Traveling with a special needs child to Universal Orlando requires careful planning and preparation. To make sure you have a smooth and stress free vacation, here is a list of last-minute items to make sure you bring:
1- Medications: Bring all necessary medications for the entire duration of the trip, as well as extra medication in case of unexpected delays. It's also a good idea to bring a copy of the child's prescription in case they need a refill while on trip. (Personal Tip - I always make sure that if I don't use a 'chain pharmacy', that my local pharmacist has the phone number to a pharmacy local to Universal where they can communicate in case of needing additional medication)
2-Medical Devices: If the special Needs Child requires any specific medical devices, such as wheelchair or mobility aid, don't forget to bring them along. You may want to bring extra batteries or chargers for these devices if needed. (Personal Tip - we usually rent a wheel chair or larger stroller to use 'as wheelchair' or a scooter. Less things to worry about packing. So, make sure you bring the confirmations on these if you go this route.)
Why a Special Needs Family Should Use a Travel Agent to Plan Their Vacation - pt 2
Today we are going to continue our discussion about Why a Special Needs Family Should Use a Travel Agent to Plan their Vacation. Last time we talked a bit about Expertise, Personalized Service and Saving time.
Today we are going to start a series on reasons Why a Special Needs Family Should Use a Travel Agent to Plan their Vacation. Special Needs Families have a set of unique reasons why a Travel Agent can be beneficial to them. Let's spend some time and delve into a few of them today.
Let’s end out the month with my Top five Must Rides at Universal Orlando!
(Disclaimer, this list was compiled by my thrill junkie special needs son. Although I do agree with three of his five choices!)
My Top 5 Tips for Special Needs
Today we will talk a bit about My top five Tips for Special Needs.
Being the mom of a Special needs child/adult with cognitive disabilities and a grandchild with an amputation, this is a very important discussion with me. Our family has been in this Special Needs game since 2005 so we are well versed in the ever changing rules at both Disney and Universal. For a first timer, it can be not only daunting and full of anxiety for the parent, but if not managed well can be a trigger for meltdowns with the child.
This is another one where it is hard to narrow it down to just five, but here it goes.
Today we will talk about MY top five restaurants in the Universal Orlando property. For this I will include only sit down or table restaurants, only City Walk and one per park, and those you will probably need a reservation for.
First, let’s start with the whole reservation thing. No, this is not like Disney where you have to get up early and hope that your favorite restaurant is available. (At least not yet.) And yes, pre covid no reservations were needed, and staying at a Premier Resort got you priority seating. However, after Covid, much of this changed. Limited seating and staffing shortages made it nearly impossible for the more popular restaurants to handle all the people that wanted to get in. The waits outside more popular restaurants were HOURS long.
Now, reservations are not required, but are recommended. I’ve seen the long lines of people waiting to get into a restaurant while my family glides on in. I’ve seen the dirty stares. I’ve heard them being told two hour waits.
And the priority seating? It means a one hour wait .
So, now on to my top five.
My # 5 top restaurants at Universal Orlando is The Cowfish. I really don’t think this one gets enough love. It has a wide variety of both hamburgers and sushi along with a blend of the two. The number of different type of hamburgers is astounding! The different types of sushi keeps even my sushi loving guys happy (yuck).
This is one that we frequently see one to two hour waits, but tons of availability online for reservations.
My #4 top restaurants at Universal Orlando is Toothsomes Chocolate Emporium. Even if you don’t do a real meal here, you HAVE to stop by the sweets shoppe or at least grab a milkshake! They are out of this world!
It is a steampunk style ‘factory’ that earns it the nickname the Chocolate Factory! We make it a point to eat here EVERY trip and have never been disappointed. Well, maybe once during our first few post covid visits when they didn’t have the full menu back we were a bit disappointed.
My #3 top restaurants at Universal Orlando is Big Fire American Fare. While we have only visited once, it has become our new favorite. (why did we wait so long to visit?!!!) The smores dessert is to die for!
The previous restaurants were all in City Walk. Now let’s see what the parks have to offer.
My #2 top restaurant at Universal Orlando is from Universal Studios Park. Lombard's Seafood Grille is a fantastic place to have a nice relaxing sit down lunch. Our first time there was lunch because we couldn’t get a dinner reservation. That sealed the deal! It was an excruciatingly hot October day and the cool inside was a perfect compliment to sitting beside the water eating a seafood lunch. But don’t worry, they have other things as well. This has also become a tradition for us. We always have a lunch att Lombard's! It is worth every cent!
My #1 top Restaurant at Universal Orlando is from Islands of Adventure. Mythos. The Fork, Knife, and Spoon Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup alone gives it a top spot on the list. My steak loving son says the lamb there is perfection in a plate. The atmosphere is unbelievable, and the cool temperature is perfect on a hot day!
Are you hungry yet? One of the services I provide for my Universal Deluxe Planning Package is to make reservations for my clients. I also give recommendations based on their family's personal likes and budget. If you want to check out all the restaurants that take reservations, here is the link.
If you would like to have someone on your side and help with the planning of your vacation, click here to schedule a chat!
5 Tips For Universal Orlando!
A New Theme for February!
Here we are, already in the first week of February and it seems like only yesterday we were enjoying some Christmas cheer at Universal!
I’m always asked to give my top 5 of this or that, so I thought I’d devote my February blogs to some top five lists. Today, we will start with My Top Five Tips for Universal Orlando
My #5 best tip is always get a Park to Park ticket.
Why? Because you can’t ride the Hogwart’s Express without it! Since its a different experience in both directions, you really want to experience it both ways. You say you probably won’t want to ride it? Are you sure? I can’t tell you the number of people that I’ve heard say that and then realize that the part of Harry Potter they really wanted to see was in the ‘other’ park and they didn’t want to wait until the next day. Don’t believe me? There is a ticket office outside both train stations and all they do is add the Park to Park option on tickets for people wanting to ride the train!
Save yourself some time and get it before you leave home. Trust me. This isn’t worth saving the extra few dollars on.
Trains, Plains, and ... Boats?
Getting from your resort to the parks is a breeze at Universal. Their motto has always been you are never more than five minutes away from the fun when you stay on property, However, with the new Endless Summer Resorts --that changed to you are only minutes away from the fun. Because, the ride from Endless summer can be a whopping 7 minutes at times!
Seriously , you are staying IN the fun!
How Many Days at Universal?
My first trip to Universal was only one day! I thought I had seen it all! Boy was I wrong! I have lost count of the number of times I have been since then and each trip is a minimum of four days, usually a full week, and I still haven’t seen it all!
If you are a Harry Potter fan, I say you need at least three days. One day devoted to each Harry Potter world, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, and one day devoted to the other areas of the two parks. (With, of course the ride between the parks on the Hogwarts Express in each direction - because the ride is different in each direction!) This is a minimum!
Most of the content is written by people at JMorris Travel. Every once in a while we will have a guest blogger, usually it is part of our 'family'.Always with a nod to Family Travel!