Park Hopping at Universal
During our recent trip to Orlando, we spent a day at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Our family (10 people ranging from 8 months to 56 years) had no problems doing both parks in one day, so I would recommend it too. We started off by entering Universal Studios, which seemed to be the less popular park. We had character breakfast reservations at La Bamba, where we got meet characters from different Nickelodeon shows and from Despicable Me.
Breakfast was a buffet but had a poor design to it. La Bamba has preset meal options to choose from, and you can go up to the counter as many times as you’d like and order one of those meals. The biggest problem is that one person was preparing the plates so the line was insanely long. And for a character dining experience where you need to be at your table the whole time, it just didn’t work. We ordered one of everything, with a few extra orders just to be safe, and sat down with our food just in time for a lady to come out and announce that the characters were on the way.
After that, Chris’s life was made complete when he got to meet Dr. Emmett Brown from Back to the Future – a movie he has quoted his entire life. We actually stood in a line to take this picture if that just tells you how much my husband loves that movie.
We rode a few more rides before discovering the awesomeness that is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Please keep in mind, I have never seen any of the movies or read any of the books. However, I think I should. Partly because it seems interesting, and partly because if Universal Studios is willing to spend that much money and focus on that much detail just so their visitors can enjoy it while walking around, it’s probably worth a little of my time. It actually felt like we were in a magical London town!
We had lunch at Leaky Cauldron and it was fine. I wish that we had known even something about the restaurant while eating there since we were obviously in the minority of people – those who are clueless about Harry Potter. We also tried their butter beer, which was really sweet and not my favorite. Since we had passes to both parks for the day, we took the train over to Islands of Adventure for the rest of the afternoon.
This was so cool and a ride in itself! Our family got our own train car to ride in and it felt like we were on a real train in Harry Potter! The “window” on the train is a movie to watch that makes you feel like there’s more out there than just Florida marsh. Once we made it to the other side, we were in a wintry wonderland inside Harry Potter.
We rode a few rides and this is where we learned about the child swap program. It’s similar to the single riders line, except your family waits inside together. I hopped on the ride while Chris sat with the girls, and then we traded places. This was SO GREAT since they could sit in air conditioning, and then we each rode the ride separately by filling in empty seats.
Overall, it was fun. With small kids like mine, I would rather stick with Disney since they can ride more and the characters seem more relevant. At least to us. I did love their child swap program and wish that we had found out about it sooner because I think we would have been able to ride more. We will be back when our kids are at least 54 inches!