Let's continue our journey (Tour of the USA. From Orlando to the Western Caribbean. Freedom of the Seas. Grand Cayman and Cozumel). When our ship arrived, we went to Orlando. We ordered a transfer from a local company online.
Some information about a debarkation: the ship moored around 6 am. There are 2 ways to leave the ship. You can leave her immediately after the mooring, but you carry your baggage on your own, or you can wait for the time (they schedule it on their own) when you can leave the ship. Since we were hurrying to the parks, we left on our own. The process is well organized. Our "evacuation" took us 20 minutes.
Here's a map of the whole complex
We arrived at a hotel, left our things at a reception desk because there was still time left before the check-in, and went to Universal Orlando. There was the free transfer from our hotel to the park (I've already written about it in the first part of the story: Tour of the USA. From Orlando to the Western Caribbean. Part 1). A minibus departed several times a day, so it was necessary to adjust yourself to its schedule.
Some information about Universal Orlando.
Universal Orlando is a resort consisting of 2 theme parks - Universal Studios and Island of Adventure - and of a street with restaurants and nightclubs - Universal CityWalk (it's livelier at night).
Universal Orlando opened in 1990 and originally consisted only of Universal Studios. Later, given the influx of visitors, it was decided to expand the park. Island of Adventure appeared on the site of the planned shopping mall in 1999. The street with restaurants and nightclubs called Universal CityWalk connected the parks. The complex acquired its modern look in 2000. The Wet'n'Wild water park is also a part of the resort, but it's situated in a different place.
The parks are quite compact and smaller than Disney, so it's possible to get around both parks in one day. If you want to visit absolutely all shows - 1.5 parks per day. Mathematics is the same. There's an interesting price policy. The ticket to 2 parks for 2 days is only 10-15% more expensive than to 2 parks for 1 day. As for me, visiting just 1 park for a day is a bit unreasonable concerning the prices. Or rather, it's a bit unreasonable to visit only Universal Studios for 1 day. I will explain the reason below.
As for the fast passes we've discussed in the article about Disney, Universal also has them. However, they are paid, and you need to buy them at a box office. As for me, they were overpriced (about 50-60 dollars as of 2014), so we did not take them. We were lucky, and standing in the queues didn't take us more than 15-20 minutes. Since we were planning just to ride there and I did not even think about a blog, a part of the photos are from the Universal Orlando official site.
At first, we went to Universal Studios. Universal Studios map.
In general, Universal Studios is a show park; the complex has only 2 roller coasters: RIP Ride Hollywood rocket and Mummy. The first roller coaster has a unique feature: you can choose your own music, which will play throughout the trip. The second one is the underground roller coaster: you are driving inside the pyramid, and the show accompanies your trip.
We liked that all the buildings in the park are made in the America's style. For example, here's the Walk of Fame.
This park also has attractions using the 3D effects. You get in the carriage in glasses and ride on the non-existing roller coasters (like this Simpsons attraction). It's interesting to realize how your organism deceives you. Your brain understands that this is just the carriage in the building, but you still jump out of your skin.
Here's the Men In Black attraction. They think out all the details in the parks. Even the flying saucers are like in the movie. You undergo tests to become the "Man in Black" on this attraction: you ride in the carriage around the "city" and kill the monsters from the blaster.
The rest of Universal Studios are numerous different D cinemas with the effects of presence, explosions, motorcycles on stage, and so on; various shows related to Hollywood. For example, we attended the show telling how special effects for horror films are made. We didn't like it. There was a good show with magicians. The other shows are also focused on special effects, but they are more multifaceted and worth standing in the queue.
If I'm not mistaken, it's the show about how special effects are made in Hollywood.
In general, the park is nice, but we dreamed more about the roller coasters. After walking for around half a day, we went to Island of Adventure.
Famous Hard Rock Cafe is on the way to Island of Adventure.
Island of Adventure consists of the different roller coasters. Although there are several shows in the park.
The Hulk roller coaster was the first to greet us. It's a typical roller coaster with significant overloads and a whole lot of emotions. Please, don't forget to hide your things in the lockers.
After the "Hulk" attraction, we found ourselves in the quarter of the Marvel superheroes.
This section of the park has two attractions: Spider-Man and the Towers (I do not remember the name :-().
Spider-Man is the 3D attraction. You drive a car around the city, and Spider-Man rescues you from the evil heroes. The attraction is great. It is worth a visit!
As for the Towers: 2 Towers has a height of 50 meters, probably. You fly upwards on the springs, and then you experience free fall for a second. We liked it very much.
The Towers offer a beautiful view.
Then we found ourselves in the "fairy" section. It is represented by the "wet roller coasters." I advise you to hide things deeper. You leave the attractions being really wet!
Here we are on the way to the rides.
Here's the attraction.
One can use the dryers after the rides. The cost was $ 5. However, the weather was warm, so we got dry already on the way. We were also aware that we could get wet on the next attraction. Jurassic Park was waiting for us. Probably, it's the park's greatest themed attraction after Harry Potter. It's the roller coaster with the elements of the show. A boat you are sailing on brings you to the dinosaurs.
This part of the park also has rides for children, as well as a large pavilion telling the story of the dinosaurs. It's fascinating.
Finally, we reached the part of the park that we had long dreamed of - the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The scenery is mind-blowing.
Hogwarts stands on a rock. It's a real full-sized castle. There is the main attraction of this part of the park inside. Unfortunately, there are no photos from the inside because you have to leave all your things at the entrance. A long hallway leads to the attraction: through the Dumbledore's office, through rooms with talking pictures, with flying candles, and so on. You need to see this. The attraction is incredible. It's a mixture of the roller coaster, show, 3D effects, but without glasses. In short, we rode it 3 times that day.
There are 2 good roller coasters opposite Hogwarts.
The village of "Hogsmeade" took us for an hour. We just walked and looked at everything :-)
Stores with the Gryffindor attributes.
Do you need a broom for Quidditch?! No problem!
How about a book with teeth?
Wands? Sure thing! The queue stood on the street.
Owls for letters - no problem.
Finally, Butterbeer. It turned out to be not a beer but a sweet drink. However, it has a great foam.
Here's a chocolate singing toad.
Here's a bar with a talking head.
We spent 2 days in those 2 parks. On the first day, everything happened very quickly. On the second day, we were quietly and calmly getting the emotions on the attractions we liked the most.
By the way, there are many squirrels in the parks.
In the evening of the second day, we decided to treat ourselves to tasty food. We visited a famous restaurant called "Bubba Gump," which was praised by Forest Gump!
The restaurant pleased us with its service, prices, and incredibly tasty dishes.
Here's a shrimp burger.
After dinner, we went to the hotel to pack our bags. We were going to return home next morning.
Here's some video from the Internet:
Island of Adventure