I am hoping some of you folks who are well traveled to Universal Orlando can give me some suggestions, advice, and/or enlightenment. I plan on going with my wife & toddler who will be just 5 y.o. in Spring 2014 for a four-nite stay after having been at Disney for a five-nite stay - a 9-nite vacation. My toddler is over 40" now. Regardless, we've never been to Universal and would like some of your 'pearls of wisdom' be bestowed upon answers to our questions. My family & I thank you in advance. My wife & I are partial to the musical theme at Hard Rock since we met at a concert. But we get a better deal at Loew's Portofino through American Express. After a cursory look at hotel rates through Amex & Universal - my wife won't like sandy pool at Hard Rock - from both an amenities point of view and aesthetics, it seems that my best deal is by taking comparable discounted room rate at Portofino, instead of Hard Rock. Then Amex provides added discounts ($100 food credit + free breakfast). Also, courtesy 12pm check-in, which is good since I'm coming from Disney by cab; and 4pm check-out, which is good if we want to maximize departure day. Since we are planning to be there for 4 days, I have contemplated purchasing an Annual Pass to see if I can extract a better discount/deal. Any suggestions for on-site hotel discounts? Is Annual Pass going to provide as good a discount as other sites? Food Discounts. We do Signatures at Disney and use Tables in Wonderland. At Universal - Bice & Emeril's for dinner. Lombardi's & Mythos in the Parks. Are these places part of Annual Pass discounting or does Universal have another program? Thanks again.