A Weekend at Universal Studios Orlando {Florida}

At the beginning of 2020 we were living in Florida and had bought tickets on Allegiant to go and visit my in-laws in Missouri. But then Covid happened so we canceled our trip. We were given vouchers to use and have been sitting on them ever since. We went back and forth over and over again about how to use these vouchers. Between Covid restrictions, the limited flight options from Nashville, and the specific flying dates and times with the airline we just couldn’t find an option that fit. But with the voucher expiring soon we had to find some way to use them. Then my husband got word of discounted tickets to Universal Studios from his work. Problem solved! And so we found ourselves back in Florida this last weekend for a quick weekend trip to the theme park.

The park includes 4 main divisions- Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure the two connected theme parks, the area of shops and restaurants you go through before the theme parks called City Walk, and finally Volcano Bay the waterpark. All of these are right by each other so going from one to another is pretty easy.

We started out on the Universal Studios area where we walked through the old Hollywood section, bypassing everything near the front of the park for the end of the day when it would be raining. Instead we made our way to the park’s main draw of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Visitors find themselves on a recreated street of London with the triple decker purple bus there to greet them and then go through the brick wall and find themselves in Diagon Alley. The Wizarding World really has created a incredible experience when it comes to feeling part of the magical world of J.K. Rowling. It is all so wonderfully detailed that everywhere you look you are fully immersed in the magic. It’s always fun to see people of every age walking around with their wands in hand, house alliance proudly displayed in robes and shirts, and happily drinking a foamy cup of butterbeer. The Wizarding World sits on both the Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure park connected by a train ride on the Hogwarts Express. So after wandering through Diagon Alley, we made our way through the train station loaded with trunks and hopped on board the train that would take us to Hogwarts where we continued the thrills with a ride through the castle and riding Hagrid’s Motorbike.

Then we headed into Jurassic Park where we came face to face with the dinosaurs and flew through the air with some of them. There is even a dinosaur research center where you can go and watch the baby dinosaur eggs in the incubators waiting to hatch. And if you are brave enough you can get up close and personal with the fiercest of them all the velociraptor.

In the comic book area we were disappointed because Tessa was just under the height requirement for the great log flume ride with Dudley Do-Right. But they gave her a certificate with her name on it for the next we come and she is tall enough to ride allowing us to skip the line. A very clever marketing tactic, but all the same she was thrilled to get the certificate with her name on it.

She made a quick call to Spiderman before getting on the ride and then we made our way to the Dr. Seuss land full of color and whimsy. We got back on the train in the Wizarding World and went back to the other side of the park.

The anticipated rain had come and we were glad that all the rides we had left for the end were all inside. Most of the rides on this side are a mix of moving cars and 3D effects. The old Hollywood section also loves the classic monster movies and with their Halloween Horror Nights in full swing now you could find all sorts of creatures in the shops.

{Know if you go: Universal Studios is packed with things to do, experiences to have, shows to watch, and food to eat-there really is something for anyone. Because experiences here are so different depending on when you go and who you go with, it is difficult to provide a list of the best things to do or the best route through the park that you should take. But if you are planning a trip to Universal, let me share three general things to know that we have learned from living down there and our many visits to the parks while we were there.

  • The best months to visit the parks are September, November, January, February, and April. These are the low months of the low season so there are far less people. These are also the rainy months so you can expect afternoon showers most days. With that in mind, be sure you do the big outdoor coasters first since they will more than likely be delayed later in the day.
  • Plan the day by the area of the park. See and do what you want to do in that area and then move on to the next. You can waste a lot of time and miss out on a lot of things by running back and forth. Find the place you want to start and then create a loop through the rest and allow time to really see what there is in that area.
  • If going with kids, then the child swap option is fantastic. Everyone stands in line together and then the child and an adult go into a room off to the side while the rest ride the ride. Afterwards the adult who waited, along with others in the group, can go on the ride so long as someone else stays with the child. Also there are multiple fun play areas all over the parks for kids to burn off any energy. In comparing Universal and Disneyworld- we would say that Universal definitely does child swap and play areas best.}

It was a fun filled weekend for us and we were happy to get to go back and visit Universal Studios. What an completely different chapter in our lives living in Florida was. I think next time we visit the Sunshine state we’ll probably go and see more of where we lived there on the coast. But for now, we were happy to drink some butterbeer and enjoy our favorite rides.

10 responses to “A Weekend at Universal Studios Orlando {Florida}”

  1. It was really fun to read about and see today’s Universal Studios. As you know, I made several visits as a kid, but boy does the place look to be on another level now in terms of technology. Would love to see all the Harry Potter stuff and could really see how pleased Tessa was with her certificate.

    • If only Universal still had Back To The Future ride then it would be just about perfect! But what they’ve added to the parks and the movies they’ve included really is something. The Harry Potter areas really are incredible with the detail they have put into it. My hubby is not a big HP fan, but even he loves going there and will take on this giddy excitement as he hits my arm to point something out. Tessa has been asking since we got home if she is any taller so she can use her certificate for the ride 🙂

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