Universal studios future trip questions and opinions


I will be going to UStudios 12-26 12/31 this year. I couldnt get anyone to go to Disney with me so this is where the kids and DH wantd to go to. So my questions are
Should I get the meal plan?
Is there any type of discounts for that time of year?
Is there anything I should know about the parks? We have never been there before.

Is there anyone willing to replace me on this trip so I can go to Disney?? :laugh:

Thanks everyone:heart:


They are having a Stay 4 play free promo. Did you check that out? If it’s still on then, you would get 2 free park passes.

Universal is a fun place for the holidays too. They will have the Macy’s parade there and Grinchmas will be in Seussville then.

  1. Why & are they insane?
  1. You will be going insane after 5 days there. I had 5 day passes once and we went 2 days.

  2. There is still time to get them into therapy. :biggrin:


Both parks are a lot of fun but I think IOA is more geared towards the younger crowd. They have some awesome water rides at IOA like Dudley Do Right Ripsaw Falls and Popeye & Bluto Bilge Rat Barges; be prepared to get pretty wet weather permitting. :happy: The other rides are awesome as well like Men in Black, Spider Man, The Hulk, Jimmy Nuetron, Dueling Dragons to name just a few but the Mummy was my favorite.

We ate at the Mel’s Drive In at US and Thunder Falls Terrace at IOA; both were really good. I really wanted to try some of the restaurants at CityWalk but never got a chance to; I hear they’re really good.

As far as discounts go it seems like Universal is always offering some great discounted packages. I’m sure you’ll get several free days easily.

The whole feel of Universal is very different from Disney in my opinion. It’s a more BAM in your face, rock & roll, lights flashing kinda experience to me. (at least when you first walk in) I know a lot of people on the board do not like Universal but I really enjoyed it and will go back. Have a great time.


Stay on-site if you can afford it. Your room key gets you into every express line. We’ve never waited more than 10 minutes in a line this way.

We don’t bother with the meal plan. It’s mostly fast-food places in the park, and we prefer a nice sit-down meal at City Walk.


I tired to look that up and cant find it. Is there a spec link? By the way your pic is beautiful


They need to check into the hosp!!! I hope it will only take a few days I want to go to sea world.


We went over Labor Day and we enjoyed it…but only because we didn’t have the kids with us. ALmost all of the rides at IOA my kids would have been to short to ride. It definitely has a different feel than Disney. The people are not as cheery and nice, it lacks the “magic” and there were no “CM’s” working the lines. so it was almost mass chaos when people got up to the actual rides trying to decide where to ride, how many in each row etc… And on the bigger thrill rides you have to put your bags in a locker because you can’t take them on the ride with you. I can’t tell you how many times we saw security with people at the lockers because their stuff had been stolen. Over all…we enjoyed it. BUt e would not take our kids there any time soon.We did both parks in a matter of about 8 hrs and we were done. I personally would not want to spend more than one day there. The one restaurant we ate at was in Jurassic Park and it was Thunder Fall Terrace I think. It was really good for a sit down meal and it was air conditioned so it was nice!!!


Thank you! :wub:

Here’s a link to the offer: Orlando Hotel Information: Universal Orlando Resort


You’re right in that the CMs are not quite as cheery as at WDW, but we found many, many who were. We went for the first time when DD and DS were 10 and 7 and they were not disappointed. There were many, many rides for them to go on at IOA. The whole Seuss section, the Flying Unicorn, Poseidon’s Fury, Jurassic Park River Adventure . . .and that’s just what’s off the top of my head.

We went both trips by staying on-site and only once encoutered a line problem. The free fast-pass to on-site guests works amazingly well. Well worth any extra $ you spend satying on site. Last visit we stayed 5 nights and it was wonderful. The resorts are great (RPR is our favorite) and you can do the parks in a few hours each day with tha magic room-key and then relax at the resort.

My kids actually like US/IOA better than WDW right now. It’s a great place. As long as you don’t go in expecting it to be WDW you will absolutely love it!

Here’s my TR from out last trip.



I’m glad you posted about your good trip. We may have just had an off day…even Disney has those from time to time! It helps knowing people have had good experiences. We did have fun it was just not for our kids…they are so WDW obsessed right now that it’s the only place for them! :laugh: Thanks for the tips, if we do decide to take the kids there it will be helpful to know how to do it right! :happy:


Well add me to your list. Our family loves Uni as well. We have all boys, older, and I think that’s a big part of it. My feeling is that in general, Disney caters more towards girls with all the Princess stuff, while Uni is geared more toward boys with the dinosaurs, dragons, superheroes and thrill rides.

We’re going to Orlando next month and even though we’re going to MGM for one night and MNSSHP for another, we’re staying in the Hard Rock Hotel and spending all our time in the Uni parks.

And we have no problems finding enough to do over there.


I like the fact that each “Island” at IOA has - for the most part - an insane ride, and an attraction for the younger kids. It keeps the whole party something to do.
We’re Disney people, but I always play hooky one day and take my DS (9) and have fun.


We love the US parks too and City Wall is terrific. We stayed at the Hard Rock for 5 days/4 nights and it was great. We only did counter service at the parks, and ate dinner at City Walk or the hotels. We went with several families and every one had a great time. The Hard Rock is a great hotel and I would love to go back and stay there again. I thought we would leave the US area and go WDW, but I was surprised that we had such a great time and never left. You can’t beat their express pass lines for the guest, or the convenience of easily walking to the parks or City Wall.


Universal is fun. There’s more stuff for the high school and college crowd, there. I always have a great time, there (although, it can’t top Disney!).

You can always find Universal discounts somewhere… I suggest just buying your tickets online, though. They’re really cheap, in comparison to Disney.

If you’re staying all night New Year’s, there’s sure to be a rockin’ New Year’s Eve party at CityWalk.

Suessland will be all Christmas-y… get your pic with the Grinch!

Things to know…

Stay on property. It’s the only way, especially around the holidays.

The meal plan is a good deal if you don’t plan on eating much at CityWalk or the resort. CityWalk is the best, though, and I recommend eating the majority of your meals here.

My CityWalk faves are Margaritaville, NBA City, Emeril’s (make ressies), and Bubba Gump’s.

Lockers at Dueling Dragons, The Incredible Hulk, and Revenge of the Mummy are free for two hours. You may not have backpacks on these ride… unless your backpack is too big to fit in the locker. You can, however, wear a fannypack. The lockers are most likely going to appear very crowded. However, push your way through the crowd and go the the back, which is likely to not be very crowded.

Lockers at Toon Lagoon cost $2 per hour. Be sure to keep money with you and put it in a plastic baggy. The machines do not accept wet dollars (my dad jammed up the machine, putting a wet dollar in). They do, however, take credit cards. But I don’t think it’s very smart to keep a credit card with you on water rides. If your money does get wet, you can always go into a restaurant or gift shop and ask to exchange. But never stick a wet dollar in the machine!


Thanks so much for the info! Someone at work today told me that people steal out of the lockers but I think that they would have locks on them. I booked some dinner ressies at ohannas and WWC just to get a little DIsney feel.


We love Margaritaville and NBA City too. Bubba Gump’s was a few weeks short of opening on our last trip. If you want the Emeril’s experience, try Emeril’s Tchoup Chop at the Royal Pacific Resort. It’s beautifully themed, delicious food, and I think a tad less expensive than the one at City Walk.


Ooops - my finger hit the post button twice!


Just to be on the safe side, have a Disney back up plan. We went to Universal, planning to spend 2 days there. After 2 hours, both kids at separate times whispered to me “Can we go back to Disney now.” Universal is definitely a different personality. The rides were fun, but all I remember is how hot it was, cause there was not shade, no place to sit and how annoying the loud, hit you in your face, music was.


Welll, we haven’t been to Universal in few years, but we really enjoyed staying onsite and getting on the rides using your VIP pass is a fantastic perk by itself! We stayed st the Royal Pacific and loved it!

Restaurants we liked were:

Mel’s (good burgers)

Nascar Restaurant was good

Hard Rock was really good.

Latin Quarter was NOT our favorite and was expensive.

Mythos in IOA was just OK

The character breakfast Confisco Grill in IOA was just OK, nothing like Disney IMO.

The breakfast at the Island Dining room at Royal Pacific was really good. They had some of the best hot cinnamon rolls I’ve ever tasted there.:wub:

We enjoyed the short walks to the parks and City Walk. No worries about transportation issues was a big plus at Universal.