Just back after my 3rd trip from Orlando just my husband and myself both in our mids 30's. We stayed in the Rosen Plaza on I drive- have to say we really enjoyed this hotel especially the fact it had a great deli for those late nite returns after the parks and a great bar. The location was great as well just opposite the Pointe Orlando.
A few observations-
Weather- was the worse we have ever had and it does but a damper on things. We talked to a couple and it was there 7th time there and they totally agreed. We got rain every day but one. It wasn't like the normal afternoon shower which we are use to this was black clouds bad rain most of the afternoon and early evening. Very little " sunny days". This did have an impact on our trip as we planned a number if beach days which were a wash out. We also booked tickets for a race at Daytona which after 3hrs sitting in the rain was cancelled. Also, travelling to the various parks eg. Busch gardens and only getting a few rides before it shutting for the storms is annoying.
Location- I drive is undergoing a re development just past pirates cove golf. This will include the I drive eye and a number of other things. Many new restaurants are also due to open here which will be brill when finished.
As I said our hotel was opposite pointe orlando- I had never realised how good this place becomes after dark. Some really good bars and restaurants. Also, a comedy bar which we will try some time in the future. A wee tip is at the pointe orlando there is a Tommy Hilfiger shop which is the cheapest around.
Parks- we mostly focused on universal. The parks were busy but nothing unusual for this time if yr. We tried the new Harry potter ride which I thought was very good. My advice is too go late afternoon was the wait was around 1hr 45mins. It moved all the time. Diageon Alley just is really full of themed shops interesting too see though. The hogswart express was fun but I agree with others the video/images are a little basic.
We tried the new transformers ride which I found ok, a little disappointing just similar IMO to Spider-Man.
Restaurants- we like a mixture of chains and off beat places. The ones we enjoyed included -
4 rivers smokehouse, so tasty and reasonable,
yellow dog eats- best sandwich anywhere
Toojays- again good sandwich
Millers ale house- good all rounder
Bahamas breeze- great cocktails
Manny chophouse- amazing steak
Texas de Brazil- you can't leave this place hungry.
Shopping- I found the outlets this year really hit or miss. Def an increase in price from 2 yrs ago with I feel more bargains to be had else where. For example the Victoria secrets in the mall and at pointe orlando at better deals than the outlet. The bras where def more expensive at the outlets. Also, my husband wanted a Ralph Lauren hoodie and he couldn't get one at either outlet.
I did pick up some bargain at the Macy's sale especially on Michael kors shoes and a range of handbags.
Just some of my thoughts on our trip. We had fun but think we will def be going else where for a few yrs just until there are some new rides and things to see and explore.