Last month Christian and I checked off a major trip from my Florida bucket list. I hadn’t been to Universal Studios or Disney World in almost ten years, and I really wanted to take advantage of the fact that we were only 3 hours away before we move. Today I will be recapping our Universal Studios experience and will have a whole separate post for Disney World just because it’s a lot of info to get through.
A FEW TIPS
1. I loved the time of year we decided to go (the first weekend in March). The weather was great, and we definitely got in before all the spring break craziness.
2. EXPRESS PASSES ARE A MUST! I can’t tell you how many times I looked over at Christian and said “If we didn’t have express passes I would be miserable.” They were SO worth it and made all the difference for our overall experience. You just don’t have to wait in line nearly as long, period end of story.
3. The food is just OK in my opinion. Obviously we got a butter beer and that was amazing, but in general I found that lunch options weren’t out of this world. So if you are on the fence about the express pass, skip buying lunch and pack your own then use the extra money towards the passes! I think it is such a worth it trade off.
4. So for a lot of the roller coasters you have to check your bag, phone, etc. into a locker so it doesn’t fly off during the ride. I would recommend bringing a smaller bag (mine was 8″W x 6″H x 2.5″D and fit perfectly) so it fits in the free locker, otherwise you will have to shell out a few bucks every time you ride a bigger ride.
5. If you know me I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Not like dress up in a robe huge…but spend $10 on butter beer, own all the books in print and on tape, and watch the movies every year kind of huge haha. So when we planned this trip my main priority was getting to experience anything Harry Potter related. I also really wanted to get a good clear shot in Diagon Alley, but honestly we had a bit of slow start that morning. So even though we got there around 10, it was already way too crowded. If you are wanting a great Harry Potter picture but don’t wan to get up at the crack of dawn for a crowd free photo, you still have a few options:
- 12 Grimmauld Place – The have the street facade set up so you can easily sit on the steps of the house and get a great shot.
- The Night Bus – you may have to wait in a bit of a line but it’s not too bad and the photo is classic Harry Potter.
- Hogwarts Express – so you have a few options here. You might be able to get a good shot under the Platform 9 3/4 sign if you are towards the front of your line when you enter the ride. OR if you wait until after you exit the train you can book it down towards the exit and actually stand in front of the train and get a great picture!
RIDE REVIEWS (ORDERED FROM FAVORITE TO LEAST)
Escape from Gringotts (Harry Potter bank ride) – so cool seeing all the Goblins in the bank, the ride was super interactive and fun.
Jimmy Fallon Race through New York – this was the first ride we rode, and it started the day off on such a good note! I loved that the studio looked just like it does in New York, and the ride itself was super cool and fun.
The Forbidden Ride (Harry Potter broomstick ride) – made me a little naseuous but it was really cool getting to feel like you were flying on a broomstick and playing quidditch!
Skull Island Reign of Kong – line is cool and creepy, very fun and interactive.
Flight of the Hippogriff – the perfect roller coaster size for scardy cat me.
Revenge of the Mummy – I remember this ride from the last time I was there, it’s a bit outdated but still fun and spooky with a cool fire element.
High in the Sky Dr Seuss Trolly Train – cute and whimsical, but more for little kids.
Jurassic Park – I didn’t want to do water ride because walking around soaking wet just doesn’t appeal to me, but there are still fun photo opps with the t-trex and raptors near the entrance.
Fast & Furious Supercharged – This was my least favorite ride. I didn’t love the concept and it made me sad about Paul Walker haha.
Overall we had a really great experience, and all of the Harry Potter attractions totally lived up to the hype. I mean when I walked into Hogsmeade I was almost starstruck. They did such an incredible bringing the books to life, I could hardly get over it. They even had Moaning Myrtle recordings in the bathroom. I mean, it doesn’t get better than that haha! PS. if you are looking for a place to eat dinner, I highly recommend Cowfish. The Hillbilly Pulled Pork Roll was super yummy and different!
Thank you to Universal Studios for providing tickets! All opinions remain my own.