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  1. #1
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    Default DW and Universal at Xmas time...what do I need to know?

    As I mentioned back in June, We are going to Florida the 23rd through the 30th. My ILs live there and when we visited the same week 3 years ago we just stayed with them and drove to the parks each day and avoided the parks with extra magic hours/followed the crowd calendar. It worked out ok but back then the FP+ was by ticket machine and not online booking. We've never been to Universal and we'd like to do a day there too. We are open to staying on property for a night or two in order to get the 60 day window.

    If you were planning this trip, which days would you go to the park (we are doing 4 DW days and 1 Universal) and which days would you stay on property?

    Where would you stay on property given the max capacity crowds that time of the year?

    Anything we should consider in our planning during this peak time?

    I think last time we did one breakfast dining reservation in order to get into MK early. Should we do that again? Not sure if we'd even be able to get a reservation.
    Mom to two amazing DDs ('07 & '09) and a fur baby.

    Gluten free since Nov '11 after non-celiac gluten sensitive diagnosis. Have had great improvement or total elimination of: migraines, bloating/distention, heartburn, cystic acne, canker sores, bleeding gums, eczema on elbows, dry skin and scalp, muscle cramps, PMS, hair loss, heart palpitations, fatigue. I'm amazed.

  2. #2
    SnuggleBuggles is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    I can help with the Universal stuff...
    Stay onsite. If you can only swing one night, do it the night before your park visit. That way you can just roll out of bed and be there. Stay at Hard Rock, Portofino or Royal Pacific and get those Express Passes. It's a heck of a lot cheaper to get them with the hotel room than buying them outright. Ex.- holiday time, the Express Passes will cost about $140/ person. How much is a hotel room? About $300-500/ night depending on how fancy you go. Obviously cheaper. Plus, 1 night actually equals 2 days of Express Passes so truly a lot cheaper but I guess you won't be taking advantage of that.

    You'll need Express Passes to cover the 2 parks in one day...and you'll have to make some decisions about what you're going to skip. Universal really is a 2-3 day place. But, 1 day is better than no days.

  3. #3
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    Thanks SnuggleBuggles. My kids are 9 and 11 and relatively risk adverse when it comes to rides. The 9yr old is just barely 48". Given that, do you think a day is doable? I think they will want to spend all of their time with Harry Potter.
    Mom to two amazing DDs ('07 & '09) and a fur baby.

    Gluten free since Nov '11 after non-celiac gluten sensitive diagnosis. Have had great improvement or total elimination of: migraines, bloating/distention, heartburn, cystic acne, canker sores, bleeding gums, eczema on elbows, dry skin and scalp, muscle cramps, PMS, hair loss, heart palpitations, fatigue. I'm amazed.

  4. #4
    SnuggleBuggles is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendibird22 View Post
    Thanks SnuggleBuggles. My kids are 9 and 11 and relatively risk adverse when it comes to rides. The 9yr old is just barely 48". Given that, do you think a day is doable? I think they will want to spend all of their time with Harry Potter.
    1 day if you have Express Passes. Nothing worse than wasting an hour to ride something lame, like Flight of the Hippogryff.


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  5. #5
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    What is your favorite onsite resort for Universal? Probably going this fall and thinking Portofino all things considered. Hoping it will be warm enough to swim too in late October. Sorry to hijack!

  6. #6
    SnuggleBuggles is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by HannaAddict View Post
    What is your favorite onsite resort for Universal? Probably going this fall and thinking Portofino all things considered. Hoping it will be warm enough to swim too in late October. Sorry to hijack!
    I havenít stayed in the deluxes yet but Iíd pick Hard Rock because itís closer than Portofino and I think it looks fun. but, I know KrisM stayed at Portofino this summer so you can message her.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by HannaAddict View Post
    What is your favorite onsite resort for Universal? Probably going this fall and thinking Portofino all things considered. Hoping it will be warm enough to swim too in late October. Sorry to hijack!
    My cousin stayed at Portofino with their 4 kids. It was few years ago, before HP and hogwart express stuff. But they LOVED the pool! If proximity isnít the main factor for you, it all boils down to personal choice as far where to stay between Portofinos, hard rock and royal palace.


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    Mummy to DS1-6/11 and DS2-1/14

  8. #8
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    Thank you both. There is so much info that it is overwhelming! But not as bonkers as Disney.


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  9. #9
    baymom is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by HannaAddict View Post
    What is your favorite onsite resort for Universal? Probably going this fall and thinking Portofino all things considered. Hoping it will be warm enough to swim too in late October. Sorry to hijack!
    We stayed at Portofino when we went and absolutely loved it. Its a beautiful property with a great pool, nice restaurants and ambiance. My kids really loved taking the boat into the park each dayóitís was definitely part of the experience for them. Canít compare with the other on site options as itís the only one weíve been to.

  10. #10
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    We are now considering staying at the Poly for 1 night so that we get easy entrance to MK and Epcot. And then staying 1 night at Universal to get the discounted express pass tix for there. Does that make sense? We are going to pay $$$ to stay at WDW during peak time so we figured we might as well stay someplace with monorail access and then we'd probably just drive to the other 2 parks (we will have a rental anyway).
    Mom to two amazing DDs ('07 & '09) and a fur baby.

    Gluten free since Nov '11 after non-celiac gluten sensitive diagnosis. Have had great improvement or total elimination of: migraines, bloating/distention, heartburn, cystic acne, canker sores, bleeding gums, eczema on elbows, dry skin and scalp, muscle cramps, PMS, hair loss, heart palpitations, fatigue. I'm amazed.

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