A Trip of Many Firsts For a UOR Fan

Hey everyone! I wanted to start a trip report from a short trip a few months ago. As someone who has been to UOR many times, but haven’t been anywhere since December 2019, this trip had a lot of firsts for me, as well as for two friends who have never been before. I will post as much as I can remember, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it!


I hope you had a great time!

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Our last trip was August 2019 so I will have lots of firsts in July too. Looking forward to reading!

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I’m excited to write it! It’s taking a while because I need to find time to write, lol. Maybe, I’ll do each day in a separate post.


That usually works better anyway, it’s easier for people to read.

I think you’re right. I think I may also list all the “firsts” at the bottom of each day of the report.


Yes, please! And don’t be shy to break it even into smaller pieces! :slight_smile:

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Well, here we go! A little background about this trip.
I hadn’t been to UOR (or anywhere out of town) since December 2019. With COVID, my family and I have been pretty cautious, and were honestly pretty nervous to go anywhere. I have in the past gone mostly during the springtime, or in December due to nice weather.

The idea for this trip came about spontaneously actually. Some time in the middle of December we jokingly tossed around the idea of going either in January or February. Before I knew it, I was looking at flight costs, and hotel costs—which weren’t cheap, but reasonable for us for a few days. When I was planning, originally, it was going to be me and two adult siblings (all of which have gone before), but we included two close friends. They’ve never been, and are very go with the flow people. They agreed that I could plan the whole thing, and they’ll follow wherever, and eat whatever. For all of us, this was just a get away sort of trip, and what was important that we went on stuff, but also relaxed if we felt tired.

I was very excited because the five of us are a fun group, and we all get along really well. To those who’ve gone before, it was important that we go on Velocicoaster (never ridden before), and Hagrid (we rode once last time), and to ride our favorite rides. To the others, it was just to experience what we wanted to ride (they go on anything), and to be on vacation.

So, between all of our schedules, we thought a Wednesday to Sunday would be best. We looked at the prices for every week in January and February, and decided on January 19th-23rd would be good price-wise for us. Normally, I stay at Cabana Bay, but wanted to try something new, and booked Endless Summer Dockside. We got two rooms instead of a suite so we could have our own space.

We had been a little nervous leading up to the trip because we all knew we’d have to cancel if we get sick. We had all gotten the third vaccine at this point, and all wore masks everywhere, but it’s still that voice in the back of your head that makes you worry “what if”. Right before we went, they had made masks mandatory indoors again at UOR, and honestly, that made me relax a bit. The week of, we got super excited, and were ready for this!

Stay tuned for more!


Arrival Day:

The day had finally come, and we were all pretty excited! All of us had tested ourselves the day before just to be sure, and our bags were packed. Looking at the weather a few days before, we knew we wouldn’t be having summer or spring-like weather, but we were prepared with long pants, hoodies, and our fall jackets.

We didn’t end up having the same flight as our friends. Their flight arrived at MCO around 2:30, and ours arrived around 5:00. Check in at southwest and TSA went through really fast, and we had arrived early predicting that we’d have love waits. We now had about an hour before boarding started, we got something to eat, and coffee. At the airport, and on the entire flight, we wore our masks, except when we ate, and we didn’t see anyone without masks in the airport (except when they were eating) or on the flight. It calmed me seeing that to be honest after stories we’ve been hearing on the news.

Our flight arrived at MCO 15 minutes early, and we had arrived by the baggage claim around 5:15. We were so happy to be there, and we took pictures by the 50th anniversary golden teacup, looked in the stores, and got our bags.

Our friends arrived earlier, and took an Uber or Lyft to the hotel. They checked in, and hung out in the hotel until we arrived. We took a taxi, which was super easy, and there was no line. We arrived about 20 minutes later.

We arrived at the hotel, and met up with our friends. We ended up with rooms on the main floor right next to the lobby—we were very happy with the location because it was right next to the food area, Starbucks, and bus area.

We were so used to Cabana Bay, and this was a new experience for us. We were happy to be here. The people were very friendly, the check in was fast and easy, it was clean, and just like CB, never waited more than 5 minutes for buses.

Having eaten already, we were a little hungry, but didn’t want to go eat at a restaurant because we knew we wanted to be hungry enough for dessert on the City Walk. We decided to try the food in the food court, to compare with the Bayliner Diner (which we love at CB), and although the offerings were different, we weren’t disappointed. Everyone chose something different, and we liked what we got. Here they had pizzas, burgers, salads, and chicken and waffles. The Bayliner has these, but also pasta, a specials of the day booth at dinner time—usually a chicken dish, beef medallions, fish, etc. We like the BD, and make it a point to stop for dinner once on the trip because everyone can pick something, and the atmosphere is just fun and uplifting. After a long day at the parks, it feels like it’s not a bad choice especially if we’re staying there.

The one at Dockside was good too, but seemed to cater to families because the foods were mostly things kids would eat. We did eat here for breakfast every morning, but this was our only dinner experience.

Before we went to City Walk, we all decided to get our jackets, and good thing because the temperature dropped to mid sixties, and it was pretty chilly while we were on the City Walk! We hopped on a bus after dinner—the only ones in line, and on the bus. The bus ride from Surfside and Dockside resorts are actually shorter and closer to and from City Walk and Cabana Bay, and Cabana Bay is a pretty short ride!

We arrived, went through security, and walked around, stopping for pictures, looking in the stores. I think it was close to 9:00 when we got through security? The City Walk was pretty empty (not empty, empty, but not crowded at all) and made it super easy to take a bunch of pictures without other people in them! For dessert, we decided that we wanted to get shakes to start our first vacation treat, and headed to The Chocolate Emporium! Outside, we met The lady and Robot from the restaurant, and they took selfies from a social distance. They were wearing masks, too!

We ended up with two shakes—The Mint Cookies and Cream (a first time for us) and a Chocolate x5 (our favorite)! Both did not disappoint! They had a balcony with a full blast outdoor heater, but we didn’t want our shakes to melt, and the restaurant was completely empty. So, we sat at a table that was right next to the open door. We all had a blast talking, and planning for the next day, asking me what we needed to do, etc. Originally, I wanted to start at IOA really early to make sure some time on the trip we rode Velocicoaster and Hagrid, but decided to take it slow, relax, and enjoy US. On all my trips, I am a go, go, go person, and this time, I just wanted to relax as we went through the parks, and enjoy things I usually miss. Plus, we had PTP, and could hop to the other park if we needed to, and IOA had early entry our entire trip. The parks opened at 9:00 to regular crowds at both parks.

We left, and looked in a few more shops before calling it a night. By the time we were back in the rooms, it was close to midnight, and we agreed to meet for breakfast around 8:00, and hopefully be in the parks around 9:15/9:30

Stay tuned for our first day!


Day One: Universal Studios!

Yay, we were super excited for our first park day! We met up for breakfast, and everyone got whatever they wanted to eat. I headed over to the front seat to see if they could print our tickets. They told me they could not, I think it was because they were from UT, and I didn’t have the option to print at home, only the QR codes. However, they said we could either use the QR codes on our phones, and at guest services inside the park, they could print them or, visit the guest services outside of the park. We ended up doing the first option.

I headed into the Starbucks line to get coffee for us, and my group picked up my food while I was doing that. The line looked really long, but took about ten/fifteen minutes to place and pickup the order. Having the Starbucks that we used right in the lobby was a first for me. Normally, at Cabana Bay, we eat breakfast at the Bayliner, and the seating area has doors right by the bus stop. To go to that Starbucks means I have to backtrack a little bit, and go back to those doors, so we usually get Starbucks right on the City Walk, or the one in Universal Studios.

I went back to the group, and we ate and drank coffee until we were all ready. When we stepped outside it was 9:10. We were a little behind my intended time, but no worries! The weather was sunny and a beautiful 73 degrees! We walked to the bus stop with people in line, when two buses pulled up. We walked right in, and each had a seat. Everyone (adults and children) were wearing masks correctly.

We arrived to the security, and although there were a lot of people, we went to the shortest line, and were on our way by 9:25. There were a lot of people, but not as crowded as normal. When we got to the US gate, we chose the shortest line, and we had to take our fingerprints. We were through the gates by 9:45.

I had been using the Universal app the entire time to help guide where we wanted to go, and to pretty much see if things were worth the wait at that time. A few days before, I had seen that the Hogwarts Express was down, but didn’t think anything of it. Today, on the app it showed it was down again. When I asked a team member, they said it would probably be up the following weekend. I was bummed because a) I wanted to ride it and b) I paid for park to park when one of the main reasons for doing so was to ride it. The last time I went, I didn’t buy park to park, and just stayed at the park I chose each day.

We rode Minions with a posted 20 minute wait, and then, the group wanted to ride RRR. That ride made me sick the last few times, so they went ahead, and I went to guest services. The line seemed long, but it’s just because the building has little space inside, so the line is outside. I went in, explaining that I had originally come in to get printed tickets, but I saw that Hogwarts Express was closed, and was upset because I paid for the park to park tickets. The lady I spoke with was explaining that HE should be looked at as attraction, it’s not the only way to go back and forth. I told her I understand, but I was still upset. She said she would gladly refund and change our tickets if that’s what we wanted. I spoke to them, and we decided to keep them the way they were.

I also asked about upgrading my ticket to a seasonal pass, and found out it was only something like $25/$35 dollars—I can’t remember off the top of my head, so I did! It was another first for me, I was pretty excited! I asked if they wanted to upgrade, could they come later? She said yes, up until the last day of they chose to.

The line for RRR was like 10 minutes, and they rode twice. I hung out by the theater area, people watching, and taking it all in. The weather was gorgeous!

They caught up to me, and we headed to Jimmy Fallon where we took a selfie with Hashtag, and went inside with no wait. I know the ride doesn’t get much love, but we really like it.

After, we headed to Transformers, and the wait was posted 20 minutes. We waited about 25 because it broke down for a few minutes before our turn. Every few minutes, they would announce to wear your mask, and everyone I saw in line did. They were also aware of giving space between groups, I didn’t feel like they were too close.

After, we walked around the Mummy area (it had just closed a few days before), took a bunch of pictures, and saw The Blues Brothers show on the street.

We decided we were getting hungry, and got Richter’s. I got us a table outside right on the deck, and the view was spectacular. You could pretty much see the whole park (minus Diagon Alley) from there, and nobody else was around. There was even a street show happening that we could see from right there!

We took a picture with the Jaws shark, and I checked out the app to see what wait times were like. FatF was 45 min., Gringotts was 60 min., Men in Black was 20, and Simpsons was 25. Men in Black it is! We rode twice, then, headed to Simpsons, which was now 15 min., and Men in Black was now 30. We met Krusty, and wanted to make the 3:00 Horror and Make-Up show.

We headed there, and on the way saw the parade that had I think Despicable Me, Secret Life of Pets, etc. We made it in around 2:45. After the show, I wanted to see if we could catch the Bourne show, which we have never done. We made it to the doors just to see them close, but the next show was in minutes.

We decided while we wait, we wanted to share a Homer donut, and walked back to Lard Lads. On the way, we met Beetlejuice, Homer, and Bart. We got the donut, and ate as we walked back to see Bourne. I have never seen any of the movies, but was looking forward to sitting and enjoying the show.

We were all blown away—it was one of the best shows I have ever seen, and I enjoyed every minute! If you have the chance, I highly recommend it.

After we headed to ET with a 20 minute wait. There was no preshow, and we were able to sit in the front—I got the ET seat. After, I rode it again, and it was just as magical the second time. That ride has a sentimental value to me, and I’ll ride it every time I visit. We stopped to get some

Ever since we came into the park, I used the park app to kind of lead the way knowing that at certain times of the day, certain rides to avoid. Gringotts all day had a wait time of 60-70 minutes, which is pretty much why we did everything else first. Now, we we’re headed to Diagon Alley. We stopped by Grimmauld Place to visit Kreacher, and stopped by the Knight Bus, and it was 5:45. Gringotts now showed a wait of 20 minutes. We were able to ride twice, and when we got out, it was close to 7:00 (park close), but Diagon Alley was empty. We got Florean Fortesque’s, and just enjoyed being there. This is my absolute favorite time to visit Diagon Alley! We were able to do some spells, and get some nice pictures!

We were so tired, but we felt accomplished! We did so much, and it really was at relaxed pace. Now, we were trying to decide what we wanted to eat knowing sometime on the trip we wanted to eat at Margaritaville and possibly Cowfish or Big Fire. We didn’t make a reservation, and Margaritaville had a private event, Cowfish had an hour wait, and Big Fire had an opening at 9:45. We were tired and hungry, but not starving, and a huge dinner wouldn’t really be worth it today.

We decided to head to Cabana Bay to show our friends, and have dinner there. It was the best choice for us. They had some daily specials, and we each ordered something from it—half a jerk chicken with rice and veggies, beef medallions with mashed potatoes and veggies, and a light creamy Alfredo ziti with grilled chicken. All was really good, and we just hung around for a little bit. We planned the next day, which was going to be IOA, and talked about the highlights of today.

When we finished, we had to take the CB bus back to City Walk to take the Dockside bus back to the hotel. It was super easy, and we were back at the hotel pretty quick—there were buses waiting with no lines at each stop. By now, the weather was in the 60s, and we were happy to be headed back to our rooms. Stay tuned for our next park day!


Loving your trip report so far. Would love to see pictures of the parks if you feel like posting some :grin:


Thank you!! I’ll see what I can do!