Mixing Disney with Universal!
So Disney World is my favorite place to be and I have also corrupted my husband who now just wants to live in the Disney parks as much as I do! I have visited the parks many times with my family and then also a couple times with just my husband.
Jesse and I had always talked about visiting Universal Studios in Orlando; however, I have always had a set schedule for Disney and was never able to fit in Universal to the vacation. So this past April Jesse and I went on a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas and decided to add a few extra days in the parks since we were driving for 17 hours, we might as well make our time in Florida worth our while. Here is where Universal came in; I suggested to go to Uni
versal and Jesse suggested Disney World (I told you I had corrupted him!). We didn’t have a full week to spend at Disney and so I figured lets try something new (I had never been to Universal, but my husband had been).
So after going back and forth with planning how to make Disney or Universal work for the few days before our cruise, we finally decided to do both! 4 days, 6 parks, crazy right!?! I know. So this is how we did it.
We were trying not to spend to much money on this part of the trip because, again the main part of the trip was the cruise, so we compared our options between staying at a Universal resort or a Disney resort. We decided to stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort in the Little Mermaid rooms and it was a great choice and we saved money! This resort is so cute! I loved walking through all of the themed areas; especially the Lion King and Cars sections.
We then had to plan our days and dining for our time at the parks. We checked the times each park was opened, and when magic hours were taking place at Disney and we then decided to start our week off at Universal. Also, since we were staying at a Disney resort we chose to use the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan. (We love the convenience of the dining plan and it worked even with spending 2 days at Universal).
So here is the break down of our trip!
Day 1: We woke up early to eat breakfast at Art of Animations quick service restaurant, Landscape of Flavors (open from 6 AM to 12 AM, which is why we knew we could make the dining plan work even on the days we weren’t in the Disney parks). We then headed over to Universal Studios. We bought the Universal Express pass for this day; however, due to the time of year we could have skipped this. But since we did we were able to spend an hour at the CBS studio reviewing a TV show for some Universal gift cards! (Yay shopping!). We did stop for a snack while at Universal since we had to wait until after 8 to get back to our hotel for dinner, but nothing crazy, something like Auntie Ann’s Pretzels! After our day at Universal we headed back to Art of Animation for dinner at Landscape of Flavors and then hit the hay!
Day 2: Another early morning for breakfast at Landscape of Flavors again and then we were off to Islands of Adventure! For this day we did not have the Universal Express pass and that worked out well (again, the time of year was pretty calm). We grabbed another snack in the middle of the day and headed back to the hotel for dinner once again that evening (we never ate the same thing twice at Landscape of Flavors so there were not complaints to eating there 4 times!)
Day 3: Another early day, but not for breakfast. Instead we had to open Animal Kingdom! Our plan was to open Animal Kingdom and close Magic Kingdom with magic hours, and that is just what we did! We walked into Animal Kingdom at 9 and walked right onto Expedition Everest! As for fastpass+ you are only able to have 3 passes scheduled per day and those passes all have to be for 1 park so we decided to get our passes for Animal Kingdom so that we could get everything done there that we wanted to do and get to Magic Kingdom by a decent time. We also made sure the fastpasses were early so we could schedule new ones for Magic Kingdom as soon as possible. But with magic hours that evening we were not to concerned. We grabbed lunch at Flame Tree BBQ at Animal Kingdom which was wonderful and then headed to Magic Kingdom. We spent the rest of the day at Magic Kingdom with magic hours from 10 PM to midnight and we had dinner at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café (my husbands favorite quick service!).
We then headed back to the hotel and packed our things because we were checking out the next day to head to Port Canaveral.
Day 4: It’s always a sad day when checking out of your Disney resort; however, it was all made better because we were heading to 2 more parks and our Disney Cruise the next day! We started our day at Epcot which we did not get any fastpasses for because we saved them for Hollywood Studios so we did not get on many rides but we spent most of our time in the Lands where we rode Soarin’, ate lunch, saw the Circle of Life and rode Living with the Land. We spent some time at the aquarium and walked the park to see the awesome Disney themed gardens for the Flower and Garden Festival. We then headed over to Hollywood Studios in time for our fastpasses to begin. We grabbed dinner at the ABC Commissary and ended our day at Fantasmic!!
When we left the park we drove to our next stop to prepare for our Disney Cruise..but I will leave that for another post!
We had a great time on this trip, and although I would much prefer to spend AT LEAST 1 whole day at each Disney park, we made it work in order to fit in Universal! I can say that at this time of the year (at least April in 2017) we could have done both of the Universal Parks in 1 day and spent an extra day at Disney, but we learned for next time and I hope our experience helps others!
The best decision however was going to the parks first and then relaxing on the cruise after! I think every Disney Vacation needs to end on a cruise ship, but that’s just my opinion!
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