Monday, December 21, 2015

Universal Studios Orlando Recap

If you would like to see all my travel posts, including recaps, tips & recommendations and packing guides, please visit my travel page.

After Disney World, we visited Universal for a couple of days. KC and I are both Harry Potter fans, and I thought KC would enjoy this part of the trip more (less princesses, more thrill rides). I was definitely right, though I was a bit surprised that I had a great time as well. I expected to like it, but not as much as I did - we both had a blast.

Universal Studios Orlando

When I was planning this portion of the trip, I was really conflicted on whether we should go for one or two days. I didn't want to miss out on anything, so we chose two days. We really only 'needed' one, but I am glad we had two because the second day was much more relaxed.

Fair warning, I totally kept getting the two parks mixed up. We arrived early morning and got into one of the parks before it opened, heading straight to the Harry Potter areas. We rode tons of rides, drank tons of frozen butterbeer, had tons of fun. We spotted Woody (several times) and easily covered both parks in one day, even with the early closing time (7pm). The Harry Potter areas are amazing with their attention to detail, and it was so fun to see all the things that we loved from the books and movies.

I will say, KC and I are not fans of those simulator rides, but the ones we rode at Universal were pretty fun - in my opinion, way better than the ones at Disney. There was only one ride that was really not great, and that was (sadly) the Men In Black ride.

We went out to dinner with Kate who so generously picked us up and dropped us off, and naturally she was tons of fun and we had a great time. Thanks again Kate!

The next day we were in early again, and we rode some of the rides we had enjoyed the previous day, and then basically wandered around. We spent a lot of time in the Harry Potter areas before they got jam packed, and when they started to get too insane, we decided to ride all the water rides. I love a good water ride, not gonna lie. We got absolutely soaked and then it started to absolutely bucket down and we were the only idiots walking through it - hey, already wet, right? Overall, we had such a good time at Universal, KC definitely preferred it to Disney, and we would absolutely go back. The rides are more fun (for us) and it was way less crowded and insane.

Anyway. Pictures! I ended up splitting them up into Harry Potter stuff and not Harry Potter stuff, so they're not quite in order. I know, super exciting stuff and clearly that needed to be explained. Also, it should be noted that we only have 2 (count them, two) photos of the two of us from Universal. They aren't the best, but whatever. Sometimes those are my favourites.

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Where we stayed

Loews Royal Pacific Resort - this was the cheapest option for the 'on property' hotels. The price was a bit steep, but it comes with a few benefits, namley the early access and the fast pass (or whatever it is called) that you get - it works for everything but 2 of the Harry Potter rides and the Hogwarts Express. Honestly though, it was so amazing to be so close (10 minute walk) to the park, rather than catching buses everywhere like at Disney. So it was worth it.

via

I didn't really track or take note of where we ate and things like that like I did for Disney. I will say we got one of their soda thingys and shared it, because we are crazy soda drinkers (giving it up soon, promise) and it was well worth it. Other than that, we ate normal theme park type food and it was fine.

Random notes:

Universal are hardcore about their 'don't bring crap on the rides' rules, and you'll need to put your stuff in a locker. 90% of the time it's free for a certain amount of time, although near the water rides they know they can get you and it's like $4 for an hour and a half.

It's easiest to carry your ticket / fast pass thingy by wearing a lanyard, which is why you see us wearing them the whole time. Just make sure you tuck it into your shirt before you go on a rollercoaster, it will fly off. You can put them in your pocket of course, but you have to take them out every time you go on a ride (the fast pass thing, not the normal ticket).

The little Blues Brothers show was so much fun! They come out and play a couple of songs, it was great to relax for a bit and sing along (loudly).

We loved The Mummy ride. Super fun. We rode the hardcore rollercoaster - rip it something? - twice in a row, and we both blacked out the second time and decided that was enough rollercoasters for the day. The Harry Potter rides are fun, though I thought the Gringotts one was a bit boring. The dueling dragons was so fun we rode it like 6 times. We like rollercoasters!

So that was our trip! Not kidding, I am still exhausted and it was a month ago. I feel like I need to sleep for a month.

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a good weekend - we, along with millions of others, saw the new Star Wars movie. Did you?

43 comments:

  1. This is such a great recap!! I was at Universal Studios in 2008 pre-Harry Potter world, and I loved the Mummy ride too and some of the others you mentioned. Sounds like such an amazing trip and I bet that Butterbeer was delicious!! Is the fake snow on Hogsmeade because it is winter right now or is it always like that for effect?

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  2. The Harry potter stuff looks so good! I definitely want to check that out.

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  3. So much HP amazingness, and I definitely need that tee that says I solemnly swear I am up to no good! So glad I got to meet you guys, and dinner was delish! Hope you guys come back to visit again soon :)

    Green Fashionista

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  4. i love love universal - i am thinking about doing those parks next year instead of disney. the harry potter stuff is insane IRL - the detail - i just can't get over it! plus well the rides as you said are awesome. and lowes is good - and def a little pricey. what a great recap girly!

    xoxo cheshire kat

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  5. I love the shirts that you wore when visiting HP world! Too perfect. Also, give me ALL the water rides - those are always the most fun!

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  6. Seeing Mel's Diner in your pictures really takes me back to being a kid! I used to love Universal Studios but I'm sad I moved to Boston before Harry Potter world was built! You planned your trip perfectly! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  7. How fun! I love all the faux snow. So festive!

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  8. Last time we went to Universal the second part of Harry Potter was under construction, so I'm excited that we'll be heading back in January! We also visited after Disney, and I think that if we do it all in one trip we'll try to do Disney last because it's just so much more magical than Universal is. Although, Universal does have the better roller coasters! We'll also be staying at the Royal Pacific when we go because of the early admission, so I'm glad that you liked it! The newest part of Harry Potter looks so awesome, and I can't wait to visit!

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  9. Love it! I really, really, really want to check out Harry Potter world, it looks like so much fun. The details look incredible.

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  10. Ahhh what a dream! I went to Universal when I was little, but I want to go to Harry Potter World soo bad- it looks so fun!

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  11. Harry Potter World is by far the part I am most jealous of on your whole trip! I. Must. Go! I'm glad you had such a fun time.

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  12. Gahhh, I am dying to go to Harry Potter World! It looks so amazing. And I feel you on being exhausted- I feel like every time I go to Disney or Cedar Point, I need a vacation from my vacation!

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  13. Yes! I loved Universal even though we did cram it into one day. Honestly I could just hang out in the HP part that whole day and sip butter beers. It's funny you mentioned the rain after the water rides because that happened to us too! Ahhhh I want to go back so bad! I'm glad they are opening another HP world in California, as that's a lot easier for me to get to!

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  14. I really want to go to Universal one of these days, seeing all of that Harry Potter stuff would be amazing! We went to see Star Wars this weekend, though I haven't really seen any of the previous movies it still made sense.

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  15. Ahhh looks so fun!!! Your shirts are so cute! Harry Potter world looks amazing!!

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  16. i went there once and had a great experience...i was there at night, so i wanna go back and see it all during the day!! itw as rainy, which made harry potter even a more fun experience!

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  17. Your pictures make it look so fun! I really want to make it to Harry Potter World one of these days!

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  18. We're going back to Orlando in 2017 and we're thinking about extending the stay after my husband's conference for a couple of days so we can take the child to Universal. None of us are huge Harry Potter fans but it still looks like so much fun! Plus, there's all that other stuff which will be a nice change from Disney.

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  19. So like, I want to go. I want to go real bad. And I want butter beer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  20. Sounds like such a fun trip, and your pictures are so cute (especially you with Woody Woodpecker!). T and I are strongly considering an Orlando trip this year and this post reeeeeeally makes me want to pull the trigger!

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  21. YAY! I love reading this post! It's like being back again and reliving our trip! Oh my goodness, it was so fun! It may take me a month to get my post up as well considering how busy things are right now, haha! So I'm glad I got to read yours today. Hooray for Universal and Harry Potter World! :)

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  22. I am not even a Harry Potter fan and that looks fun! I would love to ride all the rides. Glad you had a great time.

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  23. I think I'd have more fun here than at Disney, but then again, I haven't been to Disney in a WHILE! We're going to Orlando next year, but we're making LEGOLAND our big trip since I'm at a work conference most of the other time. Any non-Disney stuff you'd rec?

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  24. I've never been to Universal. I enjoyed looking through your pics, for it gave me a sense of what's there. Looks and sounds like you guys had a great vacay (that you are still recovering from apparently - LOL!) As for Stars Wars... Nope, haven't seen the new one and I have no plans to. I haven't seen any of the ones that were made after 1983 (after Return of the Jedi). They're just not my cup of tea.

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  25. I am dying to go to HP world! We opted out when we went to Disney because $$ and I wasn't sure about it. Looks like it's fun and we'll have to add it to our trip when we're there next!

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  26. Oh man, I am craving butter beer now! I want to go back, sooo fun!

    <3 Have Ashley, Will Travel

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  27. Sounds like you guys had a blast! Would you believe I still haven't tried butter beer? It sounds so good. I also just stayed at the Loewe's Royal Pacific recently for my work party. Pretty hotel!

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  28. Fun!! It was our first time going to the Universal side, so that was all new to us and we absolutely loved The Mummy Ride! WE were disappointed with the Gringotts ride too. Nothing beats the Hogwarts ride.

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  29. bahahahahah we did the exact same thing on that damn red roller coaster. We rode it twice in a row and then felt like we were going to physically die, now we don't go on roller coasters anymore lol.......the mummy is the BEST ride in there!!!

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  30. Ricky ADORES Universal - solely for Islands of Adventures with all the superheroes. Did you ride the Spiderman ride? That is Ricky's all time favorite.
    I just want to go for all things Harry Potter. I may cry standing in the middle of it all... It has to feel like a fairy tale to be able to see a book come to life!

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  31. I just got back from dinner with the friend I'm planning a Universal trip with for next year. Both HP fiends, both can't wait to see the parks. Going to share this with her! Hey, off the top of your head, if we're looking to go in April how soon (in your experience with these parks) do you think we should be looking to book?

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  32. Eee, I love all the Harry Potter pictures! I soul geek out there forever!

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  33. One of my favorite places! And I love that hotel, too!

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  34. You know, my kids are not huge Harry Potter fans but I seriously think they would love this place just for all the cool buildings and stuff. AND they love Jurassic Park/Jurassic World, so thanks for planning Family Trip 2017 for me! ha! And no, we didn't see Star Wars yet but I think we're going on Saturday. :)

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  35. Ugh, I totally love you but I kinda hate you right now lol. I have wanted to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter since it opened. which is why I'm really happy that they are doing one in California because maybe I'll actually have a chance of going to that one. But seriously I'm glad you guys had so much fun and the pictures look awesome. You are too adorable for words.

    And yes I definitely saw Star Wars! I thought Thursday night at 7 p.m. and have not regretted it even though that meant I slept maybe 4 hours before my 3 a.m. shift. I couldn't sleep afterwards. I kept going over and over and over it in my head and talking about it with my roommate and holy crap was I excited afterwards. I'm kind of obsessed with Kylo Ren right now.

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  36. How fun! I've never been to Universal, but I really want to see the Harry Potter parts :)

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  37. I haven't been to Universal in Florida since I was little, so I only can imagine how different it is now and fun for adults! I'm worried now about Ryan and Disney - maybe we should think about universal for a day ...

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  38. Aw fun. It's totally not my thing (I already said this... redundant!) but I really do think I would love the Harry Potter part. You definitely had the right idea going in the winter. Totally going to have do that someday. Those pictures make me want to go so badly! XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  39. So glad you guys had a nice time! I love HP World! Since I'm only like an hour and a half away I go over several times a year which is nice. I love the MIB ride though! It's kinda cheesy but it's always a fun battle.

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  40. Awww... how sweet of Kate to pick you guys up and drop you off so you could see each other! :D
    I DIDN'T KNOW THEY HAD THE KNIGHT BUS, TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

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  41. OMG that's Back to the Future cars at there! looks so cool.

    Watch movie free

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