Thursday, 31 July 2014

Universal Orlando - December 2013

This will be a brief overview, because we have been here many times. I really love Universal, and would highly recommend staying onsite at one of the original resorts (I know there's a new cheaper one, but the perqs aren't as good).  We stay at the Royal Pacific, and enjoy the early entry and express line access. Also, it's a beautiful resort.

View from the Pool Bar
Lovely Comfy Bad in a very nice room
Protip: Join Loews' loyalty program (I think it's currently called You First), for extra gifts and privileges, including free WiFi.  Actually, join any hotel's loyalty program if you're going to stay there. It's never a bad thing.
There is Free Boat Service between the resorts and City Walk
There is a lovely path leading to City Walk and the 2 parks (Universal Studio and Islands of Adventure), which travels along the canal. You can also take the boat, which is nice when your feet are sore after a day at the parks or a night dancing.

The Entrance to Islands of Adventure
 Islands of Adventure is my favourite park for many reasons. I think it has better rides and theming, and I have still not quite forgiven Studios for getting rid of Jaws.  We usually start the morning at Crescent Rolls, getting a light, inexpensive breakfast before our gruelling day in the parks.

The Forbidden Journey in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
After breakfast, if we have taken advantage of early entry, we head over to the Wizarding World, and ride The Forbidden Journey. It is fun, and the tech is quite impressive. The line is well done, as well, with excellent theming. Then we will ride Dragons, and even the Hippogriff, until it gets too crowded.
Looking back into Three Broomsticks from the Hogshead Pub 
Three Broomsticks seems to me to be horribly overpriced, but the pub attached to it is nice and kind of fun.
Camp Jurassic is not just for kids
The Jurassic Park section has the Jurassic Park water ride, which is kind of fun, and Camp Jurassic, which is a well-themed playground somewhat reminiscent of the Boneyard in Animal Kingdom.  We really enjoyed romping through there.

We don't tend to do the attractions at Toon Lagoon because we are not big fans of water rides (JP is the exception and we've never gotten too wet on it).

Seuss Landing all decorated for Christmas
Since it was December, Seuss Landing was decorated for Christmas and has never looked better. Without the decor, it looks kind of stark, but with them it is very jolly and friendly.

Marvel's Superhero island has lots of thrill rides, and has a comic book theme. The Hulk is a particular favourite, being one of the better roller coasters I have been on.

Making it snow in City Walk - it was over 70F.
City Walk is the shopping and dining section of Universal. They have several themed restaurants including a Pat O'Brien's, and Bob Marley's. The food is good and not too expensive.

Universal Monster's Cafe Detail
Universal Studios has a few rides, but mostly attractions, like Shrek 4D and Despicable Me. They do, however, have a new roller coaster that is pretty sweet. They also have some good dining venues, and some fun counter service places.

Moe's Tavern in Springfield
 Springfield was the newest section when we were there, although they were building Diagon Alley. Do read the signs at the Kang and Kodos ride. They are great.  The Simpson's ride used to be the Back to the Future ride, but I think the technology is a little better now.

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