I have been wanting to take my kids to Universal Orlando Resort ever since my oldest son (now 16) read the first Harry Potter book in 2nd grade and developed a love for reading…and Harry Potter… which he passed on to his 4 younger siblings.
Combine that love with MY love for roller coasters and theme parks and Universal Orlando Resort is a no brainer! It had something for all 5 kids in my family – which is saying something; we range from age 4 to 16!
I have so much to share! We had SO. SO. MUCH. FUN! While we were most looking forward to seeing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we had just as much fun exploring everything else this park has to offer…which is a LOT!
We only had 1 day to see 2 parks (Universal Studios Florida & Universal’s Islands of Adventure) and oh how I wish we had more time. When I go back I will definitely go for more than one day because even though we fit in quite a bit because of our express passes, there is a lot I wish we had time to see.
Let’s start with MY favorite part…the roller coasters. 🙂 They had 2 BIG ones that did NOT disappoint!
Rip Ride Rockit takes you STRAIGHT up and then takes you rolling and dropping and twisting like crazy all to the sound of the music genre of your choice. SO. FUN!
But my favorite coaster was the Incredible Hulk. This one starts you off FAST and it doesn’t slow down…you even go under ground at one point! I had a perma-grin the entire ride, both times! 🙂
While only the oldest of us went on these coasters, we all went on the Flight of the Hippogriff…my 4 year old so many times I lost count!
Ok we can move on now.
The other thing I think Universal Orlando excels at is 3D motion simulators. We rode several of them, but my favorite was race through New York starring Jimmy Fallon. The wait for the ride was almost as much fun as the ride, almost. Totally entertained. Even my 7 year old is still talking about it!
They had some fabulous entertainment! Here is a shot from when we stopped for some musical street performers.
Just outside San Fransisco. 🙂
Some of us tried not to get wet on the river ride with our ponchos with varying degrees of success.:)
Another highlight played on my love for all things Seuss! Seuss Landing was so fun to explore, such a whimsical experience.
I wish I could adequately explain how magical the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was. From Diagon Alley…
This place was truly magical.
You step right into the books as you wander past dusty-looking shops, a cappella frog choirs, and beverage carts selling delicious, cream-topped, butter beer, and even the Firebolt.
The details. oh, the details. Just look at all these signs and buildings.
The Escape from Gringott’s ride was a mind blowing thrill! The technology that makes the experience is nothing short of amazing.
The insides were just as impressive as the outsides! Don’t you want to bank here…
One of my very favorite things was riding the Hogwarts Express.
Leaving Diagon Alley, heading to Hogsmeade. All Aboard!
As you ride the window comes to life and shows your journey in 3D! And it changes depending on which direction you are traveling. Hedwig even makes an appearance…so cool!
This train conductor was too funny! All the cast members we came in contact with never left their character.
Sipping some warm butter beer at Three Broomsticks sounds dreamy.
I fully expected Hagrid to poke his head out of the door and invite me in.
We were transported right into an epic adventure with Harry, Ron and Hermione while riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
I keep saying favorite. :)… that’s because I had so many favorites! I will leave you with 3 purchases we made that added to the experience.
3 happy purchases
First: Ollivander’s Wand shop
Be sure to go to the wand-fitting demonstration. This is where we saw our favorite “show” all day. Of course, it helped that our 14 year old was the one picked to be fitted for a wand. While our son did a pretty good impromptu show, the wizard who led this show on the spot, was spot on.
Then practicing spells in certain location throughout the park to make different things happen was just magical. We all took turns with the interactive wand making different things happen in store windows and other locations marked on the map. Even our 4 year old (who insisted she dress like Hermione) could do some serious magic.
We came away with a giant chocolate frog that we saved to eat on the Hogwart’s Express, just like Harry did in the first book.
Third: Butter Beer!
This was so hyped up I didn’t think I would like it that much; boy was I wrong! We had to make a couple different stops to get more. So. Good. Everyone says the frozen is better, but I actually preferred the original on tap.
Oh wait – make that 4
Number 4 = It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die! Despicable Me fans? We let our kids pick out 1 souvenir and this oh so fluffy unicorn called out to our 4 year old. Just look at her unicorn dance.
All tuckered out after an amazingly fun day at Universal Orlando Resort!
I just can’t wait to go back!