Go to page 3 if you want to start at the trip. We are planning our first trip to Universal. I have wanted to do this ever since I heard about the opening of WWoHP. Disney is normally my cup of tea. While we arent the kind of family to go every year or even every other year , I love it. I wish we could go more often but lets face it the USA has a lot of traveling opportunities and there is only so much time and $$$. See my signature to for a list of years for past visits. I had hoped to do a US and WDW combined trip but after working out the finances I realized that a trip to both parks would not be possible for several years. My kids are getting older so I felt we should seize the opportunity now and make it a Universal trip only. On the trip we will have me, who loves all theme parks and refuses to grow up ever. My DH of 22 years who is a bit too serious but we tend to balance each other. In 2009 we took a trip for two to WDW. It was wonderful. I decided that while I love my children doing WDW without them is the way to go. No arguments, no picky eaters well you get the picture. The next is DD19 who LOVES LOVES LOVES LOVES Harry Potter. She has read the novels so many times that we have had to replace some of her books. Last summer she participated in a HP Trivia contest. Her team came in first of 25. Her team appropriately won a ride on a dinner train. One of the team members didnt care to go so I got his ticket. Here is a picture of us on the trip: And the pretty sunset we saw: Of course she has seen the movies. She is the primary reason I feel the need to take the kids. I really want to see her face as she walks through WWoHP for the first time. DD19 has a heart issue and cant do rides that have intense centrifugal force. Tea cup type rides are ok but things like Mission to Mars could be life threatening. We took her on Toms Twister when she was young and she did not handle it well. So if anyone can think of any rides she should avoid please let me know. We have DS16 who has actually already experience WWoHP. He went with the HS orchestra two years ago. Of course this was spring break. They had 8 hours to spend at IOA. He said he spent 6 at WWoHP and 2 at the Seuss area so he still has a lot to see. Here is a picture of him and DD12 at an orchestra performance last year. DD12 has since decided orchestra is not for her. Boy....did he need a haircut! The next person on our trip is DD12. While she is the most outgoing of my children she does not care for rides. She especially does not like any rides with dips. It will be interesting to see how she will do at US/IOA. For those of you familiar with Silver Dollar City, she went on Fire in the Hole last spring and that was too much for her. Here is a picture of us on that trip: After much debate we finally picked our decided on the first week of June. I had originally thought Aug but quickly realized that the rates were somewhat lower which means crowds should be lower. I am still concerned that the trip comes too early in the summer and I will have nothing to look forward to when I return. The next big decision was where to stay. There were a lot of DIS post to help me in our decision. We knew we needed a condo. We needed a 2-3 bedroom. With a family of 5 getting us all in a 1-2 room unit is just not possible. Since we are not doing Disney I wanted to stay as far away from there as possible. It would just be too depressing to drive by WDW and not be able to go. Ironically I did almost consider Bonnet Creek due to the resort looks wonderful and it is very affordable although practically a WDW resort. After several MapQuest searches I realized that we needed to be close to US. We like to rest in the afternoon. DD19 tires easily so may want to leave the park early. So location location location was the final deciding factor. Vista Cay is about a 10 minute drive per MapQuest. That was the winner. I was hoping for a resort with a waterslide and/or lazy river but it was not to be. I hope to do Wet and Wild so we should be good. My plan is to get 14 day 3 park passes from Undercover Tourist. We can take it easy and relax when we want. After reviewing the list of attractions I came to the realization that my kids have seen hardly any of the movies associated with the park. Part of our preparation for the trip is to watch movies. I was the original poster on the thread- List of things to watch before heading to US. So far we have watched Twister, Men in Black 1 and The Mummy. Here are the reviews so far: Twister-DH, DD19 and DS16 had already seen it. I never had much of desire to see it. It looked dumb. I was right. How many severe life threatening tornados could there possibly be in that short of time? I live in the Midwest. I have never been in a tornado. Joplin was pretty scary but that is the closest I have come to a bad tornado. And, how did that find them so quickly. Sorry, I just didnt buy it. Men in Black- I have seen all the movies. The kids have seen 2 and 3 but never the first one. We love Men in Black! I have a feeling this will be one of our favorite attractions. The Mummy- DH had seen it. I think we rented it when it first came out and I fell asleep. I nearly fell asleep this time as well. I give it a Meh. I had DD12 watch a video of the ride on YouTube. She has said she will not go on it because it has a dip. Tonight we plan to watch Despicable Me This is another move I have not had a desire to see. Will I like it?????