First Timer's Trip to UOR

Hi everyone. We just finished our spring break trip to Universal. In preparing for our trip, I did a lot of lurking here, so wanted to share my thoughts on our experience.

Who: Me (mid-40s female), DH (late 40s), DS7, DD9, DD11. DH and DS11 love thrill rides; they like HP but aren’t huge fans of it (DS11 was really into it about 3 years ago, so he’s very familiar with all things HP, but it’s no longer his favorite). DD9 loves HP, won’t do big coasters, but loves motion simulators. DS7 is hesitant with big thrill rides, but pretty open to trying everything else. As for me, I’m the planner for this group (although Uni required much less of that). I love HP and like both thrill rides and the slower ones. We’ve all done Disney before multiple times, but had never been to Uni before this trip.

When: Sunday, March 5 through Friday, March 10. We arrived on Sunday, were in the Parks Monday-Thursday, and left on Friday.

Where: We stayed at HRH. We had 4-day park-to-park tickets, but didn’t have the water park add-on.


Thoughts on HRH

We really liked it. The room was very nice (and I appreciated daily housekeeping services), but it was a little small with 5 of us staying in one room with a roll-away bed. DD said the roll-away was very comfortable. The biggest issue was all 5 of us sharing a single bathroom, but we made it work.

The pool area was great. And it’s fun that you can hear the music under the water. DS11 wished that there had been a deep end to the pool, but all the kids liked the water slide and it wasn’t overly crowded at the pool. We were always able to find chairs with good sight lines to the pool, even at the more crowded times of the day (but we sometimes had to settle for chairs without any shade). The pool waitstaff was great. We didn’t end up ordering any food, but did get drinks. All of the signature drinks come in souvenir cups. It would have been nice to be able to order those in regular cups at a lower price point, but we now have a set of 5 matching tiki goblets (and since we drove, no need to worry about how to bring them back home with us). I think they do pool games most afternoons. We only caught those on one day, but the kids enjoyed the scavenger hunt and water balloon toss.

Near the pool, there was an arcade room. The same arcade pass/cards that you can use at the arcades in the parks work there too, so the kids didn’t need to use up their credits in the park–they could finish off their cards playing games back at the resort.

In terms of onsite food options, we didn’t try The Palm, but had dinner at The Kitchen on our first night and breakfast there on another day. Both were very good and so was the service. There is also a little market downstairs. I expected it to be only grab and go, pre-packaged items, but they also had a coffee bar and an area where they made food to order (breakfast sandwiches in the morning, and pizza, sandwiches, chicken fingers, etc. for lunch and dinner). Also, it opened at 6am, which was perfect because you could grab something there and still make it to rope drop.

Perhaps the best part of HRH (in addition to having Express Pass included) was the location. We did take the water taxi a number of times, but it was actually faster to walk to the parks. Being so close was really great.

(I’ll come back later to post more about our time in the parks and the restaurants we went to…)


Excited to read more!

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USF ended up being a CL5 and IOA was a CL4 this day. My original plan was to RD Hagrid’s, take the HE over to Diagon Alley, get wands, and have breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron, and then spend most of the day at USF. We basically followed this plan (other than breakfast), but in a different order than planned and we ended up also going back over to IOA at the end of the night for some rides, which also wasn’t in our original plan. Because we ended up kind of winging it, this summary is based solely on my recollection, so I don’t have exact times and I may not include everything we did, but I’ll try to capture most of it. Also, with EP, all of the times were very minimal (with the exception of VC), which basically meant we could just do what we wanted when we wanted–and that I didn’t keep track of expected/actual wait times.

Early entry was at both parks this day at 8am. The night before, we picked up some cereal and fruit from the market at HRH to take with us to eat in the morning while waiting for the parks to open. We left our room around 6:30 and walked over to the security line (the water taxis didn’t open until 7am). There was only one family already in line for security. They were also first timers at UOR but Disney veterans, and it was a little while before anyone else arrived at security. While we were waiting, we debated whether to head to IOA or USF. This was the first day that Hagrid’s was reopening after the recent closure, but the app said that it would not be open for early entry. We decided to head to IOA anyway: either we would luck out and ride it before official park open or we’d go ahead and get in line for it (maybe after doing VC) because we figured lines would be terrible at Hagrid’s all day since it had been closed for a while. We were third in line at the taps to enter IOA. I asked the Team Member if she knew whether Hagrid’s would open early. She asked around and returned, and informed us that the app says it will not open until 9am but their internal systems showed that it would open for early entry–she wasn’t sure which one would be correct, so we took a chance on it opening early. We walked in somewhat leisurely, so we were not at the front of the pack for Hagrid’s, but it did open early (although it went down and then back up and then down again while we were waiting). I’d guess that we waited about 45 minutes in total to ride–and it was awesome! We all loved it! The mixture of coaster plus dark ride elements was reminiscent of 7DMT, but more thrilling, which made DS11 happy.

We then headed over to the Hogwarts Express, arriving at the train station at about 9am. We rode the train over. Really fun. Hermione’s voice was pretty bad, but I wasn’t too bothered by it the first time; by the third time or so (we took the train several times this trip) it really started to annoy me. Couldn’t they find a better voice actor?!?

When we got to Diagon Alley, we did the phone booth, saw the dragon, and then DS7, DD9, and I watched the wand selection ceremony at Ollivander’s and then purchased wands. While we were getting wands, DH and DS11 rode Gringotts and walked around. We met up and all went to Gringotts. DD9 chickened out at the last minute and didn’t ride. A Team Member took her to the side to wait for us. But when we exited the ride, we couldn’t find her. We spent a good deal of time going to the lockers, the gift shop, the child swap room, etc. I was really starting to panic, when we finally found her. She had been waiting exactly where the TM told her to wait and had no idea that we had been freaking out about losing her.

Reunited again, we then did MiB, the Simpsons Ride, and Hurl 'n Twirl. I like MiB better than TSM or BLS. Simpsons Ride was fun, but not a personal favorite. The announcements for Hurl 'n Twirl were hilarious. We walked around the Simpsons area for a bit, posing for pictures, checking out Mo’s Tavern, and then grabbed some tacos from the Bumblebee Man Taco Stand (I’ll review all of our dining in a separate post). After that, we did ET. The kids loved it when they said their names at the end (I had read about that, but didn’t want to ruin the surprise for them). I liked ET, but it doesn’t have the nostalgia for me that PPF or other Disney rides do despite really liking the movie as a kid.

It was getting pretty hot at this point, so we decided it was time to head back to the resort and hit the pool! The pool was very refreshing. We took our time hanging out by the pool. DH and I had an adult beverage while the kids did the water slide and swam. We freshened up, and then headed back to USF late in the afternoon.

(Edited to add that we stopped for milkshakes at Toothsome before entering USF. Tasty!)

When we arrived at USF, we did Minions. Fun, but more screens! Then DS11 and I did RRR while DH and the younger two kids did Race Through NY. DS11 really liked RRR. I didn’t hate it. I liked getting to choose the music you listen to and the path/speed of the ride, but it made my head shake and left me with a slight headache, so I didn’t ride it again this trip.

Next up was The Mummy. DD9 and DS7 were scared to do it (although they did ride later in the trip), so they waited for us in the child swap room while DH, DS11, and I rode (and we didn’t have any issues finding them afterward, although we did leave them with DH’s phone in case we needed to call them). I loved this one! The combination of dark ride plus thrills–really top notch. This ended up being one of my favorite attractions in all of UOR.

After that, we did Transformers. It was just OK for me. At this point, I was really starting to understand all the comments I’d read about Uni rides being too heavily reliant on screens.

DH and the boys then headed over to Fast and Furious, while DD and I went to Diagon Alley to do spells. We had a really good time exploring and casting spells, and the boys met up with us in Knockturn Alley. They didn’t like Fast and Furious. None of us is really into that franchise, so based on their report and what I’d read about the ride in advance, I never made it over to Fast and Furious during this trip.

At this point, it was starting to rain a little bit. We’d missed the last showtimes for the indoor shows and weren’t planning to do the Mardi Gras parade that night, so we took the HE back over to IOA. The weather outside fit well with the rain and dementors on the HE to IOA. I think we all preferred the USF to IOA version.

In Hogsmeade, we stopped into the Hog’s Head. The kids shared a cold butter beer (it was overly sweet even for them) and DH and I shared a Dragon Scale. We did Forbidden Journey next. We enjoyed it (DD loved it), but I would steer clear if you have motion sickness. This one made me dizzy and I’m usually not phased by spinning-type rides. But it is definitely worth it to just walk through the queue even if you aren’t riding–seeing the inside of the castle was fantastic. I really loved the attention to detail and immersive experience of the HP lands at UOR; really incredible. After that, we jumped on the Hippogriff ride. I wish Hippogriff were a little more like SDD; it reminded us more of Barnstormer, but we got to watch the projections on the castle and the fireworks while riding, which was a great way to end the evening.


Day 2: Mostly IOA with some USF, the Mardi Gras Parade, and Pool Time, or Course

This turned out to be a really low crowd day: CL2 at both parks. In light of that, I’m not sure how representative our experience will be for others. The plan for today was to focus mostly on IOA, hitting water rides before our afternoon break so that we could change if we were soaked, and then to end the day with the Mardi Gras Parade, and dinner in City Walk.

Based on our experience the day before, we decided that there was no need to get to security at 6:30-ish. We got there closer to 7am, right before it opened and there were only a handful of people ahead of us. We rope dropped Hagrid’s again. The app again said that it would open at 9am, but we took a chance that it would open at 8am and it did. We walked toward Hagrid’s at a brisker pace that the day before and since the ride wasn’t having operating issues that morning, we were off quickly. DS11 and I then headed over to VC, while DH, DS7, and DD9 stayed in Hogsmeade to do Forbidden Journey and Hippogriff. VC was SOOOO fast but very smooth (no shaky head and headache for me). The inversion right of the water was terrifying and exhilarating. The theming in the line was awesome. I really liked this ride, but would not have been able to ride it back to back without a break in between.

DH and I then swapped. He went with DS11 to ride VC. The arrived right before 9am, so EP wasn’t being excepted at that point and the line had started to build. The EP line opened a few minutes later and they were able to switch lines. Meanwhile, I took DD9 and DS7 over to Seuss Land where we rode the trolley train, Caro-Seuss-el, and One Fish Two Fish. These rides were cute, and we all liked them, but didn’t love them. I think my kids are starting to age out of these rides, so younger children would probably like them better. For my part, I needed something mellow after VC and I’m a big Dr. Seuss fan, but these rides just didn’t have the nostalgia that Disney rides hold for me. I probably wouldn’t re-ride any of these again unless my kids really wanted to.

We then all met up and took the HE over to Diagon Alley to have breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron. We did a little wandering after breakfast but Gringotts was closed, so some of us did MiB while some did the Simpsons ride. We walked toward the front of the park and split up so that DH could do RRR with DS11 (DH hadn’t done that one the day before) and I could do Race through NY with the other two (I hadn’t done NY the day before). Race through NY was entertaining. I enjoyed it, but wasn’t dying to return (the screen-heavy rides just don’t do it for me). RRR was closed, but DH got to do RRR in the evening.

My plan was for us to then go back over to IOA for the water rides before taking a break. DD9 and DS7 wanted no part of it. I think they have PTSD from the time they got soaked on Kali and had to walk around the rest of the day with wet shoes. We all exited USF together, and DH took them back to the hotel while DS11 and I went back into IOA.

First up for water rides was Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls. We got soaked. Even on small turns, large amounts of water splash into the ride car; add in the drops, and you are sure to get VERY wet. The drops were more intense than Splash, but a lot of fun (although a little awkward sitting with a stranger’s legs around me). Also unlike Splash, the scenery of the ride was not a highlight–and not just because I’m not a fan of the IP. But we were hot and knew we would go back to the resort to change clothes soon, so I’m glad we did it. We had fun. But I knew that there was no chance my other two children would want to try it.

Next was the Jurassic Park River Adventure. I really enjoyed this one, especially the mix of animatronics and thrill. The very first set of animatronic dinosaurs must be under refurbishment (there was a large fence around them), but I liked the dark ride feel at the beginning. The drop was thrilling but probably less intense than Splash. We were seated third row on the righthand side, and we barely got wet. I felt confident that I would be able to convince the other two kids to give this one a shot.

DS11 and I then went back to the resort to meet up with the rest of the family and hang out by the pool for a bit. We headed back to IOA around 4pm.

Once back at the park, DS11 and I did Hulk while DH and the other two kids got popcorn. I wasn’t expecting the immediate launch on Hulk (I like to be surprised, so I don’t like to know too much about the rides in advance–only enough to know whether my kids could handle it). I liked Hulk more than RRR (mostly because it was smoother and didn’t leave me with a headache), but would rank it below VC. Then DH and I switched, so he could ride Hulk (and DS11 could re-ride) and I stayed with the younger kids while they finished their popcorn. Then we all did Stormforce, which was Teacups on steroids. We all liked it, except for DS11–he loves thrill rides, but not spinning rides.

Spiderman was next. I liked this better than Transformers, but not a favorite due to all the screens.

Then we did Reign of Kong. We liked this one, but not enough to re-ride it this trip. If you are sitting in the middle of the row, it can be kind of hard to see, especially for kids, so you will want to let them be on the outside seats.

Since we didn’t get very wet on JPR, I suggested that we all do that next, but DD9 and DS7 didn’t want to (and since we ended up getting pretty wet when I did eventually get DD9 to ride, it was probably for the best). We walked through the JP area, visited with a cute baby dinosaur, and then headed back to USF.

At USF, we went to the Horror Makeup Show. This was really fun and the whole family enjoyed it, even the ones that typically don’t like shows. And having EP meant that we got great seats without needing to arrive early. Really nice that EP can be used at shows too.

Then we grabbed a crepe from Central Park Crepes and found a spot in front of the Mummy to wait for the parade. While we were waiting for the parade and during the first half of it, DH and DS11 rode RRR and Mummy. DD9, DS7, and I really enjoyed the Mardi Gras Parade. They loved catching the beads, and their necks were both heavy by the end with all the beads they caught.

We then walked over the City Walk and had dinner at Cowfish, and then back to the hotel to crash for the night.


Overview of Days 3 and 4:

These days were mostly to re-ride favorites and catch a few things that we’d missed during out first two days. We did NOT rope drop either day. On Wednesday night (Day 3) we went to HS After Hours (trip report here: Mini Trip Report: Hollywood Studios After Hours), so we wanted to be well-rested for that and to let everyone sleep in the morning afterward.

Crowd levels continued to be low on Wednesday (USF CL2; IOA CL3), but creeped higher on Thursday (CL6 for both parks).

Day 3:

We started the morning with breakfast at The Kitchen. We’d had a late dinner at Cowfish the night before, so no one was super hungry. As a result, we decided to skip the buffet and order a la carte. Everything was very good. I do wish we’d had the appetite for the buffet, but we would not have been able to eat enough to make it worth the price.

As we left for the park, the water taxi was just pulling up, so we rode that over, continuing the low key start to our day. We started at USF. We did the Mummy first and even DD9 was willing to ride. She actually enjoyed it, but didn’t want to ride it again during our trip. DH and DD then did Simpsons, while I did MiB with the boys. Then we all rode Gringotts, even DD9 who also enjoyed this one. We also caught some of the Tales of Beetle the Bard.

We took the HE over the IOA. DH took the younger two over to FJ and Hippogriff, and DS11 and I went over to ride VC. About 10 minutes into our wait, DS11 decided his stomach was bothering him, so we got out of line. As it turned out, we wouldn’t make it back to VC on this trip (it had a fair amount of downtime and very long waits the next day), so that was a little disappointing. I think I needed a second ride to really take it in because it was so much to experience all at once the first time.

We all headed over to the JP area, and grabbed some food at Thunder Falls Terrace. The kids really liked the turkey legs, but after watching people get soaked standing on the terrace overlooking JRA, they did not want to ride it (even thought I tried to explain that the people standing there got wetter than the people on the ride). I took an IPA to go from TFT and we went over the JP play area. That place is incredible. The kids explored for a really long time. And despite not wanting to get wet on JRA, they had a water fight in the play area and ended up wetter then if they’d ridden a water ride. The VC line was pretty long at this point, so we decided that it was time to go back to the hotel for mandatory nap time, and then head over to WDW for HS After Hours.

Day 4:

We slept in and grabbed donuts for breakfast at the market at HRH, before taking the water taxi over to the parks. We started the day at IOA. We split up, with some doing Hulk and some doing Stormforce. None of our kids wanted to do Dr. Doom, but there is an arcade right there so we purchased them them game credits and let them play at the arcade while DH and I rode (it was a walk on with EP). I really liked Dr. Doom. I think it may be less intense than ToT, and you get a great view of the parks. We would have happily done this again, but didn’t feel comfortable leaving the kids unattended in the arcade. We grabbed the kids and wandered toward JP. No one really wanted to do Spiderman or Kong again, so JRA was up next. This time, we were in the second row and we all got pretty wet. But DD9 who was really nervous about riding really liked it. VC was down, so we ate at Desert Kabobs for lunch and then took the HE over to USF.

Once we arrived at USF, we went to get ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s (delish!). We ate our ice cream while wandering toward New York, seeing the Beat Builders and Blues Brothers. DS11 wanted to take a break, so we walked him to the exit, and then the rest of us went to the Bourne Stuntacular.

The Bourne show lived up to the hype. Really fantastic. You literally could not tell where the live actors and real props ended and the screen began. There was a technical issue during the show, so they needed to stop the show momentarily. While we were waiting, a TM talked to the audience and provided some interesting details on how everything at the show works, but the delay came right in the middle of a big stunt, so it really disrupted the flow. But we still really enjoyed it. We let the kids play a few carnival games over in the Simpsons area and then went back to the hotel for a break.

After our break, we went back to IOA . I think VC had reopened, but when DS11 and I got there, the line was massive, so we decided not to wait. Instead, we all did FJ and Hippogriff, and caught some of the Triwizard show (we saw part of it on another day too; we also saw some of the Frog choir on another day). We then had dinner at the 3B. The younger two were too tired to stay after dinner, so DH took them back to the hotel. DS11 and I jumped in line for Hagrid’s at about 7:45. The listed wait was 90 minutes, but I think it took less than an hour. Hagrid’s at night was awesome and a great last ride of the trip!


The Food:

We didn’t do very many sit down meals, and I won’t recap some of the quick bites we grabbed here and there that were standard park fare (chicken fingers, popcorn, etc.).

The Kitchen: We ate here once for dinner and once for breakfast. We went here on our arrival night for dinner, and they were able to seat us with no wait despite us not having a reservation. DH had the short rib ragout and it was delicious! I had the pesto chicken flatbread; the flavor was good, but it was kind of dry. The kids meals were your basic kids meals (mac ‘n’ cheese, burgers); they were happy with them. Breakfast was also very good, but I would suggest only doing this if you are hungry enough for the buffet. We ordered a la carte, and I think it was pretty expensive for what we got, but everything was very tasty. If we come back to UOR, I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to return to The Kitchen if I weren’t starting at HRH–we liked it, but there are plenty of other places to try and we didn’t love it so much that we would need to go back to The Kitchen again if we weren’t in the vicinity.

Cowfish: We had an 8:30 reservation on Tuesday night (Day 2). It looked really crowded when we checked in, but they seated us right away. DS7 and DD9 enjoyed their bento boxes. DH, DS11, and I shared a few sushi rolls. They were good, but the standout was the burgushi. We had the All American Bacon Cheeseburger roll. It is basically a burger wrapped in shredded potatoes and fried, so each bite is a combination of a burger with all the fixings plus fries. We would definitely return, although I would probably like to try out a few other places at City Walk before doing Cowfish again.

Toothsome: We didn’t eat a meal here; we just did walk-up for milkshakes. I had hoped to get the milkshake flight, which comes with 5 smaller versions of their shakes, but that is only available for people dining in the restaurant. Instead, we got 2 milkshakes to share: the Cookie Jar and That’s Mint. Both were delicious, but I think we all slightly preferred the Cookie Jar.

Leaky Cauldron: We ate here for breakfast. I pre-purchased breakfast here, which is available for hotel guests. I thought that meant we would be seated right away, but we had to wait in the same line as everyone else to order; the only difference is that we had already paid for everything. Also, when I pre-purchased, they told me that I needed to select a day, but when we picked up our tickets at the desk in the hotel, she told us that we could just show up any day we wanted during our trip. That additional flexibility was nice; we were originally going to go on our first day, but were able to wait and go on another day that fit in better with our schedule. I chose breakfast here because I thought the choices would be more appealing to my kids and that they would prefer the dinner options at 3B over LC (we ate once at each restaurant). Everyone but me stuck to the traditional American breakfast options. I got the traditional English breakfast; I wasn’t a fan of the black pudding, but liked everything else, and since I’m not big on sweets for breakfast, this was a better option for me than pancakes. The portions of everything were quite large. DH was disappointed with the scrambled eggs; they were powdered eggs and not the real thing. The breakfasts also come with a beverage. We had a hot butter beer, which we preferred over the cold butter beer (we never got around to trying the frozen version). We also got the pumpkin juice; it was overly sweet but I’m glad we tried it. And, of course, a big part of dining here is the atmosphere. Really fun to eat in a place that you’ve read about and watched in the movies!

Three Broomsticks: We had dinner here on our last evening. We were told that we needed to be seated by the host before placing a mobile order. We were seated very quickly, but it was a long wait for our food (45 minutes from the time we placed our order), so definitely build some extra time into your plan for this one. I had the roasted chicken salad, which was quite good. The kids had chicken fingers and mac ‘n’ cheese. DH picked off the kids’ plates. Nothing special about the kids’ meals, but again, we were there for the atmosphere and it was wonderful!

Hog’s Head: We stopped in here one afternoon/evening for cold butter beer and a Dragon Scale. The butter beer was overly sweet for us, but we had fun trying it (glad that we just got one to share). The Dragon Scale was very nice. Use your wand to make the hog’s head above the bar talk - the kids loved that.

Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour: I couldn’t convince DS7 to go outside of his comfort zone (he stuck with plain vanilla), but the rest of us each tried a unique flavor. I had the Chocolate Chili. It didn’t have the taste of peppers (just chocolate), but there was a good amount of heat in the aftertaste. Very unique, but only for people who like spice. DS11 had the strawberry and peanut butter; it was PBJ in dessert form and very good. DD9 had the salted caramel blondie, and DH had the apple crumble; both were delicious.

Central Park Crepe Stand: We had the brisket crepe and we all loved it! I wanted to make it back to try the Muffuletta crepe, but we didn’t manage to do it on this trip. I’d read a number of posts here praising this QS option, and they were right. I highly recommend this for quick service!

Bumblebee Man’s Taco Stand: We thought this one was just OK. We had the carne asada tacos. They were good, and it was nice to have QS options that weren’t burgers/hotdogs/chicken tenders, but I wouldn’t go out of your way for this.

Desert Kabobs: This place wasn’t on my radar before our trip, but DD11 really wanted to try it. As it turned out, it was pretty good. We had the chicken kabob and the beef kabob and shared them. The kids thought they were a little spicy, but not too much for them. We would eat here again.

Thunder Falls Terrace: We got two turkey legs with fries and shared them. The kids went to town on the turkey legs, and everybody was happy with this meal. The Isla Nublar IPA was also very good. You can watch people getting drenched by the JRA ride while you eat, so that was fun too. This is another that I’d put on our list of places that I’d return to.


Final Thoughts

We had a great trip. DS11 definitely preferred UOR to WDW for the thrill rides. For DH, I think he liked UOR and WDW equally. DD9, DS7, and I still prefer WDW. I loved the immersion of the HP and JP areas. And on immersive lands, I’d give the HP areas the edge over anything at Disney. The level of detail throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade and on the HP queues was top-notch. I would love to go back and spend even more time exploring. That said, we were there on some very low crowd days and the HP areas still felt very crowded; I can’t imagine what it would be like during the peak times. The theming in some of the other lands was also pretty good (Seuss land and the Simpsons areas, in particular), but there were a number of rides/areas that didn’t feel special to me the way that WDW does. For example, RRR and Hulk were fun, but not so special or different from my local Six Flags that they would bring me back. I also wasn’t a fan of the heavily screen-dependent rides. They were fun, but not things that I would want to do over and over. And for the the rides geared toward younger kids, they just didn’t have the nostalgia for me that I experience at WDW. I was happy that there were more thrill options for DS11 and DH (and me) than at WDW, but that also meant that there was a lot more splitting up during our trip, and I think I prefer that at WDW we can mostly stay together as a family.

Having the EP free with our hotel was awesome. Everyone loved that we didn’t have to preschedule which rides to do and that we could repeat rides as many times as we wanted. For the most part, we found that EP meant half the wait of the posted standby line. There were a few times when it was much faster (I think at one point, DH and DS11 did Hulk when the posted wait was 60 minutes, but it was a walk-on for EP), but that also meant that EP lines were often much longer than LL/ILL at Disney and was part of the reason that we didn’t get a chance to re-ride VC (also because it was having downtime at various points when we were ready to ride it). As much as our family loved the flexibility at UOR, I did miss the challenge of planning a little bit, even thought I admit that it was nice to be able to just do what we felt like doing in the moment and not plan everything out. The smaller size and walkability between the parks and HRH was another plus. Park hopping at Disney takes a lot of time out of the day, but it was so easy to go back and forth between IOA and USF.

We caught bits and pieces of various street shows; I wish that there was more of streetmosphere/entertainment throughout WDW. We didn’t stop for meet and greets, but did see several characters around. We don’t usually do M&G’s at Disney, so it was nice to see characters just walking around even if we didn’t wait in line to meet them.

The only sit down shows that we did were Bourne and the Hollywood Horror Make-up show. Both were fantastic and pleased everyone in our group, even those who typically don’t like shows. I had also wanted to make it to Animal Actors (and maybe Poseidon’s Fury), but we didn’t manage to get to those. I am probably the one in our group who likes shows the most, and the fact that we could re-ride with EP and didn’t schedule rides in advance made it harder to force the family to go to other shows (whereas, at WDW, it is much easier to say that our next lightning lane isn’t for another hour so let’s stop for a show before that).

On the whole, we had a great time, but I think 3 park days would have been enough for us–although that may change once Epic Universe opens. I’m also not sure that I would do another Uni-focused trip; instead, I would be more likely to do a WDW trip with some UOR time built in (but, again, Epic could change my thoughts on this).

I hope you enjoyed following along, and thanks to everyone who posted helpful trip reports, comments, etc. in advance of our trip–those were all very helpful to me!


Sounds like an awesome trip! Thank you for sharing.

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I enjoyed reading about your experience. Thanks for sharing.

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Thanks for sharing! We love HRH, glad you did too. I definitely agree with your rankings for RRR, Hulk and VC.


Loved reading this report, so thank you for sharing the details of your UOR trip!

DH & I went a long, long time ago for a UOR specific trip to see WWoHP when it was just the one side & had Dueling Dragons, because I am a huge HP fan. We’ve been trying to find a good time to take the kids (and to see WDW) and we’ll finally be doing that in a couple of weeks, so I’m trying to last minute get up to date on UOR overall (and with kids! cuz last time we just had the one that was just under 1 yr that stayed home with grandparents).


Dueling Dragons was such an amazing ride! It was called Dragon Challenge when they built WWOHP and they started the coasters at different times instead of together which wasn’t as good.

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Thoroughly enjoyed your report! Thank you!

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Ah, yes it would’ve been Dragon Challenge then as we’ve only been the one time when it was WWoHP. I think DH & I noticed "weren’t they supposed to ‘duel’ each other & run at the same time & they didn’t. What I definitely remember is that one time we rode it started pouring rain for the short amount of time we were whirling around and we came off soaked. Like jumped in the pool soaked. But since we were already soaked, we just kept on walking around from ride to ride while most everyone else poncho’d up and sheltered under overhangs and inside stores.

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Fun memory! We only ever go in summer so we don’t mind being rained on.

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Summer rain is much better than cold soggy winter. Our trip was end of May so it was pretty much summer rain. We didn’t mind one bit. We were eventually able to dry off.

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Great report! My kids are a little bit older than yours (9, 12, 14 at travel time), but we’re also a family of 5 about to go to UOR for the 1st time. We’ll be staying at RPR. Glad you had a great time!

Hope you have a blast!!

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