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    • Taylor Strickland

      (IMPORTANT) What's next for our community   03/24/2016

      Today we're excited to announce the start of our new Facebook group: Universal Community by Orlando Informer. We're also announcing we're closing our forums. This is probably the hardest decision I've made so far with Orlando Informer. This week marks the 2nd anniversary of our forums. Monday will mark 2 years from when I first applied to work with Orlando Informer. I was entering a pool of over 50 applicants, didn't meet the requirements, and didn't think the odds were very high that I'd get the position of Forum Moderator. It never even crossed my mind that not only would I get the position, but that position and these forums would be the start of being able to do what I love as a fulltime job. At its core, our forums have always had two goals: A ) Help families receive specific answers to specific questions, feedback from folks who have been in their shoes, and help them maximize their investment into their vacation. B ) Build a community of people who love to visit Universal, with a foundation of respect and tolerance. I can speak for our entire team on our forums (both past and present), especially our Community Manager @Chuck Plagmann, when I say that we have devoted hours of time every day of the year working towards these two goals. We feel that we've made major strides towards both of our goals, but see the opportunity to help a significantly greater amount of people plan their vacation and add on to our established (and amazing) community. Unfortunately, as time goes on, forums like ours have a tendency to slow down and be replaced by social media. It's the cycle of life for forums. We believe that this Facebook group is the logical next step for our community. Our forums and the content within will remain browseable for the foreseeable future, however you will not be able to submit new content. Our Facebook group, Universal Community by Orlando Informer, will be curated by our same team that ran the OI Forums. @Chuck Plagmann and I will be on the group daily to provide insight and help families plan their vacation. @debi will be monitoring for any Special Needs questions. Our (very talented) authors, like @Marc N. Kleinhenz, will be on the group to talk about their latest articles and your feedback. Finally, @Park Beast will even be dropping by from time to time to talk about our weekly podcast. You can access our Facebook group by searching "Universal Community by Orlando Informer" or visiting UOR.community from any webbrowser. We know this is a substantial change from our forums, but are hopeful you'll be willing to give it a shot. Additionally, we're launching a Facebook group for Universal Hollywood: "Universal Community by California Informer" or visit USH.community. This is the end of the forums, but it is just the beginning of our community. One thing we consistently hear from members of our forums is how different our community is from some of the others found online. We are committed to maintaining this reputation in our Facebook group. I have met a countless number of people, many I call friends, from our OI Forums. I know real bonds (and even relationships) have resulted from the time spent on these forums. I'm looking forward to seeing these bonds develop and new ones form on our new outlet. Please know that this decision was not made lightly or without considering the amount of time many of you have spent on here. I fully believe this is the next step forward to growing our community and helping as many people as possible have the best trip to Universal. I'm looking forward to interacting with everyone for many years to come. As always, please don't hesitate to reach out with feedback -- taylor [at] orlandoinformer.com See you on the Facebook Group, Taylor P.S., Unlimited likes on Facebook, you can thank me in advance.
Dan Hatfield

Orlando Informer touring plans for USF & IOA

133 posts in this topic

Hey Chuck, Can you use the "secret" entrance next to Blue Man Group to get in for EPA?  Or is that only at the main turnstiles?  During regular park hours, is that entrance always open?  Thanks for any info.  

HI

No, the 'secret' entrance is open at 11:00 AM, well after EPA.

 

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HI

No, the 'secret' entrance is open at 11:00 AM, well after EPA.

 

That's kinda what I figured, because they have to corral everyone.  Thought I would take a shot anyway.  As always, thank you:)

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Hopefully this is right place to ask this.  Does anyone know which park will have EPA in February? Or will it be both? Last year it was just IOA when I went,

 

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21 minutes ago, whatkaylasays said:

Hopefully this is right place to ask this.  Does anyone know which park will have EPA in February? Or will it be both? Last year it was just IOA when I went,

 

The dates for EPA are not published very far into the future.  But typically in the slower periods, IOA is the EPA park, so I think you can plan on IOA.

Often the hotels will have the EPA park information.  You might contact your hotel to find out more.

In my view, EPA no longer is an advantage in accessing Hogemeade or Diagon Alley.  At EPA, all the hotel guests rush in and fill the areas.  It is less crowded later in the day.  This is different from a year ago, when the non-EPA guests filled the Harry Potter areas heavily.

 

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On January 19, 2016 at 0:03 PM, Chuck Plagmann said:

The dates for EPA are not published very far into the future.  But typically in the slower periods, IOA is the EPA park, so I think you can plan on IOA.

Often the hotels will have the EPA park information.  You might contact your hotel to find out more.

In my view, EPA no longer is an advantage in accessing Hogemeade or Diagon Alley.  At EPA, all the hotel guests rush in and fill the areas.  It is less crowded later in the day.  This is different from a year ago, when the non-EPA guests filled the Harry Potter areas heavily.

 

Do you feel this way about EPA only during the slow days? Or all the time? 

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7 hours ago, Kathkat said:

Do you feel this way about EPA only during the slow days? Or all the time? 

It is especially true on slow days.  Less so on busy days. 

This will change this summer when Skull Island and HULK open.  EPA will be good then (assuming they have them open during EPA). 

EPA is good when FJ or EFG are over 90 minutes all day.  Often, on a 9:00 opening day (EPA at 8:00), around 9:30 it will be in the 20-30 range.  It will pick up in the afternoon.

If you have EPA, you are going to use it, so enjoy...

 

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Good morning, we are going to follow your 3 day plan this may.  The days we are there US is the only one open early.  Your plan shows not to do Diagons ally first but to go right to DM for early entry.  Are all the rides open in US for early admission people?  And what time does three broomsticks open for breakfast?  Will we be allowed over there for breakfast if that park does not offer early entry.  Thank you for this great site.

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Just now, Canadianmomof3 said:

Good morning, we are going to follow your 3 day plan this may.  The days we are there US is the only one open early.  Your plan shows not to do Diagons ally first but to go right to DM for early entry.  Are all the rides open in US for early admission people?  And what time does three broomsticks open for breakfast?  Will we be allowed over there for breakfast if that park does not offer early entry.  Thank you for this great site.

Hi,

1. During Early Park Admission (EPA), in the Universal Studios Park, only Diagon Alley and Despicable Me are open.  There is a lined path from the front gate to Diagon Alley.  We suggest doing DM first, because the line is usually the shortest of the day.  DM has a small throughput and is popular, so often the wait is over 60 minutes.  After DM, head to DA for Gringotts.   FYI, EPA at IOA has only Hogsmeade open (at least for now, might change when Skull Island opens).

2. Three broomsticks is open when the park opens.  So in your case, with EPA at US, you will not have access to IOA or Three Broomsticks until after EPA.  You can take the Hogwarts Express to IOA...   It should not be an issue for your breakfast.

 

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