Planning entering the home stretch


(I’m not soliciting advice, this is just comments as I lock everything in)

Well, I’ve finally locked down the exact days and resort(s) that we’ll be staying and which Halloween events we’ll be attending.
This year we’re returning to Universal for the first time in 4 years and we’re staying at the Hard Rock (it’s all about location and not having to deal with the boats). We’ll do two days in the parks plus Horror Nights on the 19th. Of course we stay on site at Universal because of the fast pass room key.
Even with Florida resident discounts (and the need for the $40 each express pass for the haunted houses) we are dropping close to $400 for two adults. Good thing that the room is $218 a night with tax.
We shift over to Wilderness Lodge (courtyard view passholder rate $200 a night for Thursday, Sunday, and Monday but $345 a night for Friday and Saturday (should have pulled the trigger on Monday:eek: because I would have saved about $200 total). We’re going to Mickey’s Halloween Party on the 21st.
Have I made any plans beyond this skeleton framework yet? No. But I’ll pull that together pretty quickly. I’ve got my park hour matrix laid out and it’s time to dial in dining. We’ll be paying dining OOP this trip but using the TIW card for 20% discounts.
I’m thinking about Whispering Canyon for breakfast one day and also dinner one day. Not sure what our anniversary dinner will be, but the usual suspects are Narcoossee’s, California Grill, or Flying Fish. Of course we need to do breakfast at both CP and 1900 Park Fare. I’m sure that breakfast buffets will be mandatory every day, but I’m not sure how much we’ll sit down for dinners and how much we’ll grab on the fly at CS counters.
While at Universal we’ll eat at one of Emeril’s restaurants for dinner and grab lunch at Margaritaville one day. Not quite sure what else we’ll do.

What is so funny is for all the advice I give people who are freaking out that they’re seven months out and they can’t wait to make reservations, here I am 19 days out just beginning to finalize everything.
(Part of this is that I’m looking at menus and nothing is really appealing to me.)
I’m thinking Fulton’s and Wolfgang Puck Cafe and I’ve pretty much ruled out Brown Derby. Not too sure about Cat Cora (I’d kill for Bobby Flay or Masahiro Maurimoto, especially Morimoto because I really don’t want to make a special trip to Philadelphia just to eat his food:tongue:)
One good thing, with the MK being open until midnight every night we’re there, getting back to WL from any resort won’t be a problem:happy:

I guess I’ll be updating as I go along.


Oh, did I mention that two advanced purchase passholder adult MNSSHP tickets will cost $106? If I didn’t need the express passes at Universal (and if you’ve ever gone, you know that the lines on the haunted houses, even on non peak nights, are terrible) thos tickets would have only been $35 each as a “Stay and Scream” add on to the two day two park hopper tickets.


Yeah, MNSSHP tickets are outrageous. I -love- HHN! Your plans sound fun!


Live free. Set the CP and 1900 bkfst ADR, but live life dangerously and call every morning for a ressie. It seems that is the only way we force ourselves to try something different. This last trip in March was the first we did not make it to Narc’s after 6 straight. It felt weird but it did get us into other locations. The only ADR’s we kept were Bistro de Paris with friends and AP @ WL for a special ‘us’ night our last night there for DW and me. Everything else was cancelled the 2nd morning we were at VWL since 4 very OCD travelers changed everything on day 1. :laugh:
Do you think it might have been due to the case and a half of beer, 6 bottles of with and 3 bottles of liquor we arrived with? Had a ton of fun but dang did we quietly party for 6 days.


Rich, you know how I build my schedule. It’s all about night time park entertainment.
I’ve cancelled stuff once we’ve gotten there too and made calls first thing in the morning because I suddenly didn’t feel like eating at Jiko or we weren’t going to make Spoodles that day (and other stuff).
Another thing that’s different is that I have 100% unconditional authority to call whatever shots I want (despite how many times I’ve tried to push a decision back on DW) and it’s just me and her.

And while you can enjoy your time crawling into bottles, DW doesn’t drink and I can’t (medication won’t allow). But if you are next door, I won’t blast the TV (just be glad I don’t bring my Cambridge Soundworks portable speaker system w/subwoofer any more).


Erin, the price of the hard ticket events is really starting to push the boundaries unless they start including a CS meal in the price.
At least Busch Gardens and Universal offer decent Florida resident rates for theirs (make sure you get that Coke can for the UPC)


Heck, if you brought the system we would probably bring over a cd or 2. :laugh:


[QUOTE=Soundgod;1051435]Erin, the price of the hard ticket events is really starting to push the boundaries unless they start including a CS meal in the price.
At least Busch Gardens and Universal offer decent Florida resident rates for theirs (make sure you get that Coke can for the UPC)[/QUOTE]

No kidding. MNSSHP was ok when the kids were younger, but I have no desire to go now. I’ll probably change my mind in a couple of years, but $50-60 for tix is getting ridiculous for a small bag of candy and EMH.


Sounds great Doug, and I would love to hear what the HHN is like at Universal. When we were in Florida a couple of weeks ago, the poster ‘Fear’ was up advertising the HHN, and it looks really dark-we dont know anyone who has ever been, so would love to see and hear all about it if you have time when you come back?


We’ve been to many of the HHN events (1996, 1999-2004, 2006 we were also supposed to go in 2005, but it was the night before Wilma came through and it was raining bad enough that we didn’t want to go) and also most of the Howl O Scream events at Busch Gardens.
These are not events for your kids or for anyone with a squeamish personality.
The haunted houses are all about the gore and the attempts to scare and shock. Universal used to go all out (it is our first in 4 years) to set up scare zones all around the park (San Francisco used to be a major scare area with so much smoke and fog that you couldn’t see well at all. And hoards of scary actors. The theatrical highlight is the annual Bill and Ted show where they work in all of the current hit movies performed in the same amphitheater where they do the wild west stunt show during the day. I’m not sure if they’re still doing the Beetlejuice show
BG also has scare zones, creeps, and smoke plus two shows. One is a classic monster/rock show similar to the Beetlejuice show with different music and characters. The other is their annual revue show which references current music/movies.
The biggest reasons we stopped doing all of them were cost and crowds. At BG we always buy the guided tour which is probably worth every penny because you get to the front of every line and multiple front of line rides on the major coasters. At Uni, we buy the express passes, again to get in and out faster. When you are dealing with 7 haunted houses spread out all over the parks, you need some sort of equalizer so you can do everything. But even with this, there are so many people queued for the houses that the density of the line allows you to see a lot of what is coming, negating the shock and scare.
I just don’t get why they feel the need (both parks) to have dirty disgusting haunted house mazes. It’s less about scary monsters and more about gross.
But that’s just me.


Your plans sound great. - My husband & I are also going to WDW for our Anniversary and we will be attending the Halloween Party on the 21st also.


Donny, keep in touch. Maybe we can meet up for a few.

OK, in the last 29 hours, I’ve nailed down 10 reservations for dining.
Not really anything new for us, but some places we haven’t done in a long time.
We’ve got dinner at Kona Cafe for the first time in 5 years and dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s Dining Room (upstairs) for the first time since August 01. We’re doing dinner one night at Whispering Canyon which we’ve never done. Our anniversary dinner is at Narcoossee’s (like we’ve never done that before:glare:) and I lucked into a 9:40 dinner reservation at Crystal Palace on a night that MK is open until 3 AM with late EMH. We’ve got Boma and Cape May for breakfasts as well. plus we’ll be eating at Flying Fish before we head into the Studios for Fantasmic and a late EMH. Here’s hoping we can get the kitchen counter.
I really wanted CP for breakfast on our anniversary, as much as I wanted Cali Grill for dinner that night. Neither worked out, but 1900 Park Fare was open, so I’ll trade out one Pooh for another and gain my buddy The Mad Hatter:wacko:
For night time shows, we’ll see HalloWishes inside and outside the park, Wishes in the park, Illuminations in the park and Fantasmic. we’re lucky with that one because it’s only going to be performed on Thursday and Sunday when we’re there and Thursday is MNSSHP.
I’ll pull the rest together, but the big pieces are all in place (except for reservations while at Universal) and it’s all downhill from here. (Did the little piggie go weee weee weee all the way home?:eek:)
It’s a good thing that like Wile E Coyote, I’m a supergenius.:rolleyes:


And all of us here @ MB are blessed because of that.:laugh:


I am also interested in hearing about your HHN stay and where you ending up choosing to eat while there. We are planning a HHN trip next season and also plan to stay at the Hard Rock. I haven’t even started thinking about restaurants yet…but I can!:laugh:

Sounds like you have a great trip almost zipped up. I can’t wait for all your reviews.


Any visit to Universal isn’t complete without eating at Emeril’s in Citywalk or Emeril’s Tchoup Chop in the Royal Pacific. We’ve also often eaten at Margaritaville, Hard Rock Cafe, and NBA City. There’s good eating at Portofino Bay (can’t recall names off hand) and at the Hard Rock Hotel they have The Palms which is an NYC steakhouse that opened a location in Orlando which is on par with Shula’s or Yachtsman’s.
Inside the parks? I’ve never found anything special although Confisco’s in IOA is supposed to be good.

I found a link to menus, guess where?:ph34r:
Universal Orlando Resort Menus

Edit: I HAVE to eat lunch or dinner at Bubba Gump, which wasn’t there when we were last there in 2006.


I just want to say that I would love to tag along with you and your DW. We would definitely enjoy the same restaurants and of course, you are going to experience Harry Potter’s world.
Have fun!


I must be the last person on Earth who doesn’t care about Harry Potter.
Sure, I want to try the Harry Potter’s Flight ride or whatever it’s called. Considering what they did 11 years ago with Spiderman and MIB, this couldn’t possibly be any less impressive (read that as better than Disney). Well that and Dueling Drag…er Dragon Challenge (with its new queue) was gerrymandered from The Lost Continent into Harry Potter World and I’ve always gone to IOA for the coasters.


Hey SG. Just continue 5 hours up the road from the World to Beaufort and eat in the REAL restaurants that inspired Bubba Gump’s. After all, it’s not like the film was shot here or something like that. :laugh:

WDW trivia time: Where did the boat that is outside Planet Hollywood come from before it was shipped to DTD?
The winner will receive an “atta boy/girl” for the correct answer. Extra credit for an interesting item that happened to the boat so it could be shipped to Orlando.

BTW- I have no interst in HP either. DW and the kids think I’m crazy. :confused:


No Strand for me this year.
Still, you know the reason the film was shot there and not on the Louisiana coast like the story says, is that there is a major outpost of the film industry in Wilmington, so costs were lower.

You gave away your own trivia question, it was so loaded.
The boat is the Jenny.
Off hand I don’t recall the story of how it got to WDW, but I do recall closed highways were involved.

Back to Bubba Gump, it seems there are not one, but two that are far far closer to home, including one on the Ft Lauderdale Beach strip that was once the home of Spring Break (Where The Boys Are) about a block south of the world famous Elbo Room. Maybe I don’t need to go to the one in Orlando, so long as I can talk DW into getting into the car to go out to dinner.


[QUOTE=Soundgod;1051707]You gave away your own trivia question, it was so loaded.
The boat is the Jenny. Off hand I don’t recall the story of how it got to WDW, but I do recall closed highways were involved.

Beaufort is 3 hours south of MB so Wilmington did not play into it. They wanted Beaufort, SC and Savannah, GA. Not all of the neon lights on the strip. Cause’ we don’t have one. One island north of Hilton Head. Come on up. Even Lt Dan comes back. He did a free concert w/ this “Lt Dan Band” Friday night for the ‘Wounded Warrior Fund’. One heck of a party on the waterfront and the highlight band for this weekends Beaufort Shrimp Festival.

I loaded the ??? to give more MB’ers a chance. The boat was cut in half to get it on a truck. It was a relic that was going to be shelved by the owner.

Keep planning. Can’t wait for the final list. DW will most likely want to go to HP on our next trip since she is a fan. (@@!^#!#^) I might as well learn where to eat at US.