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    #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Lawrenceville, GA
    Posts
    582
    My DVC Home(s)
    OKW
    Member Since
    2009
    What we did was split up our Universal days between our WDW days that way when we got to the end of our trip it wasn't like, "Oh we're going to Universal now it's the end of our trip ."

    We opted for their Park Hoppers since the parks are right next to each other and relatively small. DD was 10 at the time we went in 2010 the week after the WWoHP opened and besides that and the big thrill rides and the water rides she had no interest in some of the more dated attractions/shows. Why watch the T2 3D movie when she's watched PhilharMagic at least four times that trip? We rode the Hulk at least three times with little to no line since everyone and their entire family trees were in a long line just to enter WWoHP. The biggest disappointment we ran into was Jurassic Park. It wasn't that great and I had huge hopes for it too since I'd been wanting to ride it for years. Animatronics were showing their age and I barely got a few drops of water on me in the final plunge. But then again Kali River Rapids is pretty sad in that department too. Even the people who got the brunt of being wet had little more than a glass of water thrown at them. However the Popeye rapids are great. Fast paced and you will get soaked to your socks. Completely non-relevant theme though as is the entire Comic Strip Island or whatever it was called. Beetle Bailey, Snuffy Smith, Cathy, Prince Valiant? Besides a handful enthusiasts, who reads those strips?

    But two days was more than enough for us to do what we wanted at Universal. Highly recommend the wand sorting at WWoHP. Butterbeer was really sweet. Pumpkin Juice was very refreshing.

    Will we go back to Universal? Well sure. They'll keeping adding stuff or renovating older attractions. The reason the Nick simulator is closed to make way for a Despicable Me simulator. Who knows what may go in Jaws's place might be a great ride. Still need to ride Men in Black since we skipped it last time. We just don't have to go as frequently as we must to WDW.
    Julie
    2005 Disneyland Hotel
    2006 Port Orleans Riverside
    2007 All Star Movies
    2008 Caribbean Beach
    2009 Saratoga Springs
    2010 Old Key West
    2012 Feb. Coronado Springs/Oct. Animal Kingdom Villas Jambo House
    2013 Off Site Impromptu Trip

    No trips currently booked but planning on a first time trip without the family to F&W this fall and DD's Eight Grade end of year trip summer 2014.

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    #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    303
    My DVC Home(s)
    BLT
    Member Since
    2011
    My wife and I did the universal trip just the two of us on the last day of our trip. It was a lot of fun as they rides are much more intense. Harry Potter world was extremely busy as it had just opened so If you are a fan I would probably go there first to make sure you get that in (the butter beer was sooooooooo good). We didn't do every ride but got a lot in and were happy with the trip. It's definietly not the same as WDW as I found it to not be nearly as clean or as efficient as WDW.

    We did both parks all in one day and found it to be more than enough but it is a long day. I don't think I would bring young kids there just because the rides are so intense and we found it to be super expensive. We only stay on disney property so we never rent a car. I think it was about $40/person for a roundtrip throiugh Mears transportation. But park tickets were like 120/person for both parks.

    It's not something we would do every trip but we would do it again.
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    #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    3,837
    My DVC Home(s)
    AKV & BLT & BCV
    Member Since
    2008
    One of the reasons I like Disney so much is most of the ride action happens around you - not using you. Really enjoyed HP at Univ but had no urge to try anything else - just kinda walked around. I would like to return to enjoy the City Walk area more but I need to be cooler - maybe next spring.

    Should say we did the dragon HP ride which kick my stomach - maybe between that and the heat is why I didn't feel any need to get on another ride.

    Janet & Dan

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    #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Induanapolis, IN
    Posts
    56
    My DVC Home(s)
    AKV
    Member Since
    2010
    I took my neice in June 2010 just after Harry Potter opened up. We started off the trip commando style as we were only in town for a week. We saw Sea World, Discovery Cove, Universal Studios and the other park with Harry in it, Plus with all that we had 3 day park hopper tickets to WDW. Her favorite part of the trip was Harry Potter and Cinderella's Table. I couldn't ride Harry Potter's ride because of my body shape (not the only who was unhappy with that).

    Well the point is this, you can do the park with Harry Potter in it in about 4 to 6 hours at a leisurely pace. The key is to buy the express pass. Both my neice (who was 19 at the time) and I agreed the express pass was well worth the money for that day. It allowed us to do all the rides we wanted, skip the ones we didn't and go back to the hotel and rest. It was because of this trip I bought my DVC.
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    #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    1,724
    My DVC Home(s)
    SSR
    Member Since
    2006
    Susie,

    I think that the Universal/IoA parks are more geared towards older kids. We went when the boys were about the ages you mentioned and PJ was a baby and decided we would not go back until they were much older. There was simply too much that was too scary (theme wise) or that they were not big enough for.

    I would check closely at the height restrictions and think about the nature of the children.

    If you do decide to go, I would do as Tim advised and stay at one of their hotels for the evening (which are VERY nice) or go with the plan B of paying for the FoTL priviledges if it is at all busy. It really does make a huge difference in your experience to me. We wanted to get everything we could done in a short period of time, so we liked being able to "fast pass" almost everything.

    Final thing that I remember was that a lot of the rides were water rides or you got wet in some way. We went during the winter months, so that made several of the rides a no-go for us, but even some where you wouldn't expect it had water - like the Dr. Suess One Fish Two Fish ride which is like Aladin or Dumbo and the fish spit water at you.

    Laura
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    #16
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Lawrenceville, GA
    Posts
    582
    My DVC Home(s)
    OKW
    Member Since
    2009
    There's an answer as to what is going in the place of Jaws. Gringotts attraction which will be similar to HPatFJ in that it will use imagery with the ride however it is supposed to be a roller coaster in line with what you see of the trolleys in the movies. No robotic arm. No idea when this attraction will be opening. There's also supposed to be a "secret" entrance to the area which is named Diagon Alley. Also rumored is there will be a Hogwarts Express that people can actually ride as opposed to the engine that's strictly there for a photo op.

    Here's the full article that was also linked to by the Orlando Sentinel.
    http://www.themeparkinsider.com/flume/201112/2824/


    As for stuff that the smaller kids can do there are a few choices. In the WWoHP there's Flight of the Hippogriff a relatively tame roller coaster on par with the Great Goofini. It's a longer ride and slightly taller but relatively slow and the seats are tiny. At least they were for the three of us when we rode it. And as other have said there are plenty of rides in the Dr. Seuss area for the smaller kids. And there are shows too like Shrek 4D. If they like mini golf there's newly opened Hollywood Drive-In Golf. It looks fantastic. DD wants to try it out badly. We got a look at it before opening last month and it looks great. And if nobody has mentioned it, Despicable Me which should be open when you arrive. It's taking the place of Jimmy Newtron which took the place of Hanna Barbara. Sure it's a repackaging of a sim but it should be cute with all the minions.

    The biggest drawback I had from my experience at Universal was the lockers. You couldn't take anything on most rides. Now it makes sense on some of them like Dragon Challenge or Hulk but The Mummy isn't that intense of a roller coaster and I could have easily stashed my backpack by wrapping the straps around my ankles like I do on every other Disney coaster including Rockin' Roller Coaster and Expedition Everest. But renting a locker at every thrill ride is annoying. Now they usually don't have a fee since it does take into account the ride wait times but still very tedious. And if the time you're gone is longer than the "free" time you will have to shell out some cash to retrieve your belongings. You may not have to use the lockers at all if someone is being the stuff watcher while others go on rides and then trade off for another designated stuff watcher.
    Julie
    2005 Disneyland Hotel
    2006 Port Orleans Riverside
    2007 All Star Movies
    2008 Caribbean Beach
    2009 Saratoga Springs
    2010 Old Key West
    2012 Feb. Coronado Springs/Oct. Animal Kingdom Villas Jambo House
    2013 Off Site Impromptu Trip

    No trips currently booked but planning on a first time trip without the family to F&W this fall and DD's Eight Grade end of year trip summer 2014.

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    #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    3,837
    My DVC Home(s)
    AKV & BLT & BCV
    Member Since
    2008
    Another tedious locker item is the language issue. You have to go back to the exact station for your locker - which not everyone understands. This becomes a problem if there is a language barrier.

    I don't routinely do 'rude' BUT i was about to drift into the 'pay' time and the CS person wasn't getting the msg across fast enough. I apologized before, during and after I butted (I Admit It ) in front of the person standing at the wrong station terrier-like inputting their password regardless of the CS attempts at explanation. I so dislike being rude - thankfully DH was there because he has a harder time walking away from behavior we very occasionally are forced into.

    Janet & Dan

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    #18
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Lawrenceville, GA
    Posts
    582
    My DVC Home(s)
    OKW
    Member Since
    2009
    Quote Originally Posted by bakerworld View Post
    Another tedious locker item is the language issue. You have to go back to the exact station for your locker - which not everyone understands. This becomes a problem if there is a language barrier.
    I had that be an issue a lot. And like you I've had to force myself into the spot where my locker was underneath the person putting their stuff away and time was just ticking by at an increasing pace. Aaaaaaaahhhhh!

    This would easily be fixed if they just offered a one time daily locker fee. Like you pay something similar to what Disney charges to use a locker daily, you're issued a code and you can use all of the lockers in the park anytime you need one without stress during the day you're there. They could still offer a one time use at the lockers for those who do not purchase the locker pass. This would save a lot of headaches especially where the locker room is practically claustrophobic. e.g. Lockers right next to the Chamber of Secrets/Filch's Office.
    Julie
    2005 Disneyland Hotel
    2006 Port Orleans Riverside
    2007 All Star Movies
    2008 Caribbean Beach
    2009 Saratoga Springs
    2010 Old Key West
    2012 Feb. Coronado Springs/Oct. Animal Kingdom Villas Jambo House
    2013 Off Site Impromptu Trip

    No trips currently booked but planning on a first time trip without the family to F&W this fall and DD's Eight Grade end of year trip summer 2014.

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    #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Aurora, Ohio
    Posts
    8,089
    My DVC Home(s)
    BLT, VGC, AKV, & VWL
    Member Since
    2008
    Quote Originally Posted by pretty_bird View Post
    This would easily be fixed if they just offered a one time daily locker fee. Like you pay something similar to what Disney charges to use a locker daily, you're issued a code and you can use all of the lockers in the park anytime you need one without stress during the day you're there.
    Great idea! (assuming you're willling to brave the Drak Side to begin with... )

    Sent from my DROID2 GLOBAL using Tapatalk
    -Craig (I'm D23 since day one! {but I am NOT their DG or affiliated with the DG site...})
    Running Disney: Go Peacocks!
    |=> Mouse House trips:: WDW: 21 times °O° DL: 4 °O° DLP: Pending! <=|
    [All except my first 11 FL & 1 CA have been with my DW Elizabeth (aka "E"); she may be less geeky but humors me well! ]

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