Florida Life, It's About Me, The Husband, Traveling

Universal Studios

Ever since we moved to Jacksonville, I have wanted to go to Universal Studios in Orlando to see the Harry Potter Wizarding Worlds. Yes, I admit that I am a big Harry Potter fan. I’ve read all the books and watched all the movies. So when it didn’t work out for my 50th birthday (we took a weekend cruise which was also high on my wish list), I started to work on Carl for our 30th anniversary this past summer. He agreed with the condition that we would wait until the fall. Done!

When it came down to making plans, we originally wanted two day passes (one day for each park). However, it turned out that annual passes would only be $40 more per person. With single day passes of around $100, we figured we for sure would go back at least once so we got the annual passes. Yay!

For our lodging, I found a highly-rated, Airbnb just 5 minutes from the park for the rate of $40 per night. We decided, why not! We had second doubts when we pulled up in front.

It’s hard to see from this photo but if you look to the right, you see the pile of trash on the right, including the discarded mattress. And you can’t see the pitiful state of the front yard, but the overgrown, weedy brown mess was a major turn-off. But we went inside to find our hostess very polite and sweet and the room was clean and spacious, with our own private bath so we decided to stay. 

After parking our car, we called and Uber for a ride to the park. For $6 each way, we saved $8 from the parking fee and got door to door service with minimal waits. 

We spent the first day at Universal Islands of Adventure.

We spent the second day at Universal Studios.

We rode pretty much all the rides and saw a few shows (there were very few sit-down shows). And I learned that my stomach is not as strong as it used to be. I fought naseau pretty much the whole time, coming very close to puking after a few rides. Not fun!

The crowds were not outrageous and most of the lines were reasonable from just minutes to maybe 15-20 minutes. The only exception was the new King Kong ride, which we waited for an hour. In the process, we were stuck in this dark room listening to an animated witch doctor chant for over 30 minutes. 

The highlight was definitely the Harry Potter areas.

The Eascape from Grigotts ride was my favorite.

It was fun just to walk around and see the attention to details. You could imagine actually being there! We didn’t do it, but if you bought a special wand for $40-48, there were specially marked spots throughout the area where you waved your wand and made something happen in a window display (for example, an object would move). It was pretty clever.

We had a delicious butter beer, which was very refreshing on our first day. It was a combination of cream soda and root beer with a layer of whip cream. Yum!

They even have a Hogwarts Express train between parks, which was neat. Instead of seeing out “real windows,” there were moving scenes from the movie.

It was a fun time away and I am grateful to have finally gone. I look forward to returning again over the next year. Thanks for a nice anniversary getaway, Carl. You’ve made the last 30 years fun and exciting! I love you.

4 thoughts on “Universal Studios”

  1. The Harry Potter area looks great, something I hope to see one day. It was a great way to celebrate your 30+ years together. Happy Anniversary once again!!


  2. Great idea to wait till the Fall when the crowds would be less. Great way to celebrate 30 years together…Happy you had a wonderful time & will be able to return within the year. Love all the photos!


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