3. Universal’s Volcano Bay
Over Memorial Day weekend, UOR opened their first ever “water theme park” – Volcano Bay – to HUGE crowds and lots of praise. We were there for a day of fun in the sun shortly after opening day and other than some to-be-expected hiccups (long waits for food, confusion about how/where to get in line for slides), we had a blast and can’t wait to go back. Volcano Bay is UOR’s first attempt at a “queueless” park – riders must tap a wristband called Tapu Tapu at locations outside of each slide to join the virtual queue. Your Tapu Tapu band will count down the minutes until it’s time for you to ride your ride. And there’s plenty to do while you wait! Volcano Bay features both a lazy and crazy rivers; a 9-directional wave pool under the massive Krakatau Volcano at the center of the park; great food and drink stands; and a kids play area that your little ones will love! We highly recommend the centerpiece attraction: Krakatau Aqua Coaster, a magnet-propelled boat thrill coaster that takes you right through the volcano on an unforgettable ride. Volcano Bay, like any park, will need to some time to hit its stride, but it is absolutely worth adding to your next UOR trip!
2. Halloween Horror Nights
For the last 27 years, UOR has been home to Halloween Horror Nights, an awesome, hilarious and often disgusting collection of haunted houses, scare zones and stage shows that has become an industry-leader in the haunt business! We’ve been fortunate enough to visit HHN three times and each year Universal seems to outdo themselves with the scares and the gore. Each year during HHN, Universal Studios is transformed into a Halloween wonderland with houses located in usually-unseen studio soundstages and other backlot buildings. Random sections of the park are littered with themed “scareactors” who follow guests as they walk. These “scare zones” are often some of the best parts of HHN! Admittedly this is not an experience for everyone. Parents would be wise to leave the young kids at home and even many adults find HHN too extreme for their vacation tests. But for those willing to take the plunge, we highly recommend HHN for your next Florida trip. We reviewed HHN last year and we plan to be there again in 2017 to cover all of the action!
1. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
We’ve reached the number one reason to make Universal Orlando Resorts a part of your next Florida vacation and the choice was crystal clear for us. If you’re looking for the one reason to book a trip to UOR, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is that reason. The Wizarding World is actually two massive theme lands in separate parks, connected by a jaw-dropping recreation of the Hogwarts Express train from JK Rowling’s classic book series. At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, you’ll find the village of Hogsmeade, home to Hogwart’s Castle and the greatest theme park ride in the world: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Forbidden Journey requires guests to walk through the exquisite halls of Hogwarts Castle before boarding enchanted benches that take riders on an adventure that will bring them face-to-face with dragons and Death Eaters! Opened in 2010, Hogsmeade is a massive crowd pleaser that also features two rollercoasters; Ollivander’s wand shop; and Three Broomsticks, a magical sit-down restaurant that serves fantastic fish and chips! From Hogsmeade, guests can board the Hogwarts Express over to Universal Studios where they can enter through the magical brick wall into Diagon Alley! At Diagon Alley, guests can take a thrilling trip into the caverns at Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott’s; visit Knockturn Alley where the dark arts loom around every corner; and eat at the Leaky Cauldron! Both lands in The Wizarding World offer visitors unique experiences and thrills and you won’t want to miss it! We have been visiting the Wizarding World for the better part of the last decade and it never gets old. Whether your family are fans of the book series or not, there is so much to love about these lands!