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A Universally Good Day

Updated: May 23

I was looking through pictures from our vacation in April. We went to Florida and spent most of the time on Anna Maria Island. However, we made a day trip to Universal Studios Orlando. We had a great time, and our group ranged from 2 years old to 10, 14, 23, 40's, and 50's. There was something for everyone.

If you decide to go, look for tickets in advance. They do have restrictions on park availability. Consider going to 2 parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures. If you have Harry Potter fans in your group, you'll want to do both. The Hogwarts Express connects both parks, and you can only ride if you have tickets for both parks (or have a season / annual pass).

Orlando Traffic, sigh. We drove through Orlando on the way to Anna Maria Island, to and from Universal, and on the way home. I would avoid that at all costs unless you are going to one of the parks in Orlando. It was terrible even on a Tuesday morning, and we left at 5:30 AM from the Bradenton area.

When we arrived, we went straight for Seuss Landing. They have rides for every age group to enjoy. Once I hit my 30's, roller coasters weren't as fun anymore. Seuss landing is more my speed! We rode One Fish, Two Fish, Red, Fish, Blue Fish. It is an aerial carousel that you can maneuver up and down. There are also fish shooting water jets – not enough to get you soaked. However, that would be rather pleasant on a scorching day. Universal does a great job of attempting to keep you cool, though. Most of the lines are in the shade and have blowing fans. Then you move indoors and into the air conditioning.

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish Ride

My favorite ride in Seuss Landing is the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train. It is like a baby roller coaster. Perfect if your equilibrium can no longer handle the adult coasters.

The in-door Cat in the Hat ride follows the story of 2 children home on a rainy day being babysat by a fish. If your family enjoys the Cat in the Hat books, they will enjoy this ride.

We ate lunch in the Circus McGurkus Stoo-pendous. It offers family-friendly meals, and you can watch the High in the Sky train ride through periodically.

After Seuss Landing, we went to Poseidon's Fury. It is a walking tour and show. It was a little scary for the toddler, but everyone else liked it. It is loud and dark, but you get to see some of Universal's live-action theatrics.

From there, we walked into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Hogsmeade. If you aren't a fan, you will feel like you have stepped into a Harry Potter Comicon. Kids, teens, and even adults are dressed in Harry regalia and casting spells around the land. You can purchase wands that interact with the buildings, fixtures, etc. However, for my husband and I, our favorite part is the Hogwarts Express. We watched the magical countryside out the windows as we traversed from Islands of Adventures to Universal Studios.

Hogwarts Express, Universal's Islands of Adventure

Later in the day, we walked through the Jurassic Park Discovery Center. There are baby dinosaur eggs waiting to hatch in incubators. You can even pet a baby animatronic dinosaur (that feels freakishly real). Even I had to do it.

One of my favorite rides is the E.T. Adventure Ride. The baby and ten-year-old had no idea who E.T. was, but they liked it so much that they each picked out an E.T. doll at the end of the day as their souvenir. I felt like I was riding a bike through the air overlooking scenes from the movie. It is fun, and the 2.5-year-old was able to ride it too.

We enjoyed some of the other rides while handing off the youngest for care. I enjoyed the Transformers 3D Ride. This ride doesn't make me nauseous like the Simpsons simulated roller coaster. For some reason, I must shut my eyes almost the entire time, but I ride it anyway. We also enjoy the shooting engagement on the Men in Black Alien Attack.

It was a fun but long day. We stayed until the park closed and got back "home" at about 1 AM. I was hesitant to go to Orlando during this vacation. I am glad we did though. It was all about creating family memories.

Men In Black Alien Attack

Note: This trip was not a paid vacation, nor was there a business relationship with Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure. I am simply sharing my experience.

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