My youngest son is finally five years old and old enough to enjoy big boy rides. This means that the time to visit Universal Studios finally arrived for my family. I booked three full days to be able to fully explore the parks and enjoy everything they has to offer. We all had a great time! Even someone like me who doesn’t like rides will have a blast.

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

I love visiting amusement and theme parks, but I absolutely detest going on the rides. For me, all of the excitement comes from seeing my kids and husband having fun. I am happy to watch from the sidelines.

Sometimes they convince me to join on the more relaxed rides, the ones that include very little thrill and adrenaline factors.

Universal Studios in Florida has been in my list of places to visit for a long time, but I kept pushing it back I wanted my youngest boy to be of age to enjoy himself and to join his brother on the rides. Once he was five years old, I decided that it was time to visit.

How Universal Studios in Florida Has Changed Me Into a Ride-Loving Mama

I have been keeping my eye on Universal Studios for a few reasons. The main one is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. My oldest boy is a huge Harry Potter fan and my little guy always follows in his footsteps. I was also really curious to see how well this part of the park was done since I heard that the best of the best had a chance to work on it.

The Wizarding World did not disappoint. In fact, it totally blew us away. It had everything we could’ve imagined and all of the details were right on point. You really feel as if you are within one of the movies.

We actually decided to stay in this part of the parks until closing and visited both sections– Diagon Alley and Hogsmead.

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

We even decided to splurge on getting fast passes.

I decided it would be a good idea to get a three day pass to both parks, but only a one day fast pass. The idea was to spend the first day meandering around, checking out the shows (most shows aren’t on the fast pass) and trying to decide which rides you want to go on the next day.

We saved the fast pass for the second day. Because we already knew the place and the rides we wanted to do, we were able to use the pass to its fullest capacity. Most of the rides, including the ones from Harry Potter World, are included in it.

I also loved that most of the rides are suitable for my younger boy as well.

Unlike other parks, the fast pass is personal and not interchangeable. So even though I am not a fan of rides, I got one for myself.

Is it worth the extra price – WELL YES! Even though we visited during the off season, there were wait times of around 75 minutes. With the pass we didn’t have to wait more than 5 minutes.

In my opinion, Universal has managed to outrun Disney with its rides. Most of them are simulators and I got hooked after the first one. That’s why I was happy I got a fast pass for myself.

These rides allow you to experience all sorts of things. I wanted to go on most of them again and again.

They do have some roller coasters but they seem to be a dying breed.

On the third day we decided to suck it up and go on the rides that don’t accept fast pass. The good thing is that, even though we had to wait about an hour in line, they are designed to look as if you are already in the ride. Plus the line moves really fast.

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Info for Visiting Universal Studios in Orlando Florida

Prices:
Park to Park Admission – Both Universal Parks

– 1 day
Adult $155
Child $150

– 2 day
Adult $219.99
Child $209.99
Current pricing from the Universal Studios web site.

Harry Potter is a two part attraction

At Universal Studios Florida: The Hustle and Bustle of DIAGON ALLEY

Walk through the streets of London to Diagon Alley.
Along the way you see many of the wizarding world’s most famous establishments.

At Universal’s Islands of Adventure: The Charming Village of HOGSMEADE
A village nestled at the foot of Hogwarts castle.
Stroll the streets and explore shops and eateries.
Wander through the classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts,
Soar above the castle with Harry Potter on a ride called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

The Hogwarts Express This allows you travel between both Hogsmeade Station in Universal’s Islands of Adventure and King’s Cross Station in Universal Studios Florida.

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Recommendations On How to Enjoy the Park Best (With a Fast Pass)

Universal

This is actually a compound formed by two theme parks, a water park and five hotels and even a large area filled with restaurants, shows and shops called Universal CityWalk.

Rides in Universal Studios

  • TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • The Simpsons Ride
  • Shrek 4-D
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack
  • Terminator 2: 3-D
  • E.T. Adventure
  • Animal Actors On Location!
  • Curious George Goes To Town
  • Fear Factor Live
  • Fievel’s Playland
  • Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster
  • The Blues Brothers Show
  • A Day in the Park with Barney
  • Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Diagon Alley,
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Rides in Universal’s Islands of Adventure

  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall
  • Storm Force Accelatron
  • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure
  • Pteranodon Flyers
  • The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Stunt Show
  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • Dragon Challenge
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
  • The Cat In The Hat
  • Poseidon’s Fury
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!
  • Camp Jurassic
  • Caro-Seuss-el
  • Jurassic Park Discovery Center
  • If I Ran The Zoo
  • Me Ship, The Olive
  • Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear!