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Old 03-09-15, 01:11 PM   #1
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Universal Studios Orlando

I'll be there for three days next week, staying on property. I've never been there. I'll have limited time as I'm there to watch my oldest daughter compete in an event on property.

I'm looking for some suggestions of "must see" attractions. I like theme parks and roller coasters. I'll be with my 10 year old and my father (he's 73), both enjoy coasters.
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Old 03-09-15, 02:09 PM   #2
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

Assuming you are staying at on of the three main resorts and not the new Cabana Bay, then you will have unlimited express pass, so you will be able to very nearly walk on to anything (except the Potter rides).

My top rides/attractions for Universal Orlando/Islands of Adventure are :

Coasters:

Rip Ride Rockit (my Favorite)
Hulk
Revenge of the Mummy
Dragon Challenge (I like the Fire Side better)

Motion Rides:

Spiderman
Transformers
Forbidden Journey
Minion Mayhem

Water rides (you WILL get wet):

Dudley Do Right Ripsaw Falls
Popeye and Bluto Bilge Rat Barges

Shows:

Animal Actors
Horror Makeup Show

I have not been since they opened the new Potter area with Gringotts. Again, with the unlimited Express Pass, you should be able to ride pretty much everything over three days. If you don't have park hopper tickets, you will need to invest one morning for Universal and one for Islands of Adventure to see all of the Potter attractions. Hit those first thing as they do not have Express Pass lines.
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Old 03-09-15, 02:24 PM   #3
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

Men in Black is my favorite Universal ride, but I haven't been there since they added all the Harry Potter stuff. I hear the Gringotts' ride is a lot of fun.

If you like coasters and can get over to MGM Disney for a day, the Rock'N Rollercoaster is the best coaster in Orlando. Way better than Universal's The Hulk, IMHO.
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Old 03-09-15, 04:13 PM   #4
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

I am a season pass holder and we go down 3 - 4x a year.

SmackDaddy gave you a great write up

If you are staying at a Lowes universal property your room key gives you front of the line (express) access on all rides except HPForbidden Jorney.



So your 'limited time' will not be an issue.

I love coasters and
Mummy - is a great indoor coaster
Hulk - one of the best outdoor coasters that 'launches' you to the top.. it is 100% ride
Rocket - ehh.. the music makes it interesting, and has an illusion of danger, but is often not running
Dragon - great ride where your feet dangle and there are no cars

Motion Rides - These can make you feel 'sick' because they are in 3D and are jerky
Transformers - new ride that is not all herky-jerky like the older ones.. you feel like you are going into the ride and not being jerked from scene to scene. Truly one of the good ones!
Spiderman - oldschool brings you from one scene to another, but the motion is not that sickening and the story is fun
Forbidden Journey - this gets people sick (Simpsons ride will make you feel ill) but they have toned it down over the years, and is tolerable now. But once a trip is ok for me. However waiting in the line is better than the ride if you are a potter fan.
Gringots Vault - not a herky-jerky ride. Story is kind of confusing, but waiting in the line is soooo cool. State of the art animatronics, and the ride and visuals are fun. Newest ride in the park

Other
Men In Black - We ride this again and again each day. Fun to shoot all the eyes and go for a high score!

All the water rides are fun and you will get wet!! so make sure you don't do them in jeans - prep and wear the right clothes / footwear.
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Old 03-09-15, 04:27 PM   #5
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

I'm jealous. Universal is a fricking blast!! The motion rides are fantastic. I'm not sure the hours of the theme park, but I do recall just barely getting in only one half of the park in a day. I highly recommend fast passes.
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Old 03-09-15, 04:55 PM   #6
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

i was there a few years ago.

I was never a fan of motion rides but the Forbidden Journey one really changed my opinion. really amazing how awesome these rides have gotten; loved the switching between screen and live action throughout the ride.
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Old 03-09-15, 06:22 PM   #7
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

Which hotel are you staying at? It looks like the Cabana Bay is the only one that doesn't come with the Express Pass. I'm not sure how crowded it will be. A bunch of schools are having Spring Break. Without a Disney-like FastPass system, I think Universal would be pretty unbearable without the Express pass during a busy time.

I was there a couple of years ago, so it was before the Transformers, Minions, and new Harry Potter ride. Universal is better than Disney for thrill rides ... that's the sort of ride I like too My favorites (you'll notice a lot of agreement so far at DVDTalk ... maybe that tells you we're giving you good info!):

Islands of Adventure
Spiderman
Hulk Coaster - intense
Dudley Doo-Right - don't be put off by the kiddie theme. This has a serious drop and gets you very wet!
Jurassic Park
Forbidden Journey of HP - but without the Express Pass, it could be a tough wait (I had to wait 90 minutes )
Dueling Dragons (or whatever it's called now) - still good, but nowhere near as awesome as when they synced the two trains (so you had several collision scares)

Doctor Doom's Drop is as simple as it looks - you go up, you go down. Not worth it IMO. The Toonland rapids is alright, if a really basic water rapids ride. Not a big fan of Poseidon's Adventure. While it's seems pretty mysterious from the outside (a lot of people in line will talk about what it could possibly be), it's kind of a silly little show. I don't like the format where you get herded like sheep from one to area to another (Twister is really bad for this too). Seussland sounds like it's not for your group this trip.

Universal Studios
Rip Ride Rock-it
Revenge of the Mummy - I love this ride! If losing Kongfrontation was needed to get this, I'll take it.
The Simpsons - did nobody mention this? If you like the Simpsons, a must! The ride itself is a basic motion-simulator, but it's very entertaining.

Men in Black is ok, but I'm just not a fan of that style of ride. Terminator and Shrek are alright shows. I would just put them lower on the priority list. Disaster is getting dated (even in its reworked form starring the Rock). And ET is already terribly dated. Twister ... ugh, I think it's waste of time; I didn't bother going on it last time I was there. Despite the "Ride it out" slogan, it's not a ride ... just an exhibition of older animatronic effects.

It sounds like Gringotts, Transformers, and Minions are welcome additions though. I'll have to ride them next time I go.
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Old 03-10-15, 06:17 AM   #8
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

Thanks for the tips, guys.
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Old 03-10-15, 09:19 AM   #9
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

Try some Butterbeer when you're there. Shit is awesome!
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Old 03-10-15, 10:12 AM   #10
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

What resort are you staying at?

But assuming you will have the Front Of The Line Pass you'll have plenty of time getting to everything multiple times over 3 days.

If you're a morning person I highly recommend using the early access option to do the Potter areas starting on one side the first morning, and switching to the other side the next. Outside the Potter areas I believe all the rides have the FOTL option.

Personally I would recommend trying to experience every attraction at least once. You'll have plenty of time over those three days. On the last day you'll likely know which attractions you want to repeat or not.

For us the biggest struggle with UO and IOA is finding good food. Mythos in IOA is awesome, but is relatively expensive, and very popular. Make reservations if you can. The places in City Walk are worth leaving the park for lunch or dinner over the options in the park.
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Old 03-10-15, 10:28 AM   #11
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

I like the Spider-man, Dudley Do-right and Hulk rides. Dueling Dragons was cool back in the day but I hear that's something else now (Potter?) and they got rid of the whole dueling aspect.

However, this is all from some time ago. I hear they changed the Dudley Do-right ride to make the drop less steep and they added a lap bar. IMO, the steep drop and lack of lap bar made it a great rush when it first opened and that has been neutered a good bit. There was an actual sense of danger with it originally that added substantially, but I guess safety first.
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Old 03-10-15, 10:28 AM   #12
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

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Originally Posted by hdnmickey View Post
For us the biggest struggle with UO and IOA is finding good food. Mythos in IOA is awesome, but is relatively expensive, and very popular. Make reservations if you can. The places in City Walk are worth leaving the park for lunch or dinner over the options in the park.
Some of the more healthier places to eat are in Jurassic Park area - they have roasted chicken and some salads, vegies etc.

Oh and don't forget to go over to the Simpsons area in US!! you have to have a beer at Moes, sample some of the food at Simpsons: Krusty burgers, Lard Lad Doughnuts, Duff Gardens, Cletus' chicken shack, etc... What a great time!! And for the kids there is Buzz Cola and Flaming Moe's drinks (dry ice in an orange drink)
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Old 03-10-15, 10:44 AM   #13
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

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Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
I like the Spider-man, Dudley Do-right and Hulk rides. Dueling Dragons was cool back in the day but I hear that's something else now (Potter?) and they got rid of the whole dueling aspect.
It's called Dragon Challenge now, but really the only change theming wise was the entrance and displays within the queue line. And yes, they no longer "duel" and likely never will again. Uni has never admitted it, but it seems the issue was that something hit a rider during the ride, and the object came from the train on the other side. They stagger the trains on both sides now so they never come near each other.

They also are hardcore when it comes to letting guests carry any object on ANY of their coasters. They have lockers for items, but dealing with those is a real pain in the ass. I recommend bringing nothing with you that you wouldn't mind just leaving laying out or hiding the objects really well so the checkers don't see them.
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Old 03-10-15, 10:46 AM   #14
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

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Originally Posted by CPA-ESQ. View Post
S
Oh and don't forget to go over to the Simpsons area in US!! you have to have a beer at Moes, sample some of the food at Simpsons: Krusty burgers, Lard Lad Doughnuts, Duff Gardens, Cletus' chicken shack, etc... What a great time!! And for the kids there is Buzz Cola and Flaming Moe's drinks (dry ice in an orange drink)
I haven't had the chance to experience the new Springfield food options, but given it's the same stuff as elsewhere in the parks, I don't feel I'm missing much outside maybe the custom drinks. The Butterbeer in the Potter area is great, but everything else in the Potter area was the same average (or worse) Uni food with different names.
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Old 03-10-15, 11:53 AM   #15
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

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Originally Posted by SmackDaddy View Post
Assuming you are staying at on of the three main resorts and not the new Cabana Bay, then you will have unlimited express pass, so you will be able to very nearly walk on to anything (except the Potter rides).

My top rides/attractions for Universal Orlando/Islands of Adventure are :

Coasters:

Rip Ride Rockit (my Favorite) - Only rode it once, but enjoyed it, also see comments below
Hulk[B] - Same as RRR, but also see comments below
Revenge of the Mummy - similar to the Aerosmith coaster at Disney Hollywood studios, but I just love this one also
Dragon Challenge (I like the Fire Side better) - Fun coaster to ride. Never understood the lack of love for this one. Longest I have ever waited to ride is maybe 15 minutes, but usually it is only a 5-10 minute wait tops.


Motion Rides:

Spiderman - very fun and enjoyed this over Transformers despite having rode it at least a dozen times over the years.
Transformers - very similar to Spiderman, but I would avoid if I did not hit it first thing in the morning. The wait queue takes forever to walk through and that is without anyone in line.
Forbidden Journey - as mentioned in one of the other posts, don't ride if you get motion sickness. Otherwise, very fun and a don't miss attraction. The wait queue is also entertaining.
Minion Mayhem - fun for all ages even if you are not familiar or a fan of the Despicable Me movies.

The Simpsons(formerly Back to the Future) - very, very fun but can be a little rough.
Harry Potter Gringotts - very fun. But if interested in riding this or the other HP ride, I would definitely hit the HP portion of the park first. That section of both parks can become very crowded.
Dr. Suess' Landing - very mild and mainly for the little ones, but fun none the less. I would hit this part only after hitting the other major attractions as it is not a must do part of the parks
Men in Black - fun shoot'em up ride, but I prefer Toy Story Mania and Buzz Lightyear over at the Disney parks to this one.
E.T. - not really a motion ride but not a coaster. Badly dated and not a can't miss attraction, but can be a nice break from the heat.


Water rides (you WILL get wet):

Dudley Do Right Ripsaw Falls
Popeye and Bluto Bilge Rat Barges

Shows:

Animal Actors
Horror Makeup Show
Beetlejuice Graveyard show(comedy, musical) - haven't seen it in a few years, but I remember enjoying it.
While not a ride or show, the Harry Potter section of both parks are great to just walk through and take in.

I have not been since they opened the new Potter area with Gringotts. Again, with the unlimited Express Pass, you should be able to ride pretty much everything over three days. If you don't have park hopper tickets, you will need to invest one morning for Universal and one for Islands of Adventure to see all of the Potter attractions. Hit those first thing as they do not have Express Pass lines.
Bolded portions are my takes on each.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt View Post
Men in Black is my favorite Universal ride, but I haven't been there since they added all the Harry Potter stuff. I hear the Gringotts' ride is a lot of fun.

If you like coasters and can get over to MGM Disney for a day, the Rock'N Rollercoaster is the best coaster in Orlando. Way better than Universal's The Hulk, IMHO.
Imo there is not a lot of bang for your buck at DHS right now. Too many things shut down for future projects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hdnmickey View Post
It's called Dragon Challenge now, but really the only change theming wise was the entrance and displays within the queue line. And yes, they no longer "duel" and likely never will again. Uni has never admitted it, but it seems the issue was that something hit a rider during the ride, and the object came from the train on the other side. They stagger the trains on both sides now so they never come near each other.

They also are hardcore when it comes to letting guests carry any object on ANY of their coasters. They have lockers for items, but dealing with those is a real pain in the ass. I recommend bringing nothing with you that you wouldn't mind just leaving laying out or hiding the objects really well so the checkers don't see them.
I can understand carry-on bags, but they have gotten ridiculous when it comes to Hulk and Rip Rockit rides. Shirt, pants and shoes are the only things allowed now and they basicly pat you down. No wallets, keys, nothing whatsoever.

Last edited by darkdaze73; 03-10-15 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 03-10-15, 12:14 PM   #16
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

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Originally Posted by hdnmickey View Post
What resort are you staying at?
Cabana Bay, unfortunately. We are going for a ~50 team national cheerleading competion for my oldest daughter (she's 14). We're not really going to Orlando to go to the park, we're going for the tournament. We'll really only have a day or so for the park. The event organizers booked everyone at Cabana Bay (for some absurdly low rate, I think I'm paying $69 a night for a suite), no option for other hotels. I wanted to switch hotels to something nicer but all of my daughter's friends will be at Cabana Bay, so there we will stay. ~1,000+ screaming 14 year old girls at 2AM. Yay. My dad was smart and booked at the Royal Pacific.

I'm going to buy Express Passes for everyone. Waiting in lines on vacation... fuck that noise.

Sooo much great info here. I truly appreciate the help, people.
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Old 03-10-15, 12:49 PM   #17
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

A big factor: how big of Harry Potter fans are you? If you're a fan, you can easily spend hours just exploring each of the areas without even factoring in the rides.

Also, if you're a Simpsons fan they've expanded that area beyond what it used to be. Moe's Tavern is a must.

If your time is limited to a day for both parks and you're newbies, I'd avoid shows unless it's something you really want to see. I'd rush to all the big rides first, and then you can always circle back at the end of the day to hit up the smaller things. Don't fall into the trap of passing Twister early in the morning and saying, "Oh, there's no wait... want to just knock it out?" It will probably have the same small wait all day, where the Rip It Rockit may go from 20 minutes to 45 minutes in the time you were watching Twister.

Here are some average wait times: http://orlandoinformer.com/page/arti...ion-wait-times
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Old 03-10-15, 02:14 PM   #18
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
My dad was smart and booked at the Royal Pacific.

I'm going to buy Express Passes for everyone. Waiting in lines on vacation... fuck that noise..

Hiro:

Have your dad register you and your daughter as guests at the RP!! You are allowed 4ppl per room and the Royal Pacific gives free express passes to guests.

Have him give you the room keys with your name on it and use them at the kiosk to get your free express pass

- Don't buy anything, use the $$ you just saved
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Old 03-10-15, 02:33 PM   #19
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

They took out the shark from Jaws.

Hint: Don't go.
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Old 03-10-15, 02:41 PM   #20
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

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Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
They took out the shark from Jaws.

Hint: Don't go.
Yep, they took out Back to the Future, too.
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Old 03-10-15, 02:48 PM   #21
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

Don't bother with the ET attraction... it's total shite.
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Old 03-10-15, 03:07 PM   #22
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

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Originally Posted by CPA-ESQ. View Post
Hiro:

Have your dad register you and your daughter as guests at the RP!! You are allowed 4ppl per room and the Royal Pacific gives free express passes to guests.

Have him give you the room keys with your name on it and use them at the kiosk to get your free express pass

- Don't buy anything, use the $$ you just saved
Niiiice. Great tip!
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Old 03-10-15, 03:08 PM   #23
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

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Originally Posted by DRG View Post
A big factor: how big of Harry Potter fans are you? If you're a fan, you can easily spend hours just exploring each of the areas without even factoring in the rides.
My wife likes that stuff.
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Old 03-10-15, 03:13 PM   #24
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
Cabana Bay, unfortunately. We are going for a ~50 team national cheerleading competion for my oldest daughter (she's 14). We're not really going to Orlando to go to the park, we're going for the tournament. We'll really only have a day or so for the park. The event organizers booked everyone at Cabana Bay (for some absurdly low rate, I think I'm paying $69 a night for a suite), no option for other hotels. I wanted to switch hotels to something nicer but all of my daughter's friends will be at Cabana Bay, so there we will stay. ~1,000+ screaming 14 year old girls at 2AM. Yay. My dad was smart and booked at the Royal Pacific.

I'm going to buy Express Passes for everyone. Waiting in lines on vacation... fuck that noise.

Sooo much great info here. I truly appreciate the help, people.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPA-ESQ. View Post
Hiro:

Have your dad register you and your daughter as guests at the RP!! You are allowed 4ppl per room and the Royal Pacific gives free express passes to guests.

Have him give you the room keys with your name on it and use them at the kiosk to get your free express pass

- Don't buy anything, use the $$ you just saved
Definitely try to swing what was posted above. You can indeed add people to the room and use the room keys for FOTL (Express Pass) access.

If for some reason you can't I would suggest making the following attractions a priority since they are either unique, or one of the better attractions of it's kind in the US.

The whole Potter area and the Forbidden Journey, Gringots, and Hogwarts Express rides (including the queue lines).

At IOA:
Dragon Challenge (Front Row)
Jurassic Park flume ride
Popeye Raft Ride
Incredible Hulk (Front Row)
Spider-Man
Cat In The Cat

At UO:
Rip Ride Rocket
Mummy
Transformers
Minion Mayhem
Men In Black
Simpsons Ride
Make-Up Effects Show
T2-3D
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Old 03-10-15, 03:29 PM   #25
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Re: Universal Studios Orlando

Quote:
Originally Posted by CPA-ESQ. View Post
Hiro:

Have your dad register you and your daughter as guests at the RP!! You are allowed 4ppl per room and the Royal Pacific gives free express passes to guests.

Have him give you the room keys with your name on it and use them at the kiosk to get your free express pass

- Don't buy anything, use the $$ you just saved
I was just going to suggest this! We are going in August and I just booked 2 rooms for 3 nights at Hard Rock Hotel. Never been to Universal, but am sooo looking forward to it.
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