Impromptu Trip Report

Hey everyone, after reading everyone’s awesome reports, I’ve been inspired to write one of my own. I just came back from a spur of the moment trip with three best friends. We did not get express passes, or even park to park tickets, but we had a blast, and even rode Hagrid! As soon as I have time, I’ll post my report, I hope you will be interested in reading it!


Love reading trip reports. Makes the time between trips a little easier.

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We are a bunch of young adults who decided to visit UOR mainly because we wanted to ride Hagrid because we’ve never been. All of us have been to Universal many times, but not since that ride opened. We stayed at Cabana Bay, so we didn’t have Express Passes, and we wanted to save a little money, and decided not to do park to park. We had four park days.

Day 1– left home for our flight at 5:30 in the morning, about an hour away, and made our southwest flight at 8:15. Flight had no problems, and arrived at MCO around 11:00.

We got our luggage, and took a Lyft to Cabana Bay. We got there, checked in, checked our room, and changed to go to the park. As I explained before, we didn’t get park to park, but decided to do US because we had more time, park closed at 7:00, IOA closed at 6:00.

We checked the weather, and saw it was not going to rain (it rained early that morning) and it was going to be in the 70s, but cloudy. We went in, and decided to go straight to Mel’s because we were pretty hungry since we hadn’t eaten yet. We were right in front of the Minions ride, and it started pouring, with no warning, lol. We ran into Mel’s and ate. By now, it’s about 2:00. After eating, we were in no rush, but thought it would be good to ride as many rides as we could. We rode Transformers (5 min wait), Jimmy Fallon (5 min wait), Rip Ride Rocket (15 min), the Mummy 3x (10 min wait), walked around, met characters, took pictures, and looked in shops. We then rode Fast and the Furious (5 min), rode ET 2x (10 min), Simpsons (15 min), and MIB 2x (15 min). When we got off of MIB, it started pouring again, which it hadn’t since we ate at 2:00, by now, it’s around 6:00. We put on ponchos and ran to Diagon Alley. We went straight to Gringotts, and rode 2x (15 min). When we got off the second time, the rain had stopped, but the park was closed. As we were walking out, we saw the show on the water with the fireworks, it was pretty nice, and going on while the park was closed.

We decided to eat at Margaritaville, which we were seated in 20 minutes without a reservation. It was a great first day, and we were tired, and looking forward to Hagrid the next day!


Day Two: The next day we woke up bright and early knowing that this would be the day we’d try to do Hagrid. We decided IOA because if we loved it so much, or if we didn’t get on it, we’d have two more days to plan going again. IOA didn’t have Early Entry, but we were going to try rope drop. We ate breakfast at Cabana Bay, and were on the bus at 8:20. We knew the forecast had some rain.

We arrived outside IOA at 8:38. There was a crowd, but nothing unbelievable. This was our first rope drop. They had a family “open” the park. They opened the gates at 8:45. People weren’t running or anything to Hagrid, and we just followed the line. We were officially in line at 9:07, and we were off at 9:38–I think the official wait time was 65 minutes. It was amazing! I didn’t even know what to expect going in, I liked it a lot. The four of us were the last two motorbikes/sidecars. When we got off the ride, the wait time jumped to 2 hours!

After riding, we got Butterbeers and looked in a shop. At 10:10, we took a picture in front of the castle, and the sky opened up to a DOWNPOUR. We put our ponchos, and headed towards JP. It was down because lightning was in the area. Raptor Encounter…down, then we saw the sign that Hagrid was going to close for the day! I was happy we rode it once, and was wondering if it was really going to stay closed or not.

We went to Spider-Man with a 30 min wait, but it was really around 20. We got out around 11, and went to the Captain America diner because the rain was so bad. I looked at the app, and everything was closed. I was afraid it was going to be a bad day because of the rain. Around noon, the rain stopped, and the superheros came out. We took pictures, and stayed in the area for a little while. The app showed that JP was opened with a 5 minute wait, so we rode twice. Then Kong opened up with a 10 minute wait, we rode it. Hulk opened up with a 20 minute wait, and we rode twice, as well as Dr.Doom, but it went down after we rode. We headed to Seuss Landing, rode The Cat in the Hat, and walked around Seuss Landing. What I really liked was we got to meet so many characters in about a half hour: the Grinch, Lorax, Sam I Am, and all the Whoville cast.

At 3:00, we stood in line to go see the 3:45 Grinch show. Now, I was expecting it to be a little show in Seuss Landing. It wasn’t. It was outside between the two parks in a studio. I’m pretty sure it was where they used to do the Nickelodeon shows, I remember visiting that as a kid. While we were walking in, we saw the Hogwarts Express moving between both parks, which I thought was cool. The show was really fun!

After the show, we headed to Spider-Man again, then, headed to Hogsmeade so we could ride Forbidden Journey. Of all the times I’ve ridden it, this trip was the only time I didn’t get sick. We rode it twice. After we finished, they didn’t allow anyone to head into Hogsmeade, they were trying to exit everyone through to Jurassic Park. We stayed inside because we wanted to see the Hogwarts show at 6:00, and it was 5:50 by then. We watched it twice, once in front of the butterbeer cart, and the second time on the bridge. The bridge viewing was awesome! We decided to start heading out, the park was closing at 7:00.

We got back to the hotel around 7:30, and we ate at the diner. When we went to our room, we decided it would be fun to do something we’ve never done. We were brainstorming ideas, and Disney Springs came up. We decided to head there. We arrived there around 8:45. Now, the only thing I knew was what I read on these boards. It was so cool to put a face to all the restaurant and store names that I read on here! We ended up walking in on the side where Planet Hollywood was, went to World of Disney, and two in our group wanted to see the Star Wars store. They found out about the Void, and really wanted to do it. They arrived there at 10:15, they went in at 11:00, and loved it! The other two in our group went to see the Christmas Tree Trail. By the time we got a Lyft back to the hotel, it was midnight. It was a very fun and productive day!


For me, this was the sleeper hit of our trip. My sister really wanted to see the show, and I was of the opinion that I could take or leave it because I, like you, was expecting a small show. I am so very glad we went because I thought it was amazing.


Exactly! We wanted to see it because it was something we usually wouldn’t see. I was a fan of the grinch book since I was little, and thought it would be a cute little show. I was an amazing show, the decor inside made it even more awesome! I was very surprised.

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Day 3—When we left Disney Springs yesterday, it started raining, and it rained through the night into the early morning. It wasn’t bothering us because we were sleeping in. We took our time, rested up, and then got dressed for our adventure. We got downstairs to the Cabana Bay diner for breakfast around 10:00, and we were in the gates of Universal Studios at 10:45. The sky was so clear and sunny—the first sun we’ve seen all trip!

We got in the gates, saw and met Squidward, saw and took pictures with The Mummy, and rode the Mummy ride. Then, saw and met the entire crew for the Blues Brothers.

We stepped into Diagon Alley at 11:30. We knew this was the day that we were going to chill until we got our fill for the day, lol. We went to the Gringotts ride first, the wait was I believe 25 min? After, we got Florean Fortiscue’s, and sat on the stairs to eat, and people watch. We took pictures, wandered from shop to shop, and did spells. We then headed to the Hopping Pot where we got a nice spot for Celestina Warbick and the Banshees—the Christmas version. It was nice and fun to see. We headed to Knockturn Alley, and explored there as well. At 3:45, we went to The Leaky Cauldron for drinks, and because half of our group has never seen the inside. After, we left and went to the Knight Bus for pictures.

By now, it is around 4:00, and we headed to Springfield. We met Krusty and Sideshow Bob, which in all my years, I’ve NEVER seen Krusty, let alone a Krusty with Sideshow meet in greet! It was so fun, and one of my favorite ones. We rode Simpsons with a short wait. Around 5:00, we were starting to get hungry. We all got food from different places in Springfield.

We started heading to ET, and saw that Patrick was meeting people in the Spongebob store, we met him, and explored—there are lots of picture opportunities in this store if you’re a spongebob fan. It’s now around just before 6:00. We rode ET twice, and started walking towards the front of the park. The park was closing at 8:00. We rode Shrek with now wait. We met Bumblebee, which is always a fun meet and greet. We rode Jimmy Fallon with no wait, and saw part of the concert for Mannheim Steamroller. We wanted to try and get a ride on Transformers again, but when we got to the line, it was down. A minute later it was open again, and we got on with a 10 minute wait.

When we got off, the park was about to close so we headed out. On the way back, we stopped at Toothsome’s for a shake. It was in the store that we noticed a map. In every single store in IOA, Universal, and City Walk, there is a unique Christmas tree. I have been noticing this for the past few days. Each tree is decorated with the theming of each ride or store, it was really nice to see. Apparently, if you get your map stamped in each place, and you hand it in when you finish you get a prize. It’s a lot like the Disney Easter egg hunt. If you’re into this sort of thing, that’s something you could do that’s free.

We got back to the hotel, and chilled for the rest of the night. It was a pretty relaxing day, and we did a lot. The weather was perfect, and the first time this trip without squishy shoes. Next day to come soon!


Yay for good weather! I cant believe how many characters you met!! :heart_eyes:

I know! We never really plan for meet and greets, just whoever we happen upon, and there were so many out! Would you like a full list of characters we ran into and met?

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Really? We are hoping to go next year…so that would be really helpful! My DD loves character meets!! Thanks so much!!!

No problem! On this trip we met:
Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Hello Kitty, Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Squidward, Spider-Man, Captain America, Cyclops, Storm, Rogue, Dr. Doom, Green Goblin, Popeye, Olive Oil, Betty Boop, Grinch, Whoville characters, Sam I Am, Lorax, Cat in the Hat, Things 1 and 2, Patrick, the Three Blind Mice (Shrek), the Big Bad Wolf, Scooby Doo and the gang, Dr. Emmett Brown, the Blues Brothers and their friends, Krusty, Sideshow Bob, the penguins from Madagascar, the Mummy guys, the shrimp from Bubba Gump shrimp, and Stan Shunpike from the Knight Bus.

Writing this down, I can’t believe how many we met randomly! For all of these we didn’t wait more than five minutes in line. I think you and your daughter are going to get your fill of great meet and greets at Universal!


My sister and I did this on our last trip, having read about it on the forum (app?) beforehand. I expected to get some kind of little sticker or something when I turned in the sheet, but I actually got a really cute Minion ornament for the prize!

I will also add that when I was there, we met Gru, a Minion, Homer Simpson, Beetlejuice and Megatron as well.


That’s AWESOME! I took the map with me, but since we weren’t returning to IOA, I wouldn’t have been able to complete it. I really, really enjoyed looking at the trees, and looked forward to seeing the ones in each shop. One of my favorites was the one from the Mummy ride and the Despicable Me one. Which was your favorite?

Good question. The Mummy one WAS great. I found myself taking lots of pictures because different ones reminded me of different people in my life. My son likes steampunk, so the one in Toothsome was very cool for him. One of my good friends loves Hello Kitty, and my sister and her family love Marvel, so those trees were cool for them. I think my favorite tree was not part of the scavenger hunt, but it was the one decorated entirely Slytherin! :snake:

We met the whole Simpson family on our last trip, which was great because they were all in the same picture. Beetlejuice was one of my favorite meet and greets ever, but we didn’t see him this time.


Holy smokes!! That is a ton of characters!!! And 5 minute waits…amazing!! DD is now very excited!! Better get a ton of autograph books! :wink:. Thank you so much for writing all of that down! I’ve bookmarked it for future use!!!.

It just keeps getting better!! Thank you!!

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Day 4—

We woke up early for early entry at US. Ate hotel breakfast, and were at the gate at 8:40. We rode Despicable Me, and at 9:00, half of us went to ride RRR. The other half met Hello Kitty, and ate at the Today Cafe—espresso and a fruit tart, both really good.

We went to DA, rode Gringotts, did some spells, walked around, and took pictures all around the land. Around noon, we got ice cream then headed out and towards Hollywood to see the 12:45 Make Up and Horror show, one of our not to miss Universal attractions. On the way, we met the Three Blind Mice from shrek, and the Big Bad Wolf. This meet and greet was hilarious and fun.

After the show, we went to Louie’s Restaurant for a good lunch of pasta and salads. Then, we headed to the Mummy where we rode twice, and met two mummy characters. We got coffee from Starbucks, and went to Jimmy Fallon with no wait. We headed towards the front desk to see about possibly upgrading to a season pass. I voted not to because she was saying if I upgraded now, since it was a concert day, that I’d have to leave right away. She said concert days pop up a lot (even ones not mentioned on the website yet), and sometimes it wouldn’t be known until about a week before. It didn’t seem really worth it to me right now paying about $59 more for a risk that I may or may not come back.

Around 4:45, headed to ET three times. Wait was listed as 35 min, but was really only about 15. Took some pictures, and walked around. Rode Simpsons. Headed to MIB, rode it around 6:15. Went back to DA, rode Gringotts twice. At 7:00, we wanted the last hour to be just doing spells and taking pictures in Diagon Alley at night (one of my favorite time and place to be when in Universal). It was pretty empty, and so magical. I got my first and last hot butterbeer of this trip. The other days, I wanted frozen. It was delicious. We stayed until they kicked us out, lol. When we left DA, Universal was empty, we took advantage, and took some great pictures. When we went to the front, we went to the lost and found because one of us dropped our sunglasses earlier in the day, and someone was kind enough to send them there!

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped to get some Voodoo Doughnuts , which were delicious as always. We grabbed some dinner, and were back at the hotel room around 10:45. We packed, and got ready to sleep. Our flight was early in the morning.


Those days are the absolute best! My family is all about closing out theme parks. On our first trip in 2015, the security guards were literally walking behind us, as we were the last people in Hogsmeade, and they wanted to make sure we actually left. :laughing: