This post might be one of our shortest.
To be completely honest, we didn’t see anything of Orlando outside of Universal Studios!
We were so exhausted after the week in New York that we used this time to rest without feeling too guilty about it. We really only stopped there for the amusement park, and as a starting point in Florida before heading south. Sorry, Orlando!
We only had 2 nights in Orlando, and upon arrival in the afternoon spent the rest of the day chilling in our airbnb watching some terrible TV (crime series, judge shows and the Jerry Springer show for about 10 seconds as that’s all we could handle), as well as chatting to our friendly host. We did venture out for a grocery shop too, and a bite to eat (rubbish fast food, this time we thought we’d try Wendy’s).
The following day we went to Universal Studios for some wild rides.
After checking multiple forums about which park was best to do (as we couldn’t afford the 2 parks pass and didn’t want to rush them in 1 day), we decided to go with Universal Studios rather than their other park, Islands of Adventures. They both had a similar amount of rides/attractions we wanted to see, but Universal seemed a bit less crazy queue wise. It also had a couple more 3D immersive rides versus pure thrill roller-coasters, which we were ok with.
As we did our research, we arrived at Universal just after the 8am opening time. At this time the park is very quiet, and you can get on anything with little to no queue!
By 10.30am we had done the main attractions in the park. September is apparently the best time to visit; kids are back to school, it’s not Halloween or Christmas, and it’s hurricane season so you’re rolling the dice weather wise.
Our top 3 rides in order:
- Revenge of the Mummy: so quick with proper roller coaster loops, but it’s in the dark so you don’t see what’s coming. Really cool. We did that one 3 times!
- Harry Potter: the whole Diagon Alley area is amazing! You really feel like you’re part of the movie. The walk to the ride itself is also amazing as you’re walking in Gringotts, the bank in one of the movies with goblins everywhere. The ride is 3D so you feel like you’re riding in the movie. It’s also quite a quick ride so really cool. Did that one twice.
- Transformers: same as above. It’s a 3D ride in New York. You really feel like you’re in it too, it’s awesome! Did that one twice.
As we never really had to wait anywhere, we were able to do every ride/attraction at least once, including the Simpson’s (awesome), Jimmy Fallon (super cool), Shrek, Minions, E.T, and the fastest ride in this park, the Hollywood rip ride rockit.
Oh man this one was something. The ride goes at 45 miles per hour through multiple loops and twists. It doesn’t ease in to it; the start is a vertical incline up, nice and slow so you have plenty of time to worry about the quick descent! Nick enjoyed it, but I found it a bit traumatic. Nick and I got out of there shaking, but pretty cool nonetheless (we only did that one once, not something you’d want to do after lunch).
Overall, we had an awesome day at Universal. We lucked out with the weather, but it did start torrentially raining just as we decided to leave. Perfect timing.
To see the rest of Orlando (and the other parks there), I guess we’ll just have to come back another time.
- September is definitely the best time to go. We barely queued all day (longest queue we did was 30mins, and it was only once. Most of the time it was less than 10 mins).
- There is a 2 parks ticket you can get to visit both universal parks. It’s US $170 per ticket, and both parks are linked with the Harry Potter train. It’s an attraction on its own. At peak time, I think it’s unrealistic to do both parks in 1 day but doable if going in September.
- Get the Universal app if heading there – it shows you wait times in real-time, and also allows you to book time slots on a few of the rides. Helps plan out your day; this would be a necessity during peak busy periods if you wanted to avoid spending all day queueing.
- If taking a bag, make sure it’s small. You need to place bags in lockers for most rides, which are free unless you need a bigger locker.