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Tobias's 9/21-9/22 Trip Report


Veteran Member
Feb 25, 2014
After the wonderful return to the parks last year after a 12 year hiatus, I did what I could to return this year and thankfully everything fell into place. This time instead of a one day/night wonder, I was able to enjoy the resort for Saturday and Sunday. An since this time my plane arrived on time, I was really able to see what I wanted with no rush.

Hotel - Rock n' Roll Fantasy

For the hotel, this year I was able to give the Hard Rock Hotel a try. An as with Royal Pacific and Sapphire Falls, I had a wonderful stay. The staff was awesome, I really liked the rock star mansion kind of vibe of the place, the breakfast buffet at the Kitchen is just what I needed, also this hotel has a wonderful smell in the same vein as the E.T. queue where it's just pleasant. Also, I really appreciated how stupid close this hotel is to the parks/CityWalk. Generally that's the case for the majority of hotels here, but this is currently as close as you're gonna' get! An of course, it was so nice being back to having the unlimited Express for the whole stay. It's still one of the best dang perks to staying at one of the three premier resorts.

So for the parks, I'm gonna' focus talking about all the new stuff for me. Last year I couldn't see everything since I had only one day plus I was delayed arriving there. But this time I was able to hit up pretty much all that I wanted to see. For the returning favorites, all of them are still as good as ever. Though I will say Dudley Do-Right was looking rather rough with missing figures and some scenes not working. Other than that, everything else was working just fine.

Now then, over in the Studios there were three attractions that I finally hit up.

Transformers - Rolling around at the speed of Michael Bay

Ah, Transformers. A attraction who's construction time will make any other feel downright sluggish, and for what it's worth it's a pretty fun attraction. The 3D is great, and not surprisingly there's a ton of action, especially with any of the driving scenes where I think the ride shines the most with those. Now personally for me, it's not on the level of Spider-Man which is still one of the GOAT's. But TF is certainly worth riding, and it's a good choice for the Uni parks who don't have a Spider-Man.

The Simpsons Ride - A total blast of hilarious nostalgia

While I liked BTTF, I felt this was a really nice overlay. While it's been quite a while since I've seen the Simpsons on TV, seeing the Krustyland episode while waiting in line just brought me all back, and it went all uphill from there. I loved how they plussed the indoor waiting area with the screens to give us more humor and character moments, and the writing for that and the ride itself was great. I was totally fine with the 3D look for the ride itself, and I was impressed with how realistic they pulled off that barrel roll maneuver! All in all, this was very enjoyable!

Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon - Just Cause: The Ride

While I know this ride doesn't have the best of reception from those online, I went into this with a open mind and honestly I was fine with it! Let's start with the pre-show setup/concept. This is probably one of the best aspects of the ride, I love the concept of the multi-part pre show and the method of moving the groups around worked really well. The first floor museum was nice, and the upper floor with the lounge, touchscreen games and stage with live entertainment was honestly great! It made the time just fly by so before I knew it, I was in the safety video room. I have to give points to the safety video for the Roots, because it's the Roots and that was a good choice.

As for the ride itself, it's definitely another simulator. Now granted, it's wonderfully smooth and the constant wind effects make for the best AC around. Story-wise, this really is "Just Cause: The Ride". Why are we going underwater? "Just Cause", why are we flying? "Just Cause", why is Hashtag Panda a giant all of a sudden? "Just Cause", why are we on the MOON?! "Just Cause". I'll admit, I admire the sheer absurdity of where this ride went.

All in all, the ride itself is fine. I wouldn't mind going on it again, and I can easily list off attractions which are waaay worse. Finally, I really would love to see Universal implement that pre-show format into whatever future attraction they can possibly do it with. There's a lot of wonderful potential with it.

So that's what I took care of in the Studios, so that leaves the literally brand new hotness next door at IoA…

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure - You're a winner, Hagrid

Having eagerly watched the progress of this attraction, there's no doubt I was really excited for it. While I loved Dueling Dragons, I knew it was on borrowed time when HP moved in, and it was merely a shell of it's former self before it was closed. I had a feeling a built from the ground up HP coaster would be a fitting replacement, and honestly? This very well is!

To echo what many have said, this coaster is Just. Plain. FUN. I was able to get on it twice, first time in front row on the bike, and second time the second row from the back in the sidecar. The launches are great, the various surprises pack a nice little punch, and they did a fairly nice job with the queue, too. Not as elaborate as FJ or EFG, but it get's the job done. For me this ride is a absolute winner, and I look forward to getting more rides in the future! (Also for me, it's the best new ride of 2019.)

Food/Drinks and Other Observations

Since I had more time, I was able to try a bit of food/drinks. Two of them from HP, as I finally was able to try a Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice. Both of them are downright winners for me, I can see why Butterbeer is a must try drink in the lands, it's just plain tasty. Though not to be outdone, Pumpkin Juice is really dang good, too! In fact it was a very nice drink to have with Pizza Fries during HHN.

I also got to try a few things in CityWalk, too. First off was a Thrilla in Vanilla milkshake from Toothsome, and I downright loved it. Not too sweet and just the right consistency to drink. While I wasn't able to eat at the restaurant proper, that's definitely something to keep in mind for next time! I was also able to stop by Voodoo Doughnuts, where I had a very tasty Stranger Thing's RUN doughnut, as well as the Universal Orangesicle which was not only tasty, but a winner in presentation.

As for everything else. Crowds were totally fine, the weather was really good too, though Sunday was a little more toasty during the day. It was also oddly unnerving walking through a Jurassic Park devoid of trees, however I feel it'll be all worth it for what's coming!

So that's that, a very nice weekend trip which was just what I needed. An it looks like this'll be a annual thing for me from now on, which I'm quite fine with since every time I'm down here I'm reminded how much I really love this resort.
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Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
Pittsburgh area
Nice review :thumbsup:.... and on Simpsons....we love the queue and ride too and can never understand all the hate it gets from so many on IU. ....and The Roots safety spiel has to be the best ever. Love Ragtime Gals, Hashtag and the whole pre show 'concept'. Different but refreshing. and the ride itself is Alene's favorite in USF. I like it too but it doesn't crack my top ride list. But, as a filler attraction in a really small space, it's about as good as you'll get. Love Transformers.....and in 7 weeks and change, we'll get to ride Hagrid, which seems to be a guaranteed 'like'.
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Veteran Member
Jun 21, 2016
we love the queue and ride too and can never understand all the hate it gets from so many on IU
Simpsons are hilarious. I'd have to think it's because of the nausea factor. This one (and FJ) seems to get anyone who is motion sensitive.

I agree @Tobias - Fallon is plenty fine for what it is.
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