Let’s commence the main event — four days of Florida sunshine and theme parks!
First day up was Universal Studio – Islands of Adventure. Now, we did this park once already, but we compared it against the attractions at the other Universal Studios, and this seemed like a better use of our money. Arriving at the parking lot entrance, we had to decide if we wanted $35 Prime parking (closer to the parks) or the $22 Standard (far from the parks) garages. After some quick research in the car, and some grumbling, we opted for the Prime parking, which was indeed significantly closer. Normally we wouldn’t care too much, but it turned out to be useful later in the afternoon (more on that later.)
Once getting through multiple moving walkways, the security line, CityWalk, and the ticket entrance area, we were finally in. As per the plan, we hightailed it to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area. Lily was now 54″ tall, and Lily could now ride the fun and exciting Dragon Challenge roller coaster we enjoyed last time. We surprised to find it was torn down recently to make way for something new. Rats. Lily took it in stride, and we waited an hour for the Forbidden Journey attraction. Pretty good… once we got on.
We hit up the rest of the Hogsmeade area, the kids drank Butter Beer, and we walked to the Dr. Seuss area to ride that Seuss trolley ride again. We found the Winters family, and we walked around the park. The kids did a few rides and attractions like the Poisedon’s Fury, The Jurassic Park play area, the Pteranodon Flyers, Bilge-Rat Barges, and the Spider-Man ride. Hulk was down for the afternoon, and there were long lines at Kong and most other stuff. Frankly, the park was very crowded, and the only people who benefited were those who paid an extra $70 (each) for the Express passes. I think I rode or went to 3 rides/attractions total. Not exactly a fun-packed day.
We did wait about 30 minutes on line for lunch at this BBQ restaurant.
By mid-afternoon, my backpack was overstuffed from unneeded hoodies and souvenirs, so I opted to make the trek back to the car to offload all the bulky weight. Now I was glad we paid extra for the Prime parking!
We stayed until around 6 PM. We could have stayed longer to get onto some of those rides and attractions that were too full, but the kids (and adults) were pretty tired from all the walking around under the hot sun. We went home to rest and cool off. In the evening, instead of grabbing dinner out, I picked up some Chinese food takeout, some drinks for Mom and Dad, and we ate and chilled out in the hotel room.
Next time, I would either do Universal Studios (the other park), or visit in an off-peak season, because the Spring Break crowd is crazy. Or maybe stick to Disney only next time. I like that you don’t have to pay extra to get on 3 rides per day without waiting.