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View Full Version : Is US/IOA disappointing compared to WDW? and other ???s


avic77
01-15-2009, 03:04 PM
Last year my family splurged big time and went to Disney for the first time ever (31 yrs old first real vacation in my life). We had a wonderful time but spent a sizable amount on a 6 night all inclusive Disney extravaganza! So this year my dear husband realized that there is a point to vacations and we should take another one. However we are severly limited on the budget (dang the economy). Even the wonderful 7/4 deal would be outside my meger vacation budget.
So after several days of number crunching I found we could do US/IOA and a 5 day off site hotel or go to Gatlinburg TN for 5 days. So i am trying to decide so i can get reservations made.
I have one child at 44.5 inches who loves fast rides roller coaster etc. He was very disappointed about not being able to ride Rockin Roller Coaster. I have went through the list of height requirments and wondered if the 4 rides he is too short for will greatly diminish his ability to enjoy the park? Are there still plenty of other "thrill" rides for him to enjoy? Is there as much to "see" as in Disney (characters themed buildings shows)? I remember just being in awe of the sights and wonders off WDW. Will we be disappointed visiting US/IOA after the grandor of WDW?

Disneyhappy
01-15-2009, 03:10 PM
Last year my family splurged big time and went to Disney for the first time ever (31 yrs old first real vacation in my life). We had a wonderful time but spent a sizable amount on a 6 night all inclusive Disney extravaganza! So this year my dear husband realized that there is a point to vacations and we should take another one. However we are severly limited on the budget (dang the economy). Even the wonderful 7/4 deal would be outside my meger vacation budget.
So after several days of number crunching I found we could do US/IOA and a 5 day off site hotel or go to Gatlinburg TN for 5 days. So i am trying to decide so i can get reservations made.
Now my questions: I have one child at 44.5 inches who loves fast rides roller coaster etc. He was very disappointed about not being able to ride Rockin Roller Coaster. I have went through the list of height requirments and wondered if the 4 rides he is too short for will greatly diminish his ability to enjoy the park? Are there still plenty of other "thrill" rides for him to enjoy? Is there as much to "see" as in Disney (characters themed buildings shows)?


I am not sure about the height requirements but there are plenty of thrill rides and attractions to keep your child amused! There is not as much to see when compared to WDW but i find I cna't and don't want to do it all at WDW anymore. It is too big and exhausting for my aging body! LOL! However, threre is plenty to do to keep you busy. Have you checked out Universal's pay 3 stay 5 nights deal? It may be within your budget and I highly recommend staying on site to get the front of the line access. That way, you can tour the parks in the AM and evening which allows you to enjoy the pool at your resort in the heat of the day. There are much better experts on this forum than I so i'm sure you will be getting great advice!

squirrel
01-15-2009, 03:53 PM
When did you go to Disney?

What about the Free Dining offered in September? Would that be in your budget?

avic77
01-15-2009, 04:04 PM
We went last Feb. had a wonderful time. My kids are homeschooled so our calender is very open to going any time. But i prefer to skip huge crowds that free dining has. We are seriously going on a shoe string budget vacation (under $1500 for a family of 5) Tickets into WDW are by themselves $1059 for us :( not including gas hotel and food. But Universal I can do a cheap priceline hotel for 5 days and the 2 parks unlimited with gas and food for about $1300. I cant do that with WDW :(

squirrel
01-15-2009, 04:09 PM
Didn't notice that you have 3 kids. That does make it more expensive on site at WDW.

avic77
01-15-2009, 04:42 PM
Yep family of 5 , 3 kids and one is considered ADULT since she is almost 15 and 5'8" tall :scared1:

damo
01-15-2009, 05:12 PM
At Universal, you aren't considered an adult until you are 18. 7 day tickets are under $100 for each person regardless of age and two adults and 3 children under 18 can stay in a room without added cost.

You should also read the sticky of FAQ's at the top of this forum. It gives great links and answers many questions that you didn't even know you had!!!

It is hard for anyone to say whether or not your kids will be disappointed with the rides. Lots of people don't ride the coasters and still love the parks.

YOu should be able to find some great Priceline or Hotwire deals for hotels around $50/night.

DOOM1001
01-15-2009, 09:14 PM
Do Universal there are tons of off site hotels on International Drive for $40-$60 a night,many with free breakfast!

macraven
01-15-2009, 09:36 PM
When did you go to Disney?

What about the Free Dining offered in September? Would that be in your budget?

the ones that did the bounce back booking last year will have the free dining with their package for 09.

nothing is out presently for free dining with any codes.

if september does not book up to what disney wants, maybe codes will come out sometime this year.

but as of now, no free dining offered (with the exceptions of prior bookings)

squirrel
01-15-2009, 10:08 PM
Yes, I know they have not released the Free Dining offer to the public yet.

I was just wondering if it was in their budget to go if they could get Free Dining.

swilshire
01-16-2009, 07:43 AM
My 14yo likes Universal better than Disney World. The rest of us, not so much.

Gatlinburg can be a lot of fun and I would rather go to Dollywood than Universal, just because there are more shows that I enjoy.

Either choice would be good.

Sheila

goofy!
01-16-2009, 09:01 AM
You will only be disappointed if you go in trying to compare Universal to Disney. You have to go in remembering that it is a completely different place, with a different feel. It is not another park of Disney and doesn't try to be.

That said, it has its own charm and personality that is unique and every bit as special as Disney.

My kids (and DH) have also preferred Universal over Disney since about the age of 6.

Since it only has 2 parks, it obviously is not as big as Disney. But the attention to theming is unbelievable. In Suessland there is not a straight line anywhere. Walking through New York and Hollywood in Universal, take the time to "Window Shop." The attention and the jokes in the windows are hilarious.

Universal will be almost as different a vacation to Disney as your vacation to Gatlinburg would be, but it can be just as wonderful. We always find that Universal gives us both the excitement of the rides and the real vacation of being able to relax around the pool, enjoying good meals, etc. Whereas at Disney, although thrilling and wonderful, we always feel like we need a vacation to recover from our vacation.

avic77
01-16-2009, 09:26 PM
at Disney, although thrilling and wonderful, we always feel like we need a vacation to recover from our vacation.
That is exactly how we felt after last years Disney Vacation! And I think the major reason my husband is Anti-Disney this year (aside from the cost)! I was leaning more toward Gatlinburg for that relaxed laid back feeling but the kids want thrills :)
Both Universal and gatlinburg are about 8 hours drive for us so that didnt help me narrow the options down.

Is LATE April extremly bust in Universal? We can't afford to stay at a US Hotel, it will be a priceline /Hotwire special if we go to Orlando.

Metro West
01-17-2009, 06:23 AM
Is LATE April extremly bust in Universal? We can't afford to stay at a US Hotel, it will be a priceline /Hotwire special if we go to Orlando.That time of year isn't extremely busy as long as you stay away from the Spring Break times. If you get there early, you should be able to do quite a bit before the crowds arrive.

FavoriteKitty
01-17-2009, 09:33 AM
Avic, I tried to send you this super long PM but I dont have enough post counts to send it yet! I was going to say that your family sounds almost exactly like mine. We homeschool and I have a 14 year old daughter and a pretty short 7 year old son that limits what rides we can go on. We are also on a budget. I was even trying to squeeze a wedding into our plans down there :)

We are trying to go down there February 7-13 and are staying at a condo type resort. I have gone back and forth with going to Disney, not going to Disney and to other places just to save money. I dont know if this being our only ever vacation (In my 30 years ;) ), going to Florida and NOT going to Disney World I will ever be able to live with myself. I was looking at the Oralnd Flex Package this morning instead of going to Disney.


I just have a feeling my little guy would like Univeral better than Disney. I dont know!! I would love to email you so we can exchange ideas, plans, and chat :)

avic77
01-17-2009, 09:38 AM
Ill PM you Kitty.

damo
01-17-2009, 09:43 AM
There are a few great ways to beat the Disney withdrawal. One is to go to Downtown Disney for an evening and the other is to do one of their parties. We did teh Pirates and Princess Party and it was great because it is nice and cheap and gets rid of your Disney craving. However, I'm not even sure they are having the P&P parties anymore.

Metro West
01-17-2009, 11:45 AM
However, I'm not even sure they are having the P&P parties anymore.I think I read somewhere Disney cancelled the P & P parties for 2009.

Planogirl
01-17-2009, 02:20 PM
DS (15) and I prefer Universal to Disney but we definitely used to be all about Disney. Now I like to split time between the two and one happy side effect is that we do save quite a bit of money.

Like someone already posted, just don't compare Universal to Disney. They are not the same at all other than both being themepark resorts.

damo
01-17-2009, 02:24 PM
I think I read somewhere Disney cancelled the P & P parties for 2009.

I saw that recently too. It is too bad because they were great fun at a very affordable price. We went last year and the year before.

keishashadow
01-17-2009, 07:46 PM
MNSSHP & MVMCP tix will get u in the park @ 4 pm approx $55

OP - have u considered a TS presentation offer? Sheraton Vistana (very nice:thumbsup2 ) and their Villages has them for $199 for 4 nights, with a 90 min presentation. (note; we were able to get one w/o mandatory presentation 2 years ago, hear it's no longer offered). Check out the resort board here for other "low pressure":lmao: offers, jk - some r said to be less hassle than others

as for the WDW tix, assume ur talking base MYW tix, did u price thru discount broker (undercover tourist?)

as others have stated, the best pkgs/deals r offered during slow times (think Sept's free dining promo the last few years), it's a trade off

good luck

avic77
01-18-2009, 09:05 AM
Yes that price was for Undercover tourist through the mousesaver newletter link. Its becuase I have 3 adults and 2 children (oldest child is nearly 15)

oliver200137724
01-18-2009, 10:02 AM
Here is another price help with hotels. If you got to orlandoinfo.com you can get a magicard and get discounts on food and hotels. last year i got a room for around 45.00 a nite in march. This year i didn't have to use the magic card cause the motel that we are staying at gave us a great deal cause it was our third year staying with them. we are getting our room for $370.00 for seven nights. pretty great. I love universal and im not a roller coaster fan but there is a lot to do even if you don't like or cant ride the high end thrill rides.

girlsx2
01-18-2009, 12:25 PM
I too, am having this delimal. I am taking my three girls in March. We are staying at Saratoga Springs. We have done Disney twice already. My youngest (now 7) doesn't remember going at all. My two oldest are 16 and 12 and I really think they would prefer Universal to Disney. But, I do not think I can go to Orlando and NOT go to Disney. I am really struggling with this. Good luck to you and your decision.

tinlizzy
01-18-2009, 12:47 PM
I just checked and your family can go on a 5 day Carnival cruise from Mobile AL on 9/7/09 for as low as $1,198.20!

Food (lots of food) is free but you would pay another $250 in tips for the 5 day cruise. $10/day pp.

In Calica you can take the children to see the Mayan ruins and in Cozumel there are many inexpensive things to do, dirt cheap souvenirs and of course the beach.

Sorry - no tips on Universal, it's new to me too.

Metro West
01-18-2009, 12:55 PM
I too, am having this delimal. I am taking my three girls in March. We are staying at Saratoga Springs. We have done Disney twice already. My youngest (now 7) doesn't remember going at all. My two oldest are 16 and 12 and I really think they would prefer Universal to Disney. But, I do not think I can go to Orlando and NOT go to Disney. I am really struggling with this. Good luck to you and your decision. Why don't you concentrate on Universal this trip and maybe just do a day at Disney? Take a group vote as to what Disney park you would like to do and go there. You can buy discounted Disney tickets and any number of places if you're staying offsite.

Disneyof3
01-18-2009, 01:55 PM
:thumbsup2

We were in the same boat as you this year. We are a family of 5 and the oldest is a adult in WDW now. We have been to WDW the last 4 years, even with the 4 nights and 3 free it was going to cost us too much for our budget (next year is the BIG trip to VEGAS!!!!). So we decided on US/IOA instead. We are staying onsite, at the beginning we were off site but the kids and the disboard convinced me other:) We went with the buy 3 and get 2 nights free and the whole family is excited. We definately will miss WDW but we needed to budget this year and the kids agree. I'am spending more by staying onsite but the benefit of not having to wait in line I'm hoping will out way the off site price. We are saving by getting groceries for breakfast items and then sharing lunch (light) and then a late dinner at one of the restaurants on Citywalk. I gaurantee you, we are saving about 1000 by not going to WDW. The mouse will just have to wait another year or two. Remember though, going in comparing to WDW will make your trip even less. We are going in with a excited attitude and a change :cheer2: :cheer2: :cheer2:

Planogirl
01-18-2009, 01:59 PM
Why don't you concentrate on Universal this trip and maybe just do a day at Disney? Take a group vote as to what Disney park you would like to do and go there. You can buy discounted Disney tickets and any number of places if you're staying offsite.
We did something like this and we even did it while staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (got a good deal). We visited MK and Epcot and spent the rest of the time at Universal.

There's also Downtown Disney if you want a little Disney atmosphere.

macraven
01-18-2009, 02:13 PM
:thumbsup2

We were in the same boat as you this year. We are a family of 5 and the oldest is a adult in WDW now. We have been to WDW the last 4 years, even with the 4 nights and 3 free it was going to cost us too much for our budget (next year is the BIG trip to VEGAS!!!!). So we decided on US/IOA instead. We are staying onsite, at the beginning we were off site but the kids and the disboard convinced me other:) We went with the buy 3 and get 2 nights free and the whole family is excited. We definately will miss WDW but we needed to budget this year and the kids agree. I'am spending more by staying onsite but the benefit of not having to wait in line I'm hoping will out way the off site price. We are saving by getting groceries for breakfast items and then sharing lunch (light) and then a late dinner at one of the restaurants on Citywalk. I gaurantee you, we are saving about 1000 by not going to WDW. The mouse will just have to wait another year or two. Remember though, going in comparing to WDW will make your trip even less. We are going in with a excited attitude and a change :cheer2: :cheer2: :cheer2:

i love your tag..........

check out the interactive map at universalorlando.com
it will give you ideas on what rides you don't want to miss out on.


i'm excited for you!.
i can still remember the first time we did universal.

i know you will have a very enjoyable trip at UO.

Tinker-tude
01-18-2009, 04:21 PM
We always have a great time at UO/IoA and find it has its own unique "magic". A few months before we go, we start watching movies and shows and reading books that inspired the rides and attractions there.

We watch all of the Shrek movies, ET, some of the older more family-friendly Simpsons episodes (from Netflix), Seuss and dinosaur books and movies, Scooby Doo, Spiderman, The Fantastic 4, Betty Boop, and the list goes on. It's great seeing all of those things brought to life.

If you want to keep the food budget low, the counter service meals at UO/IoA are better than average. We're not big breakfast eaters in my family, and we were able to pick up big muffins and bagels for four people at Pastamore on Citywalk for under $10. Or your hotel may have a free continental breakfast. We also saved by buying two of the big refillable souvenir cups for $6.98, one for the kids and one for DH and I. We don't mind sharing germs at our house. ;) You can refill them with soda pretty much anywhere for .69, or ice water is free. My kids won't drink water or soda so I brought individual Crystal Light type drink mixes that are made for water bottles.

My older son is 7 and short for his age. He was able to go on several of the thrill rides and he is looking forward to going back again and again as he grows into the other coasters. He was just a fraction of an inch too short for Mummy, but was able to go on the Simpsons, Spiderman, Dudley Do Right's Rip Saw Falls, Pteranydon (sp?) Fliers, and Jurassic Park River Adventure.

Universal is a great place with wonderful theming and shows. Just get ready for movie magic instead of Disney magic. It's our new favorite place, and I grew up going to Disney parks. Universal is our reason for going to Orlando now. We want to fit the Kennedy Space Center in next trip, too!

minniejack
01-18-2009, 08:24 PM
We 1st did Universal 2 years ago (kids at that time 12 and 10)--they never wanted to even go back to Disney after that.

We even have free one day park hopper passes that we could have used over the past holiday to WDW and no one wanted to leave Universal.

Also, I have been plugging in different dates for the RPR and some weeks, the club is only about a 19 dollar difference per night. That would be a tremendous savings in food. Breakfast, all day soda/water. Afternoon hors d'oeuvres, and nighttime cookies/pastries. I saw many families obviously using the club to eat instead of a restaurant. Just a thought...:goodvibes

And you can relax at Universal and not feel like you need to take another vacation.

But....I did get a flier from Dollywood recently that showed some new rides and they really do have some great entertainment there. We used to have season passes to Dollywood and loved the area. Tough choice...

Disneyof3
01-19-2009, 09:42 AM
i love your tag..........

check out the interactive map at universalorlando.com
it will give you ideas on what rides you don't want to miss out on.


i'm excited for you!.
i can still remember the first time we did universal.

i know you will have a very enjoyable trip at UO.


Thanks!!! I got that for going to restaurants at disney when all the reviews were bad. Again going to US/IOA instead of WDW for a change!!!

avic77
01-19-2009, 09:49 AM
We are going to Universal! Now for the planning.

macraven
01-19-2009, 09:58 AM
you'll like it..............::yes::

LilMommyBug
01-19-2009, 10:04 AM
We are a homeschool family too. :) We took our kids to Universal for the first time last May & they loved it. (They are 7 & 5)

I actually used to live right outside Gatlinburg too. While it is nice & fun - Universal is much more fun. :thumbsup2

FavoriteKitty
01-19-2009, 10:27 AM
Hooray! As you know we are going to be spending most of our time at Universal, too. I will let you know what we think when we get back. Think of some specific things you guys want to know and I will help you.

I think both of my kids will find more enjoyment with the Universal characters than with the Disney characters. I wish we were going at the same time! :sad1:

Tinker-tude
01-19-2009, 11:02 AM
Hey, we homeschool, too! Maybe we should start a thread and see how many of us there are?

avic77
01-19-2009, 04:06 PM
We should start a Homeschool Dis thread. Im not clear on the rules about that so I'll let one of you guys start it and you can tell me where to go to join in.

A Mickeyfan
01-19-2009, 09:04 PM
Yep family of 5 , 3 kids and one is considered ADULT since she is almost 15 and 5'8" tall :scared1:
why is she considered an adult at 15 for the hotel? or am I misunderstanding this. Height has nothing to do with child or adult at Disney & neither does 15 If you are 18 or over, you are an adult as far as the room goes, if you are 10 or more, you are an adult for the meals and the tickets...

macraven
01-19-2009, 10:01 PM
We should start a Homeschool Dis thread. Im not clear on the rules about that so I'll let one of you guys start it and you can tell me where to go to join in.

you can make a thread for this in the first universal forum.
we have a chat thread there called "something about nothing"
which ALL are invited to drop in and yak with us.
it's just like seinfeld, something about nothing.
a conversational thread like the tv show is, or was......

i think it would be lovely for universal homies to be able to talk about universal and home schooling.
i home schooled one of mine during high school years.

southernbelle5672
01-20-2009, 09:54 AM
Congratulations on making a decision! That is half the battle. :) Me and my DH went two years ago in May. (We are in our 20s) We had a blast! Disney was just too much for us to spend so Universal Studios was perfect.

I think your kids will enjoy it. They have some really, really fun rides for kids (like ET, Shrek 4d, Jimmy Neutron) I forget how old you said your kids were but really the rides are enjoyable for all ages.

My DH and I are going to Disneyworld this May (We had to save an entire year to do it!) and we will definitely be spending a day at Universal Studios.

Have fun and happy planning!

minniejack
01-20-2009, 03:31 PM
why is she considered an adult at 15 for the hotel? or am I misunderstanding this. Height has nothing to do with child or adult at Disney & neither does 15 If you are 18 or over, you are an adult as far as the room goes, if you are 10 or more, you are an adult for the meals and the tickets...

My DD15 was 5'6" at age 10. It was the age that got us adult rate not the height. But like you said, for the hotel your daughter is still considered a kid.

At times, I wanted to pull out her birth certificate and say yes, she is only 10!:rotfl: