We experienced some delays leaving town, and then I-75 was one wreck after another so we didn’t arrive on site (Portofino Bay) until after 11pm. Too late to enjoy the pool, Santa, or anything, really that night. The kids did have a blast checking out the “Bay,” the ducks and the HUGE Christmas trees. (luckily, the kids did get to play in the pool at the other hotel while visiting family during those 80 degree days!!)
HUGE thumbs up to the staff at Portofino for making our stay so easy! We only stayed one night, and were able to just leave the room for the park and they took our luggage to check it. We returned after the parks, and they took the luggage to the waiting van and we were off.
I really liked Portofino Bay, and would go back for sure. The theming was fabulous, I’d probably rank it ahead of Royal Pacific for now. We will stay at Hard Rock next time to just keep trying all the resorts.
We hit the parks on 12/21, and wow…the crowds. Very thankful for Express Unlimited passes. The only ride we didn’t do was Escape from Gringott’s, as the EP line was over an hour each time we checked!
Diagon Alley/Hogsmeade were ridiculously overcrowded, beyond elbow to elbow. We didn’t bother with the wand show (the kids actually didn’t want to do it because it was miserable there). It was a huge disappointment, since HP was going to be a big focus this visit. We ventured back at night to see the light show, and I must say it isn’t a “must see.” I expected to be able to casually walk by and watch, since it is labeled as an ongoing show. However, they corral people on each entrance and when they let you in, they force you all the way to the far corners. You could end up at the Hippogriff exit! The show was cool, but frankly, you will get a better view on Youtube. We should have been riding rides.
We crammed 13 hours in, and really had a good day. The kids were great, and they made a point to spend a lot of time in the kids’ area, since they know it will be going away. They will really miss Fievel, Woody Woodpecker and Curious George! They are also excited about Mario Kart, so it’s a wash.
I’m also here to report that for the FIRST time ever, we clearly heard our names called out on the ET ride! LOL
Grinchmas was okay, but I’ll be honest…I dozed off. The kids really liked it (and my wife did, too), so wins all around!