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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    NE PA
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    Default Quick Thoughts on a Universal trip

    Last week I was invited down to Universal to participate in the Universal Executive Summit. It was 2 nights Oct 7-9 at Royal Pacific. Due to flight logistics, it was better for me to fly in on October 6th and out on October 10th. (kind of a "you can't get there from here" scenario)

    Along for the ride on this trip was my sister Cathy and Kathy Peacock from Magical Journeys.

    Our plans during the extra time was to get resort photo's since we did not have park tickets during the day, and see HHN25 in the evening since we had Frequent Fear+ passes that would cover the nights of 10/7, 10/8, 10/9. Due to meetings I only made it on the 9th, but it was fantastic! We then decided, in the interest of research, to stay at Portofino the night prior to the Summit and Cabana Bay the night after.

    We arrived about 3pm to the Portofino and a room was ready for us. We had booked a Villa room for the fantastic bathroom and to get pictures. Check-in team member was very upbeat, efficient and friendly. This would set the tone for all team member interactions during the entire trip.

    Portofino as usual did not disappoint. The rooms were redone in 2014 and are true luxury. We were in the Villa wing and while the location was a bit difficult as far as elevators, the view was fantastic. Beds here are the best beds ever! We set about taking pictures and hit Vivo Italian Kitchen @ Citiwalk for dinner.

    Vivo Italian Kitchen had great food and service while not being ridiculously priced. We each had an appetizer and entree, but skipped dessert. With 2 soft drink and one Cosmo our bill came to about $100.

    The next morning after getting more resort pcitures we headed off to check in at Royal Pacific. This was the only Universal Resort I had not stayed at, and wow! I was pleasantly surprised. We had a redone room on the 4th floor of tower 1 and it was gorgeous. With the redo, RPR has changed most rooms to step in showers with no tub. Shower head was powerful and the extra room without the tub was heavenly. Beds were nice. We walked around and took some pictures then headed via boat to Red Oven for lunch.

    Red Oven is a pizza bakery. We ordered 2 pizza's - Pesto and Funghi. Both were delicious. Tables around us also had salads and they were definitely big enough to share!

    I now had to head to meetings and the other 2 took off on their own.

    Skip ahead to Friday morning after my meetings were over we headed over to Cabana Bay Beach Resort. I have stayed here before and like this resort. It has a very happy vibe to it, food court is good and the rooms are nice. Beds were nice. This time we did a regular tower room that sleeps 4 (last time we had 5 ladies in a family suite). Ate a quick lunch in the food court then explored to get pictures and do some pool time.

    This afternoon I really was able to talk to Cathy and Kathy about their experiences while I was at meetings. What surprised me most was my WDW loving sisters comment "I had team members come up to me numerous times and ask me if I needed directions, help or anything else. This is like Disney in the 90's!"

    Now I have to admit I noticed the same thing, but since most of my time was spent with a VIP lanyard around my neck, I thought perhaps that was the reason. But since my sister and Kathy experienced the same thing when they were not with me, that was not the case. The team members are happy, proud and delightful.

    From this trip and my past trip in April it is evident that Universal is doing something right. Their team members, who 10 years ago could be a bit surly, are now engaged and excited. There seemed to be more staff working, and more pride in what they were doing.

    While investing in new attractions, a new Water-park and Sapphire Falls, Universal has not forgotten to invest in the front line people that we see day in and day out.

    And this is a good thing!

    Nanci Rossetti
    Vacation Specialist
    Magical Journeys
    The Magic begins with YOU!
    The Official Travel Agency of INTERCOT.com

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    This is the first time we have used Magical Journeys. Kathy has made all our arrangements for this Christmas. Really looking forward to staying at the Portofino again. I love staying there during Christmas. It is beautifully decorated at that time or year.

    Past Trips

    Pop- Dec 2015
    Portofino Bay-(Club)Universal Dec, 2015
    Pop - Oct 2012
    Pop- Aug/Sept 2009
    Wilderness Lodge - Dec. 2006
    Portofino Bay-(Club)-Universal- Dec 2006
    Sheraton Vistana Villages- May 2003
    Sheraton Vistana Villages- April 2002
    Off-site-May 1989-

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Morristown NJ
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    Thanks for sharing your review with us. Sounds like Universal is upping their game, I hope Disney pays attention and follows suit.
    - Lynn -
    INTERCOT Staff: Theme Parks, DVC

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Nanci just wanted to thank you for the report. I sometimes feel like I am a broken record defending Universal's employees. Glad that someone in the travel business is backing me up!
    Rita (aka NJGIRL)

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 1997
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    "I had team members come up to me numerous times and ask me if I needed directions, help or anything else. This is like Disney in the 90's!"

    I love hearing this because for all the knocks against UOR - the one about team members being unfriendly, surly or not up to Disney standards seems to be the loudest and I have found it simply to be not true.

    If you listen to the podcast, you can hear glowing reviews from both myself and Melanie about staying on property and how glorious it is. It was truly a VACATION where I felt more relaxed at a theme park than I had in a long, long, long time.

    We're planning to go back soon. Glad to hear your experience was much like ours!
    John - aka. The Master Control Program
    Owner, Chairman & Chief Imagination Officer - INTERCOT

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