Saturday, August 27, 2016

Our Wintertime Visit to Islands of Adventure and a Little Visit to Universal Studios

snowman
A Harry Potter Snowman
This past December, my daughter Nadia and her school band were selected to march in the Universal Studios Macy's Parade in Orlando, FL!  My sister and I decided to venture up there and hang out for the day at Islands of Adventure® and then take the Harry Potter "Train" over to Universal Studios® to catch the parade in the evening.  Boy, did we have a BLAST!  I had not laughed so hard in such a long time. 

Seuss Land at Islands of Adventure

My sister and I arrived at the park around 9:00 a.m., we had actually beat Nadia's bus.  I enjoyed texting her and telling her I was at the park already.  A mother has to have some fun.  Any ways she was going to be with her friends at one park while my sister and I were at the other.  This was her first time traveling without me.

The weather was GREAT!  It was 60 degrees which was really cold for us Floridians.  We were freezing with scarves and jackets on. LOL.  I recommend you visit during the winter, unless you can really stand the heat.  It is also less crowded.

seuss land train at islands of adventure in orlando florida

We started off first in the Dr. Seuss area.  A lot of fun.  We went on the Trolley Train first and they were reading parts of Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? on the ride; and that was one of Nadia's favorite stories.  I have read it over and over and over with all the sound effects included since she was a baby.  So a little sadness came over me, that she was growing up and on a different "Island"; with her friends; buying Harry Potter wands without me.  

The ride was very cute.  We then went on The Cat in the Hat™  Another fun ride, and yes, I love reading this book too.

Harry Potter Area of Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida

We then headed to the land of Harry Potter™.  COOL!  They did a great job on theming this area.  The snow really fit in with the cold weather we were having.  This was our first time visiting Islands of Adventure® since they made the Harry Potter area.  So, we always enjoyed riding Dueling Dragons (which is now Dragon Challenge™ ) in the past, so we saw the Castle and went inside.  It was very dark and you had to get a locker.  That part was crazy, it was crowded with people coming in and out, that you had to basically push your way to a locker and then try to figure out how to use it.  You basically have to put everything in the Locker.  I was not even allowed to wear my scarf on the hulk ride. I had put it i my pocket and zipped it up and i had to go back and put it in the locker.

After you have the locker thing sorted out, you can then get in line.  It was a neat wait.  They have different scenes come up in the different rooms you enter while in line.  There is even one part when fake snow falls over you.  Don't be a fool like me and look up.  One of the little suds went in my eye and it stung for a little tiny bit.  Of course I was chastised by sister. "you fool! Who looks up in fake snow?"

Harry Potter Castle at islands of adventure in orlando, florida

It was our turn for the ride.  "Wow", I said to my sister.  "They sure have changed the way Dueling Dragons looked like before", even the seats were different.  My sister agreed. We were then situated and it was very dark and we started flying in front of a big gigantic movie screen and then as the ride went on, we were flipped upside down.  I yelled to my sister, "What the Heck are we on? I do not think this is Dueling Dragons"  She agreed as she screamed.

Here is why you should read the sign before you get on a ride.  We were on the Forbidden Journey Ride.  It was a very cool ride, but you are flipped upside down a couple of times.  It wasn't like a roller coaster fast flip, it was more like a slow flip.

After we were done crying from laughing so hard about how we did not know what ride we were on, we took a break and I tried some Pumpkin Juice and sis tried the Butter beer.  I love pumpkin very much, but that Butter beer was quite good too.

We then went on to ride the HULK ™.  I still LOVE LOVE LOVE that ride.  After a few more rides, it was time to board the train to Universal Studios.

Train Ride at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios

In order to get on the train to go to Universal Studios ®, you need to make sure you have purchased the Park to Park Ticket.  The train will be an interesting ride for the whole family, just look out the window.

Diagon Alley in Harry Potter at Universal Studios

When we arrived at Universal Studios® We tried to locate Diagon Alley™ We wanted to eat at the Leaky Cauldron™, but could not find it.  So we asked a cast member and she told us "It's over there, just walk through the brick wall", "Say what?" I replied.  She laughed and said "really, just go through the brick wall."  So, we gave it a try, we were starving.  We found the "brick wall" and when you do go through, a whole new world opens up.

Beef and lamb stew in Guines Stout at the Leaky Cauldron

We found the Leaky Cauldron™ The food was really good and the service was friendly and fast.  I had the Beef, Lamb and Guinness Stew, ti was very good.  We also tried the "special brew": Dragon Scale - which I had, it was a reddish beer and the Wizard's Brew - my sis had and it was a stout with a chocolate smooth taste.  We both liked the Wizard's Brew the best.

Dragon in the Alley at Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida

After we were done eating we went back into the "Alley" and saw the huge Dragon.  It is supposed to blow fire at certain times, but we missed it.

Transformer at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida

It was now time to go get ready to watch Nadia in the Holiday Parade.  We did not get to see much at Universal Studios® at this visit, but we will be back.  There was a lot to see and do.  If you plan it right you could do both parks in one day; but if you want to take your time and take everything in; then you may want to do two days.  

You can visit universalorlando.com for more information on ticket prices, events and more.