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Stay at Disney and Universal hotels for perks?

by Megha
(New Zealand)


We’re a family of 4-2A, 2C(11 year boy, 4 year girl) and we’ll be in Orlando between 1st July – 9th July 2015.

We’re coming all the way from NZ and want to make most of our stay. (I can almost hear you say, WHY????) well, its mid winter break down under and the kids have 3 week holiday! So apparently, its the best time of the year for us to travel wherein airfares work in our favor too!

However going through the sites and all the information, we’re really bracing ourselves and have started to come up with a plan so its an enjoyable vacation for all of us.

We know that we won’t be able to do everything!

At this stage we’re thinking we probably don’t mind spending a bit extra to buy tickets an early entry and option to stay late.

Please can you suggest us some places to stay where we can take advantage of the special perks for guests?

Is it advisable to stay at Universal to take advantage of Universal perks and stay at Disney to take advantage of Disney perks?

WE most definitely want to do Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Universal, Sea world, LEGOLAND and Kennedy space centre.

It will be great if we can do EPCOT and Disney Hollywood Studios however should be al right if we miss them (well, at least EPCOT).

My daughter is 43″ already so she should be able to do most of the rides except the scary coasters!.

Any and all advise is highly appreciated.

Thanks for your time in advance.


The new Harry Potter area of Universal Orlando

Getting to the front of the line can really help at Universal – Photo by WDW Shutterbug

Dad’s get started TODAY answer


Oh my. July. Yikes. Am I glad you sent this in. Sorry I didn’t see it earlier. We need to get you started RIGHT NOW!

We’ll talk first about your question is it advisable to stay in Disney and Universal hotels to get the early entry perks in the summer?

The answer is YES!!!! Absolutely. Although Disney’s FastPass+ is available for everyone the extra 30 days you get for staying in a Disney hotel will really help.

Dad’s FastPass+ page

Extra Magic Hours is another BIG perk. Getting into a park an hour before everyone else in the mornings is almost priceless. You can get a whole lot done before the crowds get up. It’s big. If you’re a night owl, evening Extra Magic Hours can be really helpful too. Both tend to be really slow crowd wise.

Dad’s Extra Magic Hours page

At Universal it’s even a bigger advantage to stay in one of their hotels. Universal has what they call the Front of the Line pass. It’s available on almost every attraction. It truly takes you to the front of the line.

You can actually purchase it, but you get it free if you’re staying at a Universal Resort. We love staying right on property where you can walk to the parks. It’s very convenient.

All that being said, let’s get back to the RIGHT NOW thing!

If you are going in July and it’s already mid-March you’ve missed the 180-day window for booking Advanced Dining Reservations. If you haven’t made dining reservations, get started today (or yesterday since you’re in New Zealand).


Destinations to Travel LLC.

If you don’t have hotel reservations, PLEASE, don’t wait, get in touch with Shannon and her team at Destinations to Travel TODAY!!!!!

Destinations to Travel can help you not only make Disney reservations but Universal reservations too. They will even help you make dining and FastPass+ reservations.

Also, be sure to talk to Patrick over at the Official Ticket Center for tickets to all the Orlando attractions and even the Kennedy Space Center.

Destinations to Travel

Dad’s Bottom Line

Megha, you’re going to have a nice warm trip to Orlando. I know you’ve done some planning, but if you haven’t made hotel reservations do it NOW! Shannon and her team will be able to help you with all the details.

Return to Ask Dad.

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