Advice for Universal Please!

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by Flattes, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. Flattes

    Flattes Earning My Ears

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    Hi All,
    We are heading to Universal Studios after a cruise and would love some tips to make the most of our time there! We leave the ship Friday October 5th and will be staying at Hilton Universal Friday night and Saturday night. We have never done Universal before so really looking for any/all suggestions! I am traveling solo with my two kids aged 11 and 7. The oldest is a huge Harry Potter fan and the youngest loves Minions.

    I was thinking of getting the 2 day admission pass and spending Friday afternoon and all day Saturday. Would this be adequate to do all of the rides? Any pointers on when to ride/when to avoid for certain rides?

    Any good suggestions on fun/family friendly places to eat? Kids love cheesy places like Rainforest Cafe, so anything like that around the area?

    Anything I'm not thinking about?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. ExcitedMama

    ExcitedMama DIS Veteran

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    Definitely make HP your first stop and get there as early as you can on your full day. See if you have the early access, not sure what they call it but it gets you in early to HP. If everyone wants to ride again do it while you can probably still walk on. Then I would hustle to Olivander’s because it’s a small space so the line can get long. Just a heads up if you are thinking of doing the interactive wands you have to move the wands in a specific pattern. I found this tricky but DS caught on quick. Get one butterbeer at first to have everyone try it to see who likes it. DS and DH loved it but it was too sweet for me, but I am also not a big butterscotch fan. I’ve heard people like frozen best which is what my DH kept going back for. I was surprised how much there is to see and how long we spent just at HP. We had lunch at the Three Broomsticks which was great. Then once it started getting crowded we moved on.

    Definitely do the tram tour and the Waterworld show. If you haven’t heard of the latter you might be as confused as I was when I first heard that, but an awful movie makes for a great live show! Kids loved it.

    On our day there were crazy long lines everywhere. Toward evening we went back to HP and the ride was a walk on again. If your kids are interested my DD who was too little for the ride loved the frog choir.

    I have no idea what your late day could be like. You might luck out and have less crowds then.

    I’ve only been the one time so in no way an expert but if you have any other questions I can try to answer. Hopefully local experts can help with the area and food.
     
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  4. StageTek

    StageTek It's kind of fun to do the impossible.

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    There is a Bubba Gump just outside the gates in Universal CityWalk. But nothing like RainForest. You can't beat Three Broomsticks for breakfast!

    You'll be there during Halloween nights so the park will close early - 6PM I think. I'd suggest the "Lower Lot" on Friday - the crowds should clear out so you can get on the two rides down there.

    Good advice to hit HP early on Saturday but as Potter fans passing by it Friday will be nearly impossible.

    Don't miss WaterWorld and I always suggest the Special Effects Show. Fun, some good laughs and an exciting fight demonstration. You'll have time to see most everything.
     
  5. Flattes

    Flattes Earning My Ears

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    Thanks both! I was hoping to do HP on the Saturday morning, as you both suggested - makes most sense. I have a feeling, though, that as soon as DD sees it on Friday she will want to go there! I'm going to have to persuade her that she will have far more time to do it if she waits a day! Maybe we might be lucky enough to see a bit of it late in the day Friday is not too crowded! She has been saving her allowance for weeks to buy one of those crazy expensive wands that her friends have told her about - I assume that is the interactive one?

    I hadn't even thought about Halloween since we are there at the beginning of the month, but just checked special events and, yes, it is Halloween nights. Yikes. We will be giving that stuff a miss for sure!

    Is City Walk worth hitting up for food? We will definitely try out the Three Broomsticks - looks very cool! Kids would love it! Happy to hear any other tips/tricks/suggestions.....
     
  6. ExcitedMama

    ExcitedMama DIS Veteran

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    I have no idea about a Friday night. You could certainly go and check and see if the lines are crazy. At the very least it’s fun to see the castle and you could cross off getting the wand. See if there’s a huge line or if you can do Olivander’s. It might be worth watching a video to get an idea how the wands work. Does she have a favorite character? Each character has a wand and there are the regular wands and the more expensive interactive ones you could use on the displays. Just make sure she’s getting the one with the upgrade to use on the windows. You could look online I’m sure to see the different wands if you wanted to help her be prepared. It probably depends on whether she’d have a hard time deciding in person and you want to cut down the time involved. The displays can be overwhelming. We had no idea there would be so many. The store is pretty small so it can be hard to get around the small aisles with lots of people inside.

    Also for the ride be ready to put absolutely everything you have in a locker. They have very cool fingerprint lockers but I was very confused the first time about what I was doing. Do make sure to really take in the whole line. It’s really incredibly well done with so much to see. Have they both seen the first movie? It will really ad to the experience.

    I was disappointed by City Walk. When I was in college we went a few times and it seemed to have more options. Maybe it’s just time but I was surprised at how little it seemed to have. We just bought the kids hot dogs at Pinks so I can’t say much about it. They do have one of those massive trendy donut shops if that would appeal, maybe for breakfast before you go back on Saturday.
     
  7. Flattes

    Flattes Earning My Ears

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    Such great info - thank you! We will definitely check out the wand options online. I hadn't really considered there would be more than one. She is a huge Ginny fan so I'm guessing that is what she would go for! She has read all of the books and seen all of the movies (we have the program at our symphony where they show the movie and play live music - it's amazing). DS has seen the first movie and we did the first book as a read-aloud but stopped there as he found them a little scary....
     
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  8. ExcitedMama

    ExcitedMama DIS Veteran

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    Wow that symphony experience sounds amazing! Have a great trip!
     
  9. ShadowCross

    ShadowCross Mouseketeer

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    The interactive wands make the whole price of admission worth it! Plus, you can bring the wands back and use them again in the future! (2 of my 5 wands are interactive from Orlando, and everything says I should be able to use them in Hollywood.) They are pricey, around $50, but it's the best experience and I'm sure your kids will just love it!
     
  10. mfleeting

    mfleeting Mouseketeer

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    Since you'll be staying at the Hilton you get in an hour early. Go for that hour early and if HP area is open hit that up if not try to do other things and then hit up HP as soon as the front gates open up. You can do everything in a day but if you all want to take it a tad easier than a day and a half is more than enough. We spent half a day just browsing around the HP area, listening to the frog choir, and sipping our butter beer and people watching. Olivanders can get to be a long line (but fun doing it). Just be prepared to pay about $40 a wand and if you are buying robes those are about $100. If you buy robes buy them early (but maybe after riding some rides while lines are low) so the kids can walk around in the robes and really enjoy the experience.
     

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