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  • Going to Universal

    Universal Orlando ran a contest through the Boston Globe in December for a 3 night trip. I mailed in my name and information to the Globe and on January 2nd got the news that I was one of 16 contest winners. It was for Cabana Bay or a resort of Universal's choice. They are putting us up at the Hard Rock, we have unlimited admission during our stay to Universal, IOA and Wet and Wild (probably won't use this). It included round trip airfare, tickets to Blue Man Group and transportation to and from MCO. It didn't include dining.

    We have never been to Universal, but are pretty excited especially with the car temperature reading 1 degree going to the train this morning. Yesterday I received our travel documents for late June. We have the same flight and rows on Jet Blue that we are taking in August. The Universal people were easy to deal with.

    We are not big thrill ride people and haven't watched a Harry Potter movie although we plan to watch one before we go. We've been doing some reading including these threads, Unofficial Guide and have subscribed to Lines for Universal.

    It will just be Ginger, my almost 16 year old daughter and 13 year old son going. Any tips or advice is appreciated. We are interested in checking things out even if we don't ride a ton and seeing what the parks, resorts and City Walk have to offer.

  • #2
    Congrats on the win! I look forward to hearing about Universal from a Disney fan who is not heavily into the thrill rides like myself. We keep saying some year we will do Universal, but our family never got into the Harry Potter movies either, and only my wife and oldest daughter are really into the thrill rides. My youngest and I love the shows and the classic rides, although we do the occasional thrill ride. We keep joking that the only way we will go to Universal is to win a trip, so someday maybe we will be lucky like you!

    Are you able to extend the trip and jump over to Walt Disney World for some time, or do they have you locked in on the flights?
    Thanks to Quickrewards and hard work, I have $2,000 saved letting us book our August Triphttp://www2.quickrewards.net/?r=!F94VXV35D13A7

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    • #3
      Originally posted by RussellH View Post
      Congrats on the win! I look forward to hearing about Universal from a Disney fan who is not heavily into the thrill rides like myself. We keep saying some year we will do Universal, but our family never got into the Harry Potter movies either, and only my wife and oldest daughter are really into the thrill rides. My youngest and I love the shows and the classic rides, although we do the occasional thrill ride. We keep joking that the only way we will go to Universal is to win a trip, so someday maybe we will be lucky like you!

      Are you able to extend the trip and jump over to Walt Disney World for some time, or do they have you locked in on the flights?
      They have our flights locked in, but we are going to grab a taxi and go to MK one morning (lunch at Crystal Palace) and monorail over to EPCOT for the afternoon/evening. Our AP will still be valid. We still have our August trip to look forward to (ADR's to book on Thursday!). We have a 6 AM flight on the Sunday and 8:55 PM on Wednesday night so we do have 4 full days. We have Blue Man group on the Monday night so we are figuring Tuesday for WDW since it's our full day without it being a travel day. We hear City Walk is cool so we are intrigued about that for the dining and entertainment.
      Last edited by monorailbob; 02-11-2014, 09:16 AM.

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      • #4
        That really is cool that you guys won this! How awesome!!!
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        • #5
          A few tidbits, Bob:
          1) The Hard Rock is the closest hotel there to the parks and CityWalk-you can take a boat, but the walk is only about five minutes.
          2) I'm not sure, but the Harry Potter expansion may be opening around the time you're there, so that could be exciting.
          3) CityWalk dining is fun, but it's basically chain restaurants: NBA City, Margaritaville, Hard Rock Cafe (it's ironically at CityWalk, not the hotel), NASCAR Cafe, and a few others. Just don't get your hopes too high on that

          Enjoy the trip
          Last edited by frandog; 02-11-2014, 09:41 AM.
          WE'RE TALKING DISNEY, GOING AT IT AS HARD AS WE CAN!

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          • #6
            I have no idea what this Universal is of which you speak.

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            • #7
              Cool! Congrats! Sorry I can not help since I have never been to that other place.
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              • #8
                That is so AWESOME, Bob!!! I'm sure you will enjoy it.

                We went to Universal 4 or 5 times, but it was way back in the 1990s and had very good times there.

                CONGRATS on winning this wonderful trip.
                Last edited by Jackie; 02-11-2014, 11:14 AM.
                Have a magical day!!! Jackie

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                • #9
                  Congrats on winning this trip Bob! How wonderful!

                  We went for 1 day in October with two 15 year old girls. We are all big Harry Potter fans so our main goal was to go to the Wizzarding world. The girls rode the thrill rides and we shopped. However we did walk through the line of the castle and the dueling dragons and bailed at the ride. e loved seeing all of the stuff as we went through the lines. There is a family meal deal for 4 at the Three Broomsticks. It was $50 and included, salad, veggies, chicken and ribs, corn on the cob and I think that was all. It was a HUGE meal and it was very tasty. We took our time and enjoyed the meal. If you eat there, make sure to look up and around on the walls and ceiling. The shows were good at the Wizzarding world, we especially enjoyed the frog choir and you can pose with photo with them after the show.

                  I know that they have a photo pass too. I don't know more about it than that they offer one.

                  The only areas we ended up doing anything in was the Wizzarding world and Seuss Landing, which was also really fun. Oh, we rode the Jurrasic park ride too. There is one drop on that ride that scared my husband half to death, but the girls and I didn't think it was so bad. We left early because we had 8pm reservation at Chef Mickey's that night but the girls were ready to leave by 4pm anyway. Yes, we adults were willing to stay longer but the teens wanted to go back to the resort and rest. Go figure.

                  The only other thing I can think of to suggest is to get the Lines app for Universal. We used it, it was awesome.

                  I hope I was able to offer something of help.
                  Congrats again and enjoy your trip!

                  Abby
                  Last edited by mouse_ears_mom; 02-11-2014, 10:59 AM.
                  ~Abby

                  https://twitter.com/zen_mom
                  http://instagram.com/sakdow#

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by frandog View Post
                    A few tidbits, Bob:
                    1) The Hard Rock is the closest hotel there to the parks and CityWalk-you can take a boat, but the walk is only about five minutes.
                    2) I'm not sure, but the Harry Potter expansion may be opening around the time you're there, so that could be exciting.
                    3) CityWalk dining is fun, but it's basically chain restaurants: NBA City, Margaritaville, Hard Rock Cafe (it's ironically at CityWalk, not the hotel), NASCAR Cafe, and a few others. Just don't get your hopes too high on that

                    Enjoy the trip
                    Thanks Andrew. We'll probably walk to everything unless we want the boat for fun. We walked to and from DHS and Boardwalk Villas last August so know problem for us. It sounds great that everything is in such close proximity.

                    It would be cool if the new stuff is opening. We spoke with someone at the Boston Globe Travel Show on Sunday that was from Universal and she said they still aren't being told, but she wouldn't be shocked if it was open when we get there.

                    Ginger and I are looking forward to trying Margaritaville. Singing some Jimmy Buffet songs sounds good to me right now. I know most of them are chains, but the only one we've been to is Hard Rock which is in Boston. I think I heard there is a place for karaoke so we are going to see if there is an age minimum so my 16 year old can sing.

                    I had checked out some of your other posts on Universal on other threads so thanks for all your advice.
                    Last edited by monorailbob; 02-11-2014, 01:38 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mouse_ears_mom View Post
                      Congrats on winning this trip Bob! How wonderful!

                      We went for 1 day in October with two 15 year old girls. We are all big Harry Potter fans so our main goal was to go to the Wizzarding world. The girls rode the thrill rides and we shopped. However we did walk through the line of the castle and the dueling dragons and bailed at the ride. e loved seeing all of the stuff as we went through the lines. There is a family meal deal for 4 at the Three Broomsticks. It was $50 and included, salad, veggies, chicken and ribs, corn on the cob and I think that was all. It was a HUGE meal and it was very tasty. We took our time and enjoyed the meal. If you eat there, make sure to look up and around on the walls and ceiling. The shows were good at the Wizzarding world, we especially enjoyed the frog choir and you can pose with photo with them after the show.

                      I know that they have a photo pass too. I don't know more about it than that they offer one.

                      The only areas we ended up doing anything in was the Wizzarding world and Seuss Landing, which was also really fun. Oh, we rode the Jurrasic park ride too. There is one drop on that ride that scared my husband half to death, but the girls and I didn't think it was so bad. We left early because we had 8pm reservation at Chef Mickey's that night but the girls were ready to leave by 4pm anyway. Yes, we adults were willing to stay longer but the teens wanted to go back to the resort and rest. Go figure.

                      The only other thing I can think of to suggest is to get the Lines app for Universal. We used it, it was awesome.

                      I hope I was able to offer something of help.
                      Congrats again and enjoy your trip!

                      Abby
                      Thanks Abby. Yes, your touring seems like ours will be as far as the type of rides. My daughter was the Cat in "Cat in the Hat" so we'll check out Seuss Landing. Although I haven't read or seen any of Harry Potter, I hear the attention to detail is incredible so I'm looking forward to that and hopeful more will be open when we get there. I had seen that meal at Three Broomsticks on the Lines App for Universal. That's great to hear it was so good because it is definitely food we would eat. I'm glad to hear the shows are good. I'm sure we'll want to check out some of them.

                      It's definitely a lot of help. Thanks again.

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                      • #12
                        City Walk is a blast at night. Much more laid back than Pleasure Island used to be. And far more spread out. I don't know if they still have the Jazz club there, but saw many fantastic bands there.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Scott D View Post
                          City Walk is a blast at night. Much more laid back than Pleasure Island used to be. And far more spread out. I don't know if they still have the Jazz club there, but saw many fantastic bands there.
                          Sounds cool Scott! I'll look into it.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jackie View Post
                            That is so AWESOME, Bob!!! I'm sure you will enjoy it.

                            We went to Universal 4 or 5 times, but it was way back in the 1990s and had very good times there.

                            CONGRATS on winning this wonderful trip.
                            Thanks Jackie. It's great to know you had a great time and I'm sure we will also. We really enjoy going to parks. Ginger and I both went to Storyland and Santa's Village in the White Mountains as kids and brought our kids there every year. We did still got to Santa's Village this past summer with my son. We've had a few trips to Lake George and the Six Flags park there and also once to Hershey Park. Every place is different, but always something to enjoy. There always seems to be something going on at a park even if it's seeing what others are doing. The weather doesn't need to be perfect to have a good time. I know it will be different than WDW, but it will be fun.

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                            • #15
                              Hey Bob, I have photos posted on Flickr if you are interested in viewing them.
                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/sakdow/...7638306473706/
                              ~Abby

                              https://twitter.com/zen_mom
                              http://instagram.com/sakdow#

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