Vote of the week: What's the best perk for staying at an on-site theme park hotel?
Part of the reason why we chose to stay at Hotel Breakers when we visited Cedar Point last weekend
was the opportunity to get into the park one hour early, to get a jump on the lines for some of the park's top roller coasters.
We'll be staying at the Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando when we get in Orlando in a couple weeks, where we'll get front-of-the-line access to (almost) all of the Universal attractions while we're there.
If we were staying on-site at Walt Disney World a little bit later in August, we could have gotten free dining at the Disney parks and hotels during the visit.
Which brings me to this week's vote on Theme Park Insider: Which perk would you prefer with an on-site stay at a theme park's hotel? Early access for just the hotel guests, front of the lines access to the park's rides, or free dining at the park and hotel restaurants?
I'd love to hear your personal experience with any of these perks, and whether or not you feel that they're worth the extra price of staying at an "on property" hotel.
My trip report should be of some help for visiting Harry Potter Robert when you get there!
Personally, I prefer free dining.
I'm not familiar w/ the front of the line access- how does it work? Are you actually walking right on to a ride, or is there a shorter, front-of-the-line...line... that you're waiting in?
Front of line access, no question about it. I'm not a big fan of waiting in line. I'll pay for food, and early entry wouldn't really be needed if you had a front of the line pass.
Think FastPass: You move past the main line into a shorter line for other hotel guests and Express Pass holders, which mixes in with the regular line at the load station.
I said front of the line, but my main reason for staying at an on site hotel is the ambiance.
Front of Line Access just makes park touring an absolute breeze. When we last stayed at Universal's Royal Pacific (2007), we had the most relaxing, laid back theme park vacation I have ever experienced - all because we did not have to worry about lines!
I never stay on site, but I voted for "front-of-line" privileges. By the time you get to a ride on early entry, you've eaten up a portion of the hour. You're lucky to get 3-4 rides in, less if your next ride is on the other side of a huge park like CP. Then you still have to deal with lines all day, anyway.
The early hour, especially in Orlando is not just an extra hour to play. It is essential to the entire day flowing well. At Sea World you can knock out the rides with little lines. Islands head straight to Jurrassic or HP. And at Magic Kingdom in the middle of summer we are able to knock out most rides in the park before Noon. Strategic planning, fast pass makes everyone in our large party appreciate waiting out the early opening. We usually wait 30 min at the front gate, but so worth it. Sitting down to a reservation at Noon for a meal, accomplishing so much prior is a great experience. Allows the rest of the day to fit in shows, etc. Everyone should consider the benefits of the first hour of the day.
I think there were more that could be added such as free transportation to the park, staying late, and transportation/check in to airport from hotel. The Check in/Magical Express would be my vote.
I absolutely prefer early entry. Front of the line often means you miss the queue areas. Attractions like Men In Black, Potter, Revenge of the Mummy have great queues (which often contribute to the attraction's theming and story). Experiencing an attraction loses something when you don't get the full treatment.
This is one perk for which I'll give USF and IoA the nod -- being able to enter the "express" line makes it possible to do the park at your own pace, and without worrying about whether or not you'll be able to do all the attractions you want to. So, give me the "FotL" access for staying at the resort, and I won't need the early entry/late hours. We were there during the soft opening of the Simpsons ride, and enjoyed being able to practically just walk on. Same thing with Spidey and Hulk... and MIB... and the other FotL attractions.
You don't have to use your express access, TH, but you
It's got to be free dining.
Hmmm. Looks like the vast majority of us are "uneducated" FotL'ers...