 2012. We'll see.

From Renata Ferreira
Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:32 PM
In response to something that Hermione Potter said:

I used to be a Cast Member at Splash Mountain (MK) and we had very strict orders NOT to tell young kids to take off their shoes, even if they had heels or something like that. Not sure if it's different over at Universal, but my niece is 1 inch smaller than the allowed at Forbidden Journey, she wore a heeled shoe and got in.
Just wanted to correct that...

From Hermione Potter
Posted February 23, 2011 at 7:03 PM
Yeah I've never seen the shoe thing happen, but I've got friends in attractions at both companies who've told me that they're allowed to insist on it and/or to refuse entrance to the ride if the kid comes up in like spike heels or 5 inch platforms and just barely makes height. I've never seen it myself, but they've all got stories.

A friend at Sea World had a parent switch shoes with a child so the kid would be tall enough for Manta...directly in front of him as he was asking to check height. Some people...

From Betty Rohrer
Posted February 23, 2011 at 7:04 PM
i only have one of younger boys that might want to ride bigger and i am not sure how close he is. he loved splash mountain last year but his mom who wll not ride was scared to death for him. l will not try to make him taller but that is just how i feel plus he will not wear any heel of size.

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