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sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
They do allow fanny packs, but you still need to go through the metal detectors for certain rides. Just guessing that they would make you put a cell phone in a locker even with a fanny pack. Just because someone has a fanny pack doesn't mean that they wouldn't pull out a cell phone during a ride. Even when you have your park pass on a lanyard, you are asked to put it under your shirt. Again, this isn't all rides at Universal, it tends to be those that are high speed or ones that invert you.
Only Rip Ride Rockit and Hulk have metal detectors and you can't bring your phone even if it is secured. For all of the other rides you'll be okay with your phone in a fanny pack if it's small. I didn't carry a bag at all, but I always tucked my phone into a pocket with a button or zipper and it was fine. I think you are going to love the new Hagrid coaster. It is my new favorite ride. :)
OK, so my plan is to spend pretty much the entire day at the 2 Harry Potter lands, so if those are the only 2 with metal detectors, I should be fine. I'm seriously considering buying the fanny pack that @nemofans recommended just to be on the safe side. I use a small point and shoot which would fit in that just fine.

I'm definitely looking forward to the new Hagrid coaster! :teeth:

Sayhello
 

nemofans

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 25, 2007
The highlight of the trip for me was the exclusive visit to Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel at night and then having dinner afterwards in the courtyard at the Vatican. My boys' favorite was gladiator school which was so fun. We loved Sorrento and the Sorrento hotel was so nice. You do get time on your own for shopping multiple times as well as a few dinners on your own. We were there during the heat wave this past summer which made walking around Rome uncomfortable, but that's just what it was.
 

tgeorge

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 19, 2013
@sayhello- Have you looked into the VIP tour at Universal? I’ve done it twice at Universal Hollywood and it was well worth the added expense. No waiting in lines and our guide held all of our bags as we were getting on the rides. It was such a great experience. I haven’t done it at Universal Orlando yet, but I’ve heard it is also a great experience there. Either way, you’re going to love HP World. I can’t wait to go back to Orlando and do Hagrid’s coaster 😀
 

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  • sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    @sayhello- Have you looked into the VIP tour at Universal? I’ve done it twice at Universal Hollywood and it was well worth the added expense. No waiting in lines and our guide held all of our bags as we were getting on the rides. It was such a great experience. I haven’t done it at Universal Orlando yet, but I’ve heard it is also a great experience there. Either way, you’re going to love HP World. I can’t wait to go back to Orlando and do Hagrid’s coaster 😀
    Thanks, I'll look into that. Although with front-of-the-line access, I think I should do OK. But a VIP tour would be nice! Thanks!

    Sayhello
     

    tink1970

    DCL Platinum
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2012
    @sayhello- Have you looked into the VIP tour at Universal? I’ve done it twice at Universal Hollywood and it was well worth the added expense. No waiting in lines and our guide held all of our bags as we were getting on the rides. It was such a great experience. I haven’t done it at Universal Orlando yet, but I’ve heard it is also a great experience there. Either way, you’re going to love HP World. I can’t wait to go back to Orlando and do Hagrid’s coaster 😀
    One of our fellow London/Paris/DLP podcast ABD tour members was a Universal Hollywood VIP tour guide and he was the nicest, most amazing guy. I'd do it just to spend more time learning from him!
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    @sayhello- Have you looked into the VIP tour at Universal? I’ve done it twice at Universal Hollywood and it was well worth the added expense. No waiting in lines and our guide held all of our bags as we were getting on the rides. It was such a great experience. I haven’t done it at Universal Orlando yet, but I’ve heard it is also a great experience there. Either way, you’re going to love HP World. I can’t wait to go back to Orlando and do Hagrid’s coaster 😀
    One of our fellow London/Paris/DLP podcast ABD tour members was a Universal Hollywood VIP tour guide and he was the nicest, most amazing guy. I'd do it just to spend more time learning from him!
    It sounds fun and a great way to go. But I've been looking into it, and the issue is, there could be up to 12 people on the VIP tour, and I highly doubt they are all going to want to only do the Harry Potter part of both parks. I'm really not interested in much else at Universal. And I'm reading that a Private VIP tour is $3000+. NOT doing that! :(

    Sayhello
     
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    SirDuff

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 19, 2014
    I just came back (well a few weeks ago now) from Backroads' Peru Trekking trip. It was absolutely amazing. It is not a family trip (so, no kids), but if you are up for an active adventure and the wonders of Machu Picchu I highly recommend it.

    One of the other travelers fell and broke her ankle and I was super impressed with how Backroads (and our guides specifically) dealt with it - especially given that we were on the middle of a trail through the Andes. She did end up flying back to the US for surgery which such a shame (had it been a simple break that could be dealt with in Peru, Backroads would have gotten her to the hotel we used in Machu Picchu (which was amazing) where she could have spent the couple of days that we were still trekking. In a cast, she probably couldn't have done the ruins, but her husband would have been able to.
     
  • CaliforniaGirl09

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 4, 2009
    I just came back (well a few weeks ago now) from Backroads' Peru Trekking trip. It was absolutely amazing. It is not a family trip (so, no kids), but if you are up for an active adventure and the wonders of Machu Picchu I highly recommend it.

    One of the other travelers fell and broke her ankle and I was super impressed with how Backroads (and our guides specifically) dealt with it - especially given that we were on the middle of a trail through the Andes. She did end up flying back to the US for surgery which such a shame (had it been a simple break that could be dealt with in Peru, Backroads would have gotten her to the hotel we used in Machu Picchu (which was amazing) where she could have spent the couple of days that we were still trekking. In a cast, she probably couldn't have done the ruins, but her husband would have been able to.
    Such a bummer but great to hear that Backroads did a great job. Great timing for your post, too, as @Calfan and I have been perusing their catalog for our next hiking adventure. Hiking in Peru was amazing. DD and I din the Salkantay trek with REi last fall.
     

    tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    It sounds fun and a great way to go. But I've been looking into it, and the issue is, there could be up to 12 people on the VIP tour, and I highly doubt they are all going to want to only do the Harry Potter part of both parks. I'm really not interested in much else at Universal. And I'm reading that a Private VIP tour is $3000+. NOT doing that! :(

    Sayhello
    Oh, yeah, if you ONLY want to do HP for the whole day, then definitely not for you. They take you to a bunch of other things as well. In Hollywood it is especially cool since you get the tour of the studios and the amazing lunch they serve.
     

    *WDW*Groupie*

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 2, 2006
    Quick update on our Arctic / Northern Europe trip.

    We are booked with Scott Dunn (for St. Petersburg, Bergen and Alesund and the flight from Alesund to Oslo). I am very happy with the service so far. The agent has been super quick to respond to my questions and very, very nice to deal with. I also had them push back the PIF date to 60 days before departure should something go drastically wrong and we don't get visas for Russia (apparently the applications are quite complicated). If the worst happens we will be able to change from Russia to Copenhagen and only lose the payment for the flight from St. Petersburg to Bergen. She thought this was an excellent idea (I can apply for the visa at 90 days before departure and they take approx. 7-8 business days to get approved). She had no issue just booking hotel, transfers and flights for Russia to Bergen as I want to white water raft in Bergen and do a day trip from Bergen to Flam via boat / train / car (I had already booked a private guide as I want to stop at the Dale Norway factory!). So far I am very impressed and would recommend them. She has traveled in this area herself a few times and had some fantastic suggestions.

    Price per day will vary based on the type of accomodations you want and activities you choose. We are staying at the Four Seasons in St. Petersburg (it's newer and in a former palace, so we had to, right?), but there are other hotel options that would yield a lower price point. I gave her a budget we wanted to work within and she delivered in spades.
     

    Candycane83

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2012
    Long post: It has been an incredibly frustrating day. I got a call from Tauck this morning and the rep told me our Costa Rica bridges trip (myself, DH and DS5) has been cancelled due to the lack of participants. We were given a few options... We can join their small group tour for the same dates but it is not designed for children. Or we can join their tour the week after which is currently fully booked. Now, moving the tour to the week after would not really be a problem in terms of vacation days or school but I have purchased flights already. My frustration comes with my airline. Since it is March break, I understand that week is incredibly busy and flights are very expensive. It would cost us over CAD 2600 to switch if they actually have the same class of tickets. I balked and thought it was too expensive (more than what I paid for originally) I told this to the rep and she has kindly offered to pay for this difference as they are cancelling our tour. When I called back though, the airline now claims they only have business class tickets! Now I’m stuck and unsure what to do. Well, I’m planning to call again tomorrow to see if there are tickets again. If it’s not available though, should I just go ahead and go with the small group? Or should I just move the tour to a different date? I was thinking December but flights are not available yet for those dates. I’d have to move my flight to something else... or look at another trip altogether... what to do... any advise?
     
  • sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Long post: It has been an incredibly frustrating day. I got a call from Tauck this morning and the rep told me our Costa Rica bridges trip (myself, DH and DS5) has been cancelled due to the lack of participants. We were given a few options... We can join their small group tour for the same dates but it is not designed for children. Or we can join their tour the week after which is currently fully booked. Now, moving the tour to the week after would not really be a problem in terms of vacation days or school but I have purchased flights already. My frustration comes with my airline. Since it is March break, I understand that week is incredibly busy and flights are very expensive. It would cost us over CAD 2600 to switch if they actually have the same class of tickets. I balked and thought it was too expensive (more than what I paid for originally) I told this to the rep and she has kindly offered to pay for this difference as they are cancelling our tour. When I called back though, the airline now claims they only have business class tickets! Now I’m stuck and unsure what to do. Well, I’m planning to call again tomorrow to see if there are tickets again. If it’s not available though, should I just go ahead and go with the small group? Or should I just move the tour to a different date? I was thinking December but flights are not available yet for those dates. I’d have to move my flight to something else... or look at another trip altogether... what to do... any advise?
    Tauck should have offered from the get-go to pay to change your flights. Agreeing to it after the fact is odd. Then you would have known. As much as people complain about ABD's cancellation policy, they make it quite clear from the outset that if they cancel your trip, and you move to another departure, they will cover the costs to move your flight, within reason.

    What *I* would do is price out flights on another airline. If the price is reasonable, talk to Tauck about just cancelling the other flights, and them buying you the more reasonable flights on the other airline. It would probably cost them less in the long run. Just a suggestion. ABD did that for me when they cancelled my Canadian Rockies trip, and Delta wanted a total fortune to switch my flight to the Alaska trip I switched to. It was cheaper to buy me a new flight on Alaska Airlines.

    Sayhello
     

    Candycane83

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2012
    Tauck should have offered from the get-go to pay to change your flights. Agreeing to it after the fact is odd. Then you would have known. As much as people complain about ABD's cancellation policy, they make it quite clear from the outset that if they cancel your trip, and you move to another departure, they will cover the costs to move your flight, within reason.

    What *I* would do is price out flights on another airline. If the price is reasonable, talk to Tauck about just cancelling the other flights, and them buying you the more reasonable flights on the other airline. It would probably cost them less in the long run. Just a suggestion. ABD did that for me when they cancelled my Canadian Rockies trip, and Delta wanted a total fortune to switch my flight to the Alaska trip I switched to. It was cheaper to buy me a new flight on Alaska Airlines.

    Sayhello
    It may be they weren’t very clear or I was just not paying attention. At this time, I think maybe I just didn’t understand very clearly as it is my first time and I was in the middle of work when i got the call.
    Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll look into that!
     

    lpm23

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 1, 2017
    Currently just starting a Thomson trip and having some serious regrets over not sticking with Disney. Still early days so my thoughts could change but this is my initial impression so far:
    Things Disney does better:
    There to check you in to hotel and assist with questions
    Gets your luggage taken to your room
    Picks nicer hotels! We have done 8 ABDs and have always stayed in hotels nicer than this. This is too much roughing it for me!


    so nervous about this choice!!!
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Currently just starting a Thomson trip and having some serious regrets over not sticking with Disney. Still early days so my thoughts could change but this is my initial impression so far:
    Things Disney does better:
    There to check you in to hotel and assist with questions
    Gets your luggage taken to your room
    Picks nicer hotels! We have done 8 ABDs and have always stayed in hotels nicer than this. This is too much roughing it for me!


    so nervous about this choice!!!
    You've only just started. You haven't met your Guide(s) yet. :) Give it a chance! I know you have a bad first impression, but I know folks who love Thomson.

    Where are you traveling?

    Sayhello
     

    lpm23

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 1, 2017
    You've only just started. You haven't met your Guide(s) yet. :) Give it a chance! I know you have a bad first impression, but I know folks who love Thomson.

    Where are you traveling?

    Sayhello
    You are totally right. Just a creature of habit! And we love ABD. Panama!
     

    Calfan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 2009
    You are totally right. Just a creature of habit! And we love ABD. Panama!
    Hang in there! We loved our trip with Thomson to China and will be traveling with them to Japan in Summer 2020. And I definitely do *not* rough it, lol. I’m wondering if some if it is a function of your destination, but I haven‘t been to Panama...
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    You are totally right. Just a creature of habit! And we love ABD. Panama!
    I totally get it. I'm a creature of habit, too, and haven't even been brave enough to try another company yet. Give yourself kudos for that! And have a FABULOUS time!

    Sayhello
     

    Aelin1977

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 29, 2018
    Currently just starting a Thomson trip and having some serious regrets over not sticking with Disney. Still early days so my thoughts could change but this is my initial impression so far:
    Things Disney does better:
    There to check you in to hotel and assist with questions
    Gets your luggage taken to your room
    Picks nicer hotels! We have done 8 ABDs and have always stayed in hotels nicer than this. This is too much roughing it for me!


    so nervous about this choice!!!
    Did you arrive before the trip officially starts? Like a day or so in advance? If so, no tour company will have the guides there to meet you. I've traveled with ABD and National Geographic and we arrived before the official start of our trips with both companies and neither one had the guides waiting to meet us. They arranged the airport pick up but that was about it. We didn't meet our guides until the day the trip actually started. As for the hotels, you can't compare a 5 star hotel in Panama with a 5 star hotel in North America or even some parts of Europe. What they consider 5 star may only be a 3 star here in North America.
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Did you arrive before the trip officially starts? Like a day or so in advance? If so, no tour company will have the guides there to meet you. I've traveled with ABD and National Geographic and we arrived before the official start of our trips with both companies and neither one had the guides waiting to meet us. They arranged the airport pick up but that was about it. We didn't meet our guides until the day the trip actually started. As for the hotels, you can't compare a 5 star hotel in Panama with a 5 star hotel in North America or even some parts of Europe. What they consider 5 star may only be a 3 star here in North America.
    The OP stated they've taken 8 ABDs, so it's likely they know about the Guides not being there until the day the ABD starts. But except for Iceland, I've usually had bell people and sometimes a concierge come out, grab the suitcases, and escort us to the Reception Desk.

    But your points about what constitutes a "5 star" hotel in Panama are likely very true (although I've never been)! :) That might be part of the reason ABD doesn't do Panama. Who knows! (I'm mostly joking. Iceland didn't have 5 star hotels or ANY bell staff at all, and ABD still goes there.)

    Sayhello
     
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