On March 6th my husband and I went to Universal Orlando for our 7th Anniversary. I’ve been wanting to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, of course! We were waiting for a time to go without the shorties, because they are much too short for most of the rides at Universal Orlando’s Island of Adventures. So what better time to go then when were celebrating 7 YEARS OF MARRIAGE! :woot: :woot:
First off, we stayed at the Loew’s hotel. I liked the proximity (walking distance) to City Walk and the parks – but I wasn’t crazy about the fact they stuck us on the same floor as the dogs. Loew’s is pet-friendly, which is fine if I brought my dogs. But hearing and seeing yippee dogs in the hallway and outside my window just doesn’t scream “romantic getaway”. Instead I was thinking, “How many dogs have slept in this bed?”
The good part about staying at Loew’s was that the had GREAT sushi at the Orchid Sushi bar by the lobby. Their spicy tuna roll was wonderful. We always love the Caterpillar roll. And I was in love with the Volcano Roll. Also look for the roll that is topped with Smoked Salmon. I would love to have that one again.
It was also a major perk that residents at the hotel get an Express pass to pass ahead longer lines AND get to go to the park 1 hour earlier. That makes a huge difference on how fast you can visit attractions.
My husband and I went straight to the back section of Islands of Adventure, towards the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and jumped onto a 10 minute line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Forest. We did that, because you can’t use the Express Pass on this ride. It is a mix of 3-D screens and actual animated, robotic figures. Sometimes you are flying with Harry through a Quidditch Match and other times you are trying to escape from giant arachnids and dementors. It was a load of fun. And we moved through the line so quick, which actually is in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft, that we did the walking tour (which had no line) to get a better look at the different rooms, moving paintings, artifacts and more. You do have to put your items in a locker, but the locker is free for the first 30 minutes.
After that we rode the Dragon Challenge, which had NO LINE. We walked right on one of the Hungarian Horntail. This one looped around and seemed to chase the other dueling coaster, the Chinese Fireball. By the end, on no breakfast and an evening of (over)celebrating with wine, I was feeling quite nauseous.
So we got what I realllly wanted since they opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Butterbeer. YUM! It was as good as I expected. I always thought it would be like Cream Soda with Butterscotch, and I think it is perfect. It is non alcoholic so that kids can enjoy it, as well as adults. You can purchase it on the streets from the Butterbeer carts (two of them, forming four lines). You can get it with bubbles, without and frozen. I liked it carbonated, not frozen. It was just over $3 a cup. You can also purchase it at the Three Broomsticks. It immediately settled my belly and energized me, so I could explore the shops Dervish and Banges, Filchs Emporium of Confiscated Goods, Honeydukes, Ollivanders, and Zonko’s.
I really wanted to purchase a wand for the boys, but my husband said that it would be better for them to choose their own – or let a wand choose them. Mwa-ha-ha. I also saw a lot of tees I liked, but ended up leaving empty-handed as we went to the other sections of the park. I won’t get into too much detail about the rest of the day. We got soaked, I was cold, we bought some Marvel souvenirs for me (a t-shirt), the boys (tumblers) and my husband (keychain). And we actually ended up going through the park in under 4 hours – and that was with my husband riding the Incredible Hulk Coaster 2x. I sat out on that one, it gives me a headache. But I did enjoy the sunshine!
If we brought the boys with us in the future, I can see spending 6 hours at the park, taking into account traveling with little shorties. We’ll probably wait until they are at least 8 and 9, though, so they can get more out of the theme park. To me, the original Universal Studios would be a better bet with a 3 and 4 year old who are 39″ and 40″ tall.