I was lucky enough to be the Grand Prize winner for the Cartoon Network’s Transformers in Disguise Summer Promotion. I’d just started at a new work position earlier in the year when my phone rang! It’s that dilemma we all sometimes face with a unknown number do I answer it or do I leave it !! Well I answered it …. on the other end of the call was a lovely lady whom introduced herself and that she was calling from Hasbro, yes the toy makers. She went on to confirm my details with me and then proceeded to inform me that I’d only gone and won the Cartoon Network prize of a family trip to Universal Studios! As you can imagine I was in complete shock and thought she was having me on!! I took some details from her and she reassured she’d be sending me a email to confirm everything. I was over the moon when I called B whom whom thought I was having him on.
We agreed that we wouldn’t tell the boys tell we had confirmations which then led to us telling them only just before we where due to fly, only 8 months later after the the phone call. I will say it was painful keeping it from them but I want it to be amazing for them , so instead I was excited for them in planning it all!
Dates were agreed , holiday requests were handed in even the school holiday requests were handed in with all the paperwork required and a special slip asking for them not to disclose to the boys about the trip! In the days and weeks leading up to our holiday I planned and researched into the area around where we were going to be.
Firstly we had to apply for ESTA Visas for America, for any U.K. national whom is due to visit the USA for less then 90days would need to apply for one, they are valid for two (2) years from date of issue!
They cost $14 per person. Once applications are submitted it’s almost instant that you’ll get notification back on whether you were successful or denied. If you are denied a visa then one whom need to pay the USA embassy a visit to complete the application.
Next was to plan how and when to tell the boys. As our dates were close to H’s 8th birthday, we chose to tell both of them the day afterwards. In the meantime I searched for printable Harry Potter letters for Orlando.
I chose to do a acceptance letters for each of the boys and a marauders map with our travelling date. Below are our I made.
I did as much research I could do on the theme parks and surrounding areas before we flew out.
If your are visiting for the first time or celebrating an occasion then I’d recommend a visit to guest service and collecting a pin badge from them and wearing it proudly to redeem extra treats and specials . These are also a great mementos of your trip, staff and onsite restaurant also go that little extra mile with a free birthday muffin or selected one sometimes for those special part in an interactive show. For example at Ollivanders wand shop.
The Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group will rock your world. Blow your mind and unleash uncontrollable laughter. It was the best 2hours live comedy show I’d seen for awhile. Even the boys laughed so much that we all had belly ache. Only advice I can advise is leave any expectations at the door and let three bald and blue men take you on a spectacular journey bursting with music, laughter and surprises.
Our top tips:
1. Download Uber app beforehand, easy to use and get for getting to Walmart or local outlet malls.
2. See the Blue man group.
3. Purchase a refill cup according to how long while be at the parks. This can save you a pretty packet.
One of the best & probably greatest value items you can buy at Universal is a rapid fill mug & comes in 4 different price plans. Now before you buy a rapid fill mug, you need to know what it is you are buying. You can buy one for different lengths of stay. The mug has an RFID chip built into it that starts from the moment it is activated.What you do is purchase the mug at 1 of the quick service restaurants or refreshment points in the parks & at the till they will activate the RFID chip that is built into the mug.
So how does this RFID chip work.
At all the beverage stations in the park you place the drinks mug on a receiver that reads the chip in the mug. The chip once activated lasts for 1 to 14 days+.The reader will pick up the chips unique signature & will recognise when that was activated & how many days are left. Now there is normally a wait time between fills, which is around 90 seconds. A screen on the dispenser will tell you when you can re-fill your mug. Once your rapid refill credit has expired the screen will also tell you this as well.
There used to be 4 price plans:
- $8.99 for 1 day’s use
- $ 11.99 for 2 day’s use
- $ 14.99 for 3 day’s use
- $17.99 for the length of your stay.
Depending on the length of your stay will depend on the savings you can make purchasing a rapid refill mug. But with over a 100 drinks to choose from water to slushy drinks at the refill stations.