Taylor Tries a Trip Report!--- A Semi-Live Trip Report

So… I’m a mostly a lurker. I get random spurts of energy and will comment/like etc… but overall, I mostly read! I’m definitely more active in the UOR forum than the WDW forum though.

Some backstory: my husband and I have been visiting WDW/UOR for years. My husband worked as a Studio Tour Guide at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2010 and that’s where the love for theme parks began for me. I could basically go to Universal whenever I wanted since he worked there and I had the time of my life! Our first time to visit the Florida parks together was in 2011 to see Hogsmeade for the first time and to sample some Disney parks. We’ve been addicted ever since! It’s been an adjustment adding our toddler to the mix, as we were used to adults-only trips.

Full disclosure: we typically stay at Disney. We do more Disney park days than Universal days when we travel to Orlando. It just takes more time at Disney to do it properly. I usually book 1 night at a UOR premiere hotel, we pack a bag and head over to UOR to do a day or two at the universal parks and then head back over to Disney. We have never stayed more than 2 nights at UOR (and most commonly, one night).

This is it! This is the trip! We are finally doing it and we are so excited!

Who: Me, DH, and DS (4)
Where/when: Cabana Bay Beach Resort, October 21-27; 1 night at Portofino Oct 22/23 for express pass (booked Portofino with the AP rate, but REALLY want Hard Rock… so I’m gonna be a nut checking rates the next 4 months)
Tickets: I had originally booked the 30% off room, 3-park, 5 day ticket package, but when they released the promo 15-month APs I called and upgraded hubby and I’s tickets to the Seasonal APs! We plan to go back to UOR next fall so this felt like a no-brainer.

Tentative Schedule:

Saturday: Arrive MCO at 4:10pm, booked Gear Fusion transportation to Cabana Bay. Dinner at Big Fire and then TBD. We are considering mini-golf but honestly we will just be taking cues from DS4 haha. If he’s not exhausted, we may hop into IOA and try to catch a night ride on Hagrids or Pteranodon Flyers (DH and I have never gotten to ride so we are PUMPED to try it this trip).

Sunday: Pack small bags, head over to Portofino (but hopefully HRH) and grab our EPs, head to parks! We have no plan… because we don’t need one with EP! The. Best. (and this is coming from someone that loves to obsessively plan the details of trips but I don’t have to explain that to you guys LOL). Dinner is booked at NBC Sports because DH wants to catch some of the Sunday night NFL game.

Monday: same plan. Parks with EPs. Re-ride our faves, hit anything we miss on Sunday. No Horror Nights closing Studios early, so will prob spend more time over there. Dinner at Toothsome (our first time)!!

Tuesday: Epcot day :slight_smile: Also using Gear Fusion here for round-trip travel from UOR to Epcot. We have always loved Food & Wine fest and GoTG is the best ride on Disney property at the moment (IMO) so we can never miss Epcot if we are in Orlando! Plus DS4 is finally tall enough to ride Soarin’ and Test Track and that makes me so happy!

Wednesday: Volcano Bay day! We are pumped to finally try this park. We will attempt early admission, but will definitely be there by park open. The plan is to stay at VB until 3:30 or so, head back to our room at CB to rest/freshen up, and then DH and I are headed back to Studios for HHN! We booked a Kids Nite Out sitter so we will have an HHN date night! I splurged and bought express pass because we want to be able to hit everything without having to stay out until 1 or 2am.

Thursday: Hopefully sleeping in this morning, late arrival to the parks. Focus will be re-riding some faves and making sure we hit all any shows we may have missed. We won’t have express pass this day so will mostly just hit things with shorter wait times.Our main goals for this trip in general are slowing down, taking in the details, hitting shows we’ve never seen before, trying new foods! We really want to stop and smell the roses this time… we never give ourselves this opportunity at Universal and I truly can’t wait. We have been discussing the idea of going to the MK Halloween Party on Thursday night. DS4 would love it bc he’s obsessed with Halloween, but man, it’s pricey! So TBD on that.

Friday: Pack up and leave! Our flight isn’t until 2:55pm so we won’t be in a rush. Would love some good breakfast recommendations to finish out our trip!

While there, I’m going to attempt some live updates… but I imagine it will be a lot of nightly check-ins/updates since I’ll be wrangling a toddler during the day. We will see! I’m excited to finally try a trip report because I love reading everyone else’s and I think it will be really nice/helpful to look back on when I need help planning my next trip!

I love Disney so much, but it’s time to devote more time to UOR. Harry Potter is my number one IP of all time and will always trump my love of Disney. The fact that UOR is so much more affordable also doesn’t hurt. I just can’t believe how expensive Disney has gotten… it makes me sad.

This turned out much longer than I expected. Not sure what this means for my actual reporting when I’m there. LOL.


Sounds great! I’m happy that you’re so excited to share your upcoming trip with us. :slightly_smiling_face:

That’s sounds like a great plan, thanks for sharing the details, I’m looking forward to your trip!


Woohoo! Sounds like a great trip. :slight_smile:


Back stories are like that.

Trip reports can be easy - post a few pix throughout your day. After all, a photo is worth a thousand words. Food, merch and your now big kid enjoying new rides. :smile:


Topolino’s! Or so I hear :rofl: I’m going to get there myself sometime.


Already got my Portofino night switched to Hard Rock for a great AP rate!


Sounds like it is going to be a great trip!!


Question: on days that Studios has HHN, is that park busier the first half of the day and is it better to rope drop IOA? I’m trying to plan my rope drops for Sunday and Monday. I know Sunday will be an overall busier day than Monday but HHN will occur Sunday night. What is my best bet? One of these two mornings I’m interested in trying Leaky Cauldron’s breakfast.


If you’re staying at CB, I personally would just hit the food court. I found the food there great and pretty good value.

I missed this pre-TR when it was new. Glad to join in now. Sounds like it’s going to be a great trip :smiley:


No it doesn’t appear that way. Gringott’s is a good indicator of crowds. You can see how much busier it gets as the day goes on from looking at the same Sunday last year:

In general, IOA will have pretty thin crowds especially the weekdays. You can get a good picture here from last years crowd levels:


Oh, this is helpful! I think rope dropping Diagon Alley on Sunday may be the move then! I can’t convince my husband yet that rope drop isn’t the best time for Hagrid’s… going to show him the data soon and hopefully it helps! Now that Velocicoaster has express, we don’t need to rope drop that either! Are Hogsmeade shops open at rope drop? I actually have no idea because I’m always rope droppin’ Hagrids! haha!


Ok, I think this is the move! Yes, I’ll def be utilizing the CB food court. The only other option is popping into the parks before we leave and we haven’t decided if we want to do that yet! May be a game time decision depending on how tired we are. If I was solo, big yes, but my husband tends to be a tad grumpy by the end of our trips. Sore feet and not enough sleep!


And that recent TP blog article will help too.

Yes, all of the Wizarding World shops are open early including the restaurants.


Saw a AP great rate for the interior entry family suites at Cabana Bay while we are there so I called and upgraded! I’m really happy about the change. It will nice to be have the extra space with a toddler! Has anyone stayed in an interior family suite before? Are they closer to the food court, buses etc?


The Interior Suites are in the Americana and Continental buildings.
Proximity to the food court and buses will depend on where in the building your room is located since they are perpendicular to the main building.
You’d still likely be closer than say the Thunderbird building (which has exterior entry suites), but even that’s not a terribly long walk.


I believe most of these rooms are actually in the 2 towers, Bayside and Beachside, which are on the far left side of the resort. So try to not get placed there. But the Continental has these rooms too, on the left and right side but not the middle.

I would request rooms 21-00, which are close to the lobby area.



Well, we ended up having to cut our trip a day short due to DH’s work. Now that we are basically a month out from our trip it’s time to finalize plans/figure out logistics. Our updated schedule is as follows:

Saturday: Arrive in Orlando, check in at CBBR (interior family suite), head to City Walk via bus for dinner at Big Fire. I doubt we do much after this. I’d like to get to bed at a decent time for an early rise the next day.

Sunday: Up early/grab breakfast, head to HRH to check-in and get room key/express passes, walk to parks. I think we will start at USF and hop to IOA in the afternoon. Since we will have express, I don’t really have a park plan. I want to hit VCon and eat at Minion Cafe… I’d also like to catch the Bourne show (somehow I’ve never seen it! :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:) I currently have a dinner res at NBC Sports so we can eat and watch some of the NFL game. We plan to pack an overnight bag and just stay at HRH Sunday night since we paid for it and it will be nice to have the short walk to the parks on Monday morning.

Monday: Start in IOA, again no major plan. Goals are to ride Hagrid’s in the afternoon sweet spot and also ride Pteranadon Flyers for the first time!!! Main reason we are bringing our child! (ok j/k… we don’t have a lot of options for childcare unfortunately). We will prob hop to USF late afternoon. Again, no big plans… the beauty of express pass unlimited! I have a res at Toothsome for dinner!

Tuesday: Epcot day for Food & Wine Festival! Can’t help ourselves… always gotta get a little dose of Disney! Plus I’m obsessed with the GoTG coaster.

Wednesday: Current plan is Volcano Bay from 9-2! First time at VB! Only goal is to ride Krakatu coaster… otherwise hoping to to just enjoy whatever we can and let our toddler play in the kids areas! Around 2 or so we will walk back to CBBR to shower and freshen up. Babysitter from Kids Nite Out arrives at 4pm and hubby and I will head to HHN for Stay & Scream! We have express so our plan is to stay as long as it takes to get through all 10 houses and watch the show!

Thursday: We don’t fly out until 2:30 so we may hit a park in the morning. I think our ride picks us up around noon… so may do a quick 9:30 to 11:30am. No express so may just do breakfast at Leaky Cauldron and wander Diagon Alley because I’ll never tired of it.


What’s the best way to get from CBBR to HRH on Sunday morning? Uber isn’t really an option because of the kiddo.

Do the hotels do luggage transfer? Basically, would HRH be able to send our little overnight bags back over to CBBR for us on Monday?

What are you must-dos at Volcano Bay? We have to be selective because DH and I will trading off riding rides while the other stays with our son.

Where do you store your wallet while riding rides at VB?

I got the new Ravenclaw Loungefly for my birthday. Do the Loungefly backpacks fit in the small lockers? If not, I’m going to have to creatively hide it underneath our stroller lol.


Yes. The Premier hotels can transfer bags.

Lockers are pricey. You could bring one of those lock boxes that attaches to your chair. (I set up my wallet in the app ahead of time, so didn’t need my actual wallet since you can make all the purchases with the wristband)

Yes they do. But if the bag is packed full, it may get scuff marks.


Take the CBBR bus to the transportation hub/CW. If there is an HRH bus available there, that’s the best option. If the CW to HRH bus isn’t there/runs infrequently, may as well walk the rest of the way because the water taxi will not save you time.

It can vary for everybody. But the water coaster is the most popular. Here is a Universal blog about VB that will help you.


When we did this we walked. You would need to consider what you pack for going through park security.

Yesterday Larry reported that there was no bus from CW to PF, so if that’s the case, I doubt there would be one to HRH.

Only up the way (ie mod to deluxe). I don’t believe they transfer down the way. I have no experience with this though, only what I’ve read.

Krakatau :+1:t2:
Some of the family rafts are fun too. There are tamer ones up the back of the park. I can’t remember what your kids age is.

There are a few locker villages spread around the outskirts of the park.