Trip to Universal Studios Orlando - looking for input

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by dotgirl, May 2, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. dotgirl

    dotgirl Silver Member

    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    443
    Status Points:
    385
    We're taking a trip to Universal Studios Orlando in November of this year. It's for my son's 11th birthday and primarily to visit the 2 Harry Potter Parks, although I'm sure we'll try to see more than that.

    We're set on the flights, etc, but I'm wondering about staying on property at one of their resort hotels vs. staying at the DoubleTree across from the entrance. I'd like getting to/from the parks to be as frustration-free as possible, but considering I'm Silver with HHonors and would love to get more points, the DoubleTree option is pretty attractive.

    Has anyone made this trip? I'd love any opinions or reviews.

    Thank you!
     
    TUMD likes this.
  2. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

    Messages:
    774
    Likes Received:
    912
    Status Points:
    795
    No specific experience with that Doubletree but if you're going to choose it, why not get HHonors Gold (e.g. by getting the Surpass Amex) and get free breakfast on each day of your stay?

    Inside Universal, be prepared for stupidly long lines. The queue for the Forbidden Journey (the signature attraction) has nice enough scenery, but it winds and winds forever. If you have a chance, consider visiting Ollivander's wand shop.
     
    viguera likes this.
  3. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,200
    Likes Received:
    7,448
    Status Points:
    5,245
    I stayed at the DoubleTree and walked to the park.

    It's a bit of a long walk...across a busy street and through a parking garage...but it can be done. I walk fast but it took me about 20 minutes to get to the park entrance where they collect/scan tickets. One day a thunderstorm came as I was leaving the park, so I just took a taxi back.

    As a Diamond, they upgraded me to what they called their Penthouse Suite....an expansive multi-room suite looking out to the surrounding area. My suite didn't have a view of the parks though.

    They had a nice pool area and food was decent in the hotel.

    During that visit, I bought the front-of-line access privilege with my Universal pass...which was a free benefit when I stayed on property.

    My stay was cheap...a fraction of what the on property resorts were.

    If you're looking to save money and don't mind long walks, it's worth it.
     
    viguera likes this.
  4. TUMD

    TUMD Silver Member

    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    244
    Status Points:
    375
    I would definitely pay the extra for the Express Pass if the difference is not very large. When I was there I think it was $30 and would literally save hours in line.
     
    traveltoomuch and viguera like this.
  5. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,737
    Likes Received:
    6,913
    Status Points:
    4,745
    It's a long walk, even more so when you're tired after a day in the park. I've seen people do it, but you'll probably just wait for a shuttle.

    If you're renting a car I'd suggest keeping the Hilton Orlando on your list. I stayed there last year and it was great... they have a couple of pools, a lazy river and water slide, which is good for when you're not in the park. You can pay extra for VIP parking and that will put you closer in the lot to the entrance to the park -- or to Citiwalk at least, since you still have to walk to get to the actual park entrance.

    If you were considering Disney I'd say the Hilton Bonnet Creek or the Waldorf, which are awesome properties and have plenty of amenities, plus a shuttle to Disney.
     
    traveltoomuch likes this.
  6. Dozer

    Dozer Silver Member

    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    240
    Status Points:
    360
    We was just there last year and did the exact same thing. The DoubleTree is a decent hotel and it's literally located across the street from the entrance to the park. Granted it's a very large street and you do have to walk through the parking lots to get to the parks. It's about a 30 mins walk with kids (from door to door). Walking there in the morning was no problem because the kids were excited and energetic. It's coming home at the end of the night when everyone was tired that was the problem. I don't recommend walking at all.

    We actually bought the Universal Studios tickets at the hotel when we arrived. If you buy a multi-day ticket, they actually include a free shuttle service from the hotel to the park. The shuttle was convenient and had numerous pick up/drop off times. I recommend this option.

    If you get Hilton Gold status anytime soon, the included breakfast buffet at the hotel was actually really good. There's an omelette station and plenty of hot and cold dishes.

    And a tip about the Islands of Adventure, make sure to hit the Harry Potter rides when you first get into the park. The lines will only get longer from there. Let me know if you need anything else. Enjoy!
     
    viguera and traveltoomuch like this.
  7. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

    Messages:
    774
    Likes Received:
    912
    Status Points:
    795
    I didn't know about the express pass - thank you for the suggestion.

    Note that the pass does not cover the Forbidden Journey. (It is an amazing ride - if you're at all into knowing how things work, I suggest reading up on the ride tech.)
     

Share This Page