Universal Orlando holds a very special place in my heart. Not only was it the first official date for hubby and I back in October 1999 for Halloween Horror Nights, but it has been a great getaway for us in the years since. Whether for a day or for a weekend getaway, we always have fun and it never gets old. Narrowing it down to 10 reasons was tricky, but here we go…
SO much to do!
There is a lot for each of us to do at Universal Orlando. While I am, admittedly, a chicken and don’t like rides as much as hubby does, there are a handful of rides and attractions that we love. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (because, Minions!), Shrek 4-D, Men In Black Alien Attack, Transformers The Ride 3D, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man to name a few. My niece has a way of getting me on Flight of the Hippogriff and the Pteranodon Flyers. Hubby’s favorites are Harry Potter & the Escape from Gringotts (which I have been on!) and Revenge of the Mummy. It’s also fun when we go with my family, as they have passes too. We love walking through Diagon Alley and I love to people watch. Grab an ice cold beverage and find a spot to sit and you are good to go!
Everyone is so friendly!
I can honestly say that we have never had a bad experience at Universal Orlando. yes, it may be crazy busy at times or hotter than the face of the sun, but you just take it in stride. The staff is always nice and helpful when needed. And you can get an endless supply of band-aids at First Aid for the dreaded blister if you have one. If you want a really fun pick-me-up, grab a button on your way in during the month of your birthday and you will hear Happy Birthday from staff members all day long!
If you want a little break from the parks, you can wander around City Walk for awhile. Even sitting out by the water and people watching is a great time. Or you can get a margarita from Margaritaville and catch some rays. There are endless stores to shop in, restaurants to eat at, and you can even catch a movie or play miniature golf!
Halloween Horror Nights
The scene of our first date was Halloween Horror Nights 11, in October 1999. For several years after, this was an annual event for us. I am the person that screams the loudest in the haunted houses, big chicken that I am, but I love every single terrifying moment of it. Hubby somehow makes it through the houses laughing at me the whole time, never jumping in fear when faced with a creepy clown, zombie, or other scary creature. Last year, we went several times in October and enjoyed the look back over 25 years of the event.
Holidays at Universal Orlando and Grinchmas
After Halloween Horror Nights, Christmas at Universal Orlando is my favorite. If we are lucky enough to have cool weather, I am really a happy girl. Seeing the Grinch is my favorite, I love how snarky he is. I also love the holiday spirit of both parks and the Macy’s Parade to finish out the day. This is my favorite time of year to be a big kid for a day.
Butterbeer Ice Cream
Hubby and I have been known to have this favorite treat for breakfast. We like to head to Diagon Alley early when we arrive and Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour is our first stop. Whether you have it in a cup or a waffle cone, it is AMAZING. It’s such a sweet treat and always hits the spot.
We love taking the Hogwarts Express from Universal to Islands of Adventure and back again. It’s always a nice little break to sit for a few while traveling to the other park. And if we’re lucky enough to be in a car with a child who has never been before, it’s so fun to see their excitement.
For Preferred Pass or Premier Passholders, you get a nice handful of perks. Some of these vary depending on which one you have, but you get FREE parking, discounts on theme park and special event tickets, free admission to select special events, discounted food / merchandise / specialty items in the parks and City Walk, discount on Blue Man Group tickets, and discounts at the on-site hotels. If you go twice, you have paid for your pass. It is well worth it. We will definitely be renewing our Universal Orlando annual passes again this year. Having the passes allows hubby and I to take a much needed hooky day every month and go up during the week.
It’s no surprise that I love social media. And I love it when the folks at Universal Orlando will interact with you on social media when you tag them. And did you know that if you use the hashtag #UniversalMoments, your photo may show up on the live feed on the Universal Orlando website?
Cabana Bay Beach Resort
I saved the best for last. While we have stayed at all of the on-site hotels (Royal Pacific, Hard Rock, and the Portofino) and we have enjoyed every single one of them, Cabana Bay Beach Resort is our favorite. It’s all the most affordable and budget-friendly, which makes us happy. It has such a fun, retro feel. From the minute you walk up to the entrance, with the classic cars parked out front, you feel like you have travelled back in time. I love the two pools and the lazy river. Breakfast is our favorite meal of the day at the Bayliner Diner and it’s fun to go to Galaxy Bowl for drinks and bowling. Last but certainly not least, there is a Starbucks in the lobby. Enough said. We have already booked our stay at Cabana Bay Beach Resort for our 15th anniversary in October and can’t wait! Last year, we had the best time and it was just the relaxing and fun getaway we needed.
What is your favorite part of Universal Orlando?
**This is not a sponsored post, all thoughts and opinions are my own. All photos are mine as well.