Universal Orlando…its NOT Disney and thats Ok!

Disney verses Universal…they are like comparing apples to oranges, both fruit but so different AND most people like both. What makes Universal different from Disney?

Hey Fans, I am taking a small break from my Disney and talking about that “other” theme park. That’s right, the one with Harry Potter. That one with Jaws (sorry its gone), ET and crazy coasters. You know what I am talking about, the NON-Disney, thrill seeking, coaster crazy Universal Orlando. I love Universal, I could go back and back. But what do I love about it, that they are NOT Disney. Disney is amazing, but Universal has a way of being entertaining in its own way.


I am gonna start with this as its what I hate most about Disney, transportation. Disney is very spread out, which I get. Walt Disney World is HUGE and has several resorts. Universal is 3 Parks (1 being a Waterpark) and a handful of resorts (but they are growing) but for now…everything is CLOSE-BY. But this means most things are walking distance. I can walk from one park to the other. I can park hop in a quick minute. You can easily get from your resort to the parks in 5-10 minutes, especially when the resorts have boat access.


Disney has fastpasses which are great, but you only get so many. Universal has an Unlimited Skip the Line Option which is HUGE. Stay at one of the nicer resorts and you get this perk for FREE, its included in the resort stay. This means riding a ride over and over again, as many times as you want with no wait. It means doing all the popular rides faster than anyone else. And I don’t care what anyone says, this is a priceless perk. After going during a so called “slow season”, having that perk allowed me to see and do it all in less time, with less frustration and less time in the heat, under the sun…in a long line (which gave more time for Hagrid, lol).

Thrills and Chills:

Disney has some amazing coasters and thrill adventure rides, but Universal has so many more. You want upside-down, you want crazy 3D adventures, you want a mix of the movies with intense and crazy rides…that’s Universal. They have several where you are in the movie (so to speak), with action mixed with ride movement…all thrills and chills.

Harry Potter:

I can’t tell you how many times clients ask for Harry Potter. They want to meet Mickey Mouse and Harry. They want to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which of course is hands-down amazing. They want to learn what house they belong too from the Sorting Hat, they want to find the perfect wand and they want to drink Butterbeer (NOT dairy-free). And don’t forget riding the Hogwarts Express. You can only do this at Universal and to see and do it all…you need to take your time and soak in all the awesome themeing.

Hogwarts Express

These are just a few examples of how Universal is different, but equally amazing. They are different but they are both great in their own way. Disney is perfect for families and those who just love Disney (movies, characters, service, etc). Universal is perfect for teens, young adults, people who love that non-Disney humor like Shrek and the Minions. Make sure to follow me and let me know if I can make your Universal (or Disney) dreams come true.

Mahalo for READING and FOLLOWING along – Nina

As usual I am a FREE Magical Vacation Planner (Travel Agent), Booking ALL Disney Destination Vacations (Disney & Beyond) – Contact me TODAY!!

Whats the BEST Theme Park Bag?

Headed to the parks and wondering, whats the BEST Theme Park bag to bring, to carry around ALL day long, to take on the rides? Read On…

Hey All, Happy Monday!! So who already has a “case of the Mondays”, lol? It’s currently Sunday evening and I already feel drained, lol. I spent all weekend trying out NEW bags for the parks. I am constantly trying to prefect my packing, improve my bag selection and try everything out. After doing Universal Orlando and Magic Kingdom in the HIGH heat last week, I have some thoughts.

The Purse:

Purses are everywhere in the parks, especially crossbody bags. If you are a purse lady, just think about the stuff you are packing. Will everything ALL fit, will you have to remove 6 things before getting to the bottom. Where will your water go? Is it summer or winter when you go? Will you need to carry around extra stuff due to the weather? All these things will help determine what size purse you might need. In the end, I think light-weight, washable and durable would be key. Due to back issues, I can’t carry a purse after too long…so for that reason alone…I am NOT a Purse Lady anymore.

The MINI Backpack:

Those Cute, Adorable, Character themed Mini Backpacks by Loungefly are EVERYWHERE. Not only are they in every store, around every corner…but everyone is carrying one. I even saw kids and a few guys rocking them. So after being jealous, I just ordered one; so we shall see what I think in a few, but my main concern is WATER. Where does one put a water bottle and what if it leaks, eek?? Perhaps I worry about the wrong things, lol. Clearly these bags are about fashion. If you carry one, where does the water go and did it leak?

The Fanny Pack:

Before you start judging, these are EVERYWHERE too. And many people aren’t wearing them on a fanny, but around the shoulder as a neck/shoulder crossbody bag. Like a tightly fitted sling bag. I was intrigued…so of course I got a few to try out. Again with the Water?!?!? Where does one put water? I love the idea of this, as I do sling bags…you never have to take them off. Just flip around from the back to the front. Using the restroom, keep them on. Sitting to eat, keep it on. On a coaster, keep it on. In fact, on many rides at Universal, this was the ONLY allowed bag…everything else had to be in a locker.

Cute Fanny Pack
The Trusty Backpack:

Sadly the backpack is my jam. And I say this as…I truly get tired of wearing one. In the summer heat I can feel my back getting all sweaty from the bag. And no matter how much I try to pack light, it always starts feeling too heavy. Again, I did have an accident that affected my back, so I am more sensitive than others in that way…but to NOT have to use a backpack…especially in the summer would be AMAZING. But my TIP: get little containers and pack only a few squeezes of sunscreen, pack only 2 Advil instead of the entire bottle. Pack 2 band-aids verses the whole box. The weight adds up, I promise. Especially when you start carrying all your kids stuff too.

In the End, you want a bag that you are comfortable with. One that fits you. If you are a fanny pack person, ROCK-IT. Dig a purse, you go girl. If you can cram ALL your stuff in a cute Loungefly Mini Backpack, do it. And sadly, if you are like me and just might be stuck with a backpack, just remember less is more. Pack what you need, but try to limit the packaging, the extra containers and especially the large containers of things you don’t really need.

Mahalo for READING and FOLLOWING along – Nina

As usual I am a FREE Magical Vacation Planner (Travel Agent), Booking ALL Disney Destination Vacations (Disney & Beyond) – Contact me TODAY!!

Its Getting HOT, HOT, HOT at Disney

Summer is here and the weather can be HOT. READ my 5 tips for dealing with the heat on your summer vacation at Disney.

Hey guys, today’s post is about weather, most specifically how to deal with the rising temps at Disney. I have many clients who LOVE going during the summer (crowd levels can be lower). And I have clients who are teachers or have older kids, this summer is the best time to travel outside of the Holidays. So with temps at their highest…what do you do?? My top 5 tips to enjoy you summer vacation at Disney World.

#1 – WATER, Hydrate and repeat:

So as much as this sounds like common sense, its apparently not. People forget to drink water or they think soda or ummm…wine/beer is the same. Sorry to say, it’s not. You need water and lots of it. This is especially important for older folks, younglings and those who easily get affected by the heat. I mean, think about it…you are going from ride to ride and hanging out, drinking water can be a forgotten task. BUT DO IT. Pack refillable bottles and hydrate. Your body will thank you.

#2 – FANS:

So a few years back this idea would be for the kids and those with scooters, but did you know you can also get fans for your neck?? Thats right, I travel with a fan that hangs around my neck and blows air up at my face. Its not amazing, but it totally works and helps cool down my head, hands free. I have them for everyone in the family. Just remember to pack extra batteries. Also consider a stroller fans and attachable fans for scooters too.

#3 – BREAKS:

So often Disney is considered a FULL day event, but in the heat…this can be challenging. So summer is the perfect time to enjoy your pool, at you Disney Resort hotel of course. I often help customize plans for my summer travelers to help make the most of their day(s). Between dining and fastpasses, you don’t want to skip a beat or miss anything important. So coming up with a game plan that includes a break from the direct sun can be HUGE. Even a long (air-conditioned) lunch can help with this.

FUN in the SUN – Summer Vacation at Disney.

Now these things are AMAZING and can be found anywhere, even Disney sells them. WE have them in every size, they even make a kids size. Just add water and snap…you have an instant cooling towel. Wrap around your neck and enjoy. These are great for cooling down your back, your core and for the ladies (your chest).

#5 – RIDES

Ummm…say what?? Did you know that some rides are longer than others? Some are low-wait and pumped with air-conditioning? So mid-day when the heat is on, we like to break with a Dole Whip, COLD water and a nice air-conditioned ride. WE really miss Ellen’s Energy Adventure for this 🙁 Also mid-day is the perfect time to actually explore the interactive areas of Epcot, the in-door areas. Key to this thinking is air-conditioning and if there is seating too – SCORE.

I hope my top 5 ways to deal with the summer heat has helped you consider summer as a vacation time. Due to the heat, it can be a great time to go as crowd levels are lowering. Consider it a great time to swim, relax, and explore Disney in a different way. I find we do slightly different rides/attractions in the heat and makes for a perfect summer vaca. We are hitting up Disneyland this summer (and it will be HOT), stay tuned for how we handle that and enjoy our trip…with LOTS OF WATER!

Mahalo for READING and FOLLOWING along. Let me know if interested in booking a Vacation – Nina