A Harry Potter birthday

My 10-year old son was talking to his friends at the bus stop this morning about how they all hope they'll get Hogwarts letters on their 11th birthdays just like Harry Potter did. Holy cuteness! (I didn't dash their hopes and dreams by pointing out that Harry's letter just happened to come on his birthday because his birthday was the end of summer.)

The whole conversation got me thinking. My son's birthday is 4 days before mine - the Thursday before my husband's February conference in Orlando. Some of you may remember me talking about wanting to do a combo Universal/WDW trip for MY birthday. I've been trying really hard not to get my hopes up about this hypothetical trip. But now I have a new reason to want to do it! I can't believe I didn't make the connection between my son's 11th birthday and Harry Potter. He's a huge Harry Potter fan. How cool would it be for a young Harry Potter fan to spend his 11th birthday in Diagon Alley?

So I booked a room at the Royal Pacific Resort for Wednesday, Jan 28 to Sunday Feb 1. I'm throwing caution to the wind!

Yes, this is mostly a story instead of a question. I hope you don't mind. smile

I do actually have a couple of questions. How hard is it to cancel a room booked online through Universal Orlando? It SAYS I can cancel up until 24 hours in advance, but there was a 1-night deposit. Will I get that deposit back? It's always possible we'll get through Christmas and decide that a winter trip is just impossible. Also, if there are good winter-rate specials that come out - maybe through Orbitz? - will it be possible to re-book and take advantage of them? Do deals come along for that time of year? I know WDW room discounts come out in October for Jan/Feb, but I have no idea if that sort of thing happens with UOR.

Thanks in advance.

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How awesome for your son!! Sounds like a great trip to celebrate birthdays! (I wish I could answer your questions, but I don't know anything about Universal).

Thanks so much for posting @scrapper1617! I'm super excited but don't want to mention the plans to the family, so you guys are my only outlet for trip planning excitement. smile

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Sounds fun! I hope it gets to happen. I don't know anything about Universal discounts, but you should be able to apply an Orbitz discount if one comes out for that time.

Feel free to share your excitement anytime!! My DH is a lukewarm Disney lover, so that's why I come here to get my fix. He has a limit for Disney talk. DD19 is my Disney pal, but she goes back to college next week. 😞

Oh @SallyEppcot - I really hope this will work for your family! How exciting - and perfect - a trip that will be! Isn't it funny how sometimes the most amazing ideas seem to come from an unlikely source and are yet crystal clear in the sense they make? Sorry I can't help with any of your questions but I'm just so happy for you! smile We haven't told our DSs about our pre-Christmas trip yet and I nearly am bursting with the planning and excitement! My DH is a Disney fan, but not quite on my obsessive-planning level. So happy to have Lines as a place to let the giddiness out! Keep us informed how it all pans out! sparkles

@SallyEppcot I can't say about canceling a Uni ressie close to date because I have't done that but I have cancelled multiple reservations to either change hotels or get a better deal and have had no problem at all. They have been kind and gracious and when appropriate have refunded my deposit promptly. Within 20 mins. Hope you are able to fulfill your trip. If you want to PM me we can figure out a way to have your son's letter postmarked from hogsmeade. I will be there in Sept and Nov. just intercept and then slip into mail in Jan

Oh @jec4289! That would be so awesome! Let me get farther into solid trip planning and I just might take you up on your kind offer. The great thing about the Forum is that we will be able to find each other later in the fall.

Thank you all for sharing my excitement. You guys are great.

Oh, and I read the fine print once the confirmation came from UOR hotels and it says I can cancel and get the deposit back no later than 5 days in advance of check in. That's great. No problem. The only possible roadblock will be if Christmas gets out of hand, but now I have a strong incentive to stick to a budget. smile

Anytime. Just think the wording is in the book , a green pen, ivory parchment and mailed from Hogwarts: Your son's name
Bedroom on the second floor corner
Street Address
City, state, zip

I LOVE this kind of stuff

Awesome! My DS9 would also really like to get that letter, too! What if you made the trip a big Christmas gift? Or do they already know you booked it? You even could make a fake letter inviting the whole family to Hogwarts.

This actually gives me ideas for when my DS's 11th b-day rolls around!!

Sorry, I wrote this before carefully reading all of the other responses, oops.

Nobody knows, not even my husband. We had agreed to wait and see, but I'm thinking that I'd rather book and cancel than wait.

Last year's Feb WDW trip was a Christmas surprise, so I'm thinking we shouldn't do that 2 years in a row. They would start to expect it! I think we should do a small Christmas and make this a birthday surprise. My DS7 would be fine with it being special for DS10, especially if we say he will also get a special trip when he turns 11.

I love the letter idea. I can just picture it and know exactly what it should say.

I should clarify that this conference my husband has in Orlando is the reason for the February trips. After years of staying home with the boys while he goes to this Orlando conference alone I finally figured out how much I'd been missing.

Oh, yeah, that definitely could set a dangerous precedent to have a big trip as a Christmas gift two years in a row!

This is not meant to be discouraging at all, but with the birthday thing, my concern is that I would worry about obligating us to spend an equal amount for our daughter, but who knows what life will bring. I might want to leave open which year the big b-day gift comes for - maybe 11, or maybe 10, or maybe not until 13.

Great, if you decide this is doable if you write the letter and send it to me I'll get it mailed during one of my trips. I'm going solo so what I do when is fluid and honestly I'm making the trips special by doing things like this and fairy Godmailer etc. it's what's making it exciting for me soa win win scenario. @iheartepcot would be happy to send letter as well.

Sadly, I will not be returning to USF for a long time, so definitely stick with @jec4289 for the mailing. Or maybe get a UK liner to post mark it from there!

I believe that you can mail it at the "owl post" and it will have a postmark of Hogsmeade. @Iheartepcot if you want. How about sending me a letter to send your son from Dumbledore saying he was keeping an eye on him and his school work and encouraging good work/ behavior. After all he's a wizard that can be invisible and apparate and certainly keep track of a "favorite" muggle

Aaahhhh! I guess some sort of special Harry Potter event was just announced TODAY for these exact dates. I don't know what this means! Should I cancel? The crowds were supposed to be low those days. We won't want to deal with famous people and media crowds! I think more research is required.


Thanks for the news @LaurelStewart. Do you have any advice?

Here is the recap from last year - http://attractionsmagazine.com/look-back-celebration-harry-potter-universal-orlando-photosvideos/

It doesn't seem to impact overall crowds, but Wizarding World will be more crowded that it would be otherwise (but that's all relative).

The reason Universal schedules these things in late January is because park attendance is low.

Thanks @LaurelStewart that's very helpful. I suppose if we focused on Harry Potter on Thursday (his birthday) and Friday morning we might avoid the worst of the crowds. We could save the other attractions for Saturday.

I've said it in other posts, but it bears repeating - Diagon Alley is the most immersive, best themed "land" in any theme park I've ever seen. You'll have a great time.