Booking a Universal trip end of August 2020 - any help appreciated

Terrarankin

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 27, 2016
Well we are going to venture out of the Disney bubble this year. We have never been to universal and with 2 kids 13 and 11 now is the time. We are wanting to go at the end of August before school starts (hopefully USA students are back in school by then?). Just a quick trip (Aug 23-29) with 3-4 day universal tickets. Dont need/want hopper. I looked at Costco and it shows Cabana Bay hotel with 3 day tickets for $2600 CAD. (no flight, I will book that separate). Does this seem like a good deal?
I should mention this is for 2 adults and 2 children
And would mears be the best option from the airport to the hotel? We wont be renting a car
 
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ILovePixieDust

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 10, 2014
We love Universal Orlando! We have stayed at Cabana Bay and it is a nice resort. Basic but nice. Is your quote for 1 adult 2 kids or 2 adult 2 kids??
The hopper ticket allows you to travel between the parks on Hogwarts Express. Are you or your kids Harry Potter fans? If you are than you might want to reconsider getting the hoppers. I could spend all day in the Harry Potter part of both parks!
 

ABCanada

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 5, 2007
Agree with the Hogwarts Express comment above. The train is fun and you will either need to upgrade your ticket on site which wastes time or not ride the train (ride both directions as one is going to Hogwarts and the other is leaving).
Check the seasonal annual pass cost as this might make more sense. https://www.universalorlando.com/web-store/en/us/park-tickets?flr=1&days=1
Upgrading a two day park-to-park ticket was only about $10.
You can then get the APH rate at the Hotels. Check out the Universal Forums for more information.
If you can get a deal the higher end hotels give you unlimited Express which is a nice perk.
If you cannot, it still might be worth booking one for one night during your trip to get two days express for your group of four.
We spent a couple of nights at Cabana Bay at Halloween and just spent two nights at Aventura. We much preferred Aventura. Rooms were fun. Restaurants better. I think the prices are similar.
 
  • prairiesarah

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 4, 2012
    I would suggest pricing everything out on it's own rather than as a package. From my research when we went a couple years ago there was little or no savings in booking a package. I'd suggest looking at prices directly on the Universal website for hotels, then tickets from Undercover Tourist or CAA (if you have that). It also can be a savings for one person to buy a Seasonal Annual Pass (which does have blockout dates but should be clear at that time of the summer). The price for the Seasonal pass is typically not much more or even the same as a multi day ticket and can score you some really good deals on hotels. That said, if you find a Stay More Save more rate (seems to be their best rates aside from Annual Pass rates) you're happy with on the Universal website I'd book it, then watch for Annual Pass rates then cancel and rebook if you can find on that is better (won't be available till closer to your trip though). You will likely save way more than an extra cost for the ticket in $ on the hotel rate.
     

    hdrolfe

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2014
    When I was researching Universal it seemed better to get everything separate rather than as a package.

    On expedia the hotel you are looking at for those dates is $1032 CAD. The tickets (1 adult and 2 kids) is $1036.67 or 2A, 2C is $1391.50. So I'm not sure if Costco is a better deal than that? And I suspect, even though you would have to pay in USD, that undercover tourist would be a better price on the tickets.
     

    TommyJK

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2015
    I too will give a recommendation to get Park to Park tickets.

    It's not like Disney where it takes 30-60min to get from one park to the next. Universal's parks are literally right next to each other and takes 5 min to walk from one to the other (or taking the Hogwarts Express).

    You'll also find during the day that crowds ebb and flow between the two parks so you can find that while you're in one park with really long ride wait times, the other park has much shorter ones (or vice versa) and it's nice to be able to quickly jump over to the other park to take advantage of shorter waits (especially without express passes which you would not get by staying at Cabana Bay).

    Been to Universal many times and we always get Park to Park for the above reasons.
     

    damo

    Proud Redhead
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2001
    I would definitely get a hopper. I would watch for annual pass rates. You can get them around $99/night for Cabana Bay for end of August. The seasonal annual pass is only a few dollars more than the 4 day ticket and gives you the flexibility that is so awesome at Universal. Since it only takes a couple of minutes to bus to the park (or walk...about 20 minutes) it is really nice to be able to jump between the two parks to do your favourites.

    Here is a good thread for you with tons of great info to save you money ... https://www.disboards.com/threads/official-aph-rate-info-for-universal-loews-hotel-properties.3771155/page-7#post-61431469
     
  • Terrarankin

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 27, 2016
    I would definitely get a hopper. I would watch for annual pass rates. You can get them around $99/night for Cabana Bay for end of August. The seasonal annual pass is only a few dollars more than the 4 day ticket and gives you the flexibility that is so awesome at Universal. Since it only takes a couple of minutes to bus to the park (or walk...about 20 minutes) it is really nice to be able to jump between the two parks to do your favourites.

    Here is a good thread for you with tons of great info to save you money ... https://www.disboards.com/threads/official-aph-rate-info-for-universal-loews-hotel-properties.3771155/page-7#post-61431469
    Can you explain what an annual pass rate is and how I get that? Sorry I am so new to universal...
     

    TommyJK

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2015
    Can you explain what an annual pass rate is and how I get that? Sorry I am so new to universal...
    If you are an annual pass holder, Universal has special lower room rates.

    They usually release these special rates about 3 months in advance. It's always a limited number of rooms per each hotel depending on how bookings are going (i.e. If it's a slower period they will offer more rooms, if it's a busier period, less rooms).

    The discount also varies but it's usually the same or better than their regular "stay more, save more" rates but you don't need to stay more than 4 days to get the discount, you just need to have an annual pass.

    Many people will buy 1 annual pass so they can then take advantage of the special rate. Annual passes at Universal are relatively cheap (around the same price as a 3 or 4 day hopper ticket).

    The main caveats here though is that Universal doesn't announce when they release a new block of rooms and for what dates, and if it's a busy period the rooms at the special pass holder rate get booked up quickly.

    So what many people do is book their rooms only well ahead of time at whatever rate they can, then around 3 months out or so start chech8ng for Annual Pass holder rates. If they get a better rate they then change their booking to the lower rate (something you can't really do if you book a package because of change/cancelation fees)

    To get this rate, when you are booking the room use code APH in the promo code field.

    The thread the previous posted linked is a good thread because all of us who are checking for when rates are released post in there so we can all stay on top of when the APH rates become available
     
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