I can’t tell you how many times I sat down to write this series on Universal Orlando Resort. Where has the month of January gone?! In any event, we went to Universal Orlando Resort in the days between Christmas and New Year when the concept of time is but a figment of our imagination. We spent 5 days / 4 nights and had 3-day, 3-park, Park-to-Park Tickets, so we were able to move freely between Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. Rather than my usual daily recap, I’ll dedicate one post to each park, and another to our resort and CityWalk.
Universal Studios is the world’s premier movie and tv-based theme park in Orlando. Once inside, you are made to feel like the star of a movie. One minute you’re in a jaw-dropping adventure, the other you’re behind the scenes jumping into action. You’ll recognize lots of favorite movie themes including, Harry Potter, The Minions, Shrek, Curious George, Spongebob, Transformers, and Trolls, just to name a few.
Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure share the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. On the Universal Studios side is Diagon Alley, and on the Islands of Adventure side is Hogsmeade. They are connected by the Hogsmeade Express, which requires Park-to-Park Tickets to ride. Both kids are HUGE Harry Potter fans, so of course, we spent a lot of time in Diagon Alley.
Escape From Gringotts is a favorite of Stinky, Blinky, and me. The DH doesn’t do so well on virtual reality rides. He felt really ill after doing it a few years ago, so gladly sat this one out. He didn’t even join to queue to see the goblins. Womp, womp!
Notice anyone peeking out of 12 Grimmauld Place?
We even stopped by the Gringotts Money Exchange to exchange currency (in lots of $10 and $20), which we were able to use throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Of course, you can also take home Gringotts currency as souvenirs. Note that the Gringotts Money Exchange is not in the Escape from Gringotts ride area. It is next to Wiseacres.
This next photo is my absolute favorite of the entire trip! All the heart emojis!! ❤️❤️
To get your Platform 9 3/4 photos, make sure one person in your party hangs back, then swap. Keep a close eye out. The opportunity is easy to miss.
When you ride Hogwarts Express, make sure to do so in both directions.
Once we were able to drag the kids out of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it was time to conquer all manner of roller coasters, take in a few shows, and interact with some of our favorite characters: wax and real. Ha!
Stinky and Blinky particularly enjoyed Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, and Men in Black Alien Attack on repeat.
The Universal Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s was so much fun! We lined up early enough to have a great viewing spot near Shrek. We could not believe how much manpower it took to steer and walk the balloons!
An equally exciting show is Universal Orlando Cinematic Spectacular. It incorporates music, water screens, colored fountains, lasers, digital projection mapping, and pyrotechnics. We caught the second half and am so glad we did! Sadly, I don’t have any photos.
I may or may not have embarrassed the pre-teen by dancing in the street and running to meet Guy Diamond and Branch. And yes, Guy does fart glitter!
Blinky still enjoys younger rides, so one morning we rode Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster on repeat since the Fievel Playground area wasn’t crowded yet. We also ride ET for the first time if you can believe it! It can use a mini refresh, but was really cute and brought back memories of watching the movie as a kid.
We truly enjoyed our time in this park and absolutely cannot wait to go back!
Read more about our visit to Universal Orlando:
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