FARTS (with a side of Sesame and Universal) Jan 2023 PTR

Araminta18

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
Hi all!

I'm so not great with pre trip reports, but I need to get back into researching so starting this thread! I just (literally just) finished up our trip report from our Disneyland trip (with a side of Universal) last September (see my signature), and I'm currently in the middle of planning a trip in September to Paris (and of course Disneyland Paris), so I wasn't planning a DisneyWorld trip for the foreseeable future. But we have a couple that we're friends with who would like to go but don't really want to plan it, and in discussing things with them the other day...all four of us are going to go to DisneyWorld during Festival of the Arts next year! We're gonna do a day at Universal (or a day and a half), a half day or so at SeaWorld so they can see Sesame Street, and then 5 days at DisneyWorld.


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Tentative plan:
  • Fly in on Friday Jan 27th
  • Stay at Universal, with check out on Sunday the 29th (debating between the deluxe hotels with the express pass or one of the cheaper Universal hotels and buying one day of express pass for Trevor and I) - mostly do Harry Potter
  • Do Universal all day Saturday the 28th
  • Sunday morning do Sesame Street (Sea World)
  • Check in to Disney hotel Sunday afternoon (thinking Swolphin or Beach Club or Boardwalk...at the moment the Swolphin prices aren't great but we'll see)
  • Disney Monday through Friday
  • Fly home on Saturday the 4th
We've never done Universal Orlando, and Trevor doesn't like thrill rides, so we'd mostly be doing Harry Potter. We figure that's doable in a day if we have express pass and early morning admission (for Hagrid's since Hagrid's isn't part of the express pass). Our friends aren't ride junkies either, and would mostly hang out in Harry Potter area as well (but they've been to Universal Harry Potter land already). I do know enough to know we'd have to buy 2 park tickets so we can visit both Hogwarts and Hogsmeade! :)

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I will say I'm totally thrown off by not being able to book things crazy far in advance -- no advance fastpasses, dining only 60 days out... :D I am hoping that park reservations or at the very least hopping only after 2 pm goes away by then, though I know it probably won't. This probably won't be a very active trip report until later this year when we start to get information about Festival of the Arts, but I'm excited! Now to figure out how to pay for it all... :D
 
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FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
I'm along for the ride! Looks like I'm planning a WDW trip for next year too - July though, for a Girl Scout event. I also have no idea how we will pay for it 😂

Edited to add: Are you doing a ptr for the Paris trip? I love your approach to planning and would love to live vicariously through it!
 

Araminta18

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
I'm along for the ride! Looks like I'm planning a WDW trip for next year too - July though, for a Girl Scout event. I also have no idea how we will pay for it 😂

Edited to add: Are you doing a ptr for the Paris trip? I love your approach to planning and would love to live vicariously through it!
Yay WDW trips! Plan it and the money will come, right?

I wasn't planning to do a PTR for the Paris trip, but I can def do bonus Paris posts here :D. It requires a lot less planning than WDW does! (or WDW used to... :D)
 

Araminta18

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
Disney Gift Card Deals + Bonus Disneyland Paris Planning!

Ok, so I really (obviously) haven't done a lot of planning yet. Can't book Disney for 2023 yet; Universal Hotel prices seem a bit steep at the moment...basically we're in a holding pattern. But Meijer put Disney gift cards on a 10% off sale, so I grabbed $500 worth for $450 - not too shabby!
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Really, hard to do any solid planning until we get the dates for FARTS announced, specifically the Broadway concert series (yes, no shame in planning the trip around the people they have coming! :D) But in the meantime, I'm doing some Universal Research, 'cause I am 100% not at all familiar with Universal. First up - which hotel? Probably a deluxe so we get that included express pass, but none of the deluxes look super close to the parks? Any recommendations? It's just 4 adults (me and Trevor and our couple friends), and it's Trevor's and my first time at Universal. Our friends went once before to see Harry Potter land, but didn't stay onsite. So any reason to choose one over the others, let me know!
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Bonus Disneyland Paris content (feel free to ignore/skip! :D) for @FeistyDisneyMom
Soooooo Disneyland Paris! We're going Sept 18th (my birthday!) to Sept 23rd - I'm spending the week before in Paris by myself (I've booked several tours already, but if anyone has any recs for good tour companies, send them my way please!) and then Trevor is joining me in Paris on the 18th. We'll do a whirlwind highlights tour of Paris so he can see the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, etc, and then head out to Disneyland Paris! We fly out fairly early on the 23rd, so only 4 park days (well, 4.5 if you count the 18th). We're booked at the Hotel New York - Art of Marvel, which Trevor especially is excited about. It is interesting seeing the difference in booking between DLP and WDW - for DLP, the only thing you can book online is a package with the hotel and tickets, and you can't customize the tickets at all. If you're staying for 5 nights, 6 days, your only option is to get a package that comes with 6 days of park tickets. Which is irritating if you would like the option to save any money because you're not planning on going to the park on your last day. If you want to book hotel only, you have to call in.

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That's eventually what I did: did a free trial on skype so I could call Paris without having to pay (bonus pro tip there), and then booked a single night with no tickets, in addition to the package that I'd booked online. It only ended up saving me like 150 euros or so, but *shrugs*. Also, if you're from the US, poke around the different regions on the site -- booking on the US site was much more expensive. I booked on the Irish site, paying in Euros (using a no fee for foreign transactions card), and saved money that way too.

So with our hotel all booked, including our tickets, the only thing left now is dining reservations. Which are a dumpster fire.

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100% accurate representation.

So, get this: you can only make dining reservations on the app, or by calling their dining reservation line. Which has ridiculously long hold/wait times - like an hour at least. Which is pricey when you're calling from overseas. They say you can only make reservations two months in advance. But! none of that is true? They randomly update the app with reservations further out, and if you have linked your hotel/tickets package in the app you can book whatever restaurants they've put times/reservations in for, no matter how far out. And they have no rhyme or reason as to when they put reservations in to make them available for bookings? And sometimes they put in reservations for lunch but not dinner, and oh, they will allow you to book character dining and pay in advance if you do it on the website as an "add-on" to your package, even though those same character dining reservations aren't in the app....it is all chaos and I hate it.

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All that to say, I've gotten booked everything I'm interested in, except for two: Cinderella character dining (Auberge de Cendrillon) and Walt's American Restaurant. And since there's no rhyme or reason to anything related to dining reservations, I just get to keep randomly checking the app. I'm in a couple fb groups for DLP planning but man the constant repetition of the same basic questions gets to me (does no one do a google search anymore?). Once I get those booked though, that's basically it!
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I'm pretty excited, especially since the new Avengers Campus should be open by then (*fingers crossed*).
 

KailaH

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 27, 2018
Joining in for the ride! You have inspired me to start my Feb 2023 TR! I was scared it was too early, but I have been going crazy!
But in the meantime, I'm doing some Universal Research, 'cause I am 100% not at all familiar with Universal. First up - which hotel?
My favorite hotel is Cabana Bay! The theming is so fun, and the amenities cannot be beat. It does not offer express passes, but there is two pools, a lazy river, a bowling alley, in lobby bar, and the food is really good too! The deluxe resort I would choose is Loews (sp?) Portofino Bay
 

FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Thank you for the DLP update! I find it a bit hilarious and shocking that there is a Disney park with even weirder dining reservations than DLR! Glad you were able to get almost everything you wanted, and fingers crossed those last two fall in your lap too :)

I am definitely in a pre-planning phase - I might even pull the trigger and book a campsite. I'm thinking we'll do a RV rental there to stay onsite but keep costs down a bit. Otherwise I am looking at 2 rooms at a value hotel. I think either is doable!

I need to start finding these gift card deals! $50 in savings will add up!
 







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