Hogwarts Express will link Universal Orlando parks, likely boost spending

Posted Monday, January 20, 2014 8:49 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Disney's upstart rival — Universal Orlando — is about to introduce a twist when it opens Hogwarts Express, a ride based on the magical locomotive-powered train from the Harry Potter books and movies. It is one of the principal attractions being added as part of Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley, which will open by the summer inside Universal Studios Florida. What makes Hogwarts Express unique: It will link two gated theme parks, picking guests up in Diagon Alley and depositing them inside the original Wizarding World.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Monday, January 20, 2014 8:57 AM

So... The insidious plot to force customers into a two park ticket and raise prices is revealed...

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Monday, January 20, 2014 9:56 AM

This is in reality A highly themed Rail system .The temptation to expand this rail system may prove to big for Universal to deny .Trained techs already on site.Parts already on site.If they want to connect Wet and Wild(who's land they purchased) to the main Universal Orlando site and use Wet and Wild's parking for attractions of some type.Plus a Rail connection to I Drive would be great for them.

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Monday, January 20, 2014 10:16 AM

Where's the ROI in that?

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Monday, January 20, 2014 10:47 AM

Well this was a no-brainer. Take the most popular thing the park has ever done, create a situation where guests have to spend more to experience it all and then raise the price.

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Monday, January 20, 2014 12:28 PM

kevin38 said:

If they want to connect Wet and Wild(who's land they purchased) to the main Universal Orlando site and use Wet and Wild's parking for attractions of some type.Plus a Rail connection to I Drive would be great for them.

You can not be serious.

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Monday, January 20, 2014 3:01 PM

So a one day, one park ticket currently stands at $92. They're expecting to charge $149 for a one day, two park ticket. Essentially, this is charging a family of four $228 to ride this one ride... and you people think fastpass is a scam!

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Monday, January 20, 2014 3:20 PM

Does anyone even use the 1 day ticket at Universal any more? IOA was always a full-day park to me, but going through the studio side was much shorter I felt. If anything this move is going to push more "2 (or 3) day-2 park" tickets which have always been the best value as far as I could tell

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Monday, January 20, 2014 3:48 PM

I never really got the park hopping thing here or at Disney. Seems like such a waste of time to me primarily, and therefore a waste of money. I would never buy park-to-park tickets for Universal just because there's too much to do at each park, IMO.

We were there last week... I had the park-to-park tickets only because that's what they give you when you don't pay to get in. We ended up spending an entire day at the studios park on our first day since it was fairly busy. Did everything except for the Minion thing because the line was 70 minutes. Later in the week when we went to IOA it was not crowded at all and we had done the whole park by 5, including multiple rides on Dragons and about 4 or 5 on Potter. We went back to the studios park for the last hour or so to go on the Minion ride because the line was shorter. Also got another lap on Mummy.

That was convenient, but if I upgraded one park passes to the hoppers, those couple extra rides would have cost my family around $100 beyond the time it takes to get between the parks. Just not worth it to me.

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Monday, January 20, 2014 3:54 PM

To me it serves the same purpose as it does at Disney: Have more options to avoid the crowd and eat where you wanna eat.

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Monday, January 20, 2014 4:00 PM

You would know better than me, but I always figured that if one park was busy, the rest would be too.

I try to avoid the extra magic hours parks even if I'm staying on site, and I figure the 1/2 hour or so it would take to get from one park to another would probably negate the crowd avoidance anyhow. I hate to keep bringing things back to the money involved, but I'm not willing to spend an extra couple hundred bucks just so I can have a couple more meals at Epcot. They're good, but not that good.

AP holders play by different rules, of course. :)

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Monday, January 20, 2014 4:13 PM

Meh, even when I was John Q. Vacationmonkey, I preferred having the flexibility. In addition, sometimes you're just "done" with a park at a time that doesn't conveniently fall at the end of the day.

And crowds do ebb and flow, because people are park hopping. :)

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Monday, January 20, 2014 4:33 PM

Jeff said:

To me it serves the same purpose as it does at Disney: Have more options to avoid the crowd and eat where you wanna eat.

Nothing beats spending the day doing whatever it is you want to do, then heading over to Epcot for a nice World Showcase dinner. It's a great option to have. Since Epcot is my favorite of the parks, I almost always wind up there each night, regardless of where I've spent my day.

Last edited by Raven-Phile, Monday, January 20, 2014 4:35 PM
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Monday, January 20, 2014 6:08 PM

That was our m.o. before kids as well. Now, meh, nuggets and flatbread pizza because we spend so much time at Magic Kingdom. The food is mostly mediocre there.

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Monday, January 20, 2014 6:19 PM

I had a pretty good meal at Tony's Town Square a few years back. I had a NY Strip, some pasta and a tiramisu for dessert. It obviously doesn't compare to World Showcase, but it was definitely better than your run-of-the-mill "Italian/American" eatery.

I'd definitely eat there again, but I'd obviously not put it the night after Citrico's/Narcoosee's/Mexico Pavilion/Yachtsman, but it's also less expensive.

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Monday, January 20, 2014 6:43 PM

We gave it a shot last fall and thought it was awful.

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Monday, January 20, 2014 6:53 PM

I haven't been to that restaurant since at least 2008 or 2009, so I don't doubt that.

I went to Chefs De France the next year, and I wasn't particularly impressed with my food, so I guess it's hit or miss. I've always had good experiences in Mexico, Japan, at the Coral Reef and the resort restaurants. BOMA being my favorite for variety, with Citricos/JIKO for upscale food.

Then, we have Disneyland. IMO, the food choices for really "good" food at DLR are better than at WDW. I was super, super impressed with the Napa Rose last year, and then the World of Color dinner packages inside DCA weren't too shabby, either. My opinion could change again the next time I'm in Florida, but being that California was 9 months ago, it's still fresh in my mind.

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Monday, January 20, 2014 8:08 PM

The secret at Epcot is Marrakesh in Morocco. The service isn't great, but the food sure is.

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Monday, January 20, 2014 9:39 PM

Live that restaurant. You're right about the service, but my goodness, what a good leg of lamb.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014 9:49 AM

Just last night, saw my first commercial for Potterland v2.0. They hinted at the train/expansion, and certainly pushed the Diagon Alley *angle*....but it wasn't that informative. Nonethless, the graphics, the excitement, the...ummm, magic, was ALL there.

edit: Didn't see exactly what I saw last night, but UO did put up a couple short trailers...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljjxvM6OLX4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e7pNiZNi3M

Last edited by rollergator, Tuesday, January 21, 2014 9:54 AM
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