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Old 07-29-2014, 12:40 AM   #1
olpr
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Its a Wizarding World After All - A 1st Wedding Anniversary Pre-Trip Report

Greetings All!

I'm Olivia and I've lurked around these boards for a little while. I'm a born and raised Disney Geek and only recently started venturing to Universal for Harry Potter. Both my Husband and I are huge Harry Potter fans. We went to London on our honeymoon, mainly to visit Leavesden Studios for the Harry Potter Studio Tour.

So ever since we got married we said we would take our first anniversary trip to Universal since my husband, Jon, hasn't been yet! I've been twice before, but it will be my first time seeing the Diagon Alley expansion. I have never stayed on property at Universal and I'm really looking forward to experiencing it. We booked our trip for November 13-17 with 3 day park tickets. We are staying at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort and we are so looking forward to it. It reminds me of the Pop Century resort at Disney of which I have fond memories so I'm excited to try it out. We just booked a few days ago and I have come up with a rough itinerary. But first the cast!

Olivia (me) - I'm 26, a Disney Geek, mom to 2 hound dogs, hobby costumer and I love playing flyball with my pointer mix! I work at a pet store and do some freelance photography. Huge fan of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, and Disney!

Jon (husband) - 33. Software Developer. Loves Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and Ghostbusters. Picky Eater.

Nov. 13 - Leave early AM. Drive the 7-8 hours and arrive at Downtown Disney by 3-3:30 for our T-Rex ressie at 4PM. This was the hubs first choice, a big dino fan. Food isn't too bad but worth the atmosphere. After dinner we will head to Cabana Bay to check in! Then explore the resort and relax in the room to get ready for the parks.

Nov. 14 Plan to hit Diagon Alley early in the AM. As close to park opening as possible to go ahead and get in line for Gringotts. Plan to eat at Leaky Cauldron at some point during the day for our main meal.

Nov. 15- Will focus more on Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. Will try to hit Forbidden Journey early as well and do everything else at our leisure. Will eat at Three Broomsticks this day.

Nov. 16 - I planned to explore the rest of IOA and the Studios today. Is this feasible? I'm sure we will have a little extra time Saturday to explore outside Harry Potter. We will stay through late afternoon and leave to eat somewhere on Disney property. Right now its between Boatwright's at Port Orleans Resort and the Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort. I planned to watch the fireworks from the beach at the Poly that night after dinner but hubby likes the Boatwright's Menu more. We shall see. I have ressies both places and plan on canceling one as soon as we decide.

Nov. 17 - Check out of hotel, have lunch at Earl of Sandwich, explore downtown disney, drive home.

I have one big meal scheduled a day. I'm looking for suggestions for the best counter service to get a good snack or share a meal at. I would also like to see the Night Time show at the studios one night. Is it a must see? Worth the wait? Would love to hear opinions. All plans are subject to change. I feel like I have all our must dos covered. Looking forward to posting about my upcoming trip! Thanks for reading!
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Old 07-29-2014, 01:32 PM   #2
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Nice start Olivia..........fellow Ghostbuster fan here too..... DH is a Dr Who fanatic.....me not so much!

Have a look at the stickies on top of the other boards for restaurant recommendations.......there`s loads of info on there that is helpful.

We personally love Louie`s in the studios for counter and Thunder Falls Terrace in IOA. Have a look at Confisco Grille and Mythos too.....both are excellent and not expensive at all.

Not everyone loves the night time show. We enjoy it as we love all the old movies, and new ones too. You don`t need to be there early, there is plenty of room around the lagoon with good views.

Don`t plan too much at Universal.......go with the flow and enjoy it.......it requires so little planning.......

Looking forward to hearing about your trip
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Old 07-30-2014, 05:15 PM   #3
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Thanks! We LOVE movies old and new so we will definitely try to catch the nighttime show! It's kind of a relief that Universal doesn't require nearly as much planning as WDW does. I'm so used to being on a schedule that this will be relaxing in comparison! Thank you for your suggestions!
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Old 08-05-2014, 12:59 PM   #4
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One part I loved about Universal is not needing ADRs 6 months early. I like to plan but that is a bit much....

We loved the Cabana beach for the atmosphere and the staff. We did have some MAJOR housekeeping issues. The first nights were taken care of very well by the manager but I was not impressed with the housekeeping and grounds staff in anyway what so ever. Hopefully they will improve by the time you get there.

Make sure you are there EARLY if you want to do Gringotts. Maybe November will be better but we were first family in the first day...I followed a tip I saw somewhere about going directly to the train in Hogsmede and riding that over instead of fighting crowds for Diagon. Well don't do that!!!! They didn's start running the train for 20 minutes. By the time we got to Gringotts the wait was 180 minutes and it was broke down for an hour before we got out of line. The next park day we did early entry but didn't arrive until 7:20 or so. We ended up skipping because the line was over 2 hours. The rest of the park was open as we were walking in and we were able to do a lot before regular admission.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:41 PM   #5
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I've been hearing horror stories about trying to get on Gringotts! More bad than good, honestly. It will be a priority but my husband has never been at all so exploring everything will be more important at first than waiting in a line forever. I hope they have some of the problems solved by the time we get there! Wishful thinking I'm sure!

We had a change in plans. I decided that I didn't want to drive all over Disney property Sunday night so I grabbed a reservation at the Grand Floridian Cafe for dinner so we could watch fireworks from one of the monorail hotels. This will be our "nice night out' for our anniversary. It's getting closer! 27 days from today. Our actual anniversary is in two days! Can't believe its already been a year!
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Old 10-17-2014, 01:11 PM   #6
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Sounds like a fun trip!
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Old 11-09-2014, 09:49 PM   #7
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Just found your PTR--this is the week! I hope you have a great trip. Take lots of pictures! It will be cool for you to show your dh around, as you are both fans, but still have something new to explore together. Happy anniversary.
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