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Your Favorite Universal memory?

Cup_Of_Coffee

Veteran Member
Aug 7, 2018
3,897
Hey all, might be a fun thread for a nice distraction for us all. Please feel free to share some of your favorite memories from your times either working, or attending any Universal park across the globe. Hopefully this creates some positive thought and distraction for everyone for a bit!

- Personally, my best memory is my first day at Islands of Adventure. I know, not a specific memory but this was the first theme park trip we took since I was 4 and don't really remember Disney. This is back in 2011, year after Potter opened. I consider this my first theme park vacation because I don't remember Disney from when I was 4 except for crying in a London toll booth because I was so bored at Epcot cause there wasn't much for us to do (lol). This day opened my eyes to what theme parks can be.

It was raining initially, so I could only admire (and fear) the Hulk and Dr Doom as we took a left into MSHI, my main point of wanting to try Universal over Disney. We got in line for the Spiderman attraction, and I had literally no idea what the ride was or what to expect. Making our way thru the Bugle and the 40 min or so line, I was floored at how cool the LINE was!!! A line was fun! I had never even felt a feeling like that of a full immersive experience of one of my fav things. I totally geeked out and we saw every second of the pre-recorded messages.

Then of course the ride happened and its mostly a blank memory for me, except for when we are being raised 40 stories in the air, and I hung onto the lap bar for dear life! I literally was jaw dropped the rest of the way thru the ride, clapping and cheering when I could ever catch a breathe. Genuinely don't think I had ever had so much fun in my entire life, when when descend down and the Spidey music starts playing, TOTAL. CHIILS.

So basically at that point I am godsmaked lol. I had never had so much fun and felt so freeing before. UNTIL, I walked thru Hogwarts and went on Forbidden Journey. Chills again, a smile on my face, and completely overwhelmed by the experience. Both of those were the most "magical" things that I feel had ever happened to me lol. I always look back on this day as being of the best ever for my life.

So, sorry if mine was long but what is your favorite Universal memory? Would love to hear and read about others!

Edit: Shame on me, can’t even beleive I forgot to mention my first walk thru Port of Entry. Oh the music, the setting, was literally transferred to another world. God, that music!!!! Anytime I hear I’m instantly relaxed.
 
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lowbudget

Rookie
Apr 15, 2019
136
My only prior experience with major theme parks prior to Universal Orlando was a family trip to Disney when I was in middle school, I was a bit old for all the Disney stuff, it was spring break so hot and extremely crowded, minimum wait time for anything that interested me was 2 hours. I was miserable with my cousin and our parents for 4 days, we stayed at some budget hotel off site.

Fast forward to Feb 2017, my then GF now Wife is a huge Potter Head. Until I met her I had never read the books, seen the movies or anything. She was dying to go, so based on my prior experience I was a little jaded and skeptic of how good of an idea this was. We booked Sapphire Falls Wednesday-Sunday. IOA was the EPA park for the first day, we walked in and then took the Seuss Landing/Lost Continent route to Hogsmead. The walk there was ok but not impressive, however, when walking into Hogsmead I was impressed to say the least. Then later that day we took the Hogwarts Express over to Diagon Alley and that was my moment. Walking in and riding Gringots is the best memory. At that point I was blown away, all my pre-conceived notions of what a theme park was and could be were changed. The look on her face when we walked through the brick wall was worth every penny and then some. Then as we discovered more of the park we had a blast for 3 days exploring everything together, riding and re-riding our favorites, all the new experiences together, and just the thrill of it all.

That whole trip was great, I think because it was the first major trip we took together alone, how great the weather was, and how low the crowds were. I was finally making decent money so we saved together and didnt really have a budget (something I've learned since then 1 blowout vacation is worth 2 budget penny pinching vacations to us). Since then we've gotten AP's and have been averaging about 2 trips a year.
 

Cup_Of_Coffee

Veteran Member
Aug 7, 2018
3,897
Walking into Port of Entry in September 1999. I had visited Disney two days earlier for the first time all excited and came away a bit disappointed. When I entered IOA I was weepy and thinking, “now this is what I always imagined a theme park would be; should feel like.”
My mother has really always been a Disney girl, was never convinced on Universal. My parents are seperated and usually each took us on trips but Dad was the one to bring us to Universal. Its not even big rides she has an issue with she always assumed it was a "downgraded Disney with Potter" I'm like no no no. I was so ready to take her to IOA this spring :( another time then! She has looked up the park and is impressed with the attraction lineup tho
 
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Jul 13, 2018
738
Summer 2008: My aunt took my sister and I to Universal Studios Hollywood. It was about mid afternoon and we had already done most of the rides, so we wiled away the hours in the Nickelodeon Blast Zone. We were starting to get bored. Suddenly, we saw an advertisement on one of the indoor televisions for the series finale of Avatar the Last Airbender, which would air in an hour. Not understanding the concept of reruns, we begged our aunt to take us home so we wouldn't miss it.

Finale was amazing by the way, definitely the highlight of that day :grin:.
 

Brian G.

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 21, 2008
20,905
Orlando, FL
We actually just recorded our podcast last night discussing this, albeit our "First" memories.

 

BlueHorizon

Newcomer
Mar 28, 2019
21
Florida
I have so many great memories from Universal since I got my first annual pass. If I had to pick a general favorite memory, it would have to be the first time I visited. I went to the ticket window at USF, activated my pass and walked through the gates, hearing the awesome music and also doing HHN for the first time that same night. It was super awesome and it felt great having an AP knowing I would be able to come back.

If I had to pick a more specific memory, though, it would probably be the first time I got to ride Hagrid's. We had just gotten off Hulk and it was around 7pm. We just happened to be talking to a TM and asked them when the best time to ride Hagrid was. They said "right now!", so we rushed to Hogsmeade and luckily it was still open (this was only a few months after it opened). We waited around an hour I think, and we got on, but just after the hut scene it stopped. The ride resumed, but there was no audio, which kind of sucked. When we unloaded I went and told a TM, and they led us right back to the front of the line, and we even got front row at night. Super awesome memory. Love Universal, and can't wait till the day I can ride again!
 

Cup_Of_Coffee

Veteran Member
Aug 7, 2018
3,897
We actually just recorded our podcast last night discussing this, albeit our "First" memories.

Ah, what perfect timing! Will definitely give it a listen
 
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GadgetGuru

Premium Member
Dec 2, 2011
2,418
Seattle, WA
Mine was the first (?) time I ever went to IoA as a kid. I was obsessed with Jurassic Park.

After dark, we all went to Camp Jurassic and me and my sister ran around all night. The faint mood lighting, the music in the background, the big security towers and fencing. You get deep enough in as a kid and you lose the outside world. I swear I forgot for a couple minutes that I was in Florida. I remember walking into the amber cave, hearing the shriek of a dinosaur, and just stopping dead with chills.

It was the closest I’ll ever be to getting to go to Jurassic Park. I was in love in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley the first time I experienced them, but I’ve never lost myself in a theme park like I did that night.
 
Jul 13, 2018
738
After dark, we all went to Camp Jurassic and me and my sister ran around all night. The faint mood lighting, the music in the background, the big security towers and fencing. You get deep enough in as a kid and you lose the outside world. I swear I forgot for a couple minutes that I was in Florida. I remember walking into the amber cave, hearing the shriek of a dinosaur, and just stopping dead with chills.
Camp Jurassic was definitely one of my favorite memories of visiting UOR this January. That and Diagon Alley bode really well for Super Nintendo World.
 

SkiBum

Veteran Member
Dec 14, 2012
1,412
Cincinnati, OH
In 1999, I had been reading about this new park called Islands of Adventure. Finally, I was able to travel there in September 1999. I had a fight to get there. First, a hurricane barely passed Florida and I almost had to cancel the trip. Then, I needed a new head gasket and was awaiting the car being finished. Finally, on the road at 6:30 PM from Nashville and into the Fort Wilderness campground at 4:00 AM. A couple hours sleep in a tent and then to IoA. Rounding the bend and seeing the iconic lighthouse along with the beautiful music was a memory that is still firmly etched. It did give the chills and just such a wonderful feeling. The whole rest of the day was spent having the time of my life and repeatedly picking my jaw up off the ground. From Hulk to Spiderman to Jurassic to Dueling Dragons and back through Suess (a childhood favorite for books). All of it was pretty much the best day ever (not counting marriage stuff) but it all started with seeing that lighthouse.
 

belloq87

Veteran Member
Dec 7, 2009
4,161
Universal Exports
For me, it's unquestionably the first time I rode Kongfrontation in 1993. We had first made our way from The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera, to Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies, to Ghostbusters Spooktacular, and it was like everything was building up to the first truly BIG ride of the day with Kong.

And the build-up continued as soon as we entered the queue. The graffiti on the subway station walls, the news reports of Kong causing havoc in the city, the nighttime city streets that gradually came into view, the distant howls of Kong himself from deeper within the showbuilding... it all set the mood perfectly, and then the ride delivered. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Those animatronics made a gigantic impression on me, and I still think Kongfrontation is basically the quintessential Universal ride. The scale of it was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before, and I don't think many attractions (anywhere) have surpassed it on that level.

I was basically starstruck upon leaving that attraction for the first time. Few other "first time" memories at theme parks are in the same ballpark (first rides on Tower of Terror and Spider-Man are also right up there).
 
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HandsomePete

Rookie
Jul 8, 2019
468
Probably a bit lame but every first HHN drink I've had in the five years I've been getting a pass:

2019: Motorworks Pulp Friction in line for Graveyard Games
2018: A shaken Vodka/Sprite from the sushi window made by someone who asked if it's supposed to be 50/50 (uhh yes, yes it is :lol:)
2017: Dragon Scale sitting on the curb outside Diagon
2016: Sam Adams Octoberfest at NBC Sports
2015: Duff at the outside bar with a pretzel

It's like waiting to unwrap the first present on Christmas Day... makes up for all those that I don't remember I guess.
 

tielo

Veteran Member
Nov 9, 2013
2,147
The Netherlands
I have a few that stand out:
1) First time I did a theme park in an EV was tough for me. I had to use the thing or I couldn't go. I asked for an Attraction Assistance Pass, also a difficult stap to take but a life saver. All team members went above and beyond to help me and above all make it very easy for me.
Sure some guests looked and judged. As with my illnesses, stupidity can't be cured, but it didn't bother me. First encounter with a team member just put a huge smile on my face and tears of happiness. I was so impressed I made sure to tell guest service to tell all team members they did an amazing job.

2) It rained when I ordered a butterbeer at the bar in The Hog's Head and stated the weather condition. The girl who helped me smiled and said "it's authentic."

3) It was 4pm and we only had 1 waffel for breakfast when my mother and I went to The Kitchen and ordered a burgerwith fresh fruit bowl. Our waiter, looking cool as some do at Hard Rock looked at us and said "you must be hungry as that thing is huge." We said we where hungry indeed. He didn't lie as those burger where huge and tasted great. Also brought one portions of french fries as they where made by mistake but he didn't wat to trow it away.
My mom is an Elvis nut so when he found out he made sure we would visit the lobby to check out his costume and guided us to some plates on the wall in the restaurant. Great service, great food and Elvis, it doesn't get better.

4) Riding Spider-man for the first time. Non of us could believe what just happened and we had to go back in line to experience it again. Non of us cared for super heroes but till today it's our favorite ride.
 

JawsVictim

Veteran Member
Nov 3, 2015
1,250
I traveled with my mom and sister to Universal during Spring Break in 2006. They were interested in seeing Ellen tape at Citywalk and I was dying to ride Revenge of the Mummy for the first time. So, I dragged them there for rope drop one morning, only to find out the ride was closed due to “technical difficulties”. I wouldn’t budge. 20 minutes of waiting at the entrance, we were given the cue to go in.

Everything was normal until we hit the dead end in the scarab room, where to our right was a film crew, and to our left was Brendan Fraser! He acted like an animatronic for a second, then laughed and said, “Hey, no it’s really me. Enjoy the ride!” Turns out they were filming a segment for Ellen.

Pretty cool to have that happen on my first time riding ROTM!