My next Universal Vacation

October 31, 2014, 1:43 PM

I am going to Universal in March of 2015! My last Universal trip was in 2013 and it was the first trip I planned with TPI. I still need help with hotels and my in park schedule. I will be staying onsite.


It has been FOREVER since I posted.

Replies (12)

October 31, 2014, 10:30 PM

The big new change since your last visit is Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express. You'll want to visit Diagon Alley during your early entry time that you will get by staying on-site. Hit Gringotts first, then linger and enjoy the rest of the land before walking over to Kings Cross to take the HE to IOA.

If you are staying at one of the three original hotels, don't sweat the in-park schedule, as you will have Universal Express Unlimited. If you're staying at the new Cabana Bay, be very certain to get as much early entry time as you can, then follow our general advice for the resort: Use single-rider as you can for Transformers: The Ride 3D, Revenge of the Mummy, Men in Black: Alien Attack, and Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit in USF and Forbidden Journey, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, and Jurassic Park River Adventure at IOA.

Try Vivo and Antojitos in CityWalk for dinners. They're both new since your last visit and excellent.

November 1, 2014, 12:50 PM

All good advice from Mr. Niles. I'll second the choice of Vivo. We had an excellent dinner there. The specials were adventurous and the prices very reasonable. If you are looking for affordability, though no Express Pass, Cabana Bay is very economical. It's the price of a Disney Value but has the amenities, look & feel of a Disney Moderate or more. Plus, two beautiful & excellent pools and a lazy river. Bus transportation was excellent. Never waited for one. There was always one arriving or waiting at both CBBR and the parking garage. We stayed for a long time so we split our on site hotels between CBBR & the Royal Pacific. That way we had Express Pass for two thirds of our vacation and saved some money by staying at CBBR for one third the trip.

November 1, 2014, 5:41 PM

Remember that one night at a "top three" hotel gets you two days of Universal Express Unlimited - the day you check in and the day you check out. So you can stay at Cabana Bay for the other nights, and get the Express for two days by switching to Royal Pacific for one night in the middle. Just an option.

November 3, 2014, 8:07 AM

I have never stayed on site except for my last trip at the end of September this year. I stayed at the Cabana Bay and I was very pleased with my choice! If you are traveling with 5 or 6 people it is the best choice because you can get a suite that will accommodate without having to win the lottery to be able to afford it! Lol When I stayed I did not have to wait more than a couple of minutes to get on a bus to or from the park. The extra amenities are very nice and there is plenty to do there. The onsite bowling alley is a nice change of pace. And the two pools are great! They had a movie playing on a giant screen by each pool every night (unless there was invlament weather) which was a very cool experience. One pool played a kid friendly movie and the other had an action movie. The hour of early access that you get for staying at the hotel is defiantly key when it comes to experiencing Diagon Alley! I would suggest hitting Escape from Gringotts a couple of times during this hour because the lines got up to 90 minutes during the day. Also if you are looking to have a wand choose you or a family member (especially a child) you can go through with minimal line over and over until you are lucky enough to be chosen. I had to spend one morning doing this so that my three nephews could get picked. It was better than the old experience at IOA. If you are at one of the other resorts, don't stress the schedule to much because as the other Roberts have said the express pass will get you to the front of most lines and it is unlimited so no worries. No matter which hotel you stay at though, I do suggest downloading the official Universal Orlando App to your smart phone or mobile device so tht you can check wait times throughout the day. Overall the wait times it showed were accurate or at least close to what it showed at the ride entrance. It was a very good way to help plan the day more efficiently. I did have to do a little more planning on the fly and had to be willing to change my plan accordingly sometimes, but it really did help out and I'm sure it saved me time in line queues. Well I hope this helps!!!

November 3, 2014, 3:11 PM

u can stay in Royal Pacific resort in Universal. I never stayed but have friends that stayed there and loved it. It is cheaper than the other Deluxe hotels in Universal and have the same benefits overall. Next time I'm going I will stay there. Go to Gringotts coaster in the early entry if u are staying in one of the hotels because when i went there it had 3 hour lines. Stay 3 days in the resort 1 in the Studios, 1 in IOA and one Park to Park. Universal CityWalk is awesome so its a good option to go there to eat after the parks or for dinner.

November 3, 2014, 3:13 PM

VIVO restaurant is really good if you want to try a new restaurant

November 3, 2014, 11:45 PM

Anyone try Cowfish yet? I'd love to get some photos and a review for the front page.

November 4, 2014, 8:12 AM

Cowfish opened just this past weekend. We just missed it, but saw them working feverishly on the facade 2 weeks ago. I've heard very good things about it, and it's location (right at the corner at the split between the 2 parks, means that it will probably be one of the toughest places to get into for some time.

November 4, 2014, 3:47 PM

Thanks Robert
I already have mastered the universal vacation, but your tips were helpful. I have a question:
Is the Dino encounter still open? Thanks,

November 4, 2014, 3:49 PM

I have stayed at Royal in 2013 and the Portifino in 2011. I will probably go with Royal again since I loved it so much.

November 4, 2014, 7:12 PM

If you're talking about the Trike Encounter in Jurassic Park, it is no longer open and the Trikes were removed.

November 5, 2014, 6:31 AM

will be visiting cowfish in a few weeks...

Have been to the Raleigh location numerous times and it does not dissapoint

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