I honestly think long and hard before I count an experience as one of our 100 adventures. One of the main rules I put into place to keep this journey on the right side of interesting, is that the experience MUST be NEW, something my daughters have never seen or experienced or eaten or heard.
With all of our trips down to Walt Disney World, I naturally and occasionally consider a detour to visit Universal Studios. My #1 goal was to wait until my youngest daughter was ready for most of the rides and I think we found our sweet spot in January of 2018. 🙂
Plus, all 3 of my kids are SUPER big Harry Potter fans. SCORE!
For our 20th of 100 adventures, we spent 4 days at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida. I am lumping all 4 days into one “experience” and writing a pretty short post that covers 4 days of endless fun. When time allows, I will write reviews, tips and comparisons about everything we experienced at the park. For now, enjoy a super quick summary. 🙂
Universal Orlando is a theme park destination that includes Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal’s Volcano Bay and Universal CityWalk.
We spent most of our time at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, the two main theme parks with rides and attractions. Within walking distance of the two parks, CityWalk features restaurants, bars and shopping venues. Volcano Bay, Universal’s water park, opened on May 25, 2017 and offers guests a chance to use Tapu Tapu, a bracelet with a virtual place holder for long lines. We did not visit Volcano Bay.
For Harry Potter fans, the theming for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is AMAZING and BREATHTAKING. Visitors enjoy the wonders of Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure and the impressive details of Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. The ability to ride the Hogwarts Express is reserved for those who have Park-to-Park privileges, Universal’s version of Park Hopper, because the train travels between the two theme parks.
Butter Beer, served at carts, stands and restaurants, comes in several delicious varieties: regular, hot, frozen, ice cream and fudge. Frozen was my favorite, but I suffered through a beast of a sore throat that week and consumed an embarrassingly large amount of frozen Butter Beer to dull the pain. 🙂 All 3 of my kids unanimously preferred the hot. As you can assume, we spent a crazy amount of money on Butter Beer. LOL
Not going to lie–we LOVED the Harry Potter sections of both parks, maybe a tiny bit more than some sections of Disney World. The rides are top-notch and the environment feels like the real deal. (More on that in a different post!)
Thrilling and sensational roller coasters, like Revenge of the Mummy (my FAV!), Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket, and the Incredible Hulk Coaster proves Universal’s commitment to cater to an older crowd.
Be warned: The two water-themed rides, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls and Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges will get you mega-wet, like SOAKING, even if you wear a poncho.
Almost all rides showcase amazingly realistic environments and complete immersion for guests. Don’t miss Skull Island Reign of Kong, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.
My husband and son loved the Simpsons Ride, Kwik E Mart and Duff Brewery.
Cool things not to miss and a few quick tips (more to come when I write the big post!):
Obviously, do not miss the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in both parks.
If you or your child love Harry Potter, buy an interactive wand on the first day.
Try the Butter Beer–let me know which one you like the best!
If you are cool with crazy roller coasters, don’t miss Revenge of the Mummy (my FAV!), Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket, and the Incredible Hulk Coaster.
Splurge for the park-to-park ticket AND the Universal Express Pass. The Express Pass beats Disney’s Fast Pass+ system a million times over. (more on that later!)
Everything is within walking distance–both theme parks and CityWalk. LOVE!
The “people dryers” do not work as well as you want. Save your money.
Some rides require guests to store all belongings, free of charge. The lockers are tiny and crowded. Carry small backpacks, if you need.
Characters walk around freely and can be found inside ride queues and shops. Very cool.
Our fav restaurants were the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Mythos. Get a milkshake(s) and the Brussel sprouts at Toothsome.
Well, I sure made a lot of promises to write more posts detailing all there is to know about Universal Studios Orlando. I better cut this one off. LOL
A super entertaining BlueMan Group permanently runs at Universal CityWalk. Read all about that experience here.
How about a list of every character meal in Walt Disney World? Yep! Read this.
Read about some of our other adventures in our attempt to experience 100 new things in 6 months!