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Tobias's 5/15-5/19 TR

Tobias

Veteran Member
Feb 25, 2014
1,565
After a bit of a break on trips due to obvious reasons, I kicked 2021 off with a Spring Trip back to UOR. Last time I was here was September with the family where many Covid procedures were in effect, so this trip was already going to be interesting as just days before I left it was announced that several of those procedures were to be lifted the day I arrived! The end result was a wonderful Spring getaway with some awesome new experiences and a even bigger feeling that things are getting back to normal-ish.

Hotel

For the first time since 2006, I returned to the Royal Pacific Resort. I really enjoyed the hotel back then, and I'm happy to say I still do! When it comes to hotel vibes at UOR, Sapphire Falls is breezy and relaxing, while Hard Rock Hotel delivers that living like a rock star in a mansion vibe. As for RPR, it's a tropic getaway, complete with one of my favorite entrance's and lobbies in the resort. Between 2006 and now, it's gotten a couple updates. I like the newer rooms as they're much brighter than before, and I appreciate the addition of the Tuk-Tuk Market grab n' go spot since that was very much needed. I know they had to sacrifice some of the lobby/lounge space for that, but they needed it.

VelociCoaster

I'll post a more thorough report on this in the official review thread, but Man OH Man. I think IOA just got one of the best One-Two Punch additions in the past couple years with Hagrid and now this. It's clear UOR and Intamin wanted to give us a intense coaster, and they didn't just deliver that in spades, but one that looks right at home in JP. This coaster packs one heck of a punch, and it doesn't let up until you fly into the brakes. This is another big winner, and IOA is once again stacked with amazing attractions.

Food

Since I was taking a little longer trip than normal, this allowed me to hit up several more places I've yet to try, as well as return to some favorites!

Vivo - One of my favorite spots, and this time I tried the Squid Ink Seafood which was very nice. I didn't expect the kick it would have with the sauce, but it was a most pleasant one. Also finished it off with the Cannoli which was also nice.

The Cowfish - After years of missing out, I finally got to try what was definitely the most intriguing of the new additions during the 1st go-around of the big CW overhaul. You don't see a Sushi-Burger-Bar everyday, and it's a unique quirk that's rather fitting for UOR. I honestly enjoyed it, I went for the most unique sounding burger to me, which was the Black and Brie. (Brie cheese (duh), Blackberries, thyme-infused honey, microgreens and Sake marinated pears.) When it comes to burgers, I'm all for unique toppings, but there's gotta' be a balance and some editing. I don't really go for burgers which have the whole pantry on it, yanno'? Thankfully this burger definitely fell into the former, and it was very tasty! I also went for the Ruby Panther drink which was very nice as well. All in all, well worth it and I'd love to come back to try some of the sushi.

Mythos - Haven't been here since 2006, so it was due for me to return to. Now, you can say what you want about that "Voted World's Best Theme Park Restaurant by TPI" banner. That's essentially a meme/running gag at this point. Though I do know those who did feel that way when the park first opened. Naturally things have changed such as Executive Chefs, Menu items etc, but for what it's worth, the place can be a nice restaurant, nothing wrong with that!

I was definitely excited to return after hearing the current Executive Chef has been taking things back in the right direction. An after hearing @Joe 's recommendation on the Couscous Bowl (with chicken), I gave that a shot and...I can't remember the last time I've demolished a dish so fast before. It was seriously good, light but perfectly filling and very flavorful. It's the right kind of direction for Mythos, and add in the wonderful service and the Chocolate Banana Gooey Cake which is still just as rich as I remember from 2006, and Mythos is still a solid restaurant! Also, thinking about it...when it comes to sit-down restaurants in theme parks, Mythos is still in the upper echelon for me along with Carthay Circle at DCA and Hollywood Brown Derby at DHS. That's not a bad bunch to be with, to be perfectly honest!

Antojitos - This might be one of the more interesting reviews since I wasn't entirely hungry when I arrived thanks to the lunch at Mythos, so I mainly stuck with a drink and a couple apps. I had the pork belly and tamale fritters which were perfectly snackable for me, and then I had the tableside guacamole...I'm officially a fan cuz' that was downright delicious! I can see why there's an army of guac makers with their carts in the restaurant, they're in constant demand for very good reason! As for the drink, I went with The Horse You Rode in On and that was a fine tequila drink. I really liked the vibe of the place, and the live music was really good too. Was on the more chill side, and the guitar player did a really nice acoustic version of Hotel California. All in all, good times were had at this place!

Bigfire - The last dinner for the trip was at the most recent addition to CW, and I gotta' say it's another winner! I went with the Beer Glazed Scallops which were delish, and drink-wise I went for the Smoked, Smoked Maple Old Fashioned and that didn't disappoint. Easily one of the better Old Fashioned's I've had in a while.

The Today Café at the Hollywood Brown Derby (I'll explain.) - Before I had to leave on Wednesday, I was able to snag a lunch at the Today Café. When I got there the tables were all full, so I got my meal to-go and hopped over to the currently closed Brown Derby Hat Shop and sat under the entry awning for lunch. I went with the Big Apple Cheese and that was quite nice, along with the just as nice potato wedge salad.

All in all, I didn't have a bad meal anywhere I went. (Also went back to Thunder Falls Terrace and had the chicken bowl again which is still great.) An during this trip it really hit me how much of a improvement City Walk has gotten with it's major overhaul. Back in 2006, my family and I were content with the Lone Palm Airport after a day at the parks and that was pretty much it. Flash forward to now where I've actively hit up Toothsome, Vivo, Cowfish, Antojitos, Bigfire and you can toss in Voodoo Doughnuts as well! These places have really livened up CW, where instead of passing by I'm going out of my way to hit them up. That's a very nice improvement, and as for what's next, I'm thinking a all-day breakfast/brunch spot could be good.

---

Next up is some random observation and quirks I encountered.
 

Tobias

Veteran Member
Feb 25, 2014
1,565
Random Observations

Weather was really nice the whole trip, low on the humidity and not too hot during the day and downright perfect in the morning and evenings. Definitely reminded me of good September weather...sans last year which was a very hot anomaly. Though it did get quite a bit hotter on Wednesday, which wasn't so pleasant since the humidity was still low.

Ops were generally pretty good, VelociCoaster's ops were hauling for pretty much the whole trip. (Wednesday is where things slowed down due to 2 train ops (combo of weather and downtime, but they were still pushing.) Downtimes were pretty minimal for most rides, though Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit had the worst downtimes as it got knocked out pretty good on Tuesday and Wednesday. No idea what happened, but it just wasn't having it for those days.

Entertainment-wise, UOR has certainly faired better with their offerings than Disney during the pandemic. From the permanent shows like HMU, Bourne, the Hogsmeade and DA shows, Beat Builders, Blues Brothers, and the various temporary stage shows and character spots, Uni's been able to offer a lot more than the random cavalcades at WDW. An we can also add the Lagoon show as well since that was running on the busier nights, too!

Horror Make-Up is still wonderful, and this time I got to see the Beetlejuice warm-up/preshow which was great! An Bourne is still very impressive, especially with all the stunts and effects happening. (T'was great hearing a much bigger crowd scream to a particular stunt which caught me off guard back in September.)

The new projections on Mummy look great, and it's also great having Spider-Man's fireball back in action! An Kong, Transformers and Gringott's still remain attractions that I appreciate more each time I ride them. Race Through New York is still perfectly fine for what it is, and hearing the reactions of the crowd I was with, it's still a hit with the GP.

MIB-wise, there's something really satisfying about being in a vehicle with just two other people and wrecking a *full* rival vehicle (they didn't spin us, not even once.) AND getting Galactic Defender to cap it off.

A little GltcH#

So, when you go on highly advanced rides a bunch of times, you'll sometimes run into a unexpected issue here or there. I had two notable rides where things got a little glitchy.

I had a ride on Skull Island: Reign of Kong which went off without a hitch for the most part, until the 360 section. The driver was Doc and as the segment began with the dinos showing up we hear "Be very quiet" and *VOOP*...all the dinosaurs disappeared! No, they didn't all suddenly become I-Rex's, but the 360 screens reset from the very beginning, and the audio in the truck was suddenly silent. What we got was the whole segment running on nothing but background noises with the occasional dino and Kong sounds. Thankfully the truck audio kicked back in during the Kong AA segment, but it was one of the more wonky rides I've had in a while...

...then came my last ride on Escape from Gringott's on Wednesday.

The ride was going off without a hitch, until we got to the vault scene with Bellatrix and Voldemort, for when Bellatrix starts whipping us away, the carts turned...but they didn't move on the track. We stay in place for a bit as the audio continues to play and the screen resets, the carts then start moving and awkwardly turning into the next scene with the audio already starting for it before we arrive. Once we're stopped at the dome screen, all of this is going on.

- The screen is in the start of the scene, the audio is in the second half of the scene.
- The second cart which I was in, was somehow facing the - FAR RIGHT SIDE- of the screen (it's supposed to face the left), and we were seeing a blank dome screen since the projections were partially mucked up.
- Memory is getting a little fuzzy, but it wouldn't surprise me if the audio reset and was trying to do the first half of the scene when we were launched out.

Overall, that was a very amusing ride on EfG. Might not be the case for first time riders, but thankfully the TM's had no problem allowing re-rides for that kind of experience.

Final Thoughts

It was another great trip, and with the much bigger crowds, reopened playgrounds and lifted restrictions, there really is a sense that things are getting back to normal-ish. While I'll miss the quieter crowds and lines, I did state in previous TR's that I'm looking forward to places being busy again, and that certainly happened on this trip. I've got a good feeling this year is gonna' be a packed Summer, and a fairly busy fall, too.

Speaking of which, anytime I was able to converse with a TM, I couldn't help but notice that anytime HHN was mentioned, they got really excited. The fans are not the only ones hyped for it's return, the TM's know we're in for a BIG year, and it's a party that everyone's looking forward to celebrate. I know I am, especially since this time, it'll be my parents 1st HHN! Until then, take care for now, everybody!

-Tobias
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
20,257
Pittsburgh area
:thumbsup: Loved your review. And I have to say, I agree with just about all of your attraction, hotel and restaurant opinions.:cheers: I'll be there in three weeks for a short 7 day spur of the moment vacation. I would never go to Orlando in June of a normal year, but this isn't a normal year. We need our Universal fix.
 

Tobias

Veteran Member
Feb 25, 2014
1,565
Great, detailed review - thank you for sharing!
:thumbsup: Loved your review. And I have to say, I agree with just about all of your attraction, hotel and restaurant opinions.:cheers: I'll be there in three weeks for a short 7 day spur of the moment vacation. I would never go to Orlando in June of a normal year, but this isn't a normal year. We need our Universal fix.
Many thanks! Yeah, UOR has been very reliable when it comes to giving me a nice getaway trip. With what's all available, the unlimited express from the original three hotels, good ops (as well as several single rider lines reopened), I'm able to have whatever kind of day I want. If I wanna' have a jam-packed day where I'm opening and closing the parks and hitting up everything in sight, I can do that. But if I just wanna' kick back and take in the atmosphere with no rush whatsoever, I can do that as well. The resort is very flexible that way, which is a overlooked gem of an advantage. It's one of the reasons why I now have a AP even though I live up in Washington State, I'm coming here often and long enough to really make the most of it!..not to mention the AP hotel discounts are wonderful for trips like these!
 
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Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
20,257
Pittsburgh area
Many thanks! Yeah, UOR has been very reliable when it comes to giving me a nice getaway trip. With what's all available, the unlimited express from the original three hotels, good ops (as well as several single rider lines reopened), I'm able to have whatever kind of day I want. If I wanna' have a jam-packed day where I'm opening and closing the parks and hitting up everything in sight, I can do that. But if I just wanna' kick back and take in the atmosphere with no rush whatsoever, I can do that as well. The resort is very flexible that way, which is a overlooked gem of an advantage. It's one of the reasons why I now have a AP even though I live up in Washington State, I'm coming here often and long enough to really make the most of it!..not to mention the AP hotel discounts are wonderful for trips like these!
Yep. AP's the route to go. We have them even though we live in Pittsburgh. A long drive, but we prefer that to flying. No cancellations....But Wash State....not going to drive from there for sure. :lol: ...Once again, thanks for taking the time to do a detailed trip report. I always enjoy, and appreciate, them.
 
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