RD USF Trip Report (12 Apr 2021) Monday

Monday was our first full day at Universal (Predicted CL 9). To read our first partial day go here. To read the next day at IOA, go here.

Actors: Husband (me), Wife, Son (13), Daughter (7), Son’s friend

I woke up early to check us into Portofino Bay (for 2 full days of UEPs for the five of us). I checked in at 0620 for a non EA day at USF (PO at 0900). The plan was to be one of the first at the taps, but going back to Double Tree and wrangling a sleepy family that morning was daunting. After leaving our luggage with PB staff, we got in line for the water taxi a little late.

We ended up getting to the line at the taps about 0830, probably about 25 minutes past when I would have liked (if I’m being honest). We were a ways back, making me realize we’d not be RDing Ollivander’s (as was my intention). Instead, we moved on to the next item on our TP and did RS on Gringott’s and explored Diagon Alley a little. Next, Tales of Beedle the Bard experienced sound difficulties a few minutes into the routine so we never saw it. We snagged a return time for Ollivanders (1430) before setting out off to use our new UEPs. I also snagged another Hagrid’s VQ for 1130-1200 though I can’t remember what time exactly.

We went next to Transformers (which was too intense for my daughter) and then to Minions. By this point, I’m already sold on the UEPs. Money well spent if you ask me (and saved, as we did them via one night at PBR). Then we all got donuts and/or coffee at Lard Lad Donuts. We followed this up with Simpsons at which point it was time for me and the boys to use HogEx to get to our Hagrid’s window.

We were more successful getting there on time with this effort as we arrived ~1155. Hogsmeade was absolutely packed. Off of Hagrid’s ~1250, we figured we should use HogEx to get back to USF to make sure we got to Ollivander’s appt. Something was off, because although we had UEP, the line wasn’t moving. We’d have been better off walking between parks. We finally got back ~1350

Then we did MIB with ladies (after Simpson’s ladies had done Animal Actors, ET, Nuthouse Coaster x2). Then we went to Ollivander’s and went right in at 1428 where we bought the family the wand that chose my son (daughter was a little apprehensive; this is a theme). After hanging out at top of steps next to Gringott’s with Butterbeers and Peach Tea for a break, we went next to RRR (son and I) and Shrek (other 3).

After sheer adrenaline pumping on RRR, we waited in the shade for our other group. Then we split again - boys ride Mummy, ladies go to Fallon. After Mummy (which was pretty awesome btw) we all met up in Fallon gift shop and went on the New York race (ladies 2x). Wanting to have a little pool time at Portofino, we closed things out by riding ET and then Woody Woodpecker once or twice.

I didn’t have to swim (Carabba’s pick-up guy), but everyone else enjoyed pool time after catching the water taxi back. We finally made the boys come back to eat ~2100. We still had yet to RD IOA tomorrow (Tues) morning for Early Entrance.


Fun day! How you like Portofino?

Mummy may be my favorite ride. :slight_smile:


Loved Portofino, but massively expensive. Worth the expense though to snag 5 UEPs (each for two days). Next time I think we’re going to pay slightly (only slightly less) at Royal Pacific. We’ll try a different pool and experience. But the UEPs were worth it in my opinion.


Sounds fun!

I admit I love the experience of HE, but if I really need to get between the parks quickly I walk around. It takes about 20 minutes to get from Hogsmeade to DA on foot - when security / taps aren’t too busy.

(This can often be a real time saver when HE is posting a 40+ minute wait)


yeah, it’s a little tougher when there are only two of you and hotel is $600 for a night. We toughed it out at the Doubletree and didn’t even splurge on the in-park EP. But we did everything we wanted and nothing was too long of a wait.


Yeah, there’s a definite price point advantage when there’s five of you.


We are a family of five as well and my best Portofino Bay experience was when we went in August of 2018 and stayed Club Level and paid $375 a night. For Club Level. For five of us. $75 per night per person for hotel, food and EP. I’m quite certain I’ll never get that rate again, but it was amazing. So glad you’re enjoying it!


The Mummy is an awesome ride.

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I think it’s safe to say we’ll not see a rate like that again unless there are extreme extenuating circumstances.

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We went in the fall of 2019 and used Costco Travel to book a 4 night stay at PBR. It ended up only being $123 more (total) to upgrade to club level, so of course we did. I think the total with 5-day park to park tickets came to around $3000 for 4 adults, or around $700/pp. Since we ate breakfast in the lounge every day, and grabbed snacks and/or drinks later on most days I think we ended up only having to buy 1 meal per day in the parks. If you take out the $1,400 that tickets cost that’s $1,600 for hotel, food, and EP which comes out to about $100 per night per person, which I think is a similar price since we were all adults and I would expect it to average more than a family with children.

We also received 2 bottles of bubbly and a treat basket in the room from someone in guest services (a friend of a friend), which was nice but overkill since we’d already spent 3 days at SSR and Epcot doing F&W & MNSSHP, and we brought 3 Costco bottles of prosecco we had left from that plus a metric assload of candy from the trick or treating. We ended up leaving a gift for the newlyweds across the hall.


Such a great deal!

We were celebrating two of my kids’ birthdays when we were there, which I had mentioned to the front desk, and they sent up balloons and a pail and shovel filled with candy and treats for them. Honestly, it was fantastic customer service and I would go back in a heartbeat!


The only thing I didn’t like was the wonky layout.

Also, they have almost an identical deal for the same dates right now. It comes to $3,412 for a club level room the same 4 nights with tickets, but that’s $3343 when you take out the executive 2% back, and then there’s a $194 Costco card that comes with it so the price after taking that out is $3,149… not a bad increase 2 years later.