Skip to Content

Kristin’s Universal and Disney World trip – PREP 416

Kristin’s Universal and Disney World trip – PREP 416

Beginning at Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando and finishing at the Beach Club at Walt Disney World, Kristin, her husband, and their tween daughters spent several days in June in Orlando. Kristin shares what she thought of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, how important it is to know how to pivot, and what she loves about staying in a Disney Vacation Club resort.

Post trip begins: 32 minutes

The Basics

Kristin and her family are Disney veterans but added a Universal Studios portion to their trip this time. This was the first Universal trip for her girls, ages 10 and 11.

Kristin, her husband, and their girls flew from Nashville to Orlando. It was a surprise trip for their daughter’s 10th birthday.

They stayed Club Level at Hard Rock Hotel June 11-12 before moving to the Beach Club from June 12-16. They are DVC members and used points to book their Beach Club room.

They utilized Express Pass at Universal, Genie+ and Standby Skipper at Disney World, and had several special elements in their trip. They were able to ride Tiana’s Bayou Adventure during the DVC preview and the girls got their wants at Universal.

Arrival and Islands of Adventure (June 11)

Kristin and her family were on a 9:30 a.m. flight from Nashville. This was her daughter’s 10th birthday trip and she didn’t know where they were going until they pulled into the hotel at Universal! 

They stayed at Hard Rock Hotel and had Express Pass included. This was their daughter’s first trip to Universal

They took an Uber from the airport and were pulling into their resort around 1:30 p.m. They checked into their hotel and they got their room key. Then they had to go to a different desk to have their tickets printed. 

It was pouring when they arrived but they put on their ponchos and walked to Universal Studios. While it was raining, it wasn’t incredibly hot, so the ponchos weren’t super hot. However, at Universal Studios, you do need to remove your poncho before getting on a ride. 

Their first ride was E.T. Adventure Ride and they walked right on. They all liked this ride. Then they went to Men in Black. Because of their express pass, everything was a walk-on. 

Then they went on Revenge of The Mummy. Kristin’s husband did not ride this but he did try it later in their trip. The girls loved it! 

They went to Ollivander’s and the girls got wands. Then they went on Gringotts and everyone went together. The park was closing at 6 p.m. so they went to get on the Hogwarts Express. The posted wait time was 60 minutes but they waited about 30 minutes. 

Their first stop at Islands of Adventure was Three Broomsticks. The girls went on Forbidden Journey while they had some food and drinks.

After dinner the posted wait time for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike was 75 minutes. Kristin thought they would be better off riding at rope-drop so they did not ride. 

They took their ponchos and went on the Jurassic River Adventure. They got very wet! 

Then Kristin and her daughters went on Jurassic World VelociCoaster at 7:50 p.m. The posted wait time was 30 minutes and the park closed at 8 p.m. They waited a full 30 minutes. The girls really liked it but it really hurt Kristin. 

They walked back to their hotel at 8:30 p.m. They arrived at dessert time at the club lounge. There were two types of cookies, brownies, hot chocolate and coffee, and a cooler with some sodas.

The club level was over $200 versus a regular room and Kristin doesn’t know how you could get value out of this experience. 

They were asleep by 10:30 p.m. Kristin notes that the hotel is a great location and was a nice option. She wouldn’t do club level again. 

Islands of Adventure and moving to Disney (June 12)

Kristin got up at 6 a.m. to get ready. She got the kids up to get ready and they grabbed donuts on their way to Islands of Adventure. 

They were late getting there and it took them 15 minutes to get into the park when it opened at 7:50 a.m. They went immediately to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike. The posted wait time was already 90 minutes when they arrived. 

The first set of lockers that they went to were full. The lockers on the right were full but the lockers on the left were empty. This caused a bit of anxiety. 

Kristin also recommends not having bags if you are going to rope-drop Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike due to the locker situation.

They waited about 75 minutes to get on Hagrid’s. It wasn’t a horrible wait, especially earlier in the day when it was cooler. This was a wonderful ride and they really enjoyed it.

They went to Jurassic World VelociCoaster next and waited about 15 minutes. Kristin rode in row 4 and her head didn’t hurt as much this time. 

While they were rope-dropping, Kristin’s husband packed up their room and went to the Beach Club with all of their things. He then came back to meet them at Three Broomsticks

Kristin waited there while the girls took their dad on Forbidden Journey. Kristin was sure he would be nauseated but he loved it! 

Kristin waited on the back patio at Three Broomsticks. She loved being in the world of Harry Potter and see Jurassic Park. It was very quiet and peaceful.

The girls did Flight of the Hippogriff and then they all did Kong together. 

They ate lunch at 12:10 at Mythos. They had delicious food and all enjoyed it. 

At this point, Kristin purchased Genie+ and started stacking lightning lanes for their evening at Disney. After lunch they went to Illumination’s Villain Con and then Kristin took her family to the Bourne Stunt Show, which is one of her favorites. 

At 2:45 p.m. they took an Lyft to Walt Disney World! They arrived at the Ticket and Transportation Center at 3:10 p.m. They hopped on the monorail and they were in line for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure by 3:45 p.m. They had a 3 p.m. preview for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

They had a DVC preview and Kristin expected to wait. She wanted to take in the queue but they went right through and were on the ride quickly. 

Kristin compares the ride to the old Splash Mountain and Na’vi River Journey. She really loved the ride but sadly there wasn’t any merchandise available. 

After riding Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, they took a Minnie Van at 4:30 p.m. to go to the Beach Club. The pool was closed when they arrived, but it opened quickly. 

Kristin had a dark and stormy at Ale and Compass while her kids were swimming. They went back to the Magic Kingdom for Extended Evening Theme Park Hours

They had a late dinner at Skipper Canteen at 8:30 p.m. This is one of their favorites, but they didn’t have the best experience. Kristin says that it must be because it was the end of the night but the fish dish was definitely different. 

Kristin had been stacking lightning lanes. At 9:30 p.m. they used a lightning lane for Pirates of the Caribbean. Then Kristin and the girls went on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Their next stop was Haunted Mansion and there was a 30 minute posted wait time but they only waited 10 minutes. After that, Kristin’s husband took their older daughter back to the resort and Kristin and her younger daughter went on a lot of rides in a row.

They hoped to ride TRON standby but that wasn’t possible. Kristin and her daughter stayed until after 12 a.m. and they weren’t asleep until 1:30 a.m. It was a really good day. 

Magic Kingdom (June 13)

Kristin had expected to get a virtual queue for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure but because they rode it yesterday, they didn’t. Kristin slept in and her husband booked individual lightning lanes for TRON and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

He also got the virtual queue 74 for TRON. Kristin was very impressed. 

The girls woke up at 10 a.m. and they went to their 11 a.m. Beaches and Cream reservation. They had ice cream for breakfast! 

Kristin’s husband switched their park reservations to Epcot and they entered Epcot at 1 p.m. They tried to get the Tiana’s Bayou Adventure virtual queue at 1 p.m. and it didn’t work at all.

They went to La Cava and Kristin’s husband hoped to get a spicy drink and it wasn’t spicy enough for him. She got a non-alcoholic beverage and it was delicious. 

At 1:45 p.m. they waited about 20 minutes for Soarin’. Standby Skipper got them a 3:15 p.m. lighting lane for Test Track

Kristin’s husband went to Festival Favorites for the arepas. He said they were really hot on the outside and cold on the inside. The mango IPA was delicious. 

Kristin really liked this area with the stage and sing-along. However, the space is a little sad. She did appreciate that it is air conditioned and there are chairs. 

Kristin’s girls wanted ice cream so she had them drink a lot of water before she allowed them to have ice cream. They went to Club Cool and Kristin’s husband loved the Beverly. 

At this point they were trying to decide if they were going to go back to their resort first or go straight to the Magic Kingdom. They got some coffee and went on the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. 

They took the railroad to Tomorrowland because Kristin loves the railroad. Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin had a posted wait time of 20 minutes and they used their lightning lane. They waited 5 minutes. 

Then they went to Space Mountain and waited 10 minutes with their lightning lane. The posted wait time was 25 minutes. 

Then it was time for their individual lightning lanes for TRON. Kristin’s husband went on this as well. They had an individual lightning lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train but it was down. 

They opted to just get into a Minnie Van. Kristin’s husband booked them a 7:45 p.m. reservation for the Yachtsman. The kid’s dessert is painting a Mickey puzzle. This is super engaging but it came out after everyone was done and ready to go. 

Kristin recommends asking for the kid dessert earlier in the meal so that they can do that while adults enjoy their food. 

Animal Kingdom (June 14)

In the middle of the night Kristin woke up and purchased Animal Kingdom. She had previously booked park passes for Magic Kingdom before her trip in order to ride Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

However, it took quite a bit to change their park reservations. She was finally able to change them to Epcot.

Kristin also tried to book reserved seating for the Dreams that Soar at Disney Springs. She ended up not booking anything.

They left their room at 10 a.m. and got crepes in Epcot. They needed to tap in before they were able to hop to Animal Kingdom. By 11 a.m. they were back at the pool at the Beach Club.

She really loves the Beach Club. She notes that if you want to use the lazy river, you should have a pool noodle delivered to your resort.

At 1 p.m. they went to Animal Kingdom. They took an Uber to Animal Kingdom. On their way, Kristin joined and rejoined the Nomad Lounge. The wait was initial 40 minutes but they could go immediately.

They went to Na’vi River Journey and the posted wait time was 85 minutes. They used their lightning lane and only waited 5 minutes. Flight of Passage had a posted wait time of 65 minutes but they waited 10 minutes with their lightning lane.

At 2:20 p.m. they got on the walk-up list again at Nomad Lounge and got right in. Kristin is used to going right when it opens. At 3:40 p.m. they still didn’t have their food.

They were seated in the back section, what was Tiffins. It was nice to be indoors in the air conditioning and the churros were delicious.

Their next stop was to go to Kilimanjaro Safaris. At 4 p.m. the posted wait time was 10 minutes but they walked right on.

The animals weren’t very active because it was so hot and toward the end of the day. They were all very hot and done so they went back to the room for a good nap.

They went to Disney Springs at 8 p.m. Sadly, the drone show was canceled. This was very sad.

Disney Springs was very busy. Kristin and her husband thought they might have gone to dinner at Summer House on the Lake and let the girls go to the movies alone. However, it was so busy she knew that wasn’t going to happen.

They went to the M&M store and designed candies. Then they got walk-up seating at Summer House on the Lake. This was a highlight of the trip!

The kids menu at Summer House on the Lake was really wonderful. It has a lot of activities on it geared toward older kids. It occupied Kristin’s girls were occupied for a while.

They all really loved the food and had a great time. They thought about waiting for the second drone show, but they were all tired and took an uber back to the resort and went to bed.

Hollywood Studios (June 15)

They booked an individual lightning lane for Rise of the Resistance at 9:30 a.m. Rain was in the forecast, so they had Standby Skipper ready to book a lightning lane for Slinky Dog Dash as early as possible.

They got on the skyliner at 8:05 a.m. for an 8:30 a.m. early entry. They went right to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. It was down so they went to Toy Story Mania.

While they were in line for Toy Story Mania, this ride also went down. This was frustrating because there are only so many rides open. They go so frequently that pivoting wasn’t a big issue.

At 10 a.m. Slinky Dog Dash had a posted wait time of 45 minutes. They waited 5 minutes with their lightning lane. Everyone rode together and then got snacks.

After that it was time for their Rise of the Resistance individual lightning lane. It was a walk-on. Kristin rode with the girls and her husband sat this one out.

Kristin and her girls went to Tower of Terror. The posted wait time was 75 minutes but they waited 10 minutes. They were only running one elevator.

Their next stop was to go to the Tune-in Lounge. This was to spend time waiting for their Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway lightning lane at 11:45 a.m. The posted wait time was 45 minutes and they only waited 5 minutes.

After Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway they took the skyliner to Epcot. Kristin’s husband made a reservation for Teppan Edo and they ate hibachi for lunch.

They had a lot of fun in the department store in Japan. They like to pick out snacks there and share them to decide what they like the best.

After trying the snacks, they went back to the room to rest. Kristin’s husband took one of their daughters to the pool while she and her other daughter rested.

At 6 p.m. they left their room and wandered through Beach Club and Yacht Club. They liked checking out the gift shops because it was raining.

By 7 p.m. they were back at Epcot. Kristin’s husband and girls went on Cosmic Rewind. Kristin was surprised that he was able to ride it because it makes her sick.

Kristin went to the Seas Pavilion and wandered around looking at the fish. They met back up at Creations and at 8:10 p.m. they went to Spaceship Earth.

They walked back to the resort and Kristin enjoyed the quiet on the balcony after her family went to bed.

Magic Kingdom (June 16)

At 7 a.m. Kristin booked a virtual queue for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. She got group 36. Then she booked an individual lightning lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at 9:30 a.m.

Then she got an individual lightning lane for TRON. She also got the virtual queue for TRON and got group 90.

Kristin and the girls left the room at 8 a.m., got right on a bus, and were entering the Magic Kingdom by 8:18 a.m. Bell services picked up their bags at 8 a.m. as well.

Kristin had swim stuff and a change of clothes in a bag she could get to because they had a later flight. She left her bags with bell services while they were at Magic Kingdom.

Kristin’s husband had a park reservation at Epcot. He tapped in there, grabbed a drink, and met them at the Magic Kingdom at 9 a.m.

They went immediately to Space Mountain. Be mindful that if you get a coffee, you will not be able to bring it into the queue.

When they got off, they went to Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. At 9:20 a.m. Kristin’s daughter was feeling tired so she and her husband did some shopping.

Kristin and her other daughter did Tomorrowland Speedway. It was a posted wait time of 5 minutes and they waited 10 minutes. Kristin didn’t mind it and would do it again.

They had a lightning lane for Jungle Cruise. The posted wait time was 40 minutes but they walked right on with their lightning lane.

There was a posted wait time for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was 55 minutes but with their individual lightning lane they didn’t wait. When they got off, their Tiana’s Bayou Adventure boarding group was called.

Kristin and her daughter waited about 10 minutes. They were in the back and didn’t get very wet. It was really nice.

At 11:15 a.m. they got in line to take the train to Tomorrowland for their TRON individual lightning lane. When they got off, the girls wanted an Aurora cone at Storybook Treats. It was very blue.

They did some shopping before taking a Minnie Van at 1:15 p.m. back to their resort to go swimming. They were in the pool until about 4 p.m.

They got lunch at the pool and had a great part of the pool all to themselves. It was wonderful.

After an afternoon at the pool, they changed and got in an Uber to the airport at 4:30 p.m. Kristin flew to Washington, DC at 6:30 p.m. for a business trip. Kristin’s family flew home.

They had a really wonderful trip.

Key Takeaways

  • Buy lanyards before you leave. It is very expensive to buy them in the park.
  • The club level at Hard Rock Hotel was over $200 versus a regular room and Kristin doesn’t know how you could get value out of this experience.
  • If you want to use the lazy river at the Beach Club, add a pool noodle to your grocery order. There often aren’t enough flotation devices and pool noodles work great and are inexpensive.
  • Room 108 in the Beach Club villas is the perfect room. It’s very close to Epcot and the lobby. It was a one bedroom villa.

Get a Quote for:


Leave me a message(including trip report submissions)

Please use the SpeakPipe link below to leave us a message with your first name, location, and trip info.

You can do that using your computer or phone at

Subscribe to get new episodes

There are a few ways to get new episodes of WDW Prep to Go (if you’re used to listening on the website, subscribe so you can take new episodes with you on your phone)

Follow on social media

Become a Patron

Get a quote request for a future trip from Small World Vacations

Podcast Episode Finder

WDW Prep Merch

Visit the site

Things we recommend

Affiliate Links: