Monday, 7 December 2015

Florida November 2015 Recap - Day 5 Universal Studios

I'll be doing a recap for each and every glorious day of our last Disney vacation (14 days worth so in the words of Scar, be prepared)...

On our second consecutive non-Disney day, we decided to go to Universal Studios. We were up bright and early to catch the free shuttle bus that our hotel ran, and enjoyed a healthy balanced breakfast on the way..

Upon arriving at Universal Studios we decided to head straight for the Simpson's Springfield inspired area of the park, mostly because I was wearing Simpsons shorts and was desperate for some photo ops!

The Springfield area of Universal Studios is really cool and really realistic and has so many of the locations from the show that you can go and explore. The only thing missing is the Simpson's actual home - although we did spot a professional photo spot featuring the iconic brown couch, but they were charging extra to get your photo there which I think is appalling considering how much you need to pay to get in the park anyway! Aside from that, we managed to get photos at Moe's Tavern, in front of the Springfield welcome sign, and beside a few familiar faces...

While in Springfield we started to have some hotdog we gave in to our cravings and got our fix from Krusty Burger - along with curly fries, and a Squishee from the Kwik-E-Mart*.

*Squishee was actually purchased from a random bar in the middle of Springfield as the Kwik-E-Mart only sells Simpsons merch, but let's not ruin the magic eh? 

After this, we took a spin on the Twirl 'n' Hurl operated by the Simpson's alien pals Kang and Kodos, before heading on to The Simpsons Ride located in 'Krustyland' (which is like a world inside a world itself). The Simpsons Ride is a theme park/roller coasted themed simulator, which is totally immersive and lots of fun - the simulator screen is so huge it stretches up all around you so unless you really try, it's easy to forget you're not on an actual roller coaster (until you're jammed inside the mouth of a 50 foot baby that is...)

Also in 'Krustyland' is lots of arcade and fun fair style games. We played a couple and won some stuffed characters fairly quickly - which was a relief as just like most things in Universal Studios, the games were not that cheap to play. As exciting as it was to win the games, carrying the stuffed characters around with us got pretty annoying as neither of us had bags big enough to fit them, so we ended up gifting them to some little kids after a while.

After we'd seen everything that Springfield had to offer, we headed onto the Men in Black ride which was lots of fun but worth noting that the queue was one of the longer queues we encountered. We probably made a bit of a mistake by going to Universal on a Saturday as although it was nice and empty when we got there, it got very busy by about lunchtime. The other thing is that while Disney offer free fast passes to everyone for a limited number of rides, Universal offer fast passes to unlimited rides, but at an additional cost, so we did spend quite a lot of time waiting around that day.

Next up we came across the famous Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and the relatively new Diagon Alley area. You can really tell that Universal have put a lot of time and effort into this section as it really is a Harry Potter fan's dream to see, but because of this it was extremely busy. We didn't manage to get on the Gringotts ride as the queue was hours long all day, and the shops were packed with people so we couldn't get a proper look around them either (although from what I did see, the prices were crazy! Over $50 for a slightly interactive wand - I'm sorry but for that price I'd expect it to resurrect Dumbledore himself.)

We left this area pretty quickly as we were stressed out by the crowds of nerds all around us, and grabbed a quick snack before running into Jaws, who only went and bit my bloody finger off!

Next we came across what ended up being our favourite Universal Studios Ride..Revenge of the Mummy! It's the perfect mix of creepy, scary and fast with just enough surprises to keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time (well it would if you weren't strapped in but you get my point..). We enjoyed this so much that we went back on countless times, and just take a look at this simply beautiful photo of us that was captured on the ride..

By the time we'd tired ourselves of the Mummy ride, we'd worked up a hunger..and also a thirst.. we decided to catch the shuttle back to International Drive for dinner - but not before grabbing one or three cocktails each from the cocktail takeaway windows on Universal Citywalk. We managed to sneak these into our coke refill cups to enjoy on the shuttle.

By the time we were back on International Drive we were pretty damn hungry so decided to go to Chili's again for cheapness and easiness. I can't quite remember what Carly got but I settled for chicken soft tacos and they were god damn delicious. As it was a busy Saturday night we were seated at the bar which worked if our favour as it meant our happy hour margaritas were always replenished straight away, and our good chat and bants with the bartender resulted in free tequila shots! We ended the night with some more cocktails across the road in TGI Fridays, because nothing says worldy and well travelled than the safety of an international chain restaurant.

¡Por favour manténgase alejado de las puertas!

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