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Monday, November 21, 2016

One Day at Universal Studios

So, as I said, we spent the second half of our vacation visiting friends who live outside Tampa.  Our friends have annual passes to Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure, and suggested we all spend a day there.  So Drew and I invested in the one-day two-park pass.

The parks are not crowded midweek in early November.  Universal was still decorated for Halloween Horror Nights, but Islands of Adventure was already getting ready for Christmas.

Our priority was the "Harry Potter" areas of the parks.  When Drew and I had been here a few years ago, we'd seen "Hogsmeade" at Islands of Adventure, but "Diagon Alley" had not yet been built at Universal.  So that's where we started.

You walk through the park until you come to a London street scene.

And then you notice:

You go through an arch, and you're in Diagon Alley:

Of course we rode  Escape From Gringotts -- great ride, an indoor roller coaster with incredible visual effects.

And yes, we ventured into Knockturn Alley as well.

We took time out from our Harry Potter odyssey to ride Men In Black, and then we headed over to King's Cross Station.

You take the train to "Hogsmeade" -- really to the other park, Islands of Adventure.

There are three rides here, a roller coaster ( I won't ride the coaster, our friends don't do coasters, so Drew rode alone), a kiddie coaster, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey -- one of the best rides in Central Florida.  You really feel as though you're riding on a broom with Harry and the gang.

We enjoyed shopping in Hogsmeade, then decided to move on and see the rest of the park.  We grabbed some lunch at one of the counter service restaurants in the cartoon area, and then we rode some old favorites -- Jurrassic Park, Dudley Do-Right, Spiderman -- and of course we needed to see the new King Kong ride.  Yeah, the new movie won't open until next summer, but the ride is up and running.  Very cool ride, too, great visual effects.

We walked back to Universal via Citiwalk so that Drew could ride Rip It, a very, very scary coaster. Next up, the Minions ride and the Simpsons ride, two simulators with humorous visuals.

Ir was almost time for the park to close, so we decided to call it a day.

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