Friday, July 15, 2016

Disney Day 5: Universal Studios

It may seem weird to title the post "Disney Day 5: Universal Studios, but that's what all the other posts are titled and I wanted to keep everything the same for documentation sake!

On our last full day in Orlando, we ventured over to Universal Studios.  I had been to Universal Studios back in the summer with Tom and his family, but this was my mom and sister’s first time visiting since the addition of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Basically, we viewed the trip to the park as going to “Harry Potter Land” and the other parts were just bonus!

We got to the park and bought tickets shortly after opening.  We decided since we only had one day at this park, as opposed to multiple days at Disney, to go ahead and get the Express Pass added to our tickets so that we could skip the regular lines.  Unfortunately, most of the Harry Potter rides don’t accept this, but it was great for the other rides that we were doing outside of the Harry Potter part.

Our first ride was Minion Mayhem.  When I was there back in the summer, the wait was constantly over two hours for this!  Needless to say, we didn’t ride it then.  However, since it was still early and February, the wait time in the regular line wasn’t that bad and with the express pass, we basically walked right on!  This was a cute, 4-D type ride…definitely not worth two hours or more of wait, but definitely fun to ride!

Mattie and me in line for Minion Mayhem
 The next ride we went on was Revenge of the Mummy.  Outside of the Harry Potter rides, this is my favorite ride at Universal!  When I was there with Tom, we rode it over and over again!  This time we settled for once, but it was great!

After this, we made our way into Diagon Alley.  I made sure to guide my mom and sister to the side that makes the sound of bricks being moved out of the way leading them in to the magical world.  Honestly, the first view when you emerge around the brick wall is just mesmerizing.  You are greeted with all of the wizarding shops and at the end of the alley, you see Gringotts Bank with the escaped dragon on top that breathes fire!

 We walked around to several shops and just tried to take in everything.  We decided to go ahead and get in line for Escape from Gringotts, and once again I was shocked that the wait time wasn’t bad.  A lot like Disney, they put so much into the details that when you are waiting in line, you just want to look at everything!

After going on the ride, we decided to grab an early lunch at the Leaky Cauldron.  Oh wow, the food was fantastic!  I had the fish and chips and my mouth is watering just thinking about it!  My sister and I both had a frozen butterbeer and my mom had a real beer (ha!).  Man, I wish I could go have another frozen butterbeer—soooo good!

Mattie and me at lunch
We got on the Hogwarts Express (which has a different storyline both ways) and rode over to Hogsmeade.  I love riding the Hogwarts Express and I know it is just a mode of transportation between the two parks, but I view it as it's own ride!!

Hogsmeade is absolutely adorable!  It looks JUST like it does in the movies.  I love all the little shops and especially Honeydukes candy shop.  Also to note, if you buy one of the interactive wands, there are places around both areas of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that you can "cast spells."  I had bought one last summer with Tom and took it back for this trip.  We had so much fun passing it around and pretending to be witches!

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the ride that is inside Hogwarts.  This is probably my favorite ride of the entire park!  Be careful though, don't ride it too many times in a row.  You can get really disoriented and feel like you have vertigo--at least Tom and I did when we rode it three times in a row!

Mattie and I both rode Dueling Dragons and we ended up in the front of the coaster.  It scared me half to death!

We walked around the rest of Islands of Adventure and then headed back to Hogsmeade to take the Hogwarts Express back to Diagon Alley.  After another walk around and another round of frozen Butterbeer, we headed out of the park.

We stopped at Bubba Gumps on the way out for dinner and then headed back to the resort.  We were absolutely exhausted after so many days of going, going, going and needed to get packed up for the drive home.

The trip to Disney with my mom and sister is a trip that I am never going to forget and always treasure.  Now that Mattie and I are grown and moved out of my mom's house, I feel like the times we get to spend together like we used to are extremely limited.  It was so much fun to get to do something so unique together (running a race which we had never done before) in the most magical place!  We started trying to convince mom to start planning the next trip to Disney...but this time to include the guys!

If you have any questions about runDisney and our experience, please let me know!  If I don't know the answer (specifically for running the half marathon), I will ask my sister and let you know!

Previous Disney Recaps: Day 1Day 2Day 3—Part 1Day 3—Part2Day 4—Part 1, Day 4—Part 2

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