Please Evaluate Universal First Timer Plans

Any hints, tips, or pointers gratefully appreciated. We are an extended family group of 9 possibly 10 in mid-July. My three grandchildren will be 9, 6, and 5 and the rest are adults. One of our party will have a mobility scooter. Yes, it will be hot. We’re from the humid part of Texas, will be armed with water bottles, and we’ve been to Florida and Puerto Rico many times in July and August. Will be staying off site at a friend’s house where we’ll enjoy a full kitchen and private pool.

Are there any hints other than military discount tickets for Universal for veterans in the parks? Have I been correctly informed tap water will be easily available in the park quick service restaurants? If we have wide mouth bottles will they give us some ice?

DAY 1 - All things Harry Potter starting on the London / Diagon Alley side. Hoping to fit in lunch at the Three Broomsticks, a dinnertime feast at The Leaky Cauldron, and my personal goal is a tour of the Harry Potter World drinks alcoholic and non. Will stay for the light show at the castle. Basically took the one day touring plan for each of the parks, removed everything not HP, and called that our plan for this day.

DAY 2 - Universal Islands Of Adventure mainly for the Spiderman / Marvel themed items, but will also make the rounds of everything except Harry Potter. Pretty much took the touring plan for a day at Islands of Adventure, removed all the Harry Potter, doubled up on the Spiderman ride, and called it a plan. Have booked the Marvel character dinner for our evening entertainment. I have no particular dog in this fight but do want to know can I spring for Universal Express Unlimited for one adult and three grandchildren and expect them to all be able to ride the majority of the rides their hearts desire if it turns out as crazy busy as I expect?

DAY 3 - Start with everything not Harry Potter in Universal Studios. Probably at least catch a Beadle the Bard story we haven’t heard in Harry Potter. May leave for a leisurely air-conditioned dinner back at our digs especially if the park is very crowded.

DAY 4 - Probably go over and do whatever with the whole group early, then leave with the grandchildren around early afternoon to finish the day out swimming in the pool, watching movies, and hanging out. There will be grilling by the pool involved.

Other than this we will be doing a few days in Disney both pre- and post- Universal. I’ve got a gallon of sunscreen and wide mouth water bottles for everyone. We will be taking some food into the park with us partly to save money and partly due to a member of our group having been diagnosed with celiacs recently. When in doubt and all that. Since we have one member who requires a mobility scooter we have a see through clear backpack type container that locks on the front over the handlebars . It secures shut as well. We will be taking it with us to carry the food, rolled up water bottles when not in use, sunscreen for re-applications, rain ponchos, and zip baggies for our phones when we ride water rides. I’m sure if someone REALLY wanted to they could get into it, but figure if they need our cheap ponchos and packet of broccoli and ranch dip that bad they’re welcome to it. The main thing is it is clear for security.

Any other items we’ll wish we’d taken?

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You can get ice from the coca cola freestyle machines but not water without an active cup. Might be a good place to fill up on ice though.

Thanks! I had read you could get water from the freestyle machines without a cup but not ice. Guess they got it backwards or it changed as that was a blog post from back when they first went in, though.