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Trip Report 5/20 - 5/21: Universal Orlando Resort


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  • Trip Report 5/20 - 5/21: Universal Orlando Resort


    Was it worth the trip? Absolutely! I look forward to returning again when the Harry Potter expansion is complete, and I would consider picking this resort over Disney World next time I am in Orlando.

    Note: I had a Universal Express pass because I stayed at a Resort Hotel. I would definitely purchase this again.

    This was my biggest fear going to a non-Disney park. After a surly captain on the boat ride from my hotel to the park, I was reluctant. However, that changed once I made it to the park.

    Wow. Wizarding World of Harry Potter is amazing. I thought the Cars Land backdrop was amazing, but Hogsmeade with Hogwarts in the background is a bit heart stopping. And with the squeals of all the kids around me, I think Universal nailed this one.

    Wow again. Hulk, Spider-Man, Rip Ride Rockit. All world-class attractions. Even the second tier attractions are great: Simpsons, Men in Black, Revenge of the Mummy, and Cat in the Hat.

    As for The Forbidden Journey, the queue is incredible. It should probably be considered its own separate attraction as the attention to detail is amazing and the active elements in the queue make it feel more like an exhibit than a queue. I found the ride to be a bit of a confusing mess. The ride technology is great, but I think Spider-Man is a better overall ride.

    I only had one meal at the park -- a typical amusement park hamburger and fries. Nothing special, nothing horrible. However, and this is a huge plus to me, I was able to eat inside an air-conditioned building at a table. Yes, it was a standard plastic table, but it was inside! It seems like more and more parks will sell you food, but then they send you out into the wild to try and enjoy your food.

    Portofino Bay Hotel
    I picked this hotel as I was told it was the nicest hotel on property and the most adult friendly. I would agree, although I did not visit the other hotels to compare. With 3 pools on property, it was easy to switch between the family friendly Beach pool and the smaller, more intimate Villa pool.

    My only complaint would be that the restaurant selection was limited. Although all the restaurants were nice, you are somewhat limited to a very upscale Italian restaurant, a family-style Italian restaurant, and the Italian steakhouse restaurant. See the theme there?

    Otherwise, the hotel is very nice and the bay is beautiful at night. This is a huge hotel and it is easy to get lost! The martini and burger at the Bar American made up for the lack of other restaurant choices at the hotel.

    P.S. 24 hour room service!

    Versus Disney
    I have been a long-time Disney fan. Disneyland is my go-to park.

    Do I think Universal has out-Disneyed Disney? Yes.

    Universal has world-class attractions, theming, and staff. They have created one of the most amazingly themed attractions and queues. I enjoy Cars Land, and I think Radiator Springs Racers is a better ride than Forbidden Journey, but Wizarding World is in a class of its own.

    More importantly, Universal already seems to be addressing this potential problem with an inter-park transportation system for next year.

    This is a new go-to park for me. I would recommend this park to other Disney-loving adults and families with young to older teens.

  • #2
    Re: Trip Report 5/20 - 5/21: Universal Orlando Resort

    Amazing review
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    • #3
      Re: Trip Report 5/20 - 5/21: Universal Orlando Resort

      Great review. This makes me a little more happy about our family vacation plans for January. Vacationing with teenagers can be a headache sometimes.


      • #4
        Re: Trip Report 5/20 - 5/21: Universal Orlando Resort


        If possible, I'd recommend getting to the park around opening time if Harry Potter is a required to to-do. The wait time was only 15 minutes for the first hour the park opened and quickly jumped to 40 minutes after that. There were several hundred people lined up at the park gate before the park opened. I wouldn't necessary recommend that -- I'd rather wait an extra 30 minutes in the ride queue than stand at the park gate waiting for it to open.
        Last edited by DuckyDelite; 05-31-2013, 09:11 AM.


        • #5
          Re: Trip Report 5/20 - 5/21: Universal Orlando Resort

          Great review. I will add that we had the most amazing theme park food experiance at the 3 broom sticks. My wife and I shared a 1/2 chicken meal with corn and it was a really great value for on $11. Price wise, better than anything I have ever had at a park.
          I open a toy, review it and take mediocore pictures. Read all about it HERE!

          Originally posted by VintageMouse;n8463446

          You know best :-)


          • #6
            Re: Trip Report 5/20 - 5/21: Universal Orlando Resort

            Great review, glad you like USO
            The new Star Wars plot summery:

            Episode 7: Luke discovers that Darth Vader is not his father, and goes on a search for his real father

            Episode 8: Darth Vader is resurrected and goes on Jerry Springer, claiming he is Luke and Leia's father

            Episode 9: Princes Leia is not Luke's sister, making him furious (we all know why...).