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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Universal Studios - Calling All Potterheads!






I much prefer Universal Studios over Disney World. There I said it (gulp). Ordinarily, I’m not one for theme parks, and I am most definitely not a thrill seeker when it comes to rides. Like at all. I do not want to see how high I am before I plummet to my imminent death, thanks but no thanks.

But while I loved Walt Disney’s philosophy that the parks were a place for everyone in the family to enjoy together (and we did enjoy all the rides together), I still prefer Universal over the forced joy I felt that I had to feel at Disney (don't hate me Disney-lovers!! I did like it after all, read about it here.)

Why you ask ? Well here goes...
  1. Harry Potter- enough said. Even if you aren’t a self professed Potter-head, you can’t help but be amazed at the amazing details that are in the two parks with Hogsmead and Diagon alley. It is spectacular to be immersed in this world!
  2. Rides- I just prefer the simulated rides, something about knowing that I’m not actually falling 100 stories made me enjoy myself much more. The race through New York with Jimmy Fallon ride? Awesome!
  3. Access- so much easier to get to and around than some of the other larger parks in Orlando. No bus -walk-monorail-crazy security measures for the Universal parks, especially if you stay on property. 
  4. Fast passes- that don’t require me to have a detailed organized schedule to stick to. I was actually happy to just walk around and let the kids lead us and not have to over schedule ourselves. The bonus was obviously getting on the rides much faster and being to ride them again as often as we wanted because of all the time we saved.
  5. No pressure- there’s no pressure to be happy. Or to feel the "magic." Which is keeping it real with kids anyways. They will whine and cry and throw tantrums whether it’s the most magical place on earth or not. Kids don't care. But at least there’s no pressure felt at these theme parks to make it all perfect and magical. After all there only two parks ( not counting the water park which we will hit next time), and they are both do-able at any pace you set. 

Stay:

  • Loews Portofino- one of those rare hotels where a family of 5 can be accommodated in one hotel room. That alone is a money saver. But also each person gets a fast pass for each day that you stay at the hotel. That is a huge savings! HUGE I tell you! Plus it is a time and sanity saver. It increases your enjoyment so much more! You go through security before getting on their shuttle boat that is quick and easy and takes you right to the doors of the parks. The hotel also had lots of great restaurant choices and pools and water slides and is just a really pretty place.
Eat:
  • All the candy at honey dukes. I know, I’m back at Harry Potter, but honestly- who doesn’t want to eat a chocolate frog and wash it down with a butter beer? It even comes frozen!(the butter beer, not the frog.)
  • Milkshakes- from the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savoury Feast Kitchen. YUMMY but also mammoth in size, they basically act as a meal replacement - particularly good if you are on the "I'm on a vacation and eating only sugar" diet.

Buy:
  • Buy your kids(or yourself) a Harry Potter wand when you first get to diagonal alley. Worth it. They are interactive in both parks and so fun! If you luck out, you could even get selected to have your wand choose you! It was super memorable for our eldest who is a major fan.
  • Get the park hopper- it allows you to go to both parks in one day. But it’s really so you can take the Hogwarts express from Kings cross to Hogwarts and back again. Take the ride both ways as each experience is different.

How about you? Are you a die hard Disney fan or do you prefer Universal?






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