For all the Super Planners, like myself, out there, Universal trips may not require as much detailed planning as say, Disney. But worry not, there are still tons of details we can peg to keep us joyfully busy! Let me walk you through how I plan - from the bare necessities to the intricate nuances allowing us not to just 'wing it'.
Securing our Travel Dates
First, we start with the essentials - deciding when we're going and where we're staying. Our paid in full date was yesterday and if you’re anything like me, you know that’s cause for celebration, because it means it’s REAL!
Charting out the Fun Stuff
Now, comes the fun stuff - planning where we're eating and what we're going to focus on during this trip. While most might bask in spontaneity, I confess - I hate to waste time. I relish moments spent observing people and soaking in the vibrant atmosphere. But loathe to find ourselves in a ‘Where to next?’ loop. I believe in a sensible ‘plan of attack’.
There’s no ‘turn-by-turn’ itinerary, but an itinerary nonetheless. One that lists potential pit-stops for much-needed break times and nifty markers noting essential spots in each park area. As a Super Planner catering specially to Special Needs families, these spots serve as oasis within the desert of endless excitement.
Tackling Universal’s Enigma: Variable Park Hours
But there's a hiccup. Universal still hasn't listed park hours for our dates! It might seem minor to some, but for us Super Planners, it's an integral piece of the puzzle. This becomes even more crucial considering Universal Studios closes early five nights a week for Halloween Horror Nights, and without knowing which park has early admission, our planning gets doubly tripped up!
Briefing about the Essentials
As our trip materializes, we would be sharing basics on the working of the Express Pass, which I highly recommend. We also schedule our timings to be in line for Early Park Admissions, including time to leave the resort, which varies based on your preferred arrival method - Water Taxi, Garden Walk or bus.
Adding a Twist: Our Trip Themes
Every trip has its ‘theme’. Sometimes it’s a fun challenge – like seeing how many times we can ride VelociCoaster in a day. Sometimes, it's a day-long immersion into a magical world - visiting The Wizarding World in the same sequence as Harry in the first book. This just adds an extra dash of fun tailored to our unique likings.
Planning for Variety
This trip is a potpourri of different ages and first-timers, which makes it a fresh adventure. Our itinerary ensures everyone gets a taste of their favorites, with plenty of 'break times' and flagged areas for all the 'must-have' Universal snacks.
For the Harry Potter fans in our group, I make sure to highlight the intriguing and lesser-known details within the Wizarding World. It’s always a treat watching them engage, learn and use their wands!
Each evening promises a different culinary delight. I save reminders about departure times from the park to ensure minimal waiting times for our dinner reservations. Plus, there's always the hope that we might squeeze in an extra ride after!
A Few Last Tidbits
As Super Planners, it's important to remember to avail the option of sending your packages back to the resort to lighten your load. And definitely, do not forget to grab your last-minute souvenirs!
Lastly, the unseen planning also matters - how are you travelling to Universal? Are there any special needs to cater? Pets to be cared for? Already sorted time away from work? These are all elements to consider.
So, fellow Super Planners, that's how I break down the chaos of planning a Universal trip into a neat plan. Leave no stone unturned and experience Universal in its full glory!
How do YOU plan? Are you a 'wing-it' type? A super-planner? Or maybe somewhere in between? I find most people are super planners on their first trip, then a bit more relaxed on subsequent trips. Of course, some think that Universal is soo much smaller than Disney so it has to be much easier to plan and do no planning at all, and only see a small portion of what they could have seen, so they spend much more time planning their next trip.
Either way, having a knowledgable Travel Professional on your side can be a very helpful thing when you have that silly question pop up and have no idea that it was a 'thing', much less something you needed to know! (Maybe this would be a good subject for a blog...hmm). If you are ready to have a Travel Professional on your side to help you plan that next (or maybe your first) visit to Universal Orlando, contact me via my calendly and we can get started!
Although fall hasn't quite arrived here in Georgia, school is back in session and we're already feeling the heat of over a hundred degrees. It's the perfect time to start thinking about winter break trips! In fact, many people have already taken advantage of early discounts and secured their trips to popular destinations like Disney and Universal for Fall break.
Winter break trips are going fast, with resorts still trying to make up for lost revenue due to the pandemic. While there are still some affordable options, hidden costs can quickly add up and take away from your vacation experience.
Universal Part 2
Here is the 2nd installment from my blog from my first trip to Universal back in February of 2016! Enjoy!
Diagon Alley was awesome! Small walkway (and the fact that nothing else was open) made the area feel very crowded and claustrophobic. Even the shops were wall to wall people. We quickly made our way to Gringott’s Escape to what was a fair wait-about 30 minutes, even though the posted wait time was 10 minutes.
Of course, first we put our bags into the free lockers, and then proceeded to inside Gringott’s. Since I left both my camera and phone I got zero pictures of the areas that we were allowed to. We actually went through this area pretty quickly. Even my husband was impressed and he has not seen a single Harry Potter movie…ever! I loved the way you were immersed into the story. Once you get past this part, the waiting was not so nice. Both in length and atmosphere!
Several things to talk about here (without giving away too much of the magic). Let’s start with the hokey elevator. I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I will warn you to hold on! And, let’s not forget the mandatory pictures! I never even saw what they looked like…bummer.
Stairs, stairs, and more stairs! ‘Seems’ like we went back up all those flights the elevator took us down! Finally we reach the point of loading into the ride. One note here, not for people with long legs! It holds you in place by getting you in the shins! The bar clamps down on your shins as much as your waist. My 6 foot husband had major problems with this part, and it hurt me at only 5 foot 10 inches…
But, (at least to me) it was worth it! The ride is not smooth. The jerky motion was something my husband was not fond of (and it may have been the bar cutting into his shins). But the motion did not bother me and my vertigo. Remember, my husband has never seen a Harry Potter movie so it was completely nonsense to him! Me and the kids LOVED it!
Universal Orlando is a destination that never fails to captivate visitors with its thrilling attractions and immersive experiences. As the seasons change, so too does the park, offering a variety of seasonal events that cater to different interests and preferences. From heart-racing scares during Halloween Horror Nights to the vibrant festivities of Mardi Gras, Universal Orlando knows how to keep the excitement level high year-round. In this blog, we'll explore the seasonal offerings you can expect at Universal Orlando, highlighting the pros and cons of each event. Get ready to embark on a journey filled with chills, cheers, and holiday magic as we dive into the world of Universal's seasonal delights
Excitement fills the air as you step foot into Universal Orlando - the ultimate family vacation destination. While the theme park is filled with fun and thrills, it can be overwhelming, especially when traveling with kids. Worry not! I have prepared 12 tips and tricks to help you navigate Universal Orlando and create lasting memories with your family. Follow my guide to make the most out of your vacation at Universal Orlando.
Who Doesn't Love a Good Thrill Ride?
Today we will take a look at five top fan-picked thrill rides. It will include three of my favorites as well as two that I have never ridden and, unfortunately, will never be able to ride. (I have a bad back, and yes, I still ride the other three!)
Hold on to your hats and glasses, folks, 'cause we're about to go on a wild ride through Universal's top 5 thrill attractions! But first, let's start with the less spine-chilling ones and work our way up to the ultimate heart-stopping experience!" 😲🎢
When it comes to snacking at Universal Orlando Resort, there are countless sweet and savory treats to choose from. If you love snacking as much as my family does, you’ll want to indulge in these delicious goodies during your visit. Just be warned: the stakes are high, and you'll need a serious strategy to try them all!
Did you Know Walt Disney World has OVER 30 Hotels? How Do You Choose?
That’s right ! over 30 hotels!
And those are just the ones owned and operated by Disney.
They range from simple, budget-friendly rooms to elegant, luxurious 4-Diamond accommodations. With so many excellent options, it is no wonder that busy moms have a hard time deciding on the best one for their family.
Traveling to Walt Disney World can be a dream come true for many families. From character meet-and-greets to thrilling rides and fireworks shows, it’s no surprise that millions of people worldwide visit this magical destination each year. With so much to see and do, planning a Walt Disney World vacation can be overwhelming. There is a lot to consider, from choosing the right accommodations and restaurants to navigating the theme parks. This is why paying for the services of a travel professional to plan a Disney vacation is the best option for families who want to make the most of their trip.
Are you dreaming of a magical Disney World vacation but feeling overwhelmed with the planning process? Perhaps you're not sure where to even begin or are worried about missing out on any of the exciting attractions and experiences.
Don't worry! As a travel agent who specializes in Disney, I craft tailor-made Disney World trips for families that ensure a stress-free planning process and an unforgettable vacation. Here's how I do it.
Step 1: Let's Chat
First things first – we'll hop on a complimentary consultation call so I can truly understand your travel style, budget, interests, and priorities for your family vacation. I want to hear all about your dream Disney World vacation so I can design a totally unique itinerary that is tailored for YOUR family.
During our call, we'll chat about everything from your preferred dates and travel schedule to your favorite Disney characters and must-see attractions. We'll also discuss any special requirements you might have, such as dietary restrictions, accessibility needs, or a desire for extra special experiences.
Step 2: Let's Dig In
After you take care of the planning fee, I'll start creating a customized itinerary that perfectly fits your family's preferences and budget. I'll leverage my extensive experience to develop a trip that is tailored specifically to you.
You'll receive three preliminary itineraries for review, and we'll work together to refine one of them until you're completely satisfied. We'll tweak your itinerary until it's just right, and you can't wait to embark on your vacation.
For example, perhaps you're a family with young kids who want to focus on character experiences and gentler rides. Or maybe you're interested in exploring the lesser-known Disney Parks, discovering unique dining options, or participating in behind-the-scenes tours. Whatever it may be, I can craft an itinerary that caters to your preferences.
Step 3: I Book It All
Once we've finalized your itinerary, it's time for the easy part – I'll take care of all your travel bookings for you, from hotels to specialty tours, park, and dining reservations. I can also provide tips and answers to all your questions and concerns, ensuring your trip is as stress-free as possible.
You'll receive regular email updates with all the essential information you need, from important dates to packing tips. Plus, you can always feel free to reach out to me by phone or email with any queries or concerns before or during your trip.
Step 4: You Leave
All aboard for the family adventure of a lifetime! You and your family will depart for your journey, safe in the knowledge that you have a travel pro on the ground for support.
If any issues arise while you're traveling, you can easily contact me, and I'll take care of them for you. For example, if you want to move your dining reservation or spontaneously adjust your itinerary, I'm just a quick message or call away.
And, of course, if you have any questions, concerns, or any last-minute changes, I'm always available to help. I'm dedicated to ensuring your Disney World vacation is perfect, and I'll do everything I can to make sure it exceeds your expectations.
Crafting a perfect Disney World trip is an art form. I will create a unique, personalized itinerary that suits you and your family's requirements. So, let's start planning for a magical and stress-free Disney holiday, and the rest will be filled with fun, excitement, and memories that will last a lifetime.
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!