You may recall that last month Tim and I had our very first vacation without our girls by our side. we spent our first two nights at Loews Pacific Resort on the Universal Studios property and were treated to tickets to Universal Studios. Definitely check out my review on what it is like to stay on site at Universal. I had no idea that was even a possibility, and now that I’ve experienced it, I wouldn’t recommend that you do it any other way. The perks are fabulous!
Experiencing the Park Without Kids
Ok, so back to Universal Studios! Are you a bit surprised that as a 33 year old I went there with my husband and without our kids? I know, theme parks sort of scream “FAMILY DESTINATION!” and I wouldn’t argue with you about that. I think it would be a fantastic place to take my kids. But I would also say that it is a great choice without them! Think about it: you get to do exactly what you want, eat what you want, and skip over anything that just doesn’t interest you. There is A LOT of joy to be had in being in charge of your “fun destiny”, friends.
Make It Rain!
So my first tip for you would be to see if you can figure out a way to make it rain all day in Orlando for your visit. Rainy day = quiet park! And if you are old like me, you LOVE when all those whipper snappers aren’t crawling all over you, getting in your personal space, and interrupting your views of the foliage. Only half kidding, and you totally feel me on that one, so don’t lie…
Yep, it rained from the time we set foot into the park until about an hour before we left. And it was glorious! November rain in Orlando is NOT cold, but actually quite refreshing! Just get yourself a poncho and go on about your way. I think the longest line I personally noticed was 15 minutes, and most of the lines are under some sort of cover, anyway!
Since you don’t have children pulling at your shirt and dragging you all over the park at lightning speed, you can take a moment to take in the scenery at the park. And friends, it is magnificent!
I’m telling you, around every corner you’ll find something that makes you squeal with delight or gasp in awe. The attention to detail that you’ll find in the parks, and especially in Islands of Adventure, will be something you won’t forget for a long time. And without the kids around, you’ll be able to snap more photos as keepsakes!
Get Ready to Scream!
The rides, y’all.
I was screaming and laughing so much throughout the day! The rides are absolutely incredible, with many of them combining 3-D effects with motion. Now I will tell you up front, if you get motion sickness easily, you would be well-served to bring those wrist bands for motion sickness. I did fine, but Tim actually had to bow out of the park when we still had about 2 hours left to play. Good thing it was only a 10 minute walk back to the hotel!
Ok, so in my time in the park I got to ride quite a few things. The one I didn’t get to ride that is at the top of my list for next time was Jurassic Park (the splash up above is the grand finale of that one!). From what I did ride, though, here are my top 3 favorites:
#3. Spider-Man. What an AWESOME ride, you guys! You get to do some serious villian-fighting in this 3-D motion thriller. In my pod, there were 3 grown men sitting behind me, and they would shriek with delight every time a new comic book character came on the screen. Honestly, it was a highlight of my day just hearing how thrilled they were. They all turned back into 10-year-old boys, even if only for 5 minutes.
#2. The Mummy. This is an indoor roller coaster, and it doesn’t go upside-down. But OMG it is SOOOOO scary, and in the best possible way! Tim and I both screamed and screamed the whole time, and just when we were about to laugh, we’d start screaming again. This was the ride that as soon as I got off of it I said, “I want to do it again!!!” I was certain that nothing in the park would top that experience.
And then we headed over here…
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
And this is pretty much when my happiness meter just went off the charts. First, I treated myself to some butter beer. It sort of tastes like a butterscotch cream soda. Very sweet, but very delicious! And then I just marveled at all the detail. You guys, it was just beyond amazing. The fact that it was drizzly and gray made it even more perfect! Tim has read all the books and I have dutifully watched all the movies (hey, I can’t blog AND read!). But I will admit to you that walking around this part of the park did make me think that perhaps I should start carving out the time to read the books.
Or to re-watch the movies. Just keepin’ it real.
And this all brings me to my #1 favorite ride at both parks:
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This is the ride in the castle. The ride is so much more than just the ride, too. From the time you step in line, you are having an experience. There are various scenes that you get to watch while you wait for your turn. It feels very much like you really are walking through Hogwarts! It is, simply put, the best line-waiting experience I have ever had. Well done, Universal Studios!
And the ride, itself. Oh boy! This is the one that actually did Tim in. You are in a little pod that will move around as you ride through various scenes, attempting to join the quidditch match that is taking place between Slithering and Gryffindor. Let’s just say things go a little off course! Oh you guys. It was just the best!!!! And as much as I loved The Mummy, the next time I get to go to Universal Studios, I’m heading straight over to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And next time, I’m not leaving without one of their beautiful wands!
Our children aren’t old enough yet to be familiar with Harry Potter, so it was actually quite awesome to have the time there without them. We could geek out without boring our children (though I can’t imagine they’d be bored…the place is so magical!). And we were also able to go on the rides without taking turns holding the kids, who would be too small for most of the things we went on. Speaking of which, if you do ever go with small kids, Universal does have a great child swap program. No, you don’t swap children, but parents do get to hang back with the kids while the other parent goes on the ride, and then when they return, it is the other parent’s turn. No waiting in line twice!
All in all, I would definitely recommend a trip to the park, even without the kids. We play with our kids daily, but it is so much fun to have a day just to play with your spouse!
Have you ever been to Universal Studios in Orlando? I want to hear about your favorite parts!!! Let’s geek out about it together!! 🙂