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Universal Studios-Orlando, FL


Thanksgiving week we ventured to Universal with our kids for the week! We chose to surprise our kids and boy are we glad we did! See prior post for that fun! We chose to do it with 3/4 of our kids ages 6, 9, and 16 because our family are big Harry Potter fans and this was a great time to experience the magic!🪄 We visited near the holidays and it was a must do! Crowds were low and we barely waited long for most rides. Everything is decorated, Christmas based, and all lit up. There were holiday shows as well. 🎄

We flew direct both ways from Buffalo, New York to Universal Studios Orlando📍🎢

🏨We stayed at Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort and it was so family friendly! We had direct access to the pools and lazy river, events were planned throughout the week, character visits on Friday and a restaurant for all your meal needs, ice cream shop, and Starbucks on property. ☕️ Each day you were able to access to a shuttle that transported you to the parks and got rope drop an hour before the public depending on the park. We spent two days at the resort. They have outdoor bars and restaurants outdoors to access while being poolside.

Must haves for the parks 🧳:

Lanyards: these hold your ticket, room key, and photo pass. We loved these because we each got a color:

Collapsible water bottles: $6 a water so these are great for clipping on instead of paying to store larger ones. These were our favorite:

Ponchos: the weather changes often and these are great for the water rides. 💦 These are great for colors for each family member:

Fanny pack: Backpacks are big and can’t be taken on rides. They will have you pay to store your belongings on quite a few rides; especially the more popular ones. We got these for our kids:

Park Tickets:🎟️

We had a five day hopper passes between parks. Highly recommend because you can go where you want when you want and are able to take the Hogwarts Express between both parks. 🚂 The experience both ways is different and incredible.

Universal Studios Park 🎵🎢:

Our favorite park of both! We spent 2.5 days here and it was perfect. All our favorites in this park! This park covers Minions, Jimmy Falllon, Simpsons, Men in Black, ET, Diagon Alley, Transformers, The Mummy, Gringotts, and others. Some of our favorite rides were Rip Ride Rockit, ET, Krustyland, Gringotts, The Mummy and Jimmy Fallon through NYC.

While in Diagon alley we did the Wand experience at Ollivanders and our kids got to select their wands and use them in both parks for a magical interactive experience. Be sure to exchange your money at the Gringotts to use throughout the park! Catch a show in Diagon alley, grab a butterbeer too and catch the Gringotts dragon breathing real fire! So cool! We also tried the butterbeer ice cream! Delish! 🍦


🎤Our favorite shows we highly recommend were the Horror Makeup which highlighted makeup of horror films, Animal Actors where our son was selected to be the featured star!🌟 The third was Bourne Stuntacular that highlights Jaden from Bourne Identify! So amazing!

During the holiday, US hosts a Macy's Holiday Parade on the main strip by the huge Christmas tree and where the Blues Brothers perform. The parade starts at 5:30 each day during the timeframe, but line up early to get access. It gets busy quick! The high rise balloons and performances are so incredible. You even get a sneak peek of Santa at the end. 🎅🏻

Places to Eat🍽️:

After a night at the park on Thanksgiving, we made reservations to have a Thanksgiving meal at the Poolside at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Studios at Amistad. It was a full buffet with 13 stations of foods from around the world. They had live music, face painting, and an incredible view. While it was very pricey, it was such a cool experience. Our family loved it!

While in the park we tried the donut 🍩 from Lards in US along with a duff beer. 🍺 We enjoyed lunch at Antojitos - Universal Citywalk for Mexican. 🌮

We made reservations at Big Fire 🔥enjoyed great steaks and seafood. 🍝 We also ate dinner at Mulligans on the main strip in the park. This was Irish food and was delish 🇮🇪

Islands of Adventure 🦖🦕:

This park was great. Not our favorite between both, but We spent 1.5 days and the younger ones loved this one. This park covers Dr. Suess, Hogsmeade, Jurassic Park, Classic Comics, and a few others. Some of our favorite rides were Hagrid’s Motorbike, Forbidden Journey, Jurassic Park water ride, Velocicoaster, The Hulk, Spider-Man, King Kong, Hippogriff, and the Ripsaw water ride.

We purchased tickets for the Grinch Breakfast and Three Broomsticks. Would highly recommend! For the Grinch breakfast we purchased tickets as soon as they released because they sell out fast! 💨The Whoville characters came and sang at our table and we got a private meet and greet with the human grinch which was so cool! The wait outside the experience was upwards to 3 hours! 💚❤️ We were not fans of the breakfast for HP. Same breakfast menu in both parks just different experience of Three Broomsticks 🧹 and the Leaky Cauldron. 🧙


🎤 Our favorite show was the Christmas Wholiday Grinch Spectacular. There are many times throughout the day, but arrive early and don’t show up late because you won’t be allowed in. Such a fun show! Includes the Who characters, Grinch and his dog Max. 🐕

At night we went to the Hogwarts castle. This is only during the holiday months beginning towards the end of November and runs about every 20 minutes after dusk. They do a light show on the castle with music! It is so magical! 🏰 Highly recommended! ✨

Places to Eat 🍽️:

We enjoyed totchos in Suessland, a visit to Honeydukes for the all the Harry Potter treats! 🍬🍫🍭 We really enjoyed the frozen butterbeers too! For dinner made reservations for Mythos Resturant In Universal Islands Of Adventure in the park. The vibe and food we thought were delicious. 🥗🍗🥩

✔️Extra bonuses:

•Do the photo pass! 📸 You get such cool photos on rides and there are SO many characters out at each park! So much fun!

•Do the themed t-shirts! They make it such more memorable especially with a group!

•Bring home awesome souvenirs that you can’t find other places. Some are truly unique to the parks.

•Walk the city walk at night and check out the fun shops.

•If you’re staying at a resort, take a ride on the boat ferry to get back from and to your resort. Beautiful ride! 🚤


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Janice Kelly
Janice Kelly
10 de dez. de 2023
Avaliado com 5 de 5 estrelas.

Great information, thank you.

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