May 2021 annual-ish trip | Inside Universal Forums
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May 2021 annual-ish trip

Skold

V.I.P.
Feb 17, 2016
620
Well, we're doing it! Leaving tomorrow for our first visit since July 2019. CBBR for 6 nights, Hard Rock for 4 (first time staying there!). We're all vaxxed so my biggest concern is that Gas Buddy is accurate - it's about a 470 mile drive so we need at least one fill-up along the way. I'll update as we go along!
 
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JoeCamel

Premium Member
May 20, 2015
6,048
Upper Lower
Well, we're doing it! Leaving tomorrow for our first visit since July 2019. CBBR for 6 nights, Hard Rock for 4 (first time staying there!). We're all vaxxed so my biggest concern is that Gas Buddy is accurate - it's about a 470 mile drive so we need at least one fill-up along the way. I'll update as we go along!
You will find gas ok, drove fla to tenn yesterday and it is ok
 
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Skold

V.I.P.
Feb 17, 2016
620
Yep, it was nothing to be worried about. We’re here, and did VC! All is right in our world.
 

Skold

V.I.P.
Feb 17, 2016
620
Edit: I’ll do a full trip report when we get back, but a quick update while sitting by the CBBR lazy river.

VC and Bourne are both unbelievable; loved them both!

FLA turnpike doesn’t have tollbooths anymore! Guess they send me a bill now, since I don’t have a Sunpass? Great move.

Update: got evacced off of Hagrids! First evac ever for me.
 
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Skold

V.I.P.
Feb 17, 2016
620
Crowds are bigger than on any trip I’ve been on (although we usually go late May or early November, for the low crowds). Word is that locals are flooding IOA with the VC announcement and the dropping of the mask mandate. The rope drop line for IOA yesterday went past Margaritaville.

We are countering by doing USF in the mornings. So far so good.

Water ride mornings and then going back to the hotel are out for now though. Not rope dropping for rides we have walked on in the morning dozens of times.

Diagon Alley does sell alcohol at 9:00 AM though! :cheers:
 

JoeCamel

Premium Member
May 20, 2015
6,048
Upper Lower
Crowds are bigger than on any trip I’ve been on (although we usually go late May or early November, for the low crowds). Word is that locals are flooding IOA with the VC announcement and the dropping of the mask mandate. The rope drop line for IOA yesterday went past Margaritaville.

We are countering by doing USF in the mornings. So far so good.

Water ride mornings and then going back to the hotel are out for now though. Not rope dropping for rides we have walked on in the morning dozens of times.

Diagon Alley does sell alcohol at 9:00 AM though! :cheers:
It has always been a bit of strangeness to me seeing the big Foster cans in hands early mornings. They start serving early!
 
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Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
20,265
Pittsburgh area
Crowds are bigger than on any trip I’ve been on (although we usually go late May or early November, for the low crowds). Word is that locals are flooding IOA with the VC announcement and the dropping of the mask mandate. The rope drop line for IOA yesterday went past Margaritaville.

We are countering by doing USF in the mornings. So far so good.

Water ride mornings and then going back to the hotel are out for now though. Not rope dropping for rides we have walked on in the morning dozens of times.

Diagon Alley does sell alcohol at 9:00 AM though! :cheers:
What attractions are still skipping rows when loading? I'd imagine those are the ones with high line times for the season.
 

Skold

V.I.P.
Feb 17, 2016
620
What attractions are still skipping rows when loading? I'd imagine those are the ones with high line times for the season.
Jurrasic River Adventure seems to be the only ride skipping rows. Masks are being worn, but with lines and single rider being used, you’d think they declared that the pandemic is over. Odd, to be sure.
 
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Skold

V.I.P.
Feb 17, 2016
620
Here was some fun. It was like this all day, but did go down to 460 at one point. Wonder what happened?
1621475713149.jpeg
 
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Skold

V.I.P.
Feb 17, 2016
620
Love HRH so far! We are in the south (southeast?) wing and quickly found that there is a stairwell here leading right to the Gardenwalk. Pool is great; love the “walk up bar and find your own table” aspect of CBBR pools, this place has a better version of that compared to RPR and Portifino. The waterslide is much better also.

CBBR: vibe
Portifino: amazing surroundings
RPR: best Express Pass price
HRH: EP and that short, sweet walk

Fun to walk around, great staff so far, easily the best hotel I’ve stayed in in years (including CBBR, my fav hotel, last week).
 

Frank Drackman

Premium Member
Dec 20, 2012
2,562
Mouse Mountain
thanks for sharing your experiences! I will miss visiting UOR as am onsite guest! I love each of their hotels and all for different reasons. I think RPR holds a place in my heart for I just enjoy the tropical feel.

The HR is something else (I've used that hallway coming in when the pool was closed ;-) )
 
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Skold

V.I.P.
Feb 17, 2016
620
Back home and I already miss HRH! :grin:

I'll try to do a full TR this weekend (think we got some great pics) but a couple thoughts for now:

Finally was able to get a beer at Hog's Head, talked to the TM about the patio situation; tables are spaced out so they use the patio for Three Broomsticks only. This sucks, and I hope it is open to HH customers soon.

Burger Diggs is a mixed bag. The new IPA is awesome. The views are awesome. It is all Mobile Order now. It is waaay more crowded! I remember when only one table was occupied just a few short years ago. Now, there is always a wait.

On Wednesday, 5/16, on Fallon, TMs told us to leave two empty seats between parties. Today, nope, move all the way in. Same sort of change happened with JPRA, but with rows. Uni is moving quickly back to full capacity.

Hogwarts express will still only group two groups of two or less, three and up get their own cabin. Kills capacity, but I like it.

The plexiglass between boarding rows is all right, and themed (Mummy and Hulk come to mind). Hope that stays around.

You can still ask for sanitizer in the MIB queue, a practice that I highly recommend! :cheers:
 

Skold

V.I.P.
Feb 17, 2016
620
Aight, so I'll round up this TR with this final post.

(I've usually done a big post/ thread in the past, this was definitely more fun, doing it along the way).

Great trip overall and, even though it seemed Uni was opening up too early, things worked out (and we haven't gotten sick). Ate outside each night, and stuck to mask guidelines while in ride queues.

First off: late May and mid-November are our usual times (AP here, of course), and this was *by far* the most crowded I've ever seen it. Super happy we had EP for the second half.

I didn't think I'd ever like a hotel more than CBBR or Portifino, but HRH might have stolen my heart. Not because of the musical stuff, but the staff was above and beyond, the short walk, the EPs, and the poolside bar. Loved it so much.


20210522_083328.jpg

We went on VC 4x, twice at night. JP as a land is completely different now, and it is bittersweet. Gone are the days of hanging out in front of DC. But, now, it is so electric! And we got a new, great, IPA out of it! :cheers:

20210523_202319.jpg

They did an amazing job on the front side!

We usually do one or two Disney days, but did not this time, instead going to Disney Springs for an afternoon. Homecomin was fantastic, as always.

20210520_164235.jpg

I actually liked some of the COVID-related changes and hope that some of those stick around.

20210521_131158.jpg

The 14-year-old kid did pretty good on MIB, also. Think we did that over 20 times :grin:!


20210524_183246.jpg
 
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Tobias

Veteran Member
Feb 25, 2014
1,565
Nice report!

Hard Rock is pretty much my home base for HHN, you really can't beat how close it is to the studios for that. It also helps the hotel itself is rather compact, so it's super easy getting around everywhere in there. Also, the vanilla scent in the lobby is second to the E.T. queue on downright delightful smells at the resort.
 

Skold

V.I.P.
Feb 17, 2016
620
Forgot one thing, our Volcano Bay days. So, obviously, we did these while at CBBR - that entrance is awesome. We did two half-days. Weird thing though - the gate *before* the security check-in was closed until 9:15, before a 9:30 EPA. Guess they didn't want everyone crowding in the real entrance?

We went two times, and did try to rope drop it. First day there was 4 or 5 parties waiting outside the gate; once it opened we all were able to get first in line at the various tap-stiles. My preferred locker area is The Rainforest Village. This has been closed at park opening in the past, so we asked the TM at the queue if any were closed. She said they all were open! NARRATOR: they were not all open. We back-tracked to my least-favorite locker bay, East Village, and made are way to Krakatau. It all worked out.

Our second time, we knew. About 10 parties in line before the security check, and we were actually waiting across the service road at CBBR. We all got on in front of the lines though. Made our way to West Village lockers, and got to ride Krakatau three times without getting off! I'm getting a little tired of rope-droping, and we don't really do it anymore unless we have to, but it is totally worth it at VC. 3x on the coaster is awesome! I usually don't have an easy time getting out of those boats, but this time, after settling in for three rides, I actually needed a TM to help m up! :grin:

What a great park!