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Just got back from an amazing holiday in Orlando where we just visited the Disney parks and stayed onsite.
We got a great deal, with meals included as well as $400 Disney dollars so didn't actually spend anything over that!
My DH has now mentioned going next year but just doing Universal, however, I'm not sure how best to book, as the universal website seems rather confusing!
We booked Disney direct from them (virgin flights via Netflights) were there 11 nights and did all the Disney parks.
Any recommendations for universal? Kids will be DS 11 and DD 6.
There are some really nice onsite hotels at universal. The more expensive ones give you express passes included in the price.
I’d just book a hotel directly with universal and the tickets with a site such as Attraction Tickets Direct and the flights separately. Universal hotels are lovely, just as good as Disney. I don’t think they do any offers like free meals but it is a cheaper holiday overall than Disney World especially because the park tickets are cheaper. You might want to add in a few shopping days or visits to the beach etc or maybe Discovery Cove as there isn’t as much to do at Universal as at Disney but it’s still very nice.
Book directly and buy your tickets online - you can usually get a universal/Disney bundle
Staying at a universal hotel gives you early park access, and the more expensive ones include universal express tickets (like fast pass, but you don’t book them, you just use the express entrance which is a shorter queue)
You only get free fast passes at the higher end universal hotels, but worth it.
Last year we stayed at Cabana Bay for 2 weeks with our dc 7&4. It was brilliant. It’s not a hotel that you get express passes from but as we were pretty much only doing universal for those 2 weeks we found we didn’t really need them with early entry. Universal is fab but obviously is only 2 parks + volcano bay so a lot less ground to cover than Disney. Be warned that early entry has very limited rides open though, when we were there it was just minions and escape from gringotts.
We have been to Florida multiple times and this was our first holiday that was universal focused rather than mainly Disney. Usually we just do 3 days at universal and have stayed in the Hard Rock Hotel a few times to get express passes. Depending on your budget this is an awesome hotel and I highly recommend it.
I didn't think much of Cabana Bay. The rooms were fine and beds were really comfortable, but the food was expensive, and the 1950s eating area was horrible, especially with the loud raucous music on a continuous loop.
We only ate there the first night, and had one breakfast there. I ended up getting coffee and croissants from Starbucks and taking them back to the room for the rest of the holiday.
The hotel is huge and impersonal and has no character or ambience. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations as I much prefer smaller, family run hotels that you get in Europe.
The free shuttle bus service was brilliant though.
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