1. Welcome to the WDWMAGIC.COM Forums!
    Please take a look around, and feel free to sign up and join the community.You can use your Twitter or Facebook account to sign up, or register directly.
    Dismiss Notice

I Might As Well Be A Newbie

Discussion in 'Universal Orlando' started by ExtinctJenn, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. ExtinctJenn

    ExtinctJenn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Messages:
    3,190
    Likes Received:
    3,834
    The title of this thread really has two meanings for me:
    1) It has been so dang long since I've been active on these forums, I might as well be a newbie.
    2) My first visit to Universal Orlando was in September 1992, just a couple years after it first opened. Being 25 years ago (dear lord)... I might as well be a newbie.

    My vacation style has changed quite a bit over the years. Once it was up to me to plan (and pay for) my vacations, I really had only one place in my sights... WDW. If there was any mention, at all, of doing anything else in the Orlando area, the answer was no. A vacation for me was spending every minute on WDW property. Period.

    Well, I have a son who is about to turn 11 and, while he still loves visiting WDW, he's begged me to make sure that on our next trip, we venture out to places like Legoland and Universal. What he doesn't know is, I'm days away from planning a trip to do just that.

    So, I've made my return to these forums to ask for some thoughts and advice. Our plan is to spend 2-days at Universal, one for each park. We won't park hop and plan to spend essentially one whole day at each. With that understanding, I'd love any advice a newie to Universal should have before stepping through the gates. What should I avoid wasting time doing? What should I make sure we do no matter what? Any dining tips? Will those two days be enough (note, we are going the first week of May - traditionally a slower time at least for WDW)? Are there any shows I've absolutely got to catch? Anything I should be aware of given my son is on the autism spectrum and has some minor sensory issues? Really anything you can think of to share with me to help make sure our family has the best experience possible.

    Thanks in advance folks! Have a magical day!
     
  2. Corey P

    Corey P Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,026
    Likes Received:
    2,540
    Two days should be fine and enough time to see just about everything if you want.

    I wouldn't buy a park hopper either waste of money if you ask me. You do miss out on the Potter train ride but other then that one day park is the right amount.
     
    ExtinctJenn likes this.
  3. danpam1024

    danpam1024 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Messages:
    3,766
    Likes Received:
    4,361
    Welcome back! Are you staying the night on Universal property? If you stay at Hard Rock, Portofino, or Royal Pacific, you'll get 2 days of FREE unlimited Express pass! While the beginning of May is typically slower, you really can't beat unlimited express. If your son is a wizard, I would get the park hopper just to experience Hogwart's Express- the experience is different both ways :) You really don't need the tireless planning required for WDW to really get the best out of UOR. Both Popeye and RipSaw at IOA are SO MUCH FUN, but you will get SOAKED- plan accordingly. Food wise, advice from my 14 year-old son- PBBJ shakes from Cowfish are the best thing ever. Personally we have not been to Legoland, but friends have said it is geared towards the younger crowd (8y and younger).
     
    trr1 likes this.
  4. danpam1024

    danpam1024 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Messages:
    3,766
    Likes Received:
    4,361
    Oh- and my favorite show ever is Tales of Beedle the Bard the Story of the Three Brothers in Diagon Alley. It uses fantastic puppetry and is just beautiful. Animal Actors is cute. Horror Make-up is a hoot. Never been to Sinbad's show. Posideon's Fury is a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME.
     
  5. BubbaQuest

    BubbaQuest Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    554
    2 days should be plenty of time, especially in early May.

    I would rethink the park hoppers if your son is a big Harry Potter fan. Being able to ride the Hogwarts train is pretty cool if you're a big Potter fan. It also makes park hopping very easy if you decide you want to do nothing but pretend to be wizards all day :)

    As Pam mentioned above, staying onsite will have a big impact on how to plan the day. The Express Passes at the 3 hotels Pam mentioned will get you front-of-the-line access to all the attractions expect the 2 Potter attractions (Forbidden Journey and Gringotts). It pretty much means you don't have to worry about planning your day at all :)

    Staying at any of the Uni hotels (Cabana Bay and Sapphire Falls included) will get you Early Morning Access. That is the best time to tackle Forbidden Journey, Gringotts, and the various Potter shops with minimal crowds.

    For sensory issues, is this mainly crowd issues or environment issues? Unfortunately, many of the Uni attractions are "4-D" attractions, meaning expect blasts of air or water. If that's a problem, hopefully we can list all the attractions and the right time to duck under the seat for you :)

    If it is crowd issues, the Express Passes and Early Morning Access would help a lot. The queues for Forbidden Journey and Gringotts are interesting as they are very well themed. The queue itself can be a little claustrophobic since it is somewhat dark and all inside, but there is so much to see and watch, the time goes very quickly. If you've done Indiana Jones in Disneyland, it's kind of a similar thing.

    Hope this helps.
     
    StingraySam likes this.
  6. ExtinctJenn

    ExtinctJenn Well-Known Member Original Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Messages:
    3,190
    Likes Received:
    3,834
    Thanks folks for the replies so far. To answer some of the questions asked...
    • My son has no interest in Harry Potter. He's never seen a movie or read the books.
    • While he's going to be 11-years old for this trip, his maturity level (as a result of his disorder) puts him more around the 7-8 year old range.
    • His sensory issues are more related to constant crowd level and noise. So, rides aren't ever an issue. In fact, he's a thrill ride junkie and loves 4-D type attractions. He watched a video about the new Jimmy Fallon ride yesterday and is super excited for that, also the Minion and Transformers rides. But, contrast that with being unbelievably excited to see the SpongeBob gift shop themed like Bikini Bottom, meeting characters, and visiting Legoland.
    • I'm still playing with a whole host of vacation plans and have yet to settle but, I'm leaning toward resort hopping. The plan being to essentially stay at associated resorts on the days we're in those parks. So, essentially 2 nights each at a Disney property resort, Universal property resort (likely Cabana Bay) and Legoland.
     
  7. figmentfan423

    figmentfan423 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Messages:
    28,472
    Likes Received:
    97,134
    You really should consider a hotel which will give you unlimited express pass with his condition. Between that and the GAC he will be much happier. In as much as UNI takes almost no planning I would book Mythos for lunch so he won't have much of a wait there.
     
    StingraySam likes this.
  8. BubbaQuest

    BubbaQuest Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    554
    I think you are in for one heck of a vacation! There is so much to see just running around the park. I don't think Uni announces meet-n-greet times but there is usually at least one superhero walking around the Marvel area, hopefully you'll catch Spiderman or Storm walking around. There's also a Transformer meet-n-greet outside the ride. I could watch that all day, the bots are amazing.

    If you're not Potter fans, definitely skip the hoppers. Not worth it for just the one ride. You can probably skip the Ollivanders show too where you purchase a wand.

    Minions is a very slow loader and always busy. Express Passes help here or try first thing in the morning. The Simpsons queue can also be slow and boring. Otherwise I think most other queues are fast enough or interesting enough to help pass the time. Forbidden Journey is definitely a must do, even for non-Potter fans. Even if the queue time is 40 minutes, I would still recommend it. The queue is fascinating enough, you won't even notice the time.

    In early May, you probably don't need the Express Passes, but the Early Morning Access would be a big help. As Pam mentioned, you can stay just one night and get Express Passes for 2 days (one for the arrival date and one for the departure date). Not sure how that works with Early Morning Access as you'll need to show your room key for early entry, but hopefully someone here has more details.
     
  9. ExtinctJenn

    ExtinctJenn Well-Known Member Original Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Messages:
    3,190
    Likes Received:
    3,834
    Well, it's official... I booked our vacation this morning! Thank you all so much for the comments. We are staying on property two nights so we will definitely take advantage of the early morning access to do the couple things folks have mentioned lines tend to get bad for. I also booked the character breakfast for one of the days we are there based on the reaction my son had this morning when I casually mentioned there was such a thing. His head about exploded. :D Thanks again!
     
  10. figmentfan423

    figmentfan423 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Messages:
    28,472
    Likes Received:
    97,134
    Congrats!
     
    ExtinctJenn likes this.
  11. JillC LI

    JillC LI Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2007
    Messages:
    5,397
    Likes Received:
    4,396
    You also get the express pass for staying on property. Good choice!
     
  12. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    1,811
    Likes Received:
    2,498
    Only at one of the deluxe properties, I think the OP is going to CBBR
     
  13. Bairstow

    Bairstow Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2002
    Messages:
    7,798
    Likes Received:
    11,447
    I can back that up.
    We visited last fall and I was somewhat disappointed, but maybe because I'm not big on Lego.
    Not just the attractions, but the food, atmosphere, and general cleanliness of the park are several notches below, say, SeaWorld.
    I'd temper your expectations, but if your son wants to go take him before he gets any older, for sure.
    Think of the place more as a really nice regional children's park rather than a theme park that competes with the world-class stuff in Orlando.
    On the other hand, people who are actually into Lego would probably be more inclined to have fun at a place called "Legoland" than people who aren't.
     
    figmentfan423 and danpam1024 like this.
  14. JillC LI

    JillC LI Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2007
    Messages:
    5,397
    Likes Received:
    4,396
    Yes, true - I didn't catch which hotel the OP booked.
     
  15. ExtinctJenn

    ExtinctJenn Well-Known Member Original Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Messages:
    3,190
    Likes Received:
    3,834
    Yep, we are staying at Cabana Bay so no Express Pass but, given the time of year we are going, and having the early admission, I think we will be fine. Plus, as my son is on the autism spectrum, we will be doing the DAC equivalent, just as we do at Disney, to help out a bit.

    Thanks for that feedback! My son will be 11-years old in a week but, his maturity level (as a result of his autism) is more that of around an 8-year old. He also watches a ton of YouTube videos and undoubtedly knows more about Legoland than I do, or most people who have gone even do. LOL! Plus, he has an insanely wide taste in ride types. The kid rides Fury, the world's tallest and fastest gigacoaster, all summer long at Carowinds up here by us but, after riding it 3 times back to back will be completely content to then hop on one of the rides in the kiddie area. All that being said, I think it'll be the type of thing we do this once and then not again on future trips. Of course that depends on just how much he enjoys it but, there is a reason that Legoland only makes up one day of our 6-day trip. :D
     
    figmentfan423, JillC LI and JoeCamel like this.
  16. Bairstow

    Bairstow Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2002
    Messages:
    7,798
    Likes Received:
    11,447
    Cool! Hope y'all have a great trip.

    I don't know if you've purchased tickets or not but be aware that Legoland has a small attached water park. They have a lazy river, slides, and a small wave pool, but again, it's a fraction of the size of, say, Typhoon Lagoon. You can get combination tickets for it, but if you're just there for the day and have to drive to and from Winter Haven it might not be worth the time, money, and trouble.

    Finally, if you've got time and get tired of plastic brick people, check out the original Cypress Gardens. They're included with your park ticket and were my favorite part of Legoland.
     
  17. rushtest4echo

    rushtest4echo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2015
    Messages:
    728
    Likes Received:
    2,285
    This!

    We enjoyed Legoland, but thought it'd be much more excellent for the 5-10 year old kid we don't have. ;) That was similar for the ride park at Cypress too though. We spent much of our time in that park outside the ride area. Even when Starliner was there (still sad it lasted such a short time).
     
    Bairstow and figmentfan423 like this.
  18. ExtinctJenn

    ExtinctJenn Well-Known Member Original Poster

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Messages:
    3,190
    Likes Received:
    3,834
    We are actually staying at the Legoland Resort Hotel the night of our Legoland park visit and, I think the pool there is a huge draw for my kiddo. He's mentioned a few times something about floating foam lego bricks in the pool. Anyway, the tickets we got were the ones that came with the resort package and I don't think they include the water park. I'm sort of hoping he doesn't realize there is one that is separate but, I can hopefully sway him in the direction of the pool instead. :D

    I am very much hoping we do have time to head in there as I remember going as a kid. When I heard they kept the original as part of this, I was thrilled! So, fingers crossed we have time and/or can convince the kiddo!
     
    figmentfan423 likes this.

Share This Page