Is US/IOA disappointing compared to WDW? and other ???s

Discussion in 'Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure Forums' started by avic77, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. avic77

    avic77 Homeschool Mom

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    Last year my family splurged big time and went to Disney for the first time ever (31 yrs old first real vacation in my life). We had a wonderful time but spent a sizable amount on a 6 night all inclusive Disney extravaganza! So this year my dear husband realized that there is a point to vacations and we should take another one. However we are severly limited on the budget (dang the economy). Even the wonderful 7/4 deal would be outside my meger vacation budget.
    So after several days of number crunching I found we could do US/IOA and a 5 day off site hotel or go to Gatlinburg TN for 5 days. So i am trying to decide so i can get reservations made.
    I have one child at 44.5 inches who loves fast rides roller coaster etc. He was very disappointed about not being able to ride Rockin Roller Coaster. I have went through the list of height requirments and wondered if the 4 rides he is too short for will greatly diminish his ability to enjoy the park? Are there still plenty of other "thrill" rides for him to enjoy? Is there as much to "see" as in Disney (characters themed buildings shows)? I remember just being in awe of the sights and wonders off WDW. Will we be disappointed visiting US/IOA after the grandor of WDW?
     
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  3. Disneyhappy

    Disneyhappy DIS Veteran

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    I am not sure about the height requirements but there are plenty of thrill rides and attractions to keep your child amused! There is not as much to see when compared to WDW but i find I cna't and don't want to do it all at WDW anymore. It is too big and exhausting for my aging body! LOL! However, threre is plenty to do to keep you busy. Have you checked out Universal's pay 3 stay 5 nights deal? It may be within your budget and I highly recommend staying on site to get the front of the line access. That way, you can tour the parks in the AM and evening which allows you to enjoy the pool at your resort in the heat of the day. There are much better experts on this forum than I so i'm sure you will be getting great advice!
     
  4. squirrel

    squirrel DIS Veteran<font color=deeppink>

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    When did you go to Disney?

    What about the Free Dining offered in September? Would that be in your budget?
     
  5. avic77

    avic77 Homeschool Mom

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    We went last Feb. had a wonderful time. My kids are homeschooled so our calender is very open to going any time. But i prefer to skip huge crowds that free dining has. We are seriously going on a shoe string budget vacation (under $1500 for a family of 5) Tickets into WDW are by themselves $1059 for us :( not including gas hotel and food. But Universal I can do a cheap priceline hotel for 5 days and the 2 parks unlimited with gas and food for about $1300. I cant do that with WDW :(
     
  6. squirrel

    squirrel DIS Veteran<font color=deeppink>

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    Didn't notice that you have 3 kids. That does make it more expensive on site at WDW.
     
  7. avic77

    avic77 Homeschool Mom

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    Yep family of 5 , 3 kids and one is considered ADULT since she is almost 15 and 5'8" tall :scared1:
     
  8. damo

    damo Proud Redhead

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    At Universal, you aren't considered an adult until you are 18. 7 day tickets are under $100 for each person regardless of age and two adults and 3 children under 18 can stay in a room without added cost.

    You should also read the sticky of FAQ's at the top of this forum. It gives great links and answers many questions that you didn't even know you had!!!

    It is hard for anyone to say whether or not your kids will be disappointed with the rides. Lots of people don't ride the coasters and still love the parks.

    YOu should be able to find some great Priceline or Hotwire deals for hotels around $50/night.
     
  9. DOOM1001

    DOOM1001 DIS Veteran

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    Do Universal there are tons of off site hotels on International Drive for $40-$60 a night,many with free breakfast!
     
  10. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead

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    the ones that did the bounce back booking last year will have the free dining with their package for 09.

    nothing is out presently for free dining with any codes.

    if september does not book up to what disney wants, maybe codes will come out sometime this year.

    but as of now, no free dining offered (with the exceptions of prior bookings)
     
  11. squirrel

    squirrel DIS Veteran<font color=deeppink>

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    Yes, I know they have not released the Free Dining offer to the public yet.

    I was just wondering if it was in their budget to go if they could get Free Dining.
     
  12. swilshire

    swilshire DIS Veteran

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    My 14yo likes Universal better than Disney World. The rest of us, not so much.

    Gatlinburg can be a lot of fun and I would rather go to Dollywood than Universal, just because there are more shows that I enjoy.

    Either choice would be good.

    Sheila
     
  13. goofy!

    goofy! <font color=green>You have to ride a roller coaste

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    You will only be disappointed if you go in trying to compare Universal to Disney. You have to go in remembering that it is a completely different place, with a different feel. It is not another park of Disney and doesn't try to be.

    That said, it has its own charm and personality that is unique and every bit as special as Disney.

    My kids (and DH) have also preferred Universal over Disney since about the age of 6.

    Since it only has 2 parks, it obviously is not as big as Disney. But the attention to theming is unbelievable. In Suessland there is not a straight line anywhere. Walking through New York and Hollywood in Universal, take the time to "Window Shop." The attention and the jokes in the windows are hilarious.

    Universal will be almost as different a vacation to Disney as your vacation to Gatlinburg would be, but it can be just as wonderful. We always find that Universal gives us both the excitement of the rides and the real vacation of being able to relax around the pool, enjoying good meals, etc. Whereas at Disney, although thrilling and wonderful, we always feel like we need a vacation to recover from our vacation.
     
  14. avic77

    avic77 Homeschool Mom

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    That is exactly how we felt after last years Disney Vacation! And I think the major reason my husband is Anti-Disney this year (aside from the cost)! I was leaning more toward Gatlinburg for that relaxed laid back feeling but the kids want thrills :)
    Both Universal and gatlinburg are about 8 hours drive for us so that didnt help me narrow the options down.

    Is LATE April extremly bust in Universal? We can't afford to stay at a US Hotel, it will be a priceline /Hotwire special if we go to Orlando.
     
  15. Metro West

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

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    That time of year isn't extremely busy as long as you stay away from the Spring Break times. If you get there early, you should be able to do quite a bit before the crowds arrive.
     
  16. FavoriteKitty

    FavoriteKitty Earning My Ears

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    Avic, I tried to send you this super long PM but I dont have enough post counts to send it yet! I was going to say that your family sounds almost exactly like mine. We homeschool and I have a 14 year old daughter and a pretty short 7 year old son that limits what rides we can go on. We are also on a budget. I was even trying to squeeze a wedding into our plans down there :)

    We are trying to go down there February 7-13 and are staying at a condo type resort. I have gone back and forth with going to Disney, not going to Disney and to other places just to save money. I dont know if this being our only ever vacation (In my 30 years ;) ), going to Florida and NOT going to Disney World I will ever be able to live with myself. I was looking at the Oralnd Flex Package this morning instead of going to Disney.


    I just have a feeling my little guy would like Univeral better than Disney. I dont know!! I would love to email you so we can exchange ideas, plans, and chat :)
     
  17. avic77

    avic77 Homeschool Mom

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    Ill PM you Kitty.
     
  18. damo

    damo Proud Redhead

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    There are a few great ways to beat the Disney withdrawal. One is to go to Downtown Disney for an evening and the other is to do one of their parties. We did teh Pirates and Princess Party and it was great because it is nice and cheap and gets rid of your Disney craving. However, I'm not even sure they are having the P&P parties anymore.
     
  19. Metro West

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

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    I think I read somewhere Disney cancelled the P & P parties for 2009.
     
  20. Planogirl

    Planogirl I feel the nerd in me stirring

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    DS (15) and I prefer Universal to Disney but we definitely used to be all about Disney. Now I like to split time between the two and one happy side effect is that we do save quite a bit of money.

    Like someone already posted, just don't compare Universal to Disney. They are not the same at all other than both being themepark resorts.
     
  21. damo

    damo Proud Redhead

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    I saw that recently too. It is too bad because they were great fun at a very affordable price. We went last year and the year before.
     

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