Trip Report 2/24-2/26

My first trip report so bear with me!
Cast: me, DH, DS17, DD14. Not our first trip. Most recent was just a year ago.

We started at Universal Sunday through Tuesday then moved to Disney.

Arrived at MCO from snowy PA at about 1:15 pm. Collected bags and hopped in a taxi. Arrived at Hard Rock by 2:30pm.
We had reservations for a Garden View Room with 2 Queen beds and a rollaway (extra $25) for $275 which I had booked with an AP discount even thought we didn’t have AP, yet. Regular rate was $435, I think. The desk agent and I chatted a bit, bonded over some Game of Thrones jokes, made fun of my teenagers, etc. She then offered to move us to a room that had 2Q and a pull out sofa so we wouldn’t have to pay the $25 for the rollaway. I, of course, gladly accepted. I then went over to the ticketing agent located in the lobby and upgraded my Buy-2-days-get-2-days Park-to-Park ticket to an AP for $30, thereby qualifying for the AP room discount. Not that anyone asked to see proof. So, for $580+taxes I got two nights in a Deluxe Queen room (current rate $580/night) and three days of Unlimited EP ($100/person/day that week). Not a bad deal!
As we stood in the lobby arguing with sullen teens about going to the pool vs going to the parks, I got a text the room was ready. The upgraded room was significantly larger than we expected as it was an accessible room. Nice to have that kind of space with aforementioned teens. As we were about to head out, there was a knock on the door and this was delivered for my DH.

We decided to head to the parks and knock out the water rides while it was hot (we learned last time it gets chilly pretty quickly after sunset). We had a lovely 10 minute walk to IoA. We hit Jurassic Park, Bilge-Rat Barges (soaking ride), and Ripsaw Falls all in a row after parking our bag in a locker ($4!). Had a quick snack then headed to Kong (surprisingly fun). Everything we rode had an EP line. I think we waited the most for Ripsaw Falls and it was 20 minutes. Line just wasn’t moving at all. Bilge-Rat Barges was literally a walk on for EP.
The snack didn’t hold off the teenage hunger for long and it was getting close to closing time so we headed back into Hogsmead. Dinner at the Three Broomsticks is lovely when you sit on the patio out back.
After dinner I grabbed a Butterbeer and we headed out.
Last trip we rode the Dr. Suess train right at the end of the night on a lark. My kids were nostalgic so we did it again this time. Really a cute ride and great view of the parks and city walk at night. Took the boat back to HRH just because it’s a pretty ride.



Frozen or regular?

Thanks for the report!

Early Park Admission to USF. Grabbed breakfast at the quick service place and ate on the boat ride. (For those of you with food allergies, Universal is really lacking in knowledge and helpfulness.)
We were about 10 people behind the front at the turnstiles and they opened right at 8AM. There was a second check point where you had to flash your room card to proceed toward the rides for EPA. My family thwarted my plan to hit Diagon Alley early before it got crowded and we had to stop to ride Minions first thing. Got into DA at about 8:20 and the line for Gringotts was already more than 30 minutes. The Team Member advised me to line up at 8:55 for the EP lane to save line time. So, we explored DA a bit.

We got in the EP line at 8:55 and were the first ones through at 9:00. They held us up a bit downstairs by the offices while they cleared some EPA people through the SB line but it was still only 9:10 when we got on. Great ride. One of my favorites at Universal. Then on to Florean Fortescue’s for morning ice cream to eat in line while getting on Hogwarts Express to Hogsmead. We went directly to the castle and the EP line was so fast I didn’t get to see any of the castle features at all. Family was NOT interested in slowing down with me to look around. We rode Forbidden Journey then Flight of the Hippogriff before I needed another Butterbeer.
Then we headed out of WWHP to Marvel. Rode Hulk (amazing!). DS wanted to go again but DD wanted to ride Dr. Doom Fearfall. DS stayed to do Single Rider while the rest of us went to Dr. Doom. This has got to be the slowest moving line in all of Universal. We waited forever. Luckily, DS had a long wait as well. Hulk went down for 20 minutes while he was in line. All the cell phones were locked in the locker by Hulk so we couldn’t communicate all this info with each other. Definitely was strange to be cut off fro 40 minutes. How sad is that? We were hot and hungry at that point so we stopped to eat at Cafe 4. Pizza and salads. Nothing to write home about. The place was deserted during prime lunch hours and the outside eating area was loud and dirty. Kids were acting like typical teens

So, I punished them by sending them in to ride Spiderman while DH and I found a shady spot for a snooze. Ten minutes later those pesky teenagers were right back!
We were by the front of the park so we walked out the front gates and next door back into USF. We caught the tail end of the parade (cute) then rode Jimmy Fallon. It was a slow day so there was no live entertainment in the pre-show area. But we love watching clips from the show while we wait. Almost bummed when it was our turn to ride 5 minutes later. This is a typical Universal VR ride but I enjoy it. DH, not so much. Next, we rode Mummy (a favorite) which is more of a coaster like Gringotts.Then DS begged me to ride Rip Ride Rock It together. Sadly, my hack to access secret songs did not work and I got stuck with a randomly assigned song that I didn’t know. As we were on our way up the big hill my son claims I was cursing and I may have disinherited him and made claims as to the legitimacy of his parentage. That was just nerves talking:rofl: (It’s actually a great ride but keep your head back, it beats you up.) Headed to San Francisco and paid homage to a movie legend.

Next was Fast and Furious (skippable) and Men In Black (love it! but no Immigration tours that day). Strolled through Simpsons world and then watched Animal Adventures show (event he teenagers enjoyed it).
Finally headed back into Diagon Alley for dinner at the Leaky Cauldron, Ollivanders show, and some serious geeking out in the wand shop. Kids did some damage in Sugarplums Sweet Shop. One more Butterbeer and I was out of there. We walked home and speculated about the chances of being eaten by an alligator along the way.


I know! I didn’t remember paying for a locker there last year but those were the only ones we saw by the water rides. I’ll blame DH’s map reading skills and say there may have been others to chose from. The rest of the trip we were able to always use the free lockers.

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I will be prepared, just in case!

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Regular. I think you get the creamy effect more.

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My son’s and his girlfriend always get the regular- I dream of frozen butterbeer😀

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Everyone was tired and wanted to sleep in but me. And everyone agreed they were done with Universal and just wanted to get to Disney. I was still sad about missing the interactive queue at the castle. So I left those suckers headed to EPA at USF right at 8. Beautiful walk at that hour. Rode Gringotts, then got a hot butter beer and a pumpkin pastie to eat while wandering around an empty DA.

Hopped on HE at 8:45 and was only behind a few people getting into Hogsmead.

Got a different kind of “Castle Pic”

and headed into Hogwarts in the SB queue. I took my time and looked at all the amazingly detailed features. Even caught the snow in the History of Magic classroom. Followed a Team Member who was orienting someone new and overheard some cool details as he pointed them out. I guess I was being stalker creepy because he clearly worked hard to get them away from me at that point.
I spent a few more minutes soaking up the atmosphere and walked back to HRH to get the family going. It was moving day. Off to see The Mouse!


Great report - thanks for sharing!

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I think you do pay for the ones by the water rides, I remember it from my last trip. Which makes no sense when they’re free everywhere else.


Great report!

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