Sunday, November 14, 2021

Universal Orlando Part One

We have made two fall break trips to Disney in the past and we LOVE Disney.  So we planned a 8 day trip for this Fall break.  But then I got a job and didn't have many vacation days to take and also we are not anti mask but I have NO DESIRE to wear a mask indoors or on rides when it's 100 degrees outside and especially paying all that money to be miserable.  I know people are doing it but we just didn't want to.  So since masks were optional at Universal AND we had wanted to try Universal at some point - we decided this was the year to do it.  Plus we made a quick 4 day trip.  So we saved time and money.  

So about a month ago we made a trip to Universal and I thought I would give a recap! I'm going to have to do it in two parts.  

We flew out on a Friday afternoon.  We were on different flights but left around the same time.  

We got into Orlando around 9:30.  We got an Uber to take us to our hotel.  That was super easy and only about $30 for an Uber XL.  The Ormons reserved some kind of shuttle bus that not only was like 3 times the price but also they had to wait around for nearly an hour at the airport and got to the hotel so much later than us.  Take the Uber! 

We stayed at Dockside hotel.  The premiere hotels offer free express passes and it makes it worth it.  But when we were booking - they were all booked.  So Dockside was much cheaper but we paid fo the express passes.  Dockside is new and we really liked it.  They had a suite that had 2 bedrooms so it gave us a little more space.  

The one downside to going at fall break is that Universal does Halloween Horror nights (which I HATE all that scary gory stuff) AND Univerasal closes at 5.  Islands of Adventure stayed open until 8 but I still feel like we lost some time we could have had in the parks if they were both open later.  We had early admission to Universal but the only thing we didn't have express passes for was the Hagrid's ride so it made more sense to rope drop IOA and get on that first.  

Laurie does not do rides that have any kind of drop.  We all tricked her into riding Hagrid's first thing.  And honestly I don't like roller coasters either.  I had watched a you tube video and thought I could do it but I was NOT prepared.  It was too much for me.  And we think Laurie passed out.  This is her face when we were done.  She was so mad at us.  Everyone else loved it.  

Here we are outside the Harry Potter castle ride.  It was my very favorite.  I rode it a ton of times! 

We all came to love the Butter Beer.  It's a butterscotch like drink.  We had iced first but once we had frozen we became obsessed.  I've heard the hot is good but it was too hot for that when we were there.  

None of us are big Harry Potter fans (except Harper) but we loved the whole area and all the rides.  

If you get the park hopper - you can ride the Hogwarts train between the two parks.  It's really fun.  It can be a long line.  So we rode it both ways and then just walked after that.  

We bought the unlimited express pass for two days.  It's crazy expensive but we all agreed it was worth every penny (or stay in the premiere hotels and it will be included).  We just walked on to every ride for those two days and it was glorious.  Especially if you are just going to go for one day on a Disney trip - you can ride everything with the express passes! 

Will Holden honestly loves the characters of Universal more than Disney - transformers and Spiderman! We actually all loved both of these rides! They are very similar.  There are a lot of virtual reality rides in Universal which I love.  

We got Voodoo donuts the first night.  They honsestly weren't all that great.  Just too much and then by the 2nd day - they were just kind of a gross clumpy mess in the box.  ha! 

But we still had fun getting them! 

Scott was excited! 


One of the best parts of our hotel was it had a starbucks.  So we got drinks and breakfast every morning before we left for the parks.  

I was very impressed with Dockside's shuttle service.  At Disney you can wait a long time on busses but we never waited.  There was always a bus available.  And the parks are very close so it didn't take long to get there every morning.  

On our second day - we did a lot of just re riding our favorites.  

These four were going to ride the velocicoaster but the girls (THANKFULLY) chickened out.  The guys rode it and said it was the most intense ride they have been on.  

It was SO hot while we were there.  You think October would be cool but it's always in the 90's.  And it was pretty crowded.  

I got us all cute universal shirts off etsy.  We loved this one that said Friends and had the HP characters.  

It was just a LITTLE crowded.  

We did have a great time together.  

These three rode the Hulk twice.  You couldn't pay the rest of us to ride.  

I also loved the Gringots ride.  We tricked Laurie on that one and she was so mad.  I totally forgot it had a drop.  We also loved the Mummy ride.  

I WISH it was as cool as the snow capped buildings looked! 

Overall - we had a great time.  The rides are probably more fun at Universal.  We still love Disney the most.  Universal was not as magical but I would say with older kids it's a lot of fun.  There is not a ton for little kids.  My next post I will talk about the water park and where we ate.  And if you have any questions I will answer those.  

Also tip - I bought lanyards off amazon before we went because you have to show your ticket and express pass and have to have a way to show it.  

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