September – October 2014 Pre Trip Report
As the 60 day mark arrives all of my plans are falling into place for the big trip to Orlando at the end of September. I have two addictions that pull me to Orlando at this time of the year. These two obsessions force me to split my time pretty evenly between the Universal Orlando resort and the Walt Disney World resort. I am of course referring to Halloween Horror Nights and the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.
Lately none of my trips are typical which suits me just fine and this one will be anything but usual. I leave for Orlando on my own, only to be met a day later by my wife and another couple who will be staying for my Universal Orlando portion of the vacation. As my three compadres depart, my parents will arrive for their first taste of the Food and Wine Festival.
I arrive on a Thursday early afternoon late September using American Airlines. The flights were crazy and typically I fly JetBlue but I would have had to spend a small fortune as compared with this American Airlines flight with a layover in Miami. I hope I do not regret this decision, albeit easier to take at the start of the vacation rather than the end of the vacation. If that were not enough of a gamble I am also using E-Z Rent a Car for the first time as well. They get very mixed reviews but once again the price couldn’t be beat and they are located on the MCO grounds so just had to give it a shot.
Assuming I arrive at all and manage to get a driveable automobile I will be headed directly to the Cabana Bay Beach resort for check in. With any luck my room is ready and I can run over to Universal Studios to just hang out in Diagon alley for the remainder of the day and stay for Halloween Horror Nights that evening. Won’t probably ride Gringotts but just take it all in before heading to Finnegans for a fine beverage and wait for the early release into the event.
While at the Universal resort I do have an annual pass and I purchased a rush of fear ticket with express pass. That basically gives me the ability to go to all of the Halloween Horror Night events I want to while I am in Orlando. There are 6 such nights in the time frame I am there. With the annual pass discount it only costed me $174.99 for that option. I also used my discount to purchase the same ticket for the people arriving the following day as well. They will go three nights which is still a great deal considering it includes the express pass.
Assuming I can find my way out of my bed I will head to Diagon Alley for early entry and upon park open take the Hogwarts Express to Islands of Adventure and then make the fastest exit possible. Their plane arrives somewhere just after 9am after all. Once I have retrieved them the plan is pretty simple, max commando style. IOA until its close to closing for Studios and then take the Hogwarts express so we can stay and scream for HHN. Next morning early entry for Diagon and then you guessed it, HHN. They only plan on 2 day park to park tickets so that third day they will go to the beach while I go solo commando. There are plenty of people in the community here at the same time so hoping some plans work out that way. Ultimately I will be going to HHN that evening with my group.
Finally take it easy until 11am where it is time to check out. My parents arrive sometime after 3pm where we change to the Boardwalk but my wife and friends will remain for most of the day with their evening flight. Messing with the idea of taking my parents to the town of Celebration and having dinner at the Town Tavern. One of the biggest factors on what I do here I imagine is what I got to try at Universal property or I could easily find myself right back there for dinner.
The next few days are simple, with the exception of Thursday. Enjoy the Boardwalk and enjoy the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. The first morning we do plan on actually heading over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios first thing and then make our way to the festival where as Wednesday and Friday we just plan on staying at Epcot. Thursday I am reserving for myself to do whatever I feel I need to get done. As much as I love entertaining the troops I need my time as well you know. I do hope to attend a final HHN that evening but the day hours is whatever I feel like doing that day.
Friday we do have to check into another room as we couldn’t get the same block for the entire stay but that happens to be a boardwalk view villa. So we thought that evening we will sip some amaretto on the veranda and take in the atmosphere of the area. Repeat in the morning with coffee as we await our check out time before calling it quits and flying home.
So the plan is not complicated but particularly demanding while we stay at Universal. It will be interesting to see if we can handle it all. I mean after all, we are not as young as we think we are. 60 days to go. Kungaloosh.
pictures used were from previous trips, I did not use a Delorian to bring the pictures back.