Why I didn’t go on any rides at Universal Orlando… But still had the best time

Spending my birthday at Universal Studios Orlando was an experience I’ll be glad to have done, but never ever do again. The mid-July humidity was too unbearable for a Brit like me – and I found myself constantly in search of shade, air conditioning and a water fountain.

Universal Studios Florida

I guess that’s why most holiday-makers skip the Floridian summer heat and go at a cooler time of the year, but being a student with only the summer vacation off – I basically had no choice but to go then. It didn’t ruin the experience as such, but I did feel tired after only a few hours of walking around and we did have to go back to the hotel for a nap in the afternoon.

I’m way too pale and way too British for that kind of weather.

 

Universal Studios Florida

So I didn’t go on a single ride on our day out at Universal. So what? I’m not one for rollercoasters and fast rides anyway, in fact, I absolutely hate them and my anxiety disorder has a lot to do with it. The only reason we went to Universal was to see Springfield and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and we did that – so I’m more than satisfied!

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Even my adrenaline junkie boyfriend skipped going on the rides – although I told him I didn’t mind waiting with the bags. He felt the same way as me – with 45 minute waits for most rides, it just seemed like the worst idea in the world to the both of us.

My boyfriend and I are HUGE Simpsons fans, and in fact it brought us together and a lot of our humour and inside jokes derive from our love of the show, so naturally – spending the money for a day ticket was well worth it for us.

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But did we have fun? Hell yeah we did! Springfield was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Not only did we grab a Lard Lad Donut and pick up a few groceries from the Kwik E Mart, but we ate at Krusty Burger (yes, there was a veggie burger) and had a Flaming Moe in Moe’s Tavern. I met Milhouse and Chief Wiggum, and Sideshow Bob was running around loose somewhere.

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Universal Studios Florida

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Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Orlando

But the real question is – what’s better? A Flaming Moe or a Butterbeer?

If I HAD to choose, it’d be Butterbeer, simply because the Flaming Moe was essentially just glorified orangeade (but who doesn’t love orangeade?) but the Butterbeer was a creamy soda with an authentically enchanting flavour. Something really unique like the rest of J. K Rowling’s glorious world.

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The train ride to Hosgmeade was amazing – and in fact COUNTS as a theme park ride! It takes you on a journey from London to Hogwarts with video animated windows and sound effects, so while the train may seem like a bit of a gimmick (and a con to get you to buy park-to-park tickets) – it’s actually nice to have an excuse to sit down in an air-conditioned facility and be taken by train to Islands of Adventure, while going on an adventure of your own on the Hogwarts Express!

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Diagon Alley and Hosgmeade absolutely gobsmacked me! Growing up with the franchise – I felt so emotional and was almost brought to tears walking around The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The music from the first two movies follow you everywhere – such nostalgia!

The shops were perfectly themed and not just full of random crap. Each store had its own purpose and sold the appropriate goods (a benefit for Universal in a way because it means you have to visit every store and be tempted by a multitude of things along the way) – from plushie Buckbeak’s to Hermione’s Yule Ball gown, I wanted to and could’ve bought everything.

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Unfortunately by the time we got to Diagon Alley it was already too dark to take any decent photos, but I can’t help but wonder if the atmosphere was much better than if we had gone in the day. It was definitely much quieter and with the weather being cool and no storms in sight, we could stroll around the shops effortlessly.

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All in all, we did everything we wanted to do at Universal Studios Orlando. Our reasons for visiting the Sunshine State were different from most – the theme parks were definitely not going to take up much of our time. I wanted to show Peter the food of USA and go on an amazing road trip – with the perks of the warm weather and a lovely hotel pool to relax in. Parks such as Universal are advertised EVERYWHERE in Orlando and Kissimmee, you would really struggle to escape them – after all it Orlando is the theme park capital of the world, but on our trip to Florida we barely stopped but only spent a single day in a resort theme park, but as you’ll see in the video, there was SO much more to this park than the rides.

In Springfield and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter alone – you have a full-on exhausting day out ahead of you.

Have you been to Universal Studios? What did you get up to?

Universal Orlando

 

Posted in North America, Travel.

27 Comments

  1. Oh, I would love to see the Harry Potter sets!! I think the ticket is definitely worth the experience!! I feel like watching one of the movies again 🙂 Such a nostalgia!
    And I agree on those long waiting lines, definitely in such a heat!

  2. I didn’t even realize that universal studios had a Springfield attraction! But I’m like you, the only reason I would go is for the Harry Potter experience, which by the way looked amazing! I’m glad you had fun though, it looked like a great time.

  3. While I’m not a particularly big fan of the Simpsons I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and would love to ride the Hogwarts Express! Great to see how this compares to the Warner Brother Studio Tour / The Making of Harry Potter near London, which I went to a few years ago and totally loved it.
    So much so that I’m going again this Friday. My fiancé worked one of the films (he built part of Hogwarts) and helped prepare the exhibition which makes it even more exciting. There is a post on my blog if you are interested http://travelwithkat.com/2014/07/16/harry-potter-tour-london/

    • That’s amazing – I’d also like to see how they compare. I think the London one will be more of a studios tour, whereas this is still a fairground attraction essentially, albeit one of the most expensive in history haha!

  4. Interesting that you never went on a ride. I must admit I am not a huge fan of rides or theme parks in general. But you cannot go to Florida and not pop into Universal Studios. Similarly to you, i would probably have focused on Harry Potter 😛

  5. I love The Simpsons, so would’ve dug this! The models and buildings look fantastic, and the chance to eat a Krusty Burger and a Flaming Moes? I’m sold! I went to Harry Potter Studios in the UK…I assume the butter beer in Orlando is better than the one I had here, which was creamy on top, but flat and metallic underneath. Loved the studio overall though!

    • I’m not actually sure. I loved it in Orlando but a lot of my friends who’ve been to the studios tour in London haven’t liked it. Maybe the recipe is different… :O

  6. It looks so crazy busy out there! Add the heat and the humidity and I don’t think it would be anything for me. It’s one of those places that would be nice to go to with kids, but not during school holidays. 🙂

  7. As a huge fan of the Harry Potter series myself, I absolutely loved The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I thought that they had done an excellent job in designing it perfectly. My daughter went for a wand choosing experience and even that was exactly how you’d expect it to be in a Harry Potter book. My only regret was not being able to spend more time there.

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