Tag Archives: Universal Orlando Resort

Top 10 Unique Experiences at Universal Orlando Resort Hotels

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

If you are looking for picturesque views, phenomenal dining options, pools that will transport you and your family to full vacation mode, and oh yeah some Universal Orlando Resort theme park perks, too? Well, you’re in luck because half the fun of a Universal Orlando vacation can be found at the eight unique and impeccably-themed Universal Orlando Resort hotels. So, today, we are sharing ten unique experiences at Universal Orlando Resort hotels you won’t want to miss!

1. Embark on a Rum-Tasting Journey at Strong Water Tavern.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

This experience at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort is an educational blast — you’ll be paired with a Rum Captain (coolest job title ever) who will host a tasting of several different rums and teach you about their flavor nuances. Even if you’re not a rum-fan, I recommend trying this out or just sitting at the bar and enjoying one of the other great signature cocktails.

2. Bowl a strike at Galaxy Bowl.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Well, at least try to bowl a strike. How many hotels have a literal bowling alley in them? Let alone one as cool as you’ll find at Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Whether you’re staying at this hotel or not you should definitely plan a bowling excursion during your Universal trip.

3. Make a splash at your hotel pool.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

What’s a vacation to Florida without a day spent at the pool? Each of the hotels deliver their own great pool experience (Cabana Bay Beach Resort even has a lazy river)! Be sure to check out our guide to the pools here and don’t forget your sunscreen.

4. Get adventurous with the sushi at Orchid Court Lounge & Sushi Bar.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Sushi with a view is the most succinct way I can articulate the magic that is this restaurant in Loews Royal Pacific Resort. The sushi menu is vibrant and inventive, the cocktail offerings are one-of-a-kind, and you’ll be enjoying it all with a view worthy of the word “paradise” as the restaurant overlooks the lush and tropical vibes at Royal Pacific..

5. Attempt the Kitchen Sink Challenge at The Kitchen in Hard Rock Hotel.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Think you have what it takes to eat a burger, side of fries, one fried pickle, and a giant slice of The Kitchen Sink Cake in thirty minutes? Even if you can’t, I can bet it’ll be a delicious experience trying.

6. Enjoy gelato on the harbor.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Get yourself a cup of gelato from the Gelateria and soak in the relaxing ambience of the harbor at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. You may even end up having to pinch yourself to come back to reality and remind yourself you’re not actually in Italy.

7. Grab a rooftop drink and bite to eat at Bar 17 Bistro.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Take in one of the best views throughout all of Universal Orlando Resort at Bar 17 Bistro, located at the top of Aventura Hotel. Sipping on a Volcano View with a view of Volcano Bay is an unmatched experience.

8. Level up your vacation with one of our themed kids’ suites.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Whether the kids in your group are into dinosaurs, Minions, or music, there’s a kids-suite for them! The different kids’ suites throughout Universal hotels will really  have you sleeping where the action is with the Future Rock Star Suites at Hard Rock Hotel, Despicable Me Kids Suites at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, and Jurassic World Kids Suites at Royal Pacific Resort.

9. Sample all of the exclusive drinks the hotels have to offer.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

If you’re at Universal Orlando Resort’s newest hotel, Dockside Inn and Suites, grab some of the Wet n’ Wild-inspired specialty cocktails by the pool. More of a beer drinker? Enjoy the specialty craft beers at Sunset Lounge in Dockside or head to Jake’s American Bar at Royal Pacific Resort to try out their menu of specialty beers. Pro-tip for your time at Jake’s — all of the Team Members have made-up names there! Be sure to ask your server why they picked theirs.

10. Treat yourself to some pampering at Mandara Spa.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

You deserve it! This spa at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel has a ton of options for you to relax and bring your vacation to another level of pure joy and bliss. Besides, after all that roller coaster riding you’ve been doing in the theme parks, you’ve earned yourself a massage.

Let me know in the comments below your favorite experiences at Universal Orlando Resort hotels.

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Top 10 Things to Do at Universal CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort

If you’re coming to vacation at Universal Orlando Resort, you’re most likely going to find yourself passing through Universal CityWalk. Whether you’re staying at one of the fabulous Universal Orlando resort hotels and riding a water taxi over or parking in one of the massive parking garages, you’ll find yourself walking through CityWalk on your way to Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. CityWalk is the perfect place to grab lunch, dinner, or a quick snack, and there is a lot of fun entertainment to check out after you wrap up a day in the theme parks. Here are the top 10 things to do at Universal CityWalk during your next Universal Orlando Resort vacation!

1. Indulge in a Fantastical Milkshake from The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

If you went to Universal and didn’t get a Toothsome milkshake, did you even go? These milkshakes are the must-get treat during your vacation for not only the deliciousness, but also the photo that will have everyone wishing they were in your shoes.

2. Try the Epic Fusion of Burgers and Sushi at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar

Is it sushi? Is it a burger? It’s both! Burgushi combines the best of both worlds into unique dishes you can only find at The Cowfish. While you’re there, I recommend trying one of their exotic cocktails or spiked milkshakes.

TIP: CityWalk’s restaurants are pretty busy during lunch and dinner times (especially during peak seasons). Click here to guarantee yourself a table by making a reservation ahead of time.

3. Play a Round, or Two, of Miniature Golf at Hollywood Drive-In Golf

Not many can say they’ve golfed through a space worm or a haunted house during their vacation… but you can! These two mini-golf courses are themed to the classic sci-fi and horror flicks of the 1950s.

4. Stop By Voodoo Doughnut for a Big Pink Box of… Doughnuts!

Voodoo Doll. Grape Ape. Portland Cream. No, these aren’t band names, they’re doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnut. Choose from traditional or whimsical flavors and make sure to ask if they have any specialty doughnuts. They also have vegan options like the ODB, which is so good, like borderline flawless, absolutely delicious.

TIP: Skip the line and order your box of doughnuts ahead of time by mobile ordering through the Universal Orlando Resort app.

5. Get the Ultimate Sports Fan Experience at NBC Sports Grill & Brew

You don’t have to miss the game just because you’re on vacation. Catch any league game here while enjoying good food (like a giant soft pretzel) and a cold one from a selection of over 100 beers. There are also foosball tables. Literally, a table where you can eat and also play foosball!

6. Sing Your Heart Out at Rising Star with a Live Karaoke Band

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a singer, Rising Star makes that dream reality. Take the stage with backup singers and a live band (on select nights) and belt out your favorite songs in this rockin’ karaoke experience.

7. End Your Day Roasting S’mores and Savoring Smoky Spirits at Bigfire

Open fire cooking? Check. S’mores tableside? Check. An extensive list of whiskey and bourbon? Check. Bigfire is where you go to have summer vacation vibes year round with smoky flavors reminiscent of camping and backyard barbeques.

8. Pick Out the Perfect Gift or Souvenir from the Universal Studios Store

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

You won’t want to miss stopping by this big — and I’m talking BIG — store jam-packed with all the Universal themed gifts and souvenirs you could ever want. 

TIP: Don’t feel like carrying around bags all day in the theme parks? You can have your purchases delivered here for you to pick up as you’re heading out.

9. Enjoy a Stone-Baked Pizza from Red Oven Pizza Bakery

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Dang, this is some good pizza. These made-to-order pies are baked in a stone-lined oven with a variety of both blanco and rosso pizzas. Grab one to go and sit by the CityWalk lagoon for a great view or enjoy outside seating at the restaurant while getting some great people watching in.

10. Spend the Evening Listening to Your Choice of Live Music

End your busy day at the theme parks by unwinding with live music from one CityWalk’s many venues.  From reggae jams to full-blown rock concerts, here are a few of my favorite spots.

(Just remember that like all restaurants and concert venues, these performances are subject to change. Luckily, there is always something to do in CityWalk!)

Got any recommendations for first-time visitors? Share your favorite things to do at CityWalk in the comments below.

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Everything You Need to Know About TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D at Universal Studios Florida

There are several reasons why TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D in Universal Studios Florida is one of the best rides at Universal Orlando Resort. The action is non-stop from the moment the ride begins, which is then only elevated by the special effects and 3-D elements. Because of the constant action and story turns, the ride feels like it lasts a long time! Lastly, for fans of the franchise who grew up watching the 1980’s animated television series or the more recent live-action movies, this ride gives you the chance to become a part of the long-lasting war between the Autobots and Decepticons — your classic good versus evil scenario.

Not only did TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D bring a new hit attraction to the parks, it introduced one of the coolest character meet-and-greets. And just check out that giant Optimus Prime statue at the ride entrance! Here’s everything you need to know about one of the must-do rides in Universal Studios.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

THE STORY

The battle between the Autobots and Decepticons (two factions of an alien robot species called Transformers) has come to Earth, and you’ve been recruited by the Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty (N.E.S.T.) to help defend mankind. Your objective: keep the AllSpark — a powerful object capable of creating new life — out of the Decepticon’s possession. Of course, the mission goes haywire as Decepticons descend on the N.E.S.T. base and an explosive battle begins…

THE QUEUE

As you enter the ride building, you’re entering N.E.S.T. headquarters, where you’ll receive debriefing on your mission from N.E.S.T. and the leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime. Throughout the queue, you’ll encounter the AllSpark fragment that you’re tasked with protecting, as well as other Transformer artifacts and weaponry.

THE RIDE

Immediately after boarding your ride vehicle, which happens to be your Autobot partner Evac, you encounter your first Decepticon stealing the AllSpark until Bumblebee intervenes… but you’re not in the clear yet. Decepticons surround you at every turn as Evac attempts to evade the onslaught from Bonecrusher, Starscream, and more. During the struggle, you find yourself in the middle of Optimus Prime battling the evil Megatron. Do you and the Autobots defeat the Decepticons? I’ll leave that for you to discover.

The ride experience is motion simulation based with a ride vehicle that moves along a track (NOT a roller coaster) and combines 3-D visual and 4-D physical effects. The Transformers will appear larger-than-life with your 3-D glasses on, and you’ll feel the raging effects of battle around you like strong winds and heat.

Ride Details:
– Minimum height requirement of 40″ (101.6 cm) to ride
– Universal Express Pass is accepted
– You can take your bags on this ride (woot!)
– Child Swap is available upon request

MEET THE TRANSFORMERS

Whenever my friends or family come to the parks for vacation, one of my favorite things I tell them they have to do is meet the TRANSFORMERS characters. I remember the first time I stood next to them — I was in awe (and still am to this day)of how big and incredibly detailed they were, a feeling which only grew when next thing I knew they spoke to me!

You can meet three TRANSFORMERS daily right next to the ride building, kiddy-corner from the Supply Vault store. Optimus Prime (leader of the Autobots), Bumblebee (spunky Autobot lieutenant), and Megatron (leader of the Decepticons).

Download the Universal Orlando Resort App to see the daily meet-and-greet times for the TRANSFORMERS.

SUPPLY VAULT

You’ll need to gear up on N.E.S.T. essentials now that you’ve been recruited to join the battle. Stop by the Supply Vault store (near the exit of the ride) for all things TRANSFORMERS merchandise.

  • Deck yourself out in N.E.S.T. T-shirts, cadet hats, and bags, or show your support for either Autobots or Decepticons with themed apparel, car decals, magnets, mugs, and more. 
  • We can’t talk TRANSFORMERS without mentioning the toys and collectibles (which for some of us are the same thing).

Check out more TRANSFORMERS merchandise before your trip on our online merch store.

FUN FACTS

  • The Orlando ride is the third installation of the TRANSFORMERS ride at a Universal theme park, the first is at Universal Studios Singapore and the second at Universal Studios Hollywood.
  • Evac, the Transformer who is your ride vehicle, was created and designed exclusively for the Universal ride.
  • During the ride, see if you can spot the famous yellow Volkswagen Beetle that was Bumblebee’s alter ego in the original comic and TV series.
  • Besides Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Megatron, there are 13 other Autobots and Decepticons you encounter throughout the ride.
  • When working with big transforming robots, everything is going to be giant in scale. The ride is no exception with 34 custom built screens that tower at heights of over 80 feet tall.

Are you ready to keep the AllSpark safe? Autobots, roll out!

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5 Fun Facts About Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

19-39228 Surfside Pre-Open Shoot 062219, Loews Hotels, Exterior, Lifestyle, Pool, Poolside, Endless Summer, Bus

If you know anything about Universal Orlando Resort Hotels, you know the teams behind them leave no detail untouched and no space unthemed. That is as true as ever in regards to the destination’s newest property and first extra-affordable value hotel, Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites. Here are five fun facts about Universal’s Endless Summer Resort- Surfside Inn and Suites…

1. Half of the hotel is made up of suites.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

And the suites are pretty sweet, if I do say so myself. If you hear “value” and start picturing anything less than a spacious room with very, VERY comfy beds, a picnic table for meals, storage space, immaculately clean areas, and a surfboard coat-hanger — welp, you’re just not thinking about Surfside!

2. The hotel pool is in the shape of a surfboard.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Of course the pool at Surfside Inn and Suites is shaped like a surfboard; I told you that the theming at this place has left nothing untouched! This surfboard-shaped pool would take more than 1,191 regular surfboards to fill the total square footage. So, yeah, the pool is huge, there are plenty of spots to sit by it, and the Sand Bar (which is, if it isn’t obvious, a bar) is right by the pool so you’re never too far from your next drink.

3. Speaking of drinks, all food and drink options throughout the hotel are below $12.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

That means whether you’re craving a Breakfast Pizza in the morning or a Pipeline Burger with Bacon Jam in the evening — or if you’re craving both right now just from reading this — you’re eating real good and saving money while you do so.

4. The Shuttle Bus from the hotel to Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay, and Universal CityWalk takes less than ten minutes.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Ten minutes away from Hollywood Rip Ride RockitToothsome Chocolate Emporium milkshakes, and all the other incredible thrills at Universal Orlando Resort? OK, I’m in. Staying with Universal at Surfside Inn and Suites means you don’t have to pay for transportation to the parks and you get to ride in style with your fellow vacationers racing for the first row on all the coasters. PLUS! You get into the park before regular park guests with your access to Early Park Admission. That is a full hour before the parks officially open for you to experience.

5. There are more than 1,435 surfboards around the hotel.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Each of these surfboards were made special by Quiet Flight and fit perfectly with the beachy vibes and tones throughout the hotel. Can you find all 1,435?

What are your favorite facts about Universal’s Endless Summer Resort? How many did you know?

Book your Universal Orlando Resort vacation today to check out Surfside Inn and Suites for yourself and let us know in the comments what you’re most excited about during your vacation!

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Complete Guide to Dining in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

The immersive experiences within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter bring you as close as you can get to actually living out the fantasy. And one of the most tantalizing ways to immerse your senses is tasting some of the famous treats and flavorful beverages available in Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Today, we are sharing the complete guide to dining in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.

BREAKFAST

As the saying goes at Universal Orlando Resort: early to rise, early to ride. This is why staying on property and taking advantage of Early Park Admission can be your best friend, especially with early access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Plus, arriving early means in-park breakfast and I highly recommend you make time to enjoy a pleasant sit-down morning meal at one of the two remarkably themed restaurants in Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley before setting off on your journey. 

Leaky Cauldron – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: To fully immerse yourself in the wizarding world you’ve got to go all in, which is why I highly recommend choosing one of the more adventurous breakfast plates like the delicious Egg, Leek and Mushroom Pasty.

Breakfast Menu

Three Broomsticks – Hogsmeade

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations:  The Traditional English Breakfast is the star of the show here, but when I’m in the mood for an old reliable I usually opt for the American Breakfast.

Breakfast Menu – Currently Unavailable

Check the Universal Orlando App for availability and mobile ordering during your visit. 


LUNCH/DINNER

If there’s one word to describe the majority of meals you will find at seated dining locations throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter it is hearty. The menus at the Leaky Cauldron and the Three Broomsticks are loaded with wholesome dishes offering a feast of familiar and even some unfamiliar British fare. This, in addition to extraordinary theming and lively ambiance, makes the entire dining experience an attraction unto itself. 

Leaky Cauldron – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: I can’t stress enough how good the Beef, Lamb & Guinness Stew really is, but I also dig the Mini Pie Combination.

Lunch/Dinner Menu

Three Broomsticks – Hogsmeade

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Fish & Chips is my choice, but if you want something a bit more eclectic try the Great Feast.

Lunch/Dinner Menu

Both the Leaky Cauldron and the Three Broomsticks have kids menu options as well if you’re traveling with young ones.

Short on time? There’s a variety of grab-and-go food options throughout both lands so you can keep exploring and make use of every last valuable minute in the wizarding world.

London Taxi Cart – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: LoadedJacket Potato


BEVERAGES

When it comes to drinks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Butterbeer is a must-try. However, choices abound beyond just that sweet butterscotch concoction, including a number of other favorite drinks from the stories. Though, if you do opt for Butterbeer, the decision you’ll have to make is…which kind? 

Where to get Butterbeer…

Diagon Alley – Leaky Cauldron, The Hopping Pot, The Fountain of Fair Fortune

Hogsmeade – Three Broomsticks, Hog’s Head, Street Carts

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendation: Frozen Butterbeer is my personal favorite, but cold Butterbeer and hot Butterbeer are also worth a try. Keep in mind hot Butterbeer is a seasonal beverage available only during the winter time.

Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment – Carkitt Market in Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Sample the lot!CombineFire Protection Potion, Babbling Beverage, Draught of Peace, or Elixir to Induce Euphoria with a bottle of Gillywater for a flavorful treat.

Other Beverages…

Hogsmeade – Three Broomsticks

Diagon Alley – Leaky Cauldron, Fountain of Fair Fortune, The Hopping Pot

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Pumpkin Juice is the classic, but Fishy Green Ale and Otter’s Fizzy Orange Juice are the more adventurous choices. 

Adult Beverages…

Hogsmeade – Three Broomsticks, Hog’s Head 

Diagon Alley – Leaky Cauldron, Fountain of Fair Fortune, The Hopping Pot

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Try the exclusive Hog’s Head Brew or other domestic and imported beers.

Check each location for availability of specific beverages. *Must be 21 years or older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages. 


TREATS

Butterbeer isn’t the only sweet treat to be found in the wizarding world. Both lands feature their own whimsically-themed candy shops with shelves and glass cases of popular treats from the stories and some originals you won’t find anywhere else, too. 

Honeydukes – Hogsmeade

Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Too many to name… but I’ll try. Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Exploding Bonbons, Fizzing Whizbees, Fudge Flies, Butterbeer Fudge (yes, this exists and yes, it is absolutely delicious).

Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: If you have to choose just one, I highly recommend Butterbeer ice-cream, but save room to try the Earl Grey & Lavender, Chocolate Chili and Sticky Toffee Pudding if you can.

Ice Cream Menu


HEALTHY EATING

And if you’re looking for options for healthy eating or special dietary needs, we got you covered with some delicious options. If you or another guest have food allergies or intolerances, we offer a number of dining options throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter where our chefs and culinary staff can accommodate your dietary needs. Just be sure to ask your server or attending Team Member for options at your specific dining location. 

Leaky Cauldron – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendation: The Ploughman’s is enough food for two and it features an array of a feast of English cheese, crusty bread, field green salad, roasted tomatoes, cornichon pickles, apple beet salad, branston pickle & scotch eggs. Wow, that’s literally a mouthful!

Lunch/Dinner Menu

Three Broomsticks – Hogsmeade

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendation: Rotisserie Smoked Chicken Salad is a nice light way to graze and save room for other delights.

Lunch/Dinner Menu

I hope this guide to dining in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort helped you plan all of the yummy details of your next visit. If I missed any of your favorites, please recommend them in the comments below.

Must be 21 years and older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.

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9 Tips for a Rainy Day at Universal Orlando Resort

Any Floridian will tell you it’s just good sense to prepare yourself for rain when planning a day at a theme park. Here in the Sunshine State, we are all too familiar with those afternoon showers that come along during the later spring and summer months. As someone who has spent plenty of afternoons refreshing my weather app and trying to figure out where I can wait out the storm, I’m here to give you my best tips for a rainy day at Universal Orlando Resort so that you’re all set the next time the clouds start forming.

TIP #1: Stay at a Universal Orlando hotel.

The closer you stay to the theme parks, the easier it will be for you to decide to head back to the hotel, dry off, and come right back to the thrills once the storm has passed. And trust me, it will. Probably in like an hour or two. Plus with Early Park Admission (one of the MANY benefits of staying at a Universal hotel), you’ll be able to get a head start on your day if rain is in the forecast.

There are also plenty of indoor activities you can do at your hotel! Bowl at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, enjoy some sushi at Loews Royal Pacific Resort, or go on a rum tasting journey at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. Plus each of the hotels have a game room, just in case your crew is looking for some friendly competition.

TIP #2: Be prepared.

Here’s the deal — it isn’t completely unreasonable to assume that at some point during your day at Universal Orlando it may rain. Plan accordingly and throw a poncho or a light rain jacket into your bag to bring on your trip. Also plan to wear clothes and shoes that you won’t mind getting wet, just in case. Like I said, it’s just good sense to go ahead and be ready for a potentially rainy afternoon here in Florida!

There are also ponchos available for purchase throughout the parks, so if you find yourself needing one, check the official Universal Orlando Resort app for the nearest store.

TIP #3: Head to Universal’s Islands of Adventure first.

If rain is in the forecast, plan to start your day in Islands of Adventure. It has far more outside attractions that will be impacted by the rain, so you’ll want to make sure you get to fit those in first thing. 

Head to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade to start your day on a thrilling adventure through the Forbidden Forest.

TIP #4: Enjoy some indoor attractions.

I love roller coasters as much as the next theme park fan, but some of my favorite rides at Universal are indoor attractions. Check the list below for where you can head during a rainy day at Universal!

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA INDOOR RIDES:

ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE INDOOR RIDES:

TIP #5: Sit back and watch a show.

Don’t let the rain damper your good time; catch a phenomenal indoor live action stunt show at Universal Studios Florida — The Bourne Stuntacular. Or head over to The Horror Make-Up Show to fit some laughs into your day. They’re close to each other in the Hollywood area of the park so you can start with one and then head to the other without getting too wet!

Definitely download the official Universal Orlando Resort app to check for showtimes and other helpful features like Universal Pay, a map of the parks, and access to the Virtual Line experience.

TIP #6: Head to Universal CityWalk.

Take a break during your rainy day at Universal for a leisurely meal at any of the fantastic sit-down restaurants in CityWalkThe Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen is my go-to because me and my crew love all of the different course-options: Bread (the warm chocolate almond bread is a must-order), Appetizer, Libation, Salad, Entree, and Milkshake. I also highly recommend asking if there’s seating upstairs! Watch the storm come and go with a great view.

You can also take the time to sit out the rain by catching a movie at Universal Cinemark.

TIP #7: Ride a water ride.

I mean, you’re already wet, right? If the storm has passed (or if it’s just some light rain), embrace your current state of damp and at least make the experience a fun one! Enjoy the three water rides in Islands of Adventure — Jurassic Park River Adventure , Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls , and Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges.

VOLCANO BAY TIP: The rides at Volcano Bay only close during inclement weather, so as long as there’s no thunder or lightning, you should be good to go on the rides. If the storm is still going, I’d say wait out the storm and go ahead and use your TapuTapu to join the Virtual Lines for the rides and hunker down at Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club or one of the boat bars.

TIP #8: Ride a roller coaster to dry off.

When the rain has stopped there is no more thrilling way to dry off than riding one of the high-speed roller coasters at Universal. If you’re in Universal Studios, head to Hollywood Rip Ride Rock-It. If you’re in Islands of Adventure, take a ride on The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Jurassic World VelociCoaster. You’ll be dry in no time!

TIP #9: You tell me!

These are my best tips for what to do on a rainy day at Universal Orlando Resort, but I’d love to hear yours! Share them in the comments below!

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Top 5 Reasons to Love Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

When traveling with your family, finding relaxing accommodations to stay at while not breaking the budget is key. All of Universal Orlando Resort’s uniquely-themed hotels offer an incredible array of benefits and amenities, but none meet the extra-affordable value and levels of relaxation needed for larger families quite like Universal’s Endless Summer Resort. This resort features Dockside Inn and Suites and Surfside Inn and Suites, both of which give you the surf culture and beach life vibes you’re looking for on a Florida vacation. There really is no comparison in Orlando when you look at the price value and pair it with amenities designed with families in mind and theme park perks exclusive to Universal hotel guests.

If you’re hooked and want to know more, we are sharing the top five reasons we think you’ll love staying at Dockside Inn and Suites for your family’s next Universal Orlando Resort vacation.

1. Exclusive Food and Drinks (Most Under $12!)

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

By far my favorite thing about Dockside Inn and Suites is the food and drinks. There are a plethora of unique options for the whole family like the Pier 8 Egg Muffin, Dockworker Wrap, or the Chicken and Waffles bucket. Don’t miss the fun Wet n’ Wild inspired cocktails you can get poolside (Wet n’ Wild was the longtime water park that was previously located where Universal’s Endless Summer Resort is now). And for craft beer drinkers, there is the Sunset Blonde, which is a Mango Blonde Ale brewed exclusively for the resort.

2. More Than Half of the Hotel is 2-Bedroom Suites

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

During vacation, your hotel is your home away from home. You want to be able to relax when you get back to your room after a day in the theme parks. Having a 2-bedroom suite gives you much-needed space to recharge for tomorrow. The kids can spread out and have their space, while mom and dad can get some privacy, too. You don’t even need to spend the extra cash for connecting rooms. Also, talk about spacious — these suites sleep up to six and have a kitchenette, picnic table for meals, double vanity, and plenty of suitcase storage. 

3. A Huge Hotel Calls for Two HUGE Pools

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

When I’m looking at hotels for an upcoming vacation, one of the deciding factors is the pool because I know we’re going to spend a full day relaxing poolside. Dockside Inn and Suites makes it an easy choice for the sole fact that it has not one, but two massive pools. Plus, there’s a fun splash pad area for kids to run around in, and for mom and dad, two large pool bars to grab an umbrella drink.

4. There are More Than 1,000 Longboards Around the Hotel

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort was designed by the same creative teams who bring the theme parks to life, so you know it’s going to be incredible with every detail. It’s inspired by surf culture and you see it come to life through every aspect of your stay, especially the design elements. Dockside Inn and Suites hooks into the chill and relaxing side of shore life with driftwood details, photorealistic artwork, overall color palette, and longboards. Each room has a custom-made longboard made by Quiet Flight just for Dockside, resulting in 1,024 longboards in total around the hotel!

5. It’s a Short Ride to the Theme Parks and an Even Shorter Walk to Surfside Inn and Suites

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Any chance you can save time on commuting during vacation is a plus. Staying at Dockside Inn and Suites gives you a direct ride to Universal CityWalk and the theme parks with just a short 5-10 minute ride on the shuttles that come every 15 minutes. Plus, after your short shuttle ride, you can get into the theme parks before regular day guests because of Early Park Admission. The extra bonus is you can take a short walk over to Surfside Inn and Suites right next door if you want to check out the surfboard-shaped pool or a different dining option. (Surfside Inn and Suites is temporarily suspending operations. Please click here for more information.)

These are just a few of my favorite things about Dockside Inn and Suites. Get all the details hereand share below what you’re looking forward to doing during your next vacation with us.

Must be 21 years and older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.

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20 of the Most Unique Experiences at Universal Orlando Resort

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When planning for a vacation, I love to find the lesser-known things you can’t miss at that destination. It’s no different when it comes to theme parks. You probably know the highlights about Universal Orlando Resort: fun rides, hotels to stay at, delicious restaurants and entertainment, and — of course — The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This list offers twenty unique experiences at Universal Orlando Resort that you can do during your vacation.

There’s so much more you can do at Universal that you may not even be aware of. Like, did you know you can adopt a Pygmy Puff? Do you even know what a Pygmy Puff is!? Well, you’re about to find out. Whether it’s your first visit you’re planning or your 100th, I hope these spark some inspiration.

1. Try a Can of Whoville’s Who Hash

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

One of my new favorite foodie finds is over at Green Eggs and Ham Cafe in Seuss Landing with the can of Whoville’s Who Hash. Munching on your can of Who Hash while strolling through the land will make you feel as if you’re right in the middle of a Dr. Seuss book. You can also get Green Eggs & Ham Tots, Buffalo Chicken Tots, and more.

2. Have a Chat with a Volcano Spirit

If you venture inside the volcano Krakatau at Universal’s Volcano Bay, you will come across Vol, the spirit of the volcano! This trickster fire spirit is great to chat with and can be a bit playful with water when they want to be.

3. Tour the MEN IN BLACK Headquarters

Did you know that there is an immigration tour offered at MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack? This exclusive tour will allow you to explore the downstairs level of MIB headquarters. If you ask one of the agents nicely, they may have availability to take you down and meet a few of the aliens. *Note: This experience is not always available. Saving the galaxy can be quite time-consuming.*

4. Meet Characters From Your Favorite Movies

Did you know you can occasionally run into Men In Black agents, trade in your cash for bank notes with a Gringotts Goblin, or even practice your kung fu moves with Po from Kung Fu Panda? There are a ton of characters to meet that you may not even be aware of! Keep an eye out as you explore the parks to see who you can find.

5. Adopt a Pygmy Puff

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

And this, my friends, is a Pygmy Puff. They are one of the cutest creature companions in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and, when you adopt one, the shopkeepers will do a fun naming ceremony for you. You can find them at Magical Menagerie and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, and you can adopt them in three sizes!

6. Bowl a Strike in Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Even if you can’t bowl a strike (like me), it’s pretty sweet having a bowling alley in your hotelGalaxy Bowl at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is small and intimate with only 10 lanes, which is part of its charm, but it does fill up fast. Don’t forget to make a reservation ahead of time and to bring your lucky bowling socks.

7. Snap a Pic with Your Favorite Shark

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Our JAWs attraction will live on in our memories, but there is still one place you can get a taste of it. Quite literally — you can enjoy a Shark Attack drink at Chez Alcatraz. This little bar pays homage to the attraction and even has our favorite shark right next to it for pictures.

8. Brave a 125-Foot Drop Slide Called Ko’okiri Body Plunge

Your vacation is the perfect time to face your fears, right? Conquer the tallest drop slide in Orlando at Universal’s Volcano Bay. It also happens to have an awesome view… that is if you can keep your eyes open.

9. Try All Six Kinds of Butterbeer Treats

Yes, you read that right. There are six kinds of Butterbeer treats you can try in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including fudge, ice cream, potted cream and — of course — the three types of drink. *Certain Butterbeer treats are offered seasonally.*

10. Dance with a Panda

Sometimes you just need an impromptu dance party with a panda. Have no fear, Hashtag the Panda is here to help! You can meet and dance with Hashtag before racing through New York with Jimmy Fallon. You can also see a performance by the Ragtime Gals.

11. Embark on a Rum-Tasting Journey

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Take a break from the parks and unwind with a rum-tasting journey led by a Rum Captain at Strong Water Tavern at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. They also happen to have amazing empanadas. *Operations are temporarily suspended for Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. Click here for updates.*

12. Get Your Putt-Putt On

As a self-proclaimed mini golf extraordinaire, one of my favorite things to do is play a round at the Hollywood Drive-In Golf in Universal CityWalk. It’s the perfect low-key activity to end the day. Plus, the haunted and sci-fi themes of each course speak to my geeky heart.

13. See Your Favorite Movies On… Water Screens?

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

End your day at the parks with a front-row view of the nighttime show Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration in Universal Studios Florida. There’s something really epic about seeing a gigantic T. Rex from Jurassic World roaring in your face on MASSIVE water screens. *This show is available on select nights. Make sure to check the park map or Universal Orlando Mobile App for updates.*

14. Enjoy a Lunch Inspired by Dishes from Across the Globe

Right at the front of Universal’s Islands of Adventure is one of my favorite restaurants, Confisco Grille. This hidden gem (that just so happens to be in plain sight) features an eclectic menu with a mixture of global cuisines like Asian, Turkish, Mediterranean, Greek, Russian, Polish, and more. You can also find mysterious confiscated goods inside that you may recognize from the park.

15. Escape to Waterfall Cove

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

This is my kind of hidden gem when it comes to water parks. Waterfall Cove is a secluded area tucked away at the base of Krakatau (the volcano) in Volcano Bay. It makes for a peaceful escape from the crowds and has some gorgeous waterfalls that will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to an exotic location.

16. Explore Lost Continent

An enchanted talking fountain, exotic cuisine, a bazaar filled with trinkets and treasures, psychic readings, and more. Lost Continent is one of the most richly-themed areas of Islands of Adventure with stunning backdrops for photos, and the perfect place to relax and grab a bite to eat. I highly recommend having lunch at Mythos and enjoying the excellent views of the park from the outside seating.

17. Eat Burgushi – Where the Cow and the Fish Become One

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Take the fixings of both a burger and sushi, put them together, and bam! Burgushi. Chow down on this land and sea fusion at The Cowfish in Universal CityWalk. A guest favorite is The High-Class Hillbilly-Southern Style Bar-B-Q-Shi (pictured).

18. Live Your Best Rockstar Life

I love music, which makes Hard Rock Hotel one of my favorite places to stay. One of the fun things to do is the memorabilia tour. You can see priceless items from some of your singers and bands. Feel inspired? You can rent a guitar or record player to play in your room after! *Some hotel amenities may be temporarily unavailable during your visit.*

19. Cast Your Own Spells in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Create your own magic in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with an interactive wand. You have to try your hand at the Meteolojinx in Diagon Alley (pictured). My personal favorite spell is Incendio at Flimflams Lanterns in Diagon Alley. It’s so cool at night! You may even discover some hidden spells as you progress in your practice.

20. Sing Karaoke on the Big Stage

Even if you’re afraid of being in the spotlight, singing karaoke at Rising Star in Universal CityWalk is so much fun! You get backup singers and even a hype man to help make you the star of the show. Plus, the lights are bright enough on stage so you can barely see the crowd — just in case you need a courage booster. *Check the Universal Orlando Mobile App for when Rising Star and other CityWalk venues are open.*

What are your favorite unique experiences at Universal Orlando Resort? Add to the list in the comments below if you’re an experienced veteran of the parks!

Must be 21 years of age or older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages at Universal Orlando Resort.

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Top 10 Things to Do at Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort

Top 10 Things to Do at Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

As you’re planning your vacation to Universal Orlando Resort, be sure to add in a day to spend at Universal’s water theme park, Volcano Bay. This lush, tropical oasis has four themed areas inspired by the Pacific Isles, each with a mixture of both relaxing and thrilling experiences. For those looking for adventure, the 200-foot-tall volcano, Krakatau, towers at the heart of the theme park with water slides that twist and turn throughout it like the Krakatua Aqua Coaster. If you’re looking to unwind, enjoy a slow tube ride through the Kopiko Wai Winding River. And that’s just the tip of the volcano. There are so many things to do in this island paradise, so where do you start? We’ll help get you going with the top 10 things to do at Volcano Bay.

1. Soak in the Sun on Waturi Beach

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

First things first, grab the perfect spot on Waturi Beach and enjoy a relaxing swim in the sparkling lagoon at the base of the mighty Krakatau volcano.

2. Float the Day Away in the Kopiko Wai Winding River

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Take your relaxation up a few notches with a slow float throughout Volcano Bay on the Kopiko Wai Winding River.

3. Get Drenched on the Krakatau Aqua Coaster

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Part water slide, part coaster, the Krakatau Aqua Coaster is THE must-do ride. Board a four-person canoe and cruise upwards and downwards within the volcano before taking the plunge!

TIP: Plan ahead with these Volcano Bay insider tips like how to reserve a Virtual Line experience for the slides and more.

4. Race Along the Churning Rapids of TeAwa The Fearless River

A whitewater adventure in the middle of Florida? Yes, please! You’ll need to don a life vest to take on the roaring onslaught of intense waves and choppy rapids in this river.

5. Enjoy Two Unique Raft Rides on Honuika Moana

Grab the family and get ready to go with the flow on these two twisting and turning multi-person raft slides.

6. Brave the Volcano on Ko’okiri Body Plunge

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Calling all thrill seekers! Put your courage to the test with this 70-degree drop door slide, featuring a descent of 125 feet from the top of the volcano.

TIP: If you need to try a couple of slides lower on the intensity level first, check out the Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides before you conquer the Ko’okiri Body Plunge.

7. Visit the Volcano Spirit, Vol, Inside Krakatau

Venture into Krakatau and you may get the chance to chat with the fire spirit, Vol. But watch out! This trickster is known to be playful with water.

TIP: Discover all the ways you can play while waiting virtually in line for the slides.

8. Make a Splash on the Ohyah and Ohno Drop Slides

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

The question is which one do you do first? These two serpentine drop slides will have you yelling “Ohyah!” or “Ohno!” as you plummet several feet into swirling water pools.

9. Have Fun with TapTu Play Experiences Throughout the Theme Park

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Keep an eye out for this symbol and activate fun surprises like splashes of water and light with a simple tap of your TapuTapu wearable.

TIP: Find out more ways your TapuTapu wearable makes a visit to Volcano Bay a breeze by clicking here.

10. Refuel with Island-Inspired Dishes, Signature Drinks, and Cool Treats

Volcano Bay has changed the game when it comes to food in a water park with dishes jam-packed with flavors inspired by the South Pacific. A couple of favorites are the Waturi Fusion Ice Cream and the Quinoa Edamame Burger.

TIP: Check out this guide to discover more food and drinks that await you in this tropical paradise.

What are your favorite things to do at Volcano Bay? Tell us in the comments below!

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15 Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

You’ve booked your vacation to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Now what? If you’re planning to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the very first time, you may need some tips for visiting the Wizarding World!

I remember the first time I knew I was going to be able to go to Hogwarts and try a Butterbeer just like Harry Potter. I was overflowing with excitement, which only increased ten-fold when I found myself finally walking under the arches into Hogsmeade village. I’m pretty sure I stood there for a good chunk of time staring and taking it all in before finally making a mad dash to get everything done in a matter of hours.

Planning on how best to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time can be daunting. With two lands that span across two theme parks — Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida — and tons of things to do, eat, drink, and see in each, you can easily find yourself missing out on some of the incredible details and experiences.

Here’s a list of planning tips and can’t-miss experiences you’ll want to check out before your upcoming visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.

15 Tips for Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Don’t Try Doing It All in One Day

If you have one day to spend in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can get the majority of things done, while enjoying the rest of the theme park attractions. But, if you truly want to get the full wizarding world experience without feeling rushed, I recommend dedicating a day in Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure) and a day in Diagon Alley (Universal Studios).

Remember to Pack Your Robe and Wand

It’s not every day you can wander the streets of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley like a real witch or wizard. Make sure to add your robe, wand, and any other Harry Potter apparel or accessories to your packing list for some real epic pics. If you want to get your gear during your visit, there are many shops to check out throughout the wizarding world.

Arrive Early and Stay Late

Try to get there first thing in the morning for fewer crowds. (If you’re staying at a Universal hotel, definitely take advantage of the Early Park Admission perk!) On the flipside, if the theme parks are open later, try to stay until nighttime. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is absolutely breath-taking at night.

Ride the Hogwarts Express Both Ways

Hop aboard the Hogwarts Express and travel back and forth between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Make sure to take it both ways as each way has a different experience(You’ll need a park-to-park ticket in order to ride the Hogwarts Express.)

Don’t Miss Diagon Alley

The entrance to Diagon Alley is cleverly disguised as a brick wall in the London area, just like it’s described as in the films and books. Believe it or not, some people (like my brother’s friends) walk right by it!

Try All Six Types of Butterbeer Treats

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

You’re probably familiar with Butterbeer, the frothy drink from the films and books that is reminiscent of butterscotch and shortbread. But, did you know there are six different Butterbeer treats you can try in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, like soft-serve ice cream and fudge? (Certain Butterbeer treats are offered seasonally.)

Don’t Skip the Queues

Typically, I’m all for getting through queues quickly, but the ride queues in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are ones you don’t want to miss. You get to see the iconic rooms and details inside Hogwarts castle and Gringotts bank, and even pass through Platform 9 ¾ on your way to ride the Hogwarts Express.

See All the Shows

A choir of singing frogs AND a theater troupe who performs with puppets? What more could you want. There are five live shows —  two in Hogsmeade and three in Diagon Alley —  you can see perform daily. (Check the Universal Orlando Resort App for show times.)

Ride Both the Sidecar and Motorbike

There are two ways to ride on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, and each seat gives you a unique experience. I’ll take it one step further and say I’ve heard riding at night is, and I quote, “life-changing.”

Don’t Miss Out on Magical Experiences

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Make time for some of the more lesser-known experiences like sending a letter with a Hogsmeade stamp, mixing your own elixirschatting with a goblin, or creating your very own moving pictures at Shutterbutton’s.

Check Out Knockturn Alley

You may be too distracted by the fire-breathing dragon atop Gringotts bank when you first enter Diagon Alley and walk right by Knockturn Alley. Put your brave face on and wander into this shadowy alleyway, which gives you a taste of Dark Magic in the wizarding world.

Treat Yourself to More Than One Wizarding Treat

Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, Sugar Quills, Pumpkin Pasties, and more. Nab a few of your favorite wizarding world sweets before you leave and enjoy them while reminiscing about your trip after you get back home.

Don’t Forget Your Interactive Wand Map

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

If you treat yourself to an interactive wand, don’t forget about the map! Each wand comes with a map that shows where you can cast spells throughout Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Don’t be like me wandering around aimlessly searching the ground for bronze spell markers because you forgot it.

Explore the Shop Windows

Your attention may be pulled toward the rides or getting a Butterbeer, but make sure to take some time to do some “window” shopping. There are incredible details in each shop window that bring the magic to life right before your eyes.

Don’t Miss Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter any time of the year is quite magical, but coming during the holidays… it’s a whole ‘nother experience you won’t want to miss. Need more convincing? Two words: hot Butterbeer.

What are your favorite tips for visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?

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