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First time universal, August for 18 days

Discussion in 'Universal Orlando' started by Ollivier73, Dec 31, 2018.

  1. Ollivier73

    Ollivier73 Newcomer

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    Hi,

    We are planning our first visit to universal Orlando.
    We are four, 2 kids 13 and 11.
    We come from Belgium and are staying 18 days in Orlando.

    In 2010 we visited WDW and seaworld + BG.

    My wife and oldest daughter are harry Potter fans. And this time we want to concentrate fully on universal.

    Our plan is to stay in cabana bay Beach resort. Take the 14 day explorer tickets for 3 parks.
    No rental car.
    One concern to us is the food budget, if you stay 2 or 3 days you can go a bit crazy but not for 18 days. Breakfast in the room, sharing entrees in the park. Have some diners in eateries in the area.

    Another concern is 18 days universal, is this to much?
    We plan to arive on 12th August 2019, and we want to relax.
    Fist a day at the pools, pool hopping maybe.
    Second day go to the outlet stores, and relax afterwards at the pool.
    Maybe visit city walk.
    On day 3 we start our 14 day tickets.

    With 14 days at the parks, we dont have to be there at rope drop every day.
    Depending on the crowds, maybe 3 or 4 days.
    Every day we will take a break from 12u to 16 to 17u.
    Go to the pool, and relax.
    Maybe going to vulcano bay after a morning in the parks.
    Maybe Some days we start at volcano bay, relax a bit in the room and the have a relaxed evening in the parks.

    We could save some money by staying off site and use a rental car, and use that saving for seaworld an bush gardens. I dont think it is worth it for us, staying on site should give us a more relaxing vacation. The new all Summer resort is also an option but there is a good chance that there will still be constructions going on.

    We would appreciate any feedback so we can make it a vacation to remember.
     
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  2. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Premium Member

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    Sounds like you have a solid plan. You might want to do an excursion to ride an airboat or Gatorland. You know enough to not try commando style, I think you will be fine.
    In the parks I would avoid the quick serve lines and eat at Confisco or another sit down. They are not much more than the quick serve and it is better food. You can always pop out to CityWalk and hit one of the fast food places on the second level if you just want American chain food.
    Across Kirkman from the front entrance is a small shopping plaza with a Walgreens drug store that has some groceries and Liquor sales. Next door is a buffet style restaurant that might be an option. Short walk over and they just built a pedestrian bridge across the road so it is a safe walk now.
    You are going to have so much fun
     
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  3. Ollivier73

    Ollivier73 Newcomer

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    Thanx for the food tips.
    Sit down restaurants sound expensive but in reality it is almost the same cost as standing in line for food and hoping you find a good table. Can you use the refil cups in those restaurants?

    For my WDW visit I used tour guide Mike site. The basics are the same, get in early, know when the major rides have the shortest lines. Take a break from none to four or five. Avoid long lines at quick service places.

    We did gatorland and the airboat ride 8 years ago.
     
  4. gbird

    gbird Rookie

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    We have spent two weeks at Cabana Bay for past few years. We do start quite a few days by going to Volcano Bay as wanted to get sun lounger with Parasol as gets very hot in August. As mentioned always good to spend some time on International Drive as quite a few cheap places to eat.
     
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  5. GAcoaster

    GAcoaster Veteran Member

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    Just be ready for the summer heat! I know many guests visiting from Europe find it overwhelming. Take your time and stay hydrated.
     
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  6. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    Mornings & evenings in the parks. Hot humid afternoons at the pool. Stay comfortable and keep it leisurely. It's easy to do if you stay at a onsite hotel like CBBR. The Potter restaurants are quick service but their food is as good as many sit down restaurants. Plus great ambiance at Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks. By all means, STAY ON SITE. The experience is much lessened if you stay at an off site hotel.
     
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  7. Ollivier73

    Ollivier73 Newcomer

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    We should consider to take a siësta and sleep a couple of hours during the hottest time of the day. Will make it easier to go to the parks early.
     
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  8. Teebin

    Teebin Legendary Member

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    Do the hotels like portofino and hard rock have lower priced dining venues or are they all premium?
     
  9. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    Moderate to premium for sit down restaurants. Sal's is fairly value priced but it's not a traditional sit down, more like a pizzaria.
     
  10. Teebin

    Teebin Legendary Member

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    That’s it. I was just thinking of other ways to enjoy the resort as a whole without necessarily staying at each hotel.
     
  11. Ollivier73

    Ollivier73 Newcomer

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    It is a good sugestion to have some lunches in the other hotels in the resort. With some research we can find some affordable options.
    Leaving the park at none and eat lunch at portofino in the pizzeria sound actualy verry good. Eating a pizza in an Italian themed hotel, nice.
    Quality should be better than in the park.
     
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  12. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    Yes. A good idea. You can explore the beautiful grounds and either eat in Sal's or on the Piazza. Plus, at dusk the Italian singers sing from the balcony overlooking the piazza. Also, if you stay on site at CBBR, you are allowed to use any of the other resort's pools. Portofino has two fantastic (plus a third smaller) pools. Sal's pizza is considered by many to be the best pizza on Universal property. They use very high temperature wood burning ovens.
     
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  13. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    Just to add, I always recommend purchasing Seth Kubersky's (and Touring Plans)Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. It's, by far, the best guidebook on Universal Orlando. Everything you could possibly need to know is in this book. I purchased this for my first long trip to Universal back in 2011, and it really was instrumental in making my trip more enjoyable. And, a new updated issue comes out every year. @Skubersky
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  14. Ollivier73

    Ollivier73 Newcomer

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    I will look in to this.
    I did not know about the opera singers at potofino, is there other entertainment at other hotels to?
     
  15. Scott W.

    Scott W. Premium Member

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    That’s something I didn’t like about Hard Rock but it’s such a short walk to CityWalk it didn’t really matter.
     
  16. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    The singers are the only free entertainment at the hotels I'm aware of. But Royal Pacific & Sapphire have hard ticket Luou type dinner/events. I believe all the resort pools have free movie nights. Generally they're for kids/young teens. Also the hotel bars Thirsty Fish, and Strongwater Tavern have live music on selected evenings. The Aventura Bar on the roof has DJ's certain nights.
     
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  17. natespf

    natespf --Classified-- Premium Member

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    You can easily spend over $100 a day on food. The meal plans don't really seem worth it for me and they lock you into a selection. I'd definitely plan for a few special sit down dinner nights, the rest is spending wisely and getting creative. Make sure to stop off property to get some good snacks and supplies sometime on your first couple leisure days.

    14 days is pretty overkill but it can be such a good deal that you can do a couple days in the park a couple days doing other things, back to the parks, rinse and repeat. So you should check out what you may want to do on International Drive too. If you plan around them you can get a savings on the multi-day passes for the iRide trolley to get around.
    Orlando Attractions - Florida Attractions - International Drive Orlando

    Obviously with Volcano Bay and all of the resort's pools you can put in as many relax days as needed. The bowling alley in CBBR isn't too crazy priced considering it includes shoes.
     
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  18. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    I'm one of the few that spends 10 to 14 days a vacation at Universal. For me there's always enough to do for that amount of time since we take it slow and spend a lot of time at the hotels and Citi walk. That said, 18 days is pretty long, so as others have suggested, you might want to schedule 4 or 5 days outside the Universal bubble with some other stuff.
     
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  19. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Premium Member

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    You vacation like an Englishman.....
     
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  20. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    Mark (UK Trigg) taught me well. :thumbsup::)
     
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