Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Universal Day #3

On Wednesday November 9th, we woke up for our final day in the park!  I had great intentions of being awake EARLY (like 6am early) to get to the park BUT we were at the Magic Kingdom so late the night before that we slept in until 7:30am!  We still made it to Universal by 8am for early entrance to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! 

Inside Universal Studios, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is set up to be Diagon Alley! 

I LOVED the Knight Bus!  

More Butterbeer!  Seriously if you are in Universal on a day when it's not super warm out, you need to get the HOT Butterbeer!  It's delicious! 

We went to Olivanders for wands! 

 And checked out our team scarves! 


You cannot go to Universal and skip the E.T. ride!  It's a classic and so much fun!  

The Rides on the Universal Side that we LOVED were:
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
Shrek 4-D
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
E.T. Adventure

I can't wait to come back in 2017 to ride Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

After doing everything we wanted in Universal it was off to King's Cross Station to ride the Hogwart's Express over to Islands of Adventure! 

In Island's of Adventure, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is set up to be Hogsmeade!

My very favorite ride of the entire trip - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - is inside of Hogwarts! 

As you walk through the castle, it's MAGICAL!  It's exactly how it is in the movie - enchanted ceilings, talking pictures, and more! 

Flight of the Hippogriff

Dragon Challenge!  This is a crazy roller coaster in Hogsmeade...the kind I haven't been on since high school! I was so happy that I was brave and rode it lol.  But even if you're not up for riding it, you should definitely walk through the line and exit at the top because the theming is the Triwizard Tournament and you pass lots of things you will recognize, including the Goblet of Fire, as you walk up to the top!  This is another one of those rides where they make you put all of your belongings in a locker so I don't have pictures of all that fun stuff.  They actually make you walk through a metal detector...that's how serious they are about you having NOTHING in your pockets! 

Next up was Jurassic Park!  I enjoyed walking through this area but I was disappointed that the main ride here is the kind you get soaked on.  The ride attendant warned us before we went to stand on line so we decided to skip it.  She said it was a 50/50 chance you could get completely drenched or not wet at all...

We had lunch at Confisco's Grille again!  It was THAT good the day before!

We had a delicious Cinnabon for dessert! 

 John posed with some marvel characters.  Then we rode the Amazing Adventure of Spider Man, which was really fun! 

We went through Seuss Landing again and rode the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!  It was so cute!

I had to get a Christmas Ornament while I was there!  One of the biggest differences between Universal and Disney was that Universal was not all decked out for Christmas yet...this was truly the only Christmas-y thing in the park.

We stayed at the park until close and then went to CityWalk for dinner!  We ate pizza at Red Oven Pizza Bakery!  It's made fresh while you watch!  It was delicious!  All of the food throughout Universal was really really good! 

 Back at the Cabana Bay, John went for a COLD late night swim!  Seriously it was cold!  I sat on a lounge chair with a hot towel on top of me! 

Are you thinking of planning your own trip to Universal Studios in Orlando?  I would love to help!  All of my travel concierge services are 100% FREE!  You can check out my travel page HERE and email for a quote today!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Universal Studios Day #2, Part #2 - Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

So much happened on Day #2 of our trip that it needed two separate blog posts!  You can read part #1 of our day (in Universal) by clicking HERE

After we spent the day in Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, we headed back to our hotel room around 3pm to change and head to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom!  This is a special party ticket!  The party officially starts at 7:00pm but with your ticket, you can get into the Magic Kingdom at 4:00pm!  

We took an Uber from the Cabana Bay Resort to the Polynesian Resort!  Uber is such an easy way to get around, but you cannot take it directly to the Magic Kingdom.  You either need to take it to one of the on property hotels or take it to the Ticket and Transportation Center.  We took it to the Polynesian because that is where we stayed last year, and John and I wanted a Dole Whip!  Otherwise, I would have taken it to the Contemporary since you can walk to the Magic Kingdom from that resort! 

Driving through the Walt Disney and Magic Kingdom gates! 

John at the Polynesian! 

Our friend Corey, who was in town on business, met us there! 

 Dole Whip!!! If you have never had one of these, you are seriously missing out!  I love the Pineapple and Vanilla swirl! 

We took the boat from the Polynesian to the Magic Kingdom and walked through the front gates.  They scan your ticket and give you a Christmas Party wristband! Cast Members check these wristbands throughout the night.

As soon as you walk in, you got a cookie!  You get lots more complimentary treats throughout the night as well! 

Our first stop was STARBUCKS!  At this point, no one should be surprised!  

Starbucks is good all the time, but it's the BEST in Disney! 

After our coffee, we rode so many rides!  This is the best thing about the Christmas Party - the entire park is open and there are very little wait times!  They have two times that you can see Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade - one at 8:30pm and one at 11:00pm.  Almost everyone with little kids goes to the 8:30pm parade (and they start lining up on the street as early as 7:00pm to get a front row seat).  If you can stay late enough for the 11:00pm parade, you definitely should so that you can do tons of rides during the first parade time slot! 

Here are a list of the rides we were able to get on with a 15 minute or less wait:
Pirates of the Caribbean 
The Haunted Mansion
The Jungle Cruise (which they turn into the Jingle Cruise for Christmas)
Space Mountain
It's a Small World
Tomorrowland Speedway
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 
The Barnstormer
Mad Tea Party

John got to carry the time card! 

John and I also waited to meet Disney's newest princess Elena of Avalor!  She was so sweet and friendly!  The girls will be very excited to meet her on our next trip!

We also stopped to eat treats along the way!  This year they are offering different treats at each stand! 
Peppermint Cookies and Hot Chocolate

 Sugar Cookies and a Snowcone

This is a list of all the complimentary treats around the park! 

Around 9:45pm we headed to the front of Cinderella's Castle so that we could view Holiday Wishes, a special fireworks display set to Christmas Music (what could be better than that?!?)! 

As soon as the fireworks are over, about 75% of the people head right for the gates!  This is the perfect time to grab a spot on Main Street and wait for the second parade that begins at 11:00pm!  

We grabbed a front row spot...right in front of Starbucks! 

How cute is this cupcake I ate while I was waiting?!?

Snow on Main Street! 

Little Bits of the PARADE! 

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