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  1. #1
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    Default staying on disney property vs universal property

    DH's father has decided he'd like to do a large family vacation. After bouncing around many destinations Disney was suggested.

    However my idea of doing Disney and theirs are a bit different. They are talking about staying at universals hard rock and also doing the universal parks. I've only been to universal once many moons ago. While I'd like to do the universal parks this trip in addition to Disney it still seems like we get more perks and convenience staying on Disney property.

    So am I wrong, right or just blinded by Disney?

    Oh and I've already tried suggesting staying at both resorts but FIL is convinced it will be a hassle to move mid vacation.
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  3. #2
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    So will you be staying at Universal but still going to Disney on certain days?

    I am with you, I would do it the other way around staying at Disney and take day trips to Universal, or do a multi destination trip. I also think you get more staying at Disney.

    Which hotel is cheaper to stay at Universal or Disney?

    We are doing 8 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal this trip. This is our first time staying on site at Universal though, in the past we would just day trip if we went.

    Recent Trips:
    -OKW Aug 16 - Aug 23 / Royal Pacific Resort Universal Studios Aug 23 - Aug 26, 2013
    -Universal Studios Hard Rock Hotel Nov 14 - Nov 18, 2014
    -Saratoga Springs June 11 -18 2016

    Next Trip:
    -Port Orleans Riverside / Saratoga Springs Sept 8 - 17, 2017

  4. #3
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    We'll likely do 4 days in Disney parks and 2 at universal.

    Honestly it really turned me off when I saw that the hard rock will charge me a daily parking fee and don't provide complimentary air port pick up.

    The hard rock rates Appear comparable to a moderate Disney hotel.
    "One little spark of inspiration is at the heart of all creation, right at the start of everything thats new, one little spark lights up for you!"


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    Mom to our little Prince Everett and Princess Adelaide
    August 2020 Caribbean Beach!
    Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.

  5. #4
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    .....having only stayed ad Disney ....and then doing off-site days to Universal ....I'm curious to know if Universal has "perks" for those that stay at their hotel?

    .....as much as I have enjoyed several of the attractions at Universal (the Revenge of The Mummy Ride is fabulous ....and the Harry Potter "park" is great ...but pricey) .....I just don't see it as a place that lends itself to providing the same experience to those who stay "on-site" at WDW.
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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyDad View Post
    .....having only stayed ad Disney ....and then doing off-site days to Universal ....I'm curious to know if Universal has "perks" for those that stay at their hotel?

    .....as much as I have enjoyed several of the attractions at Universal (the Revenge of The Mummy Ride is fabulous ....and the Harry Potter "park" is great ...but pricey) .....I just don't see it as a place that lends itself to providing the same experience to those who stay "on-site" at WDW.
    Universal hotel perks (from the Universal Orlando website)

    Stay in the Heart of the Excitement at ANY of our On-site Hotels, including our newest hotel scheduled to open in 2014, Universal Cabana Bay Beach Resort, and enjoy:

    •SKIP THE REGULAR LINES with Universal Express SM Unlimited ride access* in both theme parks all day - a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day** (valid theme park admission required).

    •Take the complimentary water taxis along picturesque waterways directly to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk ®.

    •Priority seating at select restaurants throughout the resort


    •Enjoy Early Park Admission† to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal's Islands of Adventure® one hour before the theme park opens (valid theme park admission required). This is your opportunity to experience some of our most popular attractions before nearly all other guests. Plus, July 1 - September 2, 2013, you can also enjoy Early Park Admission to the NEW TRANSFORMERS: The Ride - 3D and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios Florida®.

    •Complimentary shuttle busses to and from both theme parks and CityWalk®, plus walking paths to make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time

    •Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel

    •Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card

    •Complimentary scheduled transportation◊ to nearby Wet ‘n Wild® water park, SeaWorld®, and Aquatica™

    •Golf Universal Orlando® program, providing preferred tee times and complimentary transportation‡ to select area golf courses:

    ◦Windermere Country Club

    ◦Grand Cypress Golf Club

    •Start your day with a wake-up call from one of your favorite Universal Orlando characters

    (*Paid theme park admission required. Not valid at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™ and other select attractions. On-site hotel privileges good for hotel stay as indicated on the Universal Express Unlimited pass. Only valid for the number of guests staying in the room. Ride access available during normal theme park operating hours only. Not valid for separately ticketed special events. Additional restrictions may apply and benefits are subject to change without notice.

    **Based on seasonal peak pricing for the Universal ExpressSM Unlimited pass

    †Paid theme park admission required. Early Park Admission begins one (1) hour prior to Universal’s Islands of Adventure regular scheduled park opening for on-site hotel guests and is valid 7 days a week for travel through 12/31/14; valid only at select Islands of Adventure attractions: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™, Flight of the Hippogriff™, Dragon Challenge™ and Caro-Seuss-el™. Early Park Admission begins (1) hour prior to Universal Studios Florida regular scheduled park opening for on-site guests and is valid 7 days a week for travel 7/1-9/2/13; valid only at select Universal Studios Florida attractions: TRANSFORMERS: The Ride - 3D, and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. Attractions may vary.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dulcee View Post
    We'll likely do 4 days in Disney parks and 2 at universal.

    Honestly it really turned me off when I saw that the hard rock will charge me a daily parking fee and don't provide complimentary air port pick up.

    The hard rock rates Appear comparable to a moderate Disney hotel.
    While the rates may be like a moderate Disney hotel, the hotels have the amenities of the WDW deluxes. Comcast/NBC Universal does not run their hotels; the are managed by Loews Hotels.
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  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammer View Post
    July 1 - September 2, 2013, you can also enjoy Early Park Admission to the NEW TRANSFORMERS: The Ride - 3D and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios Florida®.
    Thanks for the info, we are staying onsite in Aug, I knew you got in early for WWoHP, not sure how I missed this!

    Recent Trips:
    -OKW Aug 16 - Aug 23 / Royal Pacific Resort Universal Studios Aug 23 - Aug 26, 2013
    -Universal Studios Hard Rock Hotel Nov 14 - Nov 18, 2014
    -Saratoga Springs June 11 -18 2016

    Next Trip:
    -Port Orleans Riverside / Saratoga Springs Sept 8 - 17, 2017

  8. #7
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    Just my opinion after doing it both ways many times...I prefer staying at Universal.

    All three of their hotels are deluxe in my opinion and are nicer than the Disney deluxe. We have stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge & the Poly.

    Transportation is not needed to get from your hotel to any of the parks or City Walk. The walks are short and easy. Also transportation is not needed to get from park to park. All of that transportation back and forth at Disney eats up so much time that is wasted and could have been used on attractions.

    Staying at a Universal Hotel gives you unlimited front of the line access to all the rides in both parks except for HP FJ.

    You can enter IOA everyday an hour before opening to ride FJ.

    We switched to staying at Universal instead of Disney about 8 years and feel we get much more for our money.

    We stayed at Coronado last Oct for ICOT 15. It was a nice hotel but nothing in comparison to Universal Hotels.
    Rita (aka NJGIRL)

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dulcee View Post
    We'll likely do 4 days in Disney parks and 2 at universal.

    Honestly it really turned me off when I saw that the hard rock will charge me a daily parking fee and don't provide complimentary air port pick up.

    The hard rock rates Appear comparable to a moderate Disney hotel.

    Disney gives you transportation so you wont rent a car and explore the other attractions in Orlando. Which is a good business move on their part, but not too many hotels do that. I agree with you on the parking fee,,,,that stinks.

    What really caught my eye was your price comparision. I think you will find that all three Universal Hotel are deluxe not moderate.
    Rita (aka NJGIRL)

  10. #9
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    for me id stay at WDW. I spend most time there. a few trips I went to Universal for a day, which was sufficient for me. Those times I used either a rental car or Mears shuttle which worked fine. The prices of the Universal resorts seem high also. I like the theming at WDW, esp WL.
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  11. #10
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    If I could swing it money wise, I would put up with the minimal (in my opinion) hassle of moving over just for the front of the line access and early WWoHP entry alone. For me, this is a very budget conscious trip so we are staying entirely at WDW and driving to Universal for two days (probably more like 1 1/2).

    FWIW, budget aside, if I were to choose only one to be my "home base", it would be WDW.
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  12. #11
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    I'd do the split stay, and take advantage of what both have to offer.
    Can't you do this even though the others won't?

  13. #12
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    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but unless you have actually stayed on site in a Universal hotel and are only used to the way it is done at Disney, it is hard to realize how much more enjoyable your stay is. No traveling to the parks...no traveling to eat at a restaurant, and no traveling back to your room to swim or sleep.

    We visit the parks three days each stay and never run out of things to do.
    Rita (aka NJGIRL)

  14. #13
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    I'm going to keep fighting for a split stay. While my in laws are a few hours in the parks then back to the pool kind of travelers DH and I really like getting going early, breaking mid day then back out most of the evening.

    Staying onsite for both resorts seems to make the most sense to me.

    NJGIRL do you prefer one universal resort above the others?
    "One little spark of inspiration is at the heart of all creation, right at the start of everything thats new, one little spark lights up for you!"


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    Mom to our little Prince Everett and Princess Adelaide
    August 2020 Caribbean Beach!
    Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.

  15. #14
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    That's a hard question because all three are so nice, but I favor the Hard Rock. I can't tell you exactly why. It might be because it was the first one we stayed in or because it is the closet to the Studio, which is the park I enjoy more.

    Make your decision by looking at the map of the entire resort. Royal Pacific is the closest to IOA. Also take a look at the theming and pricing. You can't go wrong with any of them.

    We enjoy the Universal theme parks as much as Disneys. I think if you can stop your self from expecting Universal to mirror Disney, which it doesn't even try to, you will be able to enjoy Universal as much as we do.
    Rita (aka NJGIRL)

  16. #15
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    I wouldn't say that Universal resorts are priced like moderates - holy cow! They're priced like deluxe resorts at WDW. They're nice, but the rooms are small. And they nickle and dime you to death at Universal. They charge for parking, charge for internet access, charge for health club access, charge for an empty arcade card to load with money; they charge extra for EVERY LITTLE THING. We hated that. The last time we did Universal, we did ONE night only there, to get FOTL access to Harry Potter. The rest of our vacation we spent at a DVC resort at Disney. We had very little interest in the rides/attractions at Universal other than WWoHP, because we're not teenagers and don't like roller coasters and "thrill" rides. Epcot is much more our speed. I would do a split stay if I were you, with as little time at the Universal resort as possible.

  17. #16
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    We just returned from our first ever stay at a Universal hotel (Portofino).
    The good:
    It was a beautiful hotel.
    The cost of the room itself was not as much as what we normally pay at the Poly.
    The hotels (and Portofino was the farthest away) are all located much closer to the parks. The boats ran efficiently and got us there quickly.
    The Express Pass was great!
    The room itself was very clean and pretty.

    The "not as good":
    Everything does seem to cost more as others have mentioned - parking fees, food, drinks. The places to eat were CRAZY expensive!
    In our case, there was LOTS of construction going on. Tarps were up for painting in several places.
    Our room, while very pretty, had really odd windows. They started about "chest high" and went up from there. So, my son really could not see out! And they don't open - they were fixed position. All of the rooms (on the top floor anyway) had varying window layouts. We just happened to get that one. Strange!
    Probably the biggest thing I noticed was the energy - if that makes sense. When we stay at the Poly, there are always lots of people milling about in the lobby. Pool area has lots of families. It just has a more active feel. At the Portofino, it just seemed "colder". We ate at one of the restaurants at the hotel. At 5:30, we were the ABSOLUTELY ONLY ONES in the restaurant!! It was so strange. Everything just echoed! Can you imagine that at the Poly? Or any of the Disney restaurants actually? And, we did the "movie by the pool" one night. There were perhaps 3 families. They start at 8:00 (when it's still semi-light and hard to see), so that the movie will be done by 10 when the pool closes up tight. I'm used to the Poly movies, where there are lots of folks watching, lots of playing in the pool, pauses for the Water Pageant and Wishes. Just so different.

    That is just my 2 cents... but, I still lean Disney's way.

  18. #17
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    Portofino is a more low key resort. I see more couples and families with older children there. That is one of the things I like about Universal, there does seem to be less commotion in their resorts, which I find more relaxing.

    Movie nights at the Royal Pacific & Hard Rock have always been packed when we have been there. I like that a waiter comes around the beach to take food and drink orders.

    I do not find the food prices at the hotels to be any higher than at Disney Resorts, if you compare apples to apples. Disney's signature restaurants are just as pricey as Universals. Breakfast buffets aren't anymore expensive either.
    Rita (aka NJGIRL)

  19. #18
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    We've never done Universal, so I'll be really interested in hearing how your trip goes! A split stay seems to make the most sense, but if you stay at only one place then Disney makes sense if you're spending more of your time there.

  20. #19
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    The Hotels are close. It is all about feel and what you enjoy. Neither property is "cheap" but the Hard Rock or PB is definitely quieter than most of the properties at DW.

    The food is much better on Disney property simply because of the greater variety and more opportunity for successes.

    Downtown Disney has a better vibe than City Walk for sure.

    The "Studios" as they have both dramatically changed since inception. Are really on par, and if you are talking about sheer attraction/ride appeal Universal Studios probably wins by a hair for anyone over the age of 10 and can enjoy all of the rides at US.

    Rip Ride Rocket and The Mummy are two of the better attractions in all of Orlando

    Now IOA is a bit of a tougher comparison. It is fairly spread out and it seems like youre just going from ride to ride. One headliner every quarter mile in a big circle.

    Hulk/Spiderman/Jurassic Park/Forbidden Journey and the old Dueling Dragons...the end. There are no really enjoyable non E-ticket attractions. The two water rides there besides Jurassic Park are fun, but you get COMPLETELY drenched on both, unlike Splash which seems to be the perfect amount depending on the time of year.

    If Harry Potter World continues it's expansion and adds another E-ticket it will definitely make it still worth attending.

    With the proposed Cars and Star Wars expansion at Studios hopefully DW can keep up.
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  21. #20
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    I don't either party is "wrong". Since you all have different ideas about what the better parks are you could stay off property. You could rent a big house or a few small condos near each other. That is what we plan to do for our family reunion. That way each person can decide what ticket packages to purchase.

    You could decide on a few key events to do together and what to do on your own.
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