1) Is the Loews Portofino Bay too adult-ish for a family vacation?
2) Are the restaurants at the Royal Pacific for families with picky eaters?
3) Due To the draw of fans to WWOHP, is most of IOA and USF pretty empty?
4) How busy does WWOHP get for the hour early hotel guest entrance?
5) Do you have to book your vacation on Univacations.com to get into the early entrance for hotel guests or can you book a resort hotel on another site like Travelocity and just use your room key?
6) Would any of you suggest a meal deal package for any of the parks I would be visiting?
7) Would you have to absolutely love water parks to go to Aquatica or Wet 'N' Wild?
8) Which is better: Wet 'N' Wild or Aquatica?
Thanks for any help to answers for any of the above questions!
For overall ambience I was actually more impressed by the Royal Pacific than the Portofino. I was expecting to be amazed by the landscape of the Portofino and while it was nice, it didn't have wow factor. I guess I expected more of a traditional convention hotel from Royal Pacific and was impressed by the level of detail throughout the hotel. I didn't see any of the hotel rooms though.
You can book the hotel through any 3rd party and still get express privileges by just showing your hotel key. We were down there prior to the grand opening of the WWOHP so I can't comment on how the crowds will be now that the world is open to everyone. When we were there the world was crowded by 8 AM (people were boarding the water taxis by 7:30 and we definitely felt that every hotel guest was in attendance at the park by 8 AM.
We spent 3.5 days at Universal Studios and IOA, 1/2 a day at Aquatica and 1.5 days at Seaworld and felt like we saw everything. I would suggest getting to Aquatica early. We arrived around 8:45 to a completely empty park and rode every ride 2-3 times without ever waiting in line. Moderate lines started forming by 11 AM and by 1 PM the park was really crowded. I suggest getting there early also to claim a spot in the shade. I love water parks but I think a half day is good enough at Aquatica. Hit the water slides early and then spend time later in the day at the lazy+rapid rivers and wave pools. I thought overall that Aquatica was very clean and that the staff worked really hard to maintain the park as a fun, clean, family oriented park that wasn't necessarily designed for adrenaline junkies. We got a one-meal pass at the Banana Beach cookout and thought the food was pretty good- burgers/hotdogs/pulledpork/corn/scalloped potatos. I'm not sure if the all day meal pass is worth it unless you have kids who want to get drinks all day.
I thought it was hard to see all the shows at Seaworld in one day without it getting repetitive (and hot- I knew Orlando would be hot but wow, I was dying in the 95-100 degree weather at SW). We saw Believe, Blue Horizons and Pets Ahoy on our full day there and Allure, Clyde and Seamore take Pirate Island and the Clyde and Seamore evening parody show on our half day after the morning at Aquatica. I recommend all the shows, especially the Seamore parody show. Rollercoaster wise, we didn't go on Kraken or Journey to Atlantis. I was disappointed by Manta but I think its just because I don't enjoy the sensation of lying on my belly on a coaster. It was a pretty smooth ride and had a great queue- I just don't find that I can get fully oriented while lying on my abdomen.
At IOA and Universal I would suggest not getting a meal deal as the meal options are quite limited. I think the food at City Walk is better than anything in the parks and makes for a nice break from the action. I was surprised that I liked the food at NBA City and Bubba Gump the most. Latin Quarter was pretty good but had potential to be great and the food at Margaritaville was semi-disappointing overall. There wasn't anything I would consider gourmet though (I didn't try Emeril's as I was trying to keep my budget down).
At Seaworld it seemed like the meal deal was a good choice (Voyager's had solid bbq) and the value of the deal depends on your personal values (practically speaking one person could get the all-day meal deal and get several rounds of food for the entire family as theres no strict enforcement of the rules but I think thats not quite right to do)
Hope this helps.
Unfortunately, I can't speak for IOA's wait times yet.
As for water parks, I've never been a water lover (hello? PYRA? FIRE?) but you can definitely HAVE MAD FUN at either park. I think Wet n Wild has a bit more thrilling rides, but i love Aquatica more because it's more chill AND has some thrill rides. plus it's a very, very pretty park. I vote for Aquatica!!!!
I am also glad the food at NBA City is good as I am an avid NBA fan! I don't think the heat will bother me as much since we are hitting 85 degrees down here in Utah in the early morning, nearing 100 by noon!
And lastly, is the Express Pass lane open on HRRR yet? Thanks everyone!
2) Are the restaurants at the Royal Pacific for families with picky eaters? With Citywalk a five minute walk away, does it matter?
3) Due To the draw of fans to WWOHP, is most of IOA and USF pretty empty? Dunno as I haven't been since WWOHP opened.
4) How busy does WWOHP get for the hour early hotel guest entrance? Dunno as I haven't been since WWOHP opened.
5) Do you have to book your vacation on Univacations.com to get into the early entrance for hotel guests or can you book a resort hotel on another site like Travelocity and just use your room key? As long as you stay on site, no matter where you book your reservation, you can use your room key as an Express Pass.
6) Would any of you suggest a meal deal package for any of the parks I would be visiting? Not unless you only like fast food - and with so many fine eating establishments, why lock yourself in to endless days of chicken nuggets and burgers?
7) Would you have to absolutely love water parks to go to Aquatica or Wet 'N' Wild? If you don't like water parks, just use your resort pool. All three of the onsite hotels have great pools.
8) Which is better: Wet 'N' Wild or Aquatica? Aquatica is newer, cleaner, and more family friendly. Wet 'N' Wild is a bit more thrilling. However, I would probably go to Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon instead.
Does it offer complimentary shuttle service between the hotel and airport?
EDIT: Found my answer to the other!
I mean lets say, for some crazy reason, everyone else on board is at Disney. Then you would get to see what all of those hotels look like before heading to Universal (probably won't be that extreme, but you never know)
Anyway a couple questions:
Will Quick Queue passes for both Busch and Ea World be of great help?
Has anyone ever experienced the $10 Busch Gardens Shuttles the park owns that transports guests at Orlando area hotels to BGT? Is it a good service?
What shows are worth viewing at the parks?
And lastly, will Universal 360 be running when I'm there?
I would definitely suggest not missing the Horror Make-Up Show, especially if you're able to go either the 22nd/23rd/24th (my favorite actor and who I think is the best works these days and it's always guaranteed to be a great show), that's even better. Beetlejuice is pretty good as well, I suppose. Not my favorite, but still decent.
Universal 360 will be running while you're here. I believe it finishes up sometime in August.
But I see your point. I would probably take a taxi if I went alone, but being almost 15, that won't be happening anytime soon. ;D
Also, how strictly does Universal, Sea World, and Busch enforce their loose items in lockers rule as my sister is diabetic and has to have her bag with her at all times? Would they let her on with it if we explained?
From more WWOHP to the new coaster coming along at Busch, you can ask to see anything at the following areas, and I will post pictures as soon as possible:
-Loew's Portofino Bay
-Universal Studios Florida
-Islands of Adventure
-Wet n' Wild Orlando
-Sea World Orlando
-Busch Gardens Tampa
So let's hear what you guys (and girls) want to see!
First off, we have found a way to arrive to the Orlando International Airport helping out as far as expensive transportation from Tampa. This brings along more good news of having one more day in Orlando meaning one more day of coverage for you guys!
Other than that, I hope to be able to post pictures and trip reports as often as possible, even if they are just short little updates.
Here is the itinerary I've come up with that I think will work well, especially since we will have either Express Passes or Quick Queue passes for all parks except Aquatica. Also, might need help on a couple days deciding the best possible park.
Tuesday: Arrive/Check-In (Anyone know good cheap hotels around MCO in case we can't add a night onto Portofino Bay?)
Wednesday: USF or IOA?
Thursday: USF or IOA?
Friday-Tuesday: USF, IOA, BGT, SWO, Aquatica, (Wet n' Wild possibly) (how would any of you suggest I balance this out)
Any help here TPI'ers!?
From my experience they are pretty strict with this rule on the attractions that require it. I've never been in your sister's situation though. I'm not sure what kind of bag it is.. if it is a fanny pack they may allow it, if they can even see it, since it is secured to your waist. Anything bigger and they would probably make you use the lockers outside of the ride. If you are worried about not being able to get into the locker quickly in an emergency, then they would probably make you do a "child swap" with the bag.
Can't believe this, but our flight has now moved from leaving at 7:00 PM to 6:45 AM!! I think I will be so excited, though, that waking up early should be no problem!