Continuing our brief, superficial tour around Islands of Adventure, we now find ourselves at Seuss Landing for Grinchmas.
Because these pictures were taken in mid-December and are now largely irrelevant, the Christmas decorations are going to be out in force. Just pretend like this is every other Disney blog out there that tries to stretch a one week vacation into six months of blogging. Because that’s exactly what’s going on here.
The single wreath hung on this refurbishment wall is proof positive that Universal goes all out for the holiday season.
I kid, I kid. Seuss Landing is actually decked out pretty well for the holidays and that wall in front of Moose Juice Goose Juice is gone.
During the holiday extravaganza, you can take your picture with the Grinch.
The Wholiday Spectacular is a Grinchmas-only stage show usually scheduled around six times daily beginning at noon.
You line up in between the Cat in the Hat ride and Circus McGurkus. About 15 minutes before the show starts, the queue is led to a sound stage behind the Landing.
Here we are. Very festive.
The Spectacular is otherwise a truncated retelling of the Jim Carey version of The Grinch.
Here’s 12 minutes of it to give you an idea about what to expect. It’s a fun show, though I wouldn’t characterize it as a “must see” like the Osborne Lights or Candlelight Processional. But it’s a nice holiday bonus if you’re visiting between December 1st and 31st when it’s offered. Depending on when you visit and how crowded it is, you’ll want to line up 15 to 45 minutes early to secure seats. Seating is moderately comfortable with backs on the seats.
I got in line about ten minutes prior to show time and this is where I ended up. The show is about 25 minutes long and I felt like the 45 minutes or so invested was time well spent.
Anyway, back to the regular stuff. Just ignore the Christmas lights, shoddy HDR, and +100 clarity. Seuss Landing is the first Island you’ll come across on your right after walking through Port of Entry, which leads into the Park from the turnstiles. Most guests headed this way in the morning will continue through to The Lost Continent and then into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Others will head to the left to Marvel Super Hero Island for the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk Coaster. Seuss Landing can be put off until 10am without running into long waits. I’ll discuss capacities and wait times at individual attractions as we progress.
Seuss Landing’s top priority is The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride, which often has wait times comparable to Pteranodon Flyers. Which is to say, longer than most other attractions.
In this instance, the wait is 40 minutes, compared to ten at Forbidden Journey, five at Hulk, twenty at Spider-Man, five at Dragon Challenge, etc. Most days, you’ll want to ride before 10:15am or in the last two hours of operation.
Like Toy Story Midway Mania over at Hollywood Studios, the Trolley has long waits because of its slow loading and lack of other things to do for youngsters.
I’m not sure what I would compare it to at Disney World.
A very slow moving, dark ride version of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster set high over the Backlot that sometimes goes outside? Or something? Maybe a Tomorrowland Transit Authority comparison would be more accurate. Anyway, you’ll board these 20-person trains with two-across seating and lap restraints.
And then set out above Seuss Landing.
Some briefly great photo ops of the Landing below.
And some animatronics to go along with the telling of a Dr. Seuss story.
The ride is about three minutes long, a minute and a half of which you can watch above. If your group consists of teenagers/adults, you may be able to safely skip Seuss Trolley without any harm. I still recommend it with Express Pass or if you can get a ride in with a short wait, potentially on a second day at Islands of Adventure. With kids, Seuss Trolley is a must do. If you’re skipping the thrill rides, you may want to do Ollivanders -> Forbidden Journey -> Hippogriff-> Pteranodon Flyers -> Seuss Trolley to minimize waits. If you’re adding Spider-Man, you may want to circle down there after Pteranodon Flyers and then continue to Seuss Landing. But Seuss Trolley is the first ride in Seuss Landing you want to do early in the morning or the last ride in the evening without Express Pass.
While a minor attraction in the grand scheme of things, The Cat in the Hat is the second major attraction in Seuss Landing.
The wait can always be longer. Here at 9:37am on December 14th, I’m the only one on the ride.
The ride system is similar to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at Magic Kingdom. Theoretically, it’s three to a couch or six to a vehicle.
Unlike Winnie the Pooh, where the enemies are the wind, low crop yield, and psychedelics, we’re going to have a chance encounter with a Cat.
I’ve mentioned before that photography is frowned upon at Universal Studios.
At Disney World, they don’t care what rides you try to photograph.
Want to hold your iPad up on Expedition Everest to get a sweet video for YouTube? No problem.
On Cat in the Hat, I was quickly reprimanded before entering the ride vehicle. “There’s no photography on the ride.” Surprised, I inquired with eyebrow raised, “Even without the flash?” “No photos on the ride” was the answer.
You may also remember that as vacationing Americans, the rules don’t apply to us.
But it’s nice of Universal to look out for us. They’re obviously concerned that cameras and phones will fly out of your hands when the vehicle unexpectedly twists and turns. Or they’re scared to death of UNIVERSALMAGIC.com popping up with flash pictures showing dust on the seventh Cat in the fourth room if you turn around and look up just after you pass this area. SHUT IT DOWN.
In true Universal fashion, even Cat in the Hat is wilder than its Disney counterparts.
I doubt it will set off any motion sickness alarms, but there is a fair amount of spinning involved, though I’m told it’s been toned down in recent years.
It isn’t in constant motion by any stretch, but it has its moments.
Cat in the Hat is another one that isn’t a “must do” if your group consists of teenagers/adults, but it’s fun if the wait is reasonably short or you have a second day in the Park. A familiarity of the Cat in the Hat story would help kids understand what’s going on. Most kids will probably want to ride a second or third time.
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is the Landing’s spinner.
But there’s a twist, of course. The ride calls out instructions to a catchy tune. It tells you to go up, go down, do what the person in front of you is doing, etc.
All the while, water squirts at you.
The idea is that you won’t get wet if you follow the instructions. Luckily on a cool morning in December, the water wasn’t turned on for this ride. With Express Pass and slow loading, wait times can approach 30 minutes in the afternoon when it’s busy. But One Fish doesn’t have the same charm or nostalgia factor as Dumbo, which makes it significantly less popular. Ride in the morning with kids, but it’s skippable for most groups of adults.
Continuing with the “I’ve seen this before somewhere” theme, the Caro-Seuss-el is the “World’s most unusual merry-go-round.”
That may or may not be true. My estimation is that there are some pretty unusual carousels in Best Korea. The characters here are from various Dr. Seuss books and you can push and pull levers on the characters to animate them – eyes blink, heads turn, ears wiggle, etc. Another must for those with young kids, but probably skippable for everyone else. It is certainly cute though and its somewhat limited appeal guarantees shorter waits than the other Seuss rides and most other attractions at Islands of Adventure. Expect waits to be 5 to 10 minutes most days. And the name is a lot more fun than “Prince Regal Carousel.”
Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear! is Seuss Landing’s stage show, featuring Sam from Green Eggs and Ham, and the Cat along with Thing 1, Thing 2, The Grinch, and The Lorax.
It’s an easy way for the kids to see the characters singing and dancing on stage. Six to eight shows are generally scheduled during the day, beginning at 10:30am and continuing into the evening.
Afterward, the characters pose for pictures and sign autographs.
You should be able to show up five to ten minutes before show time to secure spots to see the show. In addition, you can forget Disney’s 60+ minute waits for some characters. Poor Sam I Am doesn’t have anyone to meet or greet. The show moves inside Circus McGurkus to the left if it’s rainy.
Rounding out the attraction list is “If I Ran the Zoo,” a playground area for kids.
These pictures don’t exactly make it look awesome I feel like, but toddlers will have a blast here. There’s something like 20 different interactive elements including tunnels, a slide, water guns, knobs to turn, etc. With kids playing, I didn’t want to go full creep-o (and risk another arrest), but kids under the age of five are going to have a ball. I’ll push the kids out of the way next time to get some choice shots.
Above is a look at the Landing from The Lost Continent side. If you’re walking through from the main entrance or Super Hero Island, Seuss Trolley is the last ride you’ll see on the right, after passing McGurkus. Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish, and Oh! The Stories! would all be on the right with the Caro-Seuss-el across from McGurkus on the left.
Seuss Landing is going to be a lot of fun for younger children. There’s plenty to do here while the bigger kids and adults explore the more intense rides in Super Hero Island and Jurassic Park. The group can then reconvene for more appropriate attractions in The Lost Continent, Toon Lagoon, and elsewhere. Because several of the attractions have slow loading times, those wishing to experience Seuss Trolley and Cat in the Hat should arrive before 10:30am or plan to ride in the final hour or two of operation. Of course, the same advice goes for the Wizarding World and thrill rides, so you may need to prioritize a bit with only one day. Groups of adults should spend some time looking around Seuss Landing, but riding the Trolley, One Fish Two Fish, and the Caro-Seuss-el probably isn’t a required assignment. But like Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo, and other “rides for kids” over at Disney World, Seuss Landing’s attractions are appreciated by people of all ages.
The Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous is the Landing’s major quick service. It’s also on the Meal Deal, which will be discussed at length when we head over to the Universal theme park where Harry Potter isn’t. Somehow I’ve misplaced my pictures of the menu, but this is where you’ll find fried chicken, spaghetti, pizza, a Caesar salad, and burgers.
Green Eggs and Ham is the other quick service where you’ll find food of substance. However, it’s only open when the Park is extremely busy.
Green Eggs and Ham is actually on the menu.
It sounds like it would be good, though the reviews I’ve seen don’t seem to be positive. These uppity Universal folks have probably never sampled one of Disney’s Angus Pizza Burgers or Burrito Hot Dogs.
Not to be outdone by Main Street Confectionery or Big Top Souvenirs in the “just one more of these will probably kill you” category, Seuss Landing features Snookers & Snookers Sweet Candy Cookers.
Pricing and choices are similar:
White Chocolate Turtles, M&M Brownies, Mint Chocolate Swirl Fudge, Cat in the Hat Cookies, etc.
And the usual snacks.
Churros and Pretzles are only going to get more and more stale. Buy early.
Other than the occasional counter top, there are no straight lines in Seuss Landing.
More “refill opportunities.”
Rounding out the “it’s okay we’re on vacation” choices is Hop on Pop Ice Cream Shop.
Think Storybook Treats infused with dippin’ dots.
And don’t forget stuff.
They have that too:
It seemed like a nice selection, though similar stuff can probably be found at Target or Wal-Mart for less money. But you can say the same about Disney merchandise too.
So that’s Seuss Landing. Alone, it probably isn’t enough to get you away from the Disney bubble. But you may want to add several of the attractions to your itinerary if you’re headed to Universal for the “Harry Potter theme park.” And it’s a great place to go with the kid(s) that aren’t tall enough/willing to ride Hulk, Dragon Challenge, Dr. Doom, and the like while others enjoy the thrill rides. Over at Universal Proper, we’ll find some more fun for the kids at Woody Woodpecker’s Fun Zone.