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Old 09-12-2012, 06:43 PM   #1
KristinU
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anyone care to critique my newbie thinking?

Hey all,

First foray into "the darkside" (aside from US in Hollywood several times as a kid in the 70's)

So anyway, we are going down to visit family in Fort Myers for Christmas and didn't intend on any Orlando stop, however we have a recent Harry Potter convert in the family (DS8). So we're thinking about taking a few extra days on the way home to stop in Orlando for a US/IOH visit (probably as DS's Christmas gift!)

We are traveling with our camper, and I made us some camping ressies...but in my reading here it looks like we might be well served with a single night at a Universal hotel so we can get the FOTL access. I'm also gathering that we would come out a little ahead in parking since one night would cover two days, right? Plus we could do the mid day break right there for a swim and stuff.

I realize that it will be crazy busy...but we would shoot for maybe the 2nd and 3rd of January...am I overly optimistic thinking that some of the crowds will have died down a bit?

And am I right thinking that FOTL is critical at this time? I realize that the Hogwarts attraction doesn't have it, but I'm thinking we will need it elsewhere, right?

And what about a touring plan? WWoHP first from what I'm reading, but what about after that?

Thanks for bearing with my ramblings! Any critique, suggestions, insight would be appreciated!
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1994 Poly Honeymoon - 1997 BWV - 1998 Contemporary - 1999 Coronado Springs - 2000 Joined DVC! BWV & Vero Beach - 2001 BWV & CBR - 2002 BCV & OKW - 2003 Grand Californian & AKL - 2004 POR, DS's first trip to WDW and our 10th anniversary! - 2005 BWV for DS's first birthday! & SSR - 2006 Pop & OKW - 2007 VWL for DS's 3rd birthday! also in 2007 - started living Debt Free! - 2008 BWV for DS's 4th birthday and sold DVC! (and yes, it's a good thing for us! ) and Fort Wilderness for Thanksgiving 2008 - 2009 Bay Lake Tower for our 15th Anniversary 2011 Fort Wilderness, Princess Half Marathon 2012 Fort Wilderness - 2013 1st Dark Side visit - Universal for WWoHP! 2013 AKV for Princess Half Marathon Girls Weekend!
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:54 PM   #2
damo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KristinU View Post
Hey all,

First foray into "the darkside" (aside from US in Hollywood several times as a kid in the 70's)

So anyway, we are going down to visit family in Fort Myers for Christmas and didn't intend on any Orlando stop, however we have a recent Harry Potter convert in the family (DS8). So we're thinking about taking a few extra days on the way home to stop in Orlando for a US/IOH visit (probably as DS's Christmas gift!)

We are traveling with our camper, and I made us some camping ressies...but in my reading here it looks like we might be well served with a single night at a Universal hotel so we can get the FOTL access. I'm also gathering that we would come out a little ahead in parking since one night would cover two days, right? Plus we could do the mid day break right there for a swim and stuff.

I realize that it will be crazy busy...but we would shoot for maybe the 2nd and 3rd of January...am I overly optimistic thinking that some of the crowds will have died down a bit?

And am I right thinking that FOTL is critical at this time? I realize that the Hogwarts attraction doesn't have it, but I'm thinking we will need it elsewhere, right?

And what about a touring plan? WWoHP first from what I'm reading, but what about after that?

Thanks for bearing with my ramblings! Any critique, suggestions, insight would be appreciated!
Staying onsite will give you early admission to the Wizarding World, which is like having express pass for all the rides there for one hour. Only those staying at the onsite hotels or buying a package get that admission. You also get early admission to Universal Studios and the new Despicable Me attraction and one more.

With unlimited express, you won't need a touring plan. Just make your way around the parks!!!
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:38 PM   #3
Lynne G
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KristinU View Post
Hey all,

First foray into "the darkside" (aside from US in Hollywood several times as a kid in the 70's)

So anyway, we are going down to visit family in Fort Myers for Christmas and didn't intend on any Orlando stop, however we have a recent Harry Potter convert in the family (DS8). So we're thinking about taking a few extra days on the way home to stop in Orlando for a US/IOH visit (probably as DS's Christmas gift!)

We are traveling with our camper, and I made us some camping ressies...but in my reading here it looks like we might be well served with a single night at a Universal hotel so we can get the FOTL access. I'm also gathering that we would come out a little ahead in parking since one night would cover two days, right? Plus we could do the mid day break right there for a swim and stuff.

I realize that it will be crazy busy...but we would shoot for maybe the 2nd and 3rd of January...am I overly optimistic thinking that some of the crowds will have died down a bit?

And am I right thinking that FOTL is critical at this time? I realize that the Hogwarts attraction doesn't have it, but I'm thinking we will need it elsewhere, right?

And what about a touring plan? WWoHP first from what I'm reading, but what about after that?

Thanks for bearing with my ramblings! Any critique, suggestions, insight would be appreciated!
I say, if you can afford it, stay onsite, pay the one night nasty parking fee, and enjoy one of the really nice hotels, unlimited express pass for 2 days, with early Potterland entry, and enjoy all three hotel pools. You can, and encouraged to pool hop. The Portofino has the best slide.

Do Potter first, with early entry. If you want the wand store show, get in line pronto, it fills up fast, even during early entry. Enjoy the early hour in Potter and then move on to Dino land. If you kid likes the flyers, got to that first. It has no express and the line can move like pond water, ugly wait the later in the day. If you like water rides (and getting soaked) all the water rides are in IOA. Then go to Comics or Suess. Get a map when you enter and that will give you the lay of the land. Neither park is huge, but both are alot of walking. So, enjoy the scenery too.

Once you see your kid go through the express line 10 times to go on Spiderman, you will see the value of the hotel's unlimited express. Depending on the day, if you bought an unlimited pass, it would be about half the price of the hotel for one night, and that is for each person. You kid will definitely like being in the express line.

Enjoy the parks, my kids did. We usually go to IOA in the morning, then around lunch head to USO. Not a long walk between the parks and the City Walk is nice to stroll along. We then either go back to IOA to end the night, or stay in USO. However, this year, we purposely stayed at USO to see the night show one of the nights at USO. Otherwise, we go for the last 2 or so hours in the park that has the later closing time, and Potter at night is pretty too.


Ok, I am rambling! Have a great trip!
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:59 AM   #4
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Please remember...there is no such thing as FOTL at the Orlando parks. That's a term that only lives on the DIS.
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:26 AM   #5
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Thanks guys! Have I ever mentioned that

One more question, then...I probably won't be able to do any better than the rates directly booked at teh Universal website for right around a holiday, will I? I've poked around using expedia and kayak, but they either show no availability or a higher rate than the Universal site itself...so I'm thinking I should just secure a ressie and move along. And yeah, I checked the express pass price per person per day during that time - way better deal to book a room than to pay for each of us to have the express pass for a couple of days!
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1994 Poly Honeymoon - 1997 BWV - 1998 Contemporary - 1999 Coronado Springs - 2000 Joined DVC! BWV & Vero Beach - 2001 BWV & CBR - 2002 BCV & OKW - 2003 Grand Californian & AKL - 2004 POR, DS's first trip to WDW and our 10th anniversary! - 2005 BWV for DS's first birthday! & SSR - 2006 Pop & OKW - 2007 VWL for DS's 3rd birthday! also in 2007 - started living Debt Free! - 2008 BWV for DS's 4th birthday and sold DVC! (and yes, it's a good thing for us! ) and Fort Wilderness for Thanksgiving 2008 - 2009 Bay Lake Tower for our 15th Anniversary 2011 Fort Wilderness, Princess Half Marathon 2012 Fort Wilderness - 2013 1st Dark Side visit - Universal for WWoHP! 2013 AKV for Princess Half Marathon Girls Weekend!
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:53 AM   #6
damo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KristinU View Post
Thanks guys! Have I ever mentioned that

One more question, then...I probably won't be able to do any better than the rates directly booked at teh Universal website for right around a holiday, will I? I've poked around using expedia and kayak, but they either show no availability or a higher rate than the Universal site itself...so I'm thinking I should just secure a ressie and move along. And yeah, I checked the express pass price per person per day during that time - way better deal to book a room than to pay for each of us to have the express pass for a couple of days!
Make sure you are booking through the page that is for onsite hotels and not packages or book directly at www.loewshotels.com

That should be giving you the lowest prices that are out right now. They don't tend to discount through third party sites.
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:05 AM   #7
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AAA rates are sometimes available but usually don't display on Loews' website. You can usually find those rates directly from AAA's website. I've also heard that cheaper AAA rates could be available by calling Universal Orlando's hotel reservation phone number.
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:19 AM   #8
KristinU
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All set, thanks again everyone! Got my reservation for RPR direct from the Loews site
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1994 Poly Honeymoon - 1997 BWV - 1998 Contemporary - 1999 Coronado Springs - 2000 Joined DVC! BWV & Vero Beach - 2001 BWV & CBR - 2002 BCV & OKW - 2003 Grand Californian & AKL - 2004 POR, DS's first trip to WDW and our 10th anniversary! - 2005 BWV for DS's first birthday! & SSR - 2006 Pop & OKW - 2007 VWL for DS's 3rd birthday! also in 2007 - started living Debt Free! - 2008 BWV for DS's 4th birthday and sold DVC! (and yes, it's a good thing for us! ) and Fort Wilderness for Thanksgiving 2008 - 2009 Bay Lake Tower for our 15th Anniversary 2011 Fort Wilderness, Princess Half Marathon 2012 Fort Wilderness - 2013 1st Dark Side visit - Universal for WWoHP! 2013 AKV for Princess Half Marathon Girls Weekend!
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