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Esteri
09-10-2011, 10:23 AM
Hello!
I'm in the throes of planning our FL trip in June 2012 (June 13-23 are the likely dates). I've been skimming the threads and have come away with some good general advice. But, I've got some specific questions I need answered as I'm still at the budgeting, get accommodations, figure out the overall trip stage.

Let me start with a short introduction... Mom, Dad, 2 boys (age 15 & about to turn 11 at the time of the trip). DS15 likes the thrill rides (which is why we're looking at US/IoA this time). DS10 is more cautious, and generally won't get on it if he can't see the entire thing, but is starting to feel more adventurous so long as he doesn't go upside down (the other reason we've put off a trip to US/IoA until now). We have read/listened to all the HP books, and enjoyed the movies, but aren't Potterphiles. In fact, when he heard the horror stories of the queues just to enter WWoHP DH suggested that maybe we just skip WWoHP this round, the only real objection came from DS15. Then we read the description of FJ, and even DS10 thought it sounded like fun.

BUT we dislike crowds / long queues (yeah, yeah, go in October or January - but we're stuck with June. :confused3 ) and I do a lot of planning, including subscribing to two different sites with WDW crowd data - to plan around them. And we maximize FP use at WDW. Doing it this way, and getting an early start with a mid-day break (we stay onsite at WDW), we find the WDW crowds quite manageable.

So, this trip to US/IoA isn't about WWoHP, it's about taking in what both parks have to offer and trying something new.

We typically get out to FL every other year.

That said how valuable is staying on site (I'm choking on the $300/night rooms) or getting (paying for!) the Express Pass?

Many Thanks!

SmallWorld71
09-10-2011, 10:56 AM
Hello!
I'm in the throes of planning our FL trip in June 2012 (June 13-23 are the likely dates). I've been skimming the threads and have come away with some good general advice. But, I've got some specific questions I need answered as I'm still at the budgeting, get accommodations, figure out the overall trip stage.

Let me start with a short introduction... Mom, Dad, 2 boys (age 15 & about to turn 11 at the time of the trip). DS15 likes the thrill rides (which is why we're looking at US/IoA this time). DS10 is more cautious, and generally won't get on it if he can't see the entire thing, but is starting to feel more adventurous so long as he doesn't go upside down (the other reason we've put off a trip to US/IoA until now). We have read/listened to all the HP books, and enjoyed the movies, but aren't Potterphiles. In fact, when he heard the horror stories of the queues just to enter WWoHP DH suggested that maybe we just skip WWoHP this round, the only real objection came from DS15. Then we read the description of FJ, and even DS10 thought it sounded like fun.

BUT we dislike crowds / long queues (yeah, yeah, go in October or January - but we're stuck with June. :confused3 ) and I do a lot of planning, including subscribing to two different sites with WDW crowd data - to plan around them. And we maximize FP use at WDW. Doing it this way, and getting an early start with a mid-day break (we stay onsite at WDW), we find the WDW crowds quite manageable.

So, this trip to US/IoA isn't about WWoHP, it's about taking in what both parks have to offer and trying something new.

We typically get out to FL every other year.

That said how valuable is staying on site (I'm choking on the $300/night rooms) or getting (paying for!) the Express Pass?

Many Thanks!

The end of June is a very busy time for all the Orlando theme parks. I think the cost of the room will hurt a lot less when you see what it gets you in return! You will be able to do TONS more that time of year by not waiting in long lines and if time is money you will come out way ahead. My boys loved the Hard Rock Hotel - there were def. lots of tweens and teens there and it's a short walk from the parks. It's always possible that a discount will come out as it gets closer.
As far as crowds in WWOHP - if you stay on-site you will get early entry. You will be able to get in and see the more crowded things before the rest of the crowds get there. At Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff you will be able to use your front of the line perk so no problems there. The FJ line moves pretty quickly. I would suggest doing it once together then if anyone wants to ride again - just use the single rider line. We went last summer and his WWOHP first thing in the AM and just before closing. Then we spent the rest of the days riding whatever rides we wanted in the 2 parks as we didn't have to wait. So easy!
When I go to Disney, I will choose to stay in a lesser priced resort (such as Pop) if it means more money in the budget for things such as dining etc... At Universal, I am the exact opposite - I will choose to eat cereal for lunch if it means I am able to stay at one of the Universal Hotels even if they cost more because the perks are so great. :)

Marquibiri
09-10-2011, 10:57 AM
Iīd definitely go with staying onsite. The perks are just unbelievable! Early admission for WWoHP and Unlimited Express Pass.

You could also buy the unlimited express passes but thatīs quite a few $$$ for all of you.
https://secure.universalstudios.com/webstore/shop/ViewItems.aspx?Merchant=UOMain&CategoryGroupExternalID=UO&CategoryExternalID=UOVIP

Cheers!

Marquibiri :thumbsup2

Melanie230
09-10-2011, 11:01 AM
Staying onsite is a TRUE asset! It is worth every penny! But remember...the current rates this far out are higher than normal. Watch the rates often and see how much they come down. Also...buy 1 AP for discounts. It is worth it's weight in gold. In many cases, the extra $$$ you pay for it, you save that much or more on the room. You also get discounts at the restaurants, and on multi day tickets for your family. The onsite rooms are just amazing. At this time, WWoHP still does not have any FOTL access, but who knows...maybe next summer they will. Good luck planning!!

Esteri
09-10-2011, 11:42 AM
I looks like I can get two days of perks with a one-night stay. So, this is looking more doable. I do like the idea of having a place to park, outside the park, during the hottest part of the day. (We like our mid-day nap / swim.)

AP holders get a discount? Hum... Now that's a thought. We do qualify for military discounts, but it doesn't look like Universal is offering much of anything right now. We were thinking about doing the Flex Pass and foregoing WDW altogether. (Horrors!)

Since we're DVC members - other than (maybe) the one night at Universal, we'll be staying onsite at WDW. After all, we're already paid for the accommodations. :rolleyes:

Are discounts more readily available as we get closer to the date? How does that work?
.

Melanie230
09-10-2011, 12:04 PM
Yes...rates tend to go down as it gets closer. Check the rates often and when you key in your dates under the CODE spot key in APH. The annual pass rate may not show up until a couple of months before you go. So check often!! APH rates are limited to a certain number of rooms!

Planogirl
09-10-2011, 12:17 PM
If you afford to stay onsite then I agree that it's best to do so. However you can still tour Universal if you stay offsite. Show up for WWoHP before opening and get in as early as possible. You can also sometimes catch shorter lines in the evening and the area is beautiful after dark so it's worth seeing then whatever the crowds.

As for rates at the onsite hotels, I have landed amazing rates but had no luck finding any good discounts this year. I would certainly check though. I got my best rate a few years ago through Expedia. I heard at the time that we did at least as well as AP that year.