Saturday, November 28, 2015

Travel Diary: Universal Studios Orlando Tips & Review

Amusement parks may seem like a place for families but it can be a ton of fun for adults as well! I recently spent 4 days at Universal Studios Orlando. Since the holidays are coming up, I thought I'd share my thoughts and tips for your perfect vacation at Universal. This guide is catered towards those in their young 20s either traveling as a group or as a couple. I'll be sharing my favorite rides, tips for cheap tickets and other photos!

At the Universal Boardwalk with its famous rotating sign

Discount Tickets

I bought my tickets off of Undercover Tourist. After doing a bunch of research, it was the best deal and one of the most reputable sources. We decided not to do Park to Park tickets as the only benefit was the Hogwarts Express and since we went for four days we didn't need to go in two parks in one day. I'd recommend at least a full day in each park but we really enjoyed going for 2 days in each park as that way we can explore the shops, meet characters, and have a nice lunch.

Currently the four day base tickets that I bought are selling for $166 USD on Undercover Tourist. It comes out to be less than $50 per day so it's a fantastic deal.

Islands of Adventure

Outside Islands of Adventure

Between the two parks, this one was definitely my favorite! For lunch we ate at the Three Broomsticks which I HIGHLY recommend! Great quality food with fantastic Harry Potter themeing and the price was reasonable too.

Lunch at Three Broomsticks- make sure to order Butterbeer!

Here I'll list out some of my favorite rides as well as ones that you can skip.

Must Go!
  • Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
    • A 3-D experience on a track style ride. Everything about it was AWESOME.
  • Dragon Challenge
    • An extreme roller coaster with a Harry Potter theme. This is for the thrill seekers!
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls 
    • It's like Splash Mountain but more extreme and you will get WET!
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure
    • Take a ride through raptor containment and escape a T-Rex. You will also get wet.
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
    • It's so low on the list because it made me kind of dizzy and wasn't as good as I expected it to be. The walk through the line up was very entertaining and it had to make the list because it's Harry Potter :)
Dudley Du-Right's Ripsaw Falls- The drop and the splash you get is so much fun!

Time Wasters
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
    • The drop was not even as extreme as PNE's Hellavator. And since it only takes 8 people at a time, the line up can be long.
  • Pteranodon Flyers
    • You sit on a swing type ride and it's only 90 seconds long and the line up takes forever!
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
    • Similarly, the line up for this was really long and the ride was over in an instant. It's a roller coaster style ride but was no where as extreme as Dragon Challenge. Maybe good for those who are usually afraid of rides.
  • Poseidon’s Fury 
    • I was really excited to watch this show but it's definitely geared towards kids. The acting was a bit gimmicky. But I guess it's a good spot to sit indoors to escape the heat.
Universal Studios Florida

The famous Diagon Alley- notice everyone else taking photo of the dragon breathing fire hah!

This park had more of the original rides as well as characters. Universal Studios Florida inspires its guests to "ride the movies", and it features numerous attractions and live show. If you are done with the rides early, I'd recommend lining up to take photos with characters as I found that loads of fun.

Here I'll list out some of my favorite rides as well as ones that you can skip.

Must Go!
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
    • This is a must go! It really uses the theme and book to develop an exciting ride!
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
    • We did not get to go on this till the end because the line up was huge but it was so worth it. Cute, thrilling and a great story line of becoming a minion!
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
    • Atotal extreme roller coaster ride. We went on it twice! You get to pick your choice of music to rock out to while blasting through the park.
  • MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack
    • This was a fun way to take a break from extreme rides. It's a slow ride but you have toy guns that you try to shoot aliens down.
Time Wasters
  • Animal Actor's on Location
    • I was really excited to see animals perform tricks but the animals just kind of ran across the stage back and forth.
  • E.T. Adventure
    • This is a really old ride (opened in 1990)and I thought it would pick up the pace but the whole ride was sitting on the bicycle slowly going through the set.
  • Transformers
    • There was nothing wrong with this ride but it's exactly like Spider-Man. So if you went to Spider-Man in the other park, this one's not worth going to.
Don't forget to meet classic characters like Scooby Doo and Spongebob

Transportation

We can't forget about transportation as the park is huge! We stayed at a hotel (yellow star)that looked as close as it can be to the park on the map. However, it was still a 20 minute walk (yellow dotted line) to get into the Universal Transportation Center (pink star). The green arrow is the way to walk to Islands of Adventure and the blue arrow is leading to Universal Studios Florida.

Hope the map is helpful,, I was so confused when I was planning my trip on where the entrance is

I really enjoyed using Uber when I was there as the ride back to the hotel was only $4!! When we took the taxi it was $8. The difference really adds up. If you don't have Uber, you can sign up and if you use my invite code and we both get a ride up to $20 free! I can't even use my free rides as Uber doesn't operate in Vancouver right now but I can't wait until they figure it out with the city.
Also, for those Harry Potter fans, how awesome is my 9 3/4 shirt?!

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