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PassPorter is a small business, and for many years it supported our family. But the world changed, print books took a backseat to the Internet, and for a long time now it has been unable to make ends meet. We've had to find new ways to support our family, which means new careers and less and less time available to devote to our first baby, PassPorter.

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If you miss us, you can still find some of us online. Sara started a new blog at DisneyParkPrincess.com -- I strongly urge you to visit and get on her mailing list. She IS the Disney park princess and knows Disney backward and forward. And I am blogging as well at JenniferMaker.com, which is a little craft blog I started a couple of years ago to make ends meet. You can see and hear me in my craft show at https://www.youtube.com/c/jennifermaker . Many PassPorter readers and fans are on Facebook, in groups they formed like the PassPorter Trip Reports and PassPorter Crafting Challenge (if you join, just let them know you read about it in the newsletter). And some of our most devoted community members started a forum of their own at Pixie Dust Lane and all are invited over.

So we encourage you to stay in touch with us and your fellow community members wherever works best for you!

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Old 06-30-2016, 01:51 AM   #16
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Great photos from around the resort - it looks very fun with some great, vibrant colours. How wonderful you got to see the Blue Man Group - that is an awesome present!
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:27 AM   #17
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Signing in. Love your TR's and all of the photos you take!
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:29 AM   #18
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Whew just caught up! I heard good things about the resort but wow I didn't realize it was so lovely and HUGE! Glad you got to experience it and how awesome that you got a Blue Man Group surprise!!
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Old 06-30-2016, 02:08 PM   #19
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great trip so far! love that you were able to see the Blue Man Group!
It was such a great show
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Old 06-30-2016, 05:00 PM   #20
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All caught up. We are Universal fans as well and always have a good time there.

Cabana Bay looks really cute and they really seem to have some nice amenities for a "value" type resort. May I ask - did the rooms have double beds or queen size beds?

Looking forward to more!
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:42 PM   #21
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It sounds like you had an amazing first day!!! I love this hotel It's got such a retro 50's vibe to it. Glad you got to enjoy seeing Blue Man Group.
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Old 07-01-2016, 09:59 AM   #22
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Thanks for all the pictures of Cabana Bay. I wondered what it looked like inside.
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:26 AM   #23
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Great photos from around the resort - it looks very fun with some great, vibrant colours. How wonderful you got to see the Blue Man Group - that is an awesome present!

Thanks. It is a fun resort.
It was a super awesome present!

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Originally Posted by belle0517 View Post
Signing in. Love your TR's and all of the photos you take!
Thanks

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Originally Posted by xwewhisper View Post
Whew just caught up! I heard good things about the resort but wow I didn't realize it was so lovely and HUGE! Glad you got to experience it and how awesome that you got a Blue Man Group surprise!!
it really is a fun resort and has a lot to do.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SharonK0527 View Post
All caught up. We are Universal fans as well and always have a good time there.

Cabana Bay looks really cute and they really seem to have some nice amenities for a "value" type resort. May I ask - did the rooms have double beds or queen size beds?

Looking forward to more!
They have queen beds, which is also another nice thing about them. And it was really comfy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindawdw View Post
It sounds like you had an amazing first day!!! I love this hotel It's got such a retro 50's vibe to it. Glad you got to enjoy seeing Blue Man Group.

They really did a great job with the retro theming here.

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Originally Posted by clio View Post
Thanks for all the pictures of Cabana Bay. I wondered what it looked like inside.
Liz
It's such a fun place. I hope to get back there again.
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:28 AM   #24
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Feb. 3, 2016, Wednesday

We had a busy day planned for today and the first thing was to transfer to the Hard Rock Hotel. When staying at the Hard Rock Hotel, express pass is included. Our goal was to get over there and checked in early and obtain our express passes and then try to make it to early entry at Universal Studios. That meant we were up at the crack of dawn.

One thing I want to note is that there were several pop/soda machines around the hotel. Both Cass and I drink diet coke but most of these machines were out of diet coke. I went looking for one last night and I think I just caved and got a lemonade after looking at 2. This morning I went out and I think I still went to 3 or 4 before having any luck.

I had noticed last night that they had luggage carts out by the elevator so my plan was if one was still there I would grab it to make it much easier on us today. Cass has the same idea and when I went out she mentioned me getting one too.

We were in luck and I grabbed one and we loaded our luggage and headed down to the lobby to make our transfer. We were using Uber to make the transfer. Cass had used it to come over to Universal and said it went smoothly. She did her thing on the app and showed me how it worked as I was going to use a referral coupon from her tomorrow when we transferred over to Disney.

We got Uber XL because…..well because I pack a lot of luggage. LOL. XL means you will get a bigger vehicle and that is exactly what we would need to haul all the bags over. The car wasn’t too far away but I had to go the bathroom so I ran back in quickly.

A few last shots before we left. Cass had told him we would be standing by the blue car.

Cabanacar by Jenseib, on Flickr

One last shot as I was coming back from the bathroom.

cbroom1 by Jenseib, on Flickr

We loaded up and made our way over to the Hard Rock.

My thoughts on Cabana Bay….I loved it. I loved the theming and the whole resort itself. My only big complaint is the vending machines….and that they couldn’t let us in to see a suite. Cass had a few more issues, especially on her first day there, so she wasn’t quite as impressed as I was. It was mainly staff issues, with them taking her stuff she had under a towel at the pool (which then everyone blamed someone else for, but she eventually got it all back) and some slow service and a few other smaller issues. I didn’t have any really. As I watch air prices for our Oct Trip, I had been looking at possibly extending my stay 1 more night after the cruise and staying at Cabana Bay.
I changed my mind earlier this week though and booked Sapphire Falls. The car rental was going to run the same price as Disney transfers for the 3 of us to MCO. The hotel rate I got is just a little more than the difference of the flights on Sat and Sun and honestly if I am paying that money, I rather extend my vacation than spend it on a flight. I choose Sapphire Falls because it is new and I just wanted to experience it.

It was not a very long ride over to the Hard Rock, but unfortunately they don’t offer a luggage transfer service from Cabana Bay.

We walked right in and it was pretty quiet. Cass was good about taking pictures of front of the hotel, but I failed miserably and I don’t think I ever took a single one.

When we walked in the lobby this cool clock was in the floor.

hr1.1 by Jenseib, on Flickr

The lobby was pretty cool.

hr2.1 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr2 by Jenseib, on Flickr

We walked right up to check in.

hr3 by Jenseib, on Flickr

I think it was Brandon that checked us in. He was so cool, fun and nice and pretty easy on the eyes too. He said our room was ready…our pool view room! Awesome! And Cass, said, yes that’s it. She had been the one to reserve the room and told me she had just reserved a standard and she wasn’t going to mention that when Brandon told us pool view. LOL! We had to put a credit card on hold and I put mine on this time. One of Cass’s issues at Cabana Bay was putting her card down and our room was prepaid but they double charged. She went to find out why she had been charged a 2nd time and they had some strange reasoning. Honestly we think they messed up. They told her would be a few days before those charges went off and her husband wasn’t too happy about it, so I took the chance this time…and never did my card get charges at Hard Rock.

hr4 by Jenseib, on Flickr

We then went and got our Express passes from the machine. We laughed so hard doing this. The picture thing is totally messed up. Cass had to crouch to even get in. One of us ended up with a totally black picture. I can’t remember if it was me or Cass but it was a total black box. We asked Brandon if we would get any hassle over it and he said no.

We then had a Bellman take us to our room. I can’t remember his name, but he was super friendly and talkative. He pointed out everything in the room and I mean EVERYTHING. It was great, but we wanted to make the park opening and so we patiently listened and took pictures while he talked to kind of give him the hint we were on a time limit.

hr3.1 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr4 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr5.1 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr5 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr6 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr7 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr8 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr9 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr10 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr11 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr12 by Jenseib, on Flickr

These are so cool…they are drum sticks.

hr13 by Jenseib, on Flickr

Are our Bellman left and we took sufficient pictures, we scrambled on out. We were told the fastest way to the parks is to go through the pool area, but only when the pool is open and of course it was too early for it to be open yet, so we headed down and found some other people heading to the parks and they kind of guided us to the right direction.

hr14 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr15 by Jenseib, on Flickr

There is a boat launch in this area, but we took the walking path.

hr16 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr17 by Jenseib, on Flickr


We saw some people walk through here and they ended up beating us to the parks, so this must be a shortcut. I did take it later and it was shorter.

hr18 by Jenseib, on Flickr

The path is beautiful, but I was walking fast so I got a lot of blurry pictures.

hr19 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr20 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr21 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr22 by Jenseib, on Flickr

Hard Rock is the closest hotel to Universal Studios and I loved the location.

hr23 by Jenseib, on Flickr

hr24 by Jenseib, on Flickr

There is a little bag check area you have to go through and then you empty out right in front of the entrance. We headed in and they were letting people in already, but only so far and you had to show your room key to get early entry.

I do have to comment that with Universal you swipe your card and then put your finger down to be scanned, kind of like you used to do for Disney. I have issues with finger scans. And I can guarantee at Universal mine won’t work and sure enough I had trouble. I think they had me use my thumb to get it to take but later when I entered again it would not take and they basically have to override it to let me in. Each Team Member is convinced they can teach me a new trick to get it to work and then are amazed when their tried and true ways just don’t work on me. LOL.

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Old 07-02-2016, 09:30 AM   #25
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We did our fast walk towards Diagon Alley. I was still pretty fresh as this was my first park day, but Cass was a little slow moving because she had already been going at it for several days…and she had a blister. That being said, Cass’s slow walk is still darn fast and I didn’t have to slow my pace any for her.

hr6.1 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni1 by Jenseib, on Flickr

trans1 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni3 by Jenseib, on Flickr

Pretty much everyone heads back to Diagon Alley first thing.

uni2 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni4 by Jenseib, on Flickr

It was interesting to see this area under construction. The Beetle juice show used to be back there and you could see the stage being demolished. I never did get to see that show, and honestly there is still a lot of stuff I haven’t seen or done at Universal.

constr1 by Jenseib, on Flickr

univ20 by Jenseib, on Flickr

Kings Cross

uni5 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni6 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni7 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni8 by Jenseib, on Flickr

They really did such a great job with this area and some people don’t even know where to go to get into Diagon Alley. At times TM’s would be out front pointing people in the right direction.

uni9 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni10 by Jenseib, on Flickr

And we’re in….and we headed straight for Gringotts.

uni11 by Jenseib, on Flickr

univ21 by Jenseib, on Flickr

univ22 by Jenseib, on Flickr

And the line was LONG!

univ23 by Jenseib, on Flickr

However it appeared they hadn’t started letting people in yet. We got in line and waited.

uni12 by Jenseib, on Flickr

univ24 by Jenseib, on Flickr

After a while a few witches and wizards came around to say they were having issues with the ride and it could be down a while…basically it could be 5 minutes or 4 hours. Of course they hope to have it running soon. After a bit, people started leaving one family member in line and going off to do their own thing. We kept moving closer even though the ride had not opened yet.

uni13 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni14 by Jenseib, on Flickr

We could hear the dragon getting ready to blow.

univ1 by Jenseib, on Flickr

Fire!

univ2 by Jenseib, on Flickr

It seemed to me that they lessoned the blow of the fire compared to when I came the year it opened. I could be wrong, but it just didn’t seem like as much.

The family in front of us wanted to do something, or hit the restrooms or something. We told them they could go and that we would let them back in line. Of course about 2 minutes after they left the line started moving. As we got closer I had to go put my bag in the locker and return to the line. The family never showed up by the time we got inside.

uni15 by Jenseib, on Flickr

They really did such a fantastic job with this queue.

uni16 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni17 by Jenseib, on Flickr

You can’t carry any loose articles in here so your phone or camera has to fit into a pocket. I wear the Bermuda type shorts (they are actually guy shorts) that have big deep side pockets so that I can fit both my phone and camera in pockets when riding rides at Universal.

uni17 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni18 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni19 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni20 by Jenseib, on Flickr

This was a look down at the spiral staircase but it came out blurry, but I still thought it looked cool.

uni21 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni22 by Jenseib, on Flickr

univ3 by Jenseib, on Flickr
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:31 AM   #26
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It was neat going through the queue fairly fast. Last time I think my wait was like 90 minutes (which still wasn’t bad for it being brand new), but it was 105 outside.

uni23 by Jenseib, on Flickr

Cass had used the single rider line the day before, so the queue was all new to her this time around.

univ4 by Jenseib, on Flickr

univ5 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni24 by Jenseib, on Flickr

univ25 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni25 by Jenseib, on Flickr

Into the elevator.

univ26 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni26 by Jenseib, on Flickr

And then out to pick up our 3D glasses and then you go up some spiral stairs to the cart station. I think we got the first row of the cart and that was pretty darn cool. You can see things much better in the first row. Last time I was in the very last row…but that has advantages too, like when you make the drop, which isn’t really a big drop but from the back it looks much longer than from the front, which is cool.

It was a great ride and I think we went to hit the bathrooms before going back and riding again.

univ28 by Jenseib, on Flickr

univ29 by Jenseib, on Flickr


After we hit the bathrooms and we came back to ride the single rider line.

univ11 by Jenseib, on Flickr

I can’t remember if we rode it once or twice, but we both like the ride. Then it was time for me to eat. I get a little nasty if I don’t get some breakfast. Cass on the other hand doesn’t eat much breakfast while on vacation. She came with me to the Leaky Cauldron where I got myself a bite to eat and a butterbeer.

univ15 by Jenseib, on Flickr

Cass gave it a try and said it wasn’t really her thing. I love the cold version. I have had both cold and frozen and I know most people like the frozen, but I just didn’t care for it too much. I notice they now have a hot version and I bet on a chilly day that would be good.

I got a pancake platter and pigged completely out on it.

univ14 by Jenseib, on Flickr

The food is good, but not great. I enjoy it, but it is not something that you would say…wow that was a great meal. It is still fun to eat in these Potter themed restaurants.

uni27 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni28 by Jenseib, on Flickr

After I was filled up, we set off to look around Diagon Alley a little bit more.

univ19 by Jenseib, on Flickr

univ12 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni29 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni30 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni31 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni32 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni33 by Jenseib, on Flickr

Of course we had to look into Knockturn Alley.

uni34 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni35 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni35 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni37 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni38 by Jenseib, on Flickr

You can buy a magical wand that interacts with things and kids were doing this all over. I really want to get Claire one…you know…because I really want one, but I can’t justify buying it for myself. LOL.

uni39 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni40 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni41 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni42 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni43 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni44 by Jenseib, on Flickr

uni45 by Jenseib, on Flickr

And now it’s time to check out some other things in the park.

uni46 by Jenseib, on Flickr
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:38 AM   #27
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Great updates and it looked like your plan to get into the park early worked out pretty well!
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Old 07-02-2016, 10:27 AM   #28
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How great to have a room ready to go at the hard rock hotel! I just love diagon alley! They did such a wonderful job with the area.


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Old 07-03-2016, 09:24 PM   #29
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Great updates and it looked like your plan to get into the park early worked out pretty well!

It really went smoothly

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How great to have a room ready to go at the hard rock hotel! I just love diagon alley! They did such a wonderful job with the area.


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It was a lucky break to have our room ready too.
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Old 07-04-2016, 12:11 AM   #30
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Looks like staying here and getting in early is the way to go. Pretty empty compared to other pictures ive seen.
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