Please Archive This Thread - Thanks!


DIS Veteran
Aug 5, 2013
Hello and welcome to my first trip report! (I think I started one years ago for a trip, but never actually continued it)


To our December/January Trip!

Dates: December 26th - January 9th

Resort: Aventura Resort - Standard Room

We will be celebrating several things:

*Ringing in the New Year
* Our 12 Year Anniversary
* My Husband being CANCER FREE for 10 YEAR!!

So I guess I should start off with introducing us -

us being me (Lena) and my husband Sam

(This is us last year at Halloween Horror Nights on our first trip)

This will be our second trip to Universal Orlando, and our 5th Vacation to Orlando! We just started taking vacations in 2014 when my husband got off Active Duty Army and we could actually afford to go. (Don't let anyone tell you different - Military are NOT paid enough!)

This will be our first trip staying on Universal Property and we will be staying at the
Aventura Resort! We had originally been booked at Cabana Bay Beach Resort, but decided that for an "Adults Only" trip that Aventura would be more up our alley - plus the bonus that we can still use the pool at the different resorts

(this is really foreign to me as we have only stayed at Disney and you can't "pool hop' there)

Welcome to my report (and I hope I do this correctly!!)


DIS Veteran
Aug 5, 2013
So originally, this trip was booked during Thanksgiving at *Gasp* -
Walt Disney World!!

(we always book as soon as Disney releases our dates to give us more time to pay off our trip)

However, right before our 2018 Trip, my husband's work posted their 2019 Holiday Dates - and they were closing the shop from December 26th - January 1st!
(Sam works as a shop supervisor and 2nd Shop Foreman at a industrial shop here in KS)

My parents always take us to the airport
because the closest one is an hour away and we dont' want to just leave our car there for that long. Last year, we ended up booking a room at the airport hotel so that we could sleep in a little (we usually end up having to be up around Midnight/12:30 AM so that we can get up, cleaned up, on the road, made a bathroom stop, etc... on the way there) and we decided to do that again this year.
We broached the subject with my dad (who would be the driver) and his one statement was "As long as you are not gone on Christmas Day!"
(which is where the title of this report comes from)
We were all set! I looked at the airport hotel calendar and did the math - we would be able to book that hotel on Christmas Day!

After getting the dates settled with mom and dad, and some discussion, we decided that since he wouldn't need to use Paid Time Off for the first week of our trip, we could afford to take 2 Weeks again! Awesome! At this point, we were still booked 100% at Disney. After looking at these forums (we didn't have the best first experience with Universal) we decided to give Universal another shot and do a split stay - 1 week at Disney and 1 Week at Universal.

After working the numbers while sitting at work, I found that it was CHEAPER to stay the two weeks at Universal! So during my husband's 20 minute lunch break, we chatted about the numbers, and made the decision to TOTALLY CHANGE our vacation to all 2 weeks at Universal. The one thing that we agreed that we enjoyed the first time was that it didn't seem as rushed as Disney - it wasn't as "GO GO GO" and we actually came home feeling refreshed - not like we needed to take a 30 day nap just to recover.

I spent
about 30 minutes on hold with Disney to just cancel my package (I had to keep arguing with the lady that yes I DID want to actually cancel - no I wasn't sick and running a fever!; I was actually asked that!) and a total of 10 minutes on the phone to book my full package.

We started with this: 2 Weeks at Cabana Bay with the 3 Park Unlimited Ticket, 2 weeks worth of the QS Dinning Plan with Freestyle Mug, Round Trip Super Star Shuttle.

Over the course of the next few months, we would make several changes - the first being that we could add our Premium Annual Passes to our package! SCORE! Then after watching some YouTube Videos, reading here on the DIS we decided that we would switch resorts over to Aventura. (This happened just a few days ago)
Also, since this is also celebrating our 12 Year Anniversary, we changed the Shuttle to just from the resort BACK to MCO and we booked a LIMO RIDE from the airport to the Resort (with a 30 min stop at Publix).

I know that there is ALOT of time between now and our trip, but I wanted to get this started, and I will add and update things as I go!


It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
May 15, 2007
Nice start!!

And you certainly have some things to celebrate! Many congrats especially on Sam being cancer free....that is wonderful.

Sounds like a lovely trip, and yes, pool hopping is a nice perk......

Will look forward to more updates as time goes on........ :wave2:


DIS Veteran
Aug 5, 2013
So On Christmas Day, I checked the prices for the hotel by the airport..

OVER $300.00 for ONE NIGHT!

Granted, it was Christmas Evening, but STILL!!

So I randomly would check, but no avail - still over $300.00.

So we decided to just stay over at Mom and Dad's and leave early *sigh*

Well, while looking at hotels for a staycation a week or so ago, I decided to check the airport on an OFF CHANCE that there would be a cheaper room...

WHOOP!! FINALLY scored our room for $112.00 for the night - MUCH better than $300+!

Vacation is still so far away....204 Days...

(Just an FYI - 203 Days till Christmas)


DIS Veteran
Aug 5, 2013
Nice start!!

And you certainly have some things to celebrate! Many congrats especially on Sam being cancer free....that is wonderful.

Sounds like a lovely trip, and yes, pool hopping is a nice perk......

Will look forward to more updates as time goes on........ :wave2:
Thank you!!

YES! We are quite excited - 10 years is a HUGE milestone for Cancer Survivors - we are active in our Relay for Life (I'm a Lead Event Organizer for our event)

We are hoping so! Since we will have AP's we can come and go as we please and sleep in some (hopefully)

We are waiting on New Year's Eve Options to present themselves - but we DO have a Cabana at the Hard Rock booked for New Year's Day

Lynne G

DIS Veteran
Mar 29, 2009
Sounds like a great holiday trip.

One year, we stayed from 22 to 31 December. Was lots of fun. Since my DM's birthday is the 1st, and she's in her 90's, we never go over New Year's Day. Though have gotten back on the 31st late enough to watch the fireworks as we leave our airport.

And as a military family too, we appreciate that the 4 and 5 day tickets for military can be used every day, including the week between Christmas and New Year's. Expire 12/31 at park close. Unlike Disney.

Now, we are Universal AP holders. So far, have not been able to get a military room rate at Universal, have gotten one at Disney, but my kids are adults, so we like Universal more nowadays. One of these days, we will get back to Disney, I guess.

I find the SMSM rate the best, usually quite far out as I can get, for Universal rooms.

We have yet to stay at Aventura, but we enjoyed the food court there. We tend to stay at RPR or PBH. That express pass hotel card is a big draw for us. And during that holiday stay for us, was the only time the kids got up for early entry. When they close the express lines, you know it's busy. That early hour, let us get on some of the longer lined rides. The rest, wait times for express, by the afternoon, were 60 minutes or so, or even just closed until the line was more acceptable. Kong, for one, did that.

Looking forward to your trip report next year.


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