I am hoping to get back down to Disney, etc, within 2 years but everything is totally up in the air now due to Covid and waiting to see how things at Disney shake out post-Covid. Anyway, I'd toyed with the HP World idea, but now it might be more likely that we'd do that since my kids will be older on a return trip than I had originally planned. For those saying you like Universal more than Disney, what is it that you really like? What are the pros/cons? I was thinking maybe we could do 2 days and the rest at Disney? But it's a lot of money and hassle so I'd want to make sure it was worth it for us. Just curious now...I'm not actually planning anything at the moment.
Could be ages 13, 11, 9 and 7; or 14, 12, 10 and 8 for a future trip.
Post by mainelyfoolish on Jan 22, 2021 13:03:34 GMT -5
The thing I like most about Universal is that you don’t have to plan your vacation six months in advance like you did at WDW if you wanted certain restaurant reservations, and then again at 60 or 30 days in advance for fast passes. You can actually wake up in the morning, decide which of the parks you want to go to, and just go do it.
Like PP mentioned, I like that at Universal I feel like we can just wing it, ie do rides in basically whatever order we want, eat when/where we want, so I find that aspect much less stressful.
In general, I just think the attractions are more fun. But I’m much more of a movie buff than a Disney lover, so I never really cared about the theme part of Disney, ie characters etc. if that makes any sense. I also like that the attractions have such a huge range in topic, ie everything from Simpsons to Transformers to HP.
Also, honestly, I think that HP World (I’ve only been to the Universal side) is the best part of any theme park I’ve ever been to, anywhere. I really feel like that’s the best money I’ve ever spent in a park.
Post by mccallister84 on Jan 22, 2021 13:55:41 GMT -5
For us, we have decided that we will do universal as it’s own trip, once the girls are older - probably over a long weekend. Every time we have looked to add universal it’s just so much more money than just adding two days at Disney. I feel like that’s where Disney really sucks you in - yes one day is exorbitantly priced but going from 4 days to six days isn’t that much more.
Post by SusanBAnthony on Jan 23, 2021 13:20:38 GMT -5
We like thrill rides and really don't care about meeting characters (we haven't seen most of the movies, my kids had no clue who Daffy Duck was for example). We got on a few Disney rides that were just like WTF... so old and out of date and you just float in a boat or ride in a car and see stuff. That is not our thing.
We first did Disney plus 1 day at HP World. When we went back we switched to all Universal because we just liked it more! We liked the rides, the lack of insanity with planning way in advance, we like the close in hotels where you can just walk (even if staying in a regular hotel- we have stayed at the Hilton DoubleTree and can walk right to the park with no shuttles). We like that there are better food options right outside on CityWalk. We liked that the shows were aimed for older audiences.
Can I tack on and ask for recommendations for accommodations? Is it like Disney with plenty of restaurants or do we need a rental car?
We have done three things.
1. Stayed at Hilton doubletree that is walkable but not affiliated with Universal in any way, and there is an Extended Stay and La Quinta right next to it. we always have hilton points from work travel so it is free for us. And they have a free shuttle too but we prefer to walk.
2. Uber from a hotel near SeaWorld that my H was at for a conference
3. Stay at the Universal hotel that gets you the free pass thingy where you get their fast pass. There are two choices for that, Hard Rock and the other one, Loews something. It was $$$$$ but cheaper than buying the fast passes for 4 people. And it was gorgeous and had great food. It was walkable too and also had a water taxi boat option.
We liked all 3 a lot. Obviously the fancy Loews hotel was our favorite but for the price the other options were honestly fine. As you walk in and out through City Walk there are a TON of restaurants. We would always eat breakfast at the hotel or at the Starbucks on our way in (there is one in City Walk), then eat lunch in the park (either packed or buy), then eat dinner at city walk on our way home or at our hotel. The Loews hotel has a great sushi restaurant that was really reasonable (for a hotel and for sushi) that we loved.
City walk has everything from fast food to this ridiculous chocolate restaurant that our kids loved to sushi, etc.
We never used a rental car for any of the trips. One time H rented one at the hotel to drive with DS to Cape Canaveral for the day, but we didn't use it for Universal.
I have had several family trips to Universal Studios !! I highly recommend it. We feel like we get a LOT more for our money. The main thing is how walk-able it is. We stay at a premium resort and can walk to both studio entrances (or take a ferry). WDW is wonderful, too, but it's so BIG that you have to navigate several transportation hubs - unless you stay at a really $$$ resort on the tram. If you have the money, go for it, but I feel like we get all the fancy bonuses of Disney experience without breaking the bank. Plus, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Harry Potter and feel they really nailed the experience. When DD was little she loved the Minions (more than Disney) and the rides are OUTRAGEOUS. Perfect for me, H won't ride some (I am look at you HULK). Staying on grounds also means you get fast passes and that is SO WORTH IT.
Food is great. They have many, many restaurants inside and outside the park. Getting a reservation is not a blood-sport like Disney.
The hotels have beautiful pools and fun entertainment. On a whim, we once did an off-property condo rental that had a really cool pool-side band, family-style dinner, and water- games geared for families visiting Disney during the day. It was really fun. Universal is like a 5-star version of that.
Post by ellipses84 on Jan 27, 2021 17:51:52 GMT -5
I assume you are talking about FL not CA? I figure if it’s the first vacation in a couple years, do both! Pick your Disney Park and do a day at Universal. HP World is amazing and magical. The rest of its fun, but HP is what I would go back for.