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Old 06-16-2013, 04:18 PM   #1
sharon_wv
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Thank you so very much for the advice!! It worked out great!

Just back from our Florida vacation. The tips you all provided were priceless. Here are some of the things I can remember:

1. We stayed 2 nights (Saturday and Sunday) at Doubletree across the street at $97 per night. It was a nice hotel with a nice pool and a frig in the room (which was unexpected). We arrived at about 9:00 AM and they had a room ready for us. Hooray! My DH was able to sleep a few hours after our 14 hour drive, while I took the kids to the pool. We were able to see fireworks right from our room, which was cool!

2. We went to Universal Studios on Sunday for the first of our 3-day tickets (and no express passes). The lines were not bad at all. We skipped Despicable Me because it had a line; we decided to wait for express pass days for that one.

3. We moved over to RPH at 7:00 AM and they also had a room available already! We didn't move our stuff into the room though because we wanted to make the 8:00 early entry to see Harry Potter. But, for those that have asked, there is a chance you might get to check in that early. We liked the RPH, the pool was nice and they had activities for the kids. Unfortunately, a long thunderstorm came right in the middle of the cannonball contest my 7-year old was participating in.

4. Staying onsite and having express passes was TOTALLY WORTH IT!!! Our wait for Harry Potter was only about 20 minutes or so, which gave us just enough time to see the theming in the lines. The lines for the big rides were between 100 and 120 minutes almost all day both Monday and Tuesday. We walked right onto on those rides. I must admit that I felt a bit guilty doing it. But it was nice being one of the "haves" instead of the "have nots" for a change. LOL. BTW, the express pass went up to $89 per person one of the days.. YUCK

4. We ate at Moe's and Panda Express one meal. The prices were pretty close to what they are at home, so that was not too bad. We also ate at Bubba Gump's. I have a Landry's Select card so we were able to walk right in and get a table (even though there was a pretty good group of folks waiting for a table). I would recommend looking that up and getting one. We also used the card at T-Rex and got a seat within 10 minutes. Plus now I have a $25 reward waiting for me that I can use to treat a co-worker to lunch in DC.

Our favorite rides? Mine was definitely Spiderman. My 7-year old DD's favorites were the Simpson's ride and the Disaster show. My 18-year old DD's was the Hulk rollercoaster and the one where you pick your music (can't remember name) which she only got to ride one because of rain I also enjoyed the Despicable Me ride too, and Shrek, and Harry Potter (even though it gave me a bit of motion sickness during the quidditch game part).

My least favorite ride - The Simpson's. I really got motion sickness on this one something horrible! My DH did as well.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL THE ADVICE! I would have stayed offsite and we probably would have not had such an easy time.

P.S. You were right about doing Universal on the end of a vacation - which we didn't do. Disney didn't feel as near as magical NOT having an express pass option. Fastpass is just not even close to express pass!!

Bottom line conclusion -- STAY ONSITE if possible.
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:25 PM   #2
MDer2FL
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Thanks for the report, sounds like you had a wonderful time!!! We're heading to FL on 6/29 for our first-ever Universal visit and will be staying at RPH for the first 3 nights. Have never stayed on-site at Disney so I won't really have anything to compare to, but all the raving here makes me so excited! Hopefully we won't feel too "let down" when we move off-site for the second/Disney half of our trip, LOL!

Even though I'm a "big fat ride-chicken" (as my kids say) I'm determined to ride FJ. I keep telling myself, hey, I survived labor & delivery of 3 babies, how bad could it be?!?!
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:38 PM   #3
Metro West
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Thanks for sharing.

I'm going to move this to the Trip Reports board.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:30 PM   #4
macraven
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thanx for coming back to share your trip with us homies!
sounds like you really enjoyed it.



i always dread the rainstorms too.
maybe next time you venture there it will be all sunshine and lollipops for you.
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:39 AM   #5
damo
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Thanks for coming back to update us. Sounds like everything went quite smoothly. Motion sickness is a bummer and I usually take something the night before no matter what theme park we are going to. It can ruin your day very quickly.

Glad to hear that your kids both had a great time even with the huge age difference!
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Old 07-17-2013, 01:21 PM   #6
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We are heading to Florida around Memorial Day next year to visit WDW and Universal (staying onsite). We were going to go to Universal first, but your recommendation about the Fast Passes makes me want to reconsider! I might have to look into changing our trips around. Do you think Universal would be busier than WDW on Memorial Day and day after? I just figured that having the front of the line passes on Memorial Day and day after would be better at Universal than having just Fast Passes at WDW on those two days. The crowds thereafter that week should slack off a bit. Thanks for any advice.
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Old 07-17-2013, 01:41 PM   #7
mischief32
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First time we went to Universal it was over Memorial Day. I did not think the crowds were bad at all but but the time we left on the 3rd of June things were picking up.
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