Need Help Understanding Universal

Discussion in 'Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure Forums' started by karpy111, Apr 16, 2018 at 9:16 AM.

  1. karpy111

    karpy111 DIS Veteran

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    We've been to Disney numerous times. I don't want to sound like i'm bragging by I know all there is to know about a Disney vacation; Magic hours, fast passes, strategies, meals plans, etc.

    We are thinking of doing a trip to Universal and I have no clue what it's like.

    Can anyone shed some light on these areas.

    Do they have resorts. Any benefit to staying there.
    Packages
    Meal plans, do they have a bunch of restaurants like Disney
    Fast passes
    Transportation
    Magic Hours
    How many days should we book

    Thanks for any information.
     
  2. davper

    davper DIS Veteran

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    I don't want to sound like an ***, but have you checked any of the posts in the universal forum? Most of your questions will be answered just by looking at the stickies in each of the forums.
    You should read them first before asking your questions.
     
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  4. JaxDad

    JaxDad DIS Veteran

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    Or at least check out the Universal Orlando website...
     
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  5. karpy111

    karpy111 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for nothing.
     
  6. karpy111

    karpy111 DIS Veteran

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    If you cant answer my questions just dont reply.
     
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  7. lilaclily

    lilaclily Earning My Ears

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    I dont think that its unreasonable to ask to make an effort to get such basic answers first.
     
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  8. JaxDad

    JaxDad DIS Veteran

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    I'm trying to point you to a starting place. If you need to come here and ask if Universal has resorts, I think your best bet is to start with the website.
     
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  9. karpy111

    karpy111 DIS Veteran

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    I have. Just asking for others to help me out. That is the reason for these message boards.
     
  10. TommyJK

    TommyJK DIS Veteran

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    Here's my answers/thoughts/Opinions:

    Do they have resorts. Any benefit to staying there.
    - Absolutely! 5 resort hotels (with more coming this year and subsequent years). All have some benefit of staying onsite. All of the on-site resorts come with the benefit of early entry into one (or both) of the parks. And the 3 deluxe/premium hotels offer free unlimited express passes of the attractions during the entirety of your stay. There is so much to be said about the different on-site resorts (pros and cons) that there are a ton of threads in the resorts forum that you can go through. Plus all of them are within walking distance to the parks, or have really great transportation - water taxi's almost directly to the front gates, or shuttle bus to the transportation hubs. You are literally door to door from the resorts to the park gates in ~15 min give or take when staying at any of the onsite resorts.

    Packages
    - Most will say it's not worth it to book a package (and I agree). You are not typically saving any money through booking a package vs. booking all of the pieces separately. And when booking separately you can typically cancel/change your hotel reservation without any penalty (like if you see a better rate later etc.).

    Meal plans, do they have a bunch of restaurants like Disney
    - Most will say it's not worth it (and I agree). The meal plan options are somewhat limited and do not offer much cost savings. There are a ton of great restaurants, inside the parks, directly outside the parks in City Walk (which is kind of like Disney Springs), and at all of the onsite hotels which as noted above are all close to one another.

    Fast passes
    -
    Yes. At Universal they are called Express Pass and cover pretty much all of the attractions. They are not free though. They are either bought separately in the parks/on the website OR as noted above if you stay at one of the 3 Deluxe/Premium resorts, they are free with your stay. The time of year you go kind of dictates how necessary they are. If you are going during a peak period, they are IMO very necessary or you'll be spending a ton of time in line. Going during a slower period you can easily get by without them. Personally I would never pay for them on their own. If I'm going during a busy time of the year I would definitely stay at one of the deluxe resorts so I get them for free with my stay.

    Transportation
    -
    Do you mean from MCO to the resorts? Or from the resorts to the parks? As noted above, from the resorts its super fast/easy to get to the parks from the resorts. From MCO, there is no "Magic Bus" type thing that you might be used to. You need to sort out your own transportation for that.

    Magic Hours
    - As noted above, if you are staying at an on-site resort, there is daily early entry an hour before the gates open for everyone else. It's typically only for one park or the other (either IOA or US), and it's to the Harry Potter section of the given park for the most part. During the busiest times of year (Summer Break, Christmas/New Years) they usually have early entry to both parks.

    How many days should we book
    - You'll get really varying responses from all of the board members. Here is my ideal/typical booking to Universal. We book a one week stay, on-site at a deluxe (so we get the Express Passes) and usually get a 3 day park-to-park ticket. This gives us a nice split of park days vs. resort days, and allows us an adequate amount of time to see/do/explore everything and go on all of the best attractions multiple times throughout the trip. Some will say this is too much, some will say this is too little, but for us it's just right.
     
  11. davper

    davper DIS Veteran

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    Obviously you haven't if you are asking basic questions that a visit to the Universal Orlando web page would answer.

    You have been around this board long enough to know that most of your questions have already been answered in a sticky post. If you are unclear after that, then come ask, we will gladly help.
     
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  12. karpy111

    karpy111 DIS Veteran

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    Tommy thank you so much. Awesome info.
     
  13. lilaclily

    lilaclily Earning My Ears

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    Its like if someone needs help carrying an object. Then they ask people around them to lift it up completely while they watch. Not cool.
     
  14. karpy111

    karpy111 DIS Veteran

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    Again, if you didnt feel like answering the question just dont reply. I've been on these boards for years now. I have answered numerous questions for people. No matter how simple or easy to find. Thats what these boards are for, to get information. Hearing of others experiences and opinions are more beneficial than whats on the website.
    Thanks again Tommy.
     
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  15. SaintsManiac

    SaintsManiac DIS Veteran

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    I recommend the Touring Plans Universal guide book. We got one before our trip last year and it helped so much. Taking it with us next year, too! The website is very helpful, as well.
     
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  16. SlytherinWasMyBackupHouse

    SlytherinWasMyBackupHouse Earning My Ears

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    I could understand if you were asking for people's opinions on favorite rides, resorts, food, etc. but your post specifically asks for someone to "shed light on" the list of vague topics you provide. I think everyone naturally enjoys helping and providing feedback (otherwise, why come here?), but the information you seem to be asking for can be found quicker and in more detail from the official website or previous forums. Are you seriously saying that you have been to Orlando enough to know everything there is about a Disney vacation and have no clue whether Universal Orlando even has resorts?
     
  17. karpy111

    karpy111 DIS Veteran

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    Dont you have anything else to do but to harass people. Listen a couple of people gave me some great info and I am very appreciative. If you didnt like my questions just move on.

    Are you a moderator?


    And yes I've been to disney numerous times but i know absolutely nothing about Universal. I really didnt think my questions were all that bad. I apologize for posting.
     
  18. greentea

    greentea Mouseketeer

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    If you have any specific questions, I think that will help people know what information to share. Like do you want to know favorite table services, or best places to eat for a vegetarian, or which rides made you motion sick, etc. In any case, I'm going to Universal for the first time this year and found their website helpful with answering most of my basic questions.

    Here's an overview of the onsite hotels! https://www.universalorlando.com/we...t-a-glance/on-site-hotels-overview/index.html

    And a comparison of the perks of each. We chose Royal Pacific because it was the cheapest for our dates that includes the express pass: https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/places-to-stay/on-site-hotels/compare-features/index.html

    Cost of express passes for line skipping if you don't stay at a resort that includes it: https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/tickets-packages/express-passes/index.html

    Their onsite restaurants, which you can sort by resort, citywalk, or the parks: https://www.universalorlando.com/we...ing&attraction_location=&attraction_interest=

    And the details of their dining plan: https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/tickets-packages/universal-orlando-dining-plan/index.html

    Details on which park has early admission for resort guests: https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/early-park-admission/index.html
     
  19. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

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    You were not harassed

    This is not the community board here and snarks do not need to happen


    Play nice
     
  20. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    I agree, you certainly weren’t harassed.

    Your first post was surprising since you asked if Universal even had resorts?? That is a basic info question.

    On this forum we help many people, happily, and most do some research before asking questions. Yours did seem as if you just wanted a load of info without searching yourself.

    We have stickies on the boards same as the Disney boards full of info on hotels dining and so much more. Many of us took time out to create them to try and give as much info as possible.

    It never ceases to surprise some of us how many times we get asked if you get EP at certain hotels........if they had glanced at the first post in the sticky they would have seen the answer.

    I’m sure if you have a good read of the stickies you’ll learn plenty. The Universal website is also a good tool for park layouts and ride height guides and again, so much more.

    This is a friendly forum, have a read through of the many posts where plenty of people have had specific questions answered.
     
  21. MikeNamez

    MikeNamez Mouseketeer

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    Universal isn't Disney so my main point of advice is not to treat it as such. Stick Royal Pacific Resort, Portofino Bay or The Hard Rock Hotel as unlimited express passes are built into the pricing for the room.

    You don't need ADR's as everything is first come first serve, but will get preferred seating for staying on site. No clue about the dining plan as I would never get one at US or WDW.

    I wouldn't book a package unless your trying to pay everything off before the trip. You can buy a park ticket at the gate and would have no bearing on what rides you could or couldn't get on as you would already have express pass from staying at one of the 3 deluxe hotels (Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Sapphire Falls & Adventura do not offer unlimited express passes as a perk for staying). Also depending on how long you are there Annual Passes may be a better value plus you would get a discount on the room.

    The three deluxe resorts + Sapphire Falls has a boat that will take you too and from the parks dropping you off pretty much in the middle of the two entrances for Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. . Cabanna Bay and Sapphire Falls have bus transportation just like Disney. There is no magical express from the airport, best bet is an Uber.

    Another perk of staying on site (This goes for ALL 6 hotels) is early access an hour before the park opens. Each day it varies what park so that you would need to check the site for.

    If you have an unlimited express pass and plan on doing just Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios (This is excluding their water park Volcano Bay) you can get that done in 2 days maximum. I would suggest a 3rd day to do any repeats or if a ride has a closure for some reason.

    I never do Disney without going to Universal and vice versa but i treat them as two separate experiences. At Disney I know that i need to figure out what i want for dinner 6 months in advance, at Universal i can be relaxed and decide on the fly.
     
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