Even though we didn’t want to leave the comforts of the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, we were all really excited to visit the parks – Universal Studios Florida® and Universal’s Islands of Adventure®. For me visiting both is a must if you are going to visit the Universal Orlando Resort area because both parks are amazing, I couldn’t pick just one. You also need a ticket to both parks if you want to take the Hogwarts Express, yep the train is there and it actually takes you from one park to another. You do need a ticket for both parks, which can add up but there is so much to do in both you’ll easily find it worth while!
My kids were most excited about Harry Potter world, well that is what they call it. Both parks have a dedicated Harry Potter section. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Hogsmeade™ is located inside Universal’s Islands of Adventure® theme park and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Diagon Alley™ is now open in Universal Studios Florida®.
Since we were staying on property at Universal Orlando we were able to receive Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (valid theme park admission required) and we even received complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access so we could skip the regular lines in both parks (admission tickets required) all day! This is a huge bonus because it allows you to wait in line less and be able to do more! If you weren’t staying at a Deluxe hotel you’d have to pay $89 per person, per day plus admission but honestly if you are tight on time its worth it so you don’t miss anything.
We actually were treated to the VIP Experience which gave us Priority front of the line access to all the rides and attractions plus a tour guide (there are more benefits, we just didn’t use them.) Our tour guide mapped out our day and made sure we got to do all the big attractions and ones my family did not want to miss.
Here is my kids favorite ride, its in the Jurassic world:
While the Jaws ride is unfortunately no longer there, they did leave a remnant:
We even caught the end of a parade:
Three hidden features I learned and couldn’t wait to share:
Height Certificate – If your child is not tall enough you can ask for a height certificate at the ride. Then when your child is tall enough you bring back the certificate and your child and up to three guests gets to go to the front of the line!
Child Swap – Each big ride has a child swap room located in it so your family can stay together until the ride and then meet back up. Universal wants families to be able to stay together while on a family vacation! The rooms were air conditioned, had a television and were not cramped. One parent can sit in the room with the child not tall enough while the other parent with your other children rides then you can swap without waiting in line again! For me this is awesome because I am usually the one missing out on rides because I am with our 3 year old.
It’s a Hot Set location – This means they film stuff there basically! From movies to shows they actually film them there! When we were there they were filming American Ninja. We didn’t get to see the actual filming as they did it at night but we got to see the actual set!
And some pictures from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
Oh and we had lunch at Mythos, which was fabulous! The atmosphere was so fun and the food was delicious!
My family had an amazing time and experienced so much in just one day, but I would definitely recommend two days as there is so much to do. We didn’t get to see any shows or the parade but those are free as well. If you can only go to one park I would check out the Universal Orlando Resort Park Maps to see which park has more attractions you want to hit. For example if you are a huge Despicable Me or Transformers fan then you might want to go to Universal Studios Florida for those rides. Universal’s Islands of Adventure features Marvel Super Hero Island®, Toon Lagoon®, Jurassic Park®, The Lost Continent®, and Seuss Landing™. Both feature The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so you won’t have a problem getting a Butter Beer fix – which is a must!
My kids are already asking to go back! Have you been to either park?
You can read more about the Royal Caribbean International® and Universal Orlando® Resort vacation package and plan your family’s amazing vacation.