My First HHN Trip! COMPLETED!!

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Trip Reports' started by RAPstar, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. RAPstar

    RAPstar <font color=red>Proud Redhead<br><font color=darko

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    Since I'm officially one month away from my trip :-)cheer2:), I figured it would be a good time to start my Pre-TR.

    I'm Robbie (but people around here call me Andy....its a long story). I'm a Disney/Universal/musical/movie/book junkie. lol I've been to both Universal and Disney every family trip we went to Orlando and love both equally. And one day I'll make it back and finally do a strictly Disney trip....eventually! lol Anywho, here's me:
    [​IMG]

    There's a link to last year's TR in my siggie! And unlike last year, I haven't gotten a single speeding/traffic ticket all year...so far! :laughing:

    So it all started with last year's trip. While planning it, I had thought about going to HHN since it sounded like a blast. But I didn't know anything about tickets and such back then (I didn't know about the DIS then). So I decided not to go. Since then, I discovered the DIS and the many "homies" that go to HHN. So, I told myself then that I was going to go too HHN the following year (this year, lol). All was well in the world. And then Disney had to go and entice people with that Stay 4/3 Free offer. And the whole "Celebrate" thing. And at that time I was getting 6 hours of overtime a week. So I figured I could save on the hotel room, get a dining package, and have plenty of souvie money to boot. And I could swing in a day trip to Uni sometime in the week. Plus I would be celebrating my birthday in "the happiest place on earth". So, I changed my mind (you'll be hearing that a lot, trust me). Anywho, I made my deposit for a stay at the POP. I booked my airfare through Priceline, flying with AirTran (more on them later), and started to try to put back money for the trip and souvies. I also started the dreaded process of trying to decide what ADR's to make, on which day at which time. But was strangely content with doing that as it is an overplanner's dream. lol

    All was well in the world.....until Universal had to release their summer Super Saver plan, which was I think 4/3 also, but I can't remember now. So I started thinking again. If I switched to Universal, I could get a better hotel and less stress for about the same price as Disney. Plus I could be at the parks when I wanted, instead of trying to bus everywhere. And I could still go to Disney on my birthday. So...I changed my mind (again). I switched my deposit over, adjusted my budet to add in daily food spending, and started to count down the days until June. But felt oddly empty since I had nothing to plan, since you don't really have to make any dining ressies at Universal.

    All was well in the world. But then I started thinking. I really enjoyed my fall trip last year. The lines were nonexistant. Which is always nice. Plus, it probably wouldn't be as hot as June. And....I really really really still wanted to do HHN!!! So, I looked into seeing how much it would be to change my flight. Not much, right at $100, which I don't think would be too bad. But the hotel was going to be a lot more. But I figured I would be ok, assuming I'd still be getting the overtime I was getting. Plus, putting the trip farther back, I could use part of the money I'd already saved to get my car fixed. So....well I guess you know what goes here.

    It wasn't long after that that I heard about the Superbowl hotel package. Which was a great deal!! Of course in the mean time, I traded in my car and was moved to another store, losing all of my overtime. :sad2: Oh well, I'd still be fine, I'd just have to watch how much I spend.

    When I had made my ressie for the RPH, I was booked into a 2 queen room. Which would be somewhat lonely just by myself. So being the nice person that I am, I decided to invite a friend of mine from a different message board to come with, since I wanted to meet him in person and didn't know if I'd be able to. He agreed, since he had also gotten one of those Superbowl tickets. So, that was set and I started counting days and saving. We continued to discuss back and forth miscellaneous details about the trip, and I mentioned, since I had forgotten to, the parking fees the hotel charges, since he'd be driving down. He had almost to decided to back out seeing as he probably couldn't afford to pay that much for parking (and I honestly wasn't going to pay since I was flying down and walking to the parks), so I decided to look into different options. I was browsing www.hotwire.com and found an excellent price on a 1 bedroom resot condo not far from Universal, with free parking. Which in turn would work out, cause we could just trade off days of paying for parking at Universal (since he'd be toting both of us). Plus with the money I'd save for the hotel could be put to eating at some of the better restaurants and for more souvies (and maybe even a day trip to Sea World for their new coaster). So.....I changed my hotel.

    All was well in the world......until my friend decides he can't afford to go at all. :headache: And, since I booked through hotwire, my ressie is nonrefundable. :sad2: So here we are finally. A month from my trip, I'm now staying at the Sheraton Vistana Villages on I-drive, having to either take a bus or cab back and forth to the parks, but I should have plenty of food and souvie money. Plus, I'm finally going to HHN!!!! I've got all my HHN tickets bought, my Superbowl ticket is waiting for me to show up with my ID, I have my Sea World ticket. Now I just have to save up the rest of my money and wait for October 5th to get here!!!!
     
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  3. EPRV We love Disney

    EPRV We love Disney I had a Golden Ticket!

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    Hi Andy/(Robbie) - I need the story!

    Loving the pre-trippie so far! Ack, sorry you had to go through all the switching about. Stressful!!

    I think you'll have a great time. Jealous of HHN tix! Can't wait to hear about it all....

    Best, E;)
     
  4. RAPstar

    RAPstar <font color=red>Proud Redhead<br><font color=darko

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    Yay, my first reply! lol I know its not much yet, but I'm gonna try to update every so often with different detailed tid bits. Like explaining how I figured out what my hotel was before booking with hotwire, or like my tentative daily agenda. Stuff like that until my trip. I think my hotel has free internet so I'll try and update some on my trip too!
     
  5. circelli

    circelli I can't move it, it's attached !!

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    Lovin' it :goodvibes

    keep it coming popcorn::
     
  6. patster734

    patster734 DIS Veteran

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    Hi Andy!

    Great pre-trip report! :thumbsup2

    That's a huge bummer that your friend backed out on you!
     
  7. tlinus

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

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    Hi Andy/Rob (I know the story on that :thumbsup2)

    Wow - what a whirlwind of a story. But I remember it as it unfolded.....so glad to see you started a pre trippie!!! :cool1: Just remember pictures. LOTS and LOTS of pictures!!
     
  8. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead

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    very interesting saga on the pre trippie.


    i know you will have loads of fun at universal.
    especially at hhn.......



    have your people call my people and we'll set up a meet........:rolleyes1
     
  9. Melisa1

    Melisa1 DIS Veteran

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    Great Pre-trippie!!!!!!!!!!!
    Can't wait for more, I am getting so excited for HHN!!!!!!!!!!!:cool1:
     
  10. Cdn Friends of Pooh

    Cdn Friends of Pooh Certified Mousejunkie

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    ... as usual, late to the party again ... :rotfl:

    Looking forward to reading more.

    By the way, love the expression of the guy pushing the stroller in the picture :rotfl2:
     
  11. RAPstar

    RAPstar <font color=red>Proud Redhead<br><font color=darko

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    I know, right!! lol

    So weekly update one:
    How I worked the www.hotwire.com system

    Ok, so once my friend Joie was on board, I did my regular overplanning thing by asking him about a million questions. But, when I asked him to come, I didn't know he'd be driving down so I had to mention to him about the very high parking rate at RPH. Now, yes we could have split the parking, but, call me selfish, I was already letting him stay with me for free, and I wasn't the one driving down, and probably wouldn't need use of his car since I could walk to the parks. So, I decided to look around on different sites, see what I could find. Cause really, its more about the parks than the hotel, plus if I get a cheaper rate I'll have more money for souvies and food!!! So I was looking at hotwire, and there weren't too many places that had free parking. But I did see one that intrigued me. It was a 1 bedroom vacation resort condo, with free parking, and in the Sea World area. Not to far from Universal, and it was only $72 a night. But how to know what hotel I'd be getting. I mean, yeah, hotwire says its 4 stars, but is it really 4 stars? So I was looking at the info page hotwire provided, there was a little label, plain as the nose on my face, giving me the www.tripadvisor.com rating of the hotel. I believe I heard about this trick on here. So I pulled up Trip Advisor, did a search for Orlando and ticked off each of the amenities that the hotel offered and the rating they mentioned. Trip Advisor brought up a few, but only one had the same number of total ratings. It was the Sheraton Vistana Villages on I-Drive! (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/shera...illages_International_Drive_POP_030109_NAD_FM) The pictures of the resort are amazing!! I almost didn't believe that that hotel would have such a great rate available. The only drawback in the reviews that I read is that it is a time share property and they their sales people like to call a lot apparently. But, me being the indecisive person I am, took about 2 hours to decide. It took both my mom and my (now) ex-boyfriend to convice me to switch, if only to have more spending money. Of course, it was like a few weeks later that my friend backed out. :headache: Oh well, what can you do. My friend Chip rode the bus last year when we went and he had no problem with them. I should be ok. Now let's just hope I can dodge the time share people!! :scared1:
     
  12. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead

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    i didn't know you and chris broke up............
    so now you are staying solo at the hotel?
    you do have a great rate so that is a good thing.

    do you know how far from the parks your hotel is?
    walkable?
    cab?


    do i have to worry about you walking back to your hotel room late at night?
     
  13. RAPstar

    RAPstar <font color=red>Proud Redhead<br><font color=darko

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    I didn't know me and Chris broke up either. Who's Chris? ;) My hotel is 10 miles away from the park. I'll either bus back (except HHN nights, I've got transportation lined up to get me back then) or take a cab. And from what I read, my hotel is gated, so I guess I have to use my key to get in? I'll find out when I get there!
     
  14. Cdn Friends of Pooh

    Cdn Friends of Pooh Certified Mousejunkie

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    More than likely your room key will get you in the gate :thumbsup2
     
  15. patster734

    patster734 DIS Veteran

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    :lmao:

    Chris is going to be soo upset that you've already forgotten him!
     
  16. Niki Andiokno

    Niki Andiokno DIS Veteran

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    Looking forward to your trippie. Several of my friends own at Vistana. They say it is beautiful and absolutely love it. You should be just fine.
     
  17. RAPstar

    RAPstar <font color=red>Proud Redhead<br><font color=darko

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    Pre-Trippie Weekly Update 2:
    My trip itinerary (so far)

    Monday, October 5th
    • Leave house about 3:30/4am to DFW airport (approx. 45 minute trip)
    • AirTran flight, leaving at 7:45am
    • Arriving MCO at 11:13am
    • Get to hotel (still not sure if I wanna book a Mears shuttle or try to bus to my hotel. Opinions?)
    • Bus (or taxi) to Sea World (hoping to get there by 2pm at the latest)
    • stay at Sea World till closing (6pm)
    • friend Jeff will be picking me up and we will go to DTD so I can shop some
    • Dinner at Boma 9/9:10 pm (can't remember exact time, lol)
    • go to hotel and sleep!

    Tuesday, October 6th
    • wake up between 7 and 7:30
    • leave hotel by bus to Sea World by 8 or 8:30 maybe getting breakfast
    • Sea World all day
    • Lunch/Dinner at Shark's Underwater Grill around 2 maybe
    • Sea World closes at 6pm again
    • Undecided, may do Wonder Works on I-Drive or maybe miniature golf, just kill time
    • Hotel to sleep!

    Wednesday, October 7th
    • Wake up at 7
    • leave by bus around 7:45 (accoridng to Lynx website)
    • arrive at Universal around 8
    • Cinnabon for breakfast
    • start day at IOA at 9am
    • Ride List: Hulk, the Dragons (if still open, which I hope they will be), Cat in the Hat, JP; saving the super wet rides for "wet day"
    • Lunch at City Walk Emeril's at 1:00pm
    • go to the Studios
    • Ride: Shrek, Jimmy, Mummy, Jaws, Disaster, Simpsons, MIB, try and catch T2 and Make-up shows, what not done will be done Thurs or Sun
    • Dinner with Laura at Tchoup Chop at 6:30pm (yay!)
    • may go to CityWalk for Rising Star and to maybe check out some of the other clubs
    • if going to CW, will taxi to hotel

    Thursday, October 8th
    • same as above, up by 7 to be at bus for 7:45 departure
    • possibly meet Mac for breakfast :)
    • Studios
    • try and ride HRRR, which means I will be waiting most of the morning unless it gets fixed soon.
    • UTH tour at 1:30
    • small CS lunch before tour more than likely, depending on HRRR wait
    • dinner at Finnegans'/Stay and Scream
    • HHN!!!!!
    • get ride back to hotel from a friend (;))

    Friday, October 9th
    • same leaving time as the past 2 days
    • WET DAY!!!!
    • Today will consist of riding Dudley, Popeye and JP and maybe going to Curious George and get wet there too for good measure, lol
    • lunch at Mythos (11:30 or so, depending when lunch ends)
    • RIP tour from 7-2am.

    Saturday, October 10th
    • I've been kidnapped by Bonny to have experiments performed on me.......or go to Screamfest at the I-Drive Wyndham.

    Sunday, October 11th
    • leaving the same time as Wed-Fri
    • going to the Studios today to re-ride what was missed on Thurs
    • possible HRRR reride if doable
    • been invitied to a Chainsaw Wolf meet by mac at Finnegan's at 3 I believe, CS before that if hungry
    • HHN!!!!
    • ride to hotel from friend
    • sleep

    Monday, October 12th
    • I may actually sleep in today
    • go to Universal somewhat early and try to get 1 or 2 re-rides in, time permitting
    • Lombard's for farewell lunch
    • get to MCO by 2:30/3pm
    • leave 5:34 pm
    • layover in Atlanta from 7:08 to 8:07pm
    • arrive DFW 9:22pm
    • go home and be depressed, lol
     
  18. patster734

    patster734 DIS Veteran

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    Now that's a plan! :thumbsup2

    I'm happy to see that you took Laura's offer for a dinner meet at Tchoup Chop! That's one our favorites that we're having to skip (again! :sad2:) to save money.

    I'm also happy to see that you're going with Bonny and Lee to Screamfest. Someday, I will have to do Screamfest!
     
  19. Cdn Friends of Pooh

    Cdn Friends of Pooh Certified Mousejunkie

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    :rotfl2: :rotfl: :lmao: :laughing:
     
  20. tlinus

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

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    Sounds like a great touring plan!!! :thumbsup2

    You do know we expect lots and LOTS of pictures, right??!!?? :cool1:
     
  21. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead

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    Andy, you better meet up with me on thursday some time.

    i have your tickets............:laughing:

    i haven't heard back from scotlass yet.
    she is to meet up with some of us one of the mornings.
     

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