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Disney fan looking for a PRIMARY Universal Trip!

yensid67

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I WAS a Disney fan, using DIsney as the primary reason for the trip! But now with the current state of Disney, I am looking for advice and help on planning a primary Universal Trip in the next few years! Any suggestions about how my day(s) would look like...Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Help me become a Universal fan!
 
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JoeCamel

Well-Known Member
I WAS a Disney fan, using DIsney as the primary reason for the trip! But now with the current state of Disney, I am looking for advice and help on planning a primary Universal Trip in the next few years! Any suggestions about how my day(s) would look like...Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Help me become a Universal fan!
Spend a couple of weeks reading at Orlando Informer and if you want they will plan it for you too. Simply the best Universal planning resource around
 

OG Runner

Well-Known Member
If possible stay at one of the three premium hotels. The Portofino is my favorite. (I like the boat ride to the parks)
They include Express Pass as part of your cost to stay.
 

OG Runner

Well-Known Member
It usually tends to be a little less crowded to me. If you are a big roller coaster fan, like my niece & nephew,
it will definitely give you some thrills.
 

JT3000

Well-Known Member
If you're planning on going in "the next few years," depending on how often you can come to Orlando, I would consider waiting for Epic Universe to open. I would also stay on-site and set aside at least one full day for each park. You'll still need a park hopper if you wish to use the Hogwarts Express to get between the two current parks. That's about all the advice you really need at the moment, since Universal hasn't yet taken to Disney's habit of forcing guests to micro-manage their day. The only other thing I'd say is that dinner should be had in CityWalk or the hotel (most of the park food isn't nearly as good, and the parks close relatively early most seasons anyway.)
 
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Henry Mystic

Well-Known Member
I'll also add that Islands of Adventure is by and large considered the better park (with the exception of the second of two Harry Potter lands, Diagon Alley, at Universal Studios being the highlight), demanding more days at IOA if your time is limited.

IOA has two rides, VelociCoaster and Hagrid's, that are arguably the two best rides in Orlando, alongside Rise of the Resistance at WDW. I agree with others that waiting for Epic Universe (Summer 2025) is a good idea if this isn't a routine type of trip.

I'd also recommend planning at least one meal at Mythos (at IOA) and a day at Volcano Bay (the water park) if you can swing them as they're both terrific. Food options are definitely better at CityWalk as a whole.

I've been to Universal Orlando a ton (including a 9-day trip once), but I've actually never stayed on property. I'd imagine it depends if you are driving or flying, what the cost difference would be with a rental car and paying for theme park parking, and how much you value convenience. The perks are way better for on-site hotels at UOR than WDW especially given the free Express Pass at the deluxe resorts, which typically costs over $100 a day per person, so it really comes down to how much you are willing to spend. You can definitely do fine off-property.

Planning a trip this far out is a feat in itself;). Have a great trip! Just @ me if you have any more questions.
 
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yensid1967

Well-Known Member
I will probably be planning the trip for 2026! So, I could go to Epic U too! I WILL be going to Universal; I just don't know for sure, what park...
-I am not a coaster guy, but will ride
-I am siding with IOA as my main park and visiting US just to see what it has to offer that would interest me!
-Eating: What would you advise for a cheap meal? I am figuring that the park food is not even a contender! So, its either CITY WALK
or go to a local fast food
We will most likely stay off site? I need to work the numbers to see if we can stay on property. What is the cheapest per night hotel on US property? I am thinking either Cabana Bay or the one across the street?(can't remember the name just know its across the street from Cabana Bay)
 

WDWFREAK53

Well-Known Member
I will probably be planning the trip for 2026! So, I could go to Epic U too! I WILL be going to Universal; I just don't know for sure, what park...
-I am not a coaster guy, but will ride
-I am siding with IOA as my main park and visiting US just to see what it has to offer that would interest me!
-Eating: What would you advise for a cheap meal? I am figuring that the park food is not even a contender! So, its either CITY WALK
or go to a local fast food
We will most likely stay off site? I need to work the numbers to see if we can stay on property. What is the cheapest per night hotel on US property? I am thinking either Cabana Bay or the one across the street?(can't remember the name just know its across the street from Cabana Bay)
Endless Summer would be your cheapest but if you weigh out the perks, I'd opt for Royal Pacific as it includes the Express Pass and is the cheapest of the 3 "deluxe" resorts.

I'd choose Cabana over Endless Summer though due to the ease of going to Volcano Bay.
 

Moncien

New Member
I WAS a Disney fan, using DIsney as the primary reason for the trip! But now with the current state of Disney, I am looking for advice and help on planning a primary Universal Trip in the next few years! Any suggestions about how my day(s) would look like...Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Help me become a Universal fan!
I'm going in 01/23 for the same reason.
 

yensid67

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
My trip might look something like this...
-Saturday: Amtrak Travel Day
-Sunday: Amtrak Arrival- Kissimee?
Hotel Check in (offsite)
-Monday: Park Day 1- Universal IOA
-Tuesday: Park Day 2- MK Christmas Party?
-Wednesday: Park Day 3- Universal Studios
-Thursday: Free Day/Capone's Dinner Theatre PM
-Friday: Amtrak Travel Day
-Saturday: Amtrak Arrival- Home

So based on this, any advice?
 

Henry Mystic

Well-Known Member
My trip might look something like this...
-Saturday: Amtrak Travel Day
-Sunday: Amtrak Arrival- Kissimee?
Hotel Check in (offsite)
-Monday: Park Day 1- Universal IOA
-Tuesday: Park Day 2- MK Christmas Party?
-Wednesday: Park Day 3- Universal Studios
-Thursday: Free Day/Capone's Dinner Theatre PM
-Friday: Amtrak Travel Day
-Saturday: Amtrak Arrival- Home

So based on this, any advice?
I like to plan trips a little over a year out since airfare is so much cheaper, but you're talking over four years away😂.
 

danlb_2000

Premium Member
My trip might look something like this...
-Saturday: Amtrak Travel Day
-Sunday: Amtrak Arrival- Kissimee?
Hotel Check in (offsite)
-Monday: Park Day 1- Universal IOA
-Tuesday: Park Day 2- MK Christmas Party?
-Wednesday: Park Day 3- Universal Studios
-Thursday: Free Day/Capone's Dinner Theatre PM
-Friday: Amtrak Travel Day
-Saturday: Amtrak Arrival- Home

So based on this, any advice?

I would recommend using the Orlando Amtrak station instead of Kissimmee since it's much closer to Universal.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
We love Universal trips! For background, we've typically bought 2-park Seasonal Annual Passes (*note that there are blackout dates for those around Christmas, Easter, and the month of July) as it was cheaper for a 4 or 5-day visit than multi-day passes would be. We've usually stayed at the Premium onsite hotels (although we have spent nights here or there at Cabana Bay and loved it!) so we could have unlimited express pass access -- in most cases, utilizing a passholder discount of up to 30% on the room rate. (You have to stalk the website ahead of time to find the annual passholder ("APH") hotel rates, which are released unannounced a few weeks/months ahead of time).

We also like to visit from Monday-Friday, which means lower crowds and lower hotel nightly rates, and no need to rush around. If you have unlimited Express Pass, you can easily do each park in one day, and spend a third revisiting what you liked best or catching any of the live shows you might have missed. Without unlimited Express pass, you'll need a minimum of 1.5 days per park if you want to see everything, and if you're onsite and don't have express pass, you'll want to take advantage of the early entry hour that is available to onsite guests for one of the parks (it changes every few months). If you do have Express Pass, that's not really necessary, and you'll be able to tour at your leisure. Do stay abreast of what attractions don't offer Express Pass (currently, Hagrid's and Velocicoaster, plus the Pteradon Flyers kiddie ride), so you can be sure to visit them first thing or last thing in the day.

DAY 1 (Universal Studios): Arrive in Orlando and check in at your hotel. Walk (or take the ferry, or the bus, depending on your hotel) to Universal Studios and tour it (clockwise, doing all of the "rides" time allows, plus the Bourne Stuntacular show), perhaps with a dinner reservation at CityWalk. On your way back to the hotel, stop at Voodoo Doughnut and buy tomorrow morning's breakfast. (*Note: We like to start with Universal Studios because it's the less exciting park for us: by starting there, we allow our anticipation to build.)

DAY 2 (Islands of Adventure): Tour Islands of Adventure (all attractions, clockwise), perhaps with a 12pm lunch reservation at Mythos. After a nap break and CS dinner back at the hotel, return and revisit favorites like Hagrid's and the Velocicoaster, in the last 90 minutes before park closing. (*Note: The Harry Potter areas of the parks are particularly, ahem, magical at night, and the Hogwarts Castle projection show is worth catching once.)

DAY 3 (Batting Clean-Up OR Epic Universe): Cover anything you haven't already (especially at Universal Studios, if you arrived late on Day 1 and/or skipped things like the Toon Lagoon water rides), and revisit favorite attractions. If you haven't taken the Hogwart's Express between the parks yet, do so. If Epic Universe has opened, by all means do that, and then do your "revisitations" the following day).

Day 4 (Last Looks): Revisit favorite attractions in both parks, and shop for souvenirs. Play mini-golf or try out the new CityWalk escape rooms, if and as desired. In the evening, take in the Mardi Gras parade or whatever evening entertainment is on offer (or if you're a passholder who pre-registered, or another other lucky guest, RIDE ON A FLOAT AND TOSS BEADS TO THE MASSES, as my daughter and I got to do. It was amazing!)

Day 5: Pack up and head home. Depending on travel schedule, visit parks again if and as desired.
 
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Figgy1

Premium Member
I thought about Orlando too but I was trying to find the nearest AVIS or Alamo rental car location and Kissimmee was the winner!
IMHO skip the rental car, Amtrack to Orlando, cab/uber and stay at Endless Summer to get emh and spend all your time on UNI property. ES is just about as cheap as anything passable off property. There's enough to take up 4 whole days even if you're not a coaster fan. This way you'll save enough to get park hopper tickets, have the bonus of being to see everything you want, maybe have time to reride a few favorites and still have a chill vacation
 

yensid1967

Well-Known Member
IMHO skip the rental car, Amtrack to Orlando, cab/uber and stay at Endless Summer to get emh and spend all your time on UNI property. ES is just about as cheap as anything passable off property. There's enough to take up 4 whole days even if you're not a coaster fan. This way you'll save enough to get park hopper tickets, have the bonus of being to see everything you want, maybe have time to reride a few favorites and still have a chill vacation
GOOD IDEA! But we are planning a night at either Mickey's Halloween or Christmas party(MAYBE) unless I can be persuaded otherwise!!
 

Figgy1

Premium Member
GOOD IDEA! But we are planning a night at either Mickey's Halloween or Christmas party(MAYBE) unless I can be persuaded otherwise!!
UNI has a less expensive Halloween party, more adult. Grinchmas and that's included in the price of admission. Also Uber/Cab even with Uber/cab from Orlando to UNI will be cheaper than a rental car
 

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