Magic Exists, a July 2020 PTR

BrerMama

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 4, 2000
Hi friends! I am feeling the need to write, so you are lucky enough to be getting a pre-trip report, which will hopefully turn into a trip report. I am a story teller and a memory keeper and writing a trip report is my way of remembering my trip.

So we'll just start with me. I'm Kim. I turn 50 next month, I have 3 adult children, and my husband and I will have our 30th wedding anniversary in August. I teach young children with low incidence special needs, which means that I teach pre-K special education for students with severe special needs (non verbal autism, chromosomal disorders, etc). It also means that I got my world rocked a few months ago.


499521
This is me. I'm waving at my phone, which is recording video. That's how I taught my class for 3 months. It's really hard to teach what I do via videos. I will never forget the day the Kansas governor came on TV. I was maybe thinking she'd postpone returning to school from Spring Break a couple weeks. I never dreamed she'd cancel school for the rest of the school year. Kansas was the first state to do that, and it was a shock. I sobbed loudly. It would have been embarrassing if I wasn't so heartbroken. I still miss my students so much. I am so grateful for the fact that teaching preK means I'll get 10 of them back in August. (Assuming we can return to school in August... all my fingers and toes are crossed.)
It's hard to know where in time to start this story, but let's start with March 12. I had parent-teacher conferences that day so I drove home from an 11 hour work day talking to my youngest daughter, Chesney, on the phone. She was in Orlando. We were talking about coronavirus and the news that Disneyland was shutting down (announced earlier that day). She had just gotten off work in Galaxy's Edge selling milk.

499523
Ches had just started getting comfortable in her job, with her coworkers and her roommates... just as Disney gave her about four days notice that she had to move home. It was a crazy time. We'd spent a whole day packing for her to move in, and she had to pack it all up by herself. She shipped a 50 pound box home. And then she sat at home for two months and kept me company. She is now enrolled in college classes (online through a state university) and just started a job at a daycare. That's what she was doing before she went to Disney and she's working for a center where I started my career. It has worked out. She still would go back and work for Disney in a heart beat.
So you know the next part, right? I hadn't even eaten dinner yet when Disney announced Walt Disney World was closing, which sort of ruined our plans to fly down in less than 48 hours to visit Chesney... and do the full Disney experience. I'm pretty sure my organized, planning for every possibility mind exploded that night. It just feels super numb. I did manage to tell my husband, Dan, to see if he could get a week off in the summer. He normally has to put in his leave time on January 1. He has the most seniority, so he picks my spring break week. Then it goes to everyone else, then comes back to him. He gets 4 weeks of leave, and most of his coworkers only have 1 or 2, so we were lucky and he could get July 18-26 off. I talked to Disney on March 13 (we won't discuss how much time I've spent on hold since March 12) and was able to move our trip to the July dates. I even got free dining. I added Chesney to the trip so she could go back and see her coworkers and show us the Disney she got to know.

But here's the thing... in 2012, we took the whole family to Orlando. At that time, our oldest son had just graduated from high school. [Complete side note -- he's getting his PhD now.] We stayed at a time share for 10 or 11 nights, then moved to Royal Pacific for four nights. We did the whole Disney thing, then the whole Universal/IOA thing. And ever since, my husband has been asking to go back to Universal.


499526
This is Dan. And his dog Jake. Dan did not want a dog, but Jake wanted him. Dan is 52 and has been able to work through this whole thing because he delivers food (Schwans). I may have been jealous of him getting to leave the house five days a week.
When we remember that 2012 trip, we mostly remember how cranky and unhappy we were the first part of the trip. It was hot, and I had planned probably too much and gotten upset when things didn't follow my plan, and, oh yeah, a tropical storm came through.

499527
This is my middle daughter on the PeopleMover. This photo pretty much sums up a lot of our feelings about this trip. Also, she's married now and an RN in a cardiothoracic ICU.
In contrast, we loved the last part of our trip. Dan and that middle daughter are huge thrill ride people and they loved it. My son and I are huge ride wimps, but we loved that with Express Pass we never had to sit outside and wait too long. Ches did some thrill rides and skipped some. She was 12 at the time, so she just bounced between the two groups. Mostly, I loved staying at Royal Pacific. That pool is my favorite ever, and the unlimited Express Pass was what we needed after our frantic time at Disney. Dan has asked to go back every year since, but it never made sense to go, especially as our kids got older.

Then came COVID and parks having to submit plans for reopening and Disney cancelled my free dining and all my plans and broke my heart. I'm not kidding, it broke my heart and made me mad. I had no good feelings. And then Ches looked at me and said, "Mom, I don't want to go back to Disney like this. I have memories of how it was and I'm not ready to let those memories go." We all know Disney now is not the same Disney where she worked. I understood what she was trying to tell me. It was a much easier decision than I expected to call Disney and cancel our trip.

However, we still had plane tickets. We did really love Royal Pacific. Express Pass would make it easier to deal with the social distancing and new procedures. And did I mention I turn 50 in July, just days before our trip is scheduled to start?


499533
And there is nothing I do better than pivot. If something isn't working for me, I thrive on figuring out what would work better.

That is the story of how I ended up planning a trip to Universal Resort six weeks before the trip starts. The idea that I would plan any type of big trip like this with less than six months notice is completely out of my comfort zone, but I am going to make this work. The beauty of Universal is that with Express Pass and a deluxe hotel, I don't have to plan as much. It can be a lot more "go with the flow" and a lot less spreadsheet. So here we are. Let the magic begin.

Read the next installment
here.
 
Last edited:

schumigirl

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

Love the start of your pre trip report......and a special celebration too!!!!

I hear you on the cancellations.....it`s horrible to put off a trip for any reason. It is heartbreaking.

But, you have a wonderful trip to look forward to....RP is so beautiful and I agree about the pool...we love it. And we`re not really pool people. And yes, EP is a dream!

Your kids sound wonderful and I love the older picture of your then teen daughter.....lol.....

I`m looking forward to reading more about your trip.....:wave2:

oh and very cute puppy too.....:dog:
 


cstorm65

DDC #699
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
I hate to hear about all of these stories like yours, but glad you are going to get to make the best of it. We are in the exact same boat. We made the switch over to a Universal Orlando trip just a couple of weeks ago too and are really looking forward to it. I already had my Disney PTR going, so I have just modified that, but we are finally getting excited again seeing how things are working with Universal's actual reopening.

I agree on the premier resorts at Universal too. The Express Pass is a great benefit!! Anyways, can't wait to hear about your trip.
 
  • BrerMama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2000
    Well hello Kim....

    I`m looking forward to reading more about your trip.....:wave2:

    oh and very cute puppy too.....:dog:
    Thanks for the welcome! I am currently wavering on which hotel to choose, but more about that this week. And the puppy is cute. I need to post a picture of my rescue dog. Her name is Rosie and she's a chihuahua, and again, she was supposed to be my dog, but she's a lover and will be anyone's dog. Whoever needs a snuggle, she's there.

    I hate to hear about all of these stories like yours, but glad you are going to get to make the best of it. We are in the exact same boat. We made the switch over to a Universal Orlando trip just a couple of weeks ago too and are really looking forward to it. I already had my Disney PTR going, so I have just modified that, but we are finally getting excited again seeing how things are working with Universal's actual reopening.

    I agree on the premier resorts at Universal too. The Express Pass is a great benefit!! Anyways, can't wait to hear about your trip.
    I'm all about doing what feels right, and this does feel right. I'm going to go check in on your PTR now. I hope we both have great trips!
     

    mdsouth

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 15, 2005
    Hi Kim!

    I love your PTR! I am looking forward to reading more about your family and your Universal trip this summer!

    Another teacher here! I teach 8th grade and like you my world was turned upside down on March 12th when it was announced we would be going to remote learning. I started off my teaching career working in a daycare and then as a first grade teacher's assistant before I earned my teaching degree.
    You must have lots of energy and patience to teach preK! :worship:
    Thank you for what you do for your students. It takes a most amazing, giving person to care and nurture young children, especially ones with special needs. Thank you!

    My nephews are autistic and one is non-verbal. Because of his parents and fantastic teachers like you, he is doing well as a teenager now. He speaks some words and phrases now. :flower1:

    Like you, I have older children. My son is 23 and graduated from college with his Bachelor's degree. In March he finished a second internship and is hunting for full-time work. He has had a few interviews but when Covid-19 hit, many of the places where he has applied to have put their hiring on hold. He is living at home with us for now. My daughter is 17 and will begin her Senior year this fall. And like your hubby, mine has been going to work through all this as usual. He is a mechanical engineer and works at a large factory. We are blessed that both of our jobs and incomes have been steady through this. He was just given notice that his income will be reduced by ten percent now but he still has a job and that is what we are grateful and thankful for right now.

    And like you, I had a trip to Disney and Universal planned for this summer. It was going to be a surprise trip for my kids, especially the Universal portion for my daughter's birthday present. She is a Harry Potter fan and we have never been to Universal. I had booked us at Royal Pacific and I was looking forward to the trip. If you want, you can read about my plans for the trip in my ptrs.
    Right now, I am planning to reschedule our trip for Summer 2021. I never told the kids about the trip so they haven't been disappointed. And now I can still surprise them with the trip. I am looking forward to reading about your adventures with your family on your trip as I plan and anticipate my own.

    I didn't mean to hijack your PTR, I just found that we had a lot of connections and I find planning and writing as stress relievers and time fillers. Time I should be using to do laundry and clean my house, so I guess you can say a way to avoid doing housework. :laundy:
     

    BrerMama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2000
    Hi Kim!
    I didn't mean to hijack your PTR, I just found that we had a lot of connections and I find planning and writing as stress relievers and time fillers. Time I should be using to do laundry and clean my house, so I guess you can say a way to avoid doing housework. :laundy:
    I love teaching, and I hate that we all had to go to distance learning! My heart just doesn't feel like it's the best thing for kids, even if it really was the best thing to keep everyone safe. I also love hearing about my former students grown up. I love when a parent will friend me on Facebook and I get to see them grow. Us pre-K teachers sometimes get forgotten (especially since my building is preK only but still part of the public school system).

    I hope your son finds a job. It's just an awful time to be taking that step. Chesney was so lucky to find a part time job doing what she wanted to do a few weeks ago. I have said many times that we are so lucky that only one of our family members was affected by COVID and that one was come home and didn't need the income.

    I am so very sorry about having to delay your trip. I have your PTRs pulled up on my tabs... but I just discovered a new product I can create for my classroom (I create my own curriculum and then sell it on Teachers Pay Teachers) and I know myself well enough to know that I've got to run with that when I'm inspired. I do promise to read it soon because it does seem like we have a lot in common. Until I had this inspiration, my entire day was laundry, dogs out and in, and making meals, so I do know about using planning as a distraction!
     

    BrerMama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2000
    A Brief recap of 2012

    As I mentioned in my intro, my family was last in Florida in 2012. This isn’t quite true, as Chesney lived in Florida from the end of January to the middle of March this year. Also, Dan, Chesney and I went to Disneyland in 2018 for Chesney’s high school graduation trip. And Disneyland is in California. Of course. I know that. But since this trip started as a Disney trip, I just wanted to say it’s only been 2 years since a happy Disney trip.

    500411
    During most of the years between 2012 and today, we stayed pretty close to home for vacations. Dan’s parents both had some not-so-good medical diagnoses and we needed to not be too far away if something happened. Also, our family was growing up. Our son when to college, then graduate school and continues to go to graduate school. Our middle daughter went to college, got married and started working as an RN. They don’t usually travel with us anymore. They don't live with us anymore, except my son is back home because his university has completely closed down and he's working from home and if he's going to do that, he might as well live here where I keep the a/c at a reasonable temp and feed him. He's very cheap. (He seriously keeps his a/c on 90 during the summer, then complains that it's hot.)

    We also sold a house, rented a brand new townhome, and bought a house over the last two summers. We took very quick and road trippy vacations so to focus on the home stuff. Mostly I went to IKEA in Kansas City for vacation the last two years.

    But here we are on the steps of our first "real" house at 49 and 51:

    500412
    We had a manufactured home for 20 years. I am so glad we bought this quirky, quad level house last year. I can't imagine four of us in a mobile home during this.

    Wow… off topic much, Kim?

    I’m just trying to explain that while we have gone on vacation over the last 8 years, a big theme park vacation hasn’t been a priority for a variety of reasons.

    However, back when the world was a simpler place, we did take our 3 teens/tweens to Orlando for two weeks. We stayed at Royal Pacific for the Universal part of the trip so we could have Express Pass and we loved it. I’m not sure it was the hotel we loved so much. This was the view from our room:

    500413
    We were on a lower floor and our view was tree trunks. To be fair, I had taken the cheapest room I could get, and we didn’t have any big complaints… except when the middle daughter wanted to drink the Fiji water in the room and I had to explain about mini-bars and how she could just drink the bottled water we brought with us. She was such a teenager on that trip.

    Our last four or five days of the Disney portion of our trip before this were very… wet. A tropical storm had come through the area and we were so miserably wet most of the time. Our son refused to wear a poncho (he was 18) and he had this really horrifying long hair and it was sopping wet all the time. I wore pants that became transparent when wet.

    I’ll spare you the picture here, but I have a great one they took of us before we ate breakfast at Ohana where I’m basically wearing see through pants and you can clearly see my underwear. I never wore those pants again when I realized it.

    We moved to Royal Pacific just as the sun broke through the clouds, and we loved every minute of that part of the trip. Despicable Me was doing soft openings while we were there (it officially opened days after we got home), and there were rumors about Diagon Alley being built in Universal. That’s how long ago this was. We felt pretty special to be able one of the first to ride Despicable Me…. even if I did have to ask for the non-moving seats at the front due to my motion sickness. (I did read where this is now 2D and thank heavens. I took Bonine every morning of this part of our trip and still spent half the trip sick to my stomach.)

    My favorite part of the hotel? The pool.

    500414

    500415
    I don’t usually take a phone or camera with me to the pool. I think I snapped these on my iPhone. Not bad for a 2012 cell phone, actually.

    I loved to spend my time in Hogsmeade. We would go there every morning for the early hours for hotel guests. I could just sit and enjoy the atmosphere all day. Give me a Butterbeer and play that background music and I’m the happiest. I love the idea of immersive lands -- Carsland at California Adventure was my favorite spot -- and I love reading, so Hogsmeade is everything. (Although I now feel compelled to announce that JK Rowling as a person is not a good person. I still love the world she created.)

    500417
    And that seems like a really good place to end this segment. I am totally wrapped up in converting books I wrote for my classroom into digital products (for my own use and for sale), so I wanted to update before I get lost working. We're down to just five weeks, and frankly, it seems unreal. I'm at the "I still don't know if we're going" stage and I hate this uncertainty, and I feel like I won't know until a few days before... everything changes so very quickly. Sigh. If you're reading, you know how I feel. Have a great weekend everyone!
     
  • ariesgirl384

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 12, 2017
    Following your pre trip report as I'm in the same boat. Watched my Disney plans go up in smoke rather quickly with their dining plans being removed, no guarantee of park admission even with a resort stay, etc.. At that point, I told my husband I wanted to put a deposit on a Universal trip. To be honest, he begrudgingly agreed in the beginning but now he's excited and thinks it's a sign. We've been talking about going to Universal for years and just always change plans.

    Did you decide to go club level? Still waiting to hear how its operating.

    Happy Early Birthday!
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    A Brief recap of 2012

    As I mentioned in my intro, my family was last in Florida in 2012. This isn’t quite true, as Chesney lived in Florida from the end of January to the middle of March this year. Also, Dan, Chesney and I went to Disneyland in 2018 for Chesney’s high school graduation trip. And Disneyland is in California. Of course. I know that. But since this trip started as a Disney trip, I just wanted to say it’s only been 2 years since a happy Disney trip.


    During most of the years between 2012 and today, we stayed pretty close to home for vacations. Dan’s parents both had some not-so-good medical diagnoses and we needed to not be too far away if something happened. Also, our family was growing up. Our son when to college, then graduate school and continues to go to graduate school. Our middle daughter went to college, got married and started working as an RN. They don’t usually travel with us anymore. They don't live with us anymore, except my son is back home because his university has completely closed down and he's working from home and if he's going to do that, he might as well live here where I keep the a/c at a reasonable temp and feed him. He's very cheap. (He seriously keeps his a/c on 90 during the summer, then complains that it's hot.)

    We also sold a house, rented a brand new townhome, and bought a house over the last two summers. We took very quick and road trippy vacations so to focus on the home stuff. Mostly I went to IKEA in Kansas City for vacation the last two years.

    But here we are on the steps of our first "real" house at 49 and 51:


    We had a manufactured home for 20 years. I am so glad we bought this quirky, quad level house last year. I can't imagine four of us in a mobile home during this.

    Wow… off topic much, Kim?

    I’m just trying to explain that while we have gone on vacation over the last 8 years, a big theme park vacation hasn’t been a priority for a variety of reasons.

    However, back when the world was a simpler place, we did take our 3 teens/tweens to Orlando for two weeks. We stayed at Royal Pacific for the Universal part of the trip so we could have Express Pass and we loved it. I’m not sure it was the hotel we loved so much. This was the view from our room:


    We were on a lower floor and our view was tree trunks. To be fair, I had taken the cheapest room I could get, and we didn’t have any big complaints… except when the middle daughter wanted to drink the Fiji water in the room and I had to explain about mini-bars and how she could just drink the bottled water we brought with us. She was such a teenager on that trip.

    Our last four or five days of the Disney portion of our trip before this were very… wet. A tropical storm had come through the area and we were so miserably wet most of the time. Our son refused to wear a poncho (he was 18) and he had this really horrifying long hair and it was sopping wet all the time. I wore pants that became transparent when wet.

    I’ll spare you the picture here, but I have a great one they took of us before we ate breakfast at Ohana where I’m basically wearing see through pants and you can clearly see my underwear. I never wore those pants again when I realized it.

    We moved to Royal Pacific just as the sun broke through the clouds, and we loved every minute of that part of the trip. Despicable Me was doing soft openings while we were there (it officially opened days after we got home), and there were rumors about Diagon Alley being built in Universal. That’s how long ago this was. We felt pretty special to be able one of the first to ride Despicable Me…. even if I did have to ask for the non-moving seats at the front due to my motion sickness. (I did read where this is now 2D and thank heavens. I took Bonine every morning of this part of our trip and still spent half the trip sick to my stomach.)

    My favorite part of the hotel? The pool.


    I don’t usually take a phone or camera with me to the pool. I think I snapped these on my iPhone. Not bad for a 2012 cell phone, actually.

    I loved to spend my time in Hogsmeade. We would go there every morning for the early hours for hotel guests. I could just sit and enjoy the atmosphere all day. Give me a Butterbeer and play that background music and I’m the happiest. I love the idea of immersive lands -- Carsland at California Adventure was my favorite spot -- and I love reading, so Hogsmeade is everything. (Although I now feel compelled to announce that JK Rowling as a person is not a good person. I still love the world she created.)


    And that seems like a really good place to end this segment. I am totally wrapped up in converting books I wrote for my classroom into digital products (for my own use and for sale), so I wanted to update before I get lost working. We're down to just five weeks, and frankly, it seems unreal. I'm at the "I still don't know if we're going" stage and I hate this uncertainty, and I feel like I won't know until a few days before... everything changes so very quickly. Sigh. If you're reading, you know how I feel. Have a great weekend everyone!
    Lovely update Kim.

    And many congratulations on the new home......I’m sure it’s lovely and hopefully you’ll be very happy there.

    I did snigger at the trousers and rain........yes, most of us ladies have been there......I’m sure some more than once......:rolleyes1

    Hope the next five weeks go past quickly till your trip......will look forward to more updates......
     

    BrerMama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2000
    Following your pre trip report as I'm in the same boat. Watched my Disney plans go up in smoke rather quickly with their dining plans being removed, no guarantee of park admission even with a resort stay, etc.. At that point, I told my husband I wanted to put a deposit on a Universal trip. To be honest, he begrudgingly agreed in the beginning but now he's excited and thinks it's a sign. We've been talking about going to Universal for years and just always change plans.

    Did you decide to go club level? Still waiting to hear how its operating.

    Happy Early Birthday!
    My family really loved the Universal experience for very different reasons. My husband loves movies, so it does cater to what he loves. Hopefully your husband will love it too. I have not yet upgraded us to club level. I'd like to see some updates from people who have stayed CL since the reopening before I commit to it.

    Woohoo! A new trip/pretrip report!
    Always happy to be writing! I love telling stories.

    Lovely update Kim.

    And many congratulations on the new home......I’m sure it’s lovely and hopefully you’ll be very happy there.

    I did snigger at the trousers and rain........yes, most of us ladies have been there......I’m sure some more than once......:rolleyes1

    Hope the next five weeks go past quickly till your trip......will look forward to more updates......
    I have made some poor fashion decisions in the past, and it seems like every one of them has been during a vacation where I take a ton of pictures so my bad looks will be memorialized. This trip I think I'm going with t-shirts and workout leggings. I'll probably to find something to hate about that choice, too.

    And oh my gosh... five weeks? You're correct, but that seems insane. Yesterday was my son's birthday, but we're celebrating today. My niece has a birthday and I have a gift for her, but haven't put it together yet. Chesney is working split shifts at day care now (7-9:30 am, 3-6 pm) and trying to work on her college classes in between . My son, my husband and I are taking a five-seven day road trip at the end of the month. And my new sofa needs to be delivered! So much to do, then when we get home from our trip, there's only 10 days until I go back to work (I refuse to entertain the thought that school won't start as normally as possible). I can do this!
     
  • schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    My family really loved the Universal experience for very different reasons. My husband loves movies, so it does cater to what he loves. Hopefully your husband will love it too. I have not yet upgraded us to club level. I'd like to see some updates from people who have stayed CL since the reopening before I commit to it.



    Always happy to be writing! I love telling stories.



    I have made some poor fashion decisions in the past, and it seems like every one of them has been during a vacation where I take a ton of pictures so my bad looks will be memorialized. This trip I think I'm going with t-shirts and workout leggings. I'll probably to find something to hate about that choice, too.

    And oh my gosh... five weeks? You're correct, but that seems insane. Yesterday was my son's birthday, but we're celebrating today. My niece has a birthday and I have a gift for her, but haven't put it together yet. Chesney is working split shifts at day care now (7-9:30 am, 3-6 pm) and trying to work on her college classes in between . My son, my husband and I are taking a five-seven day road trip at the end of the month. And my new sofa needs to be delivered! So much to do, then when we get home from our trip, there's only 10 days until I go back to work (I refuse to entertain the thought that school won't start as normally as possible). I can do this!
    lol......you absolutely can do this!!! You do have a lot going on in the coming weeks trip aside!

    Oh we all have fashion disasters......I think my whole wardrobe is one big fashion error!! But....it’s me. And tee shirts and leggings are always ideal! Comfort is everything :thumbsup2
     

    KNJWDW

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 18, 2006
    Thanks for sharing your pretrip report with us! We are also celebrating our wedding anniversary in August - 33 years for us. I hope you have a wonderful vacation. Looking forward to your next installment 😎

    Amy
     

    mamamelody2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2016
    Thanks for sharing your PTR! I'm in a bit of a similar situation to you. Had a bounceback free dining WDW trip planned for August 6 to 15. For me, my husband, sons 14 and 17, daughter 20. Last time we went to Disney with our boys, my daughter didn't want to come. I was excited to have the whole family together for a trip this year. My older son will be a senior, and with my daughter in college, summer seemed like the time to go so no school would be missed. Now with them taking away the free dining (we were at All Star Sports so the room discount isn't even close to the discount free dining was) and so many things no happening anymore during our trip, I just don't think we can do it. And actually my biggest concern is the masks. I just don't think I/we can do it in the heat and humidity.

    SO, I am considering Universal for a few days, then renting an house near the beach. We have never done either one of those things. Even if masks are still required at Universal, we could maybe swing it for just the few days. Although I'm hoping maybe they'll go to "suggested" instead of "required." Or maybe you must wear them indoors, but not outdoors. ANYWAY, we are big Harry Potter fans and would love to see the Wizarding World. Unfortunately the Express Pass hotels are just too much for us. Although they technically fit 5 people in a room, we would be pretty crowded in there. Hoping the parks stay relatively uncrowded.

    Anyway, I hope you have a great trip!
     

    BrerMama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2000
    lol......you absolutely can do this!!! You do have a lot going on in the coming weeks trip aside!

    Oh we all have fashion disasters......I think my whole wardrobe is one big fashion error!! But....it’s me. And tee shirts and leggings are always ideal! Comfort is everything :thumbsup2
    I try to strike a balance between comfortable and stylish, but I'm thinking in the Florida heat, my workout type capris may be a better choice because they'll dry faster if they get wet and won't be as hot. Are we down to 4 weeks now? We leave a week from tomorrow to drive to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore. I figured that would be a fun socially distance kind of trip.

    Thanks for sharing your pretrip report with us! We are also celebrating our wedding anniversary in August - 33 years for us. I hope you have a wonderful vacation. Looking forward to your next installment 😎

    Amy
    It's just crazy how fast the years add up. It seems like it was just yesterday we were getting married. And now it's 30 years.

    This ☝ is why I like to be the picture taker.
    That was me and then a few years ago, I realized I was documenting my family's life, but not my own. So now I try to get in the pictures. My husband hates meeting characters, so he's the designated photographer there. And I just got a iPhone Pro Max for Mother's Day and that thing takes amazing selfies, so I can't wait to really use it.

    Thanks for sharing your PTR! I'm in a bit of a similar situation to you. Had a bounceback free dining WDW trip planned for August 6 to 15. For me, my husband, sons 14 and 17, daughter 20. Last time we went to Disney with our boys, my daughter didn't want to come. I was excited to have the whole family together for a trip this year. My older son will be a senior, and with my daughter in college, summer seemed like the time to go so no school would be missed. Now with them taking away the free dining (we were at All Star Sports so the room discount isn't even close to the discount free dining was) and so many things no happening anymore during our trip, I just don't think we can do it. And actually my biggest concern is the masks. I just don't think I/we can do it in the heat and humidity.

    SO, I am considering Universal for a few days, then renting an house near the beach. We have never done either one of those things. Even if masks are still required at Universal, we could maybe swing it for just the few days. Although I'm hoping maybe they'll go to "suggested" instead of "required." Or maybe you must wear them indoors, but not outdoors. ANYWAY, we are big Harry Potter fans and would love to see the Wizarding World. Unfortunately the Express Pass hotels are just too much for us. Although they technically fit 5 people in a room, we would be pretty crowded in there. Hoping the parks stay relatively uncrowded.

    Anyway, I hope you have a great trip!
    I love the idea of a Universal/beach trip. We are not beach people, or at least my husband is not. He needs to be entertained 24/7. TV is always on, on vacation, he hates just sitting in the room or at the pool... he needs to be going. This trip is kind of that compromise. I can sit and relax at the pool while he and Ches are in it. They can go ride something and I can sit in the shade and read a book on my phone. I actually took my Kindle with me last year when we had Silver Dollar City season passes and I'd read while he and Ches were on roller coasters. It works for us, but I'd love to know how your trip goes.

    We did 5 people in a Royal Pacific Room. Kids were 18, 16 and 12. We watched a room tour video of RPR last weekend and Ches said, "How did we fit all 5 of us in that room?" and Dan said, "We had two rooms." We did not. We could not have afforded that. We got a rollaway and we all crammed in there. It's a lot easier to think of doing it with just the three of us.
     

    BrerMama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2000
    The Hotel Dilemma

    In the last chapter, I wrote about our 2012 experience at Royal Pacific Resort. For those who are new to Universal, you may not realize that in 2012, the only onsite Universal options were the deluxe hotels. We stayed in the cheapest room at the cheapest hotel with our family of 5, and because our only choice was deluxe, we got the wonderful unlimited Express pass.

    Now, of course, there’s a variety of options for onsite stays. Because we were spoiled by Express Pass, however, it narrows our choice to a deluxe hotel. That’s Dan’s non negotiable. The man loves theme parks (we usually have season passes to Silver Dollar City) and there is nothing he loved more than flashing that room key and walking right through the line.


    501458

    See everyone wearing their lanyards so we could just flash them and walk past the line? I think it may be one of Dan's favorite memories.​

    Personally, Cabana Bay or Aventura appeal to my own aesthetic. I love bright colors, but also love clean, modern lines. I’d probably go with Aventura if I got to decide, but I’m also not going to argue with staying in a deluxe, especially when buying 3 Express Passes is more than one night at a hotel. (Although I have to say we watched Rix Flix video tour of Cabana Bay, and wow, does that hotel appeal to me. The colors and the configuration of the bathrooms in the family suite is perfect, not to mention the food court and pool.)

    The easy thing was for me to book Royal Pacific, which I did. Who cares about the view, it’s the cheapest room that gets us Express Pass, and we stayed there last time. Except...

    On one of our “close to home” trips, we had stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa. We didn’t gamble a cent, but we loved the room and the pool.


    501459

    501460
    I took these photos very early in the morning. The temps when we were there were around 103 degrees, so we hit the pool very early in the morning and were the only people there. It was still 85 or so. I didn’t love most of the hotel, but the pool area was amazing.

    And here’s the thing… we’re not trying to take 5 adults on a trip anymore. We don’t need the cheapest room at the cheapest hotel. And in case you’ve forgotten, I turn 50 the same week our trip starts. So I decided we could splurge a little and that we’d be happiest at Hard Rock, so I cancelled Royal Pacific and booked Hard Rock.

    And then my practical side kicked in and I read *so many* good reviews of Royal Pacific, and decided that by saving money on our room, I could splurge more while we are at Universal.

    Who am I kidding, if this all works out, I’m going to splurge anyway.

    If you’re following, I have now had a reservation at Royal Pacific, cancelled it, made one at Hard Rock, cancelled it, and now have one for a pool view room at Royal Pacific. Because at least I know then we won’t be looking at tree trunks.


    501462

    This picture of our view doesn't seem quite as bad as the last one. Also Dan and I argued about what tower we were in last time. He insisted it was 1 and I said 3. It was 1.​

    Last week, Universal dropped the July blackout dates for all of their annual pass options. We were already debating upgrading Chesney to an annual pass so that we could use the discount on the room, and then if she does get to go back to Florida, she could use the pass on her days off. It’s something she wanted to do earlier this year, but didn’t because she didn’t have a car. If DCP doesn’t start back up, she could still fly down there and hangout with former coworkers and roommates and go to the parks.

    No matter whether it gets used again or not, it’s $5 to upgrade one of our current buy 2, get 2 days free tickets to a seasonal annual pass. And it saves us $435 on our hotel rate over the week we’re there. That is what is called a no brainer. We upgrade at least Ches (and maybe all of us) and get a nice discount on the room at Royal Pacific. I am still debating the upgrade to club level. I have yet to see any photos of what it looks like and I’m not sure we’d use it enough. I did book us transportation to the hotel which includes a grocery stop, so we should have bottled water in our room. I really love the idea of club level, especially with the park closing early, I would just like to get some feedback on it before I make that commitment.

    And that's my messy hotel update. I have gotten all my deposit refunds, and actually have a credit balance on the credit card I used right now.


    501465

    One last photo of the Hard Rock in Tulsa. Dan and I loved Def Leppard when we first started dating, and we've seen them in concert 3 or 4 times. Once was before we knew each other, but we were both at the same concert. But I'm really going to let this whole Hard Rock thing go...​
     

    Vicki Rickerd

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2016
    iPhone Pro Max
    Oooooooh, you are going to have to tell us how you like it. I am a diehard android user but if that camera is what everyone says it is, I may have to switch.

    Although I have to say we watched Rix Flix video tour of Cabana Bay,
    I love the decor and theming of Cabana Bay. If we ever go where riding the rides isnt a priority or we have lots of time, that is where I would stay.

    I’m going to splurge anyway.
    Haha, that is a great motto.
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    I try to strike a balance between comfortable and stylish, but I'm thinking in the Florida heat, my workout type capris may be a better choice because they'll dry faster if they get wet and won't be as hot. Are we down to 4 weeks now? We leave a week from tomorrow to drive to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore. I figured that would be a fun socially distance kind of trip.



    It's just crazy how fast the years add up. It seems like it was just yesterday we were getting married. And now it's 30 years.



    That was me and then a few years ago, I realized I was documenting my family's life, but not my own. So now I try to get in the pictures. My husband hates meeting characters, so he's the designated photographer there. And I just got a iPhone Pro Max for Mother's Day and that thing takes amazing selfies, so I can't wait to really use it.



    I love the idea of a Universal/beach trip. We are not beach people, or at least my husband is not. He needs to be entertained 24/7. TV is always on, on vacation, he hates just sitting in the room or at the pool... he needs to be going. This trip is kind of that compromise. I can sit and relax at the pool while he and Ches are in it. They can go ride something and I can sit in the shade and read a book on my phone. I actually took my Kindle with me last year when we had Silver Dollar City season passes and I'd read while he and Ches were on roller coasters. It works for us, but I'd love to know how your trip goes.

    We did 5 people in a Royal Pacific Room. Kids were 18, 16 and 12. We watched a room tour video of RPR last weekend and Ches said, "How did we fit all 5 of us in that room?" and Dan said, "We had two rooms." We did not. We could not have afforded that. We got a rollaway and we all crammed in there. It's a lot easier to think of doing it with just the three of us.

    Yep, you`re down to 4 weeks!!

    The Hotel Dilemma

    In the last chapter, I wrote about our 2012 experience at Royal Pacific Resort. For those who are new to Universal, you may not realize that in 2012, the only onsite Universal options were the deluxe hotels. We stayed in the cheapest room at the cheapest hotel with our family of 5, and because our only choice was deluxe, we got the wonderful unlimited Express pass.

    Now, of course, there’s a variety of options for onsite stays. Because we were spoiled by Express Pass, however, it narrows our choice to a deluxe hotel. That’s Dan’s non negotiable. The man loves theme parks (we usually have season passes to Silver Dollar City) and there is nothing he loved more than flashing that room key and walking right through the line.


    View attachment 501458

    See everyone wearing their lanyards so we could just flash them and walk past the line? I think it may be one of Dan's favorite memories.​

    Personally, Cabana Bay or Aventura appeal to my own aesthetic. I love bright colors, but also love clean, modern lines. I’d probably go with Aventura if I got to decide, but I’m also not going to argue with staying in a deluxe, especially when buying 3 Express Passes is more than one night at a hotel. (Although I have to say we watched Rix Flix video tour of Cabana Bay, and wow, does that hotel appeal to me. The colors and the configuration of the bathrooms in the family suite is perfect, not to mention the food court and pool.)

    The easy thing was for me to book Royal Pacific, which I did. Who cares about the view, it’s the cheapest room that gets us Express Pass, and we stayed there last time. Except...

    On one of our “close to home” trips, we had stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa. We didn’t gamble a cent, but we loved the room and the pool.


    I took these photos very early in the morning. The temps when we were there were around 103 degrees, so we hit the pool very early in the morning and were the only people there. It was still 85 or so. I didn’t love most of the hotel, but the pool area was amazing.

    And here’s the thing… we’re not trying to take 5 adults on a trip anymore. We don’t need the cheapest room at the cheapest hotel. And in case you’ve forgotten, I turn 50 the same week our trip starts. So I decided we could splurge a little and that we’d be happiest at Hard Rock, so I cancelled Royal Pacific and booked Hard Rock.

    And then my practical side kicked in and I read *so many* good reviews of Royal Pacific, and decided that by saving money on our room, I could splurge more while we are at Universal.

    Who am I kidding, if this all works out, I’m going to splurge anyway.

    If you’re following, I have now had a reservation at Royal Pacific, cancelled it, made one at Hard Rock, cancelled it, and now have one for a pool view room at Royal Pacific. Because at least I know then we won’t be looking at tree trunks.


    View attachment 501462

    This picture of our view doesn't seem quite as bad as the last one. Also Dan and I argued about what tower we were in last time. He insisted it was 1 and I said 3. It was 1.​

    Last week, Universal dropped the July blackout dates for all of their annual pass options. We were already debating upgrading Chesney to an annual pass so that we could use the discount on the room, and then if she does get to go back to Florida, she could use the pass on her days off. It’s something she wanted to do earlier this year, but didn’t because she didn’t have a car. If DCP doesn’t start back up, she could still fly down there and hangout with former coworkers and roommates and go to the parks.

    No matter whether it gets used again or not, it’s $5 to upgrade one of our current buy 2, get 2 days free tickets to a seasonal annual pass. And it saves us $435 on our hotel rate over the week we’re there. That is what is called a no brainer. We upgrade at least Ches (and maybe all of us) and get a nice discount on the room at Royal Pacific. I am still debating the upgrade to club level. I have yet to see any photos of what it looks like and I’m not sure we’d use it enough. I did book us transportation to the hotel which includes a grocery stop, so we should have bottled water in our room. I really love the idea of club level, especially with the park closing early, I would just like to get some feedback on it before I make that commitment.

    And that's my messy hotel update. I have gotten all my deposit refunds, and actually have a credit balance on the credit card I used right now.


    View attachment 501465

    One last photo of the Hard Rock in Tulsa. Dan and I loved Def Leppard when we first started dating, and we've seen them in concert 3 or 4 times. Once was before we knew each other, but we were both at the same concert. But I'm really going to let this whole Hard Rock thing go...​

    Glad you chose RPR......for us it has the complete resort feel and we love it!!

    Club Level at RP is also, for us the best of all the lounges, and although it`s going to be slightly different now it`s still a lovely lounge with the most amazing staff. It really is a second home to us. I`m sure you`ll have seen the pictures of th elounge in the RPR thread. It`s been revamped and looks beautiful.

    Nice update.
     

    PlutosRHM55

    Pluto's Prince (Haters back off!)
    Joined
    Sep 14, 2010
    HOW ON EARTH DID I MISS THIS?! Omg what news! I'm so excited to hear about this Universal exclusive trip! I totally feel you on Cabana Bay, it looks gorgeous. Maybe I'll have to book a trip with my preferred pass discount still intact lol

    I totally understand Ches making the decision to not want to see Disney with all the new restrictions, especially after only being there so long. Fingers crossed she gets another chance at a CP so she can return, barely two months is too short a time to be there. Too too short. 'Till the spire to her from a fellow Batuuan!

    Also yes, J.K. Rowling is trash. I will love those books and characters forever, but we do not stan the creator anymore. Nope.
     

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