View Full Version : Harry Potter's biggest fans plan a Disney trip and hope the timing is RIGHT!!

12-01-2009, 06:45 AM
Hiya all......

Well we have done it - gone and decided we are going to Florida again -from the UK - so no small undertaking.

As the title says - we are BIG Harry Potter fans - and are hoping that the new attraction at "the Dark Side" will be open whilst we are out there - hence not going until October.... fingers are crossed ALL round. Hope you die hard Disneyholics will forgive our little diversion - we are coming a long way after all......:flower3:.

Anyhow - our party consists of
ME!! Tessa - girl on a diet (constantly!!) Girl - who am I kidding - 45 years old!!!
DH - long suffering hubby (my toyboy at 40!!) who LUCKILY loves to let me plan it all....
DD7 - my hunny bunny - has a crush on one Ron Weasley!!! How.... yeughhhh... she is NOT allowed to have those feelings yet!
DD8 (9 next week) my snuggle bug who just KNOWS everything - that age...:rolleyes: I remember it well ..... sorry Mum!!

We have been before - once pre kids as a couple, stayed in a cheap hotel on I-drive - NEVER again. Once with kids - April last year - after spring break - in a villa off the 27 - Woodridge/Silver Creek - unallocated till arrival - it was FABULOUS - a fantastic holiday AFTER we got there - snow in UK delayed departure..

Our outline plans...
Going out to Florida on the 15th October 2010 for 2 weeks, flying from Gatwick to Orlando MCO , hire car, staying in a villa with a pool (unallocated till arrival.... shudder.....but it is the way the tour operators do it I'm afraid...) at Emerald Island, so not tooooooo far from the magic.

Last time was ok, but wanted to be closer for driving. We have booked with Virgin Holidays - so it is costing an arm and a leg, but they did such a great job last time what with the weather delays etc, we thought they deserved our custom!!

We have done the usual Brit thing of buying tickets to cover the Disney parks and the Universal Parks in advance so we can go to either set any day we want - with hopping and water parks etc...

We plan to book (soon ) one night in a Universal resort hotel in order to gain front of the line (FOTL) access for 2 days- like fastpass for pretty much every ride. Will give us a little hotel break in the middle of the trip too.. and we won't have to drive up and down those busy roads to Universal so much.

Eating - we plan on cooking some days, but also, need my Perkins fix for breakfast!!! and we do love eating out near the 192 - so much variety, and cholesterol!! But the diet goes to heck on holidays..... can't fit in enough holidays for my liking......:rolleyes1

That will do for now, need to sign up for TGM, need to plan what we will be visiting this time, do we do ADRs this time? how will we get to the airport this end? will we stay overnight in an airport hotel before travel?? Who will have the guinea pigs when we are away? Lots of thinking to do - the great thing about a pre trippie is it gets you focussed!!

It is LESS THAN A YEAR TO GO so I am starting to get twitchy.:yay::yay:

Am watching the Harry Potter sites like a hawk - it had BETTER be open!!:rolleyes:


12-01-2009, 07:50 AM
Sounds fun! We've only been to US once and weren't really big fans...but like you, all of us enjoy Harry Potter so we'll definitely be going back when it opens! I was hoping it'd be open in April (since they said spring 2010) but I don't think that'll be happening. :sad2:

01-31-2010, 03:35 AM
WOW - have seen the adverts start to appear on UK TV for the HARRY Potter stuff - still says Spring 2010, so here's hoping.

We have now :

- booked our seats on the plane Row 34 middle 4, 36 middle 4 on way home.
- signed up for TGM and joined our October group over there.

and the biggy -filled in our ESTA forms online and have approval, and have printed it out too.

Oh, and have one of those apps in the Vista sidebar with a daily countdown in it - today it says 257 days to go - way, way too far away....


01-31-2010, 09:30 AM
Hi Tessa! I am here and will be following along. 2 days and counting for us now. :banana: We have never been to Universal and are also waiting for Harry Potter to open before we go there. Can't wait to see the feedback everyone gives on it after it opens. I love Disney World in October when everything is decorated for Halloween. Will you go to a Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Those are so much fun!

Lisa.....who needs to do laundry and finish packing!

02-01-2010, 06:06 AM

pack woman, pack....... nice to see you here...

We will be trying a MNSSHP when we go, we did a pirates and princess party last time which was such fun, so here's hoping for more of that!


02-01-2010, 09:39 AM

If you liked the Pirate and Princess Party then you will definitely like MNSSHP. It was so much fun. We did a P&P party a couple of years back and really enjoyed it....even tho it rained the entire night we were there! It was so much fun to dress up and to see the costume ideas that everyone had for MNSSHP. Lots of adults were dressed up as well as the kids. It was also nice to be able to trick-or-treat again!! We got loads of candy and our trick-or-treat bags were a nice little souvenir.

I am just now finishing up with the suitcases so we will be ready to go tomorrow! Can't wait to hear more of your plans for your trip. I see you need a Perkins fix! We don't have one close to us anymore as they closed. I did enjoy eating there when they were open though. Ok, off to pack up phone chargers, cords and the like.

Have a great day!
Lisa.....who will be on her way to Florida tomorrow! :banana:

02-12-2010, 06:34 AM
Wow time is going by fast. I can't believe you are so close now. I can't wait to see the Villa you chose take lots of pictures.

02-13-2010, 10:17 AM
Hiya all,

well, still a while to go - not going til October...

Have now,

booked the Guinea pigs their "holiday" at a lovely place in the country - lots of fresh green grass - they won't want to come home!!!

booked a night at the Hilton hotel in Gatwick for the night before we leave - using our Tesco tokens (supermarket loyalty scheme) means we are staying for 1/3 the price!!

booked a night at the Universal Pacific Resort hotel - for the middle of our stay, so we get 2 days of the Universal Front of the line service - I know the Harry Potter stuff will probably still be only one FOTL access per day, but that is better than nothing......

Lets hope the park hours come out soon.... more planning awaits....

Now we just need to book our coach to the airport, book MNSSHP tickets and----- biggy--- PAY for it all!!! May look at the airport V-room lounge too, don't know since it costs yet more money.....


02-18-2010, 12:00 AM
Checking in Tessa! Your stay at the "Dark Side" looks like fun - love the FOTL passes you get by doing that! :thumbsup2

02-18-2010, 04:18 AM
Welcome aboard Tammie.

Well, not done much this week except look at the guide books and TGM, so am in that dreamy frame of mind. Watching Universal ads and looking at their new brochure too - lots of HP themed stuff. Kids are really looking forward to seeing it all.


02-18-2010, 10:27 AM
They are constantly running the new Harry Potter attraction ads on TV here in the US. I have see them several times during the olympic coverage. All of them say opening in the spring of 2010 so I am sure it wil be ready for your trip. It looks like I may have to make a Disney exception and go check it out myself. I love Harry Potter and Rollerc Coasters. What a great combination.

02-19-2010, 02:48 AM
Hiya PamelaKay,

Well, if they are running the ads over there too then things must be moving on - in the UK we tend to think of Harry Potter as "ours" :goodvibes:snooty:.

More and more info keeps trickling out.... the ride inside the castle must be quite intense as they say the height restriction will be 48", so not for tots.... luckily my girls are about 54" so can do most stuff at all the parks now.

Anyone wants some Harry Potter fun - just take a look at


especially the Mysterious Ticking Noise.. had me in stitches - found the link in the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter Thread" - thanks to MadeToLove.


02-19-2010, 11:46 AM
Tessa-We are also waiting to hear about Harry Potter at Universal. I check that website often as well. We aren't going to Florida until Dec 2011 so I'm sure it will be open by then. I'm thinking it will be by your trip for sure. I've enjoyed reading your pre trip info. :)

02-19-2010, 10:19 PM
Hi Tessa,

I was reading yesterday about the packages Universal has offered for Harry Potter. I bet people will be booking those like crazy! It all sounds so neat, I can't wait til we can go see it. I will be anxious to read your trip report and see pics when you get back! Sounds like things are moving right along for you with the bookings and nice place for the guinea pigs to stay. :)


02-20-2010, 03:43 AM
Welcome back Lisa... Hiya Ariels sister:wave2:,

The guinea pigs always come first with the kids! So we have to make sure they have a friendly place to stay with lots of hay and grass and cuddles...:goodvibes

We looked at our Universal RPR booking info - we will get into the park early the morning after we have slept there!! and get a one time use FOTL for Harry Potter stuff, and full FOTL for the other stuff too!!!

Have started moving the money around too, so it looks like we will have enough to pay for it all!!!! :woohoo: Always helps not to have to worry about where the money is coming from.

Found a lady doing countdown chains on one of the boards too - it goes up to 112 days - so not yet...... but am going to get it printed out and ready - will probably go for a 50day countdown - don't want the kids to go tooooo crazy.

I'm going crazy enough for all of us - keep thinking about what to book, what to plan.... can't wait for the park hours to come out... then the planning will seriously begin!!!


02-23-2010, 02:43 PM
Hi Tessa,

I was just reading about some of the neat souvenirs they will have! The wands sound really neat. I think I read they range from $25-$150 depending on what they are capable of doing. My son has a HP wand and the tip lights up when you flick it. When he first got it a few years ago (he is 8 now) he tried really hard to cast a spell on his father...LOL! He was very disappointed when he realized it was not as magical has Harry's! He and I were looking at pictures last night too of Universal and reading about the shops and different food/drinks/toys they will sell. He wants to try Butterbeer. Is there anything special that you or your family want to try or buy when you get there?


02-24-2010, 06:32 AM
Hiya all,

Lisa - we read about the wands at WWoHP too , might be a bit pricey for us.....-ours have the kids ones where the tip lights when you flick it, and because there are 2 of them, they can be used in a wand "fight" - point them at each other's wand and flick to reduce the opponent's power. We will probably be going for the sweets - sorry "candy" - chocolate frogs and bertie botts every flavour jelly beans (hopefully not the snot flavour!!)

Not done much planning lately - desperately waiting for the park hours and the MNSSHP dates too.... and reading other TR's to keep feeling the magic...


02-24-2010, 09:08 AM
Hi Tessa,

joining the pre trip report!!!

we've got the ssame idea as yourselves and booked into hard rock hotel for one night in July...it is almost the same price as our accomodation for the other 13 nights!!! but will hopefully be worth it for the FOTL access!!!

Cannot wait to see Harry Potter land, read that JK Rowling helped design the costumes for the shop and ride assistants and they don't look florida-weather friendly!!! really excited to try the new ride in the castle...might go to it first thing and use FOTL for our second ride.

Also breakfast at the three broomsticks...added in to my plan!

Are your girls excited yet or is it too far way for them?

We are staying at Gatwick the night beofre too, will be setting two alarms just in case!

Will you be doing any driving or all DH?

Any ADR's thought of yet?

02-24-2010, 09:24 AM

Welcome aboard...... ooooohhhhh - going in July, so you will have to let me know all the info!! LOTS of pics too please!!!! :yay:. I don't care about "spoilers" I am a total control freak so forewarned is forearmed as they say... Are you doing a trippie/pre-trippie??

Hubby does all the driving - doesn't feel comfortable with anyone else driving - and I haven't driven since 1997 anyhow.... don't really like it.

No ADRs planned yet - still about 50 days to go to the 180 days anyhow, and I think this year we may just go with the flow a bit more...

And oh my goodness YES the kids are excited (almost as much as their mum!!!:rolleyes1)


02-24-2010, 05:15 PM

Welcome aboard...... ooooohhhhh - going in July, so you will have to let me know all the info!! LOTS of pics too please!!!! :yay:. I don't care about "spoilers" I am a total control freak so forewarned is forearmed as they say... Are you doing a trippie/pre-trippie??

And oh my goodness YES the kids are excited (almost as much as their mum!!!:rolleyes1)


OK, i'm with you on the spoiler, i'm dying to know every last detail!!! and dbf total opposite, wouldn't even watch a little clip of the jaws ride on youtube, says he wants to wait and experience it first hand!

will do my best to take as many pictures as possible!!! just read on trip advisor that universal hotel guest getting early entry along with any one that buys the harry potter vacation package...what do you think? would be good news for us sneaky one nighters!!!

for me the excitment is an essential part of the Florida trip!!! i'm on my 5th draft itinerary!!! disboards keeps me sane!

02-27-2010, 12:32 PM
I'm here Tessa .. we were gutted HP wasn't open for us, guess we just have to plan the next trip .. It WILL be open for you!!
Got some fab pics of it though .. and walked throughg parts they're working on whilst queuing for Duelling Dragons!

02-28-2010, 03:42 AM
Thanks Erin,

here's hoping!!!!

We're getting towards an actual plan now..........

Still to do - book the National Express coach to Gatwick.. get tickets for MNSSHP

Waiting for the park times to come out and the Tour guide Mike busy days for October.... then those gaps will be filled.....

Thurs 14th Oct : Do online check in, travel to Gatwick, stay in Hilton overnight
Fri 15th: fly to the magic...Pick up villa keys, sleep
sat 16th:
Sun17th: mmm maybe MNSSHP
Tue19th: or maybe MNSSHP
Fri22nd: prebooked Crystal River/Homosassa State wildlife park excursion
ALL day inc breakfast and lunch.


Sun24th: Universal -Royal Pacific 1 night - Book in about 8am for the FOTL passes. Go to IOA
Mon 25th: Go to IOA/US parks all day then back to villa
Fri29th: do a park early MK probably - fly home on late eve flight
Sat30th: fly back, coach home.
Sun: sleep
Mon: school -arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... with jet lag....

Still to fit in....

The Disney parks
A water park
Kennedy Space centre - touch the moon.....
Beach (perhaps......)
maybe some other fun lazy day stuff - mini golf? gatorland? DTD?

I see a plan emerging from the mists.....

02-28-2010, 05:21 AM
Definitely shopping and definitely DTD hahah ooh we loved Gatorland when we went and they have done it up since then due to a fire not long after we were there! Have you done the Space Centre before? Water Park try Aquatica, that was the one we wanted but unfortunately the weather was not quite that kind to us

02-28-2010, 06:33 AM
Hey Tessa don't know if you saw this
http://www.wdwinfo.com/news/Travel_News/Universal_s_Wizarding_World_of_Harry_Potter_will_b e_open_by_May_28.htm

02-28-2010, 08:43 AM
Cheers Erin...


02-28-2010, 10:56 AM
Plans look good so far! Tomorrow starts a new month. Hope time flies by for you until it's time to go and then creeps by while you're on vacation. :)


02-28-2010, 01:22 PM
sorry......posted again cause I didn't see the first one and then it magically appeared! Hmmmm, funny how things are appearing and disappearing on here. Tessa, you been practicing with those wands?...LOL


03-26-2010, 02:31 PM
Hi Tessa!

With so much new info out on HP at Universal the excitement must be growing at your house! How is the planning going?

03-26-2010, 04:46 PM
Hi Lisa:yay::yay::yay: that's how the planning is going!!

The WDW October hours came out today, so have some extra ammunition for planning. Spending lots of time looking at calendars, but need to hold back for tour guide Mike and his least busy days guide for October.

Am really happy they finally announced the official opening date for HP - 18th June. Should hopefully be "bug-fixed" by the time we get there. Staying overnight at the Royal Pacific Resort to get the FOTL privileges.

Had confirmation today of our stay in the airport Hilton before we travel - we used our grocery store loyalty scheme to effectively get a 200 room for 50 - our voucher came through today with the full booking confirmation - one less thing to worry about.

Also had a phone call from Universal Orlando as we added "pet free area" to our booking - DD9 is allergic to hairy animals!! They did this and I complimented the lady in my feedback form - they rang to make me aware that my feedback will be passed to her and to her line manager as they like to pass the positive as well as the negative:goodvibes. Nice... made me feel good that I'd bothered to do the feedback.

Anyhow - need to go get the girls from their school disco.... they are going to be tired little bunnies.....


03-28-2010, 04:41 PM
Awesome discount on the room at the Hilton, way to go! :cool1: No doubt they appreciated your positive feedback. Do they allow pets in the rooms at Universal? We are thinking about going in either Sept. or Jan. and I would never have thought to mention a "pet free area". I can't wait to see the videos that will start popping up on youtube when these rides open. I am a sissy when it comes to anything that goes very fast or very high so I would rather know than not know what the castle ride will be like.

03-30-2010, 07:15 PM
do you find tour guide mike really good?

i'm too scared to check any more busy day guides becaude my ADR's are booked and i'd only betorturing myself but might be useful for next trip? i've been using the unofficial guide's touring plans website...

have heard so many stories about the new HP ride...probably the most interesting one is that the queue itself and the forbidden journey ride (not including time actually waiting) is going to be one full hour!!!:wizard:

03-31-2010, 03:33 AM
Yes - I love TGM - the busy days guide was SPOT ON for our April holiday - so few lines it was amazing - others were there at the same time (without TGM) and said how busy it was....:confused3

However........ I wouldn't have any opinion other than the norm if you post on the forums - they can be quite vicious!!!!


04-28-2010, 05:15 PM
OK - haven't updated for a while - so here's the biggest news - we got approval from the school , for us to take the kids out in term time!!!!! After all the worries - all I put on the form was "family trip to the US" and approval was given straight away.... :woohoo:

Have also booked our bus tickets from home to Gatwick - costs less than parking our car there, and don't have to drive with jet-lag!!!


04-29-2010, 10:09 PM
Woo Hoo! Good for you! Nice progress you're making. :banana: The days are ticking along and by Saturday you'll have another month behind you.

05-23-2010, 04:02 PM
Hi Tessa,
I'm seeing lots of new pics of HP at Universal. Lots of new articles out too. I did catch a glimpse of the magical bench for the Forbidden Journey ride. They showed a quick shot of it while some of the stars from the movie were there touring. Can't wait til video starts to pop up on youtbue! You all must be getting more excited every time something new is shown!

05-24-2010, 06:42 AM
Hiya all,

Lisa - I saw the video promo stuff - signed up for the Universal Haarry Potter updates.... Isn't it looking great!!!! We are sooooooooo looking forward to it - and to the trip reports of those going in the next few weeks..... feeding the frenzy...

We were sent a "prize" too - I entered a draw about 10 months ago!!!! - it is a WWoHP promo mouse mat and a couple of promotional postcards for the Half blood Prince - ones that give a 3 d multi layered effect.... really nice.

We booked our MNSSHP tickets too - going on a Tuesday - not the best day to go, or so they say, but the one that fitted best for us - so that is the final thing on the to do list before we go... all boxes currently ticked!


05-24-2010, 06:32 PM
Congrats on the prize! :cheer2: I agree, it is looking great. I can't wait to see more. I read today that the people that booked that special promo will get to go in starting the end of this week. Will definitely be on the lookout for pics and videos!

LOVE MNSSHP! We had such a good time when we went. I don't remember what day of the week it was tho. Are you all going to dress up? If so, what will everyone be? I just bought a Disney Halloween shirt while I was there and that was what I wore. I wish they still had the Pirate and Princess parties, those were fun too. I did enjoy trick-or-treating, it was nice to be a kid again. :) It seems like May went by fast. The days will be flying by for you!