review travel Universal Universal Studios

Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Orlando is a theme park located in Orlando Florida not too far from Disney World and SeaWorld. But Universal is anything like the other two theme parks. Universal Studios Florida opened on June 7, 1990. It opened about a year after Disney’s MGM Studios now known as Hollywood Studios. Both theme parks were a place for you to “ride the movies”.

Universal Studios is the 6th most visited theme park in the United States and 9th worldwide. When you visit you will understand why. The park is pretty large and packed with tons of attractions, characters and set pieces to explore. Stand out front of Moe’s. Take a picture with the tiger shark from Jaws. Or explore Diagon Alley and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. So many things to see and do. The only thing you have to think of is where to start.

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The park is split up into 8 different themed areas (Hollywood, World Expo, Springfield, New York City, San Fransisco, Production Central, Woody Woodpeckers Kidzone and Diagon Alley/ London). Let’s take a look and see if a visit to Universal Studios Florida is right for you on your next visit to Orlando.

RIDES

As we said before, Universal is broken up into 8 different themed areas (lands). Each area has at least one ride. There are 2 different play areas for younger kids. Both are located in Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone. But before we go over that let’s go over the 13 different rides and one ride/show available at Universal Studios.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem– Motion Simulator ride

Shrek 4D– 4D show

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit– Roller Coaster

Rip Ride Rockit

Fast & Furious: Supercharged– Dark Ride

Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl– Aerial Carousel

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The Simpson Ride– Motion Simulator ride 

Men in Black: Alien Attack– Shooting Dark Ride

Transformers: The Ride 3D– 3D dark ride

Revenge of the Mummy– Indoor Roller Coaster

Race through New York with Jimmy Fallon– Motion Simulator

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts– Indoor Roller Coaster

Hogwarts Express– Train ride (Need Park to Park Ticket)

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Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster– Kids Roller Coaster

E.T. Adventure- Flying Dark Ride

Universal is usually seen as a more teen and adult friendly park. While that is definitely true there are some less intense rides that kids will love just as much. Those rides include Despicable Me, Shrek 4D, the Twirl ‘n’ Hurl, Woody Woodpecker’s coaster, E.T. and maybe even The Simpson Ride. 

The other rides can be considered too intense for younger kids. Of course those of you with kids know what kind of rides they can and cannot do. My daughter (8) did not like Men in Black. She said it spinned too much for her. She is still not too sure about Transformers. We both also know that she is not yet ready for indoor roller coasters or roller coasters with loops. 

Now, not so much rides and more play areas than anything else, are Curious George Goes to Town and Fievel’s Playland. Both areas are great for younger kids that cannot enjoy or are too scared to enjoy much of what Universal offers. Both playlands have water areas for the kids to cool off on those hot summer days. Fievel’s Playland has a cool little water slide and a large climbing net. Kids can easily spend an hour running, jumping and getting soaked.  

Fievel’s Playground

Both play lands can be found in Woody Woodpeckers Kidzone. This is also where you would find the Woody Woodpecker coaster. This is also where you can run into Sponge Bob Squarepants, Patrick and Squidward at the SpongeBob store.

SHOWS

There are a couple of shows that are running on most days at Universal Studios. The Universal Horror Make-up show has been there since the park opened in 1990. This probably isn’t the best show to take younger kids too. Some of the show scenes can be a little intense with the special effects and make-up they use. 

Fear Factor live is a stage show based on the Fear Factor tv show. There is also Animal Actors on Location which showcases animal actors. It is a 20 minute stage show featuring trained animals. People of all ages love this show. 

The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando 2020 (Unofficial Guides)

Another kid friendly (even though most kids don’t know him) show is A Day in the Park with Barney. Yes that Barney the purple dinosaur. This is a live sing-along show featuring Barney and his Friends. 

CHARACTERS

Universal Studios Florida has many unique and interesting characters walking and driving around. There is really no set schedule of when or where they will be. In saying that you can hang out around the Transformers ride and see Bumblebee, Optimus Prime or Megatron.

Be on the lookout for the gang from Scooby-Doo

In the Simpsons area you could spot Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart, Kristy, and Sideshow Bob. If you hang around the DeLorean or Train from Back to the Future you could even see Doc Brown.

Other characters you can find out and about are BeetleJuice, HelloKitty, Mummy stilt walkers, The Blues Brothers, Betty Boop, Agent K and J, Woody Woodpecker, Barney and Many Many others. 

FOOD

The food at Universal keeps getting better year after year. Too many places to even pick from on a short trip. Check out Krusty Burger or BumbleBee Man’s Taco Truck. Both have a great Simpsons feel. 

With around 30 different eateries to pick from the choices are endless. Make sure you get the refillable cup. It is one of the best deals you will find anywhere in Orlando Theme parks. For 1 refillable bottle will cost you $16.99 plus tax. However, you get free refills the day you buy it. It includes over 100 coca products, and Icee’s. You read that right. Icee’s are also included with the free refills. You really can’t beat a frozen Coke on those humid Florida days. If you come back another day, be sure you bring your cup. You can get refills that day for $10 plus tax. 

Now if you find yourself in Diagon Alley do yourself a favor and get a frozen butterbeer. Butterbeer is cream soda with Butterscotch flavor and a deliciously sweet whipped topping. I would say this is a must get when you visit Universal Studios.

Universal is a fun and exciting place to visit. One thing to note is you can pay extra money (on top of your park ticket) for what is called an Express Pass. With the express pass you can cut the line on many of Universal Studios rides one time. It is a good idea if you are only planning on visiting one day. However, it will cost you an additional $70 per person on top of your park ticket.

Have you ever visited Universal Studios Florida? Is it a stand alone visit or do you visit the other Orlando area theme parks? Let us know in the comments below. Also be sure to check out our reviews on Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista and Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. Both hotels are located near all the Orlando theme parks. Remember to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest at KozmoPhotos. It will help you stay up to date with all the latest post and photos.

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