I think that after LEGOLAND Florida, Maxi’s favorite time in Orlando was the day we spent at Universal Orlando. Universal Orlando is actually two separate theme parks – Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.
Universal Studies is where you step beyond the screen, and jump right into the action of your favorite movies and TV shows, with attractions based on Shrek, The Mummy, Men in Black and lots of other Universal movies. It includes Marvel Superhero Island, featuring rides based on Marvel characters like Hulk and Spiderman. The Spiderman ride was our favorite ride of the whole trip. In Island of Adventure you will find Seuss Landing, which is a brilliant area for younger children and Dr Seuss fans (Mini will love this part of the park when we visit in November as he is a HUGE Dr Seuss fan). You will also find the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Islands of Adventure
Thrills and technology make for amazing rides in Universal and this really blew me away. I wasn’t prepared for just how technological the park would be, however, with hindsight the use of CGI in movies should have given us a clue! For big thrill seekers there are traditional coaster style rides such as The Hulk (Island of Adventures) and the and the Rock It Rollercoaster (Universal Studios) with its 17-storey vertical incline and 65mph drop on the other side was the only ride that left me terrified and really did scare me. You can also buy a video clip of yourself on the Rock it Rollercoaster. This really is the future of parks for me. I can see being able to download the clip and send it to your friends and family via social media as something you can do in the future.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Our biggest tip would be to head for the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter later in the day. The queues in the evening are much smaller than at any other time of the day. Plus most people tell you to get there early and our guide said that as everyone heads there first it is really busy early on, so go later It was the busiest area in the park by far. There are three rides or experiences in this area. We both were really wowed by Forbidden Journey. This is an amazing ride where you make your way through the familiar classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Then soar above the castle grounds as you join Harry Potter™ and his friends on an unforgettably thrilling adventure, coming face-to-face with an array of malevolent creatures! We loved how Universal had made the queue an experience too.
- Take some american stamps and postcards to use the owl post in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This is where you can send a letter with a Hogsmeade postmark. You can buy usable Harry Potter stamps but they were rather overprices at $15 a pack especially when we only wanted to send three postcards.
- Frozen Butterbeer is much nicer than regular Butterbear (which tasted like cream soda). If you want to get a souvenir cup with your butterbeer you can ask for the butterbeer to be put in a regular cup so you do not have to wash out your tankard for putting in your bag. Also you can bypass the cart and buy it straight from The Three Broomsticks which is a lot faster.
- The mixtures of movies and rides is fantastic. The Despicable me experience is fantastic, we loved being turned in to Minions. Oh and the fart gun does smell of bananas!
- The temperature gets really hot around lunch time, so make a beeline for the indoor rides like Despicable Me, The Mummy or Spiderman during this time. Alternately why not take a trip to Jurassic Park and be prepared to get VERY WET!
- Take a refillable water bottle with you. You need to keep drinking as you can dehydrate really fast. Alternatively you can ask for a cup of water at any of the street vendors.
- Check what rides your children can and can not go on before you visit to avoid disappointment.
- Consider a Universal a Express Pass which costs around £30-40 per person, and allows you to go to the front of the line once on each ride, although you get this sort of ticket for free if you’re staying at a Universal hotel.