If you say Orlando, you think of theme parks: Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Parks and so many more. We did what most people do when visiting Orlando, we hit the parks.
First up: Universal`s Islands of Adventure
Everyone raved about the Harry Potter ride, so that was our first stop. Even though we had a fast pass it`s not valid for this popular ride… 90 minutes wait *gulp*
Verdict: The ride wasn`t really my thing, maybe because I`m not a huge Harry Potter fan. The others in my group enjoyed it.
Practical tips for this ride:
* take off flip-flops, your feet are dangling in the air during ride
* line up for the single-rides line, this one goes faster as this line is used to fill up the spaces in the carts. You don`t face each other in the ride anyway, so it doesn`t really make a difference to go in a group in my opinion.
* there are lockers for your backpack (when busy, quite chaotic)
Our itinerary only allowed us a couple of hours before heading back to the airport for our flight home, so we walked around to see a bit more of the park and after lunch we made our way over to Universal Studios.
Our mission here, riding the newest attraction at Universal: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. The attraction will have a grand opening in a couple of days, 2 July, but park guests were already allowed to experience the ride as a work in progress. So we grabbed the opportunity to join Gru, his daughters and the minions on a 3-D ride.
Verdict: The motion simulator is smooth, the movement basic, but the 3-D effects are well done. I definitely believed at certain times I was actually on a roller coaster. I enjoyed this ride and I`m sure it`ll be a big hit.
Practical tips for this ride:
* no need to store your stuff in lockers
* the waiting time for us was 40 minutes, but it moved quicker than that
After this, we explored the Universal Studios at bit more and having been in Hollywood myself, I was pretty impressed by the settings they created.
You definitely need time when visiting these parks, rides have waiting lines and there are quite a few if you want to experience them all. Admission price for Park-to-Park admission (this will allow you access to both Universal`s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios): 123 $* for an adult. If you prefer to only visit one of the parks, the admission is 88 $* for an adult. For more information on kids admission or multiple day tickets, visit UniversalOrlando.com. For a Fast Pass which will allow you express ride access to most attractions (Not valid at Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Pteranodon Flyers, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey) you pay extra, depending on the days you use it, it starts from 55.99 $*.
Personal tip: It was warm in June to walk around and I can only imagine how hot it must be in July or August, I`ve heard September and October are a more enjoyable time to visit the parks, weather wise but also crowd wise, as kids were getting out of school in the US at this point too.
*Prices were accurate at time of publishing.
I was invited on this trip by Visit Florida, but all opinions are my own.