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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Default Possible first time visit!

    We've found ourselves with some extra vacation time and money and since we've never been here, we're looking into visiting. We'll probably have 3-4 days to spend there tops. How much time is really needed? It would be sometime between now and the end of the year. How brutal are the crowds during school breaks? What's the best time to visit over these next few months? I would so appreciate any advice and suggestions on how to enjoy our first Universal visit! Thank you!
    Susanne

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Millville, NJ - 1,020 miles to WDW
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    We (wife and I) went for the first time this past May in the middle of the month. We flew in Saturday night, stayed at Cabana Bay, had 2 day 2 park tickets and went to both parks on Sunday and Monday. Then flew home on Tuesday.

    We didn't have tickets for Volcano Bay but we aren't really into water parks. We got to do everything in the parks that we wanted to, and are planning on going back. Best advice I got was to take advantage of early park admission to Harry Potter.
    Bern

    WDW - 85,88,89,96,08,10,12,13,16,18,19
    Universal - Cabana Bay, May 2019

    August 2020 - Port Orleans Riverside

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  5. #3
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    Thanks Barnaby! It's good to know you felt 2 days were enough. I was wondering about the early admission to HP. And, I think they have an "express" option? Like FP but you pay for it?
    Susanne

  6. #4
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    Yes, they do have express options for many of their attractions there. You can either pay for it directly, or if you stay at the upper end Universal hotels, you get it included for everyone staying in the room. During busier times, it's really nice to have. During slower times, it's not always that big an advantage. But since you're not sure exactly when you're going, that can be a tougher call. If you have the express option, 2 days is most definitely enough time.

    We have stayed on site a few times, and loved the convenience of the hotels and the Express Queue. We really like Universal - Islands of Adventure is one of our favorite parks anywhere. You might already know this, but if you wish to take the Hogwarts Express between parks, you will need to purchase a hopper ticket. If you're not worried about that, you could easily purchase a 2-day, single parks type of ticket, and just do a single park each day. The only thing you miss is the train (and the flexibility of moving back and forth). With how close the 2 parks are, sometimes that hopper is a nice option! If you want to do things in a more relaxed fashion, 3 days would work, too!

    Best of luck with your planning! Have a great trip!

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  8. #5
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    Thank you ThanxForNoticin! I didn't really think about the hopper option. I'll have to poll the family and see how important the train is to everyone. What hotel do you like to stay at? If we're looking at hotel, 2-3 day park tickets, possibly hopper, early HP access, I'm assuming they'll have a package option?
    Susanne

  9. #6
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    Oh! And it looks like we might be going the week before Christmas. It's before the school break here, but I'm not sure about other districts. Good week? Bad week?
    Susanne

  10. #7
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    We really like the Hard Rock Hotel. It's got a great pool (for afternoon breaks) and is the closest to the parks - we can just walk there (but they do offer boat transportation, too). We've stayed at Portofino, as well - also very nice, but farther away and often more expensive. By the way, Hard Rock is expensive, too.

    I expect the closer you get to Christmas, the busier it will be getting. I could not answer your question about 'packages', but I would expect there are bundled offerings available someplace, either directly from Universal or through a travel agent. But you probably shouldn't wait much longer to try and put something together.

    Christmas at Universal can be fun - they tend to have a lot of stuff going on - especially if you're a Grinch fan! Have fun!

  11. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Millville, NJ - 1,020 miles to WDW
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    I didn't get the Express option, because we stayed at Cabana Bay we would have had to pay for it. And at the time we were there in May the crowds were not bad.

    2 days was good for us with the lighter crowds and we got to do all the "E ticket" attractions. We didn't really get to any of the shows they had besides Fear Factor.

    One thing that I did enjoy was just the overall smaller size of Universal, as compared to WDW. It was less hectic and more relaxed touring for us.
    Bern

    WDW - 85,88,89,96,08,10,12,13,16,18,19
    Universal - Cabana Bay, May 2019

    August 2020 - Port Orleans Riverside

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  13. #9
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    We're booked! We're staying at the Royal Pacific and have 3 day park to park tickets. Now to work out the details!
    Susanne

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