I'm planning on visiting IOA for the first time on May 6th which is next thurday and I've got a couple quick questions for you seasoned CBuzzer's.
Is it possible to attain cheaper tickets than the $54.99 Florida resident price? I've done some research and it seems like maybe not.
The park is open from 9AM to 6PM that day...whats the best way to hit the park? My main concern is the coasters and all the main attractions.
What rides/attractions are a must do and what should I avoid?
I appreciate any suggestions/advice!
The ticket prices are already a good deal, but slightly cheaper if you buy in advance online. Unfortunately, they don't have the 7-day deal anymore. If you're going for only one day, I dunno, I think that's inadequate time.
The approach is the same as any park: Don't get in line for the first ride you see because it'll be the longest line. I tend to go right first and mess around in Seuss Landing first, but if Wizarding World is open for a soft opening the day you're there, all bets are off. No one knows what to expect because no one has ever experienced it.
I agree with Jeff, start with Duelling Dragons and Lost Continent, and work your way counter-clockwise. If Potterland is open, good, work that in too. Some things not to miss...Mythos...the restaurant. yes, its worth it. Try to catch a showing of The Seven Voyages of Sinbad. Its fun. Do all the water rides, some of the best in the world and that weekend its gonna be in the 90's. Perfect! Once a month I allow myself to eat carbs, and I devote it to a pecan cinnamon roll at Cinnabon. There are two locations, one in Citywalk and another on your left on your way to Incredible hulk. Hope you have a great time!
I personally think you only need a half day to really knock out the major attractions in that park, because if you get there at 9am, you will be able to do everything besides the water rides (I wouldn't go on a water ride there before 11am, as they all get you at least decently wet, or I just have bad luck with JP) by about 10:30am. If you get there at 9am you might as well start at Hulk, as it should practically be a walk-on for that first hour or two. Make sure you hit the Suess attractions early in the morning as well, as they can get some lines that I personally would not wait in for them (i.e. 30min. or upwards) later on in the day. I personally couldn't stand the Sinbad show, and Poseidon's Fury is a definite skip. I really regret wasting 40 minutes of the day that I did that. It seemed like half the effects in the final room had either been scaled down/neglected or cut completely.
I highly doubt that Potter will be soft-opening yet (another week beyond that, I'm hearing), although you may want to keep your eyes and ears open just in case something changes.
Do make sure you get on the water rides, though.
Whilst I entirely agree that all bets are off if there's a soft opening of the Harry Potter stuff, you need to bear in mind that - traditionally at least - all areas to the right of the entrance (Dueling D etc) generally do not open until at least an hour after the remainder of the park opens. Consequently I always head for Spiderman (awesome) first followed by Hulk (OK, sort of). IMHO Poseidon is dull as ditchwater, so my third hit is always Cat in the Hat (excellent). By the time you've done these, Dueling D (can't recall the new name, sorry) will be open, as will Jurassic Park and the other water rides :) Please let me know if the Harry Potter area is on soft opening, as I'll be backat IOA in early June.
BTW re P Flyers - the ONLY time I had any difficulty getting on this was when I had children with me. Every other time was a breeze. Go figure :)
Just to elabotrate on the last point that Martin made, I'd recommend going to PFlyers in Camp Jurassic first, if the credit is important to you. Any time after the first hour that the park is open, they may not let you ride without a kid.
And if you decide to ride Dueling Dragons first, you may not be able to access the ride from Lost Continent, if Potterland is not open yet. It's a longer trek from the entrance, but you may have to go there via Jurassic Park.
Ride everything that is open. They only have a handful of rides, but every ride is fantastic, with the exception of Storm Force and Flying Unicorn...err, whatever it's going to be called (Hypingriff?).
Very important: Make sure you take your time, if the park is not very busy. Explore the smaller paths. Find the lake lookouts on every island. You'd be surprised at what you can miss. If you are fearful that you might miss an attraction, run through them quickly, but afterward, wind down by taking it slow.
Ask the staff funny questions about the islands. Suess Landing staff often speak in rhyme, which is cute. Ask JP staff about the dinosaurs that they have there, and what their "job" taking care of them is. It's comical.
Sing along to "One Fish, Two Fish", while riding.
It's been reported that Cat in the Hat isn't spinning, due to a possible recent accident, or recently discovered mechanical issue. It's usuially more thrilling.
See the birthday show at Suess Landning, if that's still going on.
Mythos is so remarkably average. I don't understand why people think it's great, or even above average slightly. It's so mediocre. Virtually any restaurant at Epcot is better. I've had better food at NBA City outside the gate.
A Thursday in early May? You should have NOTHING to worry about in seeing the entire park.
Jeff's advice to go counter-clockwise (right) may make sense on busy days, but you probably don't have to do it during the off-season (and the 6pm close is the tipoff -- unless it's Halloween Horror Nights season, early closures = small crowds expected).
If you can be there in time for the 9am opening -- and that means already at the turnstiles with your park admissions ready to go -- trust me: veer left and go clockwise.
Hulk will be the first ride you see. Hit it. Skip Storm Force and Dr. Doom. Save them for later. Hit Spider-Man. You'll be ahead of the crowd so you should practically walk right on to two of the biggest attractions in the park and be done by 9:30am. If Pteranadon Flyers is on your "to do" list and you're not taking a young kid with you, now may be the time to bypass the water rides at Toon Lagoon and hit Camp Jurrassic (for the Flyers) and then the JP River Adventure. Dueling Dragons would then be your next stop on the clockwise trek, and you should still be ahead of the crowds to ride both sides with very short lines. Skip Poseidon's Fury (for now) and explore Seuss Landings at your leisure.
You'll be back where you started -- it's a short circle -- so it's time to make the second round to hit all of the stuff you missed. Do single rider on Dr. Doom (and if you're in a group with someone who is too freaked out to try it single rider, then just do it after Spider-Man in the morning). Toon Lagoon lines at that time may be the lognest you will see all day (especially if it's a hot day). Catch the shows (including Poseidon's Fury).
A balance of arriving early enough to hit the marquee rides with no lines and then taking the time to smell the roses will really pay off.
I go counter clockwise if I am there early. One can get many rides on Dueling Dragons before any crowds show up.
I have to second Jeff on Mythos. We went there one year and I walk away thinking "That's it?". We had a much better meal @ Margaritaville.
Actually on topic, I've never had a problem with being able to get on rides @ USF. Too bad y'all arent guests of Royal Pacific or one of the other hotels as that's the *best* way to ensure getting to everything. But either way, I dont think you have too much to fret about. Dueling Dragons is a people eater (only ride Ice in the front; Fire anywhere), Hulk can get a decent line, and Spidey's likely the one to most worry about. So if you're that concerned and want to run to something at opening, I'd suggest Spidey. DD will have near walk-on conditions pretty much all day. (Potter influence of course not taken into account).
PlaceHolder for Castor & Pollux
I'm with you there. Other than my first visit, which was a private event, I've stayed on-property every single time. I've only seen the Dueling Dragons queue once because of that (and that was by choice, at that private event). Universal Express == worth it to stay on-property.
Ice is easily the roughest B&M invert I've ridden. Yes, that does include the twice-relocated one at SFFT.
Interested to hear how the day went. Might need to take a "sick day" down there myself soon, as I've been getting reports of out-of-state visitors.
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