Universal Studios, Orlando
Please keep in mind that my review is coming from a handicapped person's perspective.
1. You are not allowed to use your own scooter or wheel chair.
2. The distance from handicapped parking to a wheel chair is not too bad except the only available ones will not go through the security check points.
3. You have to rent a wheel chair at the rentals spot to get one capable of passing through security. Of course they do not tell you this until you reach the actual security scanner, at which time they remove you from line and point you backwards to the rentals area.
4. After you rent a chair, you have to go to the back of the line and re-start the wait to get through security.
Since I did not want to make my family go through extra wait times, I asked how far it was from security to the scooter rentals spot. I was told , "Oh, just inside the park, on the left." Well once you pass security, you have to walk about four blocks to reach the ticket buying/fingerprinting stations. Once to get through that long stop and go line, then you go a ways further to find the scooter rental depot. This arduous process took over 45 minutes, by which time I was in so much agony that I had to take a pain pill and I was no longer pleasant.
The young man who rented the scooter to me caught the brunt of my dissatisfaction, which he handled superbly. He apologized profusely, seemed genuinely concerned about my plight and even threw in a canopy for my scooter at no extra charge. I have to say that he was the only bright spot of my day at the park.
While Universal is out to make money, I think charging me $179 for a one day, park to park ticket was outrageous. I explained that the only ride I would be using was the Hogwart's train but I did not receive consideration of any kind and the woman was borderline rude. $11 for a hotdog and $22 for a turkey leg? come on , really?
Bues Brothers and Scooby Doo characters were rude and unapproachable. They did not even acknowledge my grandson's very excited hello.
I am seriously disappointed with the whole experience overall and I will never be back. Furthermore, I will make sure that I inform everyone I know and even those I don't what an absolutely dismal experience Universal provided. Especially to all my handicapped friends and their families.
magine enter to your favorite movies or TV shows for only one day, well that is Orlando
I went with my friends to Universal Studios, at the beginning there are some big malls and restaurants that awaits to you, after you cross that you have the tickets store
all Universal costs 145 dollars
only one part 125 dollars
There are many attractions in Universal part 1, for example the Minions attraction, where you have a screen and your chairs moves with the 3d movie
the most crowed attraction was the Simpsons one, we have to wait for about 1 1/2 hours to pass, but the patience was worthy
The Simpson town was a true copy of Springfield, also the food that sells there is great especially the hamburgers and pizza without forgetting the ice cream that cost ~$5
Another Great attraction was the Terminator 2, it was a mix of 3D with live action so the fun was pick up.
At night there are some presentations
I had not done as much planning for this vacation as I had done for the one to Walt Disney World and I was therefore relieved to see that Universal Studios' theme parks are much smaller than the ones at WDW and generally not as crowded. There are two major theme parks (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure), and each has a section dedicated to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We bought a 3-day park-to-park admission ticket, and it turned out to be perfect: less time would have made us rush from ride to the other, and more time would have been more than we really needed. The park-to-park option allowed us to ride the Hogwarts Express train from one park to the other.
Most of the rides at Universal Studios involve some kind of 4D action. While these are pretty cool, they are not the best for people with motion sickness. My favourite rides in that theme park turned out to be "Revenge of the Mummy", a pretty cool indoor rollercoaster inspired by the movie of the same name, and the interactive "Men in Black: Alien Attack", which I won!! On top of the rides, we aslo caught several entertaining live shows and I enjoyed walking through the different sections of the park (my favorite ones were New York and Springfield, U.S.A.), looking at all the details that made them seem incredibly real. Oh, and before you ask, I got dizzy on the "Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem" ride so no, I did not go on the scary "Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit" rollercoaster!
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd
Directions: Universal Studios
We were at WDW last week, and thought we would go to Universal Studios for 2 days and check it out. I was not impressed with the rides, and many attractions were outdated (Men in Black, for example, needs to be taken out and replaced with something newer). Many attractions were also not kept in great shape and it feel and look old.
Overall the park just seem very unorganized (from attraction queues to locker rentals). Many rides don't allow you to take anything with you, even if it is in a secured zipper pocket. I personally find that ridiculous. I have been to Cedar Point many times, and I never had to check my things in a locker for the rides there (and Cedar point rides are way more intense than the Dragon Challenge). You have to check your things in the locker for the moderate to intense rides (and surprise! the queue for the locker is completely unorganized). I was trying to get on the Dragon challenge my second day there, and got so fed up with the queue at the locker rentals I just left.
Unless you are a huge Harry Potter Fan, and just want to explore the stores and the set surroundings, I wouldn't waste your money on that. Go to Disney World instead.
Love Halloween? Hate waiting? Love special treatment? If yes to any or all of these, the RIP Tour is the way you want to go to see Halloween Horror Nights.
This tour will ensure that you see every haunted house and then some. Until I did this tour, I never saw the Bill & Ted's show and I don't ever want to miss it again - it's a must see. That said, you get much better seating and less wait time if you are on an RIP Tour.
Our guide, Jeff, was an avid horror fan and genuinely excited to tell us the story of each house before we ventured in. I was a little (okay, a lot) angry at Universal for some ticketing issues (more on that later) and he made me forget all about it - for a little while.
What you must know for this tour:
-HHN is a separately ticketed event - your park passes/tickets do not get you in
-when you purchase your RIP Tour ticket, you MUST ALSO have a ticket to HHN (that's right, unlike the VIP tours at Universal and WB in Hollywood, your ticket to get into the park is NOT included)
-Since you essentially have to buy two tickets per person, Saturday nights are outrageously expensive - expect to pay upwards of $600 for two people. If you go on a weeknight, or even a Friday, the cost will come down a little bit - the RIP tours are cheaper on those days as are the admission ticket.
Lessons learned - here's what happened to me:
I purchased a Frequent Fear Plus Pass to HHN which included all but Saturday nights, so it seemed like a great idea to do the RIP Tour on Saturday since the cost of the ticket plus Express was about the same price. I purchased my ticket online. The day of the tour, I called customer service (a call I initially made to simply verify my check-in time) and I discovered the TINY print that they told me was "clearly" on the website that states you must also have a ticket to HHN for the RIP Tour.
I was floored when I learned of this and I requested to cancel my tour - they refused. I spoke with a manager - he refused. I spoke with HIS manager - he refused. I cry when I am angry and/or stressed, so now the waterworks started (terrifying my husband more than anything at HHN). I was sobbing on the phone and begging this jerk to do the right thing, but he stonewalled me. Finally, when he decided I was not going away easy, he offered to comp a ticket to HHN, so my choice was to purchase an $82 ticket or lose about $430.
As directed, I went to Guest Services at the park to purchase my ticket and the comped ticket. There were tons of people in line with similar horror stories of online purchases gone wrong. I told my sob story to the guy at the desk and got nowhere further, so I decided to pay my $82 and move on.
The next day, a last straw incident happened with a rude employee that sent me straight to Guest Services. I quickly told the rep what drove me there and then laid right into what happened the day before. She listened so intently with compassion and understanding; she asked for a little more info about me and then went in the back room for a while. When she returned, she asked me if a refund of the $82 would make it right - I agreed that it would. Later in my conversation with her, she mentioned that the park refunds tours ALL THE TIME and she couldn't understand why the guys on the phone were playing hardball with me. Had it not been for Shelleigh, I may have written off Universal completely over the principal of all of this.
The moral of my story - if you want to book online, make sure you have ALL the information before doing so - and read all that fine print. If something goes wrong on your trip, don't mess with those chumps on the phone - go to Guest Services in the park and speak with someone in person. This team is well trained in company policies and empowered to do the right thing.
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819
Directions: Check-in next to the guest service desk once inside the park.
Halloween fanatics, this is the closest you're ever going to get to a real life Halloween Town. Whenever I think about the walk up to the studios for the start of HHN, I start dancing to "This is Halloween".
Is it scary? Depends on your threshold. I did a survey afterwards where Universal had categories of fear and to label what you wanted verses what you got. The highest level was something to the effect of "uncomfortably terrified" and the mid-range was something like "occasionally alarmed". While I wanted the former (my dad let me watch Poltergeist when I was 10 - it was all downhill from there), it was mostly the latter. The most alarming thing at HHN is the crowds - you always have to be on alert for a screaming & running teenage girl over-reacting (or overacting) to the cast in the "scare zones".
Will people touch you? No. They will get close and in your face, but never touch.
Now for those crowds... there are ways to mitigate this issue. Express Pass, Express Pass, Express Pass. Seriously, don't even bother going if you're not going to get it. The most terrifying thing of all at HHN: the standard wait times. If you go this route, you'll probably only see half the houses on a night that's only moderately busy. Less if it's a weekend crowd.
HHN25 was my second visit and I learned some things - some the hard way. For the second time, I decided that the "Frequent Fear Pass" was similar in pricing to the individual tickets needed for the dates I would be there (4 nights). Since I was there on a Friday, I needed the Frequent Fear Plus Pass (WITH Express) - for two people, this runs just under $500 (look, I REALLY love Halloween!).
Since this was my second trip, I knew the important basics:
-this is a separately ticketed event
-your hotel Express Pass means (almost) nothing at this event
-arrive by 8pm and you can use your hotel key as a way around the big line at the entrance
Here are the lessons learned this time around:
-The crowds have gotten WAY worse
-Thursday nights are the PITS (Thursdays are cheaper than Fridays and Saturdays, so a lot of locals come this night - many with the their Frequent Fear passes that are only good Sun-Thursday)
-RIP Tour is worth every penny
-YOU MUST HAVE AN HHN TICKET FOR THE RIP TOUR (yes, in addition to the high cost of the RIP tour) - this would be the one I learned the hard way.
What I will be doing next time:
-Probably just one night on my own - likely a Sunday ticket with Express
-RIP Tour on Friday night (the Saturday tickets cost more plus you have to buy the HHN ticket)
-Saturday night, I will likely leave the park for another activity (there is a cool Horror convention in town the weekend of or preceding Halloween)
The RIP Tour shows you EVERYTHING and more. You get prime seating at the Bill & Ted's show (something I missed the first time around because it was too much of a hassle), you do not wait at all at the houses and you go to every one of them. You get bar stops and some RIP only extra treats. If you can swing the extra cost, this is the way to go for the best experience.
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819
Directions: Located in the Universal Studios Theme Park
Onsite hotel guests can use a special entrance until 8pm.
Universal Studios is a favorite of mine because of Halloween Horror Nights (more on that in another review), but like Disney, it's important to plan ahead, have all the tools available to you, and be flexible.
I always stay at one of the on-site Loews hotels for the advantage of the Express Pass - you can buy these separately and stay somewhere else, but you will often find that it is a wash when you add up all the expenses of staying off the park. Staying onsite also offers an early entry into one of the parks - they often change it, so it may be Islands one week and the Studios another. Be aware of which one and get an early start if you don't want to wait for Harry Potter rides (no Express accepted at these attractions).
A co-worker reminded me to download the app (which wasn't that great back in 2011), so I gave it a shot on his recommendation. This app rules! These parks take a lot of energy from walking and waiting - this app tells you how long of a wait and it will also spare you a long walk to a suspended ride. The app will tell you if there are temporary delays to a ride, so you don't schlep all the way over there only to be disappointed. The app also gives directions - no more walking halfway around the park to find that you passed what you were looking for or could have gone a shorter way.
Got a smart watch? If you allow the push notifications, and it will give you turn by turn navigation while you walk to your attraction of choice. Seriously, this was a highlight of my trip - if you went the wrong way, it would just trigger a haptic (smart watch speak for a light vibration) and reroute you.
Now for the aforementioned Harry Potter. Got Potter fans in your group? Don't even think about trying to get single park passes to try to save money. There is a train between the two parks and the only way to get on it is to have a Park-to-Park ticket. This experience is not to be missed for fans young and old.
Another train tip - say you start at the Studios and hit the Harry Potter world first thing and now your ready to hop over to Islands for the Potter experience over there - the train drops you off right where you need to be for the rides. Same goes for Islands - if your day starts there, go straight to the Harry Potter world and then train over to the Studios when you're done.
You're probably exhausted after all this, go over to City Walk and hop on the water taxi back to your hotel - take a nap, or hang by the pool. Grab some lunch and then water taxi or walk back over to the parks and hit all those other rides - the wait won't be long, you have an Express Pass.
Now for ticketing - the best value is the 4-Day Park to Park. The daily price gets cheaper as you go up in days. The best discount I have seen is through AAA, but be aware that you need to purchase a few weeks in advance because they mail the ticket. If you waited too long, you can go over to your AAA store, but keep in mind that they are going to give you a printed paper ticket, which you will have to keep with you all of your days at the park. I can attest to how annoying this paper ticket is - in hindsight, for the difference in cost, I probably would have just purchased a ticket through Universal and sent it to Will Call so I could have a normal ticket that would fit in my lanyard.
My big caveat: on my most recent trip, I had a handful of customer service issues. Employee training seems to be the source of the troubles. Not everyone seems to know what the rules are or what they can and can't do. An example is with the AAA discounts. An employee at City Walk kindly asked for my AAA card at check-out and saved me a couple dollars. She advised me that I could use the card in the park, but when I tried to do so later that weekend, I was greeted by a brick wall and a rude cashier rattling off rules (FYI: stop at the Guest Services desk on your way in the park and get the AAA savings pass if you buy your tickets through AAA). My takeaway from this is to ask everyone questions, even if you've already asked someone else, and if you're adding a bunch of expensive things to your package (like Halloween Horror Nights), don't go at it alone. CALL Universal Studios and book through them (you can do tickets only if you don't want to pre-pay your hotel). If nothing else, at least there will be someone other than you accountable for any errors or oversights.
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819
Directions: Norhtwest of Hollywood Way
Phone: (407) 363-8000
The park and attractions are great but customer service is terrible. I had purchased a buy two get one free park passes for 4. With the US exchange it was $927.45 Canadian, quite alot of money for 3 days amusement.
When I arrived at the park I was told that my tickets were expired because they discontinued the promotion! I was directed to customer service to see if they could help me. Needless to say I was extremely concerned, I had only purchased the tickets a few weeks prior and had not seen anything online indicating that these tickets would not be valid for my time in Orlando. When I got to customer service there was a long line waiting to speak to a customer service rep. While in line I spoke to several other visitor to the park and it became apparrent that we were all in the same situation, none of us were aware that these very expensive tickets were not being accepted by the park. Now if it was just me, I would say I made a mistake but there was flood of upset visitor to the park with the same issue. When we did speak to customer service they told us that the tickets were no longer being accepted but if we paid an additional $20 per day per guest they would re-issue the tickets. Now I can tell you for how much I paid for these tickets I was extremely upset that I was again being squeezed for more money or would lose my tickets altogether. I think that given the number of visitors with the same complaint Universal could have certainly done a lot better job of dealing with this situation.
Please be careful when buying your tickets to be sure you do not fall into this situation.
My family took a vacation of a lifetime and we went to Orlando. We stayed two weeks and had tickets for both Disney World and Universal Studios. We timed our vacation to be there for the opening of Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express. Let me just say that Disney World was wonderful and Universal Studios can sink into the ocean for all I care. We have a ten year old daughter who has Caudal Regression Syndrome which means she is missing the lumbar and sacral vertebra. She cannot walk but she gets around great in her wheel chair and "walking" on her hands. Let me just say she is an amazing little girl who we have raised to believe she can do anything she wants. She is not handicapped but handicapable! Universal Studios refused to let her ride any rides including the kiddie rides. They said it was clearly stated in the ride brochure. It is NOT! We had spent a lot of money on 3 day passes that included both parks. We left with this beautiful little girl crying because she felt she had ruined her brother’s vacation. We stopped at customer service to lodge a complaint. After waiting in line for 30 minutes, I told the young girl at the counter that I was extremely angry and that I would like to speak to a manager because she was not paid enough for me to take it out on her. She said first I needed to let her know what was going on and I told her about the ride operators letting my little girl get on the ride only to have a supervisor come over and say no, they don't let cripples ride and she would need to get off. This happened not once, not twice but 5 times and that included the kiddie rides. I was furious but controlled myself since it was not this poor girls fault. She then went back to get her manager. We waited another 15 minutes then this young girl came back and said her manager authorized her to refund our tickets for the day. I said very nicely, where is the manager and she said her manager told her to do this. I asked if my complaint mattered and she said of course. I said apparently not since the manager couldn't even bother to come and talk to me! The young lady left close to tears and I almost felt bad but considering why I was there and the fact that I did warn her stopped my pity. The Public Relations manager came and with her came the ride manager Brian. Brian, I will never forget. The young man needs to learn to listen! I told them what had happened and Brian said yes that was company policy. I said where does it state this? In the ride brochure. i held it up and said show me where? I have looked and nowhere in there does it say handicapped people can't ride. It listed weight limits, operating instructions, height requirements but nothing about people who can't walk not being able to ride! He tried to take the brochure from me but I refused to give it to him. The public relations lady asked me what i wanted and I told her an apology to my daughter and I wanted Brian to escort her to any ride she wanted and make sure she got to ride it provided she met the restrictions posted and not the ones they made up to keep her off. She offered to refund all three days and I told her no this wasn't about money it was to teach my daughter that she was worth fighting for and that people like this park where wrong! Brian said no no no. He talked over me and could not even acknowledge what I was saying or even apologize because we felt that way. He was right and we needed to leave. I will never go back there and I tell everyone who considers going that they better be in excellent health or they will waste their money!
I love universal studios I have a year pass, but I wish they would do a couple things diffenet like the Harry potter , not have so many people in that park at one time. You can't enjoy it. I think they should have a time for each group to come back and enjoy it. So there isn't a lot of people at once. I know that would never happen. But I wish. I go about 2/3 times a month. Only live an hour away. So I don't mind but for my family and friends who don't it's not right. Also they need to clean the bathrooms. I mean it's so bad. And yes for the women out there please please act lady like . It's very sad that women are so dirty! Eww . But other then that I love this place. All the workers are very nice. I only had a couple of times that the workers looked like they hated life. But you can't always get a happy camper. But if you are in Orlando go for it. And yes you need 2 to 3 days to really enjoy everything the park has. Just walking around is nice. They do a great job. ?
We went to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure for two days each the week of 8/4/14 - 8/8/14. While there were rides and shows I likes, the parking, the crowds, the lines, and Thunderstorms conspired to make it a trip to forget.
All of the newest, most popular rides had wait times of at least an hour minimum, ranging up to 2 1/2 hours sometimes. This includes both Harry Potter rides, the Minion Mayhem ride, the Hulk roller coaster, and the Rip Rockit roller coaster. The Simpsons ride, the Dragon challenge roller coasters, the Spiderman ride, the Mummy ride, the Pteradon flyers ride, and the Men in Black rides all usually ran a 30-45 minute wait.
Parking is $17 and can be a really long walk from your car to the entrance. It rained a large part of one day during our visit and a shorter portion of a second day. All of the outside rides were closed during the thunderstorms for safety, making all of the wait times on the indoor rides skyrocket.
As with any crowd, you are going to have some jerks to deal with. We experienced line cutters, tons of people walking in front of us as we tried to take a quick photo, parents not controlling their unruly smaller children, and too many people who obviously didn't use deodorant that day.
I may go back some day, but if I do, it will be off-season, when the lines & crowds are smaller and less of a hassle to deal with.
I am not a Furry Potter--I mean Harry Potter-- fan in the slightest, but I still thought the Harry Potter World at Universal was pretty cool, other than the the throngs of people it attracts. The town is so authentic the wood is real wood, the stone is real stone, no plastic junk here. Even the butterbeer is real butterbeer, but only if you pay $5 for the butterscotch and whip cream drink.
While here, we rode the forbidden journey ride in the big castle, the Dragon Challenge roller coaster, and the "Flight of the Hippogriff" family roller coaster. We also stopped in Honeydukes candy store, Dervish and Banges magic shop, and Three Broomsticks pub.
This was a great theme park, and maybe the one I loved the best, as it had all those reminders of some fantastic films I had grown up with, like Jaws and Terminator. In fact the Jaws ride was great. All the rides were great actually, as you can imagine at a place as well known and as huge as this.
The highlight for me though, had to be the Blues Brothers tribute, singing was great, and reminded me of when I was younger in Australia, where everywhere I went there someone was shaking their tail feathers.
Check out the Blues Brothers tribute on my video.
At Universal Studios' Islands of Adventures, one of the more interesting areas is called Seuss Landing. This theme park is designed after Dr. Seuss' books, and is a real hallucinogenic trip back to the 1950s. This area of the park, very popular with the younger children, features The Cat in the Hat ride, a One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish ride, and the The High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride (!).
We rode the Cat in the Hat and the Seuss trolley train, and otherwise just enjoyed the odd sights and interesting characters.
Come hang out with Sneetches, Things (1 and 2), the Grinch and even a few Dog-a-lopes.
Universal Orlando Resort is the second largest theme park in Orlando after Disney World. The resort has a few hotels and two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Universal studios was opened in 1990, and it consists of six different areas: Hollywood, Production Central, New York, San Francisco / Amity, World Expo and Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone. Islands of Adventure opened in 1999, and it also has six areas: Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent, Seuss Landing, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (what does Wizarding mean?). In 2009, Islands of Adventure had 4.5 million visitors, ninth among United States parks. Universal Studios has about 5.5 million guests; combined the two parks' 10 million visitors is fourth most in the U.S. behind Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, and Epcot.
Entrance into Islands of Adventure is very expensive, about $80 per adult each day, with discounts for multi-day passes. We rode a ton of rides during our day here including Incredible Hulk Coaster, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges, Jurassic Park River Adventure, Poseidon's Fury, The Cat In The Hat, The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge, and Flight of the Hippogriff.