Friday, November 3, 2023


After our five days at Disney, we had tickets for two days at Universal. We did not go to these parks during our last visit in 2018 so we were looking forward to seeing something new.  There are technically two parks here - Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.  I think we could have done it all in one day, but having two days allowed us to take our time and feel more relaxed.  

I'll also just say that Universal is not Disney. I know they are trying to do the same thing, but in my opinion, it's a pale version. Disney is just so special. 

Since we were still at our Disney hotel, we needed to Uber to Universal.  We were up bright and early again to get there for park opening at 8:00. 

Quick photo op at the Citywalk.

Our plan was to get right to Diagon Alley so we headed there first, but first a photo with Optimus Prime.

Aside from what I said above about Universal, they do the Harry Potter areas really well.  Everything seemed so authentic and the details were phenomenal.  It was nice to be there first thing in the morning when it wasn't so crowded.

Our first ride was Escape from Gringotts.

We enjoyed looking around the wand shop but did not buy one (we reminded the kids they got the Droid earlier in the week).

We had the park to park tickets which allowed us to take the train to Hogwarts (in the Islands of Adventure park).

This screen made it look like you were walking through the pillar to Platform 9 3/4.

All aboard!

No sweets trolley on board though, missed oppotunity we say.

First view of Hogwarts.  We rode Forbidden Journey and Flight of Hippogriff.  The line for Hagrid's Magic Creatures Motorbike Adventure ride was too long but we knew we could come back to it later.

And the Village of Hogsmeade.  We got some breakfast at the Three Brooksticks restaurant and it actually rained for a few minutes while we were in there.  

We then saw that Hagrid's ride had a good wait so we went back there to ride that one.  It was our favourite!

We rode the Jurassic Park River Adventure, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, and the Amazing Adventures of Spider-man.  

The Incredible Hulk Coaster was next.  This is a big thrill ride that Q was too short to go on.  The line was short though so E got to go on twice in a row with Dave and I taking turns.  I did not feel 100% after this ride and I needed a fountain pop and some time to sit down.  

The others carried on into the Dr. Seuss area and then I caught up with them. 

Feeling better so I purchased this sugar cookie.

The boys went on this little ride, High in the Sky Seuss Trolley, by themselves. 

And then Sam-I-Am (and the other guy) from Green Eggs and Ham came out.

Along with the Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and Thing 2.

We did the Cat in the Hat ride and then went back to the Universal park.  Q wanted to do all of the Minion rides.  Villain Con was a pretty fun one!

Then we ran into Megatron.

We were fading by this time so after Transformers and Fast and Furious we called it a day.
We grabbed some dinner at the NBC Sports Grill and Brew restaurant.  They had tables made over foosball and shuffleboard. 

Our last full day on Thursday.  We had one more day at Universal.  We got breakfast at the cafeteria at our hotel. 

Our first stop was to see Optimus Prime and Bumblebee!

Then we saw Revenge of the Mummy ride had no line so we did that one twice.   
Next Dave and E braved this coaster.  If you can tell, it goes straight up, that's going to be a no from me, dawg.  Thankfully Dave took one for the team and went with E. 

Bless his heart!

Meanwhile Q and I did Villain Con again and met Rosita from Sing.

And I couldn't resist this Minion sugar cookie.

Hugs and photos with the Minions

We walked down to the E.T. Adventure ride, and then over through the Simpsons land.  We did Men in Black Alien Attack and saw the Back to the Future DeLorean. 

Back over to Diagon Alley.  

We did Escape from Gringotts again and then went to The Leaky Cauldron for lunch. 

We waited for a bit so we could get a video of the fire breathing dragon.  There were a lot more people than had been in the morning the day before, so I'm glad we had been early to avoid the crowds.

Back on the Hogwarts train.

We then stood in line for Hagrid's Magical Creatures ride and Jurassic World VelociCoaster. I did better on the VelociCoaster than the Hulk ride the day before.  But I kept my eyes closed for most of it!

Then we decided we were theme parked out.  With about 60 rides over our six days (plus water park) we felt sufficiently thrilled and entertained.

We headed out of the park and back to our hotel.

We got back to our room and relaxed for a bit.  Then we did some marshmallow roasting at the beach before grabbing a pizza to eat in our room.

Our flight home was at 10:00 am so we didn't have to get up too early. 

For someone who never wanted to go to Disney World, I do love it. It is a very special place and we are so fortunate that our kids are awesome, never complain, happy to get moving early, and excited to be together.  No one cried on our trip (except maybe me when watching the parade, haha) and our only real issue is that the kids seemed to want to pull or sit on every rope/chain in the line ups for the rides.  It may not be for a few years, but we will be back to Disney someday.

Read about the Disney portion of our trip here:
Part 1 (Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom)
Part 2 (EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Typhoon Lagoon)


  1. I haven't been to Universal since I was a kid because I like to spend all my time in Disney! I do think my boys would probably enjoy it there.

    1. Definitely cool things about Universal, but Disney is number one!

    2. Agreed!! Universal is cool, but Disney is so special!

      Lauren @ Don’t Mind Our Mess

  2. My boys love the Harry Potter world at Universal but I totally agree that they pale in comparison to Disney. I have two people in our family that get sick on those motion picture movie rides and I find that Universal has SO many of them and after awhile they start to feel a bit similar.

    1. I never used to get sick on rides but as I get older, I get sick on more and more. The newer rides are the hardest!

      Lauren @ Don’t Mind Our Mess

  3. I would definitely cry watching the parade.I get choked up when I hear Disney music! Sam was showing me a YouTube clip of megatron a couple of weeks ago. He was saying some really funny things to the people having a photo taken with him. I love the pic of Dave and E on the roller coaster. Sounds like you all had an amazing time!