Universal Orlando Tips

Thursday 3: Comparing 3 Value Resorts - Universal and Disney Standard Rooms

Comparison of Disney & Universal Standard Hotel Rooms - Value Resorts

A comparison of Disney World and Universal Orlando Value Resort Rooms

Reservations are now being accepted at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn and Suites for dates beginning August 1, 2019. This Universal Orlando value resort features standard hotel rooms with two queen beds and 2-bedroom suites so I am going to compare them to two Disney World value resorts that have both standard rooms and family suites: Disney’s All-Star Music and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. We’ll cover the standard hotel style rooms this week and the family suites next week. We can help you plan a vacation that includes your stay at any of these resorts so request a free, no-obligation quote today.

How Do the Rooms Compare?

Beds: The standard rooms at Universal’s Surfside Inn and Suites have two queen beds and a full bathroom. Rooms have mini-refrigerators but they do not have microwaves.

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn and Suites Standard room Opening August 2019

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort - Surfside Inn and Suites Standard room Opening August 2019

At this time, the standard rooms at both Disney’s All-Star Music and Disney’s Art of Animation resort have two full-size beds. Couples or 2 guests + one infant can request a room with one king-size bed instead of two double beds; requests are not guaranteed but Disney tries to honor them when possible. Disney’s Pop Century resort, another value hotel, has recently undergone a renovation where it now has one queen bed and one full-size pull down bed; Disney’s All-Star Movie’s resort is currently undergoing the same type of renovation and we suspect that all of Disney value resorts will someday have this type of bed configuration. Rooms have mini-refrigerators but they do not have microwaves.

Little Mermaid Standard Room at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort / / Walt Disney World

Little Mermaid Standard Room at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort / / Walt Disney World

Standard Rooms at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort / Walt Disney World

Standard Rooms at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort / Walt Disney World

Official Disney Hotel Benefits: Staying at an official Disney resort gives you some great benefits like airport transportation at no additional cost, Extra Magic Hours not available to the general public, complimentary bus transportation to the Disney theme parks and the ability to book FastPass+ reservations 30-days ahead of the general public when you have tickets or a vacation package that includes tickets.

Official Universal Orlando Hotel Benefits: Staying at an official Universal Orlando hotel gives you benefits like Early Park Admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and complimentary bus transportation to the Universal Orlando theme parks.

2019 Cost comparison: You can upgrade to a preferred location room at Disney’s all-Star Music resort for an additional $30 per night. Pool view rooms are available about Universal’s Surfside for an additional $20 per night. The Little Mermaid standard rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation resort have been excluded from every discount since they opened.

August 15:
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $109
Disney’s All-Star Music - Standard Room: $135
Disney’s Art of Animation - $185

September 15:
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $99
Disney’s All-Star Music - Standard Room: $136
Disney’s Art of Animation - $184

October 15:
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $134
Disney’s All-Star Music - Standard Room: $126
Disney’s Art of Animation - $173

November 15:
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $129
Disney’s All-Star Music - Standard Room: $135
Disney’s Art of Animation - $174

December 15
Universal’s Surfside - Standard View: $99
Disney’s All-Star Music - Standard Room: $150
Disney’s Art of Animation - $195

Parking fees for overnight guests:
Universal’s Surfside Inn & Suites: $12 per night + tax
Disney Value Resort: $13 per night + tax.

In a nutshell, Universal’s Surfside Inn and Disney’s All-Star Music resort are pretty comparably priced most of the time though that can vary by date. If Disney continues to offer their Free Dining promotion in September, Disney’s All-Star Music will probably be the better value for most families of up to four people (or five, if the fifth person is an infant) when that promotion is available. The Little Mermaid rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation resort are quite a bit higher and, so far, those rooms have been excluded from all promotions since the resort opened. The queen beds are a plus at Universal’s Surfside Inn. We only have concept art for the Surfside pool yet so it is hard to say which pools will ultimately be the best but, at this time, the three pools at Disney’s Art of Animation resort are absolutely adorable!

Click here to learn more about Disney’s All-Star Music Resort

Click here to learn more about Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

This video tells you a bit about Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Keep in mind that standard hotel rooms are only available in the Little Mermaid section though guests may use all of the pools and other resort amenities.

This short video gives you a good overview of Disney’s All-Star Music resort though the standard rooms no longer have the colored bedspreads. They’ve switched to the all white

Don't Get Overwhelmed By The Details - Let Us Help!

Vacation planning is always a lot easier when you have one of our travel agents on your side because we specialize in Disney and Universal Orlando vacation destinations and we can help you manage things like crowds, park hours, entertainment schedules, and dining options.  It can be a lot to think through but Imagine how much better your vacation will be when we:

  • Give you a "Best Days" itinerary that puts you in the best theme park for each day of your trip

  • Book dining reservation on your behalf (subject to availability) at times that don't interfere with parades and fireworks

  • Give you excellent theme park touring plans that keep lines to an absolute minimum.  

You get all of this expert service at no extra charge when you book your Disney vacation through Build A Better Mouse TripClick here for more information.

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

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Disney World & Universal OrlandoTip: Save Indoor Shows for the Afternoons

Monica's Tip o' the Day:

When planning your day at each Disney World and Universal Orlando theme park, try to save all the indoor shows/attractions for the afternoon!  Here's why:

  1. It's a nice break. If you got to the parks before park opening (which we strongly recommend) you'll be ready for a little time off of your feet.

  2. Orlando Weather - Afternoons are generally the hottest part of the day so that air conditioning feels great and gives you a little extra energy to push through the rest of the day! Orlando also gets afternoon rain showers, especially in the summer, which is another good reason to wait on the shows.

  3. Minimizing Lines - Since crowds are lowest in the first hour or so after park opening, you'll want to get through as many attractions with short ride times as possible in the morning. Crowds peak in the middle of the day and lines are at their longest so heading to something with a large capacity that also takes more time(most Disney shows are about 20 minutes) just makes better sense.

There are indoor, air-conditioned shows at every park. Be sure to pick up a Daily Show guide at the front of the parks to get the schedules. (Another quick hint: Pick 1 up at the front desk before you head out to the bus stop, and you can plan when to go while you're waiting for the bus, or riding the bus!)

One of our favorites is to ride Spaceship Earth at Epcot at around 2pm. The ride is about 20 minutes long, it's dark and it's cool! It give me just enough time to take a little rest, relax, and occasionally a little catnap! Of course, you'll want to be awake and smiling when they take the picture for these fun little Jetson-like scenes!

Have a magical day!

Monica

Travel Agent specializing in Orlando theme park vacations

Let Monica help you plan a great vacation!

Our “Quote Request” form is the easiest way to start planning your trip. Just fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and Monica will be in touch soon. There’s never any pressure or obligation.

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Ian's Theme Park Tip: Don't Skip Meals!

Disney World & Universal Orlando Tip: You've gotta eat to stay on your feet; don't sabotage your vacation by skipping meals. 

Disney World & Universal Orlando Tip: You've gotta eat to stay on your feet; don't sabotage your vacation by skipping meals. 

While at the parks, you may be tempted to "push through" and sacrifice eating to experience more attractions - don't. 

Listen to the advice of our friend Stacey:  "My husband witnessed our eldest son in a hangry* moment several years ago.  Two bites of a Subway sandwich and he was a different child.  Now my hubby is more willing to get snacks and take short breaks.   It makes all the difference!  We make sure to always have granola bars and water bottles in our backpacks!"

Walking around the parks for an entire day can burn up to 1,000 calories, so take the time you need to replenish the fuel your body is definitely burning off. Don't sacrifice your health or your sanity - your family & friends will thank you!  

In addition to decades of experience feeling rumbly in his tumbly, Ian Scott is an expert at helping people plan Disney vacations.  Read more about Ian and ask him for a no-obligation vacation quote at http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/ian-scott-bio/ 

 * Hangry (han-gree), adjective: an amalgum of hungry + angry.  Click here to read about the science of "hangry". 

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Rain Poncho Tips for Disney World & Universal Orlando

One of my biggest tips for Disney World and Universal Orlando guests (or any other Orlando theme park) is to be prepared for rain! Florida is notorious for rain showers, so be prepared!  You can purchase them for about $10 each in the theme parks but I save money by buying a whole bunch of rain ponchos from Amazon and carry them with me. Most rain showers are over pretty quickly, so when rain comes, we put on our ponchos, grab a little snack (Dole Whip!!) and wait it out!  A lot of people flee the parks when the rain starts so coming prepared is a great way to take advantage of the shorter lines during rain showers.  No need to let a little rain ruin your day!!!   

You can also find inexpensive, disposable rain ponchos at most Dollar stores and in the camping section at Walmart.  My local Dollar Tree had them in the section where hair accessories are sold.   The fashion maven in your family may declare that they would NEVER wear a poncho but will probably change their mind when they see lots of people putting them on when the rain starts. 

Inexpensive disposable rain ponchos for your Orlando vacation are available on Amazon and at Walmart and Dollar Tree. 

Inexpensive disposable rain ponchos for your Orlando vacation are available on Amazon and at Walmart and Dollar Tree. 

Even if it isn't raining, you may want ponchos to help keep you dry on attractions that can soak you to the skin like Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom, Kali River Rapids at Disney's Animal Kingdom or Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls and Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges in Universal's Islands of Adventure

Have a magical day!

Monica,

Travel Agent specializing in Orlando theme park vacations

Planning a Disney vacation? You'll definitely want to subscribe to our free newsletter. You will receive a link to 45 great Disney World Freebies in your welcome note and several helpful “how-to” e-guides over the next week. Unsubscribe at any time.

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