I had travelled to Florida before, but there is always so much to do in the sunshine state that we never got round to visiting. With gorgeous beaches, Disney World and a mountain of other theme parks, it’s almost impossible to squeeze everything in to one trip and poor Universal was previously overlooked. Not on this occasion though, with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter littering our screens and magazines, it was quite clear that we needed to go. Needless to say, we had a super fun time and it became transparent that this wouldn’t be the last time that I would hold a ticket to Universal Studios firmly in my grip.
Flash forward to Summer of 2015, and my newly wedded self was found at Universal Studios in California during our honeymoon. It was a completely different experience, with the park set on two levels. It was much smaller than in Orlando, and we managed to see and do literally everything in one day.
This Easter break we decided to return to the sunshine state, Florida. We hadn’t been since 2012, and felt like it was time to go back. I hadn’t been to Disney World in Florida since I was a child, so we decided that we would hit up Disney and revisit Universal whilst we were stateside.
We chose to stay at Rosen Inn, a hotel that was only a ten-fifteen minute walk from Universal Studios, a decision I was very pleased about. I love walking and it saved us $20 a day in parking too. Most hotels have shuttles to the theme parks, but you have to book and I’m a free spirit who doesn’t like to be tied down to bus timetables, so being able to walk was rather fabulous.
We could also see quite a few rides from our hotel room, which was cool and it had everything you could need from a nice restaurant to a swimming pool. We enjoyed our time there.
We were meeting up with friends further into our stay and had planned to go to Universal with them. On the first day of our Floridian adventure, we were due a beach day at Anna Maria Island. Unfortunately we were forecast thunderstorms for part of the day, so we decided to visit Universal instead. I mean it couldn’t be that bad in the rain, right?!
When we arrived in our jet lagged early risers state, it was a bit grey, but sumptuously warm. The park wasn’t terribly busy and we managed to hop on a few rides before the thunderstorm landed. We bought ponchos and just rolled with it!
It also only lasted for a couple of hours and soon enough the sunshine was back on top form, drying our rain soaked feet and my hair into it’s natural wavy glory.
Top: Project Social Tee ,Skirt: River Island
We had such a fun day, just the two of us and we even managed to grab a Christmas decoration – something that has become a little tradition on our travels.
We were quite surprised by just how much the park has changed since we last went. There is so much more to do now and the Harry Potter section has pretty much doubled in size, spread out across the two parks. They are also opening a new ride later this year – King Kong – and it looks pretty rad!
We visited Universal another two times whilst in Orlando this time with our friends. We all had so much fun and the park really does make a great day out.
Top: Topman, Shorts: River Island Playsuit: Topshop
Playsuit: Topshop , Top: Jack Wills, Shorts: Next
We were also super lucky as that first day was the only day we saw rain for the duration of our trip.
Following on from our three trips to Universal, I’ve picked up a few tips that I like to use.
- Stay as close as you can to the park. The last thing that you want after walking around all day is a long journey back to bed. Likewise, before starting a long day, you don’t really want to have a long journey. Plus if you can save on parking, it’s always a bonus!
- But your tickets in advance. There are so many deals to be had and it means that you don’t have to waste precious holiday time sorting out tickets. I swear by Attraction Tickets Direct.
- Work out what things you absolutely must see/do and prioritise them. There’s a good chance that you might run out of time and you don’t want to feel like you’ve missed out.
- Choose comfortable clothes/footwear for the day. I know that this may sound blindingly obvious, but short skirts and flip flops aren’t terribly practical for rides!
- Try and stay as late as you can because the crowds filter away and queue times drop dramatically towards closing time.
- Download the Universal app. It has ride wait times and a map, which is super handy. There is free wifi at Universal too – hurrah
- Take advantage of the single rider lines if you don’t mind riding on your own!
So there you have it, a snippet into our time at Universal!
Have you visited any of the Universal parks?