Help Me Plan a Universal Trip, Please!

Vactioners: Me (53), DH (48), DGD (15)

I’ve been once in 1998, DGD has been once Fall 2019, and DH has never been.

Dates: Late May/Early June

Transportations: Driving

Tickets: The buy 2/get 3 free deal.

Onsite? Offsite? This is really where I’m thrown off. Not sure what’s best.

I’m thinking with 5 days, I won’t need the early entry or the Express Pass?

Early Entry and Express are always nice to have.

What’s your budget looking like? Will you want to be there during the week or stay over a long weekend?


Let’s pretend budget isn’t an issue but wanting a nice hotel/resort is. But I’m also frugal and want the best deal. At Disney, for example, I prefer to stay at Wyndham Bonnet Creek for the space and proximity. It’s less expensive than Disney hotels but more expensive than other places not in the bubble.

Also wanting to minimize line times now that I think about it.

Also, I dont’ need to shove those 5 days one after the other. I would like some days off in there.

Check out the pricing for Royal Pacific Resort, it offers Express and is usually the least expensive of that tier of resort. Rooms are a decent size, recently remodeled resort, good pool, within walking distance to CityWalk/IOA/USF. You’ll get early entry and Express to use if you need it. Depending on your dates I’ve seen prices in the low $220s for the resort.

Second choice would be Cabana Bay, it’s cheaper, doesn’t have Express, and is farther away. BUT it is cheaper, offers a suite option, and offers one of the most robust resort experiences in Orlando (two pools, lazy river, nighttime movies, bowling alley, etc).


Thank you very much!

One option to consider, price out. Get annual passes. We’ve done two trips this year and our passes have gotten us early entry. Get at least one pass at the Preferred level and you don’t pay for parking. When we went the first time, they weren’t offering a deal, and a 4-day ticket was the same price was a annual pass.

Then stay at the Drury Inn, which includes free hot breakfast AND dinner and three alcoholic drinks. The drive was easy, and didn’t require getting on the highway. We always ate a nice restaurant meal mid-day to relax and soak up AC.

I don’t think you’ll need express passes with 5 days. But if you decide you do after you are there, make a one night reservation at one of the preferred hotels mid-stay so that you get the use of two full days of express passes. Late-May/Early June might be busy.

There are many things to do that don’t use Express Passes. The theming in the Harry Potter areas are awesome! I enjoy admiring the Suessland too. Hagrid’s also doesn’t use Express Pass and probably won’t change before then.

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Thank you!

Another bit of data.

Some (maybe all) travel agents can get you early entry if you buy the tickets through them. I’m on a Universal planning facebook page and the travel agents that run that can do that. I can’t verify from personal experience since I ended up buying our passes at Sam’s Club.

I consider the early entry a worthwhile thing. The first hour will be mostly walk-in. And, when the park officially opens you’ll be in the back of the park, because you’ll be in Harry Potter land. I don’t need to explain to a liner how nice that is.

For example, when we were there the first time (pre-covid), we’d do Minions first because it is so cheering. Then we go to Gringhott’s and ride it twice as a family. Then I’d ride it twice more as a single rider before the park opened. If it is the other park, you get first crack at Hagrid’s.

Something else to consider since you are driving. The onsite hotels will charge you for parking. $25-30, I forget. Most of the offsite ones won’t. Drury didn’t.

p.s. I’ll be planning too. I mentioned to the family that our passes were extended another two months. DH said, why don’t we go early next year since our Disney trip was postponed.


Another question: If I buy the special tickets right now for buy 2 days get 3 free and don’t go before the deadline, will the 2 day part of the ticket still be valid?

I get I would lose the 3 free days after August 31st, 2021, but I’m wondering if I would retain the original 2 day pass for future use.

I’d ask them about that. Although, I wouldn’t buy it if I weren’t pretty certain it could be used.

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