Some general advice for potential orlando trip sought

Edited: January 9, 2017, 6:16 PM

Hi Guys,

My Girlfriends UK visa (She's Canadan) ends at the back of August, and she needs to apply for a new one back in Canada, and this is likely to be a lengthy process... so we're looking at the possibly of an Orlando trip on the way back. It is just the two of us.

I'm really keen to go to Universal, and having of course read Niles's history as a cast member and some other series (like the "ears her Ears" series) I'm thinking a trip to Disney shouldn't be left off. I'm not too bothered about Sea World/Busch gardens so they're not on the itinerary.

We're both first time visitors, and we're not really the type who want to keep to a schedule in a trip away - this is supposed to be fun, not work.

I was wondering if I could get some advice.

1. I'm not a car user, so wherever we stay has to be Accessible to the park. I'm really keen on the perks for staying on Universal property (specifically, Front of line privileges) so staying on site for the universal part is a given. Disney of course don't do that (just the longer Fastpass+ prebook window), so I'm wondering if its actually worth staying at WDW for the Disney part of the trip, or are there more economical options that are still viable for non car users?

2. How difficult is it to get from WDW to Universal (or vice versa)? I'm guessing we're probably looking at Taxi/Uber, but we're not opposed to taking a bus if its significantly cheaper yet viable. Same question also applies to MCO Airport.

3. What I've read suggests that the Disney parks get quieter in September. Presuming we're staying on site for the Universal part of the trip, would it make more sense to front load with universal, and hold Disney back for Weekdays in September?

4. Alternatively, is it just better to stay in one location off site, and get Universal Express just for the days we intend to go. There seems to be a decent price on a 14 day park to park ticket only available online.

Replies (2)

January 11, 2017, 1:02 PM

I just got back from a week-long trip to Disney and Universal, so here are some opinions:

1. There are plenty of economical options that aren't too far from WDW. But you'll have to Uber or cab in most cases though to get to the parks. For my family, a big part of the Disney experience is being in the Disney resort -- the magic "never ends" even when you're at the pool, room, or even food court -- and resort guests can bus for free to all Disney parks and attractions. Plus the value resorts during a non-peak period likely won't cost that much more than off-site options unless you're going super-low budget. I would recommend it, but YMMV.

2. I can't help much with details on this one. Universal was only about a 15-20 minute drive from WDW for us, so I can't imagine an Uber or cab would be particularly expensive. The airport was maybe 20-30 minutes to WDW, probably a few minutes less to Universal. There's also Disney's "Magical Express" service to/from the airport which I think only applies if you stay at a Disney resort.

3. If you get the Universal Express stuff, and you want to cram absolutely everything at WDW into limited times, then definitely find some crowd calendars online and go to WDW on the projected least-crowded days. These calendars are fairly accurate in our experience, and often project which of the parks will be the least crowded on each given day. That said, we were just there in a super-busy time and even then with making good use of fastpasses, and not being too concerned if we missed one attraction per park, we were able to avoid waits longer than 25 minutes and see almost everything; it will definitely be easier/better during a less-crowded time.

4. I don't really know about this one. Time is very precious to us on these vacations, so on one hand staying on-site will save you transportation time, but on the other hand switching hotels may lose you time. Again for us staying on-site at Disney is a big part of the magic and fun, and I imagine staying on-site at Universal (haven't done it yet) is really good as well.

Good luck!

January 14, 2017, 9:02 AM

I would say make your trip to a Disney resort and do all that and then pack up and go over to Universal for the rest of the days.

Disney and Universal do not make it simple to get between the two park resorts. Cab/Uber is really the only option. Traffic can also sometimes be a nightmare between the two.

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