Top 10 Facts to Know Before You Go to
Universal Resort, Orlando Florida
First Facts to Know Before You Go to Universal Resort, Florida:
As popular as Disney Parks, Universal is actually older in concept. Universal Studios in Hollywood offered tours of its backlots as early as 1915. From 1964 on, the tour started including staged events with the first attraction opening in 1965, after the 1955 opening of Disneyland.
Universal Studios Hollywood has a theme park, CityWalk, and the backlot tour. The theme park is actually part of the real Universal film studios.
Universal Resort Orlando has Universal Studios Florida (opened in 1990), followed by Islands of Adventure and CityWalk in 1999 and Volcano Bay in 2017.
So, here's what to know before you go to Universal Resort, Florida: S
1. There are 4 basic areas: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure (theme parks), the water park Volcano Bay and the shopping-dining-restaurant area, CityWalk. CityWalk (after paying for parking) is free of charge but each park has an admission price. You can buy a combo ticket as well as annual passes (with different levels, including one pass that only includes the two theme parks).
2. There are 8 hotels operated by Loews Hotels, including the Hard Rock Hotel, which is not part of Hard Rock International. If you book lodging, your email and/or confirmation may come from Loews rather than Universal. They range, in descending order of price, in the categories of premier, preferred prime value, value. You get to them by walking, shuttle, car or even launch (boat).
3. There is one huge parking lot to the parks and CityWalk and thus, one security check. They use airport-like scanners, making the process extremely easy compared to Disney. City Walk is the resorts' dining, shopping and entertainment district, with great restaurants, some with their own entertainment. Don't forget to go to the second level.
4. Unlike Disney World, whose resort sits on its own created areas of Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake, Universal Resort's 541 acres is spread out right in Orlando, with Interstate 4, state road 435, Turkey Lake Road and Vineland Road bordering the property. If you stay at the Endless Summer Resort (Surfside and Dockside Hotels), you're crossing over I-4. There are plenty of places to stay and eat with International Drive nearby. You are definitely in the city of Orlando.
5. Many families say their teens prefer Universal to Disney because it seems there are more thrill rides. In actuality, there are the almost the same amount of rides but since there are 2 main parks, rather than 4, it's more concentrated, therefore it seems like more per park. It also depends on your definition of thrill ride. There are a few rides that will give you cause for a pause before getting on them: The Incredible Hulk Coaster (Islands of Adventure), Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (Universal Studios) and the new Jurassic World VelociCoaster (Islands of Adventure). But never fear for the little ones: Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone and Seuss Landing has lots for the younger crowd.
6. The other coasters are a lot of fun, especially for the themes. They are called thrill rides also, but if you ride the Hulk first, you might not think so. Revenge of the Mummy, The Adventures of SpiderMan and Transformers: The Ride 3D will have you moving as well as Fast and Furious Supercharged and Skull Island: Reign of Kong.
7. Unlike Disney's Hollywood Studios, which seems to have abandoned the very features of a film studio, Universal Studios has retained some of those features with the attractions, performances and shows related to the film industry, particularly those produced by Universal (and any acquisitions or mergers). Check out The Blues Brothers Show, Animal Actors on Location, Universal's Horror Make-up Show and The Bourne Stuntacular (based on the Bourne Identity franchise).
8. There are fabulous water rides in Islands of Adventures in case you don't want to spend the extra money or time in Volcano Bay. You will absolutely get soaking wet. Check out Jurassic Park River Adventure, Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges (a whitewater rafting type of ride) and the one absolutely guaranteed to have you drenched, Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls.
9. To skip the lines, you can pay for an express pass, which on certain days can cost more than admission to the park. In fact, on a particular day, two express passes cost more than an annual pass. Yet, mysteriously, they are often sold out. There are only a limited amount available per day.
10. Harry Potter is a big draw with crowds surging to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You need the park-to-park ticket since the two areas are in both parks. Take the Hogswarts Express to travel back and forth between Diagon Alley-London (Universal Studios) and Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure). You will be tempted to stay in both areas all day. Indeed, the total 4 rides (and the long lines) can keep you there all day.
Add Universal Resort Orlando to your Florida itinerary! You won't regret it.
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