Universal Studios/ Annnual Passholder Perspective
I have been wanting to blog our trips to Universal Studio’s (and all of our travels really) so here is to back blogging. It’s kind of fitting because the newest Harry Potter Book comes out this coming week so maybe it’s perfect timing rather than late. We had annual passes to Universal Studios from July 2014-July 2015. There’s already a new ride at Universal Studios the King Kong ride so I guess it means we have to go back right? This is part 1 of 3 posts about Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
Our first trip to Universal Studios as a family was in July of 2014 and we stayed at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort with my in-laws. We spent two nights at the hotel and had three days at the Parks. We got annual passes to the theme park. This trip was planned because Diagon Alley had just opened up and there are some serious Harry Potter Fans in our family. One of the reasons that we stayed at the Resort onsite was Express Passes were included for the hotel guests. The Express Pass is kinda like the Fast Pass of Disney. If you don’t stay at the resort they are about $100 a day per person. Sounds insane right? If I didn’t have an annual pass and this was my only trip to Universal Studios for a while I would definitely want the Express Pass. This way you can do more rides in a day (rather than paying for more days at the park and another hotel night). Three days was definitely a good amount of time to go to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure especially with the express pass. Another nice thing about staying in the resort was being close enough to walk to the park. We took the water taxi one time but it was much quicker to walk. We were also able to enter the park an hour earlier than other guests. We fully took advantage and showed up at 7am to line up and enter the park. Time at the park is important because the more time you have at the park the more rides you can ride. We had long days at the park even with our two kids.
The rest of the year we stayed at this Hampton Inn because it was close (we didn’t get express passes the rest of the year). Where have you stayed while visiting Universal Studios.
Here’s my one photo tip for this post. Take the picture that everyone else gets (with everyone in the party in the same frame). On every vacation I try to get a picture of the whole party at least once (many times it is just once). That’s our family of 4 soon to be 5 (I was 5 months pregnant in that photo!). Teva‘s are my favorite shoe to wear for amusement parks when it’s warm because they are super comfortable and can get wet.
My absolute favorite ride of ANY theme park is the Popeye Ride at Island’s of Adventures. The reason being is EVERYONE gets soaked on the ride. Some water rides only some people get wet but on this ride the whole barge get’s wet. I love it. It’s especially nice to go on in the afternoon. Matt’s favorite ride at Universal Studios is the Revenge of the Mummy. My daughter’s favorite ride was the Cat in the Hat. My son’s favorite ride was one fish two fish red fish blue fish.
Don’t Forget where you parked. We took pictures of where we parked just so we didn’t forget.
A lot of people asked us why we got passes to Universal Studio’s first rather than Disney World and it was mainly because we wanted to see Harry Potter World. We eat breakfast at the hotel (or eat it on the way into the theme parks) bring snacks for lunch and eat out at an amusement park for dinner. We ate at both of the Harry Potter restaurants (The Three Broomsticks and the Leaky Cauldron) and had Ice Cream at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. I had the Earl Gray and Lavender Ice Cream. When I go out to eat I like to go places with food that I don’t typically cook for myself. A lot of the food choices at Universal Studio’s are considered American (Burgers, Pizza, Lasagna/Italian) so the Harry Potter Restaurants were the most diverse/unique food at the theme parks. We’ve also eaten at Mythos Restaurant and Classic Monster’s Cafe. Close by Mythos Restaurant is a quick service restaurant and it’s called “Doc” Sugrue’s Desert Kebab House. We have eaten there and I would recommend getting food from their because again its ethnic and the kebabs are quite tasty. Where have you eaten when you’ve gone to Universal Studios? Do you eat multiple meals inside the park?
Universal Studio’s has Halloween Horrow Night which I have been to but it’s been over 15 years. I remember it being a fantastic experience (very creepy). We have a young crew at our house now so we didn’t participate in it (this event costs additional money). We did make a point to go during Christmas Time to See How the Grinch Stole Christmas Show. It follows the story and movie pretty closely. I was so impressed by the costumes to make them all look like “whos”. Here is a cell phone picture of us getting to meet the who’s after the show. The Christmas show was included in regular admission to Universal Studios.
The last event that I know of for Unviersal Studio’s is their Mardi Gras Event in the Spring. It’s a night time event with a parade and tons of beads thrown to the guests. This is included with regular admission to the park. Our kids loved it and got tons of beads. I had read that annual passholders could sign up to ride the floats and toss out beads to the guests. I called two weeks before we were going to go and apparently that wasn’t soon enough. I was told on the phone there is no limit to how often someone can ride the floats and some people sign up for every week. My advice then would be to call as early as possible to reserve your spot so you can ride the float.
The next post about Universal Studios is going to be about Universal Studio’s with Young Children.