Surprise Hurricane Evacuation to Royal Pacific Resort (with Cat)

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Trip Reports' started by BlondePirateofSC, Sep 30, 2018.

  1. BlondePirateofSC

    BlondePirateofSC Earning My Ears

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    We originally were booked to go to Sapphire Falls in October for a few nights to do two nights of Halloween Horror nights thanks to the buy 1/get 1 free deal they offered earlier this year. However, I live in Myrtle Beach, SC and our governor declared a mandatory evacuation for the zone I live in, so plans changed! We have a ten year old cat who is our baby, and many hotels in SC do not allow pets even during hurricane evacuations. Local newscasters were recommending going as far away as Atlanta, but we are not familiar with that area and I was afraid of booking something unsafe. I knew that the universal hotels that allow pets welcome cats, so I was pleased to find a pretty good rate for RPR and later that night, we were on our way!

    We left around 1 a.m. and made it to Universal around 11 with a few stops for gas, caffeine and breakfast. Room was not ready until about 2 p.m. We were in the pet floor with mostly guests with dogs, but noise was not bothersome at all. Very few barks, just happy pets and pet owners : )

    After we got to our room, they brought a bag with items for Bella (my cat). Mostly dog things, but I appreciated the placemat and larger water bowl than what I had packed.

    More to follow on our time at the hotel and the Halloween Horror Nights we attended (and of course food).
     
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  2. heidijanesmith

    heidijanesmith DIS Veteran

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    Oh my! Well at least if you have to evacuate you can head to US.

    My daughter is a Marine at Camp LeJune with her husband. They also had to evacuate but wanted to come home to us. They drove 18 hours to come home to Iowa.

    I hope you had a good time at US and everything is ok at your home.
     
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  4. pattyw

    pattyw DIS Veteran

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    How nice! Bella got a Universal vacation!!:thumbsup2 My DS just started school in Ft. Lauderdale- he said if they have to evacuate, he and his fiancee are loading up the cats and heading up to the Hard Rock hotel! I know dogs like to travel. I'm interested to know how Bella adjusted to the hotel room. :cat:

    Can't wait to hear about your HHN night!:)
     
  5. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    Hi another cat lover here:goodvibes We have many fur babies so I understand how you feel. What a great idea to go to Universal and take her. It is such a relief to know your fur baby can be safe and sound. It sounds like you had a good experience at the hotel. Looking forward to more of your report!!:thumbsup2
     
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  6. BlondePirateofSC

    BlondePirateofSC Earning My Ears

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    Thoughts on the hotel: Very nice and I definitely want to stay here again, preferably next time on a "real" vacation. I liked the decor, the pool area was great and I loved the quick walk to the theme parks. We didn't do the parks other than one night of Halloween Horror Nights because we were anxious about what was going on at home and we weren't comfortable boarding the cat since she was already so nervous after the eight hour drive plus being in a new place. We did walk over to City Walk daily just to walk around and it was really nice to have restaurants, etc. so close. We did not take the water taxi, we prefer walking especially since we weren't doing our usual theme park routine of walking 10 or so miles a day : ) The gym was also really nice, I spent some time there. I went swimming every day, in a stroke of good luck, I had never removed one of my swimsuits from the car after my spring trip to Disney World, as I did not think to pack a swimsuit in this circumstance, so that was some stress relief just being in the water.

    Traveling with a Cat: Not an awesome experience despite the hotel being so pet friendly. We don't have many visitors to our home so our cat is very set in her ways and used to just my husband and I and the house. I so appreciated that they allowed cats while we were in this situation, but I don't think I would try a vacation just for fun with the cat. She did enjoy the views, our window had a great view of the dog walking area and squirrels so that did keep her entertained, but she was traumatized every time she could hear housekeeping. In fact, I have a European trip planned for next fall and my father is going to fly from Michigan to South Carolina to pet sit so we can go as I decided she couldn't handle being boarded since she was stressed enough being in a strange place with us there. I also found the rules a little confusing - like you aren't supposed to leave the pet alone in the room, but the only penalty is if the pet is loud and disturbs other enough to where they come check the room, it is a $10 fee and if it happens multiple times you will be asked to leave. I totally get that for a dog, but for a cat, I don't see them causing a disturbance so I felt like the rule was less clear for cat owners. I will admit, we left her in the room when we would go have dinner and the one night we went to Halloween Horror Nights. Please don't think me an awful person, she is a 10 year old cat who sleeps about 18 hours a day so she was not bothered by our absence, she was always napping when we would return. I do prefer the Disney rules for pets that you can't leave them alone more than six hours - we probably would have done a day in the parks had that been the rule at Universal, but we didn't want to get in trouble and have to find another place to go while we were evacuated.

    Food:
    Voodoo Donuts: ODB Donut - Definitely recommend going here, it is just a cool place. The donut was a little sweet for my tastes though, but I'm still glad we went.
    Bula Pool Bar: Surprisingly my favorite. The fish tacos are so good! I will go again even if I don't stay at Royal Pacific next time
    Room Service: Hawaiian Pizza - not very tasty, kind of bland. We did this our first night since we were too exhausted to do anything else after a night of no sleep and a long drive. Edible, but barely.
    Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney: We always enjoy their food, hubby got the original and I got the ham & cheese. I take off half the bread and it is so worth the calories
    The Chicken Guy at Downtown Disney: I hadn't heard of this prior to this trip, we just stumbled upon it. We both really enjoyed it, we shared an order of five chicken strips and fries and it was more than enough for two people and pretty reasonably priced.
    Antojitos: I had the chicken street tacos, my husband had a burrito. We enjoyed this, there was live music while we were there and I thought prices were very reasonable for a sit down restaurant in this area. We wanted to try it since we have been to Bubba Gumps and Margaritaville many times and thought we'd try something different.
     
  7. BlondePirateofSC

    BlondePirateofSC Earning My Ears

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    Halloween Horror Nights:
    There was some fun, but this was not the ideal trip to HHN I had planned...it is still pretty hot in September, so definitely not as nice of weather as we would have had in late October. I'm glad the tickets I bought were for any weeknight and not the October dates planned so we did get to use at least the one night (I had buy one get one night free tickets for weeknights). We went on the opening night, which was insane as we would have imagined. I did buy the express passes, but it was so packed we only made it to seven houses. One house there was an issue with an ambulance coming for someone and after standing around for a long time, we just got out of line. Crowds IMO were not well managed, there were crazy lines getting out of some of the houses that I have never experienced in the past. I think most of the ridiculous crowd levels was due to it being the first night.

    My favorites of the evening were: Stranger Things, Dead Exposure, and the Vamps '85 scare zone. We missed the Halloween house and Poltergeist as neither of us are really into those properties. The Seeds of Extinction was the house we missed because of whatever medical emergency was going on and we didn't make it back that way.

    We did miss the Simpsons ride not being open and I was hoping to ride the Jimmy Fallon ride since that was not here my last trip, but we did do Men in Black which I love. We didn't get to any other rides due to the crowd levels. Definitely unlike anything I've seen before, we have been coming every other year for the past few years and this was crazy. Even in the past without express pass, we have always gotten in one or two more rides and not missed any of the houses. I think in the future we may have to shell out for the RIP tour just to make sure we hit all the houses. Still a fun experience, I think we were a little more negative than we would have been otherwise since we were pretty worried about our house flooding or being looted as we kept getting reports of looters.

    In conclusion, we were very blessed! We left the hotel a night early as our governor lifted the evacuation and went home to thankfully no damage...many were not as lucky, ,the way the storm hit us, we took on more damage two years ago in Hurricane Matthew. I am still glad we evacuated though because none of the shelters in our area allow for pets and I would have been terrified for a week worrying about our safety and Bella's safety. My husband is the opposite, and was more worried with us there because he couldn't keep an eye on the house, so in the future I may just evacuate alone with the cat and then everyone will be happy :flower:
     
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  8. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

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    I'm glad you did not return home to any damage!

    I have two cats and they have to take a tranquilizer pill before any travel.

    Including to the vet .......lol

    Hope your kitty recovered quickly once back in your house.
    It is hard for some of them to enjoy any car ride.
    (and yours was a long ride)
     

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