Universal Studios is a theme park with numerous rides and attractions from the movie franchises and shows it owns. There are several such Universal theme Parks spread all around the world, however, on my recent conference trip to Orlando, I arrived in a day earlier to visit the Universal Studios in the city. I was able to spend an entire day here and did some pretty interesting things.
The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit was my first roller coaster ride and I was super nervous about it. As I had arrived early in the day, I did not have to wait in the line and got on the ride within 10 minutes, but before I could prepare myself for the ride I was already zooming through the loops and twists. Oh Boy! the ride lasted for about a minute and got the adrenaline rushing through my body. The gentleman sitting next to me even joked about puking during the ride but all I could manage was a weak smile. There were songs blaring in the speakers in the headrest for the duration of the ride which added to the excitement. Though I wanted to go on the roller coaster again before I left at the end of the day, I couldn’t, as they had closed it due to bad weather.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was my favorite part at the Universal Studios. Here I went to the Diagon Alley, ate at the Leaky Cauldron, visited the Knockturn Alley and much more. The Harry Potter movies had brought the books to life but this place turned even the movies into reality. Being a Harry Potter fan I spent most of my day here with so many fun things to do.
The best being Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, which is a 3-D ride where you get on a mini roller coaster and put your 3-D glasses on. It then takes you through a series of videos of a storyline that are projected onto the walls giving you a totally immersive experience. In this particular ride, you follow the Harry, Ron, and Hermione from the vaults of Gringotts zapping up and down on the back of the dragon to escape from Lord Voldemort and Bellatrix.
The first thing I did on entering the wizarding world was to look for Butterbeer. I had only read about it and as far as I could remember from the books that I read as a teenager, Butterbeer was served warm. So I was a bit reluctant to drink anything warm in the scorching Florida weather until I saw that they offer it in a cold version. Gulping this awesome drink was enough to quench my thirst for the next 100 years (JK). Also, it is a non-alcoholic, butterscotch flavored, cream soda which people of all age groups can enjoy.
Sipping my Butterbeer, I saw a performance of The Tales of Beedle the Bard which is a short skit where the actors in HP costumes present the tales. Even if you know the tales already, it is entertaining to watch it being performed live. There are several other exciting rides and attractions like the TRANSFORMERS and The Revenge of the Mummy which are awesome as well, but I had to wait over an hour each for getting on the ride which wasn’t as exciting as the ride.
Also, an interesting place outside the Universal Studios is called the City Walk which has numerous food joints and hangout places. There I went to a restaurant named the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. with a friend of mine. It is based on the movie Forrest Gump with movie trivia and facts written all over the place. We ordered a tasty shrimp platter and some fancy lemonades too. We also went to the Voodo Donut Shop for some desserts and these were some of the best donuts I’ve ever had.
Overall, the day was amazing and when I go to Universal Studios again I am definitely going on all the rides and attractions. But, a few rules for next time would be to get in the park as early as possible. I went here on a weekend so there were humongous crowds which meant longer wait times. Being Single gets you on the rides quicker as there are separate shorter lines for ‘single’ riders. Also, keeping my bags at the hotel as there are a few free temporary lockers near the rides which you use for the duration of the ride but cost you money if you exceed the time limit, which can be often as the lines may be longer due to the crowd.