They want to go where??????????????????
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My kids are really wanting to go see WWOHP next time we go to Disney. I am a Disney person through and through. The thing is, my kids aren't big roller coaster fans. To them, BTMRR is the scariest of scariest thrill rides. Is it worth going for a day just to see Harry Potter? How "scary" are the Harry Potter rides? My fear is we will take a day away from Disney, get there, pay a ton of money for one day passes and they will ride 1 or 2 rides. I don't think they will enjoy the rest of the park because it seems like IofA is mostly thrill rides. Anyone with Universal experience have any ideas? Are there more than mostly thrill rides there? Would it be worth the price of admission just to see Harry Potter? We are a family of 5 so I know it won't be cheap.
Alrighty then....not coaster fans huh? Well, 3 of the 4 WWOHP rides are coasters. There's Flight of the Hippgriff (think Barnstormer) and then the dueling coasters, which are really awesome for those that Like coasters. How old are your kids? I mean there's Seussville, and things like that. DS was 10 last year and we're heading back for 3 days in March. Storm Force is like the teacups. The Spiderman Ride is really neat. The Hulk is a coaster. Ripsaw Falls is a smallish coaster, really more of a water ride. The Popeye Barge ride is like Kali River Rapids, but wetter and seemed longer. Heck, you could probably do IOA and still be enjoying DTD by evening because it's not a large park. Jurassic was a neat ride. Some think it's thrilling, but we didn't. But it was nice. WWOHP really is neat though. Love the theming. The shops are tiny and crowded. The line to get onto Forbidden Journey is long and also the line to get into Ollivanders. FJ was really neat. It was worth the line to go thru Hogwarts. Really stellar special effects in there!! We rode it 3 times, but the park wasn't that crowded the day we went. A few words of advice. Let the kids wear swimsuits. The water rides WILL get you drenched. So they'll dry faster. And also, to get on a Lot of the rides there, you'll have to put your backpacks, etc. in lockers. When you get to WWOHP, there's a place with lockers right beside the train. I'd hit that one because the second one (by FJ) is large and is packed with folks looking for their lockers. I'm a Disney girl at heart, always will be. And Universal doesn't take care of their parks like Disney does. But DS loves the rides at the Universal parks. I'd go to the Universal website. You can look up the attractions at each park, maybe even see short videos of them and it may help you make your decision.
We love love love WWOHP. My 8 year old loved it the most in July and he isn't too Rollar coaster. The forbidden journey is not to be missed one of the best rides we have ever been on and the themeing is wonderful. We are very Disney but have to say IOA is a super park.
We went to WWoHP/IoA on our last day 3 years ago. It was AWFUL! 1st, we went AFTER we had just spent a magical week at Disney. 2nd - it was on a Saturday and it was the day the last HP movie opened! 3rd - the lines! Oye - the lines!!! We don't do roller coasters or "thrill" rides. So we didn't ride ANYTHING. We did try to get into the shops. We wanted to go into Dervish and Banges but you had to go through Olivanders to get there. No problem right? WRONG - there was a line with a 3 hour wait just to get into Olivanders! Nope - no Dervish and Banges OR Olivanders for us. We did get into HoneyDukes but the staff member was rude to me, negatively commenting on my t-shirt (It was a Mickey shirt). We could get our wands but only limited selection from a cart outside of Forbidden Journey. We got some butterbeers but there was no place to sit and enjoy them. We ended up on a bench in the Jurrasic Park section. It was pretty much a waste. DH said we should give it another chance. That the crowds were just because it was a Saturday and the day the movie came out. And that it was less than magical because we were coming off a Disney high. But I'm not so quick to forgive and forget.
We didn't wait in line at Olivanders either, but you could enter from another end and at least see the wands and make a selection. I was told they were the same that the carts offered. WWOHP is Always crowded from what I've been told. But I do think the timing of the last movie coming out impacted it further. And the locals tend to hit the parks on weekends too. We too wanted to try the butterbeer and got it inside at Three Broomsticks. Now I've NEVER spent that much for quick service at Disney, but at least the food was good. And I agree, the folks that work IOA certainly aren't as friendly as Disney castmembers. Like someone once said to me.... You go to Disney for the Magic...and Universal for the rides. Guess that about sums it up.
I'm not sure about Thanksgiving, but my boss was there with her brood in December and the line for FJ was 3 hrs! WWOHP is a tight fit for those walking, so I'm not sure how that works out for folks on a scooter. But it's worth a try!
I am also Disneyfied as I call it and have never been to Universal or IOA. In August we plan on going there depending on if I will have a car or not. I will not spend an arm and aleg for all 5 of us to get there. However, I know better. I will be going there first. I know that is the only way I will enjoy it. I see Universal and IOA more on the level of Busch Gardens (Which to me is slightly above Six flags) then Disney. I will go to each park for one day then start my Disney vacation.
I had a lot of friends who went to WWOHP and they all have come back and LOVED it! I'm a Universal Studios fan as well as Disney. You can't really compare Disney and Universal. They both have great things about them. City Walk is great too!
We went to Universal for the first time last summer and really enjoyed it. Keep an open mind and try to resist the temptation to compare the experience. We found the park to be clean, very friendly and had lots of neat surprises. No it isn't Disney but it was a worthy destination, especially for Harry Potter and any sort of fantasy fans. We figure we will fit it in every 3-4 years.
. . . How's the place for accessibility when crowded for someone using a scooter?
It'a a tight fit! As you are probably aware, if you are on a scooter, you are invisible to anyone standing. So moving forward is always a challenge. Getting through WWOHP and seeing anything can be very challenging, especially when it is crowded. But getting onto the roller coasters is OK, once you get to them! For the dueling coaster, a cast member led us in through the back and we had free access to ride either side as many times as we wanted. For the Hogwarts ride, we were assigned a ride time, as scooters do not do through the queue. At the designated time we met all the other non-mobile riders and were led through the back way to the ride boarding area. They stopped the ride and loaded everyone before starting it again. According to the cast member, loading non-mobile riders all at the same time allows them to disrupt the regular riders less often. Might be more efficient for them, but certainly did not make me feel like I was welcomed!
My oldest boys (now 15 and 17) just thought Forbidden Journey was ok and my youngest (now 13 and not a coaster fan) HATED it. It's very intense. I think it's ok. I am not a coaster fan, so it's the only HP ride I will do. The area is beautiful, but I think they dropped the ball not having a family attraction - even just movie clips for the young/older folks to watch while others do the thrill rides. I wonder if the expansion will cover this?
We've been doing Universal every 3 years or so. When my kids were younger they didn't like it as much, but the older 2 now love all the thrill rides. My favorites are Men in Black and Spiderman. We like to stay a couple nights at the Royal Pacific resort on site. It includes early admission and you use your room key as an all day fast pass so it really helps with the lines.
I a a ride wuss and at first I preferred Universal Studios to Disney. There was plenty to do and I did not feel confined to "kiddie rides". I did not think I would like IOA but they also have attractions that are great fun. I love Spiderman. I could spend hours in Seussland, just taking it in. I would not go on a weekend and then complain because of the crowds. I do enjoy staying on site. The hotels are beautiful and front of the line access is great.
If you can go with an open mind, go. It is not Disney. The cast members do make lots of Disney jokes. I would not wear a Disney shirt unless I wanted remarks directed at me.
We go to Universal and IOA every time we go to Disney. We actually have AP's for US/IOA.
If your kids are not into rides that much you can get a park to park ticket where you can hop from one park to another and you can spend the day seeing all the shows.
I would start out at IOA and go straight to WWOHP and ride Forbidden Journey and the little baby coaster Hippogriff. It really is a mild very short ride.
In IOA there is a Sinbad show and there is an attraction/show inside a building called Poseidon's Fury that is an awesome fire and water type show.
IOA has a stone carved talking water fountain that jokes and interacts with the kids. It is in between the Sinbad area and WWOHP area.
Then you can hop over to US around 12 because the first Beetlejuice Rock n Roll show starts at 12:30. They also have a Terminator 3D show and a Horror Make Up Show (not scary- it is a comedy)
You can easily kill a whole day just seeing the shows.
The Harry Potter area is not a very big area but if you do go make sure you try the Butterbeer. The frozen is better than the liquid. The liquid Butterbeer is just a cup of Cream Soda with foam on top but the frozen actually has a much better Butterscotch flavor to it.
We have never waited in line for the Ollivander's wand show because I watched it on You Tube and knew it is not something we would even be into. And the wait to get in is always very long.
You can't go to those 2 parks comparing them to Disney. They are nothing like Disney. Every land in IOA has really great themeing. Unlike anything that Disney has. The Seuss area looks like you just stepped into a Dr Seuss movie. The Harry Potter land looks just like the movies. They have spent a lot of time, effort and money to theme their different lands.
If you have never been to either park you really can spend an entire day in each park, but now that we have been there numerous times we can do both parks in one day. But we still set aside 2 days to do those 2 parks.
Besides Busch Gardens, IOA is my favorite park. Epcot and IOA.
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