Large family looking for best value

I could use some liner assistance, as this will be my family’s first trip to UOR after many to WDW and other amusement parks.

Our family consists of myself and a wheelchair-using DW. There are six children aged 12 to 27 who will be meeting us in Orlando.

Originally, we were looking to do a 4 day trip to UOR, but with the current 3+2 tickets, we can do 5 days at UOR instead. We have two options of dates - Late Aug / early Sept (5 days preceding Labor Day) or early October (long weekend around the first full weekend). We’re not into Halloween haunt, so I figure that late August is likely to have fewer crowds.

Currently, I believe our best value is renting a VRBO off-site for around $1000-1200 (total), one Preferred AP, and seven 15% off discount tickets (one for wheelchair user, and six for Preferred AP purchaser). Renting a van would maximize free parking, and we usually have to do that anyway to get the wheelchair around.

With Disney, it used to be a no-brainer to stay in resorts due to free transportation to and from the airport and the wheelchair accessibility. With Universal, it doesn’t seem so straightforward.

Any suggestions on aspects of a Universal trip I might be missing? My family doesn’t have many early risers, so early park admission is lost on them. They love Harry Potter and are likely to spend a vast majority of the time in those areas no matter how many days we are at the park.

I am not against spending extra money for the trip to upgrade the experience, although it feels like 5 days is probably overkill already. What are your best ‘bang for the buck’ suggestions you recommend for large groups? We could do multiple hotel rooms instead of a VRBO, but I didn’t see the big draw at UOR unless we all wanted express passes, which feels unnecessary for a 5 day trip with relatively low crowds.

Any insight / comments are appreciated!

We definitely prefer VRBO. The drive to the parks is annoying in the morning…but we love all being in the same house, having private pool and hot tub, full kitchen and laundry, etc. Saves a lot of money…and it is easier to have times together back at the house than staying on property.

Having said that, we are doing 8 nights at UOR staying at Dockside this May (three separate rooms). It definitely costs more, but there are some reasons we are going this route this time. Next time (whenever that is) we will go back to renting a house.

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I would price out the discount vs buying from an authorized reseller. Are tickets at the gate still $20 higher than what you can buy online? The discount is off the gate price so keep that in mind.

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We are a large family and managed UOR last May with a rental. My one caution is be mindful of the distance from the park.
I’d be willing to pay a little more per night to be closer next time. It would have been well worth another $200 ($30 a night more).

(We stayed one night in property. Sort of.)


I’m excited to hear you’re going to UOR!! I can’t help with the off-site / large family stuff as I have no experience.

However, I can fully help with most on-site hotel and ticket purchasing questions.

I would definitely recommend the Aug. / early Sept. dates you’ve chosen for a few reasons…(I’ll elaborate if requested)

I’m a big fan of the Buy 3 get 2 free sales. You’ll be surprised that you really can fill 5 days with stuff all over Universal. Plus, the night life at CityWalk is fun even for younger people. It made my DD go “Whoa” at night to see a “Vegas / Big City” feel of neon, music and people.

Let us know if there’s anything else we can do to assist!