Monday, September 8, 2014

Family fun at, Universal Studios and Diagon ‪Alley #‎universalorlando‬ @universalorl ‪#‎ad‬ #Travel

 I received tickets to Universal Studios  and Islands of Adventure to facilitate this review, all opinions are 100% my own.

 My family and I had the chance to do something we haven't done in more than a decade on our recent trip to Florida and that was to spend a day at Universal Orlando Resort. A lot has changed! From top to bottom things were great, from the rides to the food we had a great time the only issue was the surface of the sun heat and the humidity that makes your sweat have sweat. Nothing you can do about the heat just gotta grin and bear it. The last time we were in Universal was 2001 and thanks to my husband (than boyfriend) so very many years ago, and we were excited to be back.



Our main course was to visit Diagon Alley and that did not disappoint. But we did a few things before we escaped Gringots like the Minion Ride, this is one of the best 3D rides/movies around. You're turned into a minion by Gru and go in for minion training that's where the wheels come off and hilarity ensues. This is a non stop all out fun time from start to finish, from the pre-show to the dance party at the end of the experience this is one of those rides you'll go back on again and again. Next up was the Transformers ride and that was another 3D ride but this time you actually moved via a ride vehicle and experienced the ride on many levels. The 3D, again, simply fantastic. I saw my husband kept lifting his glasses up and was marveling at just how real it all looked and felt. I really wanted to get a picture of us with Bumblebee but our timing was off and we kept missing him....oh well there's always next time.

Next up was a ride we loved the last time we were at Universal and it's held up nicely in those thirteen years Men in Black. This is a ride/game and it's the best of its kind. The premise is simple you're training to become a agent or a Man in Black. You load into the ride vehicle, grab your phaser and start shooting aliens! This ride not only pits you against the other players in your car but the car on the opposite side of the ride as you, highest score gets bragging rights. We loved it in 2001 and loved it just at much in 2014 and thanks to the Universal Express Pass we rode it 3 more times in a row! If you're going to visit Universal Studios I highly recommend the Universal Express Pass. We walked past line after line and it made touring the park so much easier. The fact that we rode several head liners without waiting in succession makes this pass worth the cost.


From the Men in Black we were off to Springfield and the thing other than Diagon Alley we were all looking forward to seeing. Being Simpson's fans for as long as we have been we were really excited to walk around and soak it all in. From Moe's to the Kwik-E-Mart to the Android's Dungeon (best facade EVER!) it really felt like we were in the cartoon. 

 We had the chance to try a Flaming Moe....if you're not familiar with the drink Moe spilled cough syrup into a drink and lit it on fire and became an over night sensation and since it was Moe it wound up all going south for him....but for us we got to try a Flaming Moe and it didn't disappoint! It was smokey and tasty and came in a cool Flaming Moe glass and my husband would have stayed there all day drinking them if I let him. 
 We then headed over to the Simpson's ride and again were blown away with the 3D and all the fun that happens on that ride. Getting off of the ride we had the chance to meet with the Simpson's and they took a liking to my husbands shirt it was a mash up shirt that looked like the Cheer's logo but instead of saying Cheer's Boston, MA it said Moe's, Springfield USA. Homer noticed the shirt and pointed it out to the rest of the family and they all gathered around my husband making a big fuss, it actually made for some great pictures, you can see Homer pointing to my husbands shirt in the picture like a hey look at this great shirt kinda point. It made my husbands day, week, and month.


But the reason we came to Universal Studios was to see what we heard was mind blowingly fantastic, simply awesome and a absolute must see.....Diagon Alley.
 Words can not do Diagon Alley justice, it really is something that needs to be seen and experienced to really get the sheer brilliance of this area. Once you pass through the busted out brick wall you feel like you're not in Florida anymore, you feel like you've been transported to London.
 It's amazing how detailed and realistic everything is, the shops are superbly themed and feel like they jumped right from the movies to actual existence like Weasley's Wizard Wheezes where Fred and George sell all kinds of wacky potions and Extendable Ears and our daughters favorite pygmy puffs. 
The store was colorful and unique and unlike any other theme park store we've ever been in. And Olivander's of course because what's a wizard without a wand? 
You can get a replica wand of your favorite Harry Potter character or get one that's totally different and unique to you. If you're daring enough to take a trip down Knockturn Alley you'll find Borgin and Burkes as they say you don't have to be a Death Eater to gain entry but it helps! This is my kind of shop, dark and sinister and loaded with macabre and spooky items. These are just a few of the many well themed shops that you'll encounter at Diagon Alley, but the reason everyone if flocking here is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. This isn't a ride. This isn't an attraction. This is an experience!

You see Gringotts Bank when you enter Diagon Alley it's located to the back of the Alley and it's hard to miss because of that rather massive fire breathing dragon perched on top of it! And fire breathing isn't just implied here, the dragon breathes fire and you can feel the heat! Once you enter the attraction you feel like you're in Gringotts Bank, the marble lobby with the rich dark woods and the many Goblins that are hard at work and they look as real as a Goblin can look...they're amazing. 


 You have to make your way 9 miles below the earth to get onto the ride and the elevator ride down is one of the best ways I've ever gotten to a ride, the effects and feel are so life like and realistic you'll actually think that you're going beneath the surface of the earth. I'm glossing over a lot of things because I'm the kind of person who hates spoilers and I don't want to ruin anything for those who haven't yet had the chance to experience this awesome attraction. 
Once down deep enough you make your way to the ride vehicle and the rest is just about the best ride/3D show combination we've ever encountered. I'm not lying when I say words can not truly describe what we saw. The future is looking bright for theme park goers because Universal raised the bar with Escape from Gringotts.  If you have a little one that just may be a little too short to experience the ride (you must be at least 42" to ride) don't worry your little one can get a certificate to come back when they are a bit taller, and get front of the line access the ride!

You can even visit the Gringotts Money Exchange, guests can exchange Muggle money for Gringotts Notes in $10 and $20 denominations. This is a special place where you can talk to the goblin and h will TALK back to you! It was an amazing place.
Once we successfully escaped Gringotts (a few times) we were hungry and headed over to the Leaky Cauldron (a rather famous pub) for lunch and were blown away by the food. This isn't typical theme park fare this is top notch good food at a great price.
  I had the Banger Pub Style Sandwich and that's a sausage sandwich served with wedge fries and these were some of the best fries I had in a while.
 My husband went for his favorite Bangers and Mash, you can't go wrong with sausage and mashed potatoes and peas. We both washed out meals down with Frozen Butterbeer, while my daughter who typically eats like a horse opted to just nibble on our food and drink a Fishy Green Ale. 
 The Ale looked as awful as it sounds but the taste was soooo good and she really enjoyed the flavored bubbles. The food as I said was wonderful and at a level most theme park guest aren't accustomed to, this isn't just burgers and chicken finger type food, this is a well thought out menu and it's executed to perfection. 
And just for the record Frozen Butterbeer is off the charts good! We shared a dessert and when I say shared I mean I got a small taste as well as my daughter while my husband dominated the rest of it. 
 
We had the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream. We've had this type of pudding before and it was good, but once we dove into the pudding it was a totally different experience and my husband just tore into it and before we knew it the only thing left were crumbs.....he felt bad so he bought me ice cream at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour. Wow. 
The choices were many and thanks to the line I had a chance to decide what I wanted and opted to go with Clotted Cream and Butterbeer and it was awesome. The clotted cream tasted like a cheese cake while the Butterbeer tasted like heaven. From lunch and dessert we headed on over to what my husband had been waiting for Islands of Adventure! So with the sweet treats and amazing experiences and rides Universal Orlando was stupendous! But there is so much more to come.....


Have you experienced Universal Studios recently?

I received tickets to Universal Studios  and Islands of Adventure to facilitate this review, all opinions are 100% my own.


Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions . No monitory compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review. Your experience may differ. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .



25 comments:

  1. Oh man, I have to get back down there. My kids would LOVE that.

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  2. What awesome photos, we haven't been there before but I am dying to go. For the new Harry Potter attractions to The Simpsons - I want to see it all!!!

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  3. I love all of your pictures, looks like you had an amazing time! I'm hoping to make it there one day soon

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  4. I absolutely love Universal Studios. It's one of the best theme parks out there in my opinion. I love being immersed in my favorite movies.

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  5. Universal Studios Orlando is amazing. I can't wait to take my daughter there.

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  6. I love Universal Studios Orlando. I went there when I was a kid with my marching band. It was totally awesome. I've got to get back there, so I can see Diagon Alley.

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  7. Universal Studios Orlando FTW! That place is the bizomb.

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  8. It looks like you had a great time! Those potato wedges look so good!

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  9. I would really love to take my family to Universal Studios Orlando. Years ago I lived in Orlando way before this was built. It looks like tons of fun and your photos are terrific!
    twinkle at optonline dot net

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  10. Ahhh I want to go here so bad! I hope we can get back to Florida soon and go. It looks so amazing!

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  11. 3D rides are my husband's favorites as well. I'm not surprised that Universal Studios does them right! :-)

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  12. You know, I haven't been in probably twelve years. We keep saying we want to take the kids and yet we haven't. I need to get on this... like ASAP

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  13. Wow that looks like a lot of fun! I would love to be able to go someday!

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  14. Wow that looks like so much fun! I've always wanted to go to Universal Studios and now I want to go even more!

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  15. I love Universal Studios. Was hoping to go on our trip down in October but not going to happen sadly.

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  16. Wow, that looks like such an awesome place to take the kids or grandkids. I wish we had a place like this close. I loved all of your pictures. Many memories were made here.

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  17. Wow has this park changed so much since I have been there many years ago! It's on my bucket list to take my family.

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  18. I can't believe we were both there and never had the chance to meet. How absurd is that? I loved the whole Universal experience!

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  19. I really have to get there at some point. The pictures look amazing . The Dragon on the bank is so cool. I will be adding this to my bucket list for sure.

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  20. Wow, Universal Studios looks so amazing! I hope to see it someday with my family of five!!

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  21. I would love to visit Diagon Alley. As big a fan as my son is, though, I think he would appreciate the Simpsons even more! Thank you for sharing!

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  22. This place just looks amazing!! I really hope to be able to take my family here some day.

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  23. Sorry - cut and paste didn't work and the email form took me two times to work! :)

    Hopefully I can take my kids to Universal in the future as it looks awesome! Thanks for sharing this amazing post!

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  24. I've never been. I am so jealous. Maybe next year I'll take my tax refund and put a down payment on a trip. I'll probably ask for tips.

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Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions, . No compensation was received. All opinions are my own. This is a unofficial fan site that is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or Disney theme parks.

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