View Full Version : Staying DVC but visiting Universal

12-07-2011, 09:08 PM
Well, we finally decided to go over to the dark side.....have to see the Wizarding World. I looked into the Universal hotels since front of the line passes sound awesome. It would run us about $700 for 2 nights (5 people). Even if we do a AAA discount, that seems silly when we can use our points. We are spending 5 nights at DW. Has anyone stayed at a DVC resort and driven to Universal for the day? How long does it take? Thanks for any advice. It will be my husband, me, and our 3 teens 15, 17, and 19.

12-07-2011, 09:54 PM
Depends on the resort, but it's around 15 miles. It is a quick drive unless there's a ton of traffic. That being said, there's usually a ton of traffic, lol. I would budget about 30 minutes to get TO universal and another 10-15 to park. Walking to the entrance gate is another 5-10 minutes.

In summary, if you leave 1 hour before you want to get to the gate, you should be fine.

12-07-2011, 10:03 PM
We just came back from 9 days at the BWV. We went to Universal one day via taxi. It took about 30 minutes to get there. And another 10 to 15 minutes to walk to the gate. If you drive yourself, I would guess that it is a further walk from the garage.

We got to the gates at 8:30 and by 8:45 they were letting us through. We did FJ two times before 9:15.

12-08-2011, 12:55 AM
We stayed at Saratoga Springs last year and it did take probably no more 20 minutes (probably the easiest spot to get from Disney to Universal). But as others have said, it took just as long to park and get to the gate as it did to actually drive there.

12-08-2011, 05:48 AM
If you can, I would consider spending one night in a Universal hotel. You get 2 days FOL passes with 1 day hotel. We did that this summer. I don't think I would go back to Universal without doing that. The FOL passes are so worth it, and it was nice to be able to hang at Citywalk 1 night.

12-08-2011, 08:32 AM
I was thinking about doing that on a furture trip. Stay @ a DVC resort, rent a car, and go to all the "other" parks. (US, SW, etc.)

12-08-2011, 10:33 AM
We just got back yesterday. Stayed @ OKW and it took about 15-20 minutes to drive over.5 minute walk from the parking garage and had no longer than a 15 minute wait for anything including Harry Potter.

12-08-2011, 01:57 PM
Stayed at the Treehouses last week and went to US/IOA for two days by rental car. About 20 minutes and no traffic issues. We went mid week. It was our first time visiting HP and we had three rides on FJ. No more than a 5 - 10 min wait for us. Olivander's was a different story. About a 45 - 50 min wait to get in the shop. :scared1:

12-08-2011, 03:42 PM
We are going in Feb - school vacation in the NorthEast, so it is crowded. We are staying at RPH for 2 nights because of the FOL pass and enjoying a few maragaritas at Jimmy Buffet's. We are spending the rest of the week at BWV.

12-08-2011, 07:01 PM
another possibliity is one member of party buying an annual pass and what you would save on the rest of the tickets and hotel would cover the cost. We stayed at portafino bay for two night this august. Loved the hotel so much only went to park one day and stayed at resort the rest of the time. Also went solo last January and took the mears shuttle from hotel. It was $20 round trip and that was from Hopitolity House at Saratoga.

12-08-2011, 07:26 PM
We just came back from 9 days at the BWV. We went to Universal one day via taxi. It took about 30 minutes to get there. And another 10 to 15 minutes to walk to the gate. If you drive yourself, I would guess that it is a further walk from the garage.

We got to the gates at 8:30 and by 8:45 they were letting us through. We did FJ two times before 9:15.

May I ask how much is the taxi ride round trip cost?

We are going on DCL this Feb and staying 2 nights before and 3 nights after the cruise @ BWV I am thinking maybe go get to universal for 2 days, (which would be cheaper than going to Disney), and just enjoy the resort for the rest.

I think more and more people are thinking about "go over to the dark side" :goodvibes

Pete W.
12-09-2011, 08:14 AM
We're long-time BWV owners and WDW veterans, and we made our first trip to Universal Orlando last June and enjoyed it very much. We stayed 4 nights at the Royal Pacific Resort followed by a 5-day Disney Dream cruise.

One word of caution re: previous posts reporting short waits for attractions, including for Forbidden Journey which is the signature attraction in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter section of Islands of Adventure. You will find very long waits during busier times of the year so please keep this in mind if you're day tripping from WDW. Universal resort guests are allowed early entry to IoW specifically for WWoHP and the crowds become overwhelming very early. By midday, there is a long wait simply to enter WWoHP because it is a relatively small 'land' and then you could wait a couple hours to ride FJ.

This is not to dissuade anyone from day tripping to Universal. Quite the opposite -- just be prepared for large crowds during busier times of year and plan accordingly. Also, keep in mind that WWoHP is just one of several 'lands' in Islands of Adventure. The park has a large number of world-class attractions, and then the Universal Studios park has even more. If your only objective is to experience WWoHP, you'll still pay for a full-day ticket to IoA so go early and experience the entire park. Better yet, do what others are suggesting and stay at least one night at one of the Universal resort hotels which will give you 2 days of Express Pass priveleges (similar to Disney FP but unlimited for virtually all attractions).

12-10-2011, 12:39 PM
I didn't realize you get 2 days of front of the line passes for a one night stay. That sounds doable! Is this automatic, or do you have to book some sort of package combo from Universal? I noticed it is a little bit cheaper to book directly from the Loews website. Also, my h is a HUGE Jimmy Buffett fan. Is there a Margaritaville there at Universal? I am thinking 2 days at the Universal parks would be enough, and then we would head on over to WDW. We are planning for the beginning of June and have not yet booked our resort, so we can't be too picky. We have not tried OKW yet, so this may be the year.

Pete W.
12-10-2011, 01:20 PM
You automatically get 2-days of Express Pass privileges just for staying one night at any of the on-site resorts. Very similar to WDW where a 1-night stay entitles you to up to 2-days of extra magic hours. It's all about the date(s) on your resort card.

Yes, there is a Margaritaville at Universal. It's in City Walk, the shopping and dining area very similar to Downtown Disney except Citywalk is right outside the entrance to both theme parks.

12-10-2011, 01:28 PM
I would stay the one night at Universal to get the 2 days FOTL. We are spoiled by this and I wouldn't do it any other way now. We usually start our trip there and then head over to Disney.

12-10-2011, 01:29 PM
We did a combo last May and will be doing it again in January.

Booked one night at Royal Pacific, and got 2 days of FOTL access.

Bought one annual pass when we arrived and that gives a few discounts as well as free parking.

We then moved to BLT and commuted to Universal a couple of additional days.

Had no line for olivanders, but that was just blind luck as there was a line the rest of the times we passed by.

Ate at Mythos and it was good.

Walked into Three Broomsticks for breakfast and that was good.

Loved the whole Harry Potter attraction.

universal has sent us some dicounts a few times but we are booked at Boardwalk so will stay there and commute again.

It's a short ride and if you take the side road it's pretty quick and not much traffic.....turn left on 535 out by Downtown Disney and right before the winn Dixie then left onto the side road that runs along I-4 and right following signs to the parks. Easy peasy.

12-10-2011, 07:31 PM
We always do the Universal Resorts. With FOTL access, it is worth every penny during peak times. Plus, Loews (who run the Universal resorts) do a superior job in running those hotels as opposed to DVC, who can't even manage to properly clean a room between guests. We use our DVC points at WDW and splurge at UO.