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View Full Version : Need help planning a Disney/Univ Studio Trip for 2012 for 2 teenage boys


starnightstarsky2000
04-01-2011, 03:15 PM
Hello Disers I need some help planning a 10-12 to day trip in 2012 to Orlando to do Disney/Univ Studios/Island/Seawoold/Beaches for a 12 and 13 year old boys. I am trying to get input on the following info as even though I am a old hand at doing Disney have never done it with teenagers one of whom will be in middle school.

What season to you suggest and why?

Was thinking of staying on Disney, staying a couple nights at a hotel connected to Univ and Seaworld and then renting a car and grabbing a hotel by the ocean for a couple of days. What suggestions do you have to keep it affordable?

How many days do you think we should set aside for Disney? For Univ/Island? Seaworld? Beach time?

What suggestions do you have regarding the best way to do food? I mean we will definitely do the dining plan at Disney but are there ones as good for Univ and has anyone tried out the discount dinning card for all of Orlando?

What suggestions do you have to make this trip the best that it can be? Both boys have been to Disney before neither has been to Univ and I haven't been to Univ since I was a kid like 20 years ago.

Thanks everyone I look forward to learning the best way to do this so I can get on it and get the planning started.

IllinoisMommy
04-01-2011, 03:24 PM
Sounds like fun :)
If your boys are into Harry Potter then they will love that part of Universal Studios. We have not been (but are thinking about a trip soon)- but I have heard it is great, and that the older part of Universal is really run down and old. I think when we go we will just do the Harry Potter part of Universal.
As far as season- if you can go when it is less crowded then do that (shorter lines and you will save $$ too). We went last in May and it was perfect. Each Disney park has something for teens- so maybe a park hopper pass would be good so you can go do whatever you want whenever you want. If they are big eaters then the restaurants with buffets may be a good bet (And you get a variety of foods which is fun too). We usually pack cereal bars, etc for cheap breakfasts on the go.
Have fun planning!!

Darcy03231
04-01-2011, 07:02 PM
We did something similar a few years ago. I rented a private pool home in Clermont and we were there for 16 days. We got the Orlando Flex Pass which gave us unlimited admission for 14 days to Universal, Islands of Adventure, Busch Gardens, Sea World, and Wet N' Wild. We also went to WDW, Kennedy Space Center, Daytona Beach and Clearwater Beach. We had a blast! I picked Clermont because it was pretty central and let us get to each coast in about an hour. I didn't want to spend the vacation moving from place to place. My kids loved having all the room to spread out and the private pool!

Upatnoon
04-01-2011, 09:34 PM
I would skip Disney alltogether and get the Orlando Flex pass like the PP said with teen boys. Unless they are big disney fans, most teen boys I know would rather hit the extreme coasters and water slides the non-Disney parks offer.

Darcy03231
04-02-2011, 07:37 AM
I forgot to mention that my teen loved Busch Gardens! They were in roller coaster heaven (I have thrill ride junkies). We ended up spending three days of our trip there. We only ended up doing one day at WDW. We've had mulitple trips there, and the kids had never been to any of the other parks. Surprisingly, they really enjoyed SeaWorld too.

Our schedule looked pretty much like this:

Friday- Arrived late in the evening (midnight) and I booked a inexpensive hotel near the airport.
Saturday - Slept in, went to Ripley's Believe it or Not, and arrived at the rental house, unpacked, went out for pizza, did some shopping and then hung out at the pool
Sunday - Kennedy Space Center
Monday - WDW
Tuesday - Busch Gardens
Wednesday - SeaWorld
Thursday - US/IOA
Friday - US/IOA
Saturday - Daytona Beach
Sunday - Busch Gardens
Monday - US/IOA
Tuesday - US/IOA
Wednesday - Seaworld
Thursday - US/IOA
Friday - Busch Gardens
Saturday - Clearwater Beach
Sunday - US/IOA
Monday - US/IOA in the morning - late flight home

We went in late August so it was hot. We found what worked best for us was to get up early and go to the parks. We'd take a mid-day break back at the house and hang out at the pool (other than on the BG days) and then go back to the parks at night.

starnightstarsky2000
04-08-2011, 09:27 AM
So I started this thread as we believed we would be taking our son BF with us aka therefore giving us two teenage sons, however when we got to talking with the parents (who we are great friends with) we decide to try and make it a party of 7 (4) adult (2) teenage boys and a 6 yr old girl taking on Orlando for 14 days....

Purseval
04-08-2011, 10:48 AM
What season to you suggest and why?

Fall. Crowds are lighter, weather is more tolerable and predictable and you can go to Halloween Horrors at Universal Studios or MNSSHP for the 6-year old.

Was thinking of staying on Disney, staying a couple nights at a hotel connected to Univ and Seaworld and then renting a car and grabbing a hotel by the ocean for a couple of days. What suggestions do you have to keep it affordable?
Scrap all of that and rent a house or condo. Bring along something to connect you to the Internet so if it looks like the weather is going to be awesome for the beach you can rent something last minute through Priceline, Hotwire or one of the other last-minute travel sites. That's the affordable way. Crowding people into hotel rooms and living out of suitcases for 2 weeks will drive you to drink.

How many days do you think we should set aside for Disney? For Univ/Island? Seaworld? Beach time?
1 day minimum per park. Remember that you also have water parks and Disney Quest if the weather is bad. Park planning really depends on how you want to buy your tickets and what they enjoy. Are they roller coaster fanatics? Harry Potter fans? Enjoy animals? Are you planning on letting the boys take off by themselves in the parks?

What suggestions do you have regarding the best way to do food? I mean we will definitely do the dining plan at Disney but are there ones as good for Univ and has anyone tried out the discount dinning card for all of Orlando?
Obviousy "affordable" means different things to different people. IMHO there is no way to do affordable if all of your eating will be out of restaurants. All you can do is try to ease the pain. Sign up for the Orlando Groupon, restaurant websites like Club Veg. Look for 80-90% off sales at Restaurant.com. Collect a book of coupons for the trip.

What suggestions do you have to make this trip the best that it can be? Both boys have been to Disney before neither has been to Univ and I haven't been to Univ since I was a kid like 20 years ago.
Check the websites. go to the library and check out tour guides. Look on youtube for ride videos. Gather as much info as you can on everything you want to do then get the people involved to make a list of priorities. Narrow it down and plan around that.

Thanks everyone I look forward to learning the best way to do this so I can get on it and get the planning started.
Good luck and enjoy.

starnightstarsky2000
04-08-2011, 10:54 AM
Purseval,
Thank you so much we have decided we are doing the fall, we will get a 2 room suite due to our friends having a DVC and we are looking into getting a cond for going to the Unvi/ parks. This will allow us to eat in so not spend so much on eating out which we know will make it much more affordable. Thanks for all your help guys keep the ideas coming. We are trying to decide what size car we should rent for 7 people and who would have the cheapest one?

Purseval
04-08-2011, 11:15 AM
We are trying to decide what size car we should rent for 7 people and who would have the cheapest one?
A minivan would be the most comfortable. Look on sites like betterbidding.com to see what they are renting for through Priceline. We rented a minivan through Priceline for $31/day and saved over $600 vs going through a rental agency. That was 13 days with unlimited mileage, which let us drive to Orlando from the Atlanta area.

Pembo
04-08-2011, 10:32 PM
We just got home from a split trip WDW and Univ. We stayed at WH for the Disney portion and moved to a Universal Hotel, RPR for our Universal days. We were in the condo 5 nts and at RPR for 2 nts.

I highly recommend a Universal hotel. It is so convenient to the parks, you get 1 hr early entrance to Harry Potter (which is fabulous) and you get an express pass. (Universal's answer to fastpass). We were able to see everything at IOA and US in 3 days mostly due to the express pass. Plus if you really want to see HP...the hour difference is a huge benefit.

Purseval
04-08-2011, 10:50 PM
I highly recommend a Universal hotel. It is so convenient to the parks, you get 1 hr early entrance to Harry Potter (which is fabulous) and you get an express pass. (Universal's answer to fastpass). We were able to see everything at IOA and US in 3 days mostly due to the express pass. Plus if you really want to see HP...the hour difference is a huge benefit.

I agree except for the fact that the OP has either 4 or 5 people, which would be pretty crowded for a hotel room. Universal hotels have suites but then it's a money issue and the OP was looking to save money. In the fall during the week it won't be crowded, which negates the advantage of early entry and the express pass hotel guests have.

I've been a Premium Annual Passholder at Universal for many years and we go there 3-4 times a year so I'm very familiar with crowd patterns. If it was July I would advise buying a hotel room even if you didn't stay there, just to get the benefits. Once school starts again it's not that big of a deal.

BuzznBelle'smom
04-09-2011, 06:04 AM
Just a thought on the rental car--it might actually work out cheaper if you rent two compact cars, rther than a minivan. we did this one trip when van rentals were sky high--we had free parking at WDW due to having AP's. Even if the cost is the same, two vehicles might come in handy if your group splits up--maybe more MK time for the little girl, one set of parents going out to dinner, that kind of thing.

Personally, I think you'd be best off doing, day the DVC first, then moving to a rental for the remaining week (or vice versa). I know people do it, but I think hotel hopping would get old, and it can eat a lot of time out of your vacation. If you have the Unofficial Guide, they have a map of the developments in the Orlando area--you could pick one that's closer to central FL, maybe near Universal/Seaworld, rather than next to WDW. That would likely be cheaper, too.

FTR, if you're going in October, the Universal FOTL pass isn't worth the cost of their hotel room. We did that, once, and barely needed the FOTL pass. That was before HP, though, and last I checked, HP isn't included in it now. We're going this summer, with 4 HP fiends--I'm keeping on eye on the best strategies. I've already told them, "If I say you have to get up at 3am and sacrifice a goat, that's what you'll do!"

torinsmom
04-09-2011, 12:31 PM
A 2 room suite for 4 adults, 2 teens and a 6 year old? That sounds really cramped to me. Why not just rent a pool home? We are renting a 5 bedroom pool home in Indian Creek for $625/week. Lots of room for everyone and fairly close to everything.

I don't agree with whoever said that Universal is run down. The only section that looks that way is over by Jaws and it is SUPPOSED to look that way. I loved all the areas of IOA/Universal and my teenage son could go there for 7 days in a row and still not get enough.

With 2 families, I would rent 2 vehicles. That way, you can go your own ways if you need to.

Mississippian
04-12-2011, 09:01 AM
Wyndham Bonnet Creek has some very affordable 2 and 3 BR condos (if you go through private owners) with great access to WDW. You could just stay here for your entire trip and rent either one or two rooms for one night at Universal to get FOTL privileges for two days.