So as promised here I am with some tip goodies to help you have the best time at the world famous Universal Studios(Orlando) where the magic of movie making absolutely comes to life. You would be amazed at all the emotions you would experience in the SAME day here: the feeling of unforgettable exhilaration, a sense of inexplicable rush and uncontrollable glee, total outrageousness, extreme fun, and everything you can think of in between. Even while I am writing this post, I can barely contain my excitement with the awesome memories flooding in. <3 It is a one of a kind destination where you are not only just entertained, but the whole park and rides are set up so that you jump straightaway into the movies you adored and fantasized, and you (almost) forget reality! 😀 And even if you are not a huge movie buff, I can promise you that this is a destination which cannot fail ANY age.
However, unless you have some planning done beforehand and know some insider facts, there are high chances that you might get lost in the sea of adventures and excitement and the chaos can wear you down. O_o I hope the tips I list down can help you when you plan your vacation to this magical and mesmerizing theme park. There are already many tips floating in the internet but I have listed out here the unique ones based on the experience we had. 🙂
1. Prioritizeee your experiences.
Sooo if you are a Potterhead like me (hi-five btw :D) you may wanna go straaaaight to Diagon Alley orrrrr Hogsmeade, please don’t make me choose 😛 Muggles, maybe you want to go to Despicable Me:Minion Mayhem or Jurassic Park River Adventure. The point is since the crowd is going to build up, you have to choose if you would rather tackle them in your fav ride or not-so-fav ride which leads to the second tip.
2. Downloading the Official Universal Studios Orlando app is a must.
Thisss app was as magical as the Marauder’s Map. For starters, there are two islands, “Islands of Adventure” and “Universal Studios” filled with rides and experiences which makes you go gaga with giggles. Visit this website and get the app and Marauder’s Map, I mean the theme park map 😉
Having the app handy will help you a long way to enjoy the park. You can see what time are the specific shows on the day you will be visiting, the wait times for the rides, where to shop for what merchandise, the types of cuisines available and the best use of this app is to guide you around the park. Trust me it is not so easy to find your way to your favorite rides on the first day!(For direction retarded people like me even on the third day 😀 ).
3. Arrive early at the park.
Please plan to be at the park around 30 minutes even before it opens. When the park is just opened, you would be able to experience the park’s highlighted attractions with the lowest waits. 😎
Also, while you are purchasing your tickets, there is an option to scale up by adding something called Early Park Admission. Avail it and you will have no regrets. We were on a budget-bound trip and were doubtful if we needed to spend on that but it was hugely helpful. Especially if you are a Potterhead. <3 The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was almost empty all the three days we arrived early and we had a lot of fun taking pics and exploring all the nooks and corners.And the other major rides like Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Amazing Adventures of Spiderman had a considerably low amount of waiting time.
If you have no budget restrictions, you can upgrade your ticket to Universal Express Access or stay onsite and get it for free. This allows you to skip to the front of the line!
4. Sometimes queues are good.
Yes, you heard me right! While in most of the articles which give tips to enjoy the theme park, talks about minimizing queues I have a different story to say. Atleast to the Potter fans. A long queue is the best way to enjoy the rides Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Especially for the forbidden journey, where you have to go through the Hogwarts Castle and can drink in everything right from Dumbledore’s office to Sorting Hat to Floating Candles to Talking Portraits. So why is queue good? Well if there is no queue they rush you to the ride and you would not be able to savor the castle as much as you would like to.(we were hurried unfortunately, but we went in again when the wait time was high just to explore Hogwarts on our own time <3 ). Sounds crazy? See the pics below inside the castle and decide.
5. Carry Ponchos/extra set of clothes.
So we went in January and coming from Illinois where the winters are not so mild, we did not feel any dire need to do the water rides. Wrong Decision. Sigh. We got into Jurassic Park and got mesmerized and just had to do the River Adventure (again not a great idea considering we neither had ponchos nor an extra pair of clothes) and got drenched badly. So please do have these handy. But on the brighter side bought some tshirts from Hogsmeade since we were soaking 😀 Oh and you must be already knowing that the ride is one of the best in the park 🙂
6. Visit the Jurassic Park late in evening.(apart from a morning visit).
This sort of happened accidently. It was the first day and we could not get enough of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and by 5pm we realized we have not even got out of Hogsmeade and the whole of Universal Studios and rest of Islands of Adventure was remaining 😛 So we decided to check out Jurassic Park and oh boy, it was indeed true that Universal had gone above and beyond in creating this extraordinary experience.
An eerie calmness that leads into a scary atmosphere of lights and sounds that seriously makes you feel vulnerable and puts you right in the middle of a jungle in the dark. The effect of lights and fog etc. was pretty amazing when it was dark and the right mixture of fantasy with a dash of reality which was really true to the theme of the movie makes it a big highlight of the theme park.
7. The “surprise” in Kings Cross Station.
All the “muggles” would have fantasized going THROUGH the wall to board the mighty Hogwarts Express one time or the other. Well thanks to the amazing Universal Studios, it is now possible. The reason why this is featured as a tip is, the first time due to the crowd, our entire line missed this !! This is just right before you get into the platform to board Hogwarts Express from King’s Cross.
8. Stay until closing.
Every single island was such a beautiful sight at night and once it started to get dark the crowds pretty much disappeared. But if you keep shopping for the last that will not work, since they start shutting down around an hour before closing time. However, this is the time you can do all the ogling you wanted to your heart’s content. Oh and there is also a brilliant display of fireworks right before they close 🙂 You do not want to miss that!
9. Exclusive breakfast with your favorite characters.
Yes, there are character meet and greets happening continuously in the park, but you have to be in the right place at the right time! But the good news is for people who are psyched about Despicable Me and Nickelodeon characters, there is an exclusive breakfast provided by Universal Studios, where the characters come to each table and you can have photos taken and even have autographs.
10. Small things which you might want to know in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- The wand choosing the wizard ceremony is there in both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley and both of them have a large queue in the morning. You are not missing anything if you do this later in the afternoon as well when the queue will be less. Time Saver! But do not skip it as it is phenomenal!
- In Grimmauld Palace, near King’s Cross keep watching the windows. You can see ———peeking every few seconds. (Now, now we do not want to know everything beforehand right? There should be some element of surprise left for you 😉 )
- Everyone wants to take the video of the dragon breathing fire in Diagon Alley! And the one thing we found out was, there is a deep rumble followed by a small roar, before he gives a giant roar and breathes the ultimate fireball. But get ready to shoot as soon as you hear the rumble! Such a temper he has!
Hope these tips helps you 🙂 And I am going greeeen for those who are yet to experience all this. You do not know what an amaaazing, one-of-a-kind, incredible (ok ok I am stopping with the adjectives. Hope you understood what I am trying to say) experience is in store for you 😀 . I am still hung over it and am desperately trying to do some inception in my hubby’s head to move to Orlando or Los Angeles 😛
Much Love, ❤