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Old 02-27-2013, 07:50 PM   #1
trips44
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Need some help

Ok, so i have been reading these boards for about a week and planning our first trip to orlando. Huge HP fans. Family of 5. 3 boys ages 12-9-7. Were just in beginning phases of planning. Were thinking a 10-14 day trip. Plan on leaving around June 22 +/- 2 days. What do I do?

1. I want to stay onsite; only for unlimited express pass but it seems expensive, (Im not happy about all the nickel and diming Im reading about onsite either). Im thinking maybe a night or two, but 2 nights onsite cost as much as 5-6 at other places. I am thrifty but I want to make sure we all have as great time as possible. is it crowded at this time?

2. Want to visit IOA, US, Sea World, legoland, and thinking in june we might need water parks, is it hot there? Were in Phila Area temps around 80 or so in June.

3. Looking at these flex passes are they worth it? How about go orlando card?

4. Im sure many more questions will pop up, but I gotta run right now. I'll keep posting. FWIW I am really glad I stumbled on this board, I've learned a lot.
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:53 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by trips44 View Post
Ok, so i have been reading these boards for about a week and planning our first trip to orlando. Huge HP fans. Family of 5. 3 boys ages 12-9-7. Were just in beginning phases of planning. Were thinking a 10-14 day trip. Plan on leaving around June 22 +/- 2 days. What do I do?

1. I want to stay onsite; only for unlimited express pass but it seems expensive, (Im not happy about all the nickel and diming Im reading about onsite either). Im thinking maybe a night or two, but 2 nights onsite cost as much as 5-6 at other places. I am thrifty but I want to make sure we all have as great time as possible. is it crowded at this time?

2. Want to visit IOA, US, Sea World, legoland, and thinking in june we might need water parks, is it hot there? Were in Phila Area temps around 80 or so in June.

3. Looking at these flex passes are they worth it? How about go orlando card?

4. Im sure many more questions will pop up, but I gotta run right now. I'll keep posting. FWIW I am really glad I stumbled on this board, I've learned a lot.
1. Yes it is busy in late June. Remember that you get two full days of early admission and unlimited express for each night's stay.

2. Yes, it is very hot and humid in late June.

3. You'll have to do the math with the flex ticket to see if it is worth it for you.

4. Ask away!!!
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:27 PM   #3
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Huge HP fans. Family of 5. 3 boys ages 12-9-7.
Remember WWoHP is just one section of one of the theme parks -- and all 3 of the rides there cause motion sickness.

What type of rides do your kids like? That will impact how much park time you need.

For example, at Disney World last year, one of my nieces asked about each ride, "Is it dark? Is it scary? Will I get wet?" If the answer was yes to any of those questions, she ruled out the ride. Needless to say, I did not suggest going to Universal. Her question would have ruled out almost everything at both of the parks there except the stuff she would have deemed too babyish.

Look at the ride descriptions and think about what your kids like.

Also, I think you can check in early in the morning for a one-night stay. Your room might not be ready, but you can leave your bags with bell services. I think you can get any benefits (early admission, express line access, etc.) for that day and for the next day. Some of the regulars on this board can tell you for sure. So if you can get your family up early enough, you can get two days of benefits for the cost of one night's stay. (You would have to be out of the room by check-out time, but again you could leave your bags with bell services.)
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:52 PM   #4
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Good advice so far. Thank you.

I am leaning towards 2 nights at RPR; does that mean 4 days early and 4 days unlimited FOTL passes? maybe 1st and 2nd; depending on flight but probably 2nd & 3rd or at end. Were thinking 10-14 day trip because its our first time there; I'm thinking flex passes give you the best bang for your buck, 14 day unlimited visits. Do the parks become mundane or boring after a few days? That's why I'm thinking the go orlando card too; more options, but not the big parks.

5. Whats this citywalk I keep reading about? is that for kids too? Without the pass do you have a "cover charge" so to speak at each place?

6. Is the kids eat free a good value; is this only for 1 day per ticket? I was reading somewhere about a VIP card for dining, anyone have experience with that? or am I better just getting coupons from the airport, visit orlando, etc?

7. Anyone been to Nickelodeon hotel? Is that a day in itself? I was looking at the 3*-3.5* star partner hotels they seem nice, any input? Are the traveler reviews real

8. Do I need a rental car or is the transportation provided by the hotels, onsite etc, adequate? I was also reading about some unlimited trolly anyone know anything about this?

Now you understand the title for the post I am so confused and have only been reading about the options for a week. This is our first real family vacation outside of the jersey shore. Thanks in advance for any and all help.

Last edited by trips44; 02-27-2013 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trips44 View Post
Good advice so far. Thank you.

I am leaning towards 2 nights at RPR; does that mean 4 days early and 4 days unlimited FOTL passes? maybe 1st and 2nd; depending on flight but probably 2nd & 3rd or at end. Were thinking 10-14 day trip because its our first time there; I'm thinking flex passes give you the best bang for your buck, 14 day unlimited visits. Do the parks become mundane or boring after a few days? That's why I'm thinking the go orlando card too; more options, but not the big parks.

5. Whats this citywalk I keep reading about? is that for kids too? Without the pass do you have a "cover charge" so to speak at each place?

6. Is the kids eat free a good value; is this only for 1 day per ticket? I was reading somewhere about a VIP card for dining, anyone have experience with that? or am I better just getting coupons from the airport, visit orlando, etc?

7. Anyone been to Nickelodeon hotel? Is that a day in itself? I was looking at the 3*-3.5* star partner hotels they seem nice, any input? Are the traveler reviews real

8. Do I need a rental car or is the transportation provided by the hotels, onsite etc, adequate? I was also reading about some unlimited trolly anyone know anything about this?

Now you understand the title for the post I am so confused and have only been reading about the options for a week. This is our first real family vacation outside of the jersey shore. Thanks in advance for any and all help.
if you stay onsite for 2 nights, you are allowed the early entry and unlimited usage of the express lines for 3 days in the park.
when you check out on day 3, you are entitled to the hotel perks until the parks close.

the free transportation that the hotels provide are from your onsite hotel to Sea World, Wet and Wild and Aquatica.
If you go offsite other than the above places, you could walk to International drive to use the trolley line, rent a car for the day, taxi or private car service to explore other things in Orlando.

i don't feel the meal deal is worth it.
it is limited to 3 restaurants in each park.
it begins around 11:00 and does not include breakfast or beverages.
the meal deal ends 30 minutes prior to park closing.

check out the menus for the places that the meal deal is allowed.
if you find the menus are what your children would eat, determine the price if it would be worth it for them.
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trips44 View Post
Good advice so far. Thank you.

I am leaning towards 2 nights at RPR; does that mean 4 days early and 4 days unlimited FOTL passes? maybe 1st and 2nd; depending on flight but probably 2nd & 3rd or at end. Were thinking 10-14 day trip because its our first time there; I'm thinking flex passes give you the best bang for your buck, 14 day unlimited visits. Do the parks become mundane or boring after a few days? That's why I'm thinking the go orlando card too; more options, but not the big parks.

5. Whats this citywalk I keep reading about? is that for kids too? Without the pass do you have a "cover charge" so to speak at each place?

6. Is the kids eat free a good value; is this only for 1 day per ticket? I was reading somewhere about a VIP card for dining, anyone have experience with that? or am I better just getting coupons from the airport, visit orlando, etc?

7. Anyone been to Nickelodeon hotel? Is that a day in itself? I was looking at the 3*-3.5* star partner hotels they seem nice, any input? Are the traveler reviews real

8. Do I need a rental car or is the transportation provided by the hotels, onsite etc, adequate? I was also reading about some unlimited trolly anyone know anything about this?

Now you understand the title for the post I am so confused and have only been reading about the options for a week. This is our first real family vacation outside of the jersey shore. Thanks in advance for any and all help.
5. Cover charge is just if you go into the clubs later at night. Citywalk has shops and restaurants and a theatre and two mini golf courses.

6. agree with macraven on this one...you can see menus in the food sticky on the other universal forum here on the disboards


7. check out the orlando hotels forum on the disboards for help on the Nick hotel. Unfortunately the search function isn't working here right now.

8. transportation isn't necessary. You have to pay $17/night if you bring a long a car to the onsite resorts.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:38 AM   #7
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damo, the price went up, well, at least for my October stay.



Self Parking $18 + tax/night


Valet $25 + tax/night




the above for parking charges at the onsite hotel.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:45 AM   #8
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damo, the price went up, well, at least for my October stay.



Self Parking $18 + tax/night


Valet $25 + tax/night




the above for parking charges at the onsite hotel.
Geez louise, it is almost getting to be a monthly increase!!!
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:56 AM   #9
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Ok, Were thinking a 10-14 day trip. Plan on leaving around June 22 +/- 2 days. What do I do?

1. I want to stay onsite; only for unlimited express pass but it seems expensive, (Im not happy about all the nickel and diming Im reading about onsite either). Im thinking maybe a night or two, but 2 nights onsite cost as much as 5-6 at other places. I am thrifty but I want to make sure we all have as great time as possible. is it crowded at this time?



going in the above time period, it will have crowds and probably will be hot.
not as hot as August, but still will be uncomfortable for your family if you are not used to Floridian summers.

staying onsite allows you to return to your hotel to take a break from the heat.
you can enjoy the pool or spend time in the lobby, your room, dining at Jakes, etc.

I'm staying 11 days this year at rph and feel it is very much worth the costs.
the convenience of not having to rush for anything, the 10 minute travel time from the park/city walk back to the hotel keeps me from wasting my time.

my vacations are totally relaxing.
i can completely unwind from life and clear my mind.
i can enjoy everything i wish in the hotels, parks, city walk.

if your main goal is to only hit the parks for the rides and potter, staying onsite will be worth it during a crowded time period.

you will not have the frustrations of long line waits, you can avoid rain, heat by doing activities at your hotel or visit the other 2 hotels / pool hopping, dining.

you can have an hour break from the parks with your family without missing out on any of the rides by using the express lines.

without being able to snag room discounts with the AP, some of the room prices can be costly. no doubt about that.

but, i see it as the money is worth it in the long run.
peace of mind and total relaxation on a vacation can't be bought but can be accomplished by staying where it is most convenient for you.

if staying off site (due to room costs) and having to follow a strict schedule,
is better for your family, do a breakdown of how the two compare financially.

if the difference between the two is affordable, then try to consider staying onsite.

doing the parks for 2 days might be difficult if you are staying offsite.
no early entry, no free unlimited usage of the express lines.
you will need to study the park layouts and have a plan to do both parks in your 2 day visit.

it can be done, but you need to plan ahead.

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Old 02-28-2013, 09:41 PM   #10
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My Bad; I'm thinking either the 3 park pass or flex pass. both give unlimited visits to IOA & HP and the flex includes SW parks in 14 day period. This way we could come and go as we please for up to 14 days. And if we drive we only pay 1 parking fee per day? Unless I am way off base on my interpretation of these. Am I?

As others have said and my thinking was it is hot and humid in FLA late June; so I am thinking we will definitely take advantage of the water parks/pool; maybe in afternoon when theme parks seem to be most crowded.

Am I correct in reading HP allows no universal passes anyway, and it seems like the more popular rides are all like that is that accurate?

Does anyone know if the partner hotels are on priceline? hotwire? and the partner hotels include early admission don't they?

I am crunching numbers, I do want to stay onsite for at least a night or two I'm trying to justify it in my mind. Im gonna keep a notepad so I can write my questions as I'm doing the planing and Ill come back here for accurate info.

Thank you for your help thus far. I am sure I will have more questions as I anxiously await my visit Orlando book, program or what ever there sending me.

Last edited by trips44; 02-28-2013 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by trips44 View Post
My Bad; I'm thinking either the 3 park pass or flex pass. both give unlimited visits to IOA & HP and the flex includes SW parks in 14 day period. This way we could come and go as we please for up to 14 days. And if we drive we only pay 1 parking fee per day? Unless I am way off base on my interpretation of these. Am I?

As others have said and my thinking was it is hot and humid in FLA late June; so I am thinking we will definitely take advantage of the water parks/pool; maybe in afternoon when theme parks seem to be most crowded.

Am I correct in reading HP allows no universal passes anyway, and it seems like the more popular rides are all like that is that accurate?

Does anyone know if the partner hotels are on priceline? hotwire? and the partner hotels include early admission don't they?

I am crunching numbers, I do want to stay onsite for at least a night or two I'm trying to justify it in my mind. Im gonna keep a notepad so I can write my questions as I'm doing the planing and Ill come back here for accurate info.

Thank you for your help thus far. I am sure I will have more questions as I anxiously await my visit Orlando book, program or what ever there sending me.
i'm sure some of the partner hotels are on priceline.
but, you have to book a package with universal resorts reservations in order to get the early entry for the parks.
packages are room and park tickets.

i have not personally found the packages to be the best deal.
there are charges each time you make a change on some of the package deals. cancellation is different from making a room only ressie for one of the 3 onsite hotels.

if you stay onsite, you can use the free hotel shuttle to SW, W & W, and aquatica.
it is not an hourly shuttle but schedule times for the offsite places.
you sign up for the free shuttle in the hotel lobby the night prior.

if you drive, you pay the parking fee for the hotel once.
the charges begin at midnight for the 24 hour period.
this way, you won't have a parking charge for the hotel on the day you check out.

flex tickets i have read about.
i have not studied them as i have the AP since 2003.
my info on the flex tickets are based on what i have read on the websites.
i'm sure there are other posters who can give you better info on them than i can.

no express line for FJ or Ollivanders.
express lines for the hippograpf and dueling dragons.
(sorry, i'm stuck in a time warp with the original name of that coaster..)

No express for the RRR at the studios.
one more ride is on the no express line list.


if you start your trip at the darkside on a tuesday or wednesday, and stay off site for those two days, you would get a decent amount of park rides/shows done.
then move onsite for one night. (Thursday perhaps)
check in at 7:00 am so you can obtain the picture express pass and do early entry that day.
the next day, do early entry again.

this way, you will accomplish the parks and what is in it quite well.
you won't have the line waits using the express.
what you did in the parks on the days you stayed offsite, you can do again with the express pass.

friday/saturday have higher room rates at the onsite hotels.
if you can plan around the days you will be at the darkside, try to avoid weekends. hotel cost more and parks are more crowded.
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:05 AM   #12
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Why not get a preferred ap for one ember of your party. then you may get room discounts, free parking (not at onsite hotel though), dining discounts and merchandise discounts.
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:44 AM   #13
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i just looked for ap rates for that period in June and didn't find any.

of course that can change, so the op should check frequently if they would pop up.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:01 AM   #14
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9. is the park to park with unlimited universal express pass the same unlimited universal pass I would receive at an on site hotel?
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:15 AM   #15
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9. is the park to park with unlimited universal express pass the same unlimited universal pass I would receive at an on site hotel?
Yes.

One thing I see that I'm not sure has been answered is about partner hotels. You only get early admission by staying at a partner hotel IF you purchase a package through the universal website that includes your tickets.
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