Universal/Disney Split Trip Question

I have a question about our upcoming Thanksgiving week trip to Orlando.

We (my wife, kids aged 14, 14, and 11, and I) are starting off at Universal, and currently have four nights planned at Portofino Bay in a club room. I was thinking three full days at the Universal parks (we arrive late the first night, so won’t have time to do anything that day), then we are heading to Disney the morning of the last day to begin four nights there.

Since the room at Portofino is quite a bit more expensive than the room at Disney (Port Orleans), I thought about maybe shortening our stay at Universal to three nights, and extending Disney by a night.

My question, really, is are we better off taking a night off and enjoying the Universal non-park “stuff” (after already having three nights on site) or heading to Disney so we can get a good start that next morning.

Advantages to staying at Universal: better hotel, with more space; club room amenities for one more morning; one last chance to soak in the Universal atmosphere; I think the overall vibe at Universal will be more relaxing than the crowds and “hecticness” of Disney.

Disadvantages to staying at Universal: We will have to check our bags with the POR bell staff; we won’t be able to get cold items during our grocery stop on the way to the hotel, since the groceries will sit out most of the day; We will miss out on a less-crowded part of that first day.

Advantages to heading to Disney: much cheaper room and then we could use that extra money for food; we could be ready to hit a Disney park with a rope drop that next morning; We could start exploring Disney a bit sooner; we could check right in to the room and not have to check our bags; we may be able to get more value out of our 5-day hopper and more ticket.

Disadvantages to heading to Disney: We probably wouldn’t relax as much/get as much rest; we would have to check out of Portofino on the way to the park for the last day (and check our bags there); the room is much smaller.

I would check how much you will save changing your universal booking first of all. You will lose your discount for staying more than 3 nights. They also do not amend bookings as such they cancel and rebook at the current prices and as prices increase as hotels fill up might find 3 nights is now more expensive than 4.

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We always do split stays between a Universal hotel and a WDW hotel. My kids are similar ages as well, 12 and 14. We find we need much less time at Universal than WDW, thanks to the express passes and only 2 parks. The longest we have stayed was 4 nights/3 days in Universal and shortest was 2 nights/ 2 full days in the parks. Personally, I think 4 nights is too much there, and would prefer another day at Disney. I would split 3 nights/5nights (or more at WDW if you have more than 8 nights for your trip). Have fun!

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