MY FIRST TIME AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS + 5 FIRST TIMER TIPS
As a child, my parents once took me to Florida. That year we went to Disney (who doesn't want to visit Disney for their first time in Florida). We also went to Universal City Walk, but we never actually went to any of the parks inside just the boardwalk. Now that I’m an adult, I’ve been to Orlando a couple of times, each time visiting Disney rather than Universal for a number of reasons; a friend of mine was working there, I wanted to go to Epcot due to my love of food, or others that came along. Until now! 27 years later I FINALLY went to Universal Studios for the first time? Ummm why did I wait so long? I love roller coasters! Here’s my experience with Universal for the first time.
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I still can’t believe I waited this long to come to this park. Roller coasters, minions, Harry Potter?? WHAT WAS I THINKING? All the things I love in one place, and I still never went! My impressions at first I thought it was going to be another theme park similar to six flags style (which is what I grew up on). But the park really is so much more than that. You really feel like you’re transformed into different movie sets with every different ride that you go on.
I started out going to the Island of Adventure side because I thought that side would be busier later in the day (BONUS TIP: Island of Adventure also closes an hour earlier than Universal Studios). How fun is Universal and this park! From the moment I walked, in I felt like I was in an adult Kiddy Land. I’ve always been a big adrenaline junkie and roller coasters are just one of those things that I really enjoy. This side had all the speed and excitement I can get.
WOW, I was IMPRESSED with Universal Studios. I mean I loved the Island of Adventure side but I was really impressed with the Universal Studios side. It was like I walked onto a movie scene with every ride that I went on. The architecture of the rides on the Island of Adventure side was impressive, sure, but here everything from the cinematography, all the timing, and engineering that was put into building this park is what really got me. I loved how intricate the different rides were and how much time and energy was put into everything.
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Harry Potter is actually on both sides of the park, which I had no idea about until I got there. And there is a Harry Potter ride on both sides as well. I personally liked the Harry Potter ride better at Island of Adventure because it was longer and more stimulated than the other one, but that can be a personal preference. I’ve actually been to London before and have done a couple Harry Potter tours before so this was really interesting to compare to. I thought Universals did a phenomenal job depicting the world of Harry Potter and all the interactiveness that you can play along with.
My favorite rides
My favorite ride on the Island of Adventures side was definitely the Hulk. I love a good fast speed roller coaster that has a shock effect to it. This ride definitely did that. It was speedy and took me by surprise a couple of times. I love rides like that.
On the Universal Studios side, it was difficult for me to pick a favorite. But, I’d have to say the Minions (only because I’m a huge minion fan), but also the Transformers ride. It was the first ride I went on on that side so it made it more memorable. I loved all of the special effects and how real everything felt.
Should I get a Fast Pass
You should definitely consider getting a fast pass if you plan on doing both parks in one day. I went there shortly after New Years and schools haven't started yet so the lines were pretty long for a lot of the rides. The Fast Pass is a little bit more expensive, but in my opinion, if you’re already spending so much money on going to Florida and to Universal, you might as well spend a little more and enjoy the rides without the lines. The longest line I waited in was about 15 minutes.
5 tips to follow when visiting Universal Studios
- Download the Universal Orlando Resort mobile app. This allows you to navigate the parks without hand carrying a map, and you can check out showtimes too.
- Stay on the property. It is so much easier to stay on the property than to leave and drive. Parking is a big pain in the butt and if you stay close enough you’ll be able to walk to the parks. There’s also so much you can do at night with City Walk so you’ll want to stay nearby. I stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton and it was extremely close, only took me 15 minutes to get to the park (on foot).
- Get the meal plan. If you’re going to be there all day you’re going to get hungry. The meal plan includes a meal, snack, and drinks for the entire day for just under $25. If you’re exploring all day it’s definitely worth it.
- Single rider line! This is amazing for someone traveling solo like me, or if you’re not married to the idea of being next to the person you came with. These things go fast, and even without a fast pass, you can easily zoom through many rides quickly.
- Take the Hogwarts express. How fun is moving from park to park on a real Harry Potter Hogwarts Express. The ride is fun and interactive and you’ll really feel like you’re transporting from Diagon Alley to Hosmeade.
Looking for other fun things to do in Orlando? Check out other fun activities here.
Xoxo Ania Travels 💜
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Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored. As always, all opinions are my own. This post contains some affiliate links which will earn me a few cents to contribute to the running of this site if you make a qualifying purchase at no extra cost to you.