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A review of Universal Orlando

My daughter and I just got back from our trip to Universal Theme Park in Orlando. This is our second year going and I am sorry to say our experience at the park was disappointing this year due to some ride quality and service issues.

On our first day at the park a third of the rides that we went on had a noticeable malfunction.
Where the ride stopped, lost sound and/or the visual was out of sync with the motion of the ride.
Some rides were not functioning at all. Fortunately we were there for multiple days and no ride was down for our entire trip. Spider man did experience issues four out of the five times we rode it. The last ride malfunction created a ride experience that was so frightening to my eleven year old that we left the park afterwards.

I had booked the Harry Potter VIP Experience which includes a breakfast at the Three Broomsticks and another at the Leaky Cauldron, a Shutterbutton's video where you get to dress up and act out in different Harry Potter Locales and Express Pass which allows you to skip regular lines at most attractions.

The Shutterbutton's experience was a lot of fun. The facilitator was friendly and really got us to ham it up and we have a DVD to commemorate our trip.

Almost all of the staff is pleasant however we had a bad experience at the three broomstick where I was trying to get the attention of one of the staff members. They looked right at me and kept walking. After getting up and searching I found another staff member who was helpful and polite.

We stayed at the Cabana Bay Beach resort which is a cool Retro 50's and 60's themed hotel.
They have 2 pools one with a lazy river and one with a water slide.
The Jack Lalanne fitness center was really great with a numerous displays it is like a museum within a state of the art fitness center.

Our room was at the far end of the hotel. I wished I had know the hotel was so expansive. At the end of the night walking down an endless corridor is not what you want. I recommend trying to get a room close to the main lobby. (Starlight, Castaway or Thunderbird) Also there was construction going on across the street from where our room was so we got a wake-up call every morning whether we wanted it or not. We walked to the Park a few times but it is about a mile away. Buses are available and run every ten minutes but I definitely enjoyed the convenience of being closer when we stayed at the Royal Pacific which was equally nice and had a few more dining options albeit a bit more sophisticated than the Cabana bay but still very kid friendly.

For Food and Drink the hotel has a Starbucks, a food court, Pizza Delivery to your room, a Poolside Bar and Grill at the Lazy river and a Bar at the Waterslide Pool.

Other entertainment includes a bowling alley, arcade,  movies by the pool, ping-pong, pool and beach games.

Universal Studios is an amazing place the re-creation of the world from the Harry Potter Book series is spot on. But Universal is competing with Disney not Great Adventure. My expectation is that they attend to all details not just the attractions. So in addition to amazing attractions they need to ensure consistent customer service and ride quality.