How many days? 4 at Universal, 8 at WDW or 5 at Universal, 7 at WDW?

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We'reGoingToDisney

Earning My Ears
Joined
Feb 18, 2019
@Minnie1222 now that I’m thinking of 5 days at Universal, yes, I saw that I could get the seasonal annual pass for essentially the same price as the 5-day ticket (looking at the 3-park ticket). But the seasonal pass has the fewest perks - no discounts on dining? But perhaps discounts on hotels? Is it the case that the hotel discounts for pass holders are not available more than a few months out? Perhaps I will buy the seasonal annual passes, book my hotel as a separate cancellable reservation, and keep my eye out to see if any pass holder discounts become available for my dates?

I didn’t know any of the Universal hotels had laundry! I’d been resigned to waiting until we got to one of the Disney hotels. I’m sure we could manage a trip to one of the other hotels if we need to do laundry. A good excuse for some pool hopping!
 

We'reGoingToDisney

Earning My Ears
Joined
Feb 18, 2019
I read your other post regarding your Disney part of your trip, to get a full idea of your plans.
I've been going to Disney for 35+years, trips varying from 4-13 days. Have stayed at most of the resorts on property, and tried the dining plan. Also have done trips that included split stays to both Universal and Disney.
Only my opinion.....

You have over planned your days.
Too many hotel moves.
Not enough down time for such a long trip.

August is surface of the sun hot! I know my appetite is less when it's so hot/humid. So the dining plan would not be a money saver. (It was a better deal years past). The weather also physically drains you more than you can imagine. You walk serious miles at the parks.

I know you want to get all you can out of a trip of a lifetime; it's a lot of money. And you want to maximize your time to experience everything you are able.
My opinion... due to your kids ages, I would book 5 days at Universal. The ability to use EP, walk to parks in minutes, hop to both parks and VB; creates stress free enjoyment. You will be able to pretty much accomplish everything at Universal, and not be burned out. (You are allowed to pool hop at Universal too, which is fun!)

Disney is work and planning, especially if you choose the dining plan. Your days will revolve around scheduled FP+ and eating times. And whether you choose 7 or 8 days, you won't see "all of Disney" since 2 of those days include water park visits. If it were me, I'd plan on 2 resort only days, especially since you're contemplating staying at BC/YC. Your teens would enjoy Stormalong Bay! So much to do on the Boardwalk as well. And even if you choose the Poly, there is plenty to occupy teens. Plus you can ride the Monorail to visit GF and Cont.


I have a 20 year old, so I survived the teen years, lol!
Have you considered what your kids may want to do on their trip?
Teens tend to want to sleep in. Teens tend to want to hang out by the resort pool. Teens want time to chill. Teens want to be on their phones and connect with friends via social media. Teens will get GRUMPY if you push them too much...worse than a toddler...

Just a few things to consider....hope it turns out great whatever you end up choosing!!!
I hear what you’re saying about over scheduling. I know my kids like downtime, it is a holiday after all. I agree, it feels like we have too much moving of hotels going on. It all stemmed from booking essentially two blocks of time - 4 days at Universal then that 6 day package (hotel, tickets, dining) at Disney, and then trying to figure out what to do with those 2 days in between?? And then that’s when we started to look at abandoning the package, booking room only with discount, and adding in the stay at the Poly. And boom, complication overload! I think I will turn our 4 days at Universal into 5 days, keep the 6 day package I have at Disney where we’re just at the BC with dining, and then we just have a Saturday in between those, where we could either do a whole lot of nothing much, or we could visit a Disney water park if that’s what kids want. They are not big fans of just hanging out at the hotel all day, they do tend to want to do something with the day, maybe just not early in the morning
 

bobbie68

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
@Minnie1222 now that I’m thinking of 5 days at Universal, yes, I saw that I could get the seasonal annual pass for essentially the same price as the 5-day ticket (looking at the 3-park ticket). But the seasonal pass has the fewest perks - no discounts on dining? But perhaps discounts on hotels? Is it the case that the hotel discounts for pass holders are not available more than a few months out? Perhaps I will buy the seasonal annual passes, book my hotel as a separate cancellable reservation, and keep my eye out to see if any pass holder discounts become available for my dates?

I didn’t know any of the Universal hotels had laundry! I’d been resigned to waiting until we got to one of the Disney hotels. I’m sure we could manage a trip to one of the other hotels if we need to do laundry. A good excuse for some pool hopping!

Hi I am glad to see that you are finalizing some of your decisions. I think the 5 and 6 sound good. Yes with a regular annual pass there will be AP holder resort discounts. Correct there is no dining or any other discount with that one. There are black out dates. We upgraded to the power pass last year due to the black out dates and our time. The AP resort rates usually come out about 3 months before your date. You can follow the rate thread at the top the resort forum. You can book now then check the rate and if you find one you can cancel (as long as you are within the room cancelling time) book the new rate. I will say PBH usually ends up with good AP rates.

Yes I forgot about the laundry. When we did a split stay at Cabana Bay and Portofino I did my laundry at Cabana Bay before we moved to Portofino. I could have walked it over to Hard Rock if needed.

Have fun!
 
  • Minnie1222

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2018
    You also get 10-15% off on park tickets so not everyone in your party would need an AP. Crunch some numbers and see which is more beneficial to you. I'm usually the only one in our family of four that has the AP. I use it for the room discount and then I buy their tickets or APs once we're physically at the hotel. Unfortunately they don't give 10-15% off for the additional AP.
     

    sherilaine

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2013
    Reading through this thread is very helpful. We are same boat - planning to visit Orlando from Calgary after visiting Disneyland many times - it's a whole other ball game and very overwhelming. My kids will be in grade 11 and 12 when we visit so I am trying to gauge how much they are going to want to do Universal vs. Disney - since Universal Hollywood is peanuts compared to Orlando and they are huge Harry Potter fans. I'll be curious to read about your trip - hope you have a great time.
     

    Sue M

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 27, 2009
    @bobbie68 thanks for your well thought out reply. I do think that with a couple of 13 year olds, Universal will be more appealing to them! My only concern was that we would have seen and done all of it in 4 days. But if VB is a better water park for big kids than the Disney water parks, that would also be a pretty good reason to spend an extra day at Universal. Have you stayed at Portofino? I could probably just squelch my budgeting fears and book that one, provided it’s not too “stuffy” of a choice to go with young teens... I do see that it has a water slide at its pool while RPR doesn’t, and that would be a plus in my kids eyes. I also have to admit that having a Starbucks in the lobby is kind of appealing - I do like a latte in the mornings! Since this is a kind of once-and-done trip, I do suspect that I would be happier away from construction, but maybe I’m being irrational there!
    We stayed at Portofino last time, loved it. Beautiful resort and very relaxing. Royal Pacific is the last Universal Deluxe we haven’t stayed at so I still will stay. Construction is only in lobby. While disappointing because it will be my first stay there, it isn’t a deal breaker. The towers all have their own entrances so you don’t need to go to the lobby except for check in/out, or if you need something from concierge.
     

    We'reGoingToDisney

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 18, 2019
    @sherilaine We live in Calgary too. We used to live in California, in the San Francisco suburbs, until about 18 months ago. We were about a 6-hour drive from LA. We went to Disneyland three times, for 2 days when the kids were 5 years old, for 3 days when they were 7, and 2 days when they were 10. We never stayed at a Disney hotel, always the HoJo across the street. Our last Disneyland trip was unpleasantly busy. We went on a Sunday/Monday in October 2016, when our kids had a Monday off from school (not a public holiday, just a teacher training day). We thought it might be quiet, but it was worse than even the first time we went which was during the first week of August! It was insane, and put us off Disney for a while (we were naive, we didn't know that Halloween was this huge thing!). We never visited Universal Hollywood. I'm not sure why, it just didn't feel like a priority for us, and until recently our kids had never seen most of the movies that the rides are based off of. Now I think they'll get a lot more out of it!
     
  • greg9x

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2002
    Well now knowing you've been to Disneyland changes things a bit...figured it was all new to you. Since you have an idea what Disney is about, will agree that can be more flexible with a longer Universal stay if that appeals to you. While there is a lot more at Disney World, you know what quite a few of the core rides are, and have a base of how Disney works.
     

    sherilaine

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2013
    @sherilaine We live in Calgary too. We used to live in California, in the San Francisco suburbs, until about 18 months ago. We were about a 6-hour drive from LA. We went to Disneyland three times, for 2 days when the kids were 5 years old, for 3 days when they were 7, and 2 days when they were 10. We never stayed at a Disney hotel, always the HoJo across the street. Our last Disneyland trip was unpleasantly busy. We went on a Sunday/Monday in October 2016, when our kids had a Monday off from school (not a public holiday, just a teacher training day). We thought it might be quiet, but it was worse than even the first time we went which was during the first week of August! It was insane, and put us off Disney for a while (we were naive, we didn't know that Halloween was this huge thing!). We never visited Universal Hollywood. I'm not sure why, it just didn't feel like a priority for us, and until recently our kids had never seen most of the movies that the rides are based off of. Now I think they'll get a lot more out of it!
    That is funny as we have gone to Disneyland 6 times and have stayed in the HOJO each time. It is getting busier and busier there with Mondays being days we have actually learned to avoid. We love Disneyland but I think it's time for a change!
     

    prairiesarah

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 4, 2012
    Hi - Just thought I would put in my two cents as a mom of a 13 year old who has been to both WDW and UO (and also from Canada - "next door" in SK). WDW and UO are very different experiences in things to do and pace of trip. We did WDW when DS was in Grade 1, a split trip in Grade 3 where he went to UO with his Aunt and Uncle before we joined them then we did WDW, then a split week at Universal/beach this past March. I think both will be great for your family and will be an awesome trip if you accept each for what they are an enjoy each part for the experiences they have. We loved the pace of the trip at Universal last March. Stayed at Portofino for most of the trip, with one night at Royal Pacific at the end of the trip. I actually asked DS which hotel he'd like me to book for our next trip (looking at Feb 2020) and he asked for Portofino. I thought it was lovely - we had a great room location in the West Wing - room was large, close to the boat launch, and near the path to walk to the parks, only a couple of minutes across the piazza to Starbucks which I loved and close to the main pool. We loved the pizza at Sal's. I loved being able to walk to the parks - it all felt very relaxed. We spent a part day at Volcano Bay which I wish we had gone back for a bit more - we only did a few of the slides. I think DS loved it and both the Disney waterparks equally - they all have different slides which are great - loved the Fearless River at Volcano Bay, the "roller coaster" waterslides at Typhoon Lagooon, the family raft ride and mat racers at Blizzard Beach. I know WDW requires a lot more planning these days than it ever did (we took multiple trips when I was growing up) but I still prefer the rides to UO - they are much more my pace than the thrill rides/screen rides at UO. DS loved the rides at UO, but has asked to go back to WDW on our next trip which I am planning for two weeks with a combination of WDW, Sanibel Island and UO.
     

    SA mom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 15, 2012
    Sounds like the plans are settling. I also think 5 days at UOR is perfect for teens that love HP and rollercoasters. August is hot. You will enjoy afternoon breaks to cool off. That 5 th day will make it more relaxing and give you more time to explore the HP areas.

    One other tip: We always bring quick dry, moisture wicking clothing to Central FL. It’s very humid and cotton tends to stay moist and uncomfortable. Sport sandals are also a must for us. We are from Texas and used to the heat and humidity but if you’ve never experienced it, it can be shocking.
     
  • EveDallas

    Always keep fighting
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2008
    Be careful with people's biases... See people saying a lot of time at Universal, but they have been to the parks, maybe many times, and know what their preferences are.
    The OP has never been so they will have to see what they want to experience.

    From a purely logistical point, Disney is 4 parks and 2 water parks, Universal is only 2 parks and 1 water park so they will need at least 2x the amount of time at Disney (Disney parks also have more in them). I've been several times to Disney, and while I do 95% of what I plan because I know what don't want to do, In no way could we do all there is to do at Disney in a week.

    And again, the Express Pass at Universal will allow them to get more done faster there than they will be able to do at Disney. they can do a Universal park fairly easily in a day, vs needing 2+ days at a Disney park.

    I do agree with having older kids they may not want to do everything at Disney... How many characters meets and princess meals can be skipped, along with the truly kiddie rides and shows. But having never been, they may want to check a lot of things out to see what it's about.
    Giving an opinion does not equal bias. It's my opinion that I could happily spend my entire vacation at Universal and still want more. My opinion is that there is very little I would want to do at WDW, so I most certainly wouldn't need twice as much time. You have a different opinion, and that's ok. Life would be pretty boring if we all agreed on things.
     

    Beer Me

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2014
    I love WDW and Universal but there is much more to do at Disney. With express pass and early entry you should be able to do literally every show and attraction in two days. Tack on a 3rd day for repeats , shopping or whatever. Personally , at some point during day 3 I'm bored with the parks.

    This is not a criticism of Universal. The quality is very high but it is much smaller than WDW. They may catch up eventually but for now it simply is not comparable
     

    macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    Since this is an universal forum, more peeps are gonna say spend more of your vacation days at UO


    Op, enjoy your Orlando vacation!

    Make many great memories
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    I love WDW and Universal but there is much more to do at Disney. With express pass and early entry you should be able to do literally every show and attraction in two days. Tack on a 3rd day for repeats , shopping or whatever. Personally , at some point during day 3 I'm bored with the parks.

    This is not a criticism of Universal. The quality is very high but it is much smaller than WDW. They may catch up eventually but for now it simply is not comparable
    Again, that’s just an opinion, not a fact for some. They are certainly smaller parks, but if there aren’t things that interest you in the larger places you can do them in much less time.

    There are very few things we would want to do at Disney.......in all honesty we could do everything we wanted in a morning between all the parks........we would be bored silly at Disney........again, personal preference, I don’t expect many to agree with me, so I can understand you say you’d get bored with Universal......very much each to their own.

    But, we never get bored with Universal.....we could ride most rides again and again......one of the many reasons we return again and again and never feel the need to go to Disney......

    And the joy is there genuinely is something for everyone in Orlando......
     
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    EveDallas

    Always keep fighting
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2008
    I love WDW and Universal but there is much more to do at Disney. With express pass and early entry you should be able to do literally every show and attraction in two days. Tack on a 3rd day for repeats , shopping or whatever. Personally , at some point during day 3 I'm bored with the parks.

    This is not a criticism of Universal. The quality is very high but it is much smaller than WDW. They may catch up eventually but for now it simply is not comparable
    It's not comparable to you. I would find it very difficult to fill my days at Disney because very little there interests me. I don't have that problem at Universal. Different strokes.
     

    Beer Me

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2014
    It's not comparable to you. I would find it very difficult to fill my days at Disney because very little there interests me. I don't have that problem at Universal. Different strokes.
    I get that and I’m not trying to be argumentative but what I’m saying is that WDW is objectively much more expansive in terms of parks, restaurants, resorts and shopping. Obviously that doesn’t matter if you don’t really like what Disney has to offer but it should matter to someone with no such bias when they are planning how many days to spend at each resort.
     
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