We were planning to staycation during the school holidays: relax at home, visit local attractions and catch up on our to-do list. But as March Break drew closer – we started longing for warmer weather. The twins especially wanted to go back to Universal Orlando Resort in Florida (our last visit was 2 years ago). I usually plan our trips months in advance – but this time, we booked our plane tickets on a Wednesday and flew out 3 days later!
|Kimono: SHEIN / Camisole: EXPRESS / Jeans: Silver / Bag: c/o Amazon / Shoes: H&M|
WHAT WE DID AT THE PARK / OUR FAVE RIDES:
We had 2 day park-to-park passes, along with EXPRESS Passes. The park-to-park tickets meant that we could visit both Universal Studios Florida along with Universal’s Islands of Adventure (they are connected in 2 places: the Hogwarts Express and Universal CityWalk). EXPRESS Passes are a must-have, they’re pricey, but give you priority access to most of the rides, meaning that your wait times in line are minimal.
When it comes to rides – I love those that are lightly thrilling, without too many sheer drops. My family is way more adventurous than me – they went on nearly everything, while I sat out certain rides. Here’s a list of my personal favorites – perfect if you like “gentle” rides too:
- Rides where you feel as if you’ve stepped into the movie: The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, Transformers, Jurassic Park River Adventure, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
- Gentle rollercoasters that don’t turn you upside down: Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, Flight of the Hippogriff, Pteranadon Flyers
- Men in Black Alien Attack – fun game where you shoot at aliens with laser guns
- E.T. Adventure – a step back into the 80s
- Hogwarts Express – a beautiful train ride between Hogwarts and London
WHAT WE ATE
Some days it seemed like we survived purely on sugar (especially with frequent trips to Honeydukes – the sweet shop in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter). We purchased the refillable Freestyle cup (pictured below) – so we could go to any Freestyle station and fill it up with sodas, juices, water and even ICEE! This was way better then carrying around a bunch of water bottles. We would mainly snack during the day (fries, fish and chips, nachos) and then have a sit-down dinner once we left the park.
There were a lot of restaurants right outside the parks, at Universal CityWalk. We enjoyed the pasta at VIVO. We also ate off the property as well – I would highly recommend Sofra Mediterranian Grill for delicious shawarmas and Amura on Sand Lake Road for fresh sushi.
WHAT TO WEAR & PACK:
Since you’ll probably be spending at least 6 hours a day, walking through the parks – you’ll want to dress wisely and carry only the essentials. The first day I wore the outfit shown at the top of this post. It was comfortable to start with – but by the end of the day, my velvet shoes were soggy (we got completely soaked in the Jurassic Park ride) and the chain of my bag was digging painfully in to my shoulder. It’s a lovely bag usually – but probably not the best for all-day wear.
|Top: c/o Le Chateau / Jeans: c/o GUESS / Backpack: Target / Shoes: Target|
What you bring to the park will vary according to the people you travel with – but here are some of my must-haves:
- a baseball cap to block out the sun and + something waterproof to wear – either a light raincoat or a poncho
- a cardigan (because I get cold so easily!)
- a ziploc bag to protect your phone in case you get soaked with water
- a small phone charger
- our refillable Freestyle mug
- light snacks (cashews, granola bars)
WHERE WE STAYED
Although this was our second time visiting the parks, it was our first time staying on the property – and I would highly recommend it. There are 6 on-site hotels, and they each come with special benefits – such as early admission to the parks and free shuttle buses. Some hotels also come with free EXPRESS passes – this alone makes your stay worthwhile! Due to our last-minute booking, the only available occupancy was at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which DOESN’T offer the complimentary EXPRESS passes, (we received the passes anyway, as part of our partnership with Universal Orlando Resort). But if you’re looking to visit the parks, I would highly recommend choosing one of the hotels that provide the passes!
The frequent shuttle buses between the hotel and the parks were such a time-saver. On our last visit (when we stayed off-property), we had to spend a lot of time waiting for parking, and then we’d make the long trek from the parking lot to the parks. The shuttle bus drops you off right near CityWalk and makes your visit so much easier!
|Top: c/o Chicwish / Earrings: H&M / Bag: c/o Amazon / Jeans: Silver|
The Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a spacious family hotel with a fun vintage vibe. It’s modeled on the classic beach resorts from the 1950s-60s, and is filled with retro memorabilia. We stayed in a Family suite – and LOVED how spacious it was. Our bedroom had 2 queen beds and a walk-in closet, while the living room had a sofa bed plus a mini-kitchenette. Everyone had their own space to unpack and lounge in.
The kitchenette had a mini-fridge and microwave – so we stocked up at Target and had breakfast in our room every morning. There were also lots of reasonably priced eating options at the hotel – including a huge diner-style cafeteria and a Starbucks.
|Earrings: c/o Amazon / Jeans: Silver|
The beds were SO comfortable, and it was very quiet and peaceful inside our rooms – so we felt very well-rested on our holiday. The only drawback we found, was that the pool area always seemed busy – and we prefer a more lounge-y and relaxed vibe. But since this is a family-focused hotel, you would expect the pools to be very popular and full.
I put together a few clips from our time at the parks – watch it to get a peek what it’s like inside – especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Have you been to Universal Orlando Resort? What is your favourite ride?
DISCLAIMER: This post was written in partnership with Universal Orlando Resort. I received special perks in the form of tickets and media discounts. All opinions on this blog are my own.