I'm planning my first trip to UOR for late August 2017. It is for myself and DDs 10 & 8. When should I look to book the hotel? Was planning on 4 full parks days, is this plenty? Big Harry Potter fans!
I'm heading to WDW in August of 2017 and already have my hotel booked, sooner is better in my opinion. Four days is great! (I'm a HP nerd myself, so I could do two days easily just in the Harry Potter Experience of both parks with no problems). My DD (15) and I went this past February to Universal and had three days in the parks. It was a little crowded, so I wished I had about one more full day to really explore (and a less cranky teenager in the morning, but that's a whole other issue!)- though it was my FIRST time to Universal since the HP went in (her second). Have fun!
I booked our room for Aug 2016 in Sept 2015. And 4 days is perfect in my opinion, that's what we always do.
I book ASAP I have used Hotels.com and called the hotel directly. That way I have something locked in. If you do a room only (which I suggest) you can call back and change as rates change in your favor. For Universal - I would certainly buy everything separate and at a site that offers the best deal with flexibility.
Any suggestions on booking, is it best to book directly through US, or are online realtors better?
Try both. The one thing with universal is that there is NO cost benefit for booking a package. So I book the best prices.
I ended up booking directly through LOWES - but very easily could have done it via Hotels / expedia etc. If you are splitting your stay between US and WDW - check the days of week. I switched our time at US to the beginning of our trip as I saved several hundred dollars by doing so. Also know that the longer you stay - the lower the average cost is per night. So 3 nights total may be just a bit more than 2 nights. So just play around with it.
If you are able to stay at one of the delux - DO IT. The front of the line pass is WELL WORTH IT!!! Also look at a broker to get your park tickets - I got mine via Undercover Tourist. Saved $$ and no problems.