****OI Meetup**** -June 4-5, 2021

RocketCityMama

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
We purchased our tickets for our first ever orlando informer meetup! We have tried to make it to past ones but the dates never lined up and when we were there in 2018, we missed it due to our already planned Disney trip.

We are doing both dates and probably will buy a few more days of tickets since it's a 10-12 hour drive for us to make it worth it, esp with the buy 2 get 3 free deal going right now. We booked the Dockside Inn and Suites, excited to have the 3 queen bed option for our family of 4 with separate room for the adults.

So who else is going? Are you going both days? Any tips for first time meetup folks?
 

Erica Ladd

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
We went one night in December and ended up buying Seasonal APs because they were just a little bit more than the buy 2 deal. Even with blackout dates on the seasonal pass we decided it would give us a chance to go back a few times

As far as the meetup I don’t think we got as much done as I hoped especially food wise with the CoVid restrictions. We did however ride rip ride rockit prolly 20 times that night and stayed on hulk 3 times in a row ( last time we had to move cars bc someone wanted the front car). I will say that it helped us staying at HRH for the EP and that made a big difference when we went to the parks aside from the meetup times, including the few hours you get in before parks close to regular guests.
 

RocketCityMama

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
@Erica Ladd I have heard mixed reviews about Decembers meetup, mostly based on what you said. I am hoping that with the vaccine coming out and hopefully things will be starting to get better, it will be pretty fun. I am looking at buying 3 season and 1 preferred (i think for discounts) for us rather than the b2g3 deal as well. It's only about $200 more to get to go back whenever we can, hoping for a fall break and the following summer trip as well. The blockout dates work well for us, since we wouldn't go then anyway either, so it is definitely something we are considering and will likely jump on. We had AP's before, had bought tickets with UT and then upgraded and got 5 ap's for like $100 more than what we had already paid. I think we were lucky? who knows! lol
 

MinBz

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 24, 2017
I was thinking about signing up for both days just need to modify my trip by pushing it out a couple days. Need to make sure hubby can take that time off.

Looks like the June meetup starts at 5pm instead of 2 or 3pm like the December one.
 

WDWiowa

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 10, 2009
Looking forward to the meet up as a way to enjoy Universal without the mid day heat
 

keishashadow

Proud Redhead...yes, I have some bananas!
Joined
Dec 30, 2004
I Looked at this for the last one but decided against it. Obviously, it’s very popular as it sold out

We have APs & stay onsite at the properties than include the FOTL perk. Generally, very satisfied with access to the attractions with the exception to the new coaster. We’re not the type to do multiple, repeat rides as we generaly get our fill each multi-day visit.

trying to decide if it’s really something ‘worth it’ for us. I’m looking at it as a ‘party’ type event with less crowds. A chance to meet up with like minded people? but without the extra entertainment

The hours are a bit shorter than I’d expect, included food seems to be a nice addition.

For those of you who have done it and are excited to do it again, tell me why?
 
  • policycobb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 6, 2008
    My daughter and I are going both nights. We are driving from Kentucky and staying at Sapphire Falls. This is our fifth meetup. We went both weekends in December. OI listened to everyone's suggestions/complaints during the first weekend about the time it took for food/butter beer and they made changes. In Diagon Alley, there was a witch with a tray of hot butter beers just wondering around handing them out. There was a stand with butter beer ice cream and no wait. I really had no complaints about the first weekend because I knew it would be different with COVID restrictions. There was a big difference the second December weekend. Glad we went to both.

    Tips: Read the e-mail information that is sent out approx two weeks before the meetup. Have "sort of" a game plan, especially which direction you want to start out. We wasted a ton of time during our first meetups running back and forth to places. If there is a line at an attraction or restaurant, skip it and come back around. Don't forget the shows. Text OI with any questions/suggestions during the meetup. They reply quickly. You can also email for a list of characters who will make an appearance. We also like to watch Youtube videos of the meetups. You can also make reservations at City Walk/resort restaurants right now. I have one for dinner at Toothsome's on the night we arrive.

    Our plan is to hit the water rides at 5:00 pm on Friday and then go back to Sapphire Falls to change. Water rides are so much fun! Saturday, we will get in line for Hagrid's as soon as we get in if it's not virtual or try to grab a virtual pass if it is and then go to Three Broomsticks for dinner.

    I am looking forward to a summer meetup and not having to wear a coat or buy a sweatshirt for someone who said they didn't need to bring a coat.

    Meetups are awesome and addictive. Went to my first one December 2019 for my 50th birthday and am now hooked.
     

    kristenabelle

    a funny girl
    Joined
    Nov 16, 2013
    This will be my third meetup (both days, both December meetups). I loved both experiences, even though there were differences from 2019 to covid times. I went the second weekend last December, and they made a ton of improvements over the first weekend, or so I hear. For example, weekend one the path between parks was closed, and they were able to open it weekend two. They also got servers handing out butterbeers on trays instead of just having people wait in longer lines (or in addition to the lines, I should say). It's tough to manage expectations of previous events with food preparation requirements & COVID restrictions but I still had a blast.

    This time I can only go Friday night (boo) but in my experience they're usually a little less crazed than the Saturday night events, at least at the start of it when day guests are filtering out.

    Seconding @policycobb , having a plan is the way to go. Figuring out your must-do's for the event and balancing that with express passes or smart touring during the daytime helps. For example:
    • Since they're limiting Hogwarts Express to one party/car, I avoided that during the event (when lines were backed up at points) and enjoyed it during the day. Depending on how the next few months go, lines may not be as crazy during the June meetup.
    • I also knew I wanted to do Hagrid's at night, so I got in line before the park officially closed with other event guests. I didn't mind waiting because I wasn't eating up event time and being in line helped me avoid large throngs of folks exiting the park. I was off the ride minutes into the event, and enjoyed walking around the rest IOA with very few people
    • Restaurants in the wizarding world lands are super popular during the event, so I try to avoid those and instead get lots of snacks. Same with green eggs & ham - I used my meal voucher before the event started to eat there. I did have to wait about 20 minutes to order, but I don't mind waiting before the event officially starts.
    • During the event, I was able to ride JP River Adventure twice in a row by myself (at night, which I loooove), get empty and empty-ish shots of DA and Hogsmeade, drink butterbeer on the bridge and soak in the atmosphere for what seemed like forever, eat popcorn in an entirely empty toon lagoon, enjoy butterbeer ice cream, hot butterbeer, and like 67 churros? In addition to other rides and food. But I knew Potter & photos were my priority, so I was able to plan around that
    If Velocicoaster is open, and it's possible it will be, that's another exciting twist that'll impact event crowd flow.
     

    NotGoodWithRandomNames

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 27, 2017
    My wife and I went the first weekend in December. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect. I will actually be at Universal during the next meetup, but decided not to go. For me the price was too high for what we experienced. Personally I think it is because of when we went. We stayed onsite for 7 days, so outside of the event we had plenty of time to do the attractions while we were there. I am not trying to say that the meetup is not worth it, just not for my family. We tend to come twice a year and stay at least a week, so we don't have to do all the rides in one night. If we only occasionally came or were only there for a few days, that would change my view. Everyone we interacted with was super friendly. The lines for most things were really short. The food, oh man, it is nice to try things that we hadn't before. But not something I would do again, unless I only planned to be there for a few days.
     
  • RocketCityMama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2009
    IMPROVEMENTS/UPDATES from OI

    FOOD


    For the first time ever, we’re adding three “Bonus Bite Zones” in both parks (Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure) while they are open to daytime guests. These spots, home to theme-park staple food groups, will be for Orlando Informer Meetup guests only. You’ll be able to visit one of these six locations to enjoy one entree and one non-alcoholic beverage before unlimited service begins.

    There are a few advantages to this new perk, which is included with your OI Meetup ticket.

    Exclusive access: since these Orlando Informer Bonus Bite Zones are reserved for OI guests only, you’ll be able to enjoy a meal faster so that you can get back to enjoying everything else the park has to offer.

    No more waiting for unlimited food to begin: at previous Orlando Informer Meetup nights, there was an hour gap between the time the theme parks close to daytime guests and when unlimited food begins. These OI Bonus Bite Zones will remain open during this time (if you haven’t visited yet) and will close when unlimited food service begins.

    PARK HOURS

    We’re adding an hour of extra daytime theme-park access for all of our June Orlando Informer Meetup guests at no additional cost. Yes, that’s right – you’ll now be able to enter the parks beginning at 4:00 pm (previously, it was 5:00 pm). We hope that you’ll use this additional hour to catch an extra show, enjoy the new food benefit above, or, maybe, even do both!

    Additionally, we know that the experience is improved when the parks close to daytime guests at the same time. With this in mind, we’re happy to share updated exclusive hours for this June:
    • Friday, June 4: enter beginning at 4:00 pm. Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure will close to the public at 7:00 pm. Our OI Meetup will conclude at 12:30 am.
    • Saturday, June 5: enter beginning at 4:00 pm. Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure will close to the public at 8:00 pm. Our Orlando Informer Meetup will conclude at 1:30 am.
     

    RocketCityMama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2009
    Thanks to those who have provided lots of tips for the upcoming meetup! We are super excited, we decided to go ahead and get AP's again as the price was so similar to the special that was running. Plus we have to go back this fall sometime and we'll make another trip next summer thanks to the 3 extra months free deal for AP's that was going on. We are staying at Dockside for June 1-9 as it was a great steal of a deal for 2 bedroom suites. My kids will be thrilled to have their own beds and we are glad to have a separate room. We have been twice before to USO, so we know we'll be taking some days and doing half days and enjoying the pool more etc. I am crossing all my fingers and toes the new coaster will be open by then, maybe for the meetup!
     

    RocketCityMama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2009
    So I am thinking about taking my 10 yr old to this. We have a zillion Hilton points to use, so we could stay at the hilton hotel at the entrance to to US for free. Thoughts on this?
    I would for sure! We usually use my FIL's timeshare at Orange Lake for free to us, but decided to spend a little and stay on site this time. However on one of our return trips we'll likely will stay at OL instead to save even more money!
     

    ToodlesTime

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2013
    Hi! For those of you who have been to a meet up and Universal: what are your thoughts on a mama taking her 11-year-old daughter to the Friday, June 4 meet up as first-time visitors? We've never been to the parks before, but my daughter is a HUGE Harry Potter fan, and I'm thinking this may be a good birthday/elementary school "grad" gift for her? Thoughts? Will she/we get to experience enough HP land in one night?

    I was initially planning a three-night/two-day stay for our whole family of four, but holy cow, it's pricey ($2300), and my 7yo son and husband don't love big coasters. When I discovered this meet up I thought I could leave them home with the dog and do a mama/daughter trip. LOL
     

    Disney and the Dude

    You know I can’t fly this thing
    Joined
    Sep 2, 2020
    My daughter and I are going both nights. We are driving from Kentucky and staying at Sapphire Falls. This is our fifth meetup. We went both weekends in December. OI listened to everyone's suggestions/complaints during the first weekend about the time it took for food/butter beer and they made changes. In Diagon Alley, there was a witch with a tray of hot butter beers just wondering around handing them out. There was a stand with butter beer ice cream and no wait. I really had no complaints about the first weekend because I knew it would be different with COVID restrictions. There was a big difference the second December weekend. Glad we went to both.
    Omg that was the worst part of that first week, I waited like 45 minutes to get 4 of us hot butterbeers.

    We've been going to the December OI Meetups now for 4 years. We love the cooler weather at night, so that's why we typically skip the summer meetups.

    Overall, this last December's was great. We decided to upgrade and get the Deluxe resort next visit so we can have the Express pass for before the parks close. I would say the last 3 years - the parks have been CRAZY busy before they close for the meetup. In Dec, we rode Hulk and Hagrids before the park closed and that was it. Hopefully they'll announce Dec dates closer to the June meetup so we can get tickets.
     

    RocketCityMama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2009
    Hi! For those of you who have been to a meet up and Universal: what are your thoughts on a mama taking her 11-year-old daughter to the Friday, June 4 meet up as first-time visitors? We've never been to the parks before, but my daughter is a HUGE Harry Potter fan, and I'm thinking this may be a good birthday/elementary school "grad" gift for her? Thoughts? Will she/we get to experience enough HP land in one night?

    I was initially planning a three-night/two-day stay for our whole family of four, but holy cow, it's pricey ($2300), and my 7yo son and husband don't love big coasters. When I discovered this meet up I thought I could leave them home with the dog and do a mama/daughter trip. LOL
    Also, should we stay off site or in an on-site hotel? We will need to stay one night somewhere.
    I've not been to a meetup yet, can't wait for my first one though! It can be pricey if you're not careful for sure. We opted to get AP's for our trip plus the cost of the 2 night meetup tickets, while pricey we'll go back at least 2 more times before the AP's expire. I have been to Universal twice before and depending on what you want to do, you might can do WWoHP in both nights BUT ride lines, especially Hagrids might be the biggest issue, but you can enter the park at 4pm the day of the meetup without a regular admission ticket, so that gives you a few extra hours and I highly recommend you use that! If you can swing it, I'd do both nights but understand the cost is a big factor. If she wants an interactive wand, she will want time to cast spells in both parks, enjoy the atmosphere, eat and drink the yummy treats.

    Also I would stay onsite, you can get a discounted rate at the onsite hotels with the meetup group rate, we are staying at Dockside in a 2bedroom suite for 119 a night, and that's for 4 people. You could get one cheaper for sure and probably save money over staying offsite.
     

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