Universal/SeaWorld Orlando questions
Ok so my husband and I are going down to FL the 20th-27th of March, mainly to visit some theme parks but I also want to do some other fun things. I am trying to figure out how to maximize our time, but I'm not familiar with any of the Florida parks, so I don't know what to expect. We are also trying to save money, tickets get expensive, so I wanted to avoid express pass things. From what I understand, this is also peak spring break season down there, unfortunately. We knew this but it's the only time we could both get off.
First off we are flying into Tampa, and going to BG, since my platinum pass to BGE expires soon it's our last chance to go for 'free'. Because we can come and go I was planning on stopping in for a few hours the afternoon we get there, and since our flight out isn't til 7 pm, the day we leave as well. I've been to BG before (just didn't ride anything) so I think that will be enough, even if lines are bad. I don't plan on doing anything there except the roller coasters. Is 2 half days not realistic?
While we are down there, and since it's also 'free' to go, I wanted to visit SeaWorld to ride Manta, Kraken and Journey to Atlantis. I just went to SeaWorld San Antonio on a work trip last year and did all the shows and animal attractions, so honestly I could care less about sitting through any of that this time. We don't have kids, so the only appeal is ticking off some more B&M coasters. How long would it take on a spring weekday to just run through and do the 3 big rides? Is evening or morning better?
Next, the big thing is IoA and Universal. Again, I could skip the shows, but I do want to ride most of the adult rides in both parks, and I really want to check out Harry Potter world. Ideally I would like to get the 2 park/1 day tickets, but my husband says we need at least 2 days. What would be the best deal, to do it all in one day with an express pass or the 2 day 2 park pass? The price is similar. I'm really wondering how long the lines are on Hulk and Dueling Dragons most days? I imagine spring break will really effect this as well?
So, to summarize all my questions...
1. How long to just ride coasters at SeaWorld?
Thanks to anyone who can help! I planned a couple coaster trips out last year with advice from people on the forum, and we had a great time. Visiting CP, KI, GAdv, GAm, and Dollywood all back to back turned me into a coaster junkie.
Sea world (I always visit in the summer, so I'm going to base my experience on that), I generally try to get the big rides done early in the morning. Atlantis and manta have single rider lines, but I dunno how often they are open especially for the spring. Sea world, I think if you aren't going for like 5 rides on each attraction, shouldn't take more than half a day unless you are staying around for the shows like the one ocean at shamu stadium.
Ioa-universal, it is possible to finish that in 1day. I always start with ioa and head for the Hp island. Ride the dragons first and if you don't mind splitting up, go on the single rider line for the hp journey. Also it helps if one of you stays outside to hold the bags as there's a long line for the lockers so even more of a better reason for the single rider line. After that go counter clockwise with Jurassic park and eventually to the marvel superhero island. The hulk by that time will be the main wait. Spider-Man should have a single rider line, but waits can be very long for that as well. I dunno if you care to visit the dr Seuss island, but that would be last IMO. Cat in the hat would also be a long wait, but I've rode it a lot in the past so, it isn't a big priority for me anymore,
Then head over along the hard rock restaurant side to get to universal studios for the rip ride rock it coaster. Single rider line can be a hit or miss, so it's up to you of you want to split up and ride that. The ride is soso and IMO, if the line is over 30min long, I'd just skip it. Mummy has a single rider line and that is the best as you are almost always right at the station entrance. From there I can't say which one to go to next, but I guess try and see if the line for the Simpsons ride isn't too long and then go to the mib ride (I believe should also have a single rider line). And that's pretty much what I remember for now.
I Hope it helps.
With the single rider lines, do they care if people go in those together, as long as they are willing to split up? I haven't been anywhere that had those in years. BGE used to have them back in the day.
How long is the wait usually for Hulk? That's the only ride I was considering I'd want to reride.
It depends but by the time I finished the hp island and worked my way back to the marvel island (around 12pm, but I had at least several rerides on the dragons, hp journey, jp), the wait for hulk was maybe 45 Min to an hour. But if you want to, I guess you could ride the hulk first in the morning and try to race everyone over to hp island and take a chance with the lines there.
Single ride lines pretty much splits both of you up, if they can't find another single rider to go with you, you may luck out and ride together. I've seen some groups going together because there were so many pairs in the regular line that they had to move the single rider line along.
* This post was modified at 3/3/13 8:40:59 PM *
The Busch platinum pass gets you a reride on almost all of the coasters at BGT and SeaWorld Orlando. One exception being Cheetah Hunt, IIRC.
You just show your pass to the ride op as you board for the first ride, then just stay seated when you return to the station.
BGT does give rerides on most of the coasters with the platinum as well.
There are no rerides for anything as I recall at Universal/ IOA. I know that even when I was at IOA on a completely dead day, and knew several of the ride ops personally, I still had to get off and walk around (through a shortcut thankfully) in order to ride again on dragons.
For sure in my recent visit to sea world, they don't allow rerides on kraken unless you have the platinum pass. Even with no lines, it was the long walk down the ramp and then back to the station. So pointless IMO.
Good to know the shortcut is still there. I don't think I can run as fast as I used to for the coaster. I could have made it just in time before the train left the station after just getting off one side.
Just a heads up, that shortcut may or may not be open. It's been several years, and the only reason I was able to use it was because the park was pretty empty and I knew the ride ops. I've seen many times that it wasn't open. I don't know if they will allow it to be used now or not, as the last time I was there was before Harry Potter.
I was only pointing out that they've never allowed rerides on Dragons, because if they had I would have been able to get them on those couple of days, and I wasn't allowed to have them at that point either.
I believe part of the problem with rerides there is that Dragons unloads in a different place than they load, and they have to have the trains cleared and empty during the transition from unload to loading.
I was able to get 5 rides with no wait in the morning before the crowds showed up, but was only able to get around as quickly as the train I had gotten off returned to the station after being reloaded, cycled and unloaded. And I was walking quite briskly.
A 1 day pass is $123.00! I think I can get the movie collection And the book collection for less, and it would last more than a day. Its a price which I consider to be "stupid expensive".
You're far better off looking for one of the City Passes (if they still have them) that also include Sea World and maybe Busch Gardens and Wet and Wild for 5 or 7 days. Much cheaper per person, per day, and per park.
I also think the Orlando parks have every right to charge what they do and they clearly deliver an experience that justifies the price. These are not Six Flags parks. Universal, Disney and even SeaWorld Orlando are a significant step-up in terms of the quality of the attractions, the environment, operations and the overall experience.
IMO, sea world is only worth it if combined with another park in the same purchase. After the 3 big rides and the shamu one ocean show, there's not much there. (Gonna see how this new penguin attraction is like hopefully in June).
If you're only after rides, then sure. But the vast majority of people don't go to Sea World for the rides. They go for all of the animal shows and experiences and the rides are a bonus draw. There's aren't a whole lot of people that are only going to do the few rides that are there and little else.
Three days seem to be the magic number for me. One day at IOA, one at US and one day to hop between the two. Although I have only used it for the 3rd day of my 2 visits the last 2 years, the hopping feature is worth the extra price, especially if you think you may encounter crowds.