Universal for Spring Break: Tips? Tricks? Secrets? Life Hacks? Cheat Codes?

Thursday, February 17, 2022 11:37 AM
Bakeman31092's avatar

Planning a trip to Universal Orlando for spring break, mid-March. We are staying for 4 nights starting on Tuesday at Universal's Aventura Hotel prior to a cruise out of Port Canaveral. I believe we have a 4-day park hopper pass, and my wife asked that I do some "research" so that we don't show up at the parks with nothing but our figurative d*cks in our figurative hands.

So, any advice from some of the UO regulars? It's my wife and I and our two girls, 12 and 9, who are down for anything. We are all vaxed but not waxed. I haven't been since 2006, back when my wife wasn't yet my wife and Bruce was still stalking the waters off Amity. I remember watching Final Destination 3 in the City Walk theater, a movie that opens with a catastrophic roller coaster accident.

Anyway, your help is much appreciated. Thanks!


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Thursday, February 17, 2022 11:54 AM

If the parks are busy on your first day or two, spring for an Express for one of the days if you'd like a day with lots of riding. Either way though, you'll still be good if you have four full days.

Hagrid's Motorbikes at IoA may be Virtual Line only if the Spring Break crowds have started. When you walk into IoA, if the A-frame signs are out stating it's only Virtual Line, scan the QR code and book a time, as often times on busier days there is no standby line available. The good news is, unlike WDW, they release windows throughout the day so you don't need to book between 9:00-9:01am.

Ride Velocicoaster at night. Ask for the back row. I believe that's the week before the time change, so even if the parks close at 7 you'll have a window to do it. Then when you're done, do it again.

Ride Velocicoaster during the day. Ask for the front row. Then when you're done, do it again.

As long as your family is cool with it, utilize single rider lines. No exaggeration, a 45-60 minute standby line may also offer a singles line that is 15 minutes or less. Single rider lines at UO are the reason I have never had out of town guests ever feel the need to splurge on Express.

Mardi Gras is going on. Check the concert calendar. Eat the food offerings.

Popeye & Blutos and Ripsaw Falls will drench you. If you're able, ride them anyway. They are the best water rides on the planet.

Mummy is down for refurb until end of summer/fall.

Butterbeer is overrated. But the Pear Cider in Three Broomsticks is worth the $4.95. Both Potter locations offer the best quick service food on property.

All of this advice > Rip Ride Rockit

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Thursday, February 17, 2022 12:08 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

Aventura is a great hotel and 4 nights is a perfect length of time to spend! You’ll have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the parks.

Resort stuff:

  • Don't take the bus, it's not a great experience. Walk through Sapphire Falls and take the water taxi or follow the path to City Walk.
  • The asian wok place (don’t know the name) in the cafeteria is good for breakfast and lunch/dinner.
  • The pool is nice but you can also pool hop. You’re supposed to stop by the front desk but the Sapphire Falls gates are either open or someone is walking in at the same time.

Ride stuff:

  • Early entry… duh. There has been a crush at security close to early entry time but it’s usually cleared up 15 minutes after and you can stroll right through.
  • Hagrid’s usually posts double the wait time. If it’s open for early entry it can seem like a long line but it moves fast, Forbidden Journey is usually a walk on first thing.
  • Velocicoaster’s wait time is very accurate…
  • RRR sucks but we know this.
  • Velocicoaster and Hagrid’s are worth the wait for a night ride. You won’t be disappointed.

Food:

  • A place in Toon Lagoon is serving ramen now, haven’t had it yet so I don’t know if it’s any good
  • Blimpy’s has good veggie burgers
  • The food in the Lost Continent is really good. Had a killer falafel gyro last time
  • The crepe stand in the Central Park area in Universal is really good
  • You’ll be there for Mardis Gras which has its own food festival with a lot of good options
  • The app ordering experience at Voodoo Donuts was terrible at Christmas time, YMMV
  • Duff Gardens is a great place to sit down and enjoy the scenery, you can sit away from people next to the lagoon
  • The jacket potato stand in London is tasty
  • Have a rest (beer or other drink) outside of Confisco at the Backwater Bar, great people watching

Mardis Gras stuff:

  • Sign up now to ride on a float. Seriously. Do it if it's not already booked


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Thursday, February 17, 2022 12:19 PM

Drenched does not adequately describe Popeye & Bluto.


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Thursday, February 17, 2022 12:29 PM
Bakeman31092's avatar

You guys are awesome, thank you!

BrettV said:

Mummy is down for refurb until end of summer/fall.

NOOOO!


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Thursday, February 17, 2022 12:46 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

Forgot to mention that you should walk through the Tribute Store and check out the Bourne Stuntacular.


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Thursday, February 17, 2022 1:29 PM

Oh, and you can't miss the greatest attraction in Central Florida (and perhaps the world), Fast & Furious Supercharged

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Thursday, February 17, 2022 1:37 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Came here for the cheat codes.

Left disappointed.


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Thursday, February 17, 2022 1:42 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, B, A, Select, Start.

There.

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Thursday, February 17, 2022 1:51 PM
Tommytheduck's avatar

Hopefully this isn't all obsolete data:

It's been 3 years since we went over Easter weekend. In planning, I decided that we're going all out or not at all. I'm glad I did too, because even with cut the line passes, the park was barely tolerable. A good portion of this was due to the lockers, which they may or may not have fixed by now, IDK. It was essential for Easter weekend, as I already said, but I don't know about your planned days.

Through my research I found that even for just 2 of us, it was cheaper to stay at the much more expensive Royal Pacific because everyone in your party gets Express Passes for each day. (For example, our 2 night stay got us wristbands for all 3 days' visits.) Do the math, especially for a family of 4.

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Thursday, February 17, 2022 2:35 PM

Second vote the water taxi. Get the first boat in the morning.

Make sure you have your tickets; I saw at least two parties that thought their room key was their ticket after waiting in the morning line.

Have a beer in the bar at the top floor of the Aventura.

Oh, Fast & Furious is an attraction like no other.


To being an "us" for once - instead of a "them".

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Thursday, February 17, 2022 2:44 PM
Jeff's avatar

I'm going next week for the first time in two years with out-of-town family. It's been a long time.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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Thursday, February 17, 2022 6:15 PM

BrettV said:

Oh, and you can't miss the greatest attraction in Central Florida (and perhaps the world), Fast & Furious Supercharged

I hope you are being sarcastic.

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Thursday, February 17, 2022 7:20 PM

MIB strategy guide:

1. Hold down the trigger throughout, it constantly fires.

2. Always look up, targets closer to the ceiling have higher values

3. Always follow Zed’s instructions (Rip Torn) when he tells you to shoot something, shoot it, when he tells you to push the red button, push the red button


2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

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Thursday, February 17, 2022 9:29 PM

Mulfinator said:

I hope you are being sarcastic.

100%.

As for lockers, they are required on Hulk, Rip Ride Rockit, and Velocicoaster. Fortunately VC has them toward the end of the queue, but for the older two rides you'll be without all your stuff for the entire queue.

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Friday, February 18, 2022 7:26 AM
eightdotthree's avatar

You can wear a hip pack on everything else.


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Friday, February 18, 2022 10:45 AM
kpjb's avatar

The Duff beers in the Simpsons area and the beers in the Harry Potter restaurants aren't rebadged macrobrews, but brewed specifically for the parks and only available in those specific locations.


Hi

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Friday, February 18, 2022 11:31 AM

Touchdown said:

3. Always follow Zed’s instructions (Rip Torn) when he tells you to shoot something, shoot it, when he tells you to push the red button, push the red button

But K said to never push the red button.


June 11th, 2001 - Gemini 100
VertiGo Rides - 82

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Monday, February 21, 2022 9:43 PM

I was just coming here to post a similar thread, thanks Bakeman for the head start, have read all replies.

Partner and I have a family thing in St Augustine Wed Mar 9th, so we're planning on driving down to Orlando Sunday and hitting IOA/Universal Studios parks Monday and Tues. Our current plans (nothing has been purchased yet) are below if y'all could sanity-check them and let us know if we are screwing up anything or could do better:

We will probably book the Doubletree (corner of Major and Kirkman) and walk John Williams to Universal Blvd south, it looks like you can enter the park entry queue from a drop off point there? I couldn't find any park early entry available for anything less than 4 nights on Universal Resort property, hence the Doubletree. Are we missing out on any other perks by skipping Universal Resort hotels? The Doubletree is ~100/night cheaper and the walk doesn't look much longer than from Universal's garages. Figure if it's raining we could uber or something.

We're planning on single park passes: IOA Mon (since they're open the extra hour), US Tues. We're definitely getting express-unlimited passes for IOA Mon, is it worth getting the same pass for US Tues? We do tend to ride a lot... last CP trip we used FL+ for 15 rides on SV and another 15 on other coasters. Just wondering how the crowds at US on Tues might be. What are opinions on the 2-park passes (both admission and express) ... is it common to switch from one to the other midday, especially if seeking lower crowds? I think we'll be OK with one park a day but curious. I understand Hagrids and Velocicoaster aren't included with the Express.

We've also never dealt with virtual queue yet. I assume we should have Universal app installed beforehand just in case we need to use that feature for Hagrid or Velocicoaster?

I saw some pretty bad reviews of the fast/furious ride even before seeing it called out here, guess we can skip that one if time is tight?

Are there any unusual height max restrictions? Partner is 6'6" which fits MOST rides...

Last time I was at IOA was in the 90s when Spiderman was new and Hulk was the old config... really looking forward to this return trip! Never been to US yet.

Thanks!

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Monday, February 21, 2022 10:17 PM
Jeff's avatar

Today was pretty much a disaster at the parks. I realize it's a busy holiday day, but there were so many things they were doing poorly from the start. It took half an hour to get in to park because the tolls were only half-staffed (people servicing both sides of a booth). The gates were the usual mess, even an hour after opening, again not well staffed. Took 40 minutes to get a mobile order for food (the app still didn't say it was ready at the end of the day). Velocicoaster had its single-rider line closed, and a posted wait of 135 minutes. A half-hour later, discouraged and heading out with my out-of-town family, the wait time was 45 minutes. That made me furious. Just give me real times and let me make informed choices about how to plan. Actual ride operations weren't bad, mercifully, but everything else wasn't great.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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