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Old 06-25-2013, 12:02 AM   #16
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We had planned to go to WDW this August with the assumption that free dining would be offered and when that didnt happened we priced a trip to US/IOA instead and that appears to be where we are going come late August. We haven't decided whether to go back to the Royal Pacific or try the Hard Rock Hotel instead. We have been to Universal a few times the last couple of years and we love it but Disney is where the heart lies. In the end money talks and Universal appears to be the cheaper alternative to Disney at this time so Harry Potter here we come.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:47 AM   #17
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I had a 4 day trip planned that turned into 6. We still weren't ready to leave! Now we have ap's because it was same price as 4 day tickets. Just wish we weren't 14 hours away!
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:42 PM   #18
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Thanks everyone! My kids are 13 and 9. This is the first year that everyone has made all of the height requirements and so it's the first year we've considered Universal. My sister lives in Orlando and they are annual pass holders and when I told them of our plan to do Universal rather than Disney, she was shocked, but so excited!

My 9 year old actually likes thrill rides -- it's the dramatic realism in the rides that concerns me. I am worried about things like Revenge of the Mummy and Harry Potter, Jurrasic Park and maybe even Spiderman. Surprisinly, I think he will have a blast on the Hulk.

I will check out the APH rates. My husband is more interested in Hard Rock than Royal Pacifica. I should go over to the resorts board and check the pros and cons of each resort.

With the 10% dining discount (with the AP) is that for all restaruants? Does that make the meals cheaper than the dining plan? Wondering if the dining plan is even worth it. It's always so nice just to have everything paid for in advance at Disney and that's why we would consider it here too. But it's always such a ton of food and sometimes things we wouldn't eat anyway (like the crummy desserts disney offers with their counter service meals)
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:49 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by wdwlovin'family View Post

My 9 year old actually likes thrill rides -- it's the dramatic realism in the rides that concerns me. I am worried about things like Revenge of the Mummy and Harry Potter, Jurrasic Park and maybe even Spiderman. Surprisinly, I think he will have a blast on the Hulk.

I will check out the APH rates. My husband is more interested in Hard Rock than Royal Pacifica. I should go over to the resorts board and check the pros and cons of each resort.

With the 10% dining discount (with the AP) is that for all restaruants? Does that make the meals cheaper than the dining plan? Wondering if the dining plan is even worth it. It's always so nice just to have everything paid for in advance at Disney and that's why we would consider it here too. But it's always such a ton of food and sometimes things we wouldn't eat anyway (like the crummy desserts disney offers with their counter service meals)
The new dining plan hasn't started yet as far as I know, so no one really knows how that's going to pan out. But I think you have to get a package, so that eliminates the APH rate. (though I'm sure you can still upgrade a ticket to an AP to get the food/merchandise discounts if that makes sense for you)

My son is the same. He still hates TOT because we "turn into blue skeletons and die". Dude, come on. You KNOW we don't die; we rode it when you were 4 and you're 9 now and we're talking about it. But nope, hates it.

I still haven't gotten him on Mummy, and while the ride is fantastic, that line is REALLY bad for someone who doesn't like spookiness. Even the single rider line. ESPECIALLY the single rider line, because you can end up all alone walking through it. Scary! (and really really dark)

Jurassic Park spooks my son too, but he enjoyed it the last time we were on it.

The first time we went to Universal DS was 6 and he woudn't even go in the line for Forbidden Journey. Next time he rode it, and loves it. We do have to have a signal for him to close his eyes during the "acromantula" scene (which requires ME to have my eyes open...this parenting thing is really hard sometimes, LOL) and then I squeeze his knee when they are gone. But everything else he loves, even the HUGE dementors.

Spiderman is so cartoonish it's hard to really be afraid, but then I'm not 9. If he's seen the cartoon villains he should know what to expect, I imagine.
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:48 PM   #20
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We were really "strapped" for cash one year and decided to go to Universal instead of Disney for our annual 7 day vacation. Scraped together enough money to stay at Royal Pacific because I had heard about express pass and knew that with small children, we would not want to stand in line. This was June 2009. At that time, I was 45 and had never wanted to "leave" Disney to try Universal. Now I can honestly say, I'm glad we did. I didn't realize how tired I had grown with the rush I felt at Disney. Trying to get EVERYTHING in, so to speak. The mad dashes to rope drop. The siting and waiting for over an hour or more to get a good seat at the parade and still being squished in the end. We've since become annual passholders and visit Disney on special occasions. We do plan on staying at Disney again for a week so I've not totally given up on them but we spend more time at Universal. Just really appreciate a relaxing vacation instead. You will have time to ride the rides you want to, go back and take a dip in the pool or a nap if needed, and go back in the evening if you so desire. You can walk to the parks or take the boat - we usually walk. The kids can get wet during the day at the parks at the water play areas or the water rides and that really helps them not completely melt down. Go and give it a try!!! You might actually wonder what took you so long to come around, just as I have experienced myself. Have a great time.
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:52 PM   #21
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We were really "strapped" for cash one year and decided to go to Universal instead of Disney for our annual 7 day vacation. Scraped together enough money to stay at Royal Pacific because I had heard about express pass and knew that with small children, we would not want to stand in line. This was June 2009. At that time, I was 45 and had never wanted to "leave" Disney to try Universal. Now I can honestly say, I'm glad we did. I didn't realize how tired I had grown with the rush I felt at Disney. Trying to get EVERYTHING in, so to speak. The mad dashes to rope drop. The siting and waiting for over an hour or more to get a good seat at the parade and still being squished in the end. We've since become annual passholders and visit Disney on special occasions. We do plan on staying at Disney again for a week so I've not totally given up on them but we spend more time at Universal. Just really appreciate a relaxing vacation instead. You will have time to ride the rides you want to, go back and take a dip in the pool or a nap if needed, and go back in the evening if you so desire. You can walk to the parks or take the boat - we usually walk. The kids can get wet during the day at the parks at the water play areas or the water rides and that really helps them not completely melt down. Go and give it a try!!! You might actually wonder what took you so long to come around, just as I have experienced myself. Have a great time.
We have the same story. Universal now gets more of our money. It is so nice to actually relax on vacation.
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Old 06-27-2013, 07:59 AM   #22
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We have the same story. Universal now gets more of our money. It is so nice to actually relax on vacation.
Us too..Last Jan was the FIRST vacation to Florida that we left to go home and felt like we had a RESTFUL vacation and I came home without a head cold..LOL.We love Disney, and always will.But right now Universal is getting our hard earned money..Beautiful resorts that are truly deluxe and have great resort guest perks, 2 great parks and dining and all for LESS money than what I spend at Disney to run around from check in to check out.
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Old 06-27-2013, 02:33 PM   #23
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Also worth mentioning, the renewal price for our 4 AP's( 2 preferred and 2 power) was less than $700.00
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:06 AM   #24
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Well you have me rethinking my plans for the fall.

I priced out Universal with the new dining plan and it is cheaper than Disney. Not too mention how much easier it is to get to the parks and the express pass!

Disney is making it very hard for me to want to keep my reservation. They take way too long to offer any fall deals so right now I am sitting on pins and needles to see if we will get a discount for November.

As much as I want to see all the Christmas stuff at Disney I might have to switch to Universal.
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Old 06-29-2013, 06:59 AM   #25
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As much as I want to see all the Christmas stuff at Disney I might have to switch to Universal.
We've done Grinchmas at UO and absolutely loved it
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:27 PM   #26
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We were really "strapped" for cash one year and decided to go to Universal instead of Disney for our annual 7 day vacation. Scraped together enough money to stay at Royal Pacific because I had heard about express pass and knew that with small children, we would not want to stand in line. This was June 2009. At that time, I was 45 and had never wanted to "leave" Disney to try Universal. Now I can honestly say, I'm glad we did. I didn't realize how tired I had grown with the rush I felt at Disney. Trying to get EVERYTHING in, so to speak. The mad dashes to rope drop. The siting and waiting for over an hour or more to get a good seat at the parade and still being squished in the end. We've since become annual passholders and visit Disney on special occasions. We do plan on staying at Disney again for a week so I've not totally given up on them but we spend more time at Universal. Just really appreciate a relaxing vacation instead. You will have time to ride the rides you want to, go back and take a dip in the pool or a nap if needed, and go back in the evening if you so desire. You can walk to the parks or take the boat - we usually walk. The kids can get wet during the day at the parks at the water play areas or the water rides and that really helps them not completely melt down. Go and give it a try!!! You might actually wonder what took you so long to come around, just as I have experienced myself. Have a great time.
This is our story too. I had to be talked into Universal and now I feel silly for initially being resistant. I just fell in love the place not to mention actually feeling rested after a vacation.
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:50 PM   #27
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We are going in Oct and I found a good deal on the Seaworld site -they have a bunch of vacation packages there that have free kids tickets (age 3-9) or free dining, etc. they also have a 5 ticket package that includes sea world, Busch gardens, universal, etc plus hotel. we actually bought our universal tickets at Costco for our last trip (3 park hopper days that you can use whenever up to dec 2015) so I went with the free kids package. We will stay at hrh for the first night of our stay to get the express pass and then move to the sea world hotel for the rest of the stay.

No wdw tickets but it was a good deal money wise for us for this trip - just something to check out.
The 4&5 park tickets are called an Orlando flex pass. The best place to buy those are from undercover tourist.
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Old 06-29-2013, 04:04 PM   #28
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We have been thinking about surprising the kids with a last minute trip to wdw in August. I was pricing things out today and was surprised to find out that a 5 night/4 day stay at the Royal Pacifica was $700 less than Pop Century -- this includes park tickets and dining plans in both packages.

But, I'm nervous. We had not considered UO until now because of height requirements, but that isn't an issue now. One of my children is still pretty sensitive and gets scared easily. I am worried that the the rides will be over whelming.

My husband is also disabled. He will be using a power chair for our visit. He can transfer out easily, but has issues will long distance walking and standing. WDW has always been good to us with his disability. Will getting from the resorts to the parks be an issue at Universal. One thing I dread at wdw is using the busses and waiting for handicap space on them.

We are intrigued by the unlimited express pass. How short does this pass really make the lines? Do you walk on most rides or does it just make it more manageable?

5 days 4 night really doesn't sound like a long time a wdw, but I am worried that it will be too long at Universal. What do you think? Will we get bored of the theme parks with that amount of time? I thought of splitting our time in between wdw and uo, but that sounds more stressful than we want it to be.

Would it be worth it to buy 1 annual pass to get the ap discounts? Is there a place to go to check out all the different discount scenarios? I can't find ap discounts on the universal website.

Lastly, the express pass is worth it, right? A offsite stay at the embassy suites would save us $1000 vs. disney.

I truly am a lover of Disney. I almost feel like a traitor going over to Universal, but maybe it's time for a change.

Oh, and I know it will be HOT. How long does it take to get to the parks from the Royal Pacifica? We will plan to go back to the room to cool off during the day.
We are in the same situation kinda. We do Disney every year.. Stay onsite and run like a lunatic through each park.
Right now we have a split stay on the agenda for January. That's only because we feel like if we go to Orlando it's just not a trip if we don't visit Disney. I know that sounds silly.
My concern is that if we go with the Orlando flex pass and nix Disney that there won't be enough to keep us busy for 8 nights. I speculate universal , ioa, sea world are all 1day parks.. Or are they 2 day-ers for 1st time visitors?
I don't want to switch our usual busy disney routine and hear the dreaded I'm bored.
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Old 06-29-2013, 04:13 PM   #29
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uo is more like a 3 day than a 1 day visit for the newbies.
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:39 PM   #30
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We just completed our first visit to UOR. Planned 3.5 days and ended up buying ap's and going for 6. Can't wait to return! There is plenty to do and things you will want to repeat to be sure. You will not be bored!
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