I finally got some good news!

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figgy's picture
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I finally got some good news!

Yes after everything that has gone on since we got home from our last Disney vacation, finally some good news!!!!!!!!! Last night my dh said time to start planning the next trip. We won't be able to go until 2016, summer sad sad sad sad But at least there's an end to the Disney drought in sight! clapping clapping clapping clapping clapping clapping BUT!!!!!! There's a catch this time he and the boys want to add in time to see the Harry Potter stuff over in Universal. I'm pretty good at planning the perfect Disney vacation for us, but we've never done Universal. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The only important things we've seen in a tour book is the Potter stuff and minions. So how long is it going to take to see that. And how much money do you think 3 Potter fans can spend. I know my little one will want a wand. Any and all help will be welcomed! THNX

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Will investigate and report back further after May as we are doing the other castle park for two days awesome

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yay clapping awesome

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If you're JUST doing Potter and the Minion ride, you could probably do it in a day with a park to park option. If you're planning on doing anything else, are going during a busy time, or really want to spend a bunch of time in Harry Potter World, I'd suggest two days. Still do the park to park though so that you can do the train!

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Mrferret wrote:
Will investigate and report back further after May as we are doing the other castle park for two days awesome

Thanks Mr. F Looking forward to your tr!!!!!!!!!!

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figgy's picture
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Is there any way to do the train without the hopper?

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figgy wrote:
Is there any way to do the train without the hopper?

Unfortunately, no. The train goes from Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade and back. Since Diagon Alley is in one park and Hogsmeade is in the other, you need a park-to-park ticket in order to do both. They won't even let you in the queue for the train without the park-to-park ticket.

Edited to add:

And you have to ride the train a few times because each ride is different.

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I have done Universal every time I've been down - and I can say that you're in for a treat! It's not quite the same as Disney (mostly because they pride themselves on being different from the more child oriented parks), but it's amazing all the same!

You will need the park to park option to ride the train. But it's well worth it. I've purchased wands, robes, scarves, sweaters, hoodies and all manner of knick-knack from the parks and it can add up quickly. Wands run between $30-$40, the House scarves are around $30 each and the robes were $100 on their own. If you're looking for some fun items at a good price I'd suggest the House lanyards (they come in all four House colours and then several Harry Potter or Hogwarts themed ones as well). They look like the ties that you can buy, but are only around $10 each.

Depending on how old your kids are - and how tall - you'll likely want to skip many of the rides. Most of them big ticket items at Universal are their amazing coasters, and they're not for the feint of heart. All the Harry Potter rides can easily be done in one day, along with the Minion ride if that's all you're interested in.

Since the HP section is in the Studio side of the parks, I'd start your day there. Roam around Diagon and Knockturn Alley, catch the show at Olivanders and pick out your wands, tour the amazing shops and grab a butter beer. Make sure you catch the Gringotts ride before all that though, since the line-up for that gets insane rather early. After you've done your shopping, hop on the Hogwarts Express and enjoy the show as you travel over to Hogsmead Village and ride the other big HP attractions. There are free lockers there to store your goodies in (so long as you're less than an hour in line), and the line-ups for these lines aren't nearly as intense since the other park opened it's HP section.

Once you've finished touring there, I'd do a roam around the remainder of Islands of Adventure. Spend some time in the Marvel area for any little superhero fans, a trip through Seuss Land for any fans of the Dr. and then finish it up with another trip on the Hogwarts Express (the show is different on the way back) to the Studio side. From there you can head over to the Minions ride and maybe catch a show or two (I'd recommend the Hollywood Horror Make-up Show... Just the best) and you're done for the day Laughing out loud

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If you're just doing Harry Potter and want to ride the train, you'll need to get the 2-park hopper ticket as the world straddles Island of Adventure and Studios as Nyxess has said above.

If you're only doing HP and Minions, then a day will cover it, possibly less but bear in mind that you'll be spending around $150 each for the 2-park option, so it's going to make sense to cover some of IoA and Studios.

At IoA, there's the Spider-Man to look at. This is a 4D dark ride that takes you on a web slinging adventure as Spidey battles the likes of Electro and Doc Octopus. If you like thrills, then The Hulk is a good option and is the dominant feature as you enter on the left. It screams (not just the riders) as the cars pass overhead. Jurassic Park will be good in the summer heat as you're guaranteed to get wet - you'll dry off in less than 30 minutes if the sun is out!

Hogsmeade's part of the HP World is here and Hogswart Castle dominates the skyline from here. Butterbeer is on tap in drink and slushy form and it can seem a little odd to be walking through a town with snowcapped roofs in the Florida sun. Head into Hogswart to go on an adventure with Harry, Ron and Hermioni (I can never spell her name right!!)

Get a picture with the train that stands at the entrance to Duelling Dragons. This ride broke down a lot when I was there last, so maybe don't include it on the list of things to do! Then head over to the proper platform and scan your ticket for the ride to King's Cross.

The train is a ride in itself and is apparently different each way. It's only 300m in length, but you'll feel like you've travelled from Scotland to London (or vice versa) with the windows decked out to show the journey. Don't just look out the windows as there are things happening in the carriages and strange silhouettes passing the cabin doors...

Once in 'King's Cross', take a quick wander around Leicester Square, complete with the voodoo bus and Eros before heading into Diagon Alley and Gringott's Bank. The ride through the vaults of Gringott's Bank is the headline ride here. There are a couple of smaller attractions, but I didn't get a chance to see them.

It is quite easy to spend a ton of cash here - wands, cloaks, maps, costumes all beckon to you, making it difficult to resist.

Outside Harry Potter World on the Studio side, take a look at Transformers - Optimus dominates the skyline here at The Nest as he entrusts you and EVAC with a mission to protect the All-Spark. Terminator still runs at the Studios and is a 4D movie with real endoskeletons coming out of the walls at you. If you like thrill rides, then there's the Rip-Rock-It-Rollercoaster - a ride that will video your journey with the music you've selected from the restraint - and also The Mummy - an indoor coaster that invites you to battle Imotep. The Minions are here - watch out for Gru's Fart Gun as is Shrek 4D. The Simpsons are at the end of the park with Krusty's sarcastic look at a Disney park being the main feature and should you enjoy shooting aliens, then try Men In Black next door.

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Agree with all of the above.... we like to do 3 days so on the last day we can go back and hit up our favorite rides one more time. We also like the Men in Black ride and The Simpsons. awesome

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Don't forget ET the ride

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Mrferret wrote:
Don't forget ET the ride

It is the oldest surviving ride from the opening of Universal...

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Regarding saving money on HP items:

I took advantage of Halloween before our trip and purchased a HP Hermione costume for my DD for $35. It came with the robe, patch already sewn on, and a clip on tie. She wore a white button up shirt and khaki skirt to complete the outfit. She dressed up to the park when we visited and received MANY compliments on it! We purchased the Gryffindor house scarf and a wand while we were there, which was expensive enough without $100+ for the robe! All the CMs in HP told her she better be back in time for the school term to start again. She was thrilled they played along that she was a Hogwarts student!

Maybe you could get some less expensive items over Halloween, too. It really saved our budget while adding to the experience!

Just a note, I was not prepared for how expensive Universal is compared to Disney. Maybe someone in the group knows a better way to plan a day at Universal and save some money!

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Hoorah for the end of the Disney drought!
yeah

figgy's picture
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Morgan wrote:
Regarding saving money on HP items:

I took advantage of Halloween before our trip and purchased a HP Hermione costume for my DD for $35. It came with the robe, patch already sewn on, and a clip on tie. She wore a white button up shirt and khaki skirt to complete the outfit. She dressed up to the park when we visited and received MANY compliments on it! We purchased the Gryffindor house scarf and a wand while we were there, which was expensive enough without $100+ for the robe! All the CMs in HP told her she better be back in time for the school term to start again. She was thrilled they played along that she was a Hogwarts student!

Maybe you could get some less expensive items over Halloween, too. It really saved our budget while adding to the experience!

Just a note, I was not prepared for how expensive Universal is compared to Disney. Maybe someone in the group knows a better way to plan a day at Universal and save some money!

Thnx and I was thinking the same thing. I might just make him a robe before we go. I made his padawan costumes for SWW

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Kristen K. wrote:
Hoorah for the end of the Disney drought!
yeah

THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm sooooooooooo excited 400 something days clapping clapping clapping clapping clapping clapping

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Well we ventured off site in 2010 ( I think ) to see the Harry Potter theme..My wife waited in a queue for what seemed like hours with my boy to buy this wand..And it still doesn't work..

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figgy's picture
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The Watchmaker wrote:
Well we ventured off site in 2010 ( I think ) to see the Harry Potter theme..My wife waited in a queue for what seemed like hours with my boy to buy this wand..And it still doesn't work..

My ds James sends you a big thank you from this side of the pond for posting that pic! Now he really wants one! If you don't mind me asking, how much in us$? THNX

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figgy wrote:
The Watchmaker wrote:
Well we ventured off site in 2010 ( I think ) to see the Harry Potter theme..My wife waited in a queue for what seemed like hours with my boy to buy this wand..And it still doesn't work..

My ds James sends you a big thank you from this side of the pond for posting that pic! Now he really wants one! If you don't mind me asking, how much in us$? THNX

I'm sure it was around 40 dollars..I've checked the price on the Harry Potter site on Universal and they are all $36.95...The wand picks you, but if James doesn't like that particular wand, he can pick another.

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The Watchmaker wrote:
figgy wrote:
The Watchmaker wrote:
Well we ventured off site in 2010 ( I think ) to see the Harry Potter theme..My wife waited in a queue for what seemed like hours with my boy to buy this wand..And it still doesn't work..

My ds James sends you a big thank you from this side of the pond for posting that pic! Now he really wants one! If you don't mind me asking, how much in us$? THNX

I'm sure it was around 40 dollars..I've checked the price on the Harry Potter site on Universal and they are all $36.95...The wand picks you, but if James doesn't like that particular wand, he can pick another.

THNX

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figgy wrote:
The Watchmaker wrote:
figgy wrote:
The Watchmaker wrote:
Well we ventured off site in 2010 ( I think ) to see the Harry Potter theme..My wife waited in a queue for what seemed like hours with my boy to buy this wand..And it still doesn't work..

My ds James sends you a big thank you from this side of the pond for posting that pic! Now he really wants one! If you don't mind me asking, how much in us$? THNX

I'm sure it was around 40 dollars..I've checked the price on the Harry Potter site on Universal and they are all $36.95...The wand picks you, but if James doesn't like that particular wand, he can pick another.

THNX

The new interactive wands actually do work!! I have Professor McGonagall's wand and it was a blast waving it around making things happen. Unfortunately it only works as Universal and only in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. It was more expensive....around $50. But next time I forsake Mickey for Harry I will definitely take it with me!! silly

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THNX guys!!!!!!!!!!! Now we're leaning much more towards 3 days with hoppers! Just waiting for the return of Mr. Ferret and his TR to make the final decision!

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You guys will have a phenomenal time! yay We're huge Potter fans and we didn't want to leave! Lol, we were there for 3 days but it seemed too short for us. Granted we were there during Halloween, so the parks closed earlier than usual. There is so much to do and so many rides to go on yay Also, make sure to get the pumpkin juice on tap, it tastes so much better than the bottled! We got it while we ate at Three Broomsticks, it was amazing!

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Mushi404 wrote:
You guys will have a phenomenal time! yay We're huge Potter fans and we didn't want to leave! Lol, we were there for 3 days but it seemed too short for us. Granted we were there during Halloween, so the parks closed earlier than usual. There is so much to do and so many rides to go on yay Also, make sure to get the pumpkin juice on tap, it tastes so much better than the bottled! We got it while we ate at Three Broomsticks, it was amazing!

Thank you!

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The wands come with a marauders map of interactive windows/activities. The Simpsons area is also done very well.

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DisneyDee27 wrote:
The wands come with a marauders map of interactive windows/activities. The Simpsons area is also done very well.

Thanks my ds will love that!

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Ohhh yes, the Simpsons area! I'm not sure if you guys are burger people, but the Krusty burger was delicious! Lol, it sounds gross, but was probably one of the better burgers we've ever had. biggrin

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Mushi404 wrote:
Ohhh yes, the Simpsons area! I'm not sure if you guys are burger people, but the Krusty burger was delicious! Lol, it sounds gross, but was probably one of the better burgers we've ever had. biggrin

THNX my older ds is! I'm vegan and gluten free so none for me biggrin

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Mushi404 wrote:
Ohhh yes, the Simpsons area! I'm not sure if you guys are burger people, but the Krusty burger was delicious! Lol, it sounds gross, but was probably one of the better burgers we've ever had. biggrin

Dammit...I missed this each time I was there - my friends and family seem to have a phobia against 'food from TV shows'!! I'll have to try it next time I'm in town. (I think they were put off by the name)

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The giant doughnut at Lard Lad was good, we ate at Cletus' chicken shack, and had flaming Moe's and Duff beer.

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Oh my goodness! That looks amazing!