Thinking of visiting Universal Studios anytime soon? Well, you’re in for a treat! Universal Studios Florida is where your favorite heroes and heroines burst the screens and tug you into your favorite film. Except here, you will be the star, disappearing into one breathtaking adventure after another. Enjoy the next generation of blockbuster entertainment, where shows and attractions bring to life your favorite movies and cutting-edge rides that are guaranteed to speed your adrenaline.
The world's premier TV and movie-based theme park has added a lot more features in the past few years, making it a more extensive must-do summer vacation. If you're a Disney fan who wants to know whether a trip to the Universal Orlando Resort is worth it, then you are in the right place. Here I’ll share details about the park, from entertainment to food and dining, and leave you a few tips to help make your visit more enjoyable.
History of Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Florida was first opened on June 7, 1990. It came from a joint venture between The Blackstone Group and Universal Entertainment. The park was Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ main competitor at that time. Universal Studios Florida is the world’s premier movie and TV-based theme park.
Universal features six themes including; Port of Entry, The Lost Continent, Seuss Landing, Jurassic Park, Marvel Super Hero Island, and the Toon Lagoon. The park later opened Universal CityWalk, a part of Universal Studios Hollywood. Universal also opened its first onsite hotel, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, in September 1999. Loews Hotels and The Blackstone Group partially owned this hotel. The trio of two theme parks, the hotel, and CityWalk, was named Universal Studios Escape, which later changed to Universal Orlando Resort. In December 2000, Universal Orland opened its second onsite hotel, Hard Rock Hotel. On May 21, 2007, Orlando partnered with Warner Bros to officially introduce the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a new addition to the Islands of Adventure Park. I was actually in the LONG opening line on this day! I had no idea what was going on…but soon realized why all the park guests (except for me and my family) were all dressed like wizards! Pretty cool event to accidentally be a part of! And later, on July 8, 2014, the public was let into the Diagon Alley.
Universal Florida has much to offer; therefore, spending several days is highly recommended. Speaking of accommodation, one can stay on-site (hotels inside the park) or offsite (hotels outside the park). Universal's onsite-hotels provide great bang for the buck since some include free Express and all offer early Park Admission one hour before they are officially open. However, offsite hotels will save you money because there are so many non-universal hotels competing for guests.
There are plenty of food booths in the park that serve different varieties of food; sure to satisfy all appetites in your party. Additionally, there are excellent counter service restaurants, including Leaky Cauldron, and Hogsmeade’s table-service restaurant Mythos.
On the other hand, CityWalk is Universal's shopping and dining complex with relatively new dining spots such as Big-fire, Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, Voodoo Doughnut, Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar, and the VIVO Italian Kitchen. With Universal Dining Plan, you can buy the Quick Service variety plan; which includes a quick service meal, drink, and snack. Finish your day with the sumptuous chocolate feast from fuggedaboutit that will leave your sweet tooth BEGGING for more!
There are three types of tickets varied by prices and limitation of access to activities. The Park-to-Park ticket allows you to visit two or all the three Universal Orlando Resort parks on the same day. Base Tickets are mainly for visiting Universal Studios Florida but may also render your entry into the adjacent Universal's Islands of Adventure. Adding a Universal Express access ticket to your theme park admission allows you to skip the regular lines and squeeze in some more fun into your day.
Entertainment – Attractions and Rides
Imagine defending the Earth, going behind the scenes, dodging evil villains, casting a spell with a wand, and even entering into the animation world where your favorite characters are suddenly right next to you. Interesting, right? Entertainment is clearly what Universal Studios Florida is about. The park is filled with countless theme-based games and interesting, adventurous, or even adrenaline-filled activities. Some of the best jaw-dropping ventures that will get you thrilled and intrigued include:
• Fast and Furious supercharged
Fast & Furious — Supercharged should be your first venture in the park if you want to get in the middle of the action. The attraction has more than ten authentic vehicle replicas, props, and surprises that will make you feel like you’re directly in the movie.
• Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
Have you ever thought of joining Gru, his daughters, and the Minions on a ride? Well, here is the chance. Your journey will begin at Gru's home, where you're recruited as an actual minion…fun right?!! I mean, where else can you become a minion! However, if you don't focus, you will venture into a memorable trip through Gru's super-villain laboratory. Gasp! Margo, Agnes, and Edith race along with you, as interactive laughs and minion-inspired dance parties. This is very humorous family fun, so own the floor and show off your best moves.
• Men in Black (MIB)
Because of its hidden location, Men in Black Alien Attack is usually overlooked and underrated. Here, you will be recruited as MIB to safeguard the Earth from aliens! You and other trainees immediately get into action to test out your skills, blasting aliens as they enter the Men in Black top-secret headquarters. At the end, you and your MIB partners each receive a mission score. My grandma kicked our butts! Too funny! This is definitely a family ride you don’t want to miss.
• Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
This is adrenaline, music-fueled roller that coaster goes up to 65 mph speed. This is one of my favorite spots. Be ready to hold on tlight!…as you go up 17 stories over Universal Studios Florida before rolling back down at a speed of 65 mph. Make fascinating memories with the world's first non-inverting loop as your roller-coaster adventure is being recorded on video.
• Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
Face off with comedian Jimmy Fallon on a humorous race through the City of New York. Take part in the race competition through mid-town streets, zoom over skyscrapers and dive into the East River. Will you be the winner? Ride to find out!
• Revenge of the Mummy
This is Universal Studio's indoor roller coaster meant for the brave. The dodging of danger at every turn, creepy bugs, free-falling, and terrifying total darkness is not for the faint-hearted. Escaping one problem will lead you into warrior mummies, insects, and real fire. Endeavor to escape your ancient curses and try to figure out mysteries. This ride is a must and my absolute favorite! But if you have heart troubles, seriously…this isn’t your ride. Not at all. But everyone else, DO IT!!!!!
The Jurassic World Veloci-coaster, a new exciting addition to the Universal Florida Park’s entertainment, is yet another thrill-filled ride. Shrek 4-D, on the other hand, involves an encounter with ghost enemies, fire-breathing dragons, and a 1,000-foot waterfall drop. Transformers - The Ride-3D is also an attractive spot in Universal Studio Florida that takes you on an action-adventure with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee.
Tips and Advice
➢ Always ride the outdoor rides first since weather can be unpredictable in Florida. Everytime we visit, it rains. Never fails! Always bring ponchos and a travel umbrella! If you don’t want to, that’s totally okay…as Universal always has them for purchase. But rides the rides first because as soon as lightening is spotted within 5 miles, rides will shut down!
➢ Some rides may not allow little kids less than 40 inches. Luckily, Universal's "rider swap" program provides a nifty workaround for families.
➢ The best time to visit is during school days when crowds are minimal.
➢ Get the Universal Express Pass - You’d rather spend some extra bucks for the Universal Express Pass. It allows you to bypass a massive chunk of the regular line.
➢ Ride solo on the "single-rider" when possible. This option allows you to bypass some wait time.
➢ Bring your water bottle! Not only is this a good way to save a few dollars but you’re also saving the planet.
➢ Stay at one of Universal's hotels for easy access and special offers and convenience.
Summing it all up
Rule number one, life is meant to be fun; with an upcoming adventure around the corner! The adventure you take should be either interesting or daring. of those two, Universal Studios Florida is definitely the latter. Universal is fun-packed and worth your time and every cent invested. So go ahead and set aside three days to explore each park, revisit favorite attractions, and quench your adventure thirst this summer. Looking for the best rates? Or just need help booking and planning? Send me a message! As your travel agent, I’m always here to help.