My favorite part of the trip: roller-coaster rides! Attracting over 10 million people an year between the two theme parks, Universal Studios are only second to Disney parks in popularity. I love roller- coasters and I am a huge movie buff; so I was in paradise in Universal Studios.
After a light lunch at Panera Bread, we headed to the Universal Islands of Adventure, one of the two theme parks at Universal Orlando. While the crowds were lean, some of the popular rides still had a wait-time of 45 minutes. Since we were in Orlando for a couple of days, we bought the express passes to enjoy multiple rides and reduce wait time.
My husband (Ravi) isn’t an adrenaline junkie like me when it comes to roller-coaster rides and we decided to start small with the virtual simulator rides first. The express passes served us well and we cruised through to the front of lines for most rides. After a few rides, Ravi decided he would sit out the Incredible Hulk ride and the Dragon Challenge.
Here is a list of my favorite rides at Island of Adventure
1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
From the tour of the Hogwarts castle, talking portraits, Quidditch matches, dragons and of course Harry, Ron and Hermoine, the ride involves everything you love about Harry Potter.
I was also impressed with how well the wizarding world of Harry Potter was conceptualized. Just buy a butter beer (cold and absolutely delicious, see supposed recipe here), approved by JK Rowling herself and walk through Hogsmeade for sights of the Hogwarts Express, Owl Post and magical wands.
2. The Incredible Hulk
Sheer adrenaline rush! The train you are seated in accelerates to 40 mph in two seconds and continues through a series of loops ( more on the ride here). I went on this solo, screamed as loudly as I could and came back with a huge smile on my face.
3. Dragon Challenge:
Also set in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, it is a fast and exciting ride. Though not as thrilling as the Incredible Hulk personally, definitely a must-try!
4. Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls:
Entertaining ride with a great climax where you drop 75 feet through a ‘dynamite’ shack and are sprayed with water when you descend into a splash pool (more here). I had bought myself a poncho to keep dry but was thoroughly drenched nevertheless!
After the theme park shut at 7 P.M, we walked back to CityWalk and ate dinner at Emeril’s again ( more on Emeril’s in future post). We decided to watch another movie at the AMC theatre ; tonight we watched Django Unchained. Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo Dicaprio in lead roles, it was a typical Quentin Tarantino movie- bloody, gory but entertaining nevertheless. Christoph Waltz was my favorite character in the movie; engaging and charming.
More on the final day at Universal Studios in the next blog post!