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Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures (Orlando, Florida)

Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures (Orlando, Florida)
  • On January 17, 2014

A big movie fan, I’ve always loved visits to Universal Studios Hollywood, so Universal Studios Orlando was on our theme park bucket list. We’ve seen commercials about Despicable Me Minion Mayhem to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (over at Islands of Adventure) and looked forward to an entertaining few days here in Orlando.

PIC: Welcome sign to Universal Studios Orlando


6000 Universal Blvd
Orlando, FL 32819

More Info

Limited Time Offer: U.S. & Canadian Residents 2-Day Park-to-Park with 3rd Day Free – $146.99/pp

Today’s Forecast:
Low: 46° – High: 66°

Distance Traveled

One way: 34.23 miles from Fisherman’s Cove RV Park (without tolls!!!)

Parking was $16.00 for regular parking. We could’ve saved $8.00 and looked at places to park outside the theme park, then hop on the LYNX city bus for $2.00 one way but we didn’t want to waste any time. Since it’s non-peak season here, we didn’t opt for Preferred Parking either for $22.00. Use that money for theme park lunch… plus, we’re going to be walking all day… a few yards won’t make a difference. The park opens at 9:00am. They guide you to fill up the parking spots from the top to the bottom of their parking structure. I thought parking would be the opposite. Thought-process: Get there early and be on the bottom, 1st floor with covered parking. But no… get there early and you leave you car on the rooftop, in the elements, as we found out on our 2nd day.

PIC: Universal Studios Orlando parking rates

Tip: We always take a moment to photograph where we parked. With all the distractions and stimuli of the fun day ahead, we know ourselves and will probably forget where the car is parked.

PIC: Cat in the Hat parking at Universal Studios Orlando

Security Check-in to Lockers that slow down the fun…

Before getting to Universal CityWalk there was a security check point line for anyone with bags, purses, and backpacks. Skip this line by not bringing anything you can’t stuff in your pockets!!! On many rides there are lockers where you are required to use and store any loose items from purses to backpacks. This is where my Scottevest Travel Vest was put to good use with 17 pockets! If you know your size you can buy the ( Scottevest Women’s Multi-Pocket Travel Vest – $125.00 or get to a travel store.

What did I stuff in my Scottevest?
– driver’s license, credit card, and $$$ (no bulky wallet)
– Listerine pocketmist
– Refresh Eye Drops
– car keys
– glasses
– tissue paper
– hand sanatizer
– notebook & pen
– bottled water
– 3 granola bars
– 1 lunch size Cheetos
– box of Dominos + ball (won at the arcade)
– iPhone
– Lumix GF3 camera

Which park to go to first?!!

PIC: Walkway to Universal City Walk

PIC: Welcome to Universal Orlando Resort sign

I ditto this statement as “The Adventure Begins”

PIC: The Adventure Begins sign as you enter Islands of Adventure

Attend Thursday / Friday in Non-Peak Season!

"There’s really no off season for Universal, but… January to mid-May (excluding spring break) are known for smaller crowds, cooler weather and less humid air." – Frommers

What we were able to see and do:

Day 1: Friday in January
Islands of Adventure
– The Incredible Hulk Coaster
– Doctor Doom’s Fearfall + Arcade
– The Cat in the Hat
– The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Stunt Show
– Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey *Longer wait of the day
– Dragon Challenge
– Jurassic Park Discovery Center
– Toon Lagoon for many a fun photo-ops

Universal Studios Orlando
– Horror Make-Up Show
– Fear Factor Live Show
– Men in Black Alien Attack (Got to ride 2x!!!)

Day 2: Sunday in January
Universal Studios Orlando
Fastpass would’ve been good today.

– Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
– Shrek 4-D
– Despicable Me Minion Mayhem — longest wait (1.5hr)
– Street Breakz show
– Animal Actors on Location show
– Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ’n’ Hurl
– Lucy – A Tribute

Closing time – 7:00pm

Our 1st day was on a Friday and our 2nd day on a Sunday. Comparing days, Friday was hands down less crowded than the busy weekend… Sunday was football playoffs but that didn’t deter attendance to the theme park.

Ride the most popular rides early!!!

Other than going on Friday to help with crowds, our plan of attack was to ride the more popular rides early.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster

PIC: The Incredible Hulk Coaster

Dragon Challenge – ride a dragon that twists and loop… really feels like you’re riding a dragon -or- you’re an jet pilot. Two thumbs up for dizzy points!

PIC: Dragon Challenge

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was the busiest area of Islands of Adventure.

PIC: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

We visited Hogwarts then soared above the castle grounds.

Are you like me? When you watch kids play games like Call of Duty or Halo on the Playstation / Xbox, do you start getting sick watching? Well, that’s how I get. It wasn’t a roller coaster but similar to Transformers: the Ride – 3D. It was just a little too much churning going on for me than Transformers was. So try Transformers first then you’ll know if you’ll get sick on this Harry Potter thrill.

PIC: Hogwarts

Just like in the movie, a few people from these picture frames came to life.

PIC: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

PIC: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Men in Black: Alien Attack – We’re new MIB recruits ready to arrest a few aliens and send them packing!

PIC: Men in Black: Alien Attack

PIC: Men in Black: Alien Attack

PIC: Men in Black: Alien Attack

PIC: Men in Black: Alien Attack

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem – Gru zapped us and we turned into Minions on this 3-D ride.

PIC: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

PIC: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

PIC: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

If I had a log cabin, I’d have this hung up over the fireplace – mouse, cat, dog, lion… LOL!

PIC: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit – you get to choose a song for this coaster.

PIC: Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Twirl N Hurl – wasn’t for me but Bill doesn’t get sick on rides that go around and around and around. I got dizzy take the photos.

PIC: Twirl N Hurl

PIC: Twirl N Hurl

Break it up…

We visited the arcade and won enough tickets for a box of dominos.

PIC: Arcade games at Islands of Adventure theme park

PIC: Arcade games at Islands of Adventure theme park

PIC: Arcade games at Islands of Adventure theme park

Checked out “Lucy – A Tribute” display. I love watching “I Love Lucy” reruns!

PIC: Lucy - A Tribute

PIC: Lucy - A Tribute

PIC: Lucy - A Tribute

PIC: Lucy - A Tribute

So many great Photo-ops…!

PIC: Toon Lagoon - Marmaduke!

PIC: Toon Lagoon - Marmaduke!

Anyone been to San Francisco?!

Was Coca-Cola going to beam us up a refreshment?

Reminded me of the Cosby Show.

No better place to get some beer but at Moe’s!

My Krusty Proposal

Hula with Homer

Duff Beer

Donut, anyone?

Don’t forget to eat!

Something about carnivals, festivals and theme parks where turkey legs taste so good!

Or visit Happy Days – Mel’s Diner for some burger and fries.

End the evening with Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular – 100 Years of Movie Memories

"…projected on cutting-edge waterfall screens within the Universal Studios lagoon – surrounded by colorful, synchronized water fountains and pyrotechnics and all set to a powerful musical score."

QUESTION: When was the last time you visited a theme park? Do you still get on roller coasters?!!!

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