Mini-Vacation: Universal Studios

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:

We chose to head here first because it was what we were most excited for. I wanted Butterbeer, and he wanted to check out the castle. We started out with the Buckbeak ride — a major disappointment. It’s probably the shortest roller coaster ride I’ve ever been on. In my life. 0/10 would not recommend. We then headed to Ollivander’s; the “show” wasn’t impressive but the shop itself was really neat. Wands lined every wall, nook, and cranny. Finally, it was time for Butterbeer. Pro tip: Get the frozen version. It’s much better than the regular one, which just tastes like cream soda with butter cream on top. We took our drinks into the Hogwarts castle ride line, a tip given by my friend Rena, and enjoyed every second we stood in front of a fog mister. I have to give Universal props for this ride, because it’s the coolest ride in the entire park. Think California Adventure’s Soarin’ California + every big moment from the first few books. The second time we hit up this part of the park, my boyfriend went on the ride alone and actually got stuck for a few minutes!

 

My loving boyfriend begrudgingly bought me a time turner necklace (pictured above). I say “begrudgingly” because he actually wanted it for himself! It was $50, the same cost as an interactive wand, and it is stunning. I wore it out of the store and throughout the entirety of our trip.

Springfield (Simpsons):

We didn’t spend a ton of time in Springfield, but we did stop at Krusty Burger for some footlong chili cheese dogs! I probably could have made these at home with some Nathan’s Hot Dogs, but I enjoyed it. My only complaint is the lack of free refills; each cup has a scannable code on the bottom which the machine uses to determine whether or not to dispense drinks. Otherwise, I enjoyed it.

 

Studio Tour:

This was super neat, and a great way to get off our feet for awhile. We saw many of the studios where current shows are being filmed – Mindy Project!!! – and actually had to be quiet at one point because there was active filming on a set nearby! Below is a photo of a scene which cost hundreds of millions of dollars to create, for only three minutes of screen time.

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End of Day 1: 

We hit pretty much everything on the upper level of the park, and concluded our day with some pictures in front of the globe:

 

Day 2: 

The highlight of Day 2 was definitely the food. When we arrived around 1PM, we headed straight to Bubba Gump’s. We both got seafood dishes, which were fantastic, as well as a drink each. I chose a pina colada-type drink which tasted like strawberry preserves, and my boyfriend got a hard iced tea. Both were fantastic, and we were seated near a PokeStop which made for an entertaining pastime, although our waiter did call us out on it.

We hit everything on the lower level and even saw the Waterworks show, which was a great way to end our day at the park. Afterwards, we went to a place in CityWalk called Little Monster, where we got drinks with boba. I got the cup pictures below for only $2 more, and my boyfriend got a glass shaped like a lightbulb! Both drinks were delicious and surprisingly affordable.

 


All in all, I had a blast. It was my first time at Universal and it certainly didn’t disappoint, but I don’t know that I’m going to want to head back anytime soon. It’s a relatively small park compared to Disneyland, so maybe after a few expansions I’ll head back.

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