We are hard core Disney people…we have went the last 5 years…staying at WL, AOA, AKL, YC and Poly.
Had Disney booked again for this year and my DS decided he wanted to try universal…switched trip 2 months out to 10 nights at cabana bay with express pass.,.tonight Is our last night .
Pros of hotel: loved lazy river, fast elevators and lots of open seats at diner at cabana bay.
Cons: our volcano bay view room smelled a bit funky the first day…it did improve but not sure if it went away or we just got use to it lol. We are use to deluxe size rooms so was a bit cramped and also missed our balcony. However, we did book value so the size of room and lack of balcony was already expected. Would not do volcano bay room again due to long walk to lobby and no balcony to enjoy the view. A lot of sports teams here but overall did not impact stay.
Pros of parks: never had to wait for a bus to go to or return from park. Loved everything at IOA. Found employees to be just as nice and accommodating as Disney. Loved Hagrid’s and forbidden journey!!! Loved VB and felt it is way better then BB or TL. The express pass was the bomb.
Cons: Was less impressed with US. Found rip rocket really hard on my neck. Found that with Universal you need less days so needed something else to fill up the down days. Could see highways from some waterslides at VB that took away from atmosphere. I did have a less magical feeling at Universal which is probably connected to my lack of connection with Harry Potter. Where as I remember watching the Walt Disney movie as a child and my biggest wish was to get there some day. It took me 35 years but I got there .
Have another trip booked for December (surprise for my DS) to do MVMCP, 4 days at US and sea world Christmas. Based on this trip I can’t wait. Also my son is saying he wants to go to universal again next trip. Next trip we will be doing 5 nights at cabana bay and 2 nights at hard rock to get express pass. Sad to be going tomorrow but happy that in 3 months we will be back .
We just got back from our first time, too. I agree with you about US. My kids were more bored on that side. I did love the fact that the characters were so easily accessible. They were out in the street or had short lines. We are also going back in December!!
I’m glad you guys had a good trip, and are looking to go back. We have stayed at CB many times, once in the room located where you said, but before VB was built—I agree it was a little cramped. Each time after we’ve gone with the poolside/courtyard rooms. It cost a little more, but they are located right next to the lobby building, and the size makes the price worth it in our opinion because you have the size of the VB room, plus a whole other separated room with a pullout couch and kitchen area.
I enjoy the city walk area after the parks… and since you can take a ride between the two… you can see both parks every day.
For The coaster, the closer to the front you can get, the better for smoothness. I usually ask the person loading to sit in the front… and tends to work on all but the busiest days. If your in he first few rows… you get none of that jerky head movements.
Universal for sure needs less time… and the express lanes have a lot to do with it. Stay on site, and you could sill get both parks done in just a day.
If you haven’t tried it yet, the toothsome chocolate emporium is one of my new favorite recentish additions.
I would recommend seeing a few of the Harry Potter movies, or grab one of the books. I think you will get a lot more value out of universal for it. So many great details in both those lands. Also, if you have never done any free ride tours… the MiB is one of my favorite ones.
I can’t imagine ever needing more than 4 days at Universal, maybe 5 if it’s a really busy time and you have no Express Pass at all. In 4 half days with Express and 4 Halloween Horror Nights nights we can easily do everything, and most things more than once. Once the new park opens that will change, but I don’t see it taking a week any time in the near future.
If I were going for 10 days I’d absolutely be doing 5-6 days Disney and 4-5 days Universal with Express.