It’s my first trip to Universal this Friday

mitchk

Newcomer
Oct 17, 2018
18
New Jersey
It's always cool seeing houses that based on IP's (movies/TV shows) that you've seen before. Stranger Things is a really cool house this year, as well as Poltergeist and Trick 'r Treat. My favorite is Dead Exposure (an original house) which is straight up frightening. Make sure you do Stay and Scream in order to hit as many houses as possible (unless you get express pass).

The slides range in intensity from kiddy slides (in their play area) all the way up to the 3 drop-slides at the top of the volcano. Two are twisty (blue/green) and are incredibly intense, some of the ppl in our annual pass friend group won't do those slides because of their intensity. The straight-down drop slide (red one) isn't as intense, but is still pretty scary for the younger ones (I love all of them). I wouldn't call anything else "intense", just fun.

Krakatau is the water coaster and it's incredibly fun for all ages, I always highly recommend it. If you arrive at park opening, you can usually go on it a few times while it's still Ride Now. Are you familiar with Tapu-Tapu yet?

And yes, there is a dedicated Cabana Bay entrance all the way to the south-east side of the property (just follow the signs).
Awesome, thank you, I’m staying in a volcano view room so I guess I’m close to the enterance, and no, what is Tapu? One more time thank you for all the info, especially on the haunt stuff.
 

mitchk

Newcomer
Oct 17, 2018
18
New Jersey
Also - I have the annual pass picture package but you can buy one for your stay which gets you pictures from every ride that has one (most), and every slide that has them. Here are a few from our recent trip:

(with the package you get every picture available as a digital download and you never lose access as long as you use the same email)

View attachment 8204 View attachment 8205 View attachment 8206 View attachment 8207 View attachment 8208
That’s awesome brother!
 

Joel

Premium Member
Apr 14, 2016
2,336
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Awesome, thank you, I’m staying in a volcano view room so I guess I’m close to the enterance, and no, what is Tapu? One more time thank you for all the info, especially on the haunt stuff.
Tapu Tapu is the watch-like wearable that you use to "scan" into every line. If a slide has a wait, you go up and tap your Tapu-Tapu against the sign at the front of the ride where it shows how long the wait is. Then you can go enjoy either of the two lazy rivers (action river!!), wave pool, any of the other "ride now" (aka no wait) slides, or relax with a drink until your Tapu buzzes on your wrist and tells you it's time to ride.

official instructions:

and a little more informative video:
 
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Joel

Premium Member
Apr 14, 2016
2,336
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
And that is why i always recommend getting express for Volcano Bay, it allows you to walk on to every slide without having to Tapu into a virtual wait, they just cross the slide off your express wrist band (since it's one express per slide).

There are two expresses available btw -
1. Regular express = ~$30-35 and includes every family slide (aka multi-person slide)
2. Express plus = ~$50-55 and includes EVERY slide (including volcano drop-slides)

Both are single use per slide, but if your daughter isn't up for the big slides then it may be worth only getting regular express for her. If you and your wife are up for the big ones, express plus will let you jump the line and ride while the other waits with your daughter.

Keep in mind that once you return to the slide to ride, there will still be a 5-15 minute wait at the actual slide, so don't be disappointed when you see a small line in front of you.

DON'T USE EXPRESS UNTIL LINES START GETTING ABOVE 25-30 MINUTES!
 
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Alicia

Premium Member
Jul 17, 2014
9,514
Orlando
looping @Alicia in because she's the (in a good way) know-it-all for having a good time at Universal!
Thanks for alerting me!

Not sure if it has been mentioned yet or not, but I always tell people to make sure they have two-park passes for at least one of the days of their trip. Even if you're only planning to do Universal Studios one day and Islands of Adventure another day, having a a 2-park pass is the only way you can experience the Hogwarts Express train ride. The ride is different both ways so you have to travel from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley once, and then back to experience them both.

If you're a fan of Harry Potter, or a child, or a human, you'll like the experience, and it may be worth the upcharge in case you weren't originally planning on two-park passes. If you have any specific questions let me know and I'll watch the thread, but that's the one thing I always tell first time visitors.
 

mitchk

Newcomer
Oct 17, 2018
18
New Jersey
And that is why i always recommend getting express for Volcano Bay, it allows you to walk on to every slide without having to Tapu into a virtual wait, they just cross the slide off your express wrist band (since it's one express per slide).

There are two expresses available btw -
1. Regular express = ~$30-35 and includes every family slide (aka multi-person slide)
2. Express plus = ~$50-55 and includes EVERY slide (including volcano drop-slides)

Both are single use per slide, but if your daughter isn't up for the big slides then it may be worth only getting regular express for her. If you and your wife are up for the big ones, express plus will let you jump the line and ride while the other waits with your daughter.

Keep in mind that once you return to the slide to ride, there will still be a 5-15 minute wait at the actual slide, so don't be disappointed when you see a small line in front of you.

DON'T USE EXPRESS UNTIL LINES START GETTING ABOVE 25-30 MINUTES!

Ok cool. Got you, I’m probably gonna grab the express pass for Volcon because it’s really not that expensive. Thank you for everything, you have been more than helpful, and informative.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. This will help make it such a great experience for me and the fam.
 
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mitchk

Newcomer
Oct 17, 2018
18
New Jersey
Thanks for alerting me!

Not sure if it has been mentioned yet or not, but I always tell people to make sure they have two-park passes for at least one of the days of their trip. Even if you're only planning to do Universal Studios one day and Islands of Adventure another day, having a a 2-park pass is the only way you can experience the Hogwarts Express train ride. The ride is different both ways so you have to travel from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley once, and then back to experience them both.

If you're a fan of Harry Potter, or a child, or a human, you'll like the experience, and it may be worth the upcharge in case you weren't originally planning on two-park passes. If you have any specific questions let me know and I'll watch the thread, but that's the one thing I always tell first time visitors.
Thank you!. I have four day, three park passes, along with universal express pass plus for all four days. The pass plus is only good for the two theme parks though. @Joel Recommended getting them for the waterpark as well, I definitely will for at least a day.

Thank you so much for all the help, it truly means a lot
 
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Alicia

Premium Member
Jul 17, 2014
9,514
Orlando
Thank you!. I have four day, three park passes, along with universal express pass plus for all four days. The pass plus is only good for the two theme parks though. @Joel Recommended getting them for the waterpark as well, I definitely will for at least a day.

Thank you so much for all the help, it truly means a lot
You're very welcome...

And oh, in case no one mentioned it, there are secret tours at USF you could try and get. There's no guarantee, but if someone is available (usually if they're not too busy) you can get a secret tour at some of the rides:

At Jimmy Fallon ask a greeter if anyone is available to give your group a Production Tour. They may show you the control room and other cool places, like the VIP seating area above the gift shop.


At The Mummy ask for a Production Tour and you may get to see hidden props, secret stuff, and get to walk under the track switch at the end (if you're lucky).

My personal favorite is the Men in Black "Immigration Tour." They take you down to the Immigration Floor and you can get your photo taken with the aliens at the controls, and sign a guest book. It's great for unique vacation photos.

MiB.jpg
None of these are guaranteed, but it never hurts to ask. Plus, they'll usually let your group on the ride without having to wait in line after the "tour" is over! How cool is that?
 

mitchk

Newcomer
Oct 17, 2018
18
New Jersey
You're very welcome...

And oh, in case no one mentioned it, there are secret tours at USF you could try and get. There's no guarantee, but if someone is available (usually if they're not too busy) you can get a secret tour at some of the rides:

At Jimmy Fallon ask a greeter if anyone is available to give your group a Production Tour. They may show you the control room and other cool places, like the VIP seating area above the gift shop.


At The Mummy ask for a Production Tour and you may get to see hidden props, secret stuff, and get to walk under the track switch at the end (if you're lucky).

My personal favorite is the Men in Black "Immigration Tour." They take you down to the Immigration Floor and you can get your photo taken with the aliens at the controls, and sign a guest book. It's great for unique vacation photos.

View attachment 8211
None of these are guaranteed, but it never hurts to ask. Plus, they'll usually let your group on the ride without having to wait in line after the "tour" is over! How cool is that?

That is so awesome, I heard about the men in black, and the mummy, but I had no idea about the Jimmy Fallon one. I’m a fanatic for behind the scenes things so I will definitely ask!

Thank you once again have a wonderful day ,thank you
 
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Joel

Premium Member
Apr 14, 2016
2,336
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
That is so awesome, I heard about the men in black, and the mummy, but I had no idea about the Jimmy Fallon one. I’m a fanatic for behind the scenes things so I will definitely ask!

Thank you once again have a wonderful day ,thank you
over at IoA I believe Kong has one?
 
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Skold

Rookie
Feb 17, 2016
482
Duff porter.
Indeed. Also, Dragon Scale and Hog's Head Brew.

I've posted a VB review that can be used as a plan that at least a few people have liked: Volcano Bay: Photos & Reviews | Page 3 | Inside Universal Forums

Didn't do the drop slide the first time, but it is not as good: Skold family annual trip 2018 | Inside Universal Forums

Peeps disagree, but I love the Fearless River with the life-jackets. We do that between almost every ride now.

Look at the map before-hand, rope drop, go to Maku Puihi lockers if you plan to use lockers, go to Krakatau Aqua Coaster. You can ride it 2x w/o getting off, then do the other biggies (Serpentine Slides, OhNo and OhYa, Honu). You can do everything by 2:00 if you plan, then take a nap at CBBR (our favorite!) and use the multi-park tickets for the rest of the day.

You're gonna have a blast, Mitch! I lurk Magic and WDW used to be the thing for us, but we are UOR Annual Pass holders now after going and falling in love with this place. You may even be converted! Don't worry - it is a quick and painless.

And awesome.*

*Yes, even "EPIC". :p :bonk:
 

mitchk

Newcomer
Oct 17, 2018
18
New Jersey
Indeed. Also, Dragon Scale and Hog's Head Brew.

I've posted a VB review that can be used as a plan that at least a few people have liked: Volcano Bay: Photos & Reviews | Page 3 | Inside Universal Forums

Didn't do the drop slide the first time, but it is not as good: Skold family annual trip 2018 | Inside Universal Forums

Peeps disagree, but I love the Fearless River with the life-jackets. We do that between almost every ride now.

Look at the map before-hand, rope drop, go to Maku Puihi lockers if you plan to use lockers, go to Krakatau Aqua Coaster. You can ride it 2x w/o getting off, then do the other biggies (Serpentine Slides, OhNo and OhYa, Honu). You can do everything by 2:00 if you plan, then take a nap at CBBR (our favorite!) and use the multi-park tickets for the rest of the day.

You're gonna have a blast, Mitch! I lurk Magic and WDW used to be the thing for us, but we are UOR Annual Pass holders now after going and falling in love with this place. You may even be converted! Don't worry - it is a quick and painless.

And awesome.*

*Yes, even "EPIC". :p :bonk:

Thank you for all the info. This all sounds so damn awesome! I’m getting ready to hit the airport. Let’s see maybe it’s bye bye Mickey. Lol
 
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Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
18,204
Pittsburgh area
Thank you for all the info. This all sounds so damn awesome! I’m getting ready to hit the airport. Let’s see maybe it’s bye bye Mickey. Lol
There's nothing like staying on site in the Universal bubble. The close proximity & ease of travel between the resort hotels & parks makes for a relaxing leisurely vacation. And absolutely 'no planning' required is a breath of fresh air. Do what you want when you feel like it without subtraction from your experience.Want to change your plans on a whim, or because of weather, just do it. ....In my opinion the Disney & Universal parks themselves are equal for the most part (except DHS until GESWL opens). The difference is that Universal 'feels' more like a vacation should.
 
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Joel

Premium Member
Apr 14, 2016
2,336
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Peeps disagree, but I love the Fearless River with the life-jackets. We do that between almost every ride now.
10000000% agree. I was iffy about it at first but it's definitely the way to go and I'm talking solely about the fun factor (I get why it's better for safety).

There's nothing like staying on site in the Universal bubble. The close proximity & ease of travel between the resort hotels & parks makes for a relaxing leisurely vacation. And absolutely 'no planning' required is a breath of fresh air. Do what you want when you feel like it without subtraction from your experience.Want to change your plans on a whim, or because of weather, just do it. ....In my opinion the Disney & Universal parks themselves are equal for the most part (except DHS until GESWL opens). The difference is that Universal 'feels' more like a vacation should.
The closest you get to WDW style planning at Universal is HHN without express. But even then you're drunk so who cares, you can't drink a quarter of the time at WDW.
 
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Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
18,204
Pittsburgh area
Since you're staying at CBBR, the two best bars closest to you are Strongwater Tavern in Sapphire Falls hotel. Great drinks, unique small plates, and have a seat on the outside deck couches after dark for excellent ambiance & view. Also, the new Bistro bar/restaurant on the 17th floor of the Aventura hotel across the street from CBBR. Great view of Orlando & nice ambiance...
 
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