Help with details for a later arrival on 1st day

We'reGoingToDisney

Earning My Ears
Joined
Feb 18, 2019
We will be taking our first ever WDW/Universal trip this August. We’ll have 7 days at WDW, then move over to Universal for almost 5 full days. On our transition day, Mon Aug 26, we will be checking out of the Beach Club, getting an Uber (probably XL to fit us all) to Portofino Bay hotel. It is myself, DH, and twins DD13 and DS13. I have a few questions about logistics that I’m hoping some more experienced folk could provide some feedback on:

1) Breakfast. I have an 8:45 am ADR at Cape May Cafe which I am on the fence about keeping. We are paying OOP, and will have done a Garden Grill PPO breakfast and Tusker House breakfast/lunch already in the trip. I hear great things about Cape May breakfast, and the price isn’t hugely more than our other nearby sit-down breakfast option of Ale&Compass. It might set us up really well for the day ... or it might be a big time suck and just slow us down on getting underway to Universal. Should I just plan to have something small in the room (instant oatmeal) to tide us over till we get to Universal? I think I’m leaning towards skipping Cape May - the day before is our “foodie” day, with a big splurge on Tiffins late lunch and FEA Dessert party. We might possibly not want to eat anything after that 😂, but don’t want anyone to end up hangry as we go through the check-in process at Universal!

2) Lanyards. Once we get to Portofino, we will drop our bags, pick up our park tickets and EP, and head over to the parks. I had planned to wait until we were there to buy lanyards, on the assumption that there will be a nice big selection of lanyards. DD13 will be wanting a Ravenclaw themed one if possible, not sure about DS13, he’d be happy with either something Harry Potter or Marvel themed. Will I find something like that fairly easily, either at the hotel or as we’re walking through CityWalk? This also might be our chance to grab food if we skipped the big breakfast?

3) Interactive wands. I’m figuring that realistically it might be getting close to noon by the time we’re actually entering the parks, and I think the kids will want to beeline to Diagon Alley. Is Olivander’s going to be crazy by then? (Predicted CL 5 that day on TP) Should I buy the wand at a cart instead? Would it be worth going in to Olivander’s for the show on our 2nd morning (when we can get there earlier, perhaps even use the EE hour if we can get up!) even if we’ve already bought a wand? Kids have agreed to share one wand because they each already have a carefully chosen non-interactive wand from the Harry Potter studio tour in London a few years ago, and wands are $$. Or should I try to get the kids to wait and go to Olivander’s in the evening of that first day? Would it be less crowded?

I’m a little concerned that we’re going to end up losing half a day in the move from BC to PBH, but I’m also trying to be realistic - we’ll be coming off of 7 days at Disney, we’ll all be tired, and it’s going to be hard to rouse everyone for an early start! Hence the breakfast scheduled at Cape May. But kiddos might prefer an extra hour of sleep than that breakfast.

We have the Buy-2-Get-3-Free-Days park-to-park 3-park tickets, with the EP from the hotel, so I do think we’ll have plenty of time to get everything in even if we do end up with a late start on that first day, right? We’d probably dedicate 1 day to Volcano Bay and the rest to USF and IOA. We check out and fly home on Saturday morning (midday flight).

Any feedback would be welcome!
 

TommyJK

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 12, 2015
For #2, the gift shop at Portofino should have a good selection of many Lanyards (Potter, Marvel, other brands). There's also a big shop in Citywalk, and they're in pretty much every gift shop in the parks too.

For #3, if you want wands the first day I'd say do as you suggested, just get a wand from any of the shops and use it that day, then do the Olivander's show the next morning during EE.
 

sandam1

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
You will be fine! You have almost five days and EP (and relatively low crowds).

I can't help you too much on breakfast as that is probably going to be a personal decision. My question would be how excited are your kids going to be about getting to Universal. If it is OMG, OMG, OMG, then I might skip it and pick up a quick service/breakfast on the go. Or you could do a "healthier" breakfast in your Disney room and then maybe stop at VooDoo donuts when you get to CityWalk. If you are planning on the transition day being a bit of "break day," then you might keep it.

For the lanyards, yes, you can find them everywhere (hotel gift shops, gift shop at the airport, in City Walk, etc.). HOWEVER, you can also find Harry Potter ones much cheaper on-line (Hot Topic and Box Lunch are great sources) in advance. (You may even be able to find them on Universal's website.) I don't like things around my neck so I have a card holder (purchased from Enchanted Playground on Etsy) and use a carabiner clip to attach it to my belt loop. Enchanted Playground has ALL sorts of designs from numerous IPs.

Wands - GO TO OLLIVANDERS!!! Don't buy them at a cart or at the hotel. Your kids will never forgive you. I would recommend going to the one in Diagon Alley as it is larger, but that's the only suggestion. We usually designate one "wand day" when we take our wands as they can be a bit of a pain to carry around all the time (I also bought a leather holster on Etsy, which is helpful). Early entry is a great time to do this. Tip: On the day that you buy the wand, you can send the box to the front of the park to be picked as you leave so you don't have to carry it around.

As you may have realized (or will soon), Universal is not as crazy busy as Disney and does not require the same "go go go" planning. There is plenty of time for improvising (want to sleep in, that's okay; want to go back to the pool mid-day, that's okay too) and to take in the small details. I love Volcano Bay, but I can't spend an entire day there. We do one or two partial days and then hit to main parks in the morning or evening. And with the proximity of everything, you can do that.

Slow down and relax! You will have a great time!
 
  • mjhtvchick

    Universal Fan-atic
    Joined
    Apr 10, 2012
    I really wouldn't worry too much about getting a lot done on your first day - UOR is sooo much more relaxed than WDW.

    Maybe cancel your breakfast ADR so that you don't feel committed to it, especially if you are thinking you won't be in the mood for a big meal or want to "waste time" before leaving for Universal.

    Once you get to UOR, your pace will slow down dramatically - get your bags dropped off, get your room keys, grab a quick bite at the PBH if you haven't eaten already and then head to Citywalk.

    You can grab lanyards at the Universal Store when you get there but I agree with PP - you have loads of time over the 5 days to see/do everything - once you are done at Citywalk, I would head to Ollivanders in DA, see the show and head on through to the store to get your wands. It is the best way to experience it and the variety is amazing! Once you have the wands, your kids will likely want to take some time to go around performing spells.

    Just relax and go with the flow, sleep in, eat some great meals and have fun!
     

    bumbershoot

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2007
    For the ravenclaw, wait until you’re in wizarding world for the lanyard.

    For the other, you’ll see lanyards around so he can shop around.

    I wouldn’t do a big time-taking meal. I’d get up, have coffee and a clif bar, and head over to Uni. I mean, if you get there early enough you can do early entrance to wizarding world that day, too. 🙃
     

    We'reGoingToDisney

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 18, 2019
    I can't help you too much on breakfast as that is probably going to be a personal decision. My question would be how excited are your kids going to be about getting to Universal. If it is OMG, OMG, OMG, then I might skip it and pick up a quick service/breakfast on the go. Or you could do a "healthier" breakfast in your Disney room and then maybe stop at VooDoo donuts when you get to CityWalk. If you are planning on the transition day being a bit of "break day," then you might keep it.
    Sorry for the delayed reply, we were on a road trip for a while :) I'm just not sure if we're going to view it as a break day or "OMG let's get to the Harry Potter stuff already!". I guess we won't know how everyone is feeling until the day. Our last day at Disney is pretty chill, doing the FOTLK package at AK and then the FEA dessert party at Epcot, so we might be up for a go-go-go day when we move to Universal. Grabbing VooDoo donuts definitely crossed my mind, but you're right that we'd need some healthy food beforehand. I think I'm going to cancel the Cape May breakfast and go this route :)
     

    We'reGoingToDisney

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 18, 2019
    For the ravenclaw, wait until you’re in wizarding world for the lanyard.

    For the other, you’ll see lanyards around so he can shop around.

    I wouldn’t do a big time-taking meal. I’d get up, have coffee and a clif bar, and head over to Uni. I mean, if you get there early enough you can do early entrance to wizarding world that day, too. 🙃
    Thanks for the tip about waiting until the wizarding world to pick up a Ravenclaw lanyard. I'll keep that in mind if we can find her one at any of the other vendors on the way in.

    There's no way we'll get there early enough for early entrance on that day 😂 but then we have 4 other mornings where we could do early entrance, and I think with teenagers I'll be glad if we manage 2! I am definitely leaning towards canceling the sit down breakfast, though, and getting there relatively early.
     
  • We'reGoingToDisney

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 18, 2019
    Wands - GO TO OLLIVANDERS!!! Don't buy them at a cart or at the hotel. Your kids will never forgive you. I would recommend going to the one in Diagon Alley as it is larger, but that's the only suggestion. We usually designate one "wand day" when we take our wands as they can be a bit of a pain to carry around all the time (I also bought a leather holster on Etsy, which is helpful). Early entry is a great time to do this. Tip: On the day that you buy the wand, you can send the box to the front of the park to be picked as you leave so you don't have to carry it around.

    As you may have realized (or will soon), Universal is not as crazy busy as Disney and does not require the same "go go go" planning. There is plenty of time for improvising (want to sleep in, that's okay; want to go back to the pool mid-day, that's okay too) and to take in the small details. I love Volcano Bay, but I can't spend an entire day there. We do one or two partial days and then hit to main parks in the morning or evening. And with the proximity of everything, you can do that.

    Slow down and relax! You will have a great time!
    Thanks for the tip about doing a "wand day". I hadn't even thought about the size of the wands being a pain. And I see what you're saying that the experience of buying the wand is just as important as getting to use them, so I'll hold off until we can get into Ollivanders.

    I do hope we'll find Universal nice and relaxing. We originally had planned to do Universal first then Disney, because my kids were most excited about Universal. But then a couple of things happened: someone on here suggested flipping my weeks, precisely because it would be nice to end at Universal; and then Disney announced the SWGE opening during the last few days of our trip when we had originally planned to be at Disney. So, I decided to swap the weeks to avoid the SWGE craziness. Alas, it seems like probably lots of other people did the same thing, as now it's looking like our Disney week is not going to have the initially predicted low crowds. But on the flip side, I think our week at Universal might be relatively lower crowds? Who knows, but hopefully it will all be fun!
     

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