First-timer -- need help!

Discussion in 'Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure Forums' started by Minnie_me, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Minnie_me

    Minnie_me <font color=red>I don't wipe butts<font color=blue

    Feb 19, 2007
    My DDs are teenagers now, and we are thinking of planning a trip to Universal Studios (mostly because they are HUGE Harry Potter fans).

    I know NOTHING about it! Where do I begin!??!??!

    I'm a single mom (school teacher), so there's not a lot of $$ to spend on this trip. So we would most likely do just 3 or 4 days.

    ANY and all advice would be greatly appreciated. THANKS!
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  3. damo

    damo Proud Redhead

    Jan 1, 2001
    Begin by looking through the website

    Then come here and read through the FAQ stickies.

    After that, ask as many questions here as you can think of and we'll try to help you as much as we can!!!
  4. Metro West

    Metro West <font color=red>Proud Redhead<br><font color=blue> Moderator

    Apr 12, 2005
    As Damo suggested...

    1) Check out the website to see the attractions and park layouts.

    2) Read through the trip reports and picture threads.

    3) Look at YouTube for ride videos so you'll know what to expect.
  5. glocon

    glocon DIS Veteran

    Feb 16, 2010
    I would say that if you have a fall break, go then. It might help you save on your hotel budget. Summer is both busier and more expensive. And fall would give you more time to plan and save than a summer trip would.
  6. TheAviator

    TheAviator <font color=blue>I don't always live dangerously,

    Dec 4, 2012
    They have great deals for 3 or 4 day tickets. Stay onsite if you can, you get free fast passes that way. You will love it. Also check out Youtube and search for universal orlando and islands of adventure, many cool videos there
  7. Lynne G

    Lynne G DIS Veteran

    Mar 29, 2009
    You can really relax with a 3 or 4 night trip. First, do the math. Packages versus buying separately. Generally, we all suggest to buy tickets and hotel room separately. Sometimes, the Annual Pass rate at the on site hotels is really good. Only 1 person has to have the Annual pass to get the discount at the hotel.

    Look at the hotel websites to get the best rate. They will show any promotions. To see if there is an Annual Pass discount, use APH in the code box. You can also call the hotel to see if any AAA rate is available (if you have AAA).

    Tickets are cheaper the more days you buy for. One of the best places to get tickets is from undercovertourist. Prices at their website include tax and shipping. AAA does sell tickets cheaper too.

    My teen really enjoyed staying on site. First, the express pass you get with your stay is awesome (that includes the day you check in, days there, and day you check out). Second, staying where you are able to walk or get a boat ride to the parks is nice. The pools at the on site hotels are good too. You can even pool hop within the 3 hotels with your room card.

    Generally, the Royal Pacific is the cheapest, but keep checking. Your teens may like the Hard Rock. The hotel rates do change. Note that if you see a lower rate after you book, if you call, they can ajust your rate. Last year, I took a stay more save more promotion rate at RPH, but when I saw the Annual Pass rates, for my family, it paid to have me buy an Annual pass and we changed our reservation to the AP rate with one phone call. Reservations was very nice to deal with.

    Have a great time! The parks are really enjoyable to look around. The theming is good and with that many days to go to the parks, take time to just enjoy the scenery. And, if your teens are thrill riders, they will enjoy some of the best rides. Even my tween enjoys the coasters there.
  8. Darcy03231

    Darcy03231 DIS Veteran

    Nov 1, 2006
    If you're on a really tight budget, plan to stay off-site. We've done it both ways and while on-site is preferable, it isn't budget. We got a great rate at the Hard Rock for our on-site trip, but it was still $175/night.

    On our last trip we stayed in International Drive at the International Palms Resort. It was clean, comfortable, and close the parks. Best of all the total cost for three nights was $136. (I got it on Hotwire. I limited my search to the Universal area and 3* hotels).

    We did rent a car ($118 for the week) and paid for parking. We had a week booked at WDW after our US/IOA portion of the trip.

    We bought our tickets from Undercover Tourist. Because we find there's enough to do in each park we didn't get the park to park tickets, we just got the base ones (which saved us about $20 per ticket). We only did two days there, one in each park and had plenty of time. If its your first trip you might want to do 4 days, 2 for each park. Personally, I could spend a week there and not be bored.

    By getting to the parks and being at the turnstiles before the official opening time, we had plenty of time to see/do everything.

    Since we had a car we went to the grocery store and bought breakfast foods to have the room (we had a mini-fridge), we at lunch in the parks and had dinner out on International Drive. There are a lot of inexpensive options outside the parks.
  9. buckeev

    buckeev RedNeck Mouseketeer

    Jun 11, 2011
    WE LOVE UNIVERSAL!!! (well...we love Orlando period).
    Depending on when you go, the discount rooms may be harder to get after this spring. With the opening of the Transformers attraction, they will probably be running at high occupancy rates all summer. Fall rates will be less, with a much better chance for discounts.

    If you see that you are gonna stay on-site, the annual pass may actually pay for itself one one trip, (based on APH room rates, if avail...), there are other perks with the AP. You only need one AP to be able to take advantage of that.
    If you can, you might wanna get the other tickets from as soon as you feasible, as price increases can occur with little or no notice.

    Don't hesitate to ask question here. Some of those folks know pert-near everything about Universal!
  10. glocon

    glocon DIS Veteran

    Feb 16, 2010
    We have done UO both on and off site. Let me just say that staying onsite at UO makes more of a difference than staying on site at WDW when you are there. The on site perks of UO are unbelievable with the unlimited EP. There is nothing like it! You can ride a favorite ride over and over with very little wait. It is just such a different touring experience! Instead of 5-10 rides in a day, you can do 40+. It is just SO cool. Once experienced, it is hard to ever do it without staying on site again.

    And look for the thread that has UO tips and secrets, you can get a lot of info there.

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