First timer Qs

We are planning a first trip to Universal in December for 3 days. And I have a few questions…

  1. We are a family of 5 and looking at the different hotels I am unsure what would be the best fit for us. Going between HRH regular 2 QB with roll away or CB family suite (would lose our EP perk though)
  2. Will we even really use EP if we are going early December with CL at 2, 3, and 4 on the three days we will be there?
  3. If we have 3 days, should we spend all 3 in US and IOA (big HP fans and will have park to park passes) or should we spend a day at VB? We will take a short trip to WDW prior and may go to typhoon lagoon there to get in our water park fix (less expensive than VB and also not sure how much time we will spend in water parks since it is Dec and may be colder? that time of year we may be better off to just do short stints in resort pools, I read you can pool hop at Universal?)
    Thanks for any input!

I’d say it depends on your family’s tolerance for lines and if everyone is willing to be there at rope drop/ early entry. Even with those crowd levels, you’re still likely to get some 30-45 minute waits at some attractions. For my family, we had EP the first time we went, so my (now) teenage boys are spoiled and won’t do it any other way. You may not need it, but it makes touring the park so much easier.

We just came back from a trip in mid-January and had a BLAST at VB… best day of the trip! The lines were non-existent, the weather wasn’t too bad, and we were able to do just about everything we wanted by noon. We left at 2:00, went back to the hotel to change, and then went to USF until close to hit a few of our favorites. I’d highly recommend giving it a go, at least for half a day.

Yes, not only can you pool hop, it’s encouraged!

As you get closer to your trip and start planning, don’t hesitate to come back with questions… we’re all glad to help!

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EP is so worth it even on less crowded days. You will accomplish so much more with EP and be able to ride things multiples times if you want. We are also a family of 5 and have stayed at the HRH multiple times and felt we had adequate space.

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  1. As others have said, I adore EP and am totally spoiled by it. If you CAN do it, I say do it. HRH will be comfortable!

  2. I have never been to VB, so I can’t comment on that, but I can say this. I am a crazy, neurotic, super HP nerd and would live in Diagon Alley if they would let me bring in a cot. That being said, if you are big HP fans and want to be able to soak up every bit of HP you can get and not miss a single thing, you will need at least a full day to do that. If you are planning on picking and choosing other rides you want to hit throughout the parks, then a day at VB is doable. If you want to be able to hit most of the other things in the parks and totally geek out on HP, then you may want to consider skipping VB. (Disclaimer: my family are huge water park buffs, but we feel that if we travel all the way to Disney or Universal, we want to do the theme parks. We can do water parks at all kinds of other places. That is the mindset I work from, so I may not be the best source for that part of your question.)

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Thank you for all of your replies! I saw a deal on Expedia for Portfino Bay (less than HRH) so booked it! It looks like we will have more room for the 5 of us and I do think we will want the EP even on lower crowd days.
We will arrive and have the first day to hang out and explore the resort. Then we will plan on 3 day 3 park to park passes. So I am thinking first 2 days exploring between USF and IOA and then last day VB and then when done plan to go back to finish anything we missed.


You will love PB. It is a beautiful resort. It’s my favorite hotel at Universal (my kids like HRH). We think the rooms are enough space for 5 people. The main pool is great. Spending your arrival day at the resort is a fabulous idea. They a great gelato shop and Sal’s makes good pizza.

My vote is for Portafino. It is wonderful and the staff is fantastic. The rooms are HUGE and you need to pack a lunch to get across the bathroom (perhaps eating lunch and being the bathroom isn’t a good deal)

We have 4 people (2 kids). However as my son had a cold - we got a cot. The room was large enough that we didn’t even “notice” the cot. So I would think that 5 people could fit rather well. Depending on the need for “bathroom time” - that could cause an issue.

You also get EP.
YES YES YES - EP is a wonderful perk and I would think is great to have ANY TIME of the year. We did MIB 4 times in a row and saw the same people waiting in the “regular” line. So if you can - go for the resort with EP.

Plus we just “relaxed” at Portafino. We totally detoxed. The resort was relaxed and fun. We had dinner at the pool one evening and it was so nice. Food was served on nice dinner wear. Drinks were in plastic cups for obvious reasons. But it was SOO relaxing.