Not everyone heading to Orlando is going to Walt Disney World! There are lots of people, like me that head to Universal whenever they can too!.
Universal Orlando Resort has lots to choose from – Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Island of Adventure, Universal’s Volcano Bay and Universal CityWalk. Each park has its own feel, themes and rides and it’s hard to choose just a few. So, what are some of my favorite rides?
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: Harry Potter fans have had a fully immersive experience since the first Wizarding World was opened in 2010. Since then Universal has been giving fans jaw-dropping fun, and with Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, located in Island of Adventure, fans get to travel through Hogwarts Castle, take part in a Qudditch match, and even escape a Dementors.
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: This ride has become a cornerstone in the way Universal makes rides. Spiderman has won Best Dark Ride by Amusement Today 15 out of 16 years. That alone makes it a ride worth adding to your must ride list.
Revenge of the Mummy: This ride is a dark ride and coaster combined that features amazing animatronics and physical thrills. To add to its excitement the ride plays with psychological scares as well.
E.T Adventure: E.T. Adventure is a classic ride from one of the most successful movies of all times. This ride is the last remaining ride from when the park first opened in 1990. While a slower pace than many rides at Universal, it is a relaxing ride that everyone should ride. Be sure to listen to what E.T. says at the end of the ride.
Men in Black: Alien Attack: This dark ride starts with an introduction from Will Smith himself. As the ride starts, aliens are appearing from everywhere and the riders need to shoot each one. Each seat has a gun and each rider receives points for shooting the aliens. The car travels through the ride, occasionally stopping and then spins around. It makes hitting the targets a little harder.
Skull Island: Reign of Kong. This ride takes you on a treacherous journey into the dark heart of the jungle, prehistoric predators and fearsome creatures attack your vehicle from all sides. Your expedition guide fights them back with all their might.
Of course, there are rides that everyone will love at Universal. Rides of all kinds can be found throughout the different parks. There are rides for the speed demon and the tamest at heart, as well as some of the best rides around for little ones. My absolute favorite for kids (and kids at heart like me!) is The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride. Sit back and relax as you wind your way above the imaginative buildings and rides of Seuss Landing. There are two different tracks your ride might take. One continues the story of the Sneetches, while the other takes you through the ABCs of your other favorite Seuss stories.
Do you have a some favorite Universal Orlando rides?
Everything You Need to Know About Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to visit in Orlando! For years I only visited those parks run by our favorite mouse, but in the last couple of years I’ve been making it a point to spend some of my time at Universal. The more I visit – the more I love it!
All the Parts of Universal
Universal Studios Florida – Lots of rides and lots of adventure. Dodge evil villains. Defend the earth. Face a fire-breathing dragon. In this theme park, the movies come to life right before your eyes!
Universal’s Islands of Adventure – Super heroes and magical creates!
Universal’s Volcano Bay – This is the BEST water park in Orlando!
Universal CityWalk – Dining and entertainment at it’s best!
Children Under Three Get In Free – Single or double strollers are available for rent upon entering Universal Studios Florida
Sit Out, Then Swap – If your children are too small or don’t want to go on a particular ride that you’d like to experience, you can take advantage of the “child swap” program. Each ride and attraction has a child swap area where one member of your party can wait with the little ones while the rest of your party rides.
The resorts at Universal Orlando make it easy to get to the parks and CityWalk. You can enter the parks an hour before all other guests. When staying at some of the resorts, you can skip the regular lines at most popular attractions with FREE Universal Express Unlimited to Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, including The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
There’s a Universal hotel for every style and budget.
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel – Celebrate the sweet life. Enjoy the beauty, charm and romance of a luxurious escape inspired by the famed seaside village of Portofino, Italy. Tasty outdoor cafes and a serene harbor invite you to explore the colorful piazza. Three amazing pools offer different ways to relax. Incredible restaurants let you savor a deliciously delightful culinary tour of Italy.
Hard Rock Hotel – The coolest hotel on the planet. Live like a rock star and savor the perks of rock and roll royalty with impeccable accommodations, laid-back luxurious style and show-stopping service.
Loews Royal Pacific Resort – Experience a luxurious South Seas escape that perfectly combines tropical splendor and exceptional amenities. A sparkling lagoon-style pool surrounded by a white sand beach and swaying palms invites you to escape. Savor the culinary creations of a celebrity chef. Celebrate with a classic luau. Unwind with a one-of-a-kind dining adventure featuring locally brewed beers.
Loews Sapphire Falls Resort – Step into paradise in the heart of the tropics. Blue waterfalls cascade over lush grounds and in the distance, calming sounds of steel drums call you to take in the scenic views, ease into island time and let go. Amid the ruins, passageways and pools you’ll find numerous Caribbean-themed dining options.
Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort – Vibrant, retro style rooms and suites brilliantly designed for fun and affordability. Relax with a splash, surrounded by amazing iconic architecture inspired by classic Florida beach resorts of the 1950’s and 60’s. Two massive pools, a winding lazy river, a bowling alley and more.
Universal’s Aventura Hotel – Opening August 2018, this will be the modern and stylish place to stay. Spacious open areas will invite conversation and engagement while the 600 rooms reflect a clean, contemporary style.
Each of the on-site resort hotels at Universal Orlando Resort has a supervised children’s activity center where kids can be dropped off in a safe, monitored environment while Mom and Dad enjoy a few hours out. An activity center is open every evening and offers movies, games, arts and crafts, and more for children ages 4–14. Please note that this service is only available to on-site hotel guests. There is a fee and advance reservations are suggested.
All Universal Orlando on-site hotels comply with accessibility requirements to ensure specially equipped guest rooms are available. Restaurants are wheelchair accessible, and all accessible guest room entrances include room numbers in Braille. Trained service animals are welcome.
All About Dining
There are approximately 125 restaurants so there is something for every sort of eater! Dining plans offer different options, including full service or quick service – character dining – fine dining. No one goes hungry at Universal Orlando!
Annual Universal Events
A Celebration of Harry Potter
Mardi Gras (Universal Studios) Feb. 3 – April 7, 2018
Volcano Bay and TapuTapu Coming to Universal Orlando this May
TapuTapu™ Puts The Wonders of Volcano Bay™ Right At Your Wrist.
All images via Universal Orlando.
Due to open at the end of May, Volcano Bay is Universal Orlando’snearest park. When you visit Volcano Bay™ you will be granted the powers of the TapuTapu™, a waterproof wearable bracelet specifically designed for the park. With just a touch of your wrist you’ll be able to hold your place in a Virtual Line™ at the rides and discover wondrous surprises.
Unlike Walt Disney World Resort’s MagicBands, the TapuTapu will be given out when you arrive at the park and must be returned before you leave. It looks as if it will be used for a system similar to Disney’s FastPass+.
Arrive – Enter Universal’s Volcano Bay™ where you’ll be welcomed as a part of the Waturi family.
Receive Your TapuTapu – Pick up your TapuTapu wearable as you enter the park. It’s yours for the day.
Look for the Symbol – Look for this symbol throughout the park and use your TapuTapu to get a return time, play and more.
Hold Your Place in the Virtual Line™ – Touch your TapuTapu on the symbol at a ride entry totem. That checks you in to the Virtual Line™ and gives you a return time.
Relax and Play until your TapuTapu Alerts You – Your TapuTapu will tell you when it’s time to head back to the ride.
Touch to Ride – Touch the symbol on the totem again and proceed through the ride entrance.
Discover Interactive Surprises – You can also use the TapuTapu where you see the symbol to play with interactive surprises around the park.
Return Your TapuTapu – Don’t forget to return your TapuTapu wearable when you exit Volcano Bay.
Designed specifically and exclusively for use in Universal’s water theme park, TapuTapu™ will make your experience throughout the entire park as hassle-free and fun-filled as possible. It will allow you to virtually wait in line for Volcano Bay’s dozens of unique attractions and discover various TapTu Play™ experiences throughout the park with just a simple touch.
Here’s what we can all expect to see when Volcano Bay opens:
At the heart of the island stands Krakatau™, the mighty Fire and Water Volcano. Towering 200 feet above the tropical landscape, Krakatau streams waterfalls during the day and fiery lava effects at night. Inside the cavernous volcano the Waturi people dare you to brave a variety of heart-pounding water slides.
Krakatau™ Aqua Coaster
Honorary Waturi can experience the power of Krakatau™ on this amazing ride. Four-person canoes slide upward through the mists and into the dark twists and turns within the volcano before emerging with a plunge through a shimmering waterfall.
Ko’okiri Body Plunge™
Join in the centuries-old tradition of honoring the volcano god, Vol, by braving the incredible Ko’okiri Body Plunge. Featuring a 70-degree fall through a drop door and 125 feet of screaming, white-knuckle fun, this dizzying descent ends with a watery tribute from Vol himself.
Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides™
Join Kala and Tai Nui where sea and sky meet and take a leap of faith from high atop the volcano. Twin trap doors simultaneously drop two guests down clear, intertwining tubes before sending them joyfully splashing into the turquoise waters below.
A favorite among Waturi children of all ages, Punga Racers send single riders on their manta ray mats sliding down four lanes through underwater sea caves.
This peaceful escape overlooks the sparkling waters of Waturi Beach at the base of the volcano.
Locals know — the surf’s always up at Waturi Beach. Swim, splash and relax right along with them in the sparkling waters and warm waves of this sparkling lagoon at the foot of mighty Krakatau™.
The scenic River Village has fun for people of all ages, including the very youngest Waturi.
Honu ika Moana™
Just like the ancient Waturi people who rode the ocean waves on friendly sea turtles and whales, guests can enjoy these two twisting, turning, multi-person slides. Honu sweeps up two massive walls, while ika Moana sprays water on riders from the center of the raft.
Tot Tiki Reef™ & Runamukka Reef™
The little ones can frolic among the splashy slides and fountains of the Tot Tiki Reef toddler play area, while Runamukka Reef delights older children with its bubbling geysers, water guns, slides and dump cups.
Kopiko Wai Winding River™
Take a slow ride on the Kopiko Wai Winding River. Sprays of water surprise along the way, and beneath the lava rocks, Stargazer’s Cavern reveals the magical night sky above.
Rainforest Village stretches along the shores of an action-packed river and features the perfect mix of relaxation and exhilaration.
Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides™
Test your mettle and get into the Waturi spirit. Ascend cliff side and plummet down the twisting waters of Ohyah before dropping out four feet above the pool below. To achieve even greater bragging rights, brave the rope bridge and plunge down Ohno, a serpentine adventure that ends six feet above the pool below. Be sure to yell your battle cry on the way down.
Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides™
Ready for the high adventure of the Maku Puihi lava tubes? This six-person rafting adventure is a favorite of Waturi families, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Choose one of two paths or try them both—just be ready for a thrilling ride. Puihi careens through a dark, winding tunnel before the stomach-flipping thrill of zero gravity hang time. Maku slides you through a deep volcanic gorge before spinning wildly around bowl-like formations.
TeAwa The Fearless River™
Up for an adventure? Take a thrilling whitewater ride along TeAwa The Fearless River. Race along a roaring, watery onslaught of churning rapids and choppy waves hanging tight to your inner tube.
There’s a place where the puka trees grow abnormally tall. Inspired by their twisting roots, the Waturi built four twisting water slides called the Taniwha Tubes. Riders can try all four twisting tracks, but beware — mischievous tiki statues spray jets of water when you least expect it.
I know I’m looking forward to this newest addition to the Orlando area – what do you think?
Volcano Bay Water Park to Open at Universal Orlando in 2017
Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort will be a Water Theme Park Built on a Bold Creative Vision
Universal’s Volcano Bay to Become Third Park at Universal Orlando Resort
ORLANDO, Fla. (May 28, 2015) – Universal Orlando Resort today announced a project of remarkable vision: to bring to life an entirely new water theme park experience. Called Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort, it will join Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure and become the resort’s third incredibly immersive park.
Universal’s Volcano Bay will be a place for the entire family. It will be a whole new generation of experience that reimagines what it means to be a water park. Imagine a place that offers radically innovative, thrilling attractions, peaceful moments of relaxation and an inspired guest experience that will forever change the perception of water theme parks. It will be set in a highly themed, completely immersive environment inspired by postcard-perfect tropical islands. And it will be the kind of special place that only the Universal team – the same team that has changed the face of Universal Orlando Resort in recent years – can envision and create.
Universal’s Volcano Bay will be located within Universal Orlando Resort, just south of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Work is already underway and more details will be released in the future.
Universal’s Volcano Bay is the next in a series of boldly creative experiences that have opened and will continue to open at Universal Orlando. It began with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in 2010 and quickly moved to Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Springfield, hometown to America’s favorite animated family, The Simpsons, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, eight new venues at Universal CityWalk, the breathtaking Cabana Bay Beach Resort and more. It will include Skull Island: Reign of Kong and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort in 2016.
And then – in 2017 – will come Universal’s Volcano Bay.