Universal - Worth Doing?

I have never been to Universal Studios and am scheduled to return to port on a Friday. Am wondering if it is worth doing Universal for a few days? I don’t do most coasters (7 Dwarves, Slinky & BTMRR is my max). Is it worth spending $600 for hotel & tickets at Universal for 3 days? Is the meal plan worth the $$?

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Yes! If you are going on weekdays. You will be blown away just to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Many shows to see also.

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This would be arriving on a Friday & departing either Sunday night or Monday morning

Absolutely! Don’t let the big rides like Hulk or Dr. Doom scare you away. There’s so many “dark rides” and family rides that are amazing - Kong: Skull Island / Spider-man / Simpsons / Jurassic Park and so many more!

I was a “WDW only” person for 30 years. I started going to UOR about 3 - 4 years and totally regret not doing it soon. I missed out on so many awesome attractions

That’s a bargain, especially when compared to WDW!

NO! I loathe all meal plans. IME - you “break even” on them if you always find the most expensive thing to eat every time. The only “benefit” to UOR meal plan - IME - is that a lot of ppl don’t get it and a lot of Team Members don’t know how to ring it up correctly. I’ve had whole meals / snacks basically “given” to me b/c the TM rang it up wrong. (I wouldn’t count on it of course)

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Absolutely worth doing. The parks are beautifully done and of the dozens of rides there, only 3 can really be regarded as “coasters” (Hulk, RRR, and Hagrid). Can’t comment on the meal plan as I never do them at any park.

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the hotel is not one of Universal’s “official” ones, but a good neighbor one that is listed on their site. theirs would bring it up to close to $1,000 for their “value” resort

The Mummy is also a coaster…but only mildly so.

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My #1 tip sounds “no duh” but it’s really complex: Universal isn’t Disney. Once you understand that you won’t get Disney attractions but with different characters, people love the parks.

As for the coasters, if BTMR is your “max”, then consider skipping Hulk, Mummy, and Rip Ride Rocket. You should be good for Hagrid, it’s faster but smoother than BTMR.

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do the other rides, like the other HP one, Transformers, or rides that have big drops? I have no problem doing simulators like Star Tours, but it’s the big or unexpected drops that freak me out.

They have simulated big drops. I don’t think you actually move much.

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@WDWFAN.27

Here’s a list of every major attraction with a brief & spoiler free description, and a WDW equivalent when possible, by park.

(I did not include any shows or “toddler / kiddie rides” like at Seuss Landing & etc…)

USF

Despicable Me = Motion Simulator (mild)

Escape From Gringott’s – Indoor coaster with 3-D projections (Spins & mild drops)

E.T. Adventure = Dark Ride (Peter Pan’s Flight)

Fast & Furious = Dark Ride (Projections & Effects while riding on slow tram)

Hogwart’s Express = Slow train / transportation between parks w/ on board show

Men in Black = Shooting Gallery (Buzz Lightyear Spin)

Mummy = Medium coaster in dark w/ effects and launches (Space Mt., but a bit faster & cooler)

Race thru NY w/ Jimmy Fallon = 3-D Simulator w/ motion (Star Tours, but milder)

Rip Ride Rockit = Extreme Coaster

Shrek 4-D = 3-D Movie with effects & vibrating seats w/ limited motion

Simpsons Ride = 3-D Simulator w/ motion (Star Tours & about the same intensity)

Transformers = 3-D Simulator w/ motion (Star Tours, but a bit more intense & LOUD)

IOA

Doctor Doom Fearfall = Extreme Drop Tower (It shoots you up fast instead of slow ascent w/ drop)

Dudley Do-Right Ripsaw Falls = Log Flume Ride (pretty basic w/ a drop like Splash Mt.)

Forbidden Journey = (Unique Ride – spins & rotates. Simulates drops)

Hargid’s Motorbike Adventure = Fast Coaster w/ multiple launches

Incredible Hulk Coaster = Extreme steel coaster with a launch & multiple inversions

Jurassic Park River Adventure = Log Flume w/ effects (a “scarier” Splash Mountain)

Popeye & Bluto’s Barges = Rapid Raft Ride (Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom)

Poseidon’s Fury = Walk through family Attraction (Jungle Cruise w/ effects)

Reign of Kong = Dark Ride (Projections & Effects while riding on slow tram)

Spider-Man = “4-D” Dark Ride Motion Simulator (Star Tours- same intensity, but w/ effects & better)

Storm Force Accelerator = Spinning Ride (Mad Tea Party)

(Poseidon’s Fury is closed right now, due to COVID, but I wanted to include it for future reference)

I can not recommend Forbidden Journey enough! I can’t describe it w/out spoiling it. It may cause motion sickness

If any one thinks I missed something or my description isn’t as good as it can be, please, let me know / correct it.

If you want to see the ride vehicle for Forbidden Journey, here’s my family’s on-ride photo from 2019. I put it as a spoiler tag just for those that don’t want to see. (For Example - I’m really trying not to see ANYTHING of Rise of the Resistance including even basic info)
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I have bookmarked this post! Thanks for putting this summary together. Great to see some of these comparisons, as it is very important to me.

A couple points of clarification:

  • Shrek and Minions both have height requirements, and Minions (maybe Shrek?) has a seating area with no height requirement. When you say there is no motion, are you only referring to that separate seating area? Otherwise why is there a height requirement?
  • Is Storm Force more intense than Tea Cups?
  • For the rides that you say are like Star Tours, can you mark which are more intense than ST and which are less?
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Do you know if it’s possible to walk through the queue for FJ and then duck out without riding? We … don’t like that ride. Sorry! Just not our cup of tea. But we want to experience Hogwarts and the queue.

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You used to be able to do a queue only tour. Nowadays with Covid they probably don’t offer the “tour” but there is always a chicken exit before riding so you won’t be forced on the ride if you wait!

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Pre covid, I went through the FJ queue with my husband who left right at the child swap area. He missed the last bit of queue but did get most of it.

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Minions has benches in the front where you can sit and they do not move at all. I think I once saw a parent with a child sitting there, but i don’t recall exactly.

Shrek has seats in the front that don’t move either. They are not benches though.

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@Jeff_AZ

I forgot that Minions is no longer 3-D, but still moves.

I haven’t ever seen Shrek. I didn’t think it moves, I checked the UOR website & it doesn’t have a height requirement (Muppet Vision / It’s Tough to Be a Bug)

IME - Storm & Tea Cups are no different, but I don’t get motion sickness.

I’ll go back and update the Star Tours comparisons

@Julianne_fki

Yes. You can either duck out before boarding - which is a good use of Early Entry. You can also ask for “the tour”, even now. I’ve seen people post on the #UOFistBump Twitter feed about it. (However, they can only do it when they have “extra” staff to allow someone to step away from their post)

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Two corrections I’d add:

  • I wouldn’t list Hagrid as an extreme coaster
  • Ripsaw and JPRA each have taller drops than Splash Mountain (75’ & 85’ vs 50’)

@WDWFAN.27 , my sister also hates big drops and handled Hulk well. Can you do Rock’n’Rollercoaster?

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I wouldn’t call Hagrid’s “extreme” either, but for someone who can only handle BTMRR, it’s what I would advise. (35 mph BTMRR vs 50 mph Hagrid’s w/ the launches and “surprises”)

Oh wow! I’ve always considered those flume drops at Universal so much easier than Splash. I’ve updated to fix that! Thanks!

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I loved Hulk, although with the lingering motion sickness from FJ, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would like! It is a super intense coaster, no mistake about that. But you’ll be able to tell whether you can handle it by looking at it.

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