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So, I went to Universal Studios for the first time since my 6th bday (on topic)

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  • Trip Report So, I went to Universal Studios for the first time since my 6th bday (on topic)

    My new wife and I did a bit of a mini honeymoon w/ her sister for the last few days. Got married Saturday, drove up to the Disneyland Hotel on Sunday, did both parks on Monday, then checked out early Tuesday and hit Universal. My last stay at the DLH was in the Summer of 1996, I believe. Did Club level, which was pretty neat, since they send someone to meet you up front and do all your check in at the room. Plus, free snacks and beer. I had a blast, since it'd been about a year since my last trip to the DLR, so I finally got to do Hyperspace Mountain and Star Wars Launch Bay, which as a huge fan, absolutely dug.

    Now, Universal was a whole new beast for me. It was basically a completely different park since I was a kid. It was pretty fun, but the majority of the park is well below Disney standards as far as presentation goes. Random unthemed areas with a few cool rides in them, which I pretty much expected. That being said, even though we got a stripped down version of it out west, I was blown away by The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I'm not even a huge HP fan. The amount of detail crammed into the area was phenomenal. I gotta give em credit.. they out Disneyed Disney on that one. That's a good thing though IMO. I'm hoping the Disney Imagineers saw that and said "Ok, we gotta beat THAT now" All in all, very fun few days for me.
    "Have I gone mad?"
    "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are. "

  • #2
    Hogsmeade shows what Universal is capable of. USO Hogsmeade is pretty much identical with one additional re-themed coaster (I think it was there before wizard of world) and the station to go to Diagon Alley. I am a huge Potter fan so I'm hoping USH expands wizarding world to include Diagon Alley. The Gringotts attraction is a lot of fun and their goblin animatronics are so good.

    Glad you had a good time and congrats on the marriage!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by DisneySpaceAce View Post
      My new wife and I did a bit of a mini honeymoon w/ her sister for the last few days. Got married Saturday, drove up to the Disneyland Hotel on Sunday, did both parks on Monday, then checked out early Tuesday and hit Universal. My last stay at the DLH was in the Summer of 1996, I believe. Did Club level, which was pretty neat, since they send someone to meet you up front and do all your check in at the room. Plus, free snacks and beer. I had a blast, since it'd been about a year since my last trip to the DLR, so I finally got to do Hyperspace Mountain and Star Wars Launch Bay, which as a huge fan, absolutely dug.

      Now, Universal was a whole new beast for me. It was basically a completely different park since I was a kid. It was pretty fun, but the majority of the park is well below Disney standards as far as presentation goes. Random unthemed areas with a few cool rides in them, which I pretty much expected. That being said, even though we got a stripped down version of it out west, I was blown away by The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I'm not even a huge HP fan. The amount of detail crammed into the area was phenomenal. I gotta give em credit.. they out Disneyed Disney on that one. That's a good thing though IMO. I'm hoping the Disney Imagineers saw that and said "Ok, we gotta beat THAT now" All in all, very fun few days for me.
      It's hard when Disney sets the bar for other parks because most will never achieve it. But if Universal can continue to grow and be the best park it can be, then it can remain competitive. It has to start by replacing some of those motion theater rides with better experiences. I couldn't do more than half of the rides there last time because of my tendency to get sick on motion theater rides. Forbidden Journey was too much for my equilibrium, but it was still outstanding, and that's something USH should be moving toward.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think Disney to Universal is apples to oranges. Disney has various themed "Lands" Where as Universal is an entire park with a movie theme showing off their various IP's in an almost random way. ( Sadly Disney is tending to follow this philosophy more then their own original idea. ) Knott's on the other hand like Six Flags I have always put into the category not of a "theme" park as much at they are "amusement" parks.

        Comment


        • #5
          First off, DisneySpaceAge...Congratulations and Best Wishes for Many Years of Happiness!

          Glad there was a bit of Disney in the mix. Good plan!

          Now I have to ask the million dollar question: Do you want to go back to WWoHP again? That's where I found something missing. It was cool beyond cool, but for some reason I'm kind of one and done. Not that I wouldn't go again if in the area and others wanted to go. It's so weird how I just get a real craving to go back to DL when I've been away from it. Obviously you do, too, being here on MC and all.

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          • #6
            I took my kids to Universal for the first time last year. We went in July and the tickets we got enabled us to have repeat visits until the end of February. Since we had those we did go back again last month. My kids are teenagers so they enjoy the mix of rides and movie themes. To us it is a once or twice a year park because you can get it done in a day. But we are BIG Harry Potter fans and that will always be our first stop, just makes us smile

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Pips View Post
              First off, DisneySpaceAge...Congratulations and Best Wishes for Many Years of Happiness!

              Glad there was a bit of Disney in the mix. Good plan!

              Now I have to ask the million dollar question: Do you want to go back to WWoHP again? That's where I found something missing. It was cool beyond cool, but for some reason I'm kind of one and done. Not that I wouldn't go again if in the area and others wanted to go. It's so weird how I just get a real craving to go back to DL when I've been away from it. Obviously you do, too, being here on MC and all.
              I'd like to go back and spend more time in it, yes. I mean we both got the interactive wands, and barely got to use em because of the crowd that day. Universal is a place I would probably want to do once every year or two though, since the rest of the park doesn't remotely hold my interest to that extent, with the exception of Springfield, since I'm a huge Simpsons fan, and didn't get to do stuff like check out Moe's Tavern.
              "Have I gone mad?"
              "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are. "

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DisneySpaceAce View Post

                I'd like to go back and spend more time in it, yes. I mean we both got the interactive wands, and barely got to use em because of the crowd that day. Universal is a place I would probably want to do once every year or two though, since the rest of the park doesn't remotely hold my interest to that extent, with the exception of Springfield, since I'm a huge Simpsons fan, and didn't get to do stuff like check out Moe's Tavern.
                Interactive wands? H'mm...need to look into that. May be a reason to go back. I have a wand, but it relies purely on my own powers.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Congrats DisneySpaceAce! Awesome that you found someone to experience the rest of your lives together, and that includes theme parks!

                  I think it's amazing how the parks have changed since childhood. I'd have to agree that USH is more of a once or twice a year park. The atmosphere of Springfield and the Wizarding World is up there with Carsland (and hopefully the new Star Wars land) for sure.

                  I'd have to say that the Forbidden Journey sets the bar for dark rides, similar to how Radiator Springs Racers did when that was new. But the wands and attention to detail at the Wizarding World is definitely up there to the point you truly feel like you're no longer in Southern California.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DisneySpaceAce View Post
                    I was blown away by The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I'm not even a huge HP fan. The amount of detail crammed into the area was phenomenal. I gotta give em credit.. they out Disneyed Disney on that one. That's a good thing though IMO. I'm hoping the Disney Imagineers saw that and said "Ok, we gotta beat THAT now" .
                    They did see it...almost 7 years ago when it opened in Florida in 2010. Notice how Disney just happened to make the first announcement for "Pandora: The World of Avatar" in September of 2011 a little over a year later? Coincidence? Probably not entirely.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DisneySpaceAce View Post
                      My new wife and I did a bit of a mini honeymoon w/ her sister for the last few days. Got married Saturday, drove up to the Disneyland Hotel on Sunday, did both parks on Monday, then checked out early Tuesday and hit Universal. My last stay at the DLH was in the Summer of 1996, I believe. Did Club level, which was pretty neat, since they send someone to meet you up front and do all your check in at the room. Plus, free snacks and beer. I had a blast, since it'd been about a year since my last trip to the DLR, so I finally got to do Hyperspace Mountain and Star Wars Launch Bay, which as a huge fan, absolutely dug.

                      Now, Universal was a whole new beast for me. It was basically a completely different park since I was a kid. It was pretty fun, but the majority of the park is well below Disney standards as far as presentation goes. Random unthemed areas with a few cool rides in them, which I pretty much expected. That being said, even though we got a stripped down version of it out west, I was blown away by The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I'm not even a huge HP fan. The amount of detail crammed into the area was phenomenal. I gotta give em credit.. they out Disneyed Disney on that one. That's a good thing though IMO. I'm hoping the Disney Imagineers saw that and said "Ok, we gotta beat THAT now" All in all, very fun few days for me.
                      Congrats!

                      Your last point really nails it. Even if you think WWoHP is overrated, you can at least appreciate that its success provides a healthier competition. Disney still reigns supreme overall, but they are no longer the only ones who can create intense theming magic. In the end, we all win.

                      I said I wouldn't get the interactive wand. Like Pips, I had a wand that required the power of imagination and I said that would be enough. I said that I could enjoy watching others levitate instead. Then, I was chosen for the wand fitting. I had to buy it.

                      When it's busy, I use the wand at the end of the night / after closing (they still let you play with displays for about an hour and the sweet shop is usually open as well).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DisneySpaceAce View Post
                        My new wife and I did a bit of a mini honeymoon w/ her sister for the last few days. Got married Saturday, drove up to the Disneyland Hotel on Sunday, did both parks on Monday, then checked out early Tuesday and hit Universal. My last stay at the DLH was in the Summer of 1996, I believe. Did Club level, which was pretty neat, since they send someone to meet you up front and do all your check in at the room. Plus, free snacks and beer. I had a blast, since it'd been about a year since my last trip to the DLR, so I finally got to do Hyperspace Mountain and Star Wars Launch Bay, which as a huge fan, absolutely dug.

                        Now, Universal was a whole new beast for me. It was basically a completely different park since I was a kid. It was pretty fun, but the majority of the park is well below Disney standards as far as presentation goes. Random unthemed areas with a few cool rides in them, which I pretty much expected. That being said, even though we got a stripped down version of it out west, I was blown away by The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I'm not even a huge HP fan. The amount of detail crammed into the area was phenomenal. I gotta give em credit.. they out Disneyed Disney on that one. That's a good thing though IMO. I'm hoping the Disney Imagineers saw that and said "Ok, we gotta beat THAT now" All in all, very fun few days for me.
                        Congrats! I used to have an AP to Universal pre-Potter and it was definitely a half day kind of park. I haven't experienced the Wizarding World yet but I think it's taking the park in a cool direction and I'm hoping another land or more re-themes can fully maximize the park's potential. I'd also argue SWL likely exists, at least in part, because of Potter so it's good to see Disney trying to keep up with new, fully fleshed out destinations.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          WWOHP is as good as it is because of JK Rowling's strict and massive input on the land. Had she left Universal to do whatever they wanted with her property, it would have been disastrous I think. That's why the land outdoes everything else on Universal property. Let's hope that Nintendo's involvement in the creation of Nintendo World will yield similar results.

                          And yes, Universal getting HP was the best thing to happen to both Disney and Universal. It forced Disney to step up their game at a time when they were dragging their feet through the dirt and HP's massive success allowed Universal to grow in all the areas.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            While the other area's arn't as detailed as Disneyland...I love Springfield as much as Potterland...as a Simpsons fan its a great subland

                            Disneyland is better...but I enjoy Universal more because it has less crowds....I get to interact with most characters many times just walking up to them or waiting less then 5 mins....can't do that at Disneyland...same with rides many times rides are low 20 min or less waits

                            So depends on where you are in life....I've been to Disneyland easily over 100 times in my life time. They have not add enough since DCA 1.0 to make me feel the need to go back until Star Wars Land opens. While Universal is a fun cheap option...120 bucks for a season pass and less lines. Sounds like the real magic kingdom
                            Happy Halloween!!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Universal has gone from afterthought to a legit threat for my family every visit. We're tempted to stop by during a 2-3 day Disneyland trip just because of the vast # of solid attractions, especially Wizarding World. We probably visit it one trip out of the year now vs. wouldn't even think about it before.

                              It's more tailored for adults, but our family is growing up and no one is under 18 anymore. Jurassic, Mummy, Transformers, Studio Tour, TWD and WW are all solid rides. Now, USH is also still at a relative value vs. Disneyland. If the price suddenly shoots up, the decision is tougher. But bravo to USH for now creating a real competition for Disneyland to at least make them want to one up them (See: Star Wars Land)

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