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Universal Studios: Shame on you!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

So, being the theme park lovers we are, and the Harry Potter freaks we are (and I am saying “we” but I mean “me” LOL) we went to the Islands of Adventures at universal Studios to check the new harry potter addition to the park. I was prepared for lines, for heat, for discomfort.
We got there at 9:30 am and got in the line to get our tickets (Bought on line, but since we choose “Florida residents” we had to show our IDs). The line was 40 minutes long, and half of the windows were closed. Of course Universal was not really concerned about its customers.
Finally we got in the park and immediately got in the line to get access to the HP area. Not the ride, just the are of the park. We were in line for 2.5 hours. Finally we got there.
The first impression was disappointing. The thing is small. No, I mean, really small. Absurdly small. And it was over crowded with people. There was nothing that one could do without a line that was, at least, 45 minute long. Even to get to the stores!
We walked around, tried to do a few things, it did not work. Throughout the day we managed to get things done and seen. We had the Butterbeer thing (it was war and it is cream soda. It was warm after a 45 minute line). We tried the pumpkin juice (tons of cinnamon in it) and we tastes the beer developed for the park (another 50 min line to get to the Boar head bar).
There are three rides in the HP area. Two were already there and were just “remodeled” to fit the new theme. It was obvious because they were the only things without a line. Nobody wanted to go there.
“THE RIDE”: harry potter and the forbidden Journey, had a 2 hour line (in the middle of the day it was 4 hours long), and in the middle off the day it went “out of order” for a couple of hours.
During our visit to the park, it run out of hot dogs (yes, hot dogs!), butterbeer, postcards and wands.
And the cool thing was to mail a post card from the park, it would have (hypothetically) the post stamp from “hogsmead”). I was in line for 40 minutes and nobody bothered to tell me the post office was without postcards…
Most of the staff was used to prevent people to get into stores thorugh the exits (since they are not properly marked).
The shortest line in the park was to get butterbeer from a street cart: 45 minutes.
To get to the restaurant, any restaurant, the waiting line for a table was 2.5 hours!
My first cold drink I got at 6 pm. Before that everything sold in the park was hot. This is a middle 90s temperature.
The Hp FB ride is nice. Nothing worth the 4 hour line. It is cool but not that much.
The general impression is that they opened the park in a hurry to cash on the summer vacation. The “special effects are poor, the park is cheap, the castle is pathetically small. Everything is just pitiful.
Universal had the chance of building the theme park of the century, but they took a pass. The merchandise is cheap, the staff is unprepared, the park (what cannot be change) is absurdly small. Disappointment was what I felt.
Oh! They are making money, lot’s of it. But I doubt that people will go back. The whole thing is just bad. If you want magic do not go to Universal, go to Disney. They deliver it! Universal seems not to have a clue of what they are doing.
If you are In Orlando and get a free ticket to go to the park, you should go. If you are going to pay for it. Please, don’t, I am sure you have better things to do with your money.

P.s. The castle? I have seen doll houses bigger than that! it is ridiculous!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow, Dismayed to hear of your experience with Universal and the HP Area. My husband has chaperoned the school's Harry Potter Club field trip for two years now. He had explained that it was crowded and the lines were long so it was better that I stayed at home, but I didn't expect to hear anything as crazy as all that! Why does it take two hours to get into an area? If I want to go to Fantasy land from Adventure land at Disney I just walk my self over there. No lines, no waiting, until you choose a ride.

    1422 days ago
  • JENNJO322
    I agree with you. I was less than impressed when we went back in February. We actually had to get a pass to go back to HP area at another time. It was chaotic. That park needs some serious re-modeling done ASAP, esp for waht they charge for tickets, food, drinks, souveniers.
    2571 days ago
    Wow...very disappointing to hear.
    2571 days ago
    Thanks so much! I read this at the perfect time! We are planning our family vacation and husband thought this would be fun to do with our 5 year old HP enthusiast! LOL I guess not!

    Sorry you endured such a bad experience. :)

    2571 days ago
    I am so sad to hear! I wnted to go SOO bad!
    2571 days ago
  • FLGIRL1234
    My family has passes to Universal Studios and we go at least every other month. It must have been a bad day to go. We never really have any issues with over crowding or poor service. Yes, it gets more traffic during the summer but its manageable. We have never waited more then 45 minutes for a ride except for when the Harry Potter ride first came out. We never experienced what you did. :( Sorry it was so bad for you and the family that day! What a bummer. That sucks.
    2571 days ago
    I had no desire to see it in the first place, I will not go now for sure. Standing in line for hours in a crowd does not sound appealing.
    2571 days ago
    I have been there a couple of times now. The first time was last October. There were practically no lines and we did everything within two hours, including lunch at The Three Broomsticks. We went back in March cuz we had friends in from out of town. There was a two hour wait to get into the HP area, but we got lucky and chatted up an employee who snuck us in the back way. We had to wait two hours for The Forbidden Journey ride, which I do love.

    All in all I have to agree with you. The HP area is small and poorly planned. The lines are ridiculous. And I'm not much impressed with the rest of Universal either. Give me WDW anyday!!
    2572 days ago

    We went to Disney and Epcot last November just before Thanksgiving. I highly recommend theme parks in the off-season. It was just crowded enough to make it fun, but we had almost NO lines for anything which made it very fun!

    Harry Potter has NEVER appealed to me (I know, I know) so I would skip that one automatically. But William, reading through this blog made me feel like I was in a hot, sweaty crowd of restless people waiting in endless lines (ugh!, I feel your pain!). Sorry it was a disappointment after you'd so looked forward to it.
    2899 days ago
    It is good you posted this for others who might be interested. I don't care for Harry Potter, didn't know about it and would not go if I knew.
    2900 days ago
    Maybe you should send in a complaint form and ask for a refund! Ugh!
    2900 days ago
    Thanks for the review!! I wanted to go but think I will sit back and wait awhile. Maybe the hype will ease up and Universal will make some improvements. However, living in near Orlando, I know that there is going to be a line for everything but the long time you had to wait in lines is ridiculous!!



    Inhale~Exhale~Breathe in Life
    2907 days ago
    I really want to go to HP world, but I am waiting for a long time so the hype dies.

    I've heard QUITE a few disappointing news reports that they had a weight limit on one of the ride, and forced you to sit on a seat to see if you could fit, then threw you out of line in front of everyone! How horrible this must be for people!!
    2909 days ago
  • RD03875
    What a disappointment!
    2919 days ago
    Windbag, Disney in Orlando is fantastic! When Disney promises magic, they deliver it! I do not see space for improvements in that park. Their main problem is physical space, there is none. But this taught me a lesson, I better stick with Disney. The satisfaction is guaranteed.
    2919 days ago
    Willam, I've never been to Universal Studios - or Florida, for that matter - but I clearly remember the fantastic trip we took to Disneyland back in the early eighties! We stayed as late as we possibly could - everything was larger than life and really sparked one's imagination! I'm sorry to hear the story's not the same in Florida, unfortunately... I know someone else who went to Universal and balked at the terribly long waits there, too... bleah! All the best, Sandi emoticon
    2921 days ago
    I had hopes that the HP addition would be as cool as the ads made it look. Doesn't sound like it.

    2921 days ago
    Goodness, that is disappointing! It sounds like it is all about waiting in lines rather than the fun that people go to theme parks for. I've never been myself - but I hope your next adventure turns out to be much better!
    2921 days ago
    Universal Stuidos in general was a big disappointment. We went there about 12 years ago during the off season. There was a total of 8 rides in the park. All had a wait of 1-1.5 hours. Maybe that is there business model. Make the customer wait.
    2921 days ago
    That is a shame. Sorry you had such a terrible time.
    2921 days ago
    That is upsetting. Hopefully they will hear some of the bad feedback (I am sute you arent the only one to feel this way) and improve!
    2921 days ago
    That is so disappointing!
    They are going to have a LOT of unhappy cranky customers!
    Money-grubbing creeps.
    2921 days ago
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