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Old 03-25-2014, 09:12 PM   #1
jlay68
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Is this a good rate?

My husband and I are looking at a vacation package for September 2014. I am trying to figure out if this is a good deal we should book now, or if we should wait to see if the prices drop more. It is $1200 per person which includes: airfare, 4 nights at the Hard Rock hotel, 3 day park-to-park tickets, City Walk party pass and breakfast at the 3 Broomsticks. Thanks!
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:12 AM   #2
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Most experienced Universal people book room-only and buy their tickets separately.

Packages at Uni are rarely a good financial deal, and they come with restrictions that make it difficult if you need to change things around later.

Unless there is a brand new Diagon Alley-based package that includes intangible cool things like a Hogwarts Express ticket, etc etc, the HP packages include nothing you can't get on your own now. The breakfast is easy to get now; when Hogsmeade first opened you couldn't get into breakfast at 3B without a reservation, and you could only get a reservation if you booked that package. It's not that way anymore. (plus, they start serving lunch at 10:30, which doesn't give you much time to tour and eat in the mornings!)

I really urge you to look at room-only reservations; the best place to check that out is at this site here. It will show you the lowest publicly available for your dates at the time you're looking. If you book something and later on a better rate comes out, you can call and switch it over.

If you have AAA you can call the Loews booking people and ask if there's a AAA rate available. It does NOT show up on that site.

For thoroughness, you might also consider checking for AP rates. Put "APH" into the code field on that page, and it will show you IF there's an AP rate for your dates at the time that you're looking. I don't think AP rates for September are out right now, but if one shows up later you would then want to do the math. Would it be worth it for one person to get an AP instead of a ticket, to get whatever AP rate might show up for your dates (if one does)? Sometimes it works out, sometimes not. Good to check, though.

The AP also gets you discounts on food/merchandise, so even if you break exactly even with hotel discount vs the ticket upgrade, you're doing well.


Once you book room-only, you can buy your ticket wherever it works best for you. If that AP upgrade thing works for you, note that Universal does upgrades like Disneyland does...which means you go from *what you paid* to what the AP costs now. (it's not like WDW where they have traditionally "bridged" the price you paid to the price the ticket costs now, and then upgraded from that) So if that's a consideration, just know that you will "lose" any discount you might have gotten on the ticket you'll upgrade.

But anyway, you can buy from Universal (I recommend using the will call kiosk option), you can buy from undercovertourist.com, maple leaf tickets...etc.

Getting into Citywalk itself is always free (unless you're driving in, in which case you pay for parking, but if you are staying onsite you would just walk/shuttle/boat over). The admission they talk about is, I believe, for the clubs at CW. Will you be hitting the clubs while there?

Doesn't sound like this is a worry, but in case...staying onsite at one of the 3 deluxe hotels gives you Early Entrance to Wizarding World as well as the Unlimited Express Pass. Staying onsite at Cabana Bay gives you Early Entrance.


Hope my wordy answer helps!
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:05 AM   #3
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It's impossible to know if that is a good rate or not. First off, we have no idea where you are even flying from and even if we did, flight prices are so variable.

Unless you are booking in the UK where packages are a good deal, I'd follow Bumbershoot's advice.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:39 AM   #4
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I agree, buy room only. We booked room only, and ordered tickets from Undercover Tourist. They just came in the mail last week
You would have to price out components separately to see if package is a good deal.
I've heard some people are getting good room only deals with an Orbitz promo going on now.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:17 PM   #5
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Something I've been wondering about making a room-only reservation, then buying tickets separately - when we buy the tickets, how do they know that we are staying on-site so that we get the express pass and early entry? Do you connect your room-only reservation with the tickets after you buy them?
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djcjn View Post
Something I've been wondering about making a room-only reservation, then buying tickets separately - when we buy the tickets, how do they know that we are staying on-site so that we get the express pass and early entry? Do you connect your room-only reservation with the tickets after you buy them?
Tickets and express passes from the hotels do not connect. They are totally separate, so don't worry about buying your tickets from other sources.
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:13 AM   #7
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Thank you damo!
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Old 03-30-2014, 06:37 PM   #8
Barbiedawl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlay68 View Post
My husband and I are looking at a vacation package for September 2014. I am trying to figure out if this is a good deal we should book now, or if we should wait to see if the prices drop more. It is $1200 per person which includes: airfare, 4 nights at the Hard Rock hotel, 3 day park-to-park tickets, City Walk party pass and breakfast at the 3 Broomsticks. Thanks!
I'm looking at a package for $2400 for 2 that includes flight from dfw, rental car, 3 day park to park universal tickets, 4 park hopper plus water parks disney tickets, and hotel (holiday inn across from universal) for 6 nights. Sounds like its a fantastic deal compared to yours. I priced everything out individually and it came out about $150 less.

This is for the last week of sept/first of oct
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Old 03-30-2014, 06:57 PM   #9
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Barbie, yours is at the Holiday Inn, not Hard Rock Hotel. So the perks of your package will be fewer.
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bumbershoot View Post
Barbie, yours is at the Holiday Inn, not Hard Rock Hotel. So the perks of your package will be fewer.
Enough to outweigh an extra 2 nights, 4 day park hopper plus water park disney tickets and a rental car? Disney tickets alone are around $800
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Barbiedawl View Post
Enough to outweigh an extra 2 nights, 4 day park hopper plus water park disney tickets and a rental car? Disney tickets alone are around $800
This is the deal I would go for....we just need a decent place to sleep and shower..seems like a winner to me.
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:21 PM   #12
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Thumbs up

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This is the deal I would go for....we just need a decent place to sleep and shower..seems like a winner to me.
Thanks for the feedback! I can buy the express passes the other hotel comes with and still be ahead on $$. This is our first trip (we both have been to DisneyWorld & universal as children) but we are excited for Harry potter. It looked like a fabulous deal to me and I'm glad to know you think so too. As you said the hotel is only for sleep and showering.
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:10 PM   #13
jlay68
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Thanks for the advice! We haven't booked anything yet, but it looks like it will be cheaper booking everything separately. Waiting to see if airfare will drop any since we aren't going during a holiday time.

I agree Barbiedawl's package sounds better on paper, but we are doing an all-Universal adult, leaving-the-toddlers at home-relaxing vacation strategically in September to avoid crowds. We loved staying on site last time we went in 2011. Took a town car from the airport. Didn't have to worry about parking or parking fees. Just took a boat or walked anywhere we wanted to go. Definitely took advantage of early entry and felt like we had Hogsmeade all to ourselves.

We did Disney with the kids last October. 5 days, 4 parks and I was worn out! Universal is where I relax. (We'll take the kids when they're older).

Last edited by jlay68; 04-01-2014 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 04-02-2014, 06:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlay68 View Post
Thanks for the advice! We haven't booked anything yet, but it looks like it will be cheaper booking everything separately. Waiting to see if airfare will drop any since we aren't going during a holiday time.

I agree Barbiedawl's package sounds better on paper, but we are doing an all-Universal adult, leaving-the-toddlers at home-relaxing vacation strategically in September to avoid crowds. We loved staying on site last time we went in 2011. Took a town car from the airport. Didn't have to worry about parking or parking fees. Just took a boat or walked anywhere we wanted to go. Definitely took advantage of early entry and felt like we had Hogsmeade all to ourselves.

We did Disney with the kids last October. 5 days, 4 parks and I was worn out! Universal is where I relax. (We'll take the kids when they're older).
This is the kind of vacation I love too!
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:18 PM   #15
Barbiedawl
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My package didn't work out but i still found that by making my car rental separate on costco (free to reserve and free to cancel) I saved enough to pay for our hhn tickets. I booked our flight and hotel plus wdw park hopper plus water parks together on costco and we are purchasing our universal tickets direct online to get our hhn I'm going to use my Amex so we get access to the lounge which I hear isn't much but it's something

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