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Old 10-17-2018, 10:08 AM   #1
a1000monkeys
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Default A series of firsts and lasts

So this trip has been many years in the making with fits and starts. It me, DW, DS14, DD11 and DS10. First 3 nights were at Universal in the Jurassic kids suite followed by 7 nights in a "luxury" rented trailer at Fort Wilderness and finally an additional 4 nights in a 2br BWV standard view. Oct 6-20

We originally were supposed to take this trip in Oct 2015 but the day before we were about to leave DW was hospitalized with a kidney infection and kidney stones and was out of a commission for a solid two weeks.

We then tried to reschedule for April 2017 but a few weeks before we were ready to leave, DW was diagnosed with cancer and elected to start treatment immediately.

In between we were able to do a shorter WDW only trip, though on that trip DS (then 8) contracted the norovirus and was out of commission for four days culminating with a day in the hospital. Needless to say, we think our Florida trips may be cursed.

While we live closer to SFO, SJC is only about 40 minutes away and we got a good deal on Southwest's new daily non-stop to MCO. Usually we park off-site but since we were leaving so early and bringing so much luggage (due to the camping portion of our trip), we decided to Uber it. I tried Uber's advance reservation pick up (it wasn't available on Lyft in our area). Our pick up was supposed to be at 4:30 but I was watching the app from 4:15 waiting to see the progress of our driver. Finally at 4:29, I got a notification that the app was trying to find our driver. It found one but the driver cancelled. It then found another river who showed at 4:45 and drove like a drunken Mario Andretti all the way to the airport. Not an ideal start. Also the advance reservation costs more and is not really an advance reservation at all. I will not be using it again.

Southwest flight was fine. We used a car service to pick us up from MCO and he met us at the luggage pick up even though we didn't pay extra for that service. It was great and we might do that again when needed. I think it was only $65 to Universal in a Ford Expedition.

This was our first trip to Universal and while it was nice, it will probably be our last. We found it underwhelming. The Harry Potter sections, particularly the train were great but we are not Harry Potter superfans. Also, most of the virtual rides made us a bit queasy.

We had 2.5 days to explore both parks. 1.5 days would have been plenty, even at the slow pace we go. If you're a park commando, one day to tackle both parks from opening to close would be enough.

Also, the Jurassic park suite was overpriced for what it was. It's basically a cheap hotel with a small connecting room with cute wallpaper and a bed overlay but it still only has one bath. We won't be doing that again.

It has been crazy hot and humid here. Basically 93 degrees with 70% humidity. Is it any worse in the summer? This is the first time we have been here in Oct. It may be our last and I think we can safely say we will never come in the summer. Ok, time to head to HS now. I'll write more later.
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:24 AM   #2
ermindy1133
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So happy that your DW is better and you are finally getting to make this trip! We arenít really US fans either, but will make an occasional trip to pacify our ďPotter-itesĒ. Settling in to tag along on your adventures!
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a1000monkeys View Post
So this trip has been many years in the making with fits and starts. It me, DW, DS14, DD11 and DS10. First 3 nights were at Universal in the Jurassic kids suite followed by 7 nights in a "luxury" rented trailer at Fort Wilderness and finally an additional 4 nights in a 2br BWV standard view. Oct 6-20

We originally were supposed to take this trip in Oct 2015 but the day before we were about to leave DW was hospitalized with a kidney infection and kidney stones and was out of a commission for a solid two weeks.

We then tried to reschedule for April 2017 but a few weeks before we were ready to leave, DW was diagnosed with cancer and elected to start treatment immediately.

In between we were able to do a shorter WDW only trip, though on that trip DS (then 8) contracted the norovirus and was out of commission for four days culminating with a day in the hospital. Needless to say, we think our Florida trips may be cursed.

While we live closer to SFO, SJC is only about 40 minutes away and we got a good deal on Southwest's new daily non-stop to MCO. Usually we park off-site but since we were leaving so early and bringing so much luggage (due to the camping portion of our trip), we decided to Uber it. I tried Uber's advance reservation pick up (it wasn't available on Lyft in our area). Our pick up was supposed to be at 4:30 but I was watching the app from 4:15 waiting to see the progress of our driver. Finally at 4:29, I got a notification that the app was trying to find our driver. It found one but the driver cancelled. It then found another river who showed at 4:45 and drove like a drunken Mario Andretti all the way to the airport. Not an ideal start. Also the advance reservation costs more and is not really an advance reservation at all. I will not be using it again.

Southwest flight was fine. We used a car service to pick us up from MCO and he met us at the luggage pick up even though we didn't pay extra for that service. It was great and we might do that again when needed. I think it was only $65 to Universal in a Ford Expedition.

This was our first trip to Universal and while it was nice, it will probably be our last. We found it underwhelming. The Harry Potter sections, particularly the train were great but we are not Harry Potter superfans. Also, most of the virtual rides made us a bit queasy.

We had 2.5 days to explore both parks. 1.5 days would have been plenty, even at the slow pace we go. If you're a park commando, one day to tackle both parks from opening to close would be enough.

Also, the Jurassic park suite was overpriced for what it was. It's basically a cheap hotel with a small connecting room with cute wallpaper and a bed overlay but it still only has one bath. We won't be doing that again.

It has been crazy hot and humid here. Basically 93 degrees with 70% humidity. Is it any worse in the summer? This is the first time we have been here in Oct. It may be our last and I think we can safely say we will never come in the summer. Ok, time to head to HS now. I'll write more later.
Happy for you all that everyone is able to make this trip! Have a great time!

Agreed on the Universal .. two days is plenty (I just hate commando touring!!!) The Front of the Line Pass from the Universal Hotels makes it easy to do both over the two days. HP Land - yep .. that's why we go also.

What did you think about the Fast & Furious ride? It was under construction last time we were there (2016).

How goes the HP Land expansion (they took down the Dragon Challenge rollercoaster I think and the flying Hypograph)
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Old 10-17-2018, 11:52 AM   #4
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My fam likes US. They love all the big thrill rides but something is missing for me...the theming and magic WDW has. I love that everything at US is pretty walkable. None of us are thrilled with the dining there and dining is a big part of our WDW trips. However, for some reason, my fam would likely choose a US trip over a WDW trip. I like to go every several years. We are do for a visit.

The heat. Yes, early Oct is HOT HOT HOT. We go in Oct for F&W a lot and we have been in Aug and Sept a few times...hot as hades. In fact, I was there Oct 5th and nearly passed out and/or vomited in Epcot due to the heat (had to stop and sit a lot and focus breathing). My DDs played year round travel softball for 8-9 years and I spent many many days out in the sun on ball fields...and managed those other June-Oct Disney trips too. This reaction was new to me. Never felt that bad due to heat. Not sure what the deal was. Later in Oct is not as bad. But, sadly, due to AP expiration we are doing early Oct again next year.

Hope you have a nice rest of your trip. Please tell us more. Would love to hear about the camping part. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10-17-2018, 11:52 AM   #5
jsweeney
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Looking forward to following along!

Also curious of how the F&F and King Kong rides were. Both were under construction last time we went. Universal is definitely just a day thing for us, even as huge HP fans.

Enjoy the rest of the trip!
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Old 10-17-2018, 12:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a1000monkeys View Post
So this trip has been many years in the making with fits and starts. It me, DW, DS14, DD11 and DS10. First 3 nights were at Universal in the Jurassic kids suite followed by 7 nights in a "luxury" rented trailer at Fort Wilderness and finally an additional 4 nights in a 2br BWV standard view. Oct 6-20

We originally were supposed to take this trip in Oct 2015 but the day before we were about to leave DW was hospitalized with a kidney infection and kidney stones and was out of a commission for a solid two weeks.

We then tried to reschedule for April 2017 but a few weeks before we were ready to leave, DW was diagnosed with cancer and elected to start treatment immediately.

In between we were able to do a shorter WDW only trip, though on that trip DS (then 8) contracted the norovirus and was out of commission for four days culminating with a day in the hospital. Needless to say, we think our Florida trips may be cursed.
I remember your previous posts about your wife. Very happy that she's doing well and so glad that you're on this extended vacation! Have a blast!


Quote:
Originally Posted by a1000monkeys View Post
While we live closer to SFO, SJC is only about 40 minutes away and we got a good deal on Southwest's new daily non-stop to MCO. Usually we park off-site but since we were leaving so early and bringing so much luggage (due to the camping portion of our trip), we decided to Uber it. I tried Uber's advance reservation pick up (it wasn't available on Lyft in our area). Our pick up was supposed to be at 4:30 but I was watching the app from 4:15 waiting to see the progress of our driver. Finally at 4:29, I got a notification that the app was trying to find our driver. It found one but the driver cancelled. It then found another river who showed at 4:45 and drove like a drunken Mario Andretti all the way to the airport. Not an ideal start. Also the advance reservation costs more and is not really an advance reservation at all. I will not be using it again.
Ubered twice in my life...can never get those 30 minutes back. Hate everything about it! We have used the Minnie Vans (which you access through the Lyft app) and love those. But they have WDW CMs driving cars that are clean and well kept. You know what you're getting with the MV service!! Plus who doesn't love the red with white polka dots!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by a1000monkeys View Post
Southwest flight was fine. We used a car service to pick us up from MCO and he met us at the luggage pick up even though we didn't pay extra for that service. It was great and we might do that again when needed. I think it was only $65 to Universal in a Ford Expedition.
We also use a car service and like the convenience!

Quote:
Originally Posted by a1000monkeys View Post
This was our first trip to Universal and while it was nice, it will probably be our last. We found it underwhelming. The Harry Potter sections, particularly the train were great but we are not Harry Potter superfans. Also, most of the virtual rides made us a bit queasy.
We went once and really didn't enjoy much about the parks or the rides. It really lacked the beauty and immersive quality of Disney. It felt like an oversized Six Flags to us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a1000monkeys View Post
It has been crazy hot and humid here. Basically 93 degrees with 70% humidity. Is it any worse in the summer? This is the first time we have been here in Oct. It may be our last and I think we can safely say we will never come in the summer.
October was our go-to month for WDW when our kids were young and had a fall break during elementary and middle school. We loved the weather at that time of the year, but it could be unpredictable! Sometimes it rained like crazy or was very cold or very hot. But the crowds were more manageable and that made it much more pleasant.

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Originally Posted by a1000monkeys View Post
I'll write more later.
Looking forward to the rest of your TR.

Have a great day! It is WDW after all!!!
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Old 10-17-2018, 12:48 PM   #7
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So sad to hear that health concerns derailed this trip, but glad it is on now.

Yeah, Florida humidity is nothing to sneeze at. I'd go exclusively November to February if I could.
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Old 10-17-2018, 04:04 PM   #8
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The Fast & Furious ride was pretty good. I haven't seen any of the movies so I can't say I am a fan but thought the themeing and the ride itself was pretty good.

King Kong was better but was glitchy on our ride. I think we were supposed to go outside first but didn't.

The food at Universal was pretty lousy but the prices (especially for beer) are a lot better than WDW. The Krusty Burger was probably the worst burger I have had but as I would expect nothing less from a chain run by Krusty the Klown, it was consistent with the theming.

The one exception is that the food and the service was exceptional at Pat O'Briens at Citywalk.

The heat and humidity has really been unbearable. I guess I should at least be glad we haven't had a hurricane though it did rain at some point everyday the first 6 days, with several torrential downpours. It's been pretty dry since. Just humid.

Up next, our first (and last) Fort Wilderness experience.
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Old 10-17-2018, 05:06 PM   #9
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Glad you were finally able to make your trip. Looking forward to more.
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Old 10-17-2018, 05:08 PM   #10
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Iíll start this post with this: we love camping. But we are very much fair weather campers. The weather in California is dry and predictable, Florida is not. We also love Le bringing a lot of gear. I thought I could offset that by renting an equipped trailer, which my youngest DS was crazy about but it fell short of expectations. Ultimately living in a trailer in the swamps of Florida was far less glamorous than expected.

I have to tip my hat to Meachamís RV, who carried a credit for me for my prior cancellations. We rented a 2br,1 bath luxury trailer with a golf cart rental. The golf cart was a lot of fun. Fort Wilderness is an awesome campground and the campers go all out decorating their campsites for Halloween.

We finally did the Hoop de Doo show which was a lot of fun.

The primary negatives of camping was mostly weather related. It poured several times the first couple days. I was soaked to the bone on several days and it sucked not having a clothes dryer or even a warm dry space to hang clothes to dry. It was too hot and humid to enjoy the outdoors. The campground pool looked like the scene from CaddyShack when the caddies had run of the pool. I didnít stay long enough to see if a Baby Ruth floated to the top but the pool was so overcrowded it would not have surprised me.

The water parks by contrast were far less crowded and a great escape from the heat.

Transportation to/from the campsites was a bit of hassle. Overall, the trailer was no substitute for DVC. I donít like not having space and feeling dirty and sweaty all the time. Im glad we experienced it but it was a one and done for us. Moving to a 2br at Boardwalk felt like moving up to a mansion in comparison.
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