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Universal Orlando 2012: The Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Theme Park Adventure Paperback – Nov 16 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: The Intrepid Traveler; 11th Edition edition (Nov. 16 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1887140948
  • ISBN-13: 978-1887140942
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15 x 22.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #263,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By 11point5 on July 14 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book to help me plan the one day I'm planning to spend at Universal this October during a 10-day trip to Disney. It will be my first time ever visiting Universal, and this book seemed to be the top-rated/only Universal Studios planning book available. While I do love all things Disney, I do not personally feel any of the competitive tension that may or may not exist between Disney World and Universal Studios. The writer of this book, on the other hand, clearly thinks Universal is the best thing in the world, and makes SEVERAL rude/judgemental/loaded/sarcastic/comparative/BIASED statements about Disney World. I found this to add a VERY unprofessional tone to the book and found myself really feeling like the author was an ignorant jerk who should spend his time writing anti-Disney books instead of pretending to write a Universal-Studios-planning book.

Aside from the excessive Disney hate, this book is not very helpful in terms of park information. The chapters are laid out by "sections" of the park, and within each "section" are listed all the rides/attractions, and a few (though apparently not all?) dining options, shopping opportunities, etc. I don't think anyone who is willing to spend the $100+ on a ticket to Universal is only going to visit ONE "SECTION" of a park, so I felt that the section-by-section division of restaurants/attractions/shopping was really unnecessary and messy.

If you have ever seen or used a Disney PassPorter, you will NOT like this book, because the PassPorter is thoughtfully organized and sensibly laid out, while this book is very scattered and lacking in meaningful info.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 23 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Study This Before You Go Dec 11 2011
By J. L. Harrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Universal Orlando use to be one of the "also rans" down the highway from the Mouse, but Harry Potter changed everything. Even though Universal is a fraction (thankfully) of the size of the neighboring behemoth, there is a big payoff to doing a bit of advanced study. Our primary motivation for going was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Islands of Adventure. The author obviously loves his job and totally gets the entire Harry Potter experience. His observations and advice were spot on and greatly enhanced our experience. He describes all kinds of details and attractions we might have missed without knowing to look for them.

I'm not a big fan of rides, so I really appreciated the author's mention of the "Castle Tour," which is a way to tour Hogwarts without going on the ride. He also describes an observation area at the end of Dragon Challenge which I never would have found on my own. The strategy advice is invaluable, especially if your visit is during a busy time of year. We (ages from 67 to 11) found the ratings on rides and attractions helpful and accurate. His advice and observations are just as accurate and complete for the rest of the park, which is also big fun. I'm not kidding...you'll get way more for your money at Universal Orlando if you read this book before you go...maybe even before you book your trip.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Orlando weekend Jan. 4 2012
By Beth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I can't imagine how anyone can go to Univeral/Islands of Adventure without this book. Our family went for 2.5 days - went on EVERY ride, saw EVERY show. And then went on all the good ones again. The REAllY good ones 3 and 4 times.
We saw folks standing around with the maps they give out deciding what to do, the THRONGS of people waiting in lines....we did NONE of that.
Follow the instructions in the book....like stay at the hotels in the Park if you can, get there an hour early, go to the rides in the order they suggest....
you'll have an AWESOME time. We did.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
An Absolute Must March 12 2012
By Charles F. Myers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an absolute must to plan for your trip to Universal Orlando. Study it well before you leave home, and you'll have a much better time at the parks. The book is packed with invaluable information that will, 1) save you money, 2) save you time, and 3) allow you to see much more during your visit than you normally could. Actually, I would recommend that you read the book a couple of times, skim through it again on the flight to Orlando, and carry it with you inside the park. Excellent, excellent job, Seth. Thank you!

I just returned from a trip (March 2012) and have a few comments about things I'd like to see in future editions:

Page 9: It would be nice if this map (or another map) showed the canals and walking paths which connect the three hotels to City Walk. Don't miss walking along these paths and/or taking the water taxis - spectacular landscaping. (By the way, it's possible to walk from the lobby of the Royal Pacific Hotel all the way to City Walk without crossing a street. This is not evident from the map.)

Page 40: The "Accuracy and Other Impossible Dreams" is well hidden inside the book. Be sure to check the blog before you leave home to see the last-minute changes. For example, the Jaws ride and Amity Island are now gone.

Page 59: I'm not sure why, but "Lucy: A Tribute" and Kwik-E-Mart consistently opened their doors one hour after the official park opening.

Page 115: The map of Islands of Adventure needs to show the **bridges** connecting the islands.

Page 136: I disagree about the outdoor seating at Mythos Restaurant. To me, it was like eating in a subway station with trains roaring through every minute or so - impossible to have a conversation. (The noise comes from the roller coaster across the lake.) The author also mentions "repeat visitors may notice some falling off" relative to the food. I think he hit the nail on the head on that one. Disappointing food quality.

Page 154: If you have your mail stamped with the "Hogsmeade postmark" at The Owl Post, be aware that it's not really a postmark. The problem arises when your letter goes to the USPS mail-processing facility, where it will receive a real postmark - probably on top of the Hogsmeade postmark. Suggestion: get the attendant to rubber stamp your letter just under the return-address area. That should avoid an overcancel.

Page 187: There are two miniature golf courses: The Haunted Course and the Sci-Fi Course. The first course you play (18 holes) runs almost $15 per person. If you play both courses, you "save" 25% off the second course. To me, the Haunted Course was very basic and uninspired. I'm told the Sci-Fi course is more challenging. I hope so.

Chapter 6: Staying Near the Parks: Please include daily parking charges, daily Internet-access fees, and whether breakfast is included.

Thanks again for a fantastic guide book!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great guide April 10 2012
By smr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i just returned from my Orlando vacation. In planning my trip I wanted a book to help guide us through the park. This book was just that, it guided us through Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Some of the parks offer things for smaller children, we have teenagers. This book gives you a detailed plan for those with small children and those with older children. We were in awe of how quickly we got to everything we wanted to see and this was Easter weekend!!! My husband likes to know where were going and is a big fan of maps. This book has maps and outlines a detailed plan to follow. I do however wish that (and maybe it is a connection to Universal Studios) the author would not have suggested we spend 250.00 plus dollars on an express pass. It was not needed. Maybe for small children, but if you get going early enough you don't need the express passes. Everywhere I go I buy some sort of guide book (Disney, Paris, Germany and Shanghai to name a few) so I know what guide book should have and this one did not dissappoint. A couple suggestions, eat in Harry Potter area. There is a great deal for 50.00 (lots of food) for 4, maybe even 5. In Universal Studios eat at Finnegans, nice pub food and relaxing atmosphere. Oh and it also details many of the attractions which was helpful because I get motion sickness and I was able to avoid rides that were likely to make me sick. Great book!!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Very Helpful Guide June 22 2012
By K. Schweighauser - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I also purchased an Official Guide to Disney World with this book - then discovered that all the Disney theme parks were covered by this book. The info in this book was far superior to the official guide as well. I highly recommend. (And after our trip I also recommend that parents wait until their kids are 6 to 8 before taking them to Orlando - I saw younger kids who were terrified out of their wits by the most mild rides, not to mention overwhelmed by excitement and exhausted after a trek half-way around the park.)

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