The Joys of Traveling with Three Kids RPR Club Level 8 nights! 7/2018

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Trip Reports' started by jenrose66, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. jenrose66

    jenrose66 DIS Veteran

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    Hi Everyone! I always start my trip reports with such good intentions...then they kind of fizzle out. However, I really think I can complete my report this time. This is going to be a really special trip. My son will be turning 12 on the trip, we haven't been on a family vacation in 2 years, and we have thrown our budget out the window!

    We have had our airfare booked since November and have been going back and forth since that time over what exactly this trip was going to entail. We were considering a couple days in Clearwater Beach, a few days at SeaWorld and a day at Legoland was a must for DS 9. We decided not to do Clearwater and settled on SeaWorld, Universal, and Legoland...however that was giving us only a couple days at Universal. Then we toyed around with staying offsite in a condo but we are so spoiled by EP we can’t imagine not having it...

    That brings us to our final decision. Stay onsite with 3 park unlimited tickets. And take a day trip to Legoland.

    So while pricing hotels PBH was cheapest for our dates and we stayed in the past and loved it. HRH was $100 more and we were tempted since we’ve never stayed there. Then there was RPR. They had club level (which we’ve never done) for about $300 more than PBH. Our first trip to Universal was at RPR and we enjoyed it so we decided to splurge.

    I feel much better now that we have our activities planned and am happy we are staying on site! We still have some decisions to make. Do we book Tony Hinds (love him) for our transportation and rent a car for the day to go to legoland? Should we take the legoland Shuttle and skip a rental? Should we rent at the airport and have a car and pay for parking??? Gonna have to figure logistics.

    There is so much new at Universal since we’ve been there. The Kong ride, Jimmy Fallon, Toothsome (mmm milkshakes) plus the Fast and Furious ride. And my middle son will be tall enough for the big coasters he wants to ride so bad!

    So I figured for the next 4ish months I can make this a fun place to pass the time. I’m usually more of a wallflower but I so enjoy reading trip reports and everyone’s tips so I wanna contribute.

    In the next few posts I will share more in depth planning, some cute pics and info about my family. The anxiety I feel over leaving my dogs so long. Oh and the anxiety I feel about buying a swimsuit since the last one I bought was less 35 pounds...so you can help me embrace the larger swimsuit or maybe we can turn this into a fun weight loss challenge.

    I will stop rambling for now and post later when I’m on my laptop and have access to pictures!!
     
  2. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

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    Glad you are doing a trip report
    I’ll be following along

    I had a friend take her boys ages 7 and 12 to Legoland

    She said the younger one loved it but the older boy not as excited there
    Don’t know if it was the age or if he was just having an off day

    So maybe do legoland first before the uo parks

    Tony would be the one I would use from mco to hotel



    You can rent a car onsite at the uo hotel for your day at legoland
    If you return the car before midnight, you won’t have any hotel parking charges to pay
     
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  4. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    Going to enjoy reading this one!

    Some nice plans there.......glad to see you’re going to RPR and Club Level too.........it’s a fabulous place with staff that are just amazing! I’m sure you’ll love it.........

    Look forward to your pictures.........and doesn't matter what size your swim costume is........as long as you have fun it doesn’t matter one iota.........:hug:

    Nice start.......::yes::
     
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  5. prairiesarah

    prairiesarah Mouseketeer

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    Will be following along - really enjoying reading about everyone's planning and trips as we're taking our first trip to Universal in exactly 7 days. I definitely understand the anxiety over leaving your dogs. I know ours will be in good hands (staying next door with my sister in law who takes very good care of him), but he is also super sensitive and gets pretty sad when we are gone. He's very attached to my husband in particular as we farm and Buddy spends all day everyday with my DH.

    As for the swimsuit, I can definitely relate to not being excited about buying one due to shifts in weight (coming from someone who has been between size 16 to 26 my whole adult life and grateful to be at the low end of that right now due to a LOT of hard work and dietary compliance in the last 6 months). But I'm betting your kids will be so excited that they are swimming and you are swimming that they will be oblivious, and strangers have no idea what size you were last time you bought a bathing suit, so they won't care. Buy something fun and just enjoy the trip and swimming! I branched out of my comfort zone a while ago (darker colours) and bought a tropical print suit and honestly I felt much more comfortable wearing it than I have wearing any other suit I've owned in recent memory.
     
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  6. jenrose66

    jenrose66 DIS Veteran

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    I'm thinking the onsite rental might be worth it as well. We get into Orlando late and leave really early and I don't want to deal with a car or pay for parking for a car to just sit. Honestly, if the pickup location isn't that far from the hotels for the LEGOLAND shuttle, we may just do that...probably cheaper then renting a car and paying for parking for the LEGOLAND lot, plus we were planning an entire day there anyway. I figure this will be a one time visit for us in general and I wanted to make sure we got there before my oldest would completely outgrow it. They are more excited about the sculptures and shopping than the actual rides...I think.
     
  7. jenrose66

    jenrose66 DIS Veteran

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    I'm excited to see the new rooms. When we stayed in 2015 they were in the midst of renovations and we ended up getting a ground floor non refurbed room. It wasn't a huge deal, and I still thought the décor was nice and the room was in very good shape. Club level is something new for us. Now that the kids are getting older I think they will like going into the lounge and grabbing a soda and just hanging out and relaxing. My kids all love to read and I think they'd enjoy the lounge during afternoon breaks. We aren't usually park commandos and like going back and forth so it will be a nice option. I just hope we get put on the same floor as the lounge...

    Have fun on your trip!! Can't wait to hear all about it. I know my dogs are in good hands too. We live in a tight knit neighborhood with really nice neighbors and we have family that is going to stay at the house...but I tend to be a worrier. Thanks for the swim suit advice. I'm not super body conscious...I did lose quite a bit of weight with weight watchers a few years ago, but I've since put it back on and then some...I was looking at an article about the best flattering swimsuits and all the ones I liked are from Torrid....so that's my reality now. I'm really going to just embrace it I think. I have started making changes. I really put on weight when I went back to work. So now I have a standing desk and make it a point to stand most of my shift. I'm also working on more physical activity. Not exercise per se but walking and running around with the kids.
     
  8. jenrose66

    jenrose66 DIS Veteran

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    Alright so here are some introductions. We are having a snow day today which means I don't get my quiet before work respite. Heavy snow too:
    28377939_1514613415317873_7919428973538719761_n.jpg
    Anyway, since the kids are *ahem* being spirited I will introduce my fur children first. Darwin is 2 and he's our cockapoo and Milton is 1 and he's our goldendoodle. I am allergic to dogs so we made sure to get poodle mixes and it's been wonderful. My inlaws have pugs and I feel like death after being in their house for 10 minutes...but my dogs have never bothered me. Aren't they cute:
    28166840_1500457656733449_1849364774847235918_n.jpg 24775020_1429975227115026_8125450203957583568_n.jpg
    So besides the dogs there is Me (Jen). I'm 36. Just got back from a December trip to Disney with my mom. We had a good time but I ran myself ragged and came home with a really bad cold. I used to be a Disney or bust kind of gal, however, as things have changed and gotten more expensive we decided to explore other options. The last Disney vacation we took was in 2012. The kids were so young!
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    It was a fun trip, but there was a lot of waiting in line and walking and riding and waiting for busses. DH said no more family trips to Disney for a bit, but he doesn't begrudge me going with my mom so it's all good.

    The next family trip we took to Florida was in 2015. It was our first stay at Universal. We stayed 7 nights at RPR and had a great time. The Express Pass was a revelation. I was worried we'd get bored spending so much time there, but we didn't. We had a great time. It was fun to have a relaxed pace vacation and be able to re ride our favorite rides and go to a sitdown restaurant that we didn't have to book 180 days before. Plus we are huge Harry Potter fans so seeing the movies come to life was just amazing.

    Our first Universal trip:
    6.jpg 5.jpg

    But I digress. So yeah, me...hard for a mom to talk about herself. I'm kind of a nerd. I love NPR and podcasts. I also crochet and am fascinated by true crime. I have a favorite podcast that I listen too...I got themed jewelry for it. I'll post a pic and see if anyone can guess what the podcast is!
    16387351_1141932155919336_2429980396012911288_n.jpg

    Next is DH (Jake) he is 36. We have been married for almost 14 years and if I were the type of person to gush I'd say something sappy right now.
    Isn't he handsome:
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    Jake likes craft beer and people. Really, one of the nicest people I know, I call him the goodwill ambassador of our relationship. We can't go anywhere without him running into someone he knows. We are both busy renovating (very slowly) the dream house we moved into this past July, it had the space and location we wanted...but nothing else! No worries, that's how we afforded the neighborhood.

    Finally, we have the kids. When I pictured being a mom, I pictured an only child. DH grew up with lots of sibling and he felt different. So we compromised on two and after what we will call the epic birth control failure of 2009 (I'm talking about you IUD) we have a family of 3. Now I couldn't imagine my life any other way...but 3 kids in 4 and a half years made for some challenging times. Now that they are getting older things are calming down. I value silence so sometimes it gets a little overwhelming, but they are good kids. And truly the best of friends. They genuinely like each other (even though they bicker like all siblings do). The regularly ask to have sleepovers, so even though they each have really nice bedrooms, on many weekends and vacation days they ask for "sleepovers" and all bunk together in one room. They enjoy all things Florida because I trained them young!

    Jack is the oldest, he is 11. He loves reading...especially non fiction. He also loves him some video games...maybe a little too much. But he makes good grades in school and shuts them off when I ask him too (for the most part) so who am I to judge.

    Ben is 9. He's the classic middle child. A people pleaser who wants to keep the peace. He loves animals both real and plush and he has an affinity for pretty girls. He has found his future wife no less than 3 times and he wants to be a professional lego designer and dad when he grows up. Unlike, Jack, who has proudly proclaimed that he's going to be a bachelor and devote his life to scientific discovery.

    Then we have Emma. She is 7 and she is the princess. She has her own fashion sense and ideas and I've learned that it's not worth the battle of trying to tinker with an outfit. She has lots of friends and loves music. We are going as a mommy daughter date to see Taylor Swift! When I got the tickets Emma wept with joy and my American Express wept for another reason entirely...but hey...memories right?
    13580407_103503383417720_6636299809121938846_o.jpg
     
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  9. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    You have a lovely family Jen......

    Nice picture of you and your husband up very high.......:D
     
  10. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

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    I’m still here reading along
     
  11. jenrose66

    jenrose66 DIS Veteran

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    We took a weekend trip to NYC for our anniversary a couple years ago. Fun time!
     
  12. schumigirl

    schumigirl It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts

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    Love NYC! Amazing city...........
     
  13. prairiesarah

    prairiesarah Mouseketeer

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    I have never thought of checking out Torrid for bathing suits but am going to have to now. I love some of their stuff - their sports bra's are my favourite. I have Torrid on my Florida shopping list as I'm in Canada and by the time I pay shipping/duty/exchange rate it nearly doubles the cost of anything, but at least if I'm buying it in Florida there's only the exchange rate. There are a couple locations in Canada but sadly none near me as I live in the middle of nowhere. Swimsuitsforall is a great site for bathing suits if you're up for online shopping.

    Ps. Great intro : ) We're in the middle of winter here too and anticipating a good snow storm this weekend. Not excited about it, but we need the moisture and haven't had much snow this winter. One more week and I'll be in flip flops and shorts for a week. (I started a PT report too - a few down on this forum.)
     
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  14. jenrose66

    jenrose66 DIS Veteran

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    Yeah. Regarding Torrid.. I never shopped there. Just clicked on a internet article about best swimsuits for all shapes and every suit on a model that had my shape is from Torrid so I bookmarked their site!

    Can’t wait to hear all about your trip :)
     
  15. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    HI following along. Love the pics of all your children:D...I love doing and reading PTR and Trip reports. Thanks for sharing!
     
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  16. oakleycat

    oakleycat DIS Veteran

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    Looking forward to your report, your boys are the same age as mine (and that's my favorite podcast too)!
     
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  17. jenrose66

    jenrose66 DIS Veteran

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    :offtopic:

    I work in insurance. This Nor’Easter has been really bad. Though all the overtime will help for the trip.

    After working all weekend I’m looking forward to some time off tomorrow and Wednesday to catch up with life and hopefully add another installment to my PTR.
     
  18. ckmiles

    ckmiles Mouseketeer

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    You do have a very lovely family.

    I love your PTR- I am an excessive planner as well. I love reading other TR's and always think about starting my own.

    Im struggling with planning for my trip to Universal in Sept because I booked the hotel already- and now Im done. Im keeping myself busy by making spreadsheets of places to eat, ticket prices, etc. All stuff that probably wont matter once we are there- but I like it.

    I totally understand about the swimsuit issue. I'm large on top so I find Land's End a good source for swimsuits. They are not as trendy as Torrid- but I find they do the job.

    As a fellow New Englander (Im in CT) I hope you are not in the path of this next storm that is coming tomorrow. A foot of snow is not what I wanted this week.....
     
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  19. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    :wave2: I am in CT to and have the same feeling for the snow:sad2::sad:
     
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  20. wmoon

    wmoon DIS Veteran

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    I'm looking forward to hearing about all your planning. We are club level at RPR for a week this year too.
     
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  21. pattyw

    pattyw DIS Veteran

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    Lovely family! Our boys are all grown and when they were small there was NEVER quiet in the house. I so wished for that! But they grow so quickly! They don't live at home anymore. The quiet is sometimes deafening! While hubby and I are enjoying just the two of us, I sometimes long for those loud, crazy days!
    And family vacations are wonderful for family bonding! My boys still travel with us when their schedule allows! so- good that you are training them well!
     
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