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May trip advice

Universal Orlando: Going the first week of May and could use some advice

From Sara M
Posted March 26, 2011 at 9:44 AM
It's been a couple of months since my last Orlando trip and I have the itch for another adventure. Everyone always thinks i'm crazy (the why don't you go to an island how is Orlando relaxing crowd) but I love it and since i've been often enough it is relaxing because i know how to pace myself, take advantage of the hotel amenities and not run around the parks all day.

Anywho my mom and I are thinking of planning a mother daughter trip for the first week of May and do a 5 night stay at the Portofino (we are fans of the spa).

Any idea on the crowds to expect? Specifically Harry Potter. The last time we went in December we didn't really get to enjoy it because of the serious over crowding.

Or any suggestions to help make this trip a little more memorable? Good City walk evening suggestions are always welcome!


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Terri Pierce
Posted March 26, 2011 at 2:25 PM
The crowds should be minimal in general for the parks. Spring break is done by that time and kids haven't gotten out of school yet. I think I have the earliest release date of all my college friends with May 6th being our last day for finals.

For Harry Potter I have to urge you to take advantage of that early admission into Potter. We went September 11th weekend and took full advantage of this hour. We planned on getting to the gate 30 minutes early which turned into 10 minutes early and they were already letting people into the park.

Once we were in the crowd was non existent and we pretty much walked on to FJ (Less than a 10 minute wait). We also walked onto Dueling Dragons or whatever it's name is now. We were able to explore the entire place get butterbeer with NO line, go into hogs head hang out, and go to Seuss landing before the others were even let into the park. We returned for lunch around 10:45 were able to sit down with food within 20 minutes and went about our way.

We tried to go back later in the day and couldn't even get into Owls Post. I stood in line for 35 minutes to buy a chocolate frog for my brother and then stood in line for about an hour for FJ. By the time we got done riding the park was 5 minutes from closing and we had to leave.

So, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE HOUR! Avoid 3-5PM because of the heat of the day causing irritable children, angry parents, and annoyance on your part. Instead head back to the hotel to rest or head to city walk for an early dinner... as you probably know already.

As for what day to go I would recommend not going Saturday or Sunday. Universal Studios might be okay to do on a weekend due to express passes and Potter taking up most of people attention.

Overall I think you will have a pretty calm, carefree trip during those days. I hope y'all have fun!

From Hermione Potter
Posted March 26, 2011 at 4:45 PM
I agree with most of what Terri said except that many of the private colleges in FL get out the last week of April and Grad Bash (high school seniors shut down the parks early) is May 6-7 so it won't be as bad as Spring Break but it could still be crowded.

From Sara M
Posted March 28, 2011 at 7:13 PM
Thanks for your suggestions thus far! I will def. keep in mind the early hour entry!

From Sara M
Posted March 29, 2011 at 7:09 AM
Does anyone know if Karaoke is still open at Citiwalk? Or how the bars are there?

From Nick Markham
Posted March 29, 2011 at 8:08 AM
Have you stayed at the Portofino before? If you haven't, you are in for a treat. The architecture and design of this place is amazing. Make sure you find Gellato's (I think that is the name) which is a small yet amazing ice cream parlor alongside several shops and restaurants for you to choose from, all while feeling as if you are in Portofino, Italy!

From Hermione Potter
Posted March 29, 2011 at 9:00 AM
Sarah, Rising Star is still open.

From Terri Pierce
Posted March 29, 2011 at 3:17 PM
No clue about karaoke or bars but Margaritaville margaritas are amazing. Ive never been in there to shop but loved the atmosphere of the shop. Very laid back and carefree. If you stick around late enough for people to get 1 tequilla, 2 tequilla, 3 tequilla..... DANCE FLOOR you're in for a hoot. =) Ive seen people dancing outside the bar all the time... kind of funny.

My brothers tend to really enjoy the night life on city walk... and then the bushes on the way back to the hotel. We never found those sunglasses... hmm.

From Fred Roy
Posted March 30, 2011 at 7:13 AM
If you go to the Express Pass page on the Universal site, they list the price of the pass on a daily basis. The more expensive the pass the more people are projected to be there. It is my understanding that if you stay on site that you get into the parks earlier. You should check into that. Anyway the best bet is to go the Wizarding World first. I did that in December and didn't have any problems.

From Sara M
Posted March 30, 2011 at 8:08 AM
Thanks Everyone,

Terri i laughed when i read your story about your brothers. I know that walk well back to hotel.

I think were are leaving towards Royal Pacific because my mom really enjoys the islands theme. This is our comprise vacation between her wanting to go to the islands and me not being able to sit around sun bathing all day. But i will try and take a stop over to the portofino and check out the hotel for a future stay.

Does anyone know when the summer concert series starts? We saw train their last May and it was great!

From Terri Pierce
Posted March 30, 2011 at 9:44 AM
Well let me know if you find his sunglasses he would love to get them back. And let me know if you find any chill/fun bars or anything this trip. I will be turning 21 in Sept so I plan on hitting some places up in December when I go.

From Donna McKay
Posted March 31, 2011 at 9:26 AM
I was in Orlando the first 2 weeks of May last year. The first week of May had no crowds at all! Less than 10 minutes for most attractions. The second week was slightly busier but still well below the crowds I've seen at other times of year. I'm planning my May 2012 trip now!

One thing though is to check the times of all shows and fireworks carefully as some done operate every night.

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