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Can you do it
in just one day – Yes you can!
Orlando, with or without grandkids, inevitably include theme parks and
Universal is a must. The twin parks, Universal
Studios and neighbouring Island of
Adventure, appeal to all ages with retro themes from much loved films
through to the man of the moment, Harry
Potter. When you start to research your visit the thought of squeezing as
much as possible into just one day is daunting. But I can prove it can be done,
and have survived to tell the tale.
organisation, the fact that the two parks are linked, and the invaluable Express
Pass, all helped my cause and my family and I experienced most of what was on
punctually when gates opened at 09.00 and that was a real help. Parking is easy
and before you know it you are following the crowds past the iconic Universal globe.
Universal has a completely different atmosphere to the other theme parks in the
area. Rock music playing as you walk through and an emphasis on thrilling rides
gives the park an edgy feel that older kids will appreciate. But there are also
areas for the youngsters, and plenty for all ages to enjoy.
also a great help and we had pored over the ride and attraction options
beforehand to create a wish list to suit everyone. But be prepared to deviate
if you come across a ride that has no queues and hop on. We did just that with Despicable Me – Minion Mayhem, a gentle
start for all ages.
The Express Pass, which you buy on top of
your entrance ticket, came into play for the ever popular Transformers ride. Express pass means just that, walk past the queues
to the front. It is worth every penny if your time is limited. Make
sure you buy Express
Pass this in advance as the price rises depending on supply and demand.
Themed shops pull you in as you stroll along the
walkways through the different areas. The Betty Boop store was an eye opener,
with more merchandise than you could ever imagine along the Betty theme. Production Central is your first stop
and where you will find Guest services and some great shops and eateries as
well as popular rides such as Shrek4-D,
all things Minion and Orlando’s highest and fastest roller coaster. Universal
has some real tummy churning rides and I was just happy to watch rather than
participate, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockitt
being just one example!
Continue into New
York with rides such as Twister
and Revenge of the Mummy as well as
the famous Blues Brothers live show.
Into San Francisco where I was happy
to sit and watch the world go by with a coffee and donut while my family
enjoyed Disaster, a funny 3D
adventure set behind the scenes of special effects. World Expo is home to Men in
Black – Alien Attack and the Simpsons.
My young granddaughter especially liked Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone where she ran around and let off steam in the children’s
Top of everyone’s list, especially my 10 year old grandson, is Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, the must see attraction and an absolute masterpiece in creativity. Harry Potter’s world comes to life as you stroll along London’s Embankment, past the Knight Bus and Leicester Square Tube Station through a walled alleyway into the amazing Diagon Alley. The mysterious shops are huddled together around Gringotts Bank where the dragon perches on the roof guarding the treasures within. Be prepared to queue for the Harry Potter ride, Express pass cannot be used for this number one attraction. But it’s worth the wait! Universal have made waiting all part of the experience and you can enjoy lots of magic and mystery as you queue.
Don’t forget to try a Butter beer ice cream from Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour or a glass of the real Butter
Beer at The Leaky Cauldron.
Then take the Hogwarts
Express from Platform 9 ¾ to Hogsmeade
and you are in Universal island of
Adventure. Hogwarts Castle looms over the famous Wizarding World and the whole area is a snow-covered version of Harry’s
domain. Harry Potter and the Forbidden
Journey is the big attraction and a breathtaking ride with lots of ‘close
encounters’ of a wizarding nature.
Main attractions on the Island of Adventure are Seuss Landing, a great draw for all
ages with gentle rides such as One Fish
Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Caro-Seuss-el
and my favorite, The Cat in the Hat,
where you can meet Thing One and Thing Two.
The area known as the Lost Continent has a great special effects action show, The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad. I was particularly
taken by the ‘talking rock’ at the entrance to the show!
Jurassic Park takes
you back to the imaginary dinosaur world depicted in the famous film with the Jurassic River Park Adventure and the
chance to create your own dinosaur at the Discovery
Centre. For some watery fun cool off at Toon Lagoon and get wet on Popeye
& Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges.
Super Hero Island is where you can meet
The Incredible Hulk Coaster (not one for me!) and The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman. Dr Dooms Fearfall is
pretty scary too, but fun to watch.
So we didn’t
get to ride everything, or sample all the eateries, or experience all the
attractions, but we had a wonderful day and what we did achieve we thoroughly
enjoyed. Despite my successful day, if the chance arises to spend 2, or maybe 3
days, at Universal, well it’s a no brainer as they say!
More informationFor park information and details of all the rides and
attractions see www.UniversalOrlando.co.uk
The Universal 2 Park Bonus Ticket includes unlimited
park-to-park access to Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure
for up to 14 consecutive days. The ticket costs £130 per adult and £120 per
child aged up to nine, my trip was arranged by www.Americansky.co.uk and their knowledgeable
staff can help with ideas and choices for you entire Florida adventure.
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