Universal Orlando – The Family Friendliest! @universalorl

Last month, our family joined other Mom it Forward bloggers for Family Forward. We spent five amazing days in Universal Orlando and had one of the BEST family vacations ever. It was truly a once in a lifetime weekend (although I am hoping we can go again next year!!) and not only did we enjoy our trip, we really enjoyed the family time together.

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While my older daughter has been to Orlando the most out of all my children, we have been to Orlando twice with the boys (they are now 7, 7 and 6). Both times we were down there, I never even considered the two Universal theme parks because I thought it would be too much with four children, three little boys so close in age. I was very wrong.

The first time we headed down to Orlando I was actually very disappointed with Disneyworld.  As a matter of fact, I wrote about going to Disneyworld with more than one baby, because it was such a horrible experience.  Had I known what I know now about Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure, I would have never waited this long to take all four of my kids.

We were actually pretty spoiled with our VIP Tour as one of the (many) perks of being with the Mom It Forward group.  Although I am not sure I would be able to afford the VIP Tour again in the future, the experience gave us the opportunity to get so many inside details of the parks.  Possibly the biggest perk was priority front of the line access to all rides and attractions.  Our tour guide new the park inside out, so he knew the best routes to see the most of both parks in one day.  (We had three day passes, so we were able to return to a park each day after that to do our favorite rides and attractions over again and pick up on anything we might have missed).  The greatest thing was that he had our whole day planned out from our family’s needs, and my kids (all four of them) did not stop every five minutes begging for this ride or that toy or this snack or that drink.  They were totally interested in all the facts our guide had to share and so excited to see what was coming next!  He knew which rides would be enjoyed (or appropriate) for which members of our family, saving us a lot of time (and tears).  And he was able to direct us to the alternative options for the kids who didn’t meet height requirements or decided to stay away from a ride that was too ‘wild and crazy’ or looped upside down too much!  If anyone can budget in the VIP Tour, I highly recommend it.

Even if we can’t do a VIP Tour in the future, staying at a Universal hotel gives its guests the perk of “Universal Express”, which  allows you to skip the regular lines, and there are no time frames and can be used unlimited times, unlike at Disney, where you have to return at a specific time and can only use their Express Pass one ride at a time.  This is GREAT for families with multiple children.  And if you are not staying on Universal property, you can purchase the Universal Express option starting at (one time per ride) at $35 or (unlimited rides) at $50.  I tried to figure out Disney’s Fastpass perks, but the details on how to pick your perks and the method to get to enjoy them was way too confusing!

In comparing the multiple park/ multi-day passes for Universal and Disney Orlando parks, a three day pass for Universal Orlando is a huge savings.  A one day pass for Universal is $147, a three day pass for Disney is $177.  You have 180 days to use them.  In comparison, a one day pass to Disney may be less at $97 (Magic Kingdom is an additional $8), a three day pass is $297.  THAT IS HUGE!  Actually, I even mentioned that in my post 5 years ago, the only time there is a significant savings on multi-day passes in Disney is 7-10 day passes.  There is no way I can afford $345 a person just on passes alone, and who wants to do 10 days in Disney (you only have 14 days to use them!)?  Heck how many families of six can AFFORD 10 days in Disney?

There are so many other amazing things I have to say about Universal Orlando that I will save for other posts. Please don’t misunderstand me, everyone in my family loves “The Mouse”, and as much as I think Walt’s dream is not being lived out and Disneyworld is not conducive for large families for a variety of reasons, I can’t say I won’t take my kids there in the future.  But I will say this:  I will ALWAYS recommend that EVERY family who visits Orlando makes it a point to visit Universal Orlando.  It offers such a wonderful family experience!

 

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