10 days of theme park madness 3 at universal and 7 disney!!

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Trip Reports' started by pattiken, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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    [Hello everyone and welcome to my first ever trip report. I meant to make notes on this trip but did not get around to it so bare with me as I hope I will remember all details.

    Our story
    Trip sep 19-30th 2012
    1 night buffalo milenium hotel for our early morning flight to orlando with delta.
    3 nights at Hard Rock hotel club level room 1701
    7 nights saratoga springs resort disney room 1325 congress park area

    me :cheer2: mom Patti..major planner, obsesser..dis boards watcher[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]

    [​IMG]
    thats DD princess: haley 10 smiley..loves water parks and now thrill rides

    DH ken :cool1: wonderful father, husband go with whatever I plan kinda guy..contractor who works really hard
    DS riley 15..typical teenager pirate: who really suprised me this trip..smiles and actually woke up with us every day
    [​IMG]

    Thats the start of if..I will post on universal trip board then move over to disney for the rest.
    hopefully I can figure out how to post chapter links to make it easier.

    Night in Buffalo uneventful..nice hotel with great rate to park our car for 14 days. Up early on the 20th to catch our 615am flight to atlanta and then onto orlando..landing around 1130.
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    Everyone so excited!! Picked up our car from National that I used my airmiles to get..upgraded to bigger because of emerald card..and made our way to our stop for the next 3 nights..HARD ROCK HOTEL!! [​IMG]

    up next..first day at parks...
     
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  3. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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  4. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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    First full day

    I researched like crazy for this trip and after reading boards and forums I decided to book HRH. I figured DH and I would love classic music vibe as well as kids since they are older. Since this was our first trip to Universal I wanted to make it a memorable one so I Upgraded to club level. My first booking was with a deluxe room that had the extra couch pullout was what we needed as DS and DD would not sleep in same bed. I took a chance upgrading as you cannot request deluxe on this floor as there are only a couple rooms this size.
    Upon checking in and being brought up to our room i was given a reg standard room:scared1:..this was disappointing to me as room was small for 4 of us for 4 days...I asked to pay extra for kid suite however they were all booked.
    We then ventured into concierge fabulous fantastic room :thumbsup2 and met Lynn the wonderful lady at the desk...She immediately saw my frustrated look and went out of her way to give us our first bit of pixie dust :cheer2: we were upgraded and moved to a deluxe size room on floor 7!!!! woohoo..as i grinned from ear to ear we ran to new room and were so suprised and happy.
    Pull out couch 2 wonderfully comfortable queen size beds and huge changing area
    [​IMG]
    typical my kids!!!

    After filling up on complimentart PB & J pocket sandwiches from concierge room we ventured down to get our express passes!! :dance3: really I dont know if we could have done these parks without them..There is a machine in lobby that takes your pic then puts it on a card that you have to show in order to use express line....A short beautiful stroll around the pool and sidewalk we were on our way to our first park...[​IMG]
     
  5. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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    ...which park did we go...Universal Studios!!
    I had 3 day park hopper tickets so we could go bk and forth which was great.

    Upon entering we loved the decorating for the halloween horror night..however posters scared DD so there was no way I was getting her in to those nights. DH and DS went on the friday night..more on that later.

    After we walked around entrance awing at the the hollywood fun stuff we headed to our first ride...Despicable Me Minion Mayhem...
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    entrance and waiting area were aweome themed..huge line..gotta love express pass!!
    Ride was was so much fun loved the 3d effects. After exiting ride we did this

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    dancing with minions!!!

    Our next ride that I chickened out on and wish I would have went was this one
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    rip ride rock it roller coaster..there is no express pass line for this and only a 10 min wait so rest of family ran on..later I tried to go on but was 45 min wait so I didnt go...Anyways another great ride according to them..music was fun touch.
    By this time it was around 4pm and we wanted to make it back to our hotel for happy hour and diner so we did one more ride which was
    [​IMG] DD fav ride of the trip that we went on about 4 times all weekend. Very fun and loved cast members (can I call them that not at disney?) they stayed in character the whole time...
    After this we exited the park...wow was it hot on this trip and had a nice walk back to the hotel for club lounge..

    next up universal at night
     
  6. Tink2Day

    Tink2Day DIS Veteran

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    Beautiful Family!

    Can't wait to read all about your trip. Sounds fantastic!!

    Great pixiedust: on the room change!
     
  7. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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    Thks for the nice comment :goodvibes
     
  8. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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    When I last left we were headed to club lounge for drinks and diner... Great atmosphere..rock music playing and a great assortment of snacks that we definetly made a meal out of [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    After filling our bellies we headed back to universal studios to finish other half of park.
    I forgot to mention we watched a little of the new parade before diner and it was done really well..we love the despicable me characters!!
    Our first ride was Shrek 4D..this was ok but not one of our favourites..I think if we would have done it before despicable me we would have liked it better.
    [​IMG] DD and I in hollywood:rolleyes1
    We then headed to the horror make up show...This was really great and funny..actors were very fast to adlib and made show very entertaining.
    Next ride was one of my favs of the trip..
    ]
    [​IMG]
    ..funny family
    The Simpson ride..Loved this..really felt like you were in the cartoon..good job Universal!!
    Then we moved onto Men in Black which was ok, moving on we walked around the long long long construction fence that they are hiding new Harry Potter stuff...which I can imagine will be outstanding as the other part is so well done.
    Went into Twister..this was fun..loved the fact you are standing and you feel like you are in a tornado..
    We then had to get a picture with JAWS!!
    [​IMG] My husband had been to Universal as a teenager and said he loved this ride and wished it was still there..A couple locals we talked to as well were very disappointed that they took this away...
    It was then time to find a nice spot for the Universal Cinematic Spectacular show...Very cool!! There are 3 screens set up in the lagoon showing clips of universal movies over the years..screens actually water falls..hard to explain but very well done! Of course lots of pyrotechnics to go along with the show...By then it had been a long day so it was time to head back...Made it just in time at the club room for late night dessert..cookies and milk..awesome

    next up early entry to Harry Potter!!!
     
  9. tlinus

    tlinus <font color=red>Proud Redhead<br><font color=teal>

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    Great looking family.....


    here and waiting for more :)
     
  10. anierodzik

    anierodzik Earning My Ears

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    Thanks for your report! My DH and I were just there last week for our wedding anniversary- stayed at Portofino Bay. We are going back in November with the whole family. (We upgraded our tickets from our May trip to Annual Passes, so this is the year of Universal....)
     
  11. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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    thks for nice comment :goodvibes

    We went over to portofino..i will post about that..very beautiful!! Def a place I would want to go if was just my DH and I...Pool very nice too very relaxing.
    Good choice on the upgrade...I wish we would have done that as we are tempted to go bk next year..have fun in november :cheer2:
     
  12. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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    Day 2

    Today was early entry to Harry Potter! So excited for this I was up way to early..theme for trip as I get up early at home. Usually takes me at least a week on vacation to sleep in and usually by that time its time to go home..
    I easily woke up rest of family..easy as was only 2nd day. We had nice breakfast in the club room then went down for nice morning boat ride to Isle of Adventure...I know I mentioned before but it is so beautiful here!!
    [​IMG]
    DD and I with matching shirts we bought night before in the irish store at universal studios.
    On boat ride the captain asked everyone if they had there passes and we all said yes...so what happens next, well we get to Isle of adventure perfect timing 7:50...go to gate and of course I forgot my ticket :scared:..mine was different as I used airmiles to get forth ticket..I felt so bad for family as they looked at me sad..I told them to go ahead and I would meet them at Harry Potter...I was worried about this because we didnt have phones..being from Canada I didnt take on extra expense of international plan..also my husband has no clue were he was going and I new short cut memorized from these boards...So I run/walk bk to hotel..already hot and muggy out I was dripping by time I returned..The whole time I was looking for rikisha guys and of course they werent around because I needed ride lol
    Ran up to my room grabbed tickets and raced bk phew :crazy2:..Only took me 20 min..nice
    As I enter park I see my husband waiting near entrance..He is so awesome said we are doing this as family..
    So on we go

    [​IMG]
    not bad as was only 8:15 now still had lots time before park opened at nine..[​IMG]
    So Impressed with Harry Potter!!! Unbelievable and no one around even better..we walked around all in awe..even my DS loved it
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    First ride I new we had to hit as there is no express Pass was Forbidden Journey...loved the castle!! Walk on to ride..no wait and wow fantastic ride although did upset my stomach a little..the spiders freaked me out a little and DD was a little scared..overall though concesses was A+
    Next ride Dragon Challenge..front row woohoo..we all loved this too..up next Flight of Hippogriff...calmer that last ride which was good as it was way to early to be spun around so much.
    We were going to go into the wand shop for show but line started to form and it seems my family unlike me has no use for waiting and shows ..Oh well next time
    ..Of course we needed some butter beer!! Overall concesses..frozen way better.
    We wandered around shops..bought a landyard from griffindoor..that I ended up wearing as a belt because it was way to scratchy in heat...loved candy shop..great theming.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    ..you can see light crowds early in morning...So worth it to stay on property!!


    Up next we leave Harry potter and move onto Jurassic Park..I will also mention that I think I visited every bathroom in all parks lol..with family of 4 everyone always had to go..One in Harry Potter was the best with mouning myrtle
     
  13. megandbrooke

    megandbrooke Earning My Ears

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    Great report so far. Cant wait to hear about HHN and how your son liked it. We are leaving in a week and I am on the fence about talking my 15 year old daughter to this. She loves the stuff, I hate it, but its not always about me!
     
  14. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for reading... My DS and husband loved it. Thank goodness I had our daughter with us since she is 10 I didn't have to go.. I can't handle scary stuff and from what they told me it was scary, but very well done.. Actors didn't bother them much but they said if you scream or show fear they will chase you to scare you more lol they also said the lines were really long for the houses.. I hope you have an express pass as it saved the night for them.
    Have great trip!!!
     
  15. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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    Hello everyone
    When I last left we were on our way to Jurassic Park...By this time it was a little after 9am and park was opened for eveyone...people were starting to trickle in however we were way ahead of them...
    [​IMG]
    The theming here as well was fantastic..you really feel like you are in the jungle..First place was bathroom of course then onto JP River adventure..this was alot of fun..A little wet on this but nothing like what was to come later at Dudley do-rights.
    DD and DH rode the Pteranodon flyer ride..you can only be so tall for this one and need a small rider so DS couldnt go..instead DS and I walked around the camp Jurrasic which was alot of fun..robes and climbing with caves..good place for little kids to run around and blow off steam..DS and DD hung out in here for awhile..then it was off to JP Discovery center..this one didnt open until 10 so we had a little wandering first in the shop. This was ok but I think could use a little update.
    Next part was Toon Lagoon...another great themed area...
    [​IMG]
    I will have to admit I was a little intimidated by the drop of the Dudley Do-rights Ripsaw Falls..Huge flume ride that went so fast and very high...however once we rode it, it really wasnt that bad...however you WILL definetly get wet on this ride...not just a little..alot!!! I didnt really enjoy this wet feeling even though it was so hot out..feet way to squishy in flip flops..We almost paid the $5 to go in one of the huge human dryers but decided not to and just try and dry off in bathroom.[​IMG]
    kids did great job playing up for these fun pics
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    [​IMG]
    Since we were so wet we might as well head onto popeye and blutos bildge-rat barges..(say that 5 times fast lol)
    another soaking splash river ride..fun though as we were already so wet...
    by this time we realized our paper tickets were wet an I was worried we wouldnt be able to use again..I really wish they would get plastic cards like disney or find away to put on your room keys..
    We walked towards front entrance by passing marvel super hero areas as we knew we would be back later...we needed to change and have some down time at the pool..
    This is when we met our gardian angel and biggest pixie dust moment...Standing in line to get tickets we started talking to a man in line and he was showing me his seasons pass that looked like my wet tickets..We had nice conversation and mentioned that DH and DS were going to halloween night tonight...So our angel :worship: gives DH his cell phone number and tells him to call him when they get in park as his roomate works there and can get them a superdooper express pass lol ...Lets just say that they walked in every house that night with no waiting..bypassing 2 hour waits of people standing in the rain..They hung out with him for the night and had a really nice time. Not only did he do this but when we told him we were headed to disney in a couple of days he met us there and gave us another super fast pass that made 7 days of disney outstanding :wizard:...I could never thank this wonderful man eneough..There really are some great people out there!!
    Up next will be rest of Day 2

    [​IMG]
     
  16. huckster

    huckster DIS Veteran

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    great report , we to are stayingat HRH this week end and next week,did you eat breakfast at the hotel was i very costly? how long did it take you to get from there to harry potter at IOA? i am handicap so walking is a little slwo than some thanks
     
  17. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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    Thks for reading :goodvibes
    Im so jeoulous you are staying there, I really cant wait to go back. We did not eat breakfast at the hotel because we stayed club level and it was included with our stay..however we did eat lunch at the kitchen restaurant and although very good it was expensive..I did notice one morning at the little lobby cafe they had breakfast sandwiches and things like cereal available cafeteria style.
    The boat dock is right downstairs from hotel and you can take that over to city walk and then IOA is about 2 min walk off the boat...To walk was nice as well..I would say 10 min to IOA and then 5 for US,
    Harry Potter is at back of IOA..but there is a shortcut at the beginning of Suess landing so less walking..I think on the universal park forum there is wonderful map someone posted..It will be nice you are staying on site with early entry to Harry Potter..no crowds in morning so nice walk..I never felt rushed at this park
    enjoy!!
     
  18. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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    Hello everyone..When we left we were headed back to HRH for some much needed R & R at the pool.
    First I purchased my DH and DS halloween tickets for that night..It was opening night for this so they were pretty excited. We purchased the stay and scream and I think I payed $45 for each of them as an add on to there ticket..They had to be back at 5 as they had ealy entry..event started at 630 I think.

    After changing into our suits :beach:..we headed to the kitchen restaurant at our hote[​IMG]l for lunch..sat on patio


    Really good food however DS and I split burger..thk goodness as it was huge..and at $18 wow!! Sorry no pics, I only had my underwater video camera so not many on this update.
    After lunch we found some loungers while the kids raced over to the waterslide.
    This pool had great water slide lots fun..Good atmosphere as well fun rock music playing. My DD also did some of the pool games and won a free slushy
    DH and I ordered pool drinks..$16 each :scared:..but they were refreshing. We also had beverages in our room as well that we brought down in our cooler mugs..I know we shouldnt but if we drank $16 all day..we wouldnt have any money left lol
    [​IMG] DD and my drinks
    [​IMG] DD playing in sand around pool..very nice to be on lounger and have feet in the sand..nice beachy feel
    I have a fun video I will post after this update of DD going down the slide.
    [​IMG] DD and I having fun in pool...while DH and DS did this[​IMG]
    DD wanted to get her a hair wrap so we wandered over to that station..Price went by inches and amount of beads..We paid $35 and I gave hime a $5 tip[​IMG]
    Great afternoon at the pool..there is also music under water here very fun!!
     
  19. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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    Video of DD going down slide at HRH
    [​IMG]
     
  20. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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    Here is another video of underwater music..you can hear it at end

    [​IMG]
     
  21. pattiken

    pattiken Mouseketeer

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    Friday evening or day 2...This night went different as I had planned but isnt that usually the way..
    After everyone rested up at the pool we wanted to head back to Universal Studios before it closed at 5 for the Halloween night.
    [​IMG] We ran into this Guy from the Lorax that my daughter loves.
    The lines were starting to form for the special night as it was the first night of the HHN. They had all sorts of lines..stay and scream and season passes..media etc..
    We went on a few more rides..Mummy again as we loved this one and we also tried ET which was very cute.
    At this time it was close to 5 so DD and I left the guys and headed out of the park for evening hour at the club...Plan was to have nice dinner then go to IOA as it didnt close till 7...We just sat down in the club for a fun diner of sushi and chicken satays when the skys opened up...wow what a down pour..I know it happens alot in florida but I didnt expect it..Actually only rained 2 out of the 10 days and not for long which was nice.
    DD and I sat in club till 7...she coloured while I had maybe a few too many glasses of wine :blush:
    When the rained stopped around 730 DD and I walked over to Citywalk to do a little shopping and enjoy the activities.
    Early night for us, I guess the guys came in around 1130 but I actually didnt hear them. They had a fantastic night and thanks to there new friend didnt wait in any lines...They were shocked at the lines...They did say the rain hurt a little as there werent as many actors on the streets. Also when 5pm hit they were ushered over to Finnigans and had diner there and then were aloud early access to the houses.
    Next up Day 3 and last full day at Universal
     

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