Oh - this would be very welcome.
That’s great. Thank you.
Did you “hop” do you recall?
@shawthorne44 - the problem with “offsite” and USO is that it isn’t as close to all the rentals that WDW is. I have to figure in travel time…
The Hogwart’s train goes between the two parks so if you decide to ride that train, you are “hopping”. That said, as a non-Harry Potter fan, I did not enjoy that ride. Since your family is also non-Potter fans, I would not let that ride drive any decisions. The Forbidden Journey ride and the Gringott’s Coaster, however, are a ton on fun. I have not been to UO since Hagrid’s opened.
We did “hop”, however, and spent about 1.5 days at each park.
yeah - that is the part I’m trying to figure out. If I need two days for one and one for the other, or if I would best be served with hoppers.
I would like to try Volcano Bay - though I am quite certain I will not keep the names of the water slides straight.
I think two days at each part and a water park day would be too much.
If I did the traveling homeschoolers group in November I would get five day tickets with all three parks for less than $200. I wish I didn’t know that, bc I can’t go in November, but that is what I am comparing the prices to.
Based on what you’ve said so far, here are my personalized recommendations:
- Buy a 4-day 3-park park-to-park (hopper) ticket
- Do 1 day at the Volcano Bay
- 3 days total at USF and IOA
- Stay offsite the whole time unless you want to experience the Cabana Bay theming. You won’t “need” early entry but if you want it that would be another reason
- I would NOT get express passes because with 3 days, you will have plenty of time to explore everything.
- Try to go before the last week of May - the earlier the better, and not around a holiday.
- Use the 5th day (or more) at Sea World, Discovery Cove, etc.
We’ve only been to Universal FL once, in 2012, as part of our big FL trip. The kids were big HP fans. I asked if they wanted to go to Universal Studio also or just the IOA. They looked at the maps and said they wanted to go to just IOA. We think we could have left IOA by 3 pm or so because we were done.
We stayed at a hotel with early entry (1 hour early, I think). It was pitch dark when we arrived at the parking lot. There were hardly any cars around. We made our way to the gate and we were like the 3rd people in line. (The point being that people then did not RD Universal like they did WDW!) I think there were only 3 HP rides in IOA back then. In that early hour, we rode each HP ride 2x. And we rode Forbidden Journey and Dragon Challenge (replaced now) another time before park opening. Harry Potterland was super crowded with the little stores and narrow streets. But it felt like an English town!
We stayed like 3 hours in Harry Potterland. As we were walking around, the kids noticed another roller coaster and wanted to ride it but it was in Universal ! I asked the kids if they wanted to upgrade to go over to Universal and they said “No”. Then, we went to ride Hulk. I was done after 2 rides. The kids went on Hulk like a dozen times because there was hardly a line! We went on a few other rides, one time each and we were essentially done.
Based on reading about others’ experiences, I think I would buy a 3 day ticket for the parks and maybe an extra day for Volcano Bay, if we were going in the near future to Universal.
I interestingly concluded along similar lines even though I haven’t been to Universal since 2012! I guess I digest all of your experiences well.
With park-to-park can we do morning at VB and PM at IOA or USO? Or vice versa?
YES you can!
I need to figure out 100% when DD17 may have graduation ceremony and if there are any proms the girls might be hoping to attend ASAP.
I’ve reached out to a few vacation rentals. I’d love to be there over Mother’s Day, but the week prior and leaving on Mother’s Day would work, too.
Bought my Universal TP subscription today - so now I’m locked in to going.
If I buy a four day pass, do I have to use four consecutive days.
(Thank you for not pointing out that I could find all this if I read every link in and out… )
It’s 4 days within a 7-day window. (The window varies based on number of days. I think 2 days is within a 5-day window, for example.)
Awesome. Thank you.
Hmmm. So I could do hotel up front and actually just enjoy the resort and/or city walk for arrival day and then check out next AM and do a park before heading to rental…
You are in good hands here, don’t stress!
That’s a random question! But that would be correct.
And yes, when you visit UOR on any given day, you need the option to jump to the other park because they are not as big as the WDW parks.
And also like Disneyland. The dry parks are next to each other. So, getting back and forth is easy. We took the train a couple of times just for ice cream.
Also, I don’t know if you need to love HP to enjoy the theming. Does anyone love Avatar?
I’d say 4 days just for the dry parks, but then daughter loved loved loved doing the wand locations. So a normal family could probably do 3 for the dry parks.
I haven’t been to Discovery Cove, but it does look very interesting.
UOR resorts do sometimes show up on Hotwire, but much rarer than Disney deals (when there are any) and in general they are not deeply discounted deals at all. Maybe a few extra dollars shaved off.
Also sometimes on Priceline Express, but they haven’t had ANY real deals this year at all, so that site is kinda DOA right now.
Probably worth checking once in awhile, but you just want to make sure the discount is something well more than 11% off the non-hidden deal price or it is not worth it. (I tend to want the hidden deal discount to be 20% or above or it is not worth the non-refundableness to me.)
My Hotwire matcher has a UOR tab on it to help you identify resorts.
When we booked our trip last year to stay at Surfside, the CHEAPEST deal I could find anywhere was booking directly from UOR’s website, which I was surprised by.
I run UOR searches at regular intervals, but nowhere near as often as Disney areas since there just weren’t enough deals for me to expend cycles on it.
So, I’m sure I’ve missed some good ones at Hotwire - But it does seem like the best UOR resort deals do come from directly from them!
If you do end up staying at Cabana Bay, look into an AP discount. If one person in your party gets an AP, you qualify for the discount for all rooms booked by that person. And an AP is not much more than a 4-day ticket, especially if you don’t care about blockout days for the seasonal AP.
Finding the AP discount is the biggest challenge. It’s not listed prominently and it is not always available. You have to keep checking and it usually comes out about 3 months in advance or so. Book a room at the regular rate and then when the discount comes out, book new rooms and cancel the rack rate rooms.