Today, it was time to move base. This morning, we spent our time in Universal Studios riding, one last time, some favorite attractions. However, by early afternoon, it was time to say Goodbye to Universal Studios.
We have had a couple of good days at Universal and in addition to glorious weather, the parks have been relatively quiet. A lot of construction seems to be happening in both parks, the majority of which seems to be refreshing tired areas. However, there still is no parade or nighttime show at Universal Orlando. Due to the lack of nighttime entertainment, park closing times are relatively early. On Monday, when there were no Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, both parks closed at 7:00 p.m.
2024 looks like a relatively quiet year at Universal Orlando, with the only new area likely to be the opening of Dreamworks Land. This new kid’s area is definitely needed in a park that provides little for the younger guests. 2025 will be the big year at Universal Orlando with the opening of the new theme park, Epic Universe.
We are now staying at the Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World. The Swan and Dolphin Resorts are unique properties in Walt Disney World in that Disney does not own them, but they carry many of the same benefits as Disney-owned resorts. These benefits include access to Extended Evening Hours, a benefit that is only available for Disney Deluxe Resorts.
The big advantage of considering the Swan or Dolphin is that they can cost considerably less than a Disney Resort. For the five nights we are staying, our room costs less than a Disney Value Resort. However, weekend costs were considerably higher, hence why we will be moving resorts again in 5 days. Our initial impression of the Dolphin was that it looked nice but very corporate, not “Disney!”
One of the main reasons for this trip was to experience EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival, and our evening was spent exploring the festival. The park was buzzing and we enjoyed exploring the festival. Dishes at the festival have increased in price in recent times, but some dishes are fairly good value. Portion sizes do vary from generous to minuscule.
At 9 p.m., we took advantage of the Extended Evening Hours, which tonight was in EPCOT. Crowds seemed much quieter than in the summer and we managed to complete the Big 4 EPCOT attractions in around 90 minutes: Guardians of the Galaxy, Test Track, Frozen, and Ratatouille.
Overall, it was a busy day, including breaking our Orlando Steps Record. Tomorrow, we will be spending more time exploring EPCOT, including the Food and Wine Festival.
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