Universal Orlando Resort Florida – September 2018
Jackie had an action-packed trip to Universal in Florida this year courtesy of Virgin Atlantic, Gold Medal Holidays and Universal experiencing everything the resort has to offer.
Our flight was direct with Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick to Orlando, we travelled in premium Economy which was extremely comfortable for the 10-hour flight with complimentary drinks 3 course meal and a great entertainment system. Our stay on site at the Universal Orlando Resort was at the Loews Sapphire Falls which meant we could make use of the complimentary water taxis available to all 3 parks, together with early park admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Day 1 was the start of our tour at the Universal Islands of Adventure park and oh my what I start it was. My first ride was on the Hulk Rollercoaster – not for the fainthearted unless you like being upside down! This was followed by Doctor Dooms Fearfall Space Shot – yes it shoots you at high speed followed by a fast fall!! At Islands of Adventure you will also find more thrilling rides, Barge and Rip-Water rides – with a guarantee of getting soaked and simulator experiences themed to Spider-Man, Popeye, King Kong, Transformers, Mummy and Jurassic Park with an incredible Raptor Encounter as well as seeing the awesome Hogsmeade Castle in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. From here you can take the Hogwarts Express to the Studios Park where you arrive in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.
Day 2 was spent at Universal’s Volcano Bay – the waterpark. The wonderful resort park has a mix of thrilling rides and slides as well as a wonderful Lazy River, all with the view of “The Volcano” in the centre. At the base of the Volcano is the Waturi Beach wave pool with a large beach area and sunbeds – perfect to relax after a busy day at the Adventure Park.
Day 3 and park 2 was Universal Studios here there are more thrilling rides for the brave including the Rip Ride Rock It – choose your own music while this rollercoaster takes its first climb at 90 degrees followed by the first drop! Studios also has more themed and simulation rides for The Simpsons, E.T, Shrek 4-D, Despicable Me, Barney and friends, Men in Black, Fast and Furious. Here you can also visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley filled with shops, themed restaurants for food and a drink of Butter Beer. From here the Hogwarts Express will take you on an Escape from the Gringotts journey back to Islands of Adventure!
There really is something for all the family at all three parks – rides are height based but there is something for all ages young and old! Transport between parks and hotels is very well organised and not far at all, there are walkways, shuttle buses and water taxis also link some of the hotels as well as plenty of car parking.
As well as the 3 parks, at the entrance to Islands of Adventure and Studios you will find Universal Citywalk – this is the drop off point for these two parks and is home to a wonderful choice of themed restaurants, bars and entertainment. From the infamous Blue Man Group show to Pat O’Brien’s with wonderful cocktails and live piano duo taking song requests to Rising Star Karaoke to Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and with this the restaurants have every food type imaginable! For daytime eats and drinks there is the opportunity to purchase a Dining Card Plan which provides a quick service meal, drink and snack per day purchased. All purchases in any of the Universal Resorts can also be charged to your hotel room card.
I was so lucky to experience so much on this trip and we really did get the best out of our stay using the Universal 3 Park Explorer tickets and making the most of the early park admission to either of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! There is also the choice to purchase Express Ride Access to give you unlimited entry to a faster ride experience or if you opt to stay at the Universal Hard Rock, Loews Royal Pacific Resort or Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.