BACK AGAIN FOR SCARES....WE HOPE......26 NIGHTS SFR, RPR & HHN....A SEPT 2020 TRIP REPORT...NEW!

karalecia26

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Canceling completely sucks but hopefully your new dates are a go for you. We had to cancel our Easter trip with me and my kids and also my sons (late) birthday cruise so we are planning a big trip next June/July that we will do some USO and Disney also (we just bought a DVC resale contract). Fingers crossed things will be able to happen soon!
 

schumigirl

It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
Joined
May 15, 2007
Canceling completely sucks but hopefully your new dates are a go for you. We had to cancel our Easter trip with me and my kids and also my sons (late) birthday cruise so we are planning a big trip next June/July that we will do some USO and Disney also (we just bought a DVC resale contract). Fingers crossed things will be able to happen soon!
:welcome: karalecia26……...good to see you!!

I`m so sorry you had to cancel your trip too, sounds like it would have been a lovely trip for you and a super birthday plan. But, happy to read you have a big trip planned for next year...…..

Have you been to UO before? I know there are more folks coming to UOR since Potter than ever before.....

Yes, hopefully things will move along soon, but like you we have other trips in the planning, so if we are disappointed this year it`s nice to have next year in the plans too......

Hope you enjoy reading along, glad to have you here.....:wave2:
 


karalecia26

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Thank you! My immediate family actually has been to USO before. My oldest and I did a mom and me trip last July and this past Christmas we did a girls trip with me and the two girls (my oldest loves thrill rides so she likes Mummy, Hulk and Hagrid's a lot) Until we had come for a short trip to Disney in 2014 we had never been to Florida or any big theme parks and since then we (we at least myself and the kids) have been hooked!
 
  • schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    Thank you! My immediate family actually has been to USO before. My oldest and I did a mom and me trip last July and this past Christmas we did a girls trip with me and the two girls (my oldest loves thrill rides so she likes Mummy, Hulk and Hagrid's a lot) Until we had come for a short trip to Disney in 2014 we had never been to Florida or any big theme parks and since then we (we at least myself and the kids) have been hooked!
    Ah gotcha.

    So you are up to date with all the new additions in the parks last few years.

    It is so easy to get hooked on those parks!! Our first trip in 2007 was supposed to be a “one off” lol.......now coming up 22 trips later......yes, we got hooked too.......::yes::

    It‘s nice your family enjoys the Universal parks too......and look forward to chatting with you :wave2:
     

    Pumpkin1172

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 14, 2016
    Finally getting to join in on your trip report!!!!
    How great that you already scheduled a trip for next May! All we can do is cross our fingers and hope that by then there is some " normalcy " back from prior pre covid virus.
    I seen your flying a new airline and landing at a new airport. Let the new adventure begin!!! You never know if you will end up loving or hating either of them!

    I was sooo glad to hear that Universal is going to slowly start opening back up again in June!!!! I'm sure your hear sang a little at that news as well ;) I can't wait to hear about more plans that you might actually roughly plan out :flower:
     

    Kelandsam

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 30, 2017
    Hi Carole! Longtime lurker who’s read all your trip reports. Love your detail and photos. I’ve got a Disney trip planned for me and DD23 for November but we might switch to Universal if the EP is back.

    thank you for having such a positive attitude in all your posts!

    Kelley
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    Finally getting to join in on your trip report!!!!
    How great that you already scheduled a trip for next May! All we can do is cross our fingers and hope that by then there is some " normalcy " back from prior pre covid virus.
    I seen your flying a new airline and landing at a new airport. Let the new adventure begin!!! You never know if you will end up loving or hating either of them!

    I was sooo glad to hear that Universal is going to slowly start opening back up again in June!!!! I'm sure your hear sang a little at that news as well ;) I can't wait to hear about more plans that you might actually roughly plan out :flower:
    :welcome: Along miss pumpkin.......:flower3:


    I thought you had already posted, but maybe not......lol......

    I thought we lasted quite well holding out till now to book for next May.......Tom said he expected me to do it earlier......lol.......yes, it’s good to know flights are sorted. And yes, always good to try something new and this airline flies the Dreamliner which gets excellent reviews, and several folks have spoken well of Sanford which is also an unknown........but, fun times!!!

    It is fabulous to know Universal have set out their plans and opening is coming up. I know many TM at the parks and hotels that are so keen to get back to work. I’m glad for them too and we’ll all adjust to the new normal.

    Yep, plans afoot.......and glad to have you along for this one too.....hope you enjoy it.......:wave2:
     
  • schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    Hi Carole! Longtime lurker who’s read all your trip reports. Love your detail and photos. I’ve got a Disney trip planned for me and DD23 for November but we might switch to Universal if the EP is back.

    thank you for having such a positive attitude in all your posts!

    Kelley
    :welcome: Kelley........

    I’m so glad you posted......lurkers always most welcome!!!

    Yep, the EP will still be a perk of the deluxe hotels......soooooo......you need to get booked for a Universal trip!!!!

    I’m happy to read you enjoyed the reports.....and good to have you along for this one too......hopefully it’ll happen.......there’s that positivity again......lol......

    Look forward to chatting someone more.....:wave2:
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    Ok now the real report starts! Uni opening June works perfectly, hopefully all the kinks will be worked out and you'll be raring to go.:banana:
    It is fabulous news for sure!!! We have so many friends over there that are keen to get back to work.....and a couple who aren't......lol......but good news all round.

    For us in the UK it`s not as clear cut. Virgin Atlantic have said they won`t be flying till at least August. If that runs into September or the flight ban is still in place......we won`t be travelling......

    But, for us, if it happens......not much we can do about that. No point in worrying about things out of our control. If it happens we`ll down a large vat of wine :rotfl:and next day start to look forward to the Christmas trip......::yes::

    Still going to make plans for September though until someone tells me different.......will try and catch up with it today or tomorrow......

    I`m not sure why I`m so busy right now......but the days are going past so fast despite this lockdown...….although we are easing it back a little here. We`re still staying cocooned a little longer apart from essential shopping.....

    How is it where you are now??
     

    keishashadow

    Proud Redhead...yes, I have some bananas!
    Joined
    Dec 30, 2004
    Everything crossed Virgin takes to the friendly skies for international flights. Are other flights within the area still happening? Our local international airport is back running at 40% of flights now but I’m guessing all within the US.
     
  • schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    Everything crossed Virgin takes to the friendly skies for international flights. Are other flights within the area still happening? Our local international airport is back running at 40% of flights now but I’m guessing all within the US.
    Yep, all fingers and toes crossed!

    No, not really, not for Brits anyway as we aren’t allowed to fly to the USA or anywhere unless it’s essential. I’m guessing my trip isn’t included in that range.......lol.......Still flights coming in and no one being checked yet for temps which is an outrage. Our borders have been open since this began when it was decided we wouldn’t be doing that. So thousands of people arrived from all over including hot spots like China since then. No checks at all. Our local pharmacy has better health checks than international airports here.

    Most flights over us now are freight. Checking sky tracker is so weird.....our skies are almost empty. But, look over the USA and it’s as busy as ever.

    Wish I had one of those crystal ball thingys........:rolleyes1
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007





    Life in reduced lockdown over here is very similar to lockdown to be honest.

    All of my friends are of the same mind, we`ll give it another little while before we get together and mix, we plan to wait and see how things pan out as more and more people either follow the rules, or like most seem to abandon common sense and flout the rules. As a rule follower can you guess where I fall in this.

    We`ll wait a bit longer to get together.


    Also, as we live in England, we can travel distances to enjoy some things, but as we live beside a beach and have woods and forests behind us, we`re ok for places to walk. But, what we can`t do is drive to another country, so no visiting family in Scotland yet. That sucks!!!! Yes, a very mature grown up reaction :rotfl:......but it does suck......

    Not being able to see family is one of the hard things about this. But so many are in the same space right now, some of my friends are the same and some have families abroad so again, no travel to see them.


    We are doing ok with all of this. Kyle working from here has been brilliant and I was having a low point last week as one of my friends was having a really bad time and I couldn't help.....he gave me the biggest hug, it cheered me up massively, and I realised that we are so lucky having him here with us......

    I hope everyone else is doing ok and in a good place too. Some places vary massively from others in how things are.

    And we have had no bad news yet to say either flights aren't going or our no fly ban will be extended, but as of now Virgin Atlantic are saying they won`t fly till August at the earliest, so there`s always a chance it won`t happen. I`m still being quietly positive that this September trip will go ahead.......and of course if it does go pear shaped, I can always change it to our Christmas trip.......it will be completely at Royal Pacific Resort....



    Yesterday I spoke to a couple of friends in Florida and two are from the hotel......not sure I felt more confident or less confident after I spoke to them......I certainly understand, as do most people there will be big changes to the way the hotels are going to be operating, but we can deal with all those things. I know most of them are just keen to get back to work and get back to our new normal. It may take a while, but we`ll get there I`m sure.


    But, back to this report.......



    After our short stay at Sapphire Falls, we will move the short distance to Royal Pacific Resort, it really is only a couple of minutes drive from one entrance to the other.

    We first stayed here in 2009, after staying at a Disney resort and a Downtown Disney hotel the previous visits. Although we enjoyed both those trips, I had looked at the Universal hotels and decided the one I really liked and always wanted to stay at was RP. So, when we were booking for 09, we decided to just do our two weeks trip completely in the hotel. Many suggested we should do one night for the EP for two days.....but we liked the look of the hotel so much and wanted to enjoy the resort not just for the EP.

    They also said we couldn't fill our time for two weeks at Universal, we`d be better just staying for the one night.....nah, didn't appeal to me at all, I wanted a longer stay. And as we had decided then that we really were done with Disney, it had bored us a little last visit but we had all loved Universal.....yes, even before Potter which apparently some find unimaginable...….but for us, it was full of rides we really liked and back then it wasn't too busy....although neither was Disney in September in 07/08.

    One of our best memories of how quiet Disney was back then is riding Splash Mountain over and over without getting out of the vehicle as there was no one waiting to get on......we must have went round about 6 or 7 times in a row as did the folks in the boat behind us.........completely unheard of today.


    So, we knew although we had enjoyed Disney, we were done with it. Not knocking Disney at all, it just bored us a little. If we could go back and just do ToT, RnR, EE and maybe Splash again, we might......so really we could do all we wanted to in Disney in 2 hours......:rotfl:Not recommended though.

    We had no doubt we could pass all our time at Universal with a one night visit to see Wishes one last night at Disney. That was lovely, except for being knocked over on the way out by a tiny little woman with a pushchair who yelled at me she was tired as she barged past......lol......but we have some nice memories of Disney too before it all changed which made it unappealing to us in so many ways.

    The main entrance of RPR is kind of hidden and you can`t really see it till it`s upon you. But, it has one of my favourite features of the bridge as you walk in......












































    As soon as we walked into the resort way back then, I knew this was one we would come back to year after year. It was a strange feeling I had never experienced walking into a hotel before. We had stayed in many hotels over our years together in many different countries, but this one just felt right for us.

    Kyle and Tom said they just really loved it...….lol.....no weird feeling for them. But after a day or so there, they both said, yep, we want to come here next year. I was so glad to hear that as I already had my mind made up we would be coming back.


    The lobby back then was completely different to what it is now as they have completely revamped it from the old South Pacific theme they had for so many year. I thought it was classic, and it certainly reflected the feel of the whole resort. The dark wood which I generally don`t like, fitted well with the furniture and decor. But, like so many things it changes.

    I think they have done a lovely job with the hotel so far which started with the rooms a few years back. They were a big change!!!!


    The lobby is now very modern and feels much lighter in general, although it still has some of the dark wood around, some feel it has lost the South Pacific feel, but we like it and think it`s just different.

    This is the lobby with the new lovely wallpaper up.....it`s subtle but very pretty.

















    The old wooden style check in desks have been replaced by sleek black and grey desks. These pictures were taken before the lamps and the new artwork on the wall behind the desks were put up.


















    They have added a fabulous grab and go option here which was needed and something a lot of guests were asking about. The breakfast option in Orchid Court was quick service, but really needed a good update, so the result was the opening of Tuk Tuk Market in the lobby.










    It`s centrally placed and is situated where the old concierge/rental car/ticketing area was before.....and is definitely a much better use of the space than before. It did feel like a large empty vacuum at times.











    And it`s been a huge success in the few short months it`s been open. They have made a tremendous job of doing this place out.

    You can grab and go or they have several seats in a beautiful area right beside the window overlooking the pavilion area. Not everyone wants to eat in their room or on the go. Anytime we looked in this area was always fairly busy.











    They have a huge selection of food and drink items. Although we didn`t actually eat anything from here, we heard many good reports of the quality. I wanted to try the pizza, but we were never hungry when we were there or we were heading out to dinner.


















    But, the sandwiches and salads all looked lovely and very fresh.

    Hot items too, went incredibly quickly. Things like breakfast potatoes and sandwiches just seemed to fly off the shelves.
























    And of course it carries the real essential items for any vacation...….::yes::

    Wines and frozen cocktails.......😍
























    I thought the prices looked very decent for what you got, and they also have the ever popular freestyle machine.












    Off the lobby there is the beautiful central area that houses the ever popular elephants......

    Such a beautiful area, where many enjoy a coffee or breakfast in the mornings. Sadly, it`s occasionally taken over by smokers, which makes it very unpleasant to wander out when they are doing that.

    There are several little tables and it is swathed in sunshine for most of the day.....very pretty...….

    There was never any question of this area being changed when they did the revamp......it kind of is the RP.

















    So, this is the first part of why we are so keen to get back to our favourite place and hotel in the whole world. The warmth and the welcome we receive every single trip as well as the feel in general when we walk in those doors. When people ask me why we go back year after year and more silly questions about cost, I always say, you have to be there to feel it. This really is a special place for us, we love it and have made so many friends over the years and some are definitely more like family than friends now.




    Back for more soon......:wave2:
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    Woah!! The renovations in the lobby and Tuk Tuk look very nice. hmm.. might be the tipping point for me to change our CB room in July.... lol. Love reading about your trips!
    Awwww thanks so much........:flower3:

    Yes, they did an amazing job of refurbishing the whole lobby but the addition of Tuk Tuk has been an amazing success.

    I think you’d like it.......:wave2:
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    OOh I do love the water feature. Simply lovely and so peaceful.
    It really is lovely out there :thumbsup2

    I remember when they were originally planning the refurb and one thing everyone was asking was are the elephants and water staying.......of course the answer was yes. It is one of the first things that catch your eye as you enter the lobby.......
     

    KathyM2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2011
    Life in reduced lockdown over here is very similar to lockdown to be honest.
    Yeah it's the same over here in Canada, or at least in Toronto where I live. I have heard that most of Europe's "reduced" lockdown is still more restrictive than our "lockdown" but we are still pretty locked down, at least, those of us who are rule followers!

    Not being able to see family is one of the hard things about this. But so many are in the same space right now, some of my friends are the same and some have families abroad so again, no travel to see them.
    Right there with you. It's hard seeing pictures of family and friends in the US where in some places things look almost normal. I guess pictures can be deceiving though!

    I thought the prices looked very decent for what you got, and they also have the ever popular freestyle machine.
    It's sad but when I look at the picture of that Freestyle machine (which I love those things BTW and making up my own crazy soda concoctions) now all I can think of is how germy they must be and I don't know if they will be allowed anymore :(
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    Yeah it's the same over here in Canada, or at least in Toronto where I live. I have heard that most of Europe's "reduced" lockdown is still more restrictive than our "lockdown" but we are still pretty locked down, at least, those of us who are rule followers!



    Right there with you. It's hard seeing pictures of family and friends in the US where in some places things look almost normal. I guess pictures can be deceiving though!



    It's sad but when I look at the picture of that Freestyle machine (which I love those things BTW and making up my own crazy soda concoctions) now all I can think of is how germy they must be and I don't know if they will be allowed anymore :(
    Yes, rule followers are getting less and less every day. Last few weeks we’ve had some glorious weather, so beaches and parks have been inundated with folks......no distance between them at all.
    We’re in no rush, yes, keen to get back to living, but just not yet.

    I thought Canada was stricter than us for some reason.

    That‘s been quite hard with family. Knowing we can’t just pop up for a visit. We’d have been up twice this year if things had been normal......but so many have the same issues with family, it’s quite sad. Thank goodness for Zoom and Skype.

    lol.......weird drinks will be missed if they do get rid of those machines,......yes, thinking about everyone’s sweaty little paws on it doesn’t sound hygienic at all now.

    Good to see you Kathy, hope all is good with you.......:wave2:
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    Good Afternoon everyone, hope you are all doing ok and managing to navigate all the changes happening in our lives that are so different to our normal. And hope you have some lovely weather wherever you are.....our lovely weather has finally broken and today we are cold at 52F and non stop rain......how we yearn for the Florida sun!!!!

    Keeping this trip report going is my attempt at normal, I know most of you feel the same way....got to be positive through it all. So, while I can, I will :)

    In the UK we are easing out of lockdown, but doesn't really feel that much different for us again. Days still blend into one and we only know it`s during the week or the weekend depending on if we see Kyle working in the study or not. He was always our guide regarding days of the week with him being the only one of us that actually still works for a living.....


    It`s a shame as he misses the camaraderie of his workplace and daily contact with other people and seeing all the other people in his life. But on the other hand, he`s got his own little groove going and is quite enjoying working from home. Logistically not possible forever which I`m quite happy about as human contact is so important. It is nice having lunch with him every day though.

    For us, as we have had some more lovely weather, we have spent a lot of our time in the garden. Not gardening I hasten to add as we are definitely not green fingered!!!! The phrase could kill weeds was invented for me. But, we have some lovely little areas we enjoy sitting in and love the relaxation it affords.


    Although the lockdown is easing, as before we aren't rushing anywhere and still wondering if the flight ban and the ban for us flying into America will be lifted.

    We can deal with the quarantine they are talking about when we come home, we have no work to worry about, but it`s all the other issues still unresolved. Being in a kind of limbo, we just have to make the best of it and carry on being hopeful.....until someone says we can`t go.


    It`s good to hear most of the Universal hotels are opening back up, not completely open and at a very low capacity, but it`s a start and we are so looking forward to hearing first hand reports from folks who will be there soon.

    One of the things we love about the RP is the pool.


    As a non swimmer the pool is perfect for me.......you can walk the whole thing!

    We as pale skinned Scots, tend not to hang around the pool much during the day, but we do love it at night. On occasion we have spent time during the day, we love the atmosphere and always enjoy it when we do go.

    Like all the pools, they have activities for adults and children and it`s as lively or as peaceful as you want it to be. And you also have the Bula Bar, which is indisputably the best pool bar on property. For us of course ::yes::


    The pool area is large and there are always plenty of loungers around, well, we have always found that anyway. And if you go early in the morning as soon as it opens, it`s usually deserted. That suits us as we like the shade it affords early, as we are a bit like vampires and only use the parts of the water that are in shade and dutifully move backwards towards the steps as the sun rises above the hotel.

    The life guards, well the ones we get to know always laugh when they see us avoid the sun in the morning.....quite the opposite of the sun worshippers over the other side of the pool who are sometimes there from first thing in the morning till pool close, or at least till the sun disappears. If that`s what they want to do on their vacation, good for them.


    It is a marvellous pool to be around. We pool hopped the first year we stayed here. Being able to pool hop is a lovely perk of staying onsite.

    But after visiting the other hotel pools we decided RP pool was the one for us. Now Sapphire is open of course, we do love that pool too. But this one is absolutely our favourite.
















    This is what it`s like first thing in the morning, and frequently we have the pool to ourselves till around 10am except for the odd person now and again.......and that suits us down to the ground.






















    There is a little children's area to the right of these loungers and it is quite small, but lots of shade for little ones. These loungers are very rarely filled and the two cabanas behind we see them used occasionally.

    I do think the RP cabanas could be doing with a little update, but I think I`m comparing them against Sapphire ones which are beautiful.










    Favourite spot for kids to soak each other! There is no slide at RP.....I believe it was in the plans at one point, but of course lots of plans change and this virus has certainly changed a lot of plans I`m sure. If you really need a slide, you can pop over to HRH or PB.











    There is a hot tub outside and another inside the gym area. Not too many folks use the inside one as most don't know it`s there. I thought I had a picture of the inside one, but cannot locate it for some reason.

    We never use a hot tub. I cannot abide them and feel as if I`m in a vat of people soup.....so, not a thing for us to do.










    There are cabanas all dotted around the pool area, some are a little more open than others as regards to having people around you.











    As you enter the pool from the elevator for T3 you have the pool hut for towels and more. They offer baby and child life jackets and they also offer sunscreen if you need it.

    There is also fruit filled water that is chilled around the area too where you can just help yourself.

























    We describe ourselves as moon bathers and not sun bathers.....we love the sun and the heat, but just sitting baking in it to get a tan doesn't do much for us. As someone who can go home whiter than we arrived, you can see why. I often say I can burn sitting too close to a lamp!!!

    And this is where we really, really love pool time.


    The dive in movies are always popular....although last year the choice of movies weren`t the best for us....but it`s still fun and there is something wonderful, especially for us Brits who never get this is......sitting at night when it`s still 85F and dipping your toes in the pool with a cocktail in hand. It`s not something we do every night as we are always up to something. If it`s September it`s usually HHN or we are out for dinner somewhere and as the pool closes at 10pm, by the time we get back in it`s usually too late.

































    The Bula Bar as I mentioned is amazing. Out of the three deluxe pool bars, this one is the best.

    You can go sit at the tables, or around the bar, well, up till now you could of course, or you can order from your lounger.

    Pool bar staff come around and take your order and they do come around frequently. We have always been informed, visit after visit that there is an 18% charge added to your check, so it`s then up to you if you add an extra tip or not. We`ve always had amazing service from staff there.


    They have lovely cocktails.......there are many to choose from and each one is as delicious as the last. I think we have tried everyone of them over the years and some that are no longer on the menu, but they will make them up for you if you ask.

    I did swap those horrible paper straws over for the much easier to work with but much maligned, plastic ones.
















    When it comes to the food from the Bula Bar, there are many lovely options from salads to sandwiches and the burgers are very good too......the Huli chicken sandwich is particularly nice. And I do miss a beef wrap they used to do many years ago. I wish they`d bring that back to the menu.

    But, there really is only one food option for us most of the time when we eat by the pool.....who needs Margaritaville...….


    The nachos here...…….amazing :thumbsup2










    As I don't like chilli….actually it`s one dish I would say I despise with a passion :sad2: ......if we order nachos anywhere, we have it with the chicken option instead. If it`s blackened chicken, all the nicer. I did have a pulled pork version of Nachos once and it was delicious, would happily order it again.

    And yes, we do order extra jalapenos and tabasco sauce......it`s never spicy enough for us. But it is lovely and the portion is huge......honestly, its bigger than it looks and can easily be shared between four people. We left loads and we were starving when we ordered this.


    So, that's a little look around our favourite pool...…..I just realised I didn`t do Sapphire`s pool......might do that next before we go on to food options around and the parks.......:wave2:
     

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