At about 8:30 am on 19th July 2012, I, tired and jet-lagged, arrived in London Gatwick airport; home from a holiday in Florida, USA with my family and one of my friends. Just over a week on I think I am still jet-lagged, or suffering from insomnia. I do not know which. Let’s just say baggy eyes are not an attractive look. But I regret nothing. I had an amazing time in Florida and a bit of sleep deprivation is worth it.
As I said earlier I went on holiday for ten days. The last seven of which I met up with family down in Naples where we went shopping, ate in restaurants and, of course, lounging around reading books. But I am not going to talk about that. No, I am going to tell you about the first two days of my holiday, spent in Orlando.
I arrived, tired and jet-lagged (there is a pattern here), at the Portofino hotel near Universal Studios at 9:00 pm. It felt like 2 am. I just wanted to sleep. Even though we wanted to go to Island of Adventures ASAP, we decided we would go to Universal Studios first. It had a later opening time.
As we were staying in a Universal studios hotel we got free Express passes (skip the queues) and early entry. Universal studios opened at 9 am but we got in at 8 am. It is a very surreal feeling to walk into a theme park and there is hardly anyone around. Our tactics: to go on all the popular rides first. We only had two days to do as much as possible.
|My friend Izzy (right) and I (left). |
In front of the Hogwarts.
We are wearing our house t-shirts.
Hollywood rock-it roller-coaster is one of not the most popular rides at the park. The queues were ridiculous at midday so good thing we got on early. At 8:45 am we had a one minute wait max. We walked on to the ride and, oh boy, it was intense. I also loved the MiB: Alien Attack, Despicable Me and the Shrek 4-D. It was disappointing to see that Jaws was closed down but considering the water rides we went on the next day maybe it wasn’t too bad.
Island of Adventures had a lot better rides though. Island of Adventures means The Wizarding World of Harry Potter; the most popular area of the park. We arrived at 7:30 am thinking it wouldn’t be too bad. From the entrance all the guests were heading in a line to Wizarding World. Literally you follow the crowd; we all had the same destination.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey; I had a half hour wait which I am not complaining about. I think it is worth the 90 minute wait it can be in the middle of the day. This was my favourite ride out of all the rides at both parks. I have never been on a ride like it (except Spider-Man which I went on later in the day). It was part motion simulator and part coaster. There was a mix of video and animatronics. Walking through Hogwarts castle was also great. Oh boy! I am telling you this is not to be missed.
We also went on Dragon Challenge and browsed around all the shops. The shops were tiny so they are a bit of a squeeze but I got some awesome goodies. You can see what I got here. I would have liked to do things like the Olivander’s experience but the queue was ridiculous and I had already seen what happens, so we gave that a miss. The queues for Butterbeer were also rather long. Fortunately I had Butterbeer at the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London. It is very tasty.
The final thing I want to point out was the water rides. At Island of Adventure there are three water rides and we went on two of them. In the UK, if a sign says, ‘you will get wet,’ they mean a little splashed. In Florida, it means you get drenched. I was literally dripping for ages afterwards. We went on both rides back to back using the ‘I’m already wet so why not’ principle. I shouldn’t have worn a denim skirt. I would show you a picture but it includes people that don’t want to be shown. Sorry. Just imagine I just have had a bucket of water pored over my head
My favourite rides here were Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Jurassic-Park River Adventure.
Sorry if this post seems too long but even that is not everything. I could probably write three to four sides of A4 detailing everything I did. It is all still rather vivid. But I am pretty sure that would bore you to tears. Even though I got tired of walking and waiting around for things in the heat, I still loved it.
Feel free to ask me any question or tell me your experiences of Universal. I’d love to read them.
Copyright: I own all the photographs in this post. Do not redistribute without permission.