Hello Micechatters and UUOP listeners, welcome to episode 65 of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast.
This episode is Lee and Tracey’s report from their recent three week trip to Orlando, on which they made nine visits to Universal Orlando Resort. They checked out all the new additions to the parks, as well as everything else in between. They also visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time.


They rode the newly refurbed Spiderman, as well as the newly opened Transformers: The Ride 3D.

Also, as part of the trip, Lee, Tracey Darren and Eric, held the very first Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast meet.

They invited friends of the show and listeners to join them for a ride on Men In Black and then to take on the Kitchen Challenge at the Hard Rock Hotels Kitchen Restaurant, all this AND they raised nearly $300 for Give Kids The World Village.


We finish off the show with Darren’s Halloween Horror Nights Orlando – Survival Guide.

So grab a drink, put your feet up and settle in for an EPIC trip report

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  • dsmith3373

    Just finished listening to the podcast (#I survived) thanks for a great show, though I’d weigh in with my comments…

    I too love City Walk, but as a couple not into bars and clubs there isn’t that much to do there for us. I’m pleased the coke bottle monitor appears to be back now, it seemed a little dead without it last September. It’s a colourful and lively place at night and its great to see it from the resort boats when you’re going to and from your hotel.
    Royal Pacific is by far my favourite Orlando hotel, I’ve been lucky enough to stay there 3 times, I always wondered who got those rooms below the entrance bridge, now I know, they keep them for Florida residents (bad luck Darren)! We were given exactly the same room 2 consecutive trips (I didn’t contact them and ask, so it must just have been a cosmic coincidence) we had a fabulous view of the waterway and looking on to IOA, the Loews hotels are not cheap, but they are so worth it, my 1 issue, same as Lee’s, the bike taxis, I know it must be a thankless job, but seriously, they should be told to wait until they are approached, I found them even more annoying when we stayed at Hard Rock. Oh and the $7 bottles of water in the rooms, come on Loews!!

    Glad to hear the Wizarding World was everything you hoped and more, we got to do the ‘castle tour’ on our first every visit (early entry) and I agree the talking portraits look so much better on the stairs, unfortunately we had to do the tour because the ride was 101, wasn’t a great start. Later in the trip it broke down when we were in the queue by the sorting hat (the hat is very cool, but after listening to it over and over and over for about 30mins we were ready to tear it to bits!) fortunately, it never broke down while we were on it. Oh and I also think it’s the best ride ever!

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one who tears up a bit when I’m in Orlando, for me it’s the Magic Kingdom though, when the castle comes into view from the steamship (blink fast, don’t look at anyone!!!). I agree with Tracey when it comes to Universal, it feels comfortable when I enter the parks (after you get past the annoying photographers).

    I am sooo looking forward to Transformers next trip, your views on it just made my need to try it even worse!!

    • CaptainAction

      About those $7 bottles of water; if you stay again or stayed recently at Royal Pacific see if you can get credit for your recent stay or stays or at least future stays with their Loew’s First Membership. If you join this club, which is free, they have terrific benefits. Everytime you check in you get free welcome gifts like a great big plate of giant cookies and a pitcher of milk, or chocolate covered strawberries, or very nice and large fruit baskets, etc. with some kind non-perishable gift which changes all the time. Also, some free bottles of water.
      Also, each stay counts toward free room upgrades. We get an upgrade at Portofino from a 450 sq ft room to a 900 sq ft Portofino suite with two full baths all for the same price as the regular room. Now everytime we check in we also get a $100 credit to be used at any of the resort restaurants!
      The Uni Annual Pass usually gets us the best discount. If you buy your annual passes with an AMEX then you can go to the AMEX Lounge at Universal for free. Need a receipt and your card the first time you go inside the lounge to get signed up. Inside the comfortable air conditioned lounge are free water bottles, granola bars, kettle cooked chips, etc. You can go and stay as often as you like. GREAT place to cool off, eat and drink for free. We always take a bottle of water, granola bar, and bag of kettle chips when we leave and they are fine with it.
      Hope this helps.

  • Lee Mallaby

    Thanks for the comment Darren. Transformers is pretty amazing and in no way feels like Spiderman, even though, its the same ride system.
    Tracey and I are a couple with kids, who don’t do bars and nightclubs and we still LOVE Citywalk, I think it has enough for the whole family to be able to spend best part of a day there.

    • dsmith3373

      What would you do there for nearly a full day?

      As much as I love the feel and atmosphere of the place it can’t keep me entertained for more than about an hour, maybe 2 if we eat!

  • Lee Mallaby

    As we said on the podcast, when we went to citywalk with Eric, we were there for 6 hours. We ate at Pat O’Briens, had a wander round, played one side of the minigolf, rode the water taxi and generally just hung out. Add the cinema and the rest of the minigolf and other stuff. 🙂

  • Lee Mallaby

    As we said on the podcast, when we went to citywalk with Eric, we were there for 6 hours. We ate at Pat O’Briens, had a wander round, played one side of the minigolf, rode the water taxi and generally just hung out. Add the cinema and the rest of the minigolf and other stuff, you could spend a decent amount of time there. 🙂

    • dsmith3373

      Ok fair enough, I’m not a mini golf person, never felt the need to go to the cinema there and hadn’t really considered the boats a city walk attraction, though I might jump on the portofino one next time, it’s the only hotel I’ve never really seen there.

      I’m hoping the rumours of WWE taking over NBA are true to create a WWE hall of fame, that would probably keep me entertained for a couple of hours, although it might be at the expense of my relationship!

    • CaptainAction

      Thanks for a fun podcast. I have a family of 5 and we love Universal.
      We always save a couple of movies to see while we are on vacation at Universal. We can valet park for free right beside the mini golf and near the cinema with my Premium Annual Pass. The cinema is VERY nice and the Annual Pass can also get you discounts on movie tickets in the evening. The cinema is never busy and we’ve always wondered why, so last time we attended this cinema we asked one of the managers. He told us that folks don’t like to pay to park and see a movie here as it adds up, so movies may be sold out or very popular at other cinemas are usually available here.
      We don’t really drink alcohol, so the bar scene has never really appealed to us. We usually eat lunch somewhere at Citywalk and see a movie when the parks are at their peak on a crowded and hot day. Easy to spend 5-6 hours doing this and checking out the stores.
      We would like to play mini-golf at Citywalk some time because it looks very fun but we haven’t fit it in yet.
      We usually stay at Portofino and love to walk or ride the boats (walking is about a mile and we often add that to our exercise to justify an extra cookie or something). Love the theming at Royal Pacific too but we can’t get the same upgrade with Loew’s First here to the Parlor Suite and two baths like we can at Portofino.

  • BradyNBradleysMom

    I have a heard time with the look of the Transformers. They hurt my eyes. I’ve never been able to explain it well, but I think there’s just too much going on with them…especially their faces. The old cartoon versions of them had simple faces and bodies, but the ones from the new movies are so busy. My eyes hurt when looking at their faces.

    I wish the Universal attractions had made the characters look more like the original cartoon and not the Michael Bay movies.