Universal Studios Trip Thoughts

Since MegaCon started on a Friday a few weeks ago, we decided to go down to Orlando a day early and head to the two Universal parks so that we could enjoy the new Diagon Alley area and see some of our old favorites.  My husband and I went to Islands of Adventure to see Hogsmeade one year for our anniversary, but the last time we had been in the Universal Studios park was our honeymoon (almost 9 years ago)!

Since my Dad works for Disney, he was able to get us a small discount on Universal tickets.  His silver cast member pass to the Disney parks was on blackout for all the parks except EPCOT, and that was the one Debbie and I did at MegaCon last year, so if we were gonna spend some money anyway, we figured it might as well be time to see the Harry Potter stuff.

After picking up Dad at the airport, we headed to the parks for the day.  Wound up there from about 11 until about 7.  Then we ate dinner at a pizza place at CityWalk and went back to the hotel.  During our time at the parks, we did about 7 rides.

1. The Mummy

2. Gringotts

Gringotts

Some scenes from the line at Gringotts.

 

3. Hogwarts Express from Studios to Islands

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Dad and I, along with some random kid, about to walk through Platform 9 3/4.

 

4. Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barge – boy, did we get soaked, but it was so hot that afternoon that it was refreshing.

5. Hogwarts – While  enjoyed both “big” Harry Potter rides, I think I preferred this one over Gringotts.

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Dad and I in front of Hogwarts, still soaked from the water ride we had just done.

 

6. Hogwarts Express from Islands to Studios

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All abord the Hogwarts Express! The ride was different each way – I preferred the ride from Islands to the Studios.

 

7. Transformers

We also ate lunch at the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley.  There was a line for the restaurant too, maybe 20-30 min.  I got a “Ploughman’s” which is pretty much a cheese plate with salads and bread.  It can serve 1-4, but I just ordered a single version.

My Ploughmans lunch from The Leaky Cauldron.  And my frozen butterbeer.

My Ploughmans lunch from The Leaky Cauldron. And my frozen butterbeer.

And we tried frozen butterbeer this time since the last time we went Jesse and I tried the non-frozen kind.  Both are good, but once the frozen one melts, it’s less entertaining.  I think I prefer the non-frozen.

The longest line we stood in all day was the Transformers line for about an hour.  That was a neat ride though.  We wanted to try the minion ride, but everyone was exhausted from walking and that line had been ridiculous since we arrived (yay Spring Break…).

My biggest takeaway from this was that doing both Universal Parks in a single day is really tough, at least during the more crowded seasons.  I’d probably rather buy two single park tickets for two different days, but then you can’t ride the Hogwarts Express … so I’m glad we did it once.  And Universal’s version of fast pass you have to pay for … and it’s pricey.  $120 per person for a two-park one (in addition to the ticket price).  O.o So needless to say we did not spring for that … it may have made a difference in how much stuff we were able to see, though.

It was a fun way to start off the weekend, though maybe a bit tiring, haha!  We wished we had time for more stuff, but it would have definitely required another day.  Have you been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?  What are your favorite things from the park?

 

4 comments for “Universal Studios Trip Thoughts

  1. April 21, 2015 at 9:25 am

    I went for my college graduation present from my sister, and we loved it! We did all the WWOHP rides first thing in the morning, and then went through shops and the other park areas later since the crowds were bigger (we also got there right when the park opened). The Hogwarts ride was actually my least favorite b/c it broke down twice while we were on it — but the park had only been open 2 months, so I’m thinking they still had some kinks to get out. We want to go back and see the new parts of the park now!

     
    • April 21, 2015 at 10:45 am

      That sucks that the Hogwarts ride broke down 2x for you! I’ve had a couple others say something similar, but it worked great for us both times. The new stuff is neat too. I imagine the crowds are better in the cooler months of the year!

       
  2. Jill
    April 21, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    The Hogwarts ride made me feel sick near the end but I get motion sickness easily. I still thought it was awesome, and has one of the best queues I’ve been in. If you have to wait in line for almost 2 hours (we went when it was still kind of new), then Hogwarts is the place to do it. I’d like to go back sometime to see the Diagon Alley stuff. And if your frozen butterbeer thawed, then you weren’t drinking it right. 😉

     
    • April 21, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      Hehe, agreed. I’m not good at frozen drinks in general. And yes, the stuff you get to see while waiting in line is quite entertaining, for both the Hogwarts ride and the Gringotts one 🙂

       

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