January 12, 2015

Our Florida Adventure: Part I

The first time I went to Universal’s Islands of Adventure was on Spring Break in college. And I instantly fell in love with it! I mean, where else can you find in just one place an entire island dedicated to all things Seuss, one that feels like you walked into the real Jurassic Park, a street where you get to walk through comic strips, and some of the most fun rides ever (Spiderman & The Hulk) in Marvel Comic land. And they’ve since added a Harry Potter island. It. is. awesome!

You should probably also know about me that I am a total roller coaster junkie. I mean I grew up going to Cedar Point in Ohio almost every summer as a kid. And they take their roller coasters seriously up there. They have at least 10 amazing coasters that have been on the top 10 in the world list at one point or another. So basically what I’m telling you is, I don’t mess around when it comes to theme parks!

We have been to a bunch of other ones, but none has captured my heart on the Cedar Point level quite like Islands of Adventure. So when we found out that we were going to be starting our 2015 wedding season off in Florida, we decided to make a whole trip out of it and drive three hours north to spend a few days at Universal and ALL of the Disney parks (I had only ever been to the Magic Kingdom). So we’ll start this recap off with Part I at Universal!

Here’s a really good insiders’s tip for doing the Universal Parks (there are two: Islands of Adventure and the separate Universal one): buy the two park pass and splurge on the VIP pass for both. It puts you at the front of almost every line and saves you so much time that it makes it totally do-able to do both parks in one day! It’s definitely an investment, but we do it every time we go (this was our third!) and we always have such an awesome day because of it!

Here’s our recap from our Universal Day & note that all of these pictures are from our iPhones (we didn’t feel like carrying big cameras). So please don’t judge!! :) :)


We always like to start off in Seuss Landing….it’s a fun warm up before the bigger rides! And you get to hang out with the Cat in the Hat!

From there we make a quick pass through the Lost Continent island (no need to spend much time here) and make our way straight to the Harry Potter island. This place is unreal. This was our second time going to Hogsmeade and it still blows me away! It’s 90 degrees outside, but you feel like you’re in winter because everything is covered with snow. And the detail on everything from the store front windows, to the train to Hogwarts is really incredible.

Hogwarts Express!!

Mmmmmmm Butter Beer!!

Just look at this Hogwarts! Crazy! There are a couple of really fun rides in the Harry Potter island….the dragon one is our favorite!

From there, we meander on over to Jurassic Park and hang out with the T-rex! I still love this ride SO much!

Toon Lagoon with all of these thought bubbles on the streets! It’s so true….we really did need a vacation after our vacation! 75,000 steps will do that!

From Toon Lagoon, we made our way on down to the Marvel Comic area to where Spiderman & Hulk are. And then we headed over to Universal to make the rounds there!

So this was a fun new addition since we had last been there….there are now TWO Harry Potter parks (one in each Islands & Universal….another good reason to get the two park pass!) This one is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and it focuses on all the London scenes, like the triple decker bus and Diagon Alley.

How awesome is this??

The ride for Escape from Gringotts is just ok in my opinion, but the lead up to it is totally worth it! Just check out the interior of this bank!

After the Wizarding World, we took a ride on The Mummy, The MIB ride, Despicable Me, and Transformers. Then as it was starting to get dark, we made our way back over to Islands to end out the night right! And we got to see a really beautiful sunset on our walk back!

One more pass through Seuss Landing at night!

And then a big finale by making our way through all the best coasters: the dragons at Harry Potter, Spider Man & The Hulk!! Whew! It was an amazing time! We finished up with dinner at Margaritaville and then went to get some serious sleep for the two big days ahead. Stay tuned for Part II at Disney!

  1. Urška Majer

    This looks amazing! If we’ll be ever around there we will visit for sure!

  2. Karena Dixon

    We were there in December. We spent the entire 10 hour day in just the Harry Potter parks. We’ve been on the studio tour in London but were blown away by the level of detail in Orlando. It felt real. AMAZING! Love the butterbeer pic!

  3. Rici

    love your navy dotted purse Mary ^^

  4. Rachel B.

    I’m SERIOUSLY jealous of your trip to Hogsmeade!

  5. Justin

    My girlfriend and I just did this in early January! It was my Christmas/Anniversary gift and we had the best time… Especially at Diagon Alley in Universal!

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