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Some Quick questions for a last minute Trip June 18-20, 21

rhino4evr

Veteran Member
Apr 7, 2010
5,186
Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but just booked a two night stay doing a Frankenstein method so I could obtain Express Pass the day we are in the park.

June 18-20th
Cabana Bay Friday Night
Islands of Adventure - Saturday
Portofino Saturday Night.
Leave Sunday

General Questions I have....
Can I pick up the Express Pass On Friday Night? Or do I need to go to Portofino on Saturday and pick them up first?
How early is the Hotel "Park Desk" open? - Do all members of the family need to be there?
How far of a walk is it from Portofino to Islands? (assume pretty far! based on the map)
Is "Early Entrance" still for Universal Studios only? or does it now include IOA.
IOA opens at 8am...assume people still line up before 8?

Finally, plan on making mad dash to Velocioaster first thing...? still advised? or should Hagrid still be the first ride?

Thanks!!!!
 
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Brian G.

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 21, 2008
21,420
Orlando, FL
Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but just booked a two night stay doing a Frankenstein method so I could obtain Express Pass the day we are in the park.

June 18-20th
Cabana Bay Friday Night
Islands of Adventure - Saturday
Portofino Saturday Night.
Leave Sunday

General Questions I have....
Can I pick up the Express Pass On Friday Night? Or do I need to go to Portofino on Saturday and pick them up first?
How early is the Hotel "Park Desk" open? - Do all members of the family need to be there?
How far of a walk is it from Portofino to Islands? (assume pretty far! based on the map)
Is "Early Entrance" still for Universal Studios only? or does it now include IOA.
IOA opens at 8am...assume people still line up before 8?

Finally, plan on making mad dash to Velocioaster first thing...? still advised? or should Hagrid still be the first ride?

Thanks!!!!
answering on mobile so forgive my brevity.

Express can be picked up day of check in, so Saturday.

Hotel desk will be open so you’re good; and no - just the person who made the reservation.

The Portofino walk is LONG, so I wouldn’t do it unless you need to.

Early entry is still USF - and yes, people are still lining up early.

I’d say line up for Hagrid early as VC is a capacity beast.
 

rhino4evr

Veteran Member
Apr 7, 2010
5,186
answering on mobile so forgive my brevity.

Express can be picked up day of check in, so Saturday.

Hotel desk will be open so you’re good; and no - just the person who made the reservation.

The Portofino walk is LONG, so I wouldn’t do it unless you need to.

Early entry is still USF - and yes, people are still lining up early.

I’d say line up for Hagrid early as VC is a capacity beast.
Thanks, One more ....would I need to go to Portofino to pick up the Tickets/Express Pass, or can it be done at the actual Theme Park or at Cabana Bay instead?

I suppose I can always call universal direct as well.
 

Brian G.

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 21, 2008
21,420
Orlando, FL
Thanks, One more ....would I need to go to Portofino to pick up the Tickets/Express Pass, or can it be done at the actual Theme Park or at Cabana Bay instead?

I suppose I can always call universal direct as well.
It’s gotta be done at Portofino.
 
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Stonecoldfreak1

Newcomer
Oct 29, 2020
10
Your room key doubles as the express pass and you gotta pick that up at Portofino. Tickets can be picked up at the hotel's vacation planning desk at any hotel or at the theme park.
 
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Frank Drackman

Premium Member
Dec 20, 2012
2,499
Mouse Mountain
think of it as checking in, picking up your keys, you might not get a room number but your keys are your express pass and in case you did not know, the express pass is good Sunday as well. Anyway, since it is your room key, that is why you need to visit Portofino.
 

rhino4evr

Veteran Member
Apr 7, 2010
5,186
think of it as checking in, picking up your keys, you might not get a room number but your keys are your express pass and in case you did not know, the express pass is good Sunday as well. Anyway, since it is your room key, that is why you need to visit Portofino.
Ok, so do I just go to the regular check in counter then?
 

rhino4evr

Veteran Member
Apr 7, 2010
5,186
so looks like early park access is being granted for IOA while Im there. To be honest, this kind of pisses me off, since the park already opens at 8am. A 7am opening is WAY early., but now I feel obligated to get there.

I can't imagine that many people will be up that early to get to the park...but I'm probably kidding myself.
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
19,989
Pittsburgh area
so looks like early park access is being granted for IOA while Im there. To be honest, this kind of pisses me off, since the park already opens at 8am. A 7am opening is WAY early., but now I feel obligated to get there.

I can't imagine that many people will be up that early to get to the park...but I'm probably kidding myself.
That was a nice last minute change, adding IOA, in addition to USF. We'll be there for the first 5 days of it when they open at 9:00 next week also, so it's a nice plus. And yes, getting up for 7:00 AM, on the 8;00 weekend days, is tough.
 
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Brian G.

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 21, 2008
21,420
Orlando, FL
so looks like early park access is being granted for IOA while Im there. To be honest, this kind of pisses me off, since the park already opens at 8am. A 7am opening is WAY early., but now I feel obligated to get there.

I can't imagine that many people will be up that early to get to the park...but I'm probably kidding myself.
I've been there... It can get a good crowd going.
 

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
3,877
so looks like early park access is being granted for IOA while Im there. To be honest, this kind of pisses me off, since the park already opens at 8am. A 7am opening is WAY early., but now I feel obligated to get there.

I can't imagine that many people will be up that early to get to the park...but I'm probably kidding myself.
Yeah, I know it's not what you probably want to hear, but you need to get there early if you want your clean shot at Hagrid. It's really morning or nothing at this point.
 
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sparky

Member
May 11, 2016
560
Yeah, I know it's not what you probably want to hear, but you need to get there early if you want your clean shot at Hagrid. It's really morning or nothing at this point.
Is hagrids ever going to have express?
 

rhino4evr

Veteran Member
Apr 7, 2010
5,186
questions….
Does a line typically form specifically for Hagrid before the park opens or is it just for general entrance?

if we want to bring a back pack does Hagrid have large enough lockers ? If not what’s the best plan of attack for renting a locker without losing place in line?

are you required to remove all items from your pockets? Like on Hulk?
 

Joe

aka TestTrack321
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 15, 2012
13,690
Pittsburgh, PA
questions….
Does a line typically form specifically for Hagrid before the park opens or is it just for general entrance?

if we want to bring a back pack does Hagrid have large enough lockers ? If not what’s the best plan of attack for renting a locker without losing place in line?

are you required to remove all items from your pockets? Like on Hulk?
They will send people around the mystic fountain and into Hogsmeade.

Lockers are in the old DC location and a new set are located to the left of the entrance. They have larger lockers for bags but those are not free.

You can bring stuff in your pockets. Just no loose articles.
 
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rhino4evr

Veteran Member
Apr 7, 2010
5,186
Ok...so the good and bad about my trip.

Good -
Velocicoaster was worth the hype. My new favorite ride at the resort. Added a review to the review thread.
We enjoyed our meals at CowFish, first time there. Sushi tasted fresh and was delish. Kids loved the Bento Box Dinners.
Portofino was really nice...I think I have found my new favorite hotel property. Love how open, relaxed, and quiet the hotel was. A huge contrast compared to Cabana Bay. The pool was also very nice.
We arrived at the park at 6:30 for a 7am opening and only about 50 people were at the gate. Not terrible at all.
Hagrid's seemed to be operating fairly well throughout the day, but was closed for the first 20 mins for early admission.
Velocicoaster was opened before 8am, despite signage saying the contrary.
Express Pass worked fairly well and saved us a lot of time on all lines used, with the exception of Kong..which was having technical issues.
3 Broomsticks food was rather good (especially compared to Burger Digs), and was worth the long wait. Fish and Chips were well made and crispy.

Bad -
It took an hour and a half!!! to check in to Cabana Bay on Friday. I was told that part of the reason was a lack of overall staffing due to COVID. It kind of started the vacation on a bad note. So much that I would consider never staying there again. Hotel looked a little run down in general.
Had the worst theme park meal ever at Burger Digs. The specialty burger with pork and plantains on it came out cold, and just tasted awful. Absolutely disgusting. Wife's Bacon burger was only mildly better.
They need way more of those fountain machines, the line for a soda was almost as long as the line for food.
The park was busy, as expected, and service lines moved to a crawl. There just seemed a lack of total employees in general, likely due to COVID hiring.
Front Desk people continued to give us incorrect info throughout the day. Not knowing when the boat launched, when stores/restaurants in the hotel opened/closed, even when the park opened!. I would think basics like this would be part of the start of every shift since it's such important info...just strange.
Early park admission at IOA consisted of forcing us to walk around the entire island to get to Hogsmeade. I'm assuming this helps with bottle necks, but it was still annoying.

Overall it was a nice time at the parks, but I'll probably avoid doing a summer trip again for quite some time. It's just too hot an muggy to be fun. The water rides helped though.
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
19,989
Pittsburgh area
Ok...so the good and bad about my trip.

Good -
Velocicoaster was worth the hype. My new favorite ride at the resort. Added a review to the review thread.
We enjoyed our meals at CowFish, first time there. Sushi tasted fresh and was delish. Kids loved the Bento Box Dinners.
Portofino was really nice...I think I have found my new favorite hotel property. Love how open, relaxed, and quiet the hotel was. A huge contrast compared to Cabana Bay. The pool was also very nice.
We arrived at the park at 6:30 for a 7am opening and only about 50 people were at the gate. Not terrible at all.
Hagrid's seemed to be operating fairly well throughout the day, but was closed for the first 20 mins for early admission.
Velocicoaster was opened before 8am, despite signage saying the contrary.
Express Pass worked fairly well and saved us a lot of time on all lines used, with the exception of Kong..which was having technical issues.
3 Broomsticks food was rather good (especially compared to Burger Digs), and was worth the long wait. Fish and Chips were well made and crispy.

Bad -
It took an hour and a half!!! to check in to Cabana Bay on Friday. I was told that part of the reason was a lack of overall staffing due to COVID. It kind of started the vacation on a bad note. So much that I would consider never staying there again. Hotel looked a little run down in general.
Had the worst theme park meal ever at Burger Digs. The specialty burger with pork and plantains on it came out cold, and just tasted awful. Absolutely disgusting. Wife's Bacon burger was only mildly better.
They need way more of those fountain machines, the line for a soda was almost as long as the line for food.
The park was busy, as expected, and service lines moved to a crawl. There just seemed a lack of total employees in general, likely due to COVID hiring.
Front Desk people continued to give us incorrect info throughout the day. Not knowing when the boat launched, when stores/restaurants in the hotel opened/closed, even when the park opened!. I would think basics like this would be part of the start of every shift since it's such important info...just strange.
Early park admission at IOA consisted of forcing us to walk around the entire island to get to Hogsmeade. I'm assuming this helps with bottle necks, but it was still annoying.

Overall it was a nice time at the parks, but I'll probably avoid doing a summer trip again for quite some time. It's just too hot an muggy to be fun. The water rides helped though.
Yes, we only did June because we were vacation starved due to covid, and I was able to get a great AP rate at Sapphire. But Florida weather majorly sucks in June, so never again. Plus the parks were really crowded all week, constantly.
The other big negative was how long, as long as attractions, the quick service restaurants lines were. Probably due to switching the way they took orders and seated people due to covid. The old way was soooo much better.
Also, food lines backed up as people fumbled with their phones trying, and failing, to pay for their orders online. Currency to pay is so much faster than high tech in that situation. Hopefully they go back to the old ordering and seating procedures
when we come back in November.
 

Mockingjay

Rookie
Jan 11, 2014
214
Charlotte, North Carolina
Mad Dog, are you saying that they did have mobile order for all quick service locations in the parks still? I’m only asking as I was getting ready for my trip later this week I was checking out the app and it looks like they removed all mobile ordering in park with the exception of Richter’s and Leaky Cauldron, which I found very odd.

*Edited due to spelling/grammar difficulties