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View Full Version : Disney - This year - Universal - Next Year


Marie17
01-21-2008, 09:14 AM
We've already bought our annual passes for our just finished January trip and are planning (in the budget already) at least 3 other trips. I am thinking that we might plan on saving vacation budget for next year by doing Universal and utilizing the 7 day tickets for $86. I don't know if Harry Potter will be completely finished yet or not but if not I plan on buying a couple sets of tickets for a few of the vacations in coming years. I do think that Harry Potter will be neat to see even though I've never read any of the books but our kids have.

mareed
01-21-2008, 01:06 PM
I caution you about total costs of a "budget" Universal trip. We've done many Disney trips as you can see from my sig, but we're doing Universal & Sea World this Spring Break. It started as a budget trip to avoid Disney during the very busy week before Easter. (We've been at XMAS before, so I'm not sure why I was letting crowds scare me off from Disney!).

Anyway, since Universal does not have Fastpass, you either have to buy a one-day express pass at a cost of $55 per person per day (during peak time, which we are) or spend $365 for one night at a Universal hotel which gives 2 days of front-of-the-line access for up to 5 people in the room for 2 days (arrival & departure days).

We're used to staying in wonderful condos or townhomes for under $100 a night near Disney. We've found a condo between Universal & Sea World near the Convention Center (Vista Cay), but it's more like $150 per night. After adding in one night Universal hotel (which we won't even sleep at), the costs are much, much higher than our usual Disney trip. We usually manage our Disney trips at an average of $85 per person per day. This is complete total including transportation, lodging, meals, etc. Our Universal budget trip is coming out about $120 per person per day. We'll spend 4 days at Universal and have the front-of-the-line with the Universal hotel for 2 of those days. The other 2 days we'll just do what we can in the morning before lines get bad, so those will probably be short days. We'll also spend 2 days at Sea World and one day at Typhoon Lagoon using old Disney plus options.

Just be sure to factor in all expenses at Universal, as we found it was definitely not budget compared to Disney at all! I sure hope we can enjoy it withouot wishing we're at Disney the whole time!

stahshee
01-21-2008, 01:29 PM
No flames please.. We did 7 days in Universal and it was WAY to much. Also we did not have the express pass:scared1: . I am with the other poster its really not budget friendly also it is NOTHING compaired to Disney.. one more thing the eat all you can counter service was gross..

Marie17
01-21-2008, 02:04 PM
I am not sure how much we would save but I am sure that once Harry Potter does come to Universal we most probably won't have the special 7 days for 86 special. I don't necessarily know where we are actually going to stay either but I do know that my kids will want to go see the Harry Potter theme area.

I absolutely love Disney .. I'm having withdrawal right now and it's only been 13 days since we left and less than 75 days until our next vacation there. And after that trip less than 5 months until our next trip and then only 4 weeks until the next one. So we have a tendency to love Disney.

I imagine if we do Universal eventually it will be cheaper in some way or another. We wouldn't buy the FOTL passes @ $55 each because there are 7 in the family BUT instead would most probably enjoy the theme park early every day like focusing in on certain areas and then spend some quality time at the hotel and pool without getting totally exhausted like we seem to do at Disney. This would also allow us to eat at local restaurants without feeling like we are wasting our precious time because we aren't at Disney. We always say we are going to "go back to relax" but we get caught up in Disney very easily and no one wants to leave once we are there.

runwad
01-21-2008, 03:56 PM
Marie17 this is what my family is planning on doing too with our $86 tickets. Just going there first thing in the morning riding whatever we can get out w/o long waits then going back to the condo in the afternoon to swim and either hitting the parks again at night or going to CityWalk or DTD. I think it can definetely be a budget vacation. We can't wait to see the Harry Potter part also. What I'm trying to decide is if I should buy another set of tickets for another time while the $86 ticket is still being sold:confused3

tinaluis
01-21-2008, 04:49 PM
We have APs for US/IOA (only $99 for the year including free parking) and we spend about 5-8 days a trip there (we go for two weeks at a time usually 2x a year). We do what others have suggested -- spend mornings (or afternoons, depending on whether we've slept late or not) focusing on one area knowing that we'll see and do everything we want to see and do by the time our trip is over. Don't let anyone scare you into buying express passes. If you go with the mindset you have in your second post here, you'll have a great time. Our trips wouldn't be the same if we only visited one park or the other. With the relatively inexpensive price of US/IOA tickets we don't have to.

I do agree that the all you can eat meal deal is not worth it. We usually eat outside the parks because we know we're not going to be there all day. If we do purchase anything in the parks it's usually a snack, not a meal.

Have a great trip and have fun planning. I can't wait to see Hogwarts!

rie'smom
01-21-2008, 05:33 PM
We've never paid more than 230.00 for a Univeral onsite hotel and the you automatically get Front of the Line Access for that price. If you have AAA or buy an AP, you save lots on the hotel room cost. Oh and for that 250, you get a little smaller room but much nicer than the GF which would cost 2x the price.

keishashadow
01-21-2008, 06:12 PM
We've never paid more than 230.00 for a Univeral onsite hotel and the you automatically get Front of the Line Access for that price. If you have AAA or buy an AP, you save lots on the hotel room cost. Oh and for that 250, you get a little smaller room but much nicer than the GF which would cost 2x the price.

even the weekend before halloween (prime time @ Universal due to HHN) I was able to book 2 weekend nights @ the RPR for under $250, factoring in the tax.

Loews offers a deluxe resort vibe and very generous reward program for upgraded rooms:thumbsup2

don't forget:

*1 night effectively gives you 2 days of the express passes (day you check in & the next); we find it a nice way to wind up our trips @ Disney World while keeping our teenage son happy.

*the weekday rates @ Loews are less than the weekends

*depending on the time of year you visit, they may offer super saver rates closer to $200

*Jurrassic Falls in IOA & Enchanted Oak have great food, especially the rotissere chicken.:goodvibes They also have refillable mugs where they (gasp;) ) encourage you to bring them back on your next trip.:banana:

*they have had a BOGO year free on APs the last 2 seasons; worked out well for us & offers hotel discounts along with restaurants, tixs, etc.

HayGan
01-21-2008, 06:38 PM
*they have had a BOGO year free on APs the last 2 seasons; worked out well for us & offers hotel discounts along with restaurants, tixs, etc.

WOW! That is a great deal! Is US like Disney in that when you buy APs they don't start until you activate them? Also, is that for US & IOA? We are going to Orlando for 2 weeks next year and want to spend a few days at US. If we can get BOGO APs for there I can convince DH to make a few trips down in 2009/2010 :cool1:

mareed
01-21-2008, 10:14 PM
We've never paid more than 230.00 for a Univeral onsite hotel and the you automatically get Front of the Line Access for that price. If you have AAA or buy an AP, you save lots on the hotel room cost. Oh and for that 250, you get a little smaller room but much nicer than the GF which would cost 2x the price.

Well, I can definitely confirm that if you're going the week before Easter 2008, you will! :scared1: $364 at the cheapest place and cheapest, no view room - Royal Pacific resort and no discounts of any kind available. That's a lot of money, but still less than 2 days of Express pass for 5 people at that time. Since this is likely to be our only ever Universal trip, we're doing it, but it's still killing me as you can tell. ;)

RedAlfalfa
01-21-2008, 10:40 PM
I also have the BOGO annual from US. When I got mine I needed to buy something from Bealles Dept store. The reciept had a code to get the 2nd year free.
However the month after that deal expired they offered the same deal to everyone (I think? I didn't pay as much attention since I did the Bealls deal).
You had until Dec 31 to activate the ticket. I didn't get there till March last year so I lost 3 months.
I haven't noticed US offering the same deal but it usually starts around the summer and I think they skip some years. Last year they offered an extra 3 months instead of an extra year.

WOW! That is a great deal! Is US like Disney in that when you buy APs they don't start until you activate them? Also, is that for US & IOA? We are going to Orlando for 2 weeks next year and want to spend a few days at US. If we can get BOGO APs for there I can convince DH to make a few trips down in 2009/2010 :cool1:

PatMcDuck
01-21-2008, 10:48 PM
We are doing Universal in summer of 2010, when Potter-land should be open. We find the passes are much cheaper, but the hotels are more $$ than Disney. So, it is a tradeoff of sorts. At WDW we have DVC, and so we do 2-3 nights at Universal, over the Fri Sat high point nights, then go to Disney. In 2010 we may skip WDW though.

We usually needed 2 rooms at Universal, so we book one or both on the Club level. It makes life alot easier there, for breakfast and snacks.

While we love Disney, we love Universal and Citiwalk too.