Hi! Been to Disney a lot but big Harry Potter family here so I need to get the kids to Universal! I’ve been waiting until they were a little older to be able to go on most the rides. They are 14, 13, 10 and 8. We’re going with DH’s cousin’s family of 4, kids are 16 and 14. I’ve been reading through this board but there’s lots of abbreviations I don’t know yet, lol! Couple of random questions/info:
We have reservations at Cowfish - any recommendations?
We’re staying in a 2br suite at Endless Summer Surfside Inn…pros, cons? Easy to take shuttle to parks?
No express passes but hopeful with early admission and flexible schedule we’ll hit the rides we want.
With Dramamine, can I do Forbidden Journey? I really want to! My motion sickness experience: with Dramamine I’m totally fine on Everest, Soarin, FOP (but have to close eyes sometimes) MFSR, and rides like Remys or Tea Cups. Haven’t tried Guardians yet. Coasters don’t make me sick, it’s screens.
I’m hearing best time to go on Hagrids is at night, not right at opening. If so what should we get to first thing? Half our group will want the big coasters, other half will probably be HP focused.
We love to each get a Bento box. You get a slider, edamame and a few other things (fries maybe?) plus some sushi rolls. There are a few different options for the rolls so we like to each pick a different type and then share.
Screens are what give me motion sickness as well. Forbidden Journey does sometimes get me but usually only on a second or third ride. And I haven’t tried Dramamine beforehand. There’s a little fan above your head that blows cool air down onto you and I find that helps if I start to feel sick.
Have a great time! Universal is a lot of fun because everything is so close together. You can walk between parks and to all of the restaurants in Citywalk. We’ll be there next week for a quick one day visit before heading to WDW and I can’t wait!
I have had to switch to using Dramamine before rides (getting older sucks). I do ok as long as I take it an hour or so before - that includes Forbidden Journey. When I didn’t, Velocicoaster and Hagrid’s nearly wrecked me.
The 2bd suites are great for the space. I found the shuttles easy.
I love Hagrid’s at night, so that is usually my plan. We head to Velocicoaster first if you have coaster fans.
I really enjoyed my time at Surfside, the shuttle was SUPER easy and I never had to wait very long for one. There’s a Starbucks in the lobby which is my favorite feature. It is a bit noisy, but I feel that way about most value park resorts.
I think @Jeff_AZ is a screens motion sickness guy? Maybe he can advise re: Forbidden Journey.
There are a lot of screens, some breaks between them, but you are moving and the screens are moving both quite a lot. If you do decide it isn’t for you…at least walk the queue!
With that many people, have you looked at doing one day of VIP tour? I know it isn’t an option for everyone - but it is pretty great. You get breakfast, lunch, and express passes for the rest of the day after your tour is done. It is a great way to knock out a bunch of rides…giving the rest of your trip more time to explore!
I have been a few times. DO NOT get the burgushi. It is not good and it only there for theme. Burgers are fine and sushi is “OK”. It’s a good restaurant, especially at the lower price point. The milkshakes are WAY better than Toothsome’s
I have stayed at the Endless Summer Resorts more than any other. For the price you’ll not fine a better deal. The room has a small, but separate bedroom in which you can actually close a door. That’s a big plus!
The con - all the floors are laminate. You will hear EVERY step in your hallway, above & below you. I’ve had stays where I couldn’t sleep at all due to guest noise. However, I just got back from a week where I heard nothing every night. It’s all dependent on other guest behaviors
Universal busses are SO EASY and there’s one EVERY five minutes!! You’ll see the bus pick-up right outside the lobby. You can’t miss it. I absolutely HATE WDW buses. They’re unreliable, take forever and make getting to & from the parks a hassle.
At Universal you WILL be picked up and dropped off at your hotel in less than 10 minutes. In the mornings they keep 5 - 6 busses waiting at the pick-up to have non-stop pick-up.
UOR is much smaller than WDW. Think of it in terms of Disneyland scale. UOR is modeled off of Disneyland. You can get around so much easier. It’s so nice to decide to take a break and be back in the room in less than 20 minutes!!
Yes! My wife gets horrible motion sickness - even in cars. She can do FJ with Dramamine. Take it at least 30 minutes prior to boarding to allow it to be effective
The ride does toss you are A LOT! However, it’s such a unique ride vehicle that IMHO it’s worth trying at least once in your life!
Hagrid’s is great anytime! At night it is “best” as there’s no lights out there except the headlamp of the motorbike. (Can’t say more without spoilers! You’ll love it!)
If you want to ride it in the morning, you really have to get up two hours before the Early Park Admission. This is so you can wake up & get on the first bus at one hour before before EPA to be at the front of the herd. It’s a chore, but if you are Rope Drop people it is a great way to “knock it out”…
Personally, as it’s your first visit, I’d say to wait until around 11am - 11:30am to board. There’s a “dip” in the actual wait tip that a lot of us here have tested. At that time the wait will be less than 40 minutes regardless of what the posted time says. However, you can board right up until about 5 minutes before park closing. You’ll stil wait in a massive line, but the park is closed so what else are you doing?!!?
By skipping Hagrid’s during Early park Admission (EPA) you’ll have the rest of the attractions almost exclusively to yourselves. 90% or more of EPA guests are going to Hagrid’s. I have EPA days when I ride VelociCoaster 3 - 4 times before the park opens. The only rides open during EPA are Hagrid’s, FJ, Hippo and VC.
You will be able to do FJ, Hippogriff with no waits. It’s a good time to do FJ as IMHO the queue is an “attraction” by itself. It’s an amazing walk-thru of Hogwarts!!
If you plan on buying a wand (which I DON’T recommend) then EPA is the best time to do spells. The spell spots are not monitored and the queue for each is done on the honor system. I have a wand. It is fun because I go often enough that I’ve practiced so that I’m not struggling. I see moms & dads holding up the queue for 10 minutes or more while Sally & Timmy can’t do the spells and won’t give anyone else a turn.
The wands are now almost $70. When I bought mine in was less than $50. Wands are fun, but take up so much time and can be so frustrating. The tech is a little bit old so it’s fickle…
So…skip Hagrid’s in the morning and do everything else. Ride Hagrid’s before lunch and/or at closing…
Don’t miss The Bourne Stuntacular at USF. It’s a “must-do” show and IMHO the best in all of Orlando!
Also, Universal is a lot of of screen rides that give motion sickness. If you do have issues, take your pills in the morning and in the afternoon. Take it just as if it was sunblock. You gotta reapply both or you’ll be miserable be mid-late day!!
Ask us anything!! I can talk UNiversal all day!
I’ve eaten at EVERY place on-site, been on every ride and stayed every value & moderate hotel! I love UOR!!
Forbidden Journey makes me sicker than literally any ride anywhere. I have ridden twice, once in ~2015 and once in 2023. The first time I took no precautions. The second time, despite taking dramamine (both full strength the night before and half a less drowsy 30 minutes before), trying various tricks about closing eyes and looking at anchor points, etc., it still nearly caused me to hurl.
The only other rides that make me sick are simulators – Star Tours, MFSR (to a lesser extent), Remy (very mildly), etc. I’m fine on spinners, coasters, etc. I will occasionally ride Star Tours because I love Star Wars and I am willing to put myself through the discomfort once every few years, but it will be at least another decade before I forget how bad Forbidden Journey is and try it again!
Yes please! I keep hearing about “knowing the lockers” and I can’t go to a park with four kids and not have a small book bag. Someone always needs a Kleenex, hand San, bandaid, me to hold something for them, etc!
We’re back from Universal and thought I’d share my thoughts. We stayed at Surfside Inn and Suites and it was perfectly fine. Good customer service, had a Starbucks and cafe in the lobby, kids loved the heated pool, nice gift shop and the shuttle to the parks was convenient. We never waited more than a couple of minutes for one and for EPA they were back to back. Only negatives are my husband has a bad back and didn’t sleep well on the beds. Also with our family of 6, one bathroom is always a little rough so I wonder if 2 connecting rooms would be better given we didn’t use the little kitchenette area anyway. It’s really affordable and you get the on site perks. I’d recommend if you’re going on a budget but want the transportation to parks and EPA.
I thought Wizarding World of Harry Potter was amazing. I was blown away. I’m such a huge fan of the series and my 8 year old went nuts as we just finished the books and movies in the last year. We ate at Leaky Cauldron - I liked my shepherd pie combo - and kids all got Mac n cheese. We did have to wait a bit to get in there. All three rides were my favorite in the park. I can’t even decide which I like the best. Forbidden Journey is so unique and I did not get sick! I took dramamine and had to close my eyes during some of the screen parts. Ironically my husband, who never gets sick, felt dizzy after! Anyway Escape from Gringotts was also so original. Hagrids, I get the hype. But my 8 year old hated it and cried the whole time. I felt so bad for her! My husband was sitting with her so he spent the ride leaning over to calm her. I thought she’d be fine since she loves Slinky Dog and Thunder Mountain but I realized quickly it is a bit more intense than those.
Wait times were rough but we caught some dips and at the end of the day, the posted times were definitely inflated (example: Mummys said 60 and we waited closer to 30) Crowd calendar said 9, 8 and 8 for the days we were there!
For EPA, we did exactly what I read NOT to do lol. We got there at 7:30 and rushed to Hagrids but still waited an hour and a half. However, it had a delay so I really think it’d have been about an hour which wouldn’t have been bad given we weren’t among the first ones at EPA. (The reason we did this is because the day before we’d done all of the other rides available during EPA so figured might as well try Hagrids. ) The next morning for EPA our group split and did Velocicoaster and Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff (all walk ons). Then our idea was to take the Hogwarts Express at 9:00 to beat the rope drop crowd at Universal to Gringotts. It would’ve worked, wait time was 15 minutes when we got in line, but it broke down and we ended up waiting an hour and 20 minutes. SIGH. So that stunk because all the other lines that are short at opening got long.
I really saw the value of the express pass on busy days. With it, we could’ve done the rides we liked more than once for sure. But since we splurge at Disney and are going for spring break, I knew this had to be a budget friendly trip. We accomplished all we really wanted to do. We didn’t get to Spiderman, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, or Transformers but that’s about it.
I was very excited I got to try cold, frozen, AND hot butter beer. SO good. Weather was chilly but no rain. We got out of there before the storms. We ate at Cowfish, Finnegans and Hard Rock Cafe -they were all good
Overall I’m a fan! I think we’ll go back after Epic Universe opens and my youngest can go on all the rides (she was tall enough, just scared). I will say, the overall vibe was different from Disney, not in a bad way, just different!
Thanks for reading and for the tips I got before my trip!
Yeah… I’m not a fan of any bed that isn’t my own! None of the beds at UOR hotels are my favorites. As much as I do complain about CBBR in my TRs the beds are “Ok”
The kitchenette, IME, at most hotels is a microwave / mini-fridge / sink. I rarely use them, even when I have my family with me. I’d rather have the extra space & beds, but it does increase the cost
Awww… that’s so sweet! I wasn’t much of a Harry Potter fan until I saw Diagon Alley in person!!
Yea!!! That ride vehicle, while cramped, is so cool!! It tosses you around & really puts you right up close to the show scenes!!
Oh no!!! Trying to avoid spoilers… I bet she hated…… the “surprise” in the cave!! I even tried to keep the spoiler from being too much!!
It’s such a great ride that I’d never want to reveal all the fun it has in store for new riders!!
(I just did RotR for the first time last month. I worked sooooo hard to be as spoiler free as possible for the last couple years. I’d say I was about 80% spoiler free & grateful! I’d loved to have ridden it right away & been totally surprised!!!)
If it helps, I’ve ignored even my own advice & done EPA in some of the least optimal ways possible! You get there and suddenly you just want to do what you know you wait for!!
Wow!! It’s always hard to know when to leave a queue. I, habitually, have anxiety that as soon as I leave the line will start moving again!!
Spider-Man is still one of the all-time great dark rides anywhere! I sometimes take that for granted!! When you return you should put it on your “must-do” list!!
Which was your favorite??
That’s good news! I know I recommended Hard Rock and said they others were solid choices too!