Thursday, May 5, 2016

Universal Studios Orlando

universal studios orlando

For the most part, on vacation, all we did was relax outside and read. For hours. It was magical. We did manage to make it out to Universal Studios. I couldn't convince the husband to brave the chaos that is Disney World, but I was happy with his compromise to go to Universal Studios. I thought I had been to this one before, but it didn't look at all familiar to me. I'm thinking I've only been to the one in California, though it's been years since the last time. I mentioned yesterday that the resort ended up giving us free passes. The passes were park to park, so we got to visit Islands of Adventure as well! Since we saved the money on admission, we decided to treat ourselves to the Universal Express pass so we could skip the lines and have priority access to the rides. SO WORTH IT. I can't remember any other time in my life where I got to breeze through theme park lines.

universal's islands of adventure hogsmeade
Sunnies: TOMS (option) | Bikini: JCrew (top and bottom) | Romper: Star MelaSandals: Sam Edelman

By the time we got there, parked, walked, and got our tickets, it was about 10am. The park surprisingly closed at 6pm, which seems super early for a Friday! But, because of our express passes, we were able to cover a ton of ground pretty quickly. We started our day at the Islands of Adventure side because the husband thought the Transformers ride was there, and that was his first priority. It ended up being on the Universal side though, which was fine because there was still stuff we wanted to do like Spiderman and Harry Potter.

I can't remember the last time I've been to a theme park, but suffice it to say, it's been a long time. The majority of the rides here were simulated, which made them both fascinating, but also a bit motion-sicky-ness for me. I'm just not good with motion sickness anyway. There was a time when roller coasters and such never fazed me, but I would say right around college, it started to get to me more and more. We skipped the full on roller coasters as a result, though, the simulated rides are so realistic, since I survived those, I'm sure I would have made it fine on the real deals.

Despite my motion sickness, I still enjoyed myself! Basically, if I start to feel dizzy, I just squeeze my eyes shut real tight until the worst parts are over! Ha! I open them again when things settle down for a bit. However! The Harry Potter ride at the Islands of Adventure -- The Forbidden Journey. Wowee! That was like whoa intense. Literally within the first 3 seconds my eyes were shut and I was unable to open them for the duration of the ride. It was still fun and I can laugh at myself for being a wimp, but uh yeah! I can only imagine that if you don't get motion sickness - you would love it. The husband thought it was great! I still loved it even with my eyes closed. 

I loved the Hogwarts Express! The stations at both parks were so cute and the little "movie" they show on the train is so clever. We did not get to ride the Escape from Gringotts. The husband tried the test seat before we got in line and the safety bar wouldn't fit over his shoulders. So a) yay for the seat being moulded to a 14 year old's body, but b) boo for anyone who doesn't have a 14 year old body. Ha! I was secretly relieved. Smaller seats just make for faster rides that I won't have my eyes open for anyway!

universal studios florida king's cross station

universal studios florida transformers the ride 3d

This is so random, but I think my favorite ride was Men in Black. You ride around in a car and get to shoot at aliens, what's not to like? There are moments when it spins you out of control for a bit, but for the most part, that ride was totally up my wimpy alley! And I am a big fan of the movie in general!

Otter's Fizzy Orange Juice at the Leaky Cauldron
Otter's Fizzy Orange Juice at the Leaky Cauldron

By noon, we had already ridden everything we wanted to at the Islands of Adventure along with a ride or two back at Universal Studios. We took a lunch break right around noon and decided to wait in line at the Leaky Cauldron. The lines were pretty ridiculous for every restaurant there at this time, so we figured if we were going to wait, we didn't want to wait for diner food, we wanted to wait for Harry Potter food! There were British meals on the menu, but I was safe and went for fish and chips, which I typically like to order anywhere I go regardless. It was good! But most of all, I LOVED this little orange fizzy drink! It was basically an orange soda and the cup was lined with cinnamon sugary goodness. I am salivating thinking of this. Someone please send me some of this stat!

universal studios florida king's cross station

universal studios florida shrek 4d

I just want to know how much their construction budget is to make one of these rides and the corresponding return on investment! All of it really just amazes me. The attention to detail is just fabulous.

universal studios florida jimmy fallon

I couldn't resist a selfie with Jimmy Fallon. After all, he's basically BFFs with Justin Timberlake. So.

Since we got through so much during the morning, I wasn't sure if we were going to make it all the way to closing time, but we did! We sat through a few shows in the afternoon, which had scheduled show times and took up a little more time than the rides did, but my feet welcomed the rest, and my body welcomed the air conditioning. We watched Fear Factor LiveTerminator 2, and the Horror Make-up show. I had to LOL because they had a 14 year old Edward Furlong in the Terminator 2 show, and I am pretttttty sure he does not look like that anymore.

universal studios florida

Oh! I almost forgot - we also got stopped by folks at NBC who asked if we would take 40 minutes to watch and provide feedback on a pilot for a potential sitcom. In exchange for our time, they would give us gift cards for $20 each. Sure, why not? It was nearing the end of the day anyway, and I'm always up for some behind the scenes stuff. The one we watched was called something like "A Bronx Life" and it starred comedian Vladimir Caamano. (Literally had not heard of him before seeing this pilot.) It was ridiculous humor, but he reminds me of my favorite (ex) Cardinal, Jon Jay, so that pulled at my heart strings a bit. I was entertained.

After watching that pilot, we rode 2-3 more rides and had about 20 minutes left before the park closed. It was the perfect amount of time to spend our gift cards! I ended up buying a Captain America tank and the husband bought a Transformers mug. Success!

The outfit I chose was perfect. I wore a bikini under my romper thinking we were going to get wet, but we ended up skipping the water rides altogether. Walking around wet all day is not fun. We were saving those rides until the end, but by the time the end of the day got there, we were over it. Still - the romper was so lightweight and breathable, I was very comfortable. And my Gigi sandals lasted me fifteen thousand steps without any issues! I did start forming a little blister on my right pinky toe of all places, but that was way way way at the end of the day. We had a backpack that we carried our necessities in for the day, but my only regret was that I wished I had pockets. It was kind of a pain to keep going in and out of the backpack for my phone and Universal Express pass. (First world problems.)

Thanks for letting me share my theme park endeavors with you! I had so much fun. And what made it even sweeter was finishing off the day with some Shake Shack

PS Don't miss the $100 Nordstrom Giveaway here!


Linking up for: What I Wore to Work, Spotlight Weekly Linkup with Elle and Jacqueline


  1. Looks like a perfect day, I want to go haven't been to US in 15 years.


  2. Cute romper! We always get the express pass when we go, it is so worth it!

  3. This looks like so much fun! That romper is gorgeous!

    xx Leah / www.eatpraywearlove.com