Universal Studios, Orlando: Day 1
When I was a little kid, my cousins who lived in the United States visited us in India on vacation. My cousin had just been on a trip to Disney world and she refused to part with and wore a Mickey Mouse t-shirt which she had bought in Disney for most of the 3 week trip.
I remember this detail even years later and distinctly remember how much I wanted to visit the magical world of Disney myself. I dreamed of visiting Mickey and Minnie and my favorite Donald Duck and Goofy. When I finally did go to Disney for the first time; I was 22 years old but it was just as magical. It’s a make believe world where you can be silly, goofy and act like a kid and not worry about being an adult for a while.
We didn’t have too much time to explore Universal studios the last time we visited Orlando, so we decided to spend the two days of our weekend trip at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. We bought our tickets online and found a great deal for the third day free for a 2 day multi-park entry. A tip to anyone heading to theme parks, buy your tickets online- you usually have better deals, save money and can head straight to the entrance of the park without wasting any time.
The theme parks shut at 7.00 P.M, so we headed to the City Walk after a work day on Friday. City Walk at Universal Studios houses most of the restaurants, a movie theatre, shopping and several clubs. Open till 1.00 a.m, it’s a nice place to walk around, people-watch and have a good meal while in Orlando.
Overlooking the Universal sign, there are little stores which sell souvenirs and snacks. There were young people dancing on the street, great music playing on the City Walk and perfect weather; it’s hard not to relax and have fun.
For dinner, we headed to Emeril’s. The place was absolutely packed and with the wait for a table being over an hour, we sat at the bar. I like sitting at the bar at restaurants because you can have interesting conversations with the bartenders and fellow customers. On this night; we met a lawyer who was in Orlando for a matrimonial conference ( divorces, pre-nups et al.) He had been living in Florida for several years and was a regular at Emeril’s and gave us several recommendations on what food to order.
I had the white truffle mushroom pizza which was absolutely delicious. I also recommend the fried green tomatoes at Emeril’s; I had never tried fried green tomatoes before and I loved them!
After dinner, we watched the movie ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ at the AMC theatre in City Walk. Starring Jessica Chastain, the movie is dark, gritty and keeps the viewer very engaged in the story of the search, discovery and killing of Osama Bin Laden. While the movie has faced some criticism for promoting torture; I think I agree with a different critic’s line of thought here.
More on Universal’s theme parks and the overdue Jaipur blog post in future posts!