Let’s try this again...questions

I posted this in the universal thread but didn’t get any responses so I thought I’d try over here. Thanks!

We are planning a surprise trip to Universal for our kids Christmas present (ds12, ds9, ds7, and dd4). We have been before and the boys all love it. We leave Christmas day evening and will be there until the 31st (2 of the kids go back with their mom on the 30th and we are considering popping over to disney for one day at MK). Right now we are staying at cabana bay 12/25 to 12/28 and Royal Pacific 12/28 to 12/29 (to take advantage of express pass) and then to the drury inn for the last two nights. I have some questions…

We’ve never been to orlando at Christmas time. Are the crowds comparable to prime summer time? Will it be warm enough to swim?

When transfering from cabana to royal will they transfer our luggage for us?

Grocery delivery at Cabana…I’ve only even done this at WDW. Does it work the same? What service do we use? We have Amazon prime so I’m considering using prime now…

Is it worth it to go to MK for one day? I know it will be crazy but something for the youngest (although we are going with her in May). I’ve never seen disney decorated for Christmas. I wanted to do the MVMCP but it ends before the 30th.

Thanks for any and all help!!!

Personally, you couldn’t pay me to go to Disney during that time period. I’ve done it once. Never again. As such, I just think it would be better to do a separate Disney trip in the future at a time you can better enjoy it. (Sounds like you’re going back in May, anyhow.)

While that week is a CL 10…not all CL 10s are created equal. The CL 10s of summer generally aren’t as bad as the CLs of Christmas week. Sometimes the parks even have to close the gates to stop allowing guests into the parks during that week. (It happened the day we were there…fortunately we were already in MK before they closed the gates.)

It is an awful lot of money to pay for such an experience. :slight_smile:

Have I dissuaded you? No? Okay. In such a case, you should be able to swim. Pools are heated. But evening temperatures can drop to be quite cool, so if you swim in the evenings, make sure you have something to wrap yourself in for your trip back to your room!

Can’t answer the other questions, since I haven’t stayed on property at Universal.


I’ve been to Florida twice in Dec, once was chilly, too cold to sunbathe, and the other was gorgeous, we regularly ate dinner in our swimming costumes. It will definitely be warm enough to swim, but who knows about the lounging. Christmas/NY is the busiest time at Disney, we were there in the lead up and by the 22nd the crowds were so bad we were happy to be leaving. It’s still doable but go prepared. However I wouldn’t just go for 1 day as it makes the price so high. Maybe do something else instead, especially as you are visiting Disney in May. 3 hotels over a week is quite a bit? You’ll need to transfer your own luggage between Universal hotels.

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I’m in the “you couldn’t pay me to go to the MK Christmas week” camp. I love seeing it decorated for Christmas, which is why I go in Nov or the first 2 weeks in Dec.

I can’t help with the Universal questions, as I’ve not stayed on property there.

There is a lot of individual tolerance in the concept of “warm enough to swim”. As others have said, the pools are heated - it depends on the air temperature and “what you can take”. Our last trip was in mid Nov, and 6 of the 7 days were in the mid to upper 70s; I could have easily gone swimming if I had wanted to. One day in the middle never saw 60, was windy, and we had to buy hoodies in EP to keep from freezing. On a previous trip I was there mid Jan and it was shorts and t-shirts the whole time; the week before people were wearing heavy coats, hats, and gloves because it never got above 50… So, the weather will be a wild card (or maybe a crap shoot). As a current example, this past week in Pensacola, we had a day-time high of 80, and 12 hours later an overnight low of 48. The following day never saw 60, but the day after that it was back up to the high 70s. Right now it’s 70. Tomorrow’s predicted high is 60, and for Wednesday, 50 (with an overnight low of 40).


Thanks! Sounds like Disney is a no go. We will be getting AP’s for universal so I think we will just plan to go back to Universal that day and let the kids take charge and save the money. I worry about changing hotels but feel like a Friday overnight at Royal Pacific to get the express pass makes the most sense. We love staying at Drury’s, it saves us so much on food for the 6 of us to have breakfast and if we are back at the hotel in time then we make dinner out of the kickback food. I read that we could uber from Cabana Bay to Royal Pacific. At this time, the plan is to send husband and oldest with the luggage to Royal Pacific earlier morning Friday so they can pick up the room keys and then I will meet them at the gate with the rest of the kids. Hopefully it will work out.

So it is a play it by ear on the weather…packing for this is going to be interesting. Thanks!

I am not sure this works anymore. The express pass used to be a separate piece of paper, and you could get you picture taken at the hotel or at the parks. Now there is no separate express pass, it is just your room key. I think the picture has to be taken at the hotel? I cannot remember for sure, so hopefully someone who has been more recently than April (or whose memory is not failing them right now) will chime in. If I were you I would call, you don’t want to find out that morning that all of you have to be at the hotel to get express set up.


I don’t think they took our photo at Hard Rock when we got our room keys/express passes in August. I’m pretty sure the kids never even went near the front desk, just my DH and I.

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Did they just take the picture on the first ride you used express for? I am usually very good with details, but I cannot remember where our picture was taken.

I believe the facial recognition is done in the express pass queue and is set the first time through? That is the only time I remember any photo?

They took our picture at several, but not all of the rides. I found it rather confusing because sometimes when they had us stand in front of the camera, you could see that a previous photo came up and other times nothing. I have no idea how they were keeping track of if we were who we were supposed to be!

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