Saturday, November 5, 2011

Our trip to Universal Orlando

I have been a slacker but I am finally posting about our trip last weekend to Orlando. Tom had a conference and invited me along. I was all over that. And although I usually prefer Disney, I knew I had to go to Universal Orlando because of the new Harry Potter attraction.

We drove from NC to FL. It was a long drive but not too bad. We arrived early Thursday and were able to check into the hotel and rest before we headed off to dinner.

Dinner was The Melting Pot. I love the Melting Pot. When we lived in Florida, I would always go for my birthday but here in old Sylva, NC, there is no Melting Pot. There isn't even one in Asheville. We would have to drive to Atlanta to eat there.

I was having a hankering for The Melting Pot so I made sure to find one. It was delicious. Luckily, we didn't have lunch so we were able to eat most of the food put in front of us! It was a really nice meal with my hubster.
The next morning we headed out early to Universal Islands of Adventure. We had planned to do just one park but once we were there, we decided to upgrade to Park Hopper tickets so we could do both parks that day.

The first thing we did was head over to the new Harry Potter section. It was amazing walking toward the area and seeing Hogwarts School for Wizards in the distance. Once we entered Hogsmeade it was so cool. I was surprised how small it was though but very authentic.

We headed off to the the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. You go into the Hogwarts School and walk around. They have it set up so the wait on line isn't too bad because you get entertained as you wait.

It was awesome. It is like the books and movies. They have some cool things going on. It snows, you get to see Dumbledore's office and a there are a lot of cool effects.

Once you go through that you end up at the ride. They strap you in and send you on your way. I usually don't like doing these rides because of my back, but the guy pulled the bar so tight on me that there was no way I was moving so it didn't bother me.

It was fantastic. Best ride EVER!! Basically you are on a seat that sort of flies around and it seems like you are flying. You fly around the school, the Quiddich field and you are on an adventure with Harry and Friends. Luckily, we went early enough that the wait on line was no more than 10-15 minutes. After that I walked around Hogsmeade while Tom went on the Dragon Roller coaster. I am so not into roller coasters. They scare the crap out of me!

We did the Jurassic Park ride where Tom lost his Jamaica cap because there is a big drop at the end. We got wet but in the end it didn't matter because it was raining anyway. Tom also went on the Dudley Do Right ride and got drenched as well.

We did the Marval superheroes attractions. I love the Spiderman ride because it is super fun. Tom went on the Hulk roller coaster. I didn't. I shudder just thinking about being on that!!

We then headed over to Universal Studios. Tom had to go to his conference the next day so we decided to do as much as possible.

At Universal Studios we had lunch then proceeded to do more rides. I had to do Jaws. It is the cheesiest ride ever but I love that damn shark. I was on the wrong side of the boat so I could not get a picture. You aren't allowed to take pictures but I wanted one. The next day while at Universal Studios again, I tried to get on the right side of the boat to no avail. Grrr

We watched a few shows and Tom rode on a wicked wicked roller coaster that would have freaked me out to no end. In the meantime, I headed back to Jaws section of the park and played some games. I won a few small prizes then hit the mother lode and won a beautiful lion stuffed toy.

I love playing carnival games and love winning even more!! He is adorable. Luckily we were driving so there was no problem taking him and the other stuffed toys back home to North Carolina.

It was a rainy day but we had fun nonetheless. By the time we left the parks, we were dead tired and couldn't wait to get back to the hotel. The hotel wasn't fancy but it was directly across the street from Universal. Plus, I think Tom got a great deal so it was worth it.

We rested then went off to find dinner and ended up at Carrabbas. It was not very good but we wanted pasta. Then we headed back to rest. My feet and legs were so sore.

The next day, Tom went off to his conference and I went back to Universal. I wanted to do Seuss Landing and some other rides that I didn't do the day before. I had a butterbeer which was so delicious. It was sort of like cream soda with butterscotch and then they topped it with whipped cream. Sure it cost as much as a real drink on South Beach but it was well worth it. Yummo. I had lunch and hung out until I got to tired. I could barely walk back to the car.

That night we met up with our friend, Tim, who lives in Florida and was at the conference Tom was at. We went out to dinner at this funky Brazilian steakhouse. It was fun! They would walk around with meat. Yes, meat. So you go and get the side dishes or salad. You come back to your table and they bring sticks of meat to the table.

It was fantastic! Who doesn't love meat? Okay, vegetarians but oh well. They had chicken, sausage, sirloin, flank steak, prime rib and every other cut of beef around. Of course, I ate too much but not as much as Tom and Tim! At a certain point, I got meated out but it was such a fun dinner and the servers were really great.

The next day we headed back to NC. The drive was long but we had our ever present audiobook. We were listening to Grapes of Wrath which is one of the best books ever. If you haven't read it, pick it up, download or rent the audiobook!

It was so nice to have the time to go off for a few days. Although I love Disney more, Universal rocks. It is well worth going. And if you are a Harry Potter fan, you MUST go and check out the theme park. It was fantastic. Look below for more pics. I will post more random picture tomorrow as well.


  1. looks like you had an absolute blast! so jealous!

    Melting pot hmm, there is one here but ive never been...sounds like it may be worth the trip!

  2. Oh, my, goodness - so glad you had a great time. You are both so daring to go on water rides in the rain :) Remind me to invite you the next time I go carnival game hopping - you go, girl!

  3. It looks like you all had a BLAST. Loved all the photos and the commentary!