It’s definitely been a long time since I went to Universal Orlando – over 10 years! I often make trips to Florida as we have a house down here, and when we come, it’s always off to the parks. For me, personally, I always enjoy going to Disney World over Universal. That has nothing against Universal, but more so the fact that we could always get in for free to Disney and it’s always a different experience. Prices for themes parks in Florida are outrageous. For a single day admission you are paying over $100 USD per person which doesn’t include food (already outrageous prices). Also, with the weak Canadian dollar, you are looking at over $200 CAD just for the day.
This trip however, I knew it was long overdue, and also with the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I thought I should finally make the trip. Thankfully, my cousin works at Universal now, so we were able to get in, totally free! That saved us quite a ton of money, as the only thing we had to pay for during the day, was food.
We ended up arriving to Universal a little later than we had expected, and as such, there were already line-ups everywhere. It seems that April is one of the busiest months for them because it is considered blocked out for discounts on the “Fast Pass”, which would have definitely saved a lot of time. We chose not to buy them, because the prices for those alone were ridiculous. It was more than the admission to the park (if we had paid). Firstly the resort, Universal Orlando is comprised of City Walk, which is like a downtown area where they have restaurants, stores, and bars, and then there are the two main parks; Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. We started off with Universal Studios Florida as they had more immersive rides, while Islands of Adventure focused on more thrilling rides.
When we got into the park, the first area we came across was Springfield which was dedicated to The Simpsons. Everything here was Simpsons related, whether it be the rides, shops, or restaurants. The main thing I wanted to do in this area was try The Big Pink from Lard Lad Donuts. It was basically a large donut, with sweet, creamy frosting, and sprinkles. It tasted amazing, but was definitely way too much for one person. I guess this is why they give you fork and knives with it.
After indulging in The Big Pink we went to our first ride. The first ride we went to was Men in Black: Alien Attack. This was an interactive dark ride, were you are put in a cart with 3 other people and are going through the track, trying to shoot as many aliens as possible. The cart then displays your final score, comparing your cart against the other team. It was a fun ride, but I was definitely horrible at it. Out of everyone in my cart, I had the lowest score… never again! Upon exit, we were quite close to the London area, in where you enter Diagon Alley, and experience half of the wonder that is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
After finishing up at Diagon Alley and experiencing Escape from Gringotts, we started to feel a little hungry, but decided to fit in one more ride before eating. We quickly went to Revenge of The Mummy which is based off the Mummy film franchise. In order to cut down our waiting time, we decided to line-up in the single riders’ line, instead of the group. This was much more efficient as we were able to by-pass about 45 minutes of waiting. I would definitely recommend taking advantage of the single riders’ line, especially if your group is more than 2 people. This not only saves time, but you are with your group the entire time, until you actually board the ride, and in most cases they put two of your together. Revenge of The Mummy was an easy ride, but thrilling. It was quick and kept your entertained. I think that it definitely needs an upgrade however, as it seems dated. I can see them doing great things if they revamp it for the new movie.
Finishing with the Mummy, we left Universal Studios Florida and headed out to City Walk to grab something to eat. My cousin recommended that we go to a southwest grill, called Moe’s. Let me just say this… do not go there! The service was decent, but the place was a mess, and the food was bad! Maybe it could have been justified for being cheap, but overall, I was not impressed. I ordered the chicken fajita bowl, and was quite disappointed. It tasted very bland! I would definitely suggest trying one of the many other places in City Walk.
Wrapping up with lunch, it was time to head over to Islands of Adventure, and as soon as we got in, we went straight to Hogsmeade to see the other side of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This side of the park was definitely more exciting, but still, just as crowded. When we finished with the Harry Potter stuff, we went on to try the exciting rides, like The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Doctor Doom’s Fearfall. I can definitely say that the Hulk ride was really fun, as it was fast and constantly flipped you. I am definitely a coaster junkie, and love the ones that would go the highest, fastest and with the most turns possible. Because of all the line-ups and waiting around, the day seemed to have passed by way too quick, and before we knew it, it was time to head out.
Overall, I would definitely say that I had a great day at the parks, and it was better than we didn’t have to pay to get in. The only thing I would make sure to do next time, is come on non-peak seasons. Waiting around in line-ups all day, are definitely a buzzkill.