Split Stay at Universal Question

Hi Guys!
I am planning my son’s first trip to Universal and he has only one thing he wants. He would like a Volcano Bay view standard room at Cabana Bay. It will just be him and me going.

I am really wanting the Express Unlimited passes because I like the flexibility you get with having them, so I was planning on staying at Royal Pacific since it comes out cheaper to do that then to stay at Cabana Bay for our whole trip and just pay extra for the passes. We will be there for 5 days. I know you can do all of Universal without the express passes in 5 days, but we like to do the parks for 2-3 hours, then chill at resorts, then go to dinner, etc. We don’t like spending 6-8 hours all day at the parks. We also like to be spontaneous and play things by ear, and having the express for our full stay allows that.

So…my thought is our flight is landing in Orlando at 9:41am (as of now) and I figured we could have our first night there at Cabana Bay. Make it a day to ease into the vacation. Go bowling, hang in the lazy river, go to CityWalk for dinner, etc. Starting the next day, we could check into Royal Pacific for the remainder of our trip.

Here is my questions…how would you guys recommend I book the trip? We would really like to wake up at Cabana Bay, then go to Volcano Bay (since it is RIGHT there) and then get our luggage and go to Royal Pacific. Is this possible? Could Cabana Bay hold our luggage for us past the 11am checkout time so we could go right to the water park? I hate the idea of waking up, transferring to Royal Pacific, checking in and getting our luggage to our room, then taking a bus BACK to Volcano Bay for the day. Also, should I book this as a 1-night stay at Cabana Bay with no tickets attached, and then book a package for Royal Pacific with the tickets included? Or should I book 1 night at Cabana Bay with a 1 park ticket for the next morning, and then get a package for Royal Pacific with the tickets for the rest of our days?
I have been to Universal before, but never done a situation like this, so any insight or suggestions would be great! Thanks everyone!

First, I wouldn’t book a package. You usually can get a better deal buying each part individually.

Second Luggage services will be able to hold your suitcase after your checkout. I have used luggage services at royal pacific and had no issues with my luggage.

Third, depending on when you were going and the blockout days, I would look into getting seasonal passes for you or everyone in your family. With one seasonal pass you can get hotel discounts which can be great savings.

If you are not getting passes for your family, you should get tickets for the number of park days you will have. Your tickets are not tied to your hotel stay.

If you are going for 5 days a basic season pass is the better deal. - IME.

The cheapest pass is called “seasonal” and the others are called “annual”. This is because the cheap pass has a bunch of blackout dates. The dates mostly apply to the “obvious” peak times, like Thanksgiving / Christmas / June & July - verify your dates though.

(IMHO - it’s so confusing to name the passes differently!!)

You’ll “break even” on the cost of a seasonal pass versus packages on the 4th day. With the pass the 5th day is “Free” + it’ll leave you an opportunity to go again, for the next 12 - 15 months. (They’re having a sale through Sept. 30 for 3 extra months)

I tend to do the Buy 2 days Get 2 Days promotion because I only go once a year. This year though, that extra 3 months on an AP is pretty tempting. (There is no date you must use / activate by - you don’t even have to activate it in 2020!)

Express Pass is pretty awesome - in some cases… Here’s my thoughts on why not always, especially right now.

Express can be purchased right in the parks at almost every retail location. You don’t have to decide in advance if you want it like FastPass / MaxPass at Disney.

Packages do save a few dollars on Express Pass (UXP) when bought in advance. However, if you get there and every ride in the regular / standby queue is low / walk-on you’ve just “wasted” hundreds of dollars.

Currently, due to the parks limiting capacity and Universal using the free Virtual Line Pass system almost every ride (except Hagrid’s) is either a 10 minute wait or a walk-on. The parks are a “ghost town” Tues - Thursday right now.

Are you familiar with the new Virtual Line Pass (VLP) system?

Yes. They’ll hold it for you.

Season Pass solves all this and should save you about $40 - $50 per person

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