We just got back a week ago from our trip to Universal and had a most wonderful time. I was very appreciative of all the great info on here which helped make our trip a success. So thought it was time to start on a trip report and share a bit about our experience. Who - DH, DS 12 and I When - March 9th to 13th Portifino Bay Resort March 13th to 15th North Port, FL visiting family March 15th to 16th Royal Pacific Resort Friday, March 9th After a very nice (and direct which was a bonus - thank you WESTJET ) flight to Orlando, we arrived right after 2pm. We had to clear customs which was a first for us at MCO, as we have typically flown through MSP which meant we cleared customs there. Line ups were not bad that day, but used our NEXUS cards which expedited us through the line a bit. After using the computer kiosks, we had our printed declarations to the agent only to be sent to secondary screening. We weren't sure what this was about but I could only assume it was because we answered yes to the question about whether we had been around/handling cattle. We had to wait for someone to collect our luggage, only to go up to answer a few questions and for the agents there to realize what question we had answered yes to and that it was because we are dairy farmers. They thought it was because we were claiming that we had food in our luggage. Once that was cleared up they sent our luggage through the X-ray machine barely looking on it and we were on our way. After the nice little monorail ride, we headed out to the Alamo area on the A side garage. I had already done everything online so we were able to just to out and pick up our car and head out. Got to the Intermediate SUV line to find no vehicles.... After a loop back to find an agent, we were redirected to the Full Size SUV line for a free upgrade and picked out a nice grey Nissan Rogue, narrowly missing out on a cherry red version much to my son's chagrin as my inlaws had a cherry red minivan last trip and it became a "thing" in our family to always gets a cherry red vehicle if possible. The Nissan Rogue was on our list of potentials for a next vehicle so was very nice to have a chance to drive one for a week and see how we liked it (which I did, very nice to drive, very comfortable, DS says the space in the backseat was good, only downside was the trunk space, which *just* fit three average size suitcases - anything more would have obscured the view). Loaded up the car and I stripped off my sweater because I was in Florida and even at about 20 degrees (celsuis) it was 30 degrees (celsius) warmer than when we left home that morning. I travelled prepared in a sleeveless shirt, jeans, sweater and flip flops, so off went the sweater and I was ready for warm weather! Got DH set up with our first destination on his phone - Target for a couple food items. Got out of the airport, missed the first exit we were supposed to take, only to realize he forgot to hit start on the route and didn't notice we were supposed to exit... After we got that straightened out and rerouted, we found our way to Target, only to realize I hadn’t thought to search for a Super Target, and we ended up at a regular Target with no grocery section. Got out of the car and went in anyway. DS is still wearing a thick hoodie and DH wearing his fleece vest in spite of 20ish degree (celsius) weather. Both responded they were fine when I asked if they were too hot. Target was a bit of a bust aside from a Dh having a good eye and noticing they had the new album that was just released that day that we wanted, so picked that up and reset SIRI to take us to Publix just down the road. Quick stop and Publix for water, K-cups (because I’m picky about my coffee and like it strong not the coffee water that is standard in hotels), milk, cereal, yogurt and a couple snacks. We had already decided to eat breakfast in the room mainly because neither DH or I are much for a big breakfast so seemed like a waste of time and $ to go searching for breakfast each am. (I have to say it was so nice to have a Keurig in the room (plus my purchased cream in the fridge) so I could get up and just make a cup of coffee and not have to go searching for one.) Next stop, Portofino Bay Resort. Pulled up to Portofino Bay Resort and loved it at first sight. Someone on here mentioned the scent in the lobby and I have to agree that it just smells wonderful. I don’t know what it is, but it had a very distinctive scent. After a quick stop at check in (surprisingly short in spite of the line), we were on our way to our room. Thankfully we had bell services help us find our room and take our stuff since adding the bag of groceries and case of water, it made it just a bit too much to handle ourselves. I say thankfully because it would have been hard to find our room that first time on our own between elevators and the trek across the piazza. I was glad I had done a bit of research and had requested West Wing. We had a garden view room on the 4th floor which did look out over the pool, but mostly at the palm tree in front of our room. It was a perfect location for us with DS who loves to swim. The building entrance was essentially right at the boat dock and very easy access to the Beach Pool. The room was just lovely and beds very comfortable. I liked that it had two chairs at the desk/table which was great for us for breakfast in the am, plus a nice chair for sitting in by the window. By this time we were all starving (would have been around 6pm, but with a time change and the flight we basically missed lunch so this was a lunch/dinner combo meal). We headed down to Sal’s for supper. DS got a Salvatore’s (minus the mushrooms), I got a Green and White (minus the bacon) and DH got a BBQ chicken plus we got a side of mozza sticks. The pizza was a good value in my opinion, but definitely could have gotten a large and shared with DH instead of a small each. All three were excellent and I really like the lightly dressed arugula on mine. The mozza sticks were really good and had a decent side of marinara sauce but I thought it was a small portion for the price (5 smallish mozza sticks for $5.99). After supper was time to stretch our legs after travelling all day, so decided to walk up to the parks and go into US for an hour or two. That is a really nice walk - path is very nice, felt very safe too. There is often talk on here of how far out Portofino Bay Resort is, but we never found it that far. I timed it one evening and even at what I would consider a saunter (wearing flip flops), it took us 12 minutes to walk and DH and DS do not walk that fast. After a quick stop at Guest Services to upgrade our tickets to Seasonal Passes, we did a loop around the park. It was definitely pretty magical seeing Diagon Alley for the first time at night and the Gringott’s Dragon blowing fire was spectacular. Went through Knockturn Alley and that was very cool and definitely a bit spooky at night. We didn’t go on any rides but did check out the big store at the entrance where my DS first found the gigantic Scooby Doo stuffy which I knew immediately was not a matter of if, but when he was going to cave and buy it. After a lovely walk back to the hotel, and a stop for gelato for DS and DH and Starbucks for me at the hotel, we wandered around a bit checking out the Beach and Villa pools, then back to the room to relax. It was a perfect start to our vacation.