40 photos to inspire you to visit universal orlando

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growing up my grandparents spent the fall and winter down in florida. almost every winter my parents would pack me up in the car and we'd drive the 1,200 miles from cedar rapids, iowa to oklawaha, florida, rarely even stopping for an overnight (yeah, my dad was hardcore when he was going through his "we gotta drive EVERYWHERE" phase). 

during these many stays in florida I was lucky enough to have visited epcot, disney, universal studios, and many waterparks as I was growing up, but like all kids we eventually get older and teenage life happens, so we naturally began spending less and less time in the sunshine state.

fast forward 20 years and two of our best friends asked us if we wanted to go on a cruise so we started looking at different places to go and ended up landing on a 4-day cruise that began and ended in orlando. our plan was to spend two nights in orlando after we returned. we would have the afternoon and evening of the day we docked back in port, one full day and night, then we would fly home.

now I would like to say that I did all this research on what Dylan and I could do on our full day in orlando, but I immediately knew - we were going to universal! I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan and was dying to visit the wizarding world of Harry Potter, and thankfully Dylan loves me enough to indulge my preferences, even though he could care less about Harry Potter. 

we knew that it would be a busy day; most people take at least 2 days to universal, but we only had one day, so we asked the rain gods for some good weather, bought our tickets, and began planning.

technical stuff...we did get a pass to see both universal and islands of adventure. the universal side has diagon alley, where the islands side has hogsmeade, so if you want to see both worlds (and take the Hogwarts express!) you must have a ticket to both parks. also, we bought express passes; since we only had one day to see the park we wanted to be sure we could slide right up to the fast line.

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as you can see we covered A LOT of territory in a day, and we just narrowly avoided the thunderstorm that came down around 6pm (something that tends to happen in June, in Florida). we had a great time and hope to go back to hit all of the theme parks, and if you're considering whether or not to go to universal studios, I hope these pictures can inspire you to go - you're going to have a blast!

have you been to universal? what is your favorite theme park to visit?

PIN IT!

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cheers!
heather