Universal, Orlando

If you love movies, television, and pop culture then Universal is the way to go in Orlando. I had equal amounts of fun at the Disney parks and the Universal parks, but they are quite different in many ways. I found that Universal was more like other theme parks I’ve visited in that it was fast paced, somewhat expensive, and had more high thrill rides than Disney. We enjoyed both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida, but if I could only return to one it would probably be Universal Studios (it’s a close call though).

Jurassic Park, Universal Orlando

Popeye's Barge, Universal Orlando

Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges

While in Universal Studios I got heat stroke, but the staff were super friendly and helpful and I was back on my feet in no time. We really enjoyed The Simpsons Ride, which was equipped with it’s own Kwik-E-Mart. Orlando, you make it too easy for my husband. Of course, Jay refused to leave without the complete experience; he asked two employees to do Apu impersonations for him. He wasn’t too impressed with the first one, but the second he felt was spot on: “hello Mr. Simpson…” We all laughed and I escorted Jay out as quickly as I could.

We also caught a Fear Factor show in which pre-selected people from the audience performed stunts, including eating a blended drink with worms and various rotting foods. I might do it for a million dollars, but they were only giving away tickets to the park. I think I’ll pass. The Mummy was pretty awesome and Jay and Jesse have particularly fond (and painful) memories of the Dragon Challenge. I got a cute Cat in the Hat t-shirt and shorts set, and we walked through The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which was extremely well done (even though I’m not a huge fan of the series).

I would happily go back to Universal and, even though it cost us a bit more than Disney, it was worth every penny.