For our 7th wedding anniversary my husband and I headed to Orlando, FL. We spend 2 days at Universal Studios and both of those nights at Halloween Horror Nights. Our feet ached at the end but OMG was it worth it!
The hotel: We stayed at the Comfort Suites on Major Ave. The room were fine, the continental breakfast was fine (stick to the dry good and juice/coffee. The eggs and meat were not so good). The downside was that through Universal’s Travel bookers we were told there was a shuttle from this hotel, which turned out to not be the case. There was a shuttle from a nearby hotel and you had to get passes from the near by hotel at the butt crack of dawn each day. One day we took a cab ($10 for <1 mile after tip), another day we shuttled to the park. We walked back each night because the shuttle does not run late for Halloween Horror nights.
First of all some basic tips:
- Some of the Rides require you to put your things in a locker which they will say is free but most of them will charge you after after a certain amount of time. In longer lines this can be an issue and you may end up paying $3 for only a few minutes. The only one that we had to use that was actually free was the one for the Harry Potter adventure.
- Go on off peak days if at all possible. We did not need express passes for any of the rides and the longest wait was 30 minutes. We were given some passes when a ride we were on broke down and we ended up giving some away.
- Unless you are going to drink ALOT of soda, the special cups that give you .99 refills are NOT worth it (unless you just want the cup. I got a butterbeer one just because).
- If you are staying near the park, you CAN cross the main road just before the entrance. We were actually told we couldn’t by the Universal Travel people, but there was a light up cross walk and we walked home both night with no issues at all!
- Dining near the park is just as expensive as dining in the park, although the food might be better outside of the park, depending on where you go.
- We were given “complimentary” City Walk passes for fun and dining! You don’t actually need a pass for City Walk, it’s before the parks and open to anyone.
- You can apparently take in water bottles, we saw several people go in through the gates with them as long as they were sealed.
- Take water protection for Islands of Adventure – the rides are worth it!
- Cabs to the park from nearby hotels START at $8.00 one way and parking all day is $16.00
Now onto the fun!
Day 1 we started out and Islands of Adventure and headed straight for Hogs Mead/Harry Potter’s adventure. It is a brilliant place and I loved it. The entire area is made up to look like Hogs Mead village in winter complete with shops and butter beer for sale. We had lunch and three broomsticks and browsed in Ollivanders wand shop.
Hogwart’s castle is awe inspiring even before you go inside! I felt like a kid I was almost skipping as we go closer to the gate! Oh and if you can handle the sugar rush you MUST get some Butterbeer!
I’ll try not to give too much away about this but it was worth the wait in line. We even went back a second time after completing the rest of the park. This time though the ride broke down and we were stuck staring at a dementor for over an hour! They eventually had to evacuate us all from the ride which involved straitening all the carts right side up then sliding them to a platform. Then one by one they unloaded us from the carts and escorted us out. Management met us with water bottles, express passes and apologies which was nice.
Islands of adventure also had all the water rides which we didn’t go prepared for but went on anyway! It was hot out so it was fun. I do recommend wearing a suit or bringing a poncho (or buying one in the gift shops). We did notice later that vendors were selling towels near by *L*
The second day we did Universal Studios which was a blast! Although my husband does NOT recommend having a Krusty Burger in Simpsons land. We ate in Moe’s tavern and shot at Aliens with Men In Black and took part in making a Disaster Movie! I do think if we go again I will take my motion sick pills. The rides didn’t used to bother me but something in Florida was kicking my allergies into over drive.
We LOVED the transformers ride too! One thing we noticed over and over was the attention to detail in the parts leading up to the actual ride. Just taking all of that in was half the fun. Even in the spider man ride there were office cubicles inside the news rooms with half eaten sandwiches and phones ringing!
At night Universal Studios kicked turned into Haunted House haven with Halloween Horror Nights! http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/. FABULOUS! The main theme this year was the Walking Dead. There were 8 haunted houses and we did 6 of them. We could have done more but the last 2 we didn’t know much about and we were “dead” on our feet! <–bad pun intended!
The ones we did that were just ok: Walking Dead, La Llorona and Resident Evil. I think we expected a little more. I think we were expecting a little more, you kinda know what you get with zombies. The second night were the best! We started with American Werewolf in London and for the first time my husband jumped! Very scary werewolf action AND for Doctor Who fans, there was a TARDIS near the end of the haunt!
Next we ran to Cabin in the Woods which was very fun except I wish the merman wasn’t bad animatronic :-/. It contained some of the other scary creatures and you weren’t always sure what was going to jump out and what was safely behind glass.
Evil dead was good and gory but not as scary as I thought it might be, but there was some good jump out at you scares!