**Disclosure: I was invited to take part in an amazing press trip at Universal Orlando Resort, but all of the opinions you will read here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way. Honestly**
Did you know that you can experience not one, but two world class theme parks when you visit the Universal Orlando Resort? Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure are both full of thrill rides and fun for every member of the family! I got to spend an amazing day at both parks just a few weeks ago and I wanted to share some highlights of both parks with you.
The thing with me is that I am a complete scaredy cat when it comes to rides, so I spent many years of my life avoiding theme parks like these.
Seriously, just looking at this gives me anxiety:
There is literally nothing on earth (or anywhere else) that would get me on it. I’m not joking. Thor could be sitting there smeared in Nutella (two of my favorite things of all time) and I still wouldn’t get on the ride. See…..when I said nothing, I wasn’t kidding you.
But I digress.
I avoided theme parks in the past because I always thought that if I couldn’t do the rides, there was no reason for me to go, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Luckily there are SO. MANY. other things to do at both Universal theme parks, that you never even have to look at a roller coaster. Unless you want to.
Here are some of the things a scaredy cat like myself can do at both of the parks and end up having one of the best days ever.
At Universal Studios Florida:
1. The Despicable Me Minion Mayhem Ride
Minions!! I love the minions and seriously loved this ride.
The Despicable Me Minion Mayhem Ride is a 3-D motion ride in which you go on an adventure trying to make it through “Minion training”. Only things don’t go as planned! All of the sudden you are riding through Gru’s super-villain laboratory along with Margo, Edith, Agnes, and the Minions. There are lots of twists and turns along the way.
Just so you know, you have to be at least 40″ to ride this ride.
2. TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D
On this 3D ride, you can battle alongside Optimus Prime and Bumblebee as a new N*E*S*T recruit. As you go through the ride, you will find yourself right in the middle of a war between the Autobots and Decepticons.
I really, really, really enjoyed this ride, but it was a very intense and immersive thrill ride, so if motion rides aren’t your thing – you may want to sit this one out. If not, go – it’s a blast!
Riders do need to be at least 40″ to ride.
3. Visit Springfield U.S.A., Home of The Simpsons!
If you are a fan of The Simpson (or even if you’re not), you will have a ball spending time in Springfield, U.S.A. As you walk through town, you can grab a drink at Duff Brewery or Moe’s Tavern, meet some of the characters from the show or even eat at one, or all, of these infamous Springfield eating establishments:
- Krusty Burger
- The Frying Dutchman
- Cleatus’ Chicken Shack
- Luigi’s Pizza
- Lard Lad Donuts
- Lisa’s Teahouse of Horror
- Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck
Yes, you can actually eat a Krusty Burger. And be sure to stop by the Kwik-E-Mart while you’re in town, too.
Before you leave Springfield, be sure to take a ride on The Simpsons Ride™. You can ride along with The Simpsons™ as they visit Krustyland, the theme park created by famed TV personality and shameless product huckster Krusty the Clown.
4. Ride MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack™
As an agent trainee, you’ll zap aliens as you chase them through the streets of New York in this high-tech, interactive ride based on the hit movies. But be warned… these aliens zap back, spinning your vehicle out of control.
5. Take in a show, visit a movie set or just enjoy some movie memorabilia!
Universal Studios is a real, working film and TV production facility? It is! Depending on the day that you visit, you might be able to catch a film crew hard at work on the backlot. You just never know, so keep an eye out for film crews. If they’re not filming the day you’re there, you can take in one of the many amazing shows they have at both Universal Orlando theme parks. At Universal Studios Florida you can see shows such as Animal Actors On Location, Fear Factor Live or Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue. At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, there are great shows like the Eighth Voyage of Sindbad® Stunt Show or Poseidon’s Fury®, which is a live show uses multiple effects including four types of lasers and over 200 individual flame effects.
*Show times vary, so you should check your park map on the day of your visit. for the most current show times.
As you walk through Universal Studios Florida, be sure to keep a look out for some really cool movie memorabilia! I spotted this as I was walking by, and since Back to the Future is one of my all time favorite movies, I was really excited to see it in person. It is the actual Delorean used in the movie. How cool is that?
6. Ride the Revenge of the Mummy
For this ride, Universal Studios took all the excitement of The Mummy motion pictures and put you right in the middle of the action. It’s an indoor roller coaster ride that soars up to 45 mph.
The jury is technically still out for me on this one. I rode the Revenge of the Mummy on my recent trip and I needed a stiff drink afterwards. As far as roller coasters go, it was small (because it’s inside), but still pretty intense. There is about a 25 foot drop, which was just a bit much for me, but don’t forget – I am a scaredy cat. With that being said, now that I know what to expect, I might be able to be
bribed convinced to go on it again. Maybe.
People must be at least 48″ to ride.
7. Spend time at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Diagon Alley!
I am a major Harry Potter fangirl, so back when I heard that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ was coming to Universal, I knew it was something that I needed to experience at some point. I was in my glory when I finally had the chance to see and experience it for myself. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the experience was spread out over both Universal Orlando theme parks. Read on….
At Universal Studios Florida, you can experience the magic of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Diagon Alley™. When I tell you that they do it right, I mean they do it right. As you walk through the streets of Diagon Alley, you will be able to do things like shop at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, pick out your own wand at Ollivanders™ wand shop, eat at the Leaky Cauldron™ and buy all the quidditch supplies you might need. You can even go to the dark side & visit Knockturn Alley. In case you didn’t know it, there is an actual Vanishing Cabinet inside of Borgin & Burkes! Right down to every last detail from the books and movies, Diagon Alley really brought the books and movies to life.
Ollivanders™ wand shop had thousands of wands stacked to the ceiling. You can either choose your own unique Ollivanders™ wand, or select one of the many Harry Potter™ character wand replicas.
While you’re in Diagon Alley, you can ride the amazing multi-dimensional thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™, which is located inside Gringotts Bank – where else? It’s a 3D multi-dimensional ride and it was so much fun. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you can’t miss it.
Outside of the entrance to Diagon Alley, you’ll find the Knight bus, be able to see the door to 12 Grimmauld Place and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch Kreacher the house elf peeking out of the window.
Once you’ve spent time at Diagon Alley, how about going to Hogsmeade (which can be found over at Universal’s Islands of Adventure)?
If you have a Park-to-Park admission ticket (meaning a ticket for both parks), you can pass through Platform 9 ¾™ and board the Hogwarts™ Express* from King’s Cross Station in London, which is located inside the Universal Studios Florida® theme park, and travel to Hogsmeade™ Station, which is located inside Universal’s Islands of Adventure®theme park (right next door to Universal Studios®). Or vice versa if you start your day at Islands of Adventure.
You will need admission to both of the Universal Orlando® theme parks to experience both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade! A Park-to-Park admission ticket or Annual Pass will give you access to both theme parks PLUS access to the Hogwarts™ Express! Or you can visit either land separately with a Single Park Admission ticket.
That brings me to #8……..
8. Visit Hogsmeade
When you’re in Hogsmeade you can visit Honeydukes™, The Owl Post, Ollivanders™ and so many more. Not only that, you can eat or even just grab a Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks™.
If that all wasn’t enough, you can make your way through the familiar classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Once you enter the castle through Filch’s Emporium™ of Confiscated Goods, you will see iconic locations such as Dumbledore’s office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor™ common room, the Room of Requirement and more. And because I know you’re wondering, all of the pictures on the wall do talk to each other.
Also inside Hogwarts, you can ride on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™, where you can soar above the castle grounds along with Harry Potter™ and his friends on an amazing adventure, all while coming face-to-face with an array of malevolent creatures along the way.
No matter whether you are in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade, be sure try some Pumpkin Juice, or Butterbeer, which is available hot, cold or frozen. I stopped into the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade for a cold Butterbeer on my recent trip. Being such a big fan of the series, there is no way I was leaving for the day without trying one.
It was awesome.
Also, the Hog’s Head pub in Hogsmeade also features its own Hog’s Head Brew, which is a unique microbrew for adults who are 21 and older.
(We’re still at Universal’s Islands of Adventure by the way)!
9. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man® Ride
This is another immersive 3D experience and if you love those kinds of rides and want to get your Spider-Man fix, this is where it’s at. On this ride, you will get set to soar with your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man! The 3-D effects on this ride are amazing and of course, you will see a cameo or two of Stan Lee on your adventure as you help Spidey save the Statue of Liberty. You and the web-slinger will scaling skyscrapers together and and plummeting to the pavement below in a simulated 400-foot freefall.
Fun fact: First ever combination of moving, motion-based ride vehicles, 3-D film and live action.
Children who are between 40″-48″ must be accompanied by an adult.
10. Stroll around Seuss Landing
If you are a Dr. Seuss fan, you will love it in Seuss Landing. It’s just like walking straight into one of one of Dr. Seuss classic books! This area is perfect for the little ones with many rides geared especially for them. On The Caro-Seuss-el merry-go-round, with creatures who can turn their heads, blink, and wiggle their ears. On the One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish ride, kids steer their fish with a joystick, while they get directions on how to fly.
In Seuss Landing you can eat at the Green Eggs & Ham Cafe, grab a sweet treat at the Hop on Pop Ice Cream Shop or just walk around and take in the sights. And just like in the books, there is not a single straight line anywhere!
While I was there I was able to take a ride on the The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! On this ride you are able to take a gentle journey high above the colorful rides and attractions of Seuss Landing and beyond.
See, so even if you are a big scaredy cat like I am, you can still have a blast at both of the Universal Studios Orlando theme parks. There are literally rides, shows and attractions for every member of the family.
There are all sorts of ticketing options depending on your length of stay, etc and you can buy tickets online to both Universal Studios Orlando theme parks right here.