When I realized,
very late in the planning of our trip two days before we were set to leave that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was in Orlando and that I was flying through Orlando in order to get to Puerto Rico, I lost my mind, changed all my flights and arranged for us to have a day in Orlando to visit Universal Studios.
I completely forgot in the whirlwind of excitement that by changing my flights I’d be missing my Digital Photography II mid-term.
After realizing Tuesday night that I’m flying through Orlando and that it’s where HARRY POTTER WORLD IS! I changed all my flights, bought a hotel room for another night and tickets to go dress up in capes and play at Hogwarts Castle. I actually was so excited about visiting the three broomsticks and going to Hogwarts that I forgot that I’m supposed to be taking a mid-term on Monday. So, essentially, I can’t take the midterm because I’m going to be playing quidditch with Harry Potter. I don’t feel like you should make any special concessions for me, especially because it involves me being ridiculous and not something serious and I’m signed up p/np, so I can just retake the class again anyways, which is fine because I love it.
I might have to pack my death eater cape.
Thankfully my teacher not only apparently really likes me but also has a 13 year old daughter who is equally obsessed with the idea of Harry Potter World and she let me take my mid-term when we got home. Not that you care, but I got a 93.
Hysterically enough, thanks to the wonders of Priceline and the Name Your Own Price! game, I managed to score us a rental car for the day for $13 and a hotel room adjacent to the park at the Holiday Inn for $45 which, combined, is significantly less than one person’s admission into the park. Score.
Buddy and I flew into Orlando on Monday night very late and took a nice five hour nap before we were up and I was ready to go. I had been very concerned that we wouldn’t have enough time at Universal. I honestly had no idea what we were in for, but I imagined that it would entail very long lines. Our flight to San Juan left the Orlando airport at 7, which meant we’d be traveling to a very busy airport in potential rush hour traffic. I didn’t want to feel like I needed to return to Orlando to see this park, but I also didn’t want to miss our flights because we were standing in security too long. Basically, I was having anxiety over not getting my fill of Harry, Hermoine and Ron.
As it turns out, the opposite was the case.
In my fear, I only purchased us a single park pass for the Universal Studios Islands of Adventure instead of a dual park pass for both the Islands and Universal Studios Florida. I will give you a small travel tip for Universal Studios: Go on a TUESDAY in early May when school is in session and show up right at 9 AM. We saw the ENTIRE park and rode every roller coaster (some of them multiple times) by noon. In fact, the longest wait we had was 5 minutes. On every other ride, the amount of time you waited was how long it took you to walk from the entrance past all the empty cattle guides that people usually fill, all the way to the front of the ride. It was comically empty. It was awesome.
Hogwarts Castle and The Forbidden Journey!
When we arrived at the park we headed straight for Harry Potter World to ride the Forbidden Journey. Despite my eagerness to visit Harry Potter World, I had no idea what the Forbidden Journey entailed except that it involved quidditch. Essentially, it’s a combination of designed graphics and movie, along with animatronics that takes you on a whirl-wind stomach turning adventure. When we sat down in the chairs I turned to Buddy and said, “I have no idea what is about to happen!” “That makes two of us!”
Highlights of the park include: Dr. Suess Land, though designed for kids, absolutely hysterical. Thank god Buddy did not actually have any hallucinogens like he was joking he wanted while there because I would have spent all day trying to drag him with no success out of Dr. Suess Land. Another travel tip for Universal Studios: want to have a good time? Go with a bunch of adults on acid and have a party in Dr. Suess Land. It’s crazy in there!
We totally rode the little kid carousel. Where the employees start and end it in rhyme.
The best roller coaster is by far the Hulk: it’s full of surprises. When you ride a lot of roller coasters, there are certain standards of behavior that set your expectations one way and the Hulk breaks them all!
The Hulk at Universal Studios: Islands of Adventure, Orlando FL.
The park also includes Jurrasic Park, a whole area on Marvel Comics, and a few other areas from movies I didn’t care about. We ate in Mythos Restaurant which I would highly recommend. The food was pretty good, the prices were decent, but most importantly, it was a freezing oasis of calm after you’d been walking around in the hot sun all morning.
There were so few people at the park that we rode every ride, multiple times, and saw everything we wanted, and had lunch all by 1 pm. Ridiculous! With hours to waste, we ended up checking out the Avengers on I-Max 3D, which was a fantastic treat since the movie theater in Tahoe is about 1/10th the size. In the end, my fear and anxiety was completely unnecessary: we made it to the airport early and through security with time to spare.
Side trip to Harry Potter World: HUGE success.
Total nerd with the Hogwarts Express Train Conductor.
Now it was time for our Puerto Rico Beach Vacation!