Universal Fun!

As the days grow shorter, chillier, and wetter (rain please come to CA!), I love reminiscing about my recent trip to Florida, where, even when it’s cold, it’s hot. My sister, Lee, and I took our charming and hilarious nephew, Jason, to Universal Studios Orlando for his 13th birthday.  It was a week-end full of laughs, screams, and eating lots and lots of junk food.

1 in front of universal globe
In front of the Universal Globe – A must have pic for any visitor.
2 Diagon Alley dragon
A fire-breathing dragon greets you as you enter Diagon Alley, part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Perhaps the most popular part of Universal is “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”.  Harry’s world is divided into two parts: Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.  There are two fantastic 3-D rollercoaster rides: Harry Potter and The Escape from Gringotts (in Diagon Alley) and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (in Hogsmeade).  The wait times for both of these rides get LONG (90 minutes). Neither ride honors the Express Pass, which means you cannot buy your way into a faster line. If you arrive as the park opens, then your wait time is about 20 minutes.  I also recommend you stay in the park.  All park guests can enter the park an hour before general admission.  We like the Hard Rock Hotel. The rooms are nice and the park is a quick broomstick ride away (a little Wizard humor).

3 hogwarts train
With imagination and style, The Hogwarts Express brings you back and forth between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
4 Jason and Lee in front of train
Jason and Lee waiting with anticipation to board the express train to fun!

In addition to Harry Potter, there are many other attractions for Muggles to enjoy.  We particularly liked The Simpsons Ride.   Fabulously animated, this 3-D rollercoaster will make you scream and laugh as Homer’s special brand of humor is at its finest.

5 Tressa, Lee, and Jason
We were thrilled to have our cousin, Tressa, join us for a day. Tressa lives in Sunny FLA year round.

The Simpsons Ride, as do most other rides at the park, honors the Express Pass. If you are willing to spend $40 you can purchase an Express Pass that allows you to move quickly through the long, long, long, long ride lines.  It’s money well spent.

6 Transformers
Transformers was one of my favorite rides. Together with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee I saved the human race from the nefarious Megatron and his evil Decepticon colleagues. I never felt so productive.
7 blue man group
The ubiquitous Blue Man Group. Yes, you should.
8 Universal Pigs
Yay! Delicious Junk Food (no, that is not a contradiction in terms). The CCC enjoys a burger at Mel’s Drive-In. Lee enjoys an American take on the Bento box at Cowfish. Jason enjoys his 8th Butterbeer.
9 the big pink
The Big Pink. Being an auntie means never having to tell your nephew, “no, you can’t have have a Big Pink for breakfast.”
10 bubba's gump
Jason knows how to make his aunties happy. He treated us to dinner at Bubba Gump.  Probably the best restaurant in the park.
11 Shenanigans

I am feeling warmer already! Thank you Jason and Lee for the best shenanigans ever. Jason, what shall we do for Birthday Number 14?

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