4 October 2019

THE TRAVEL DIARIES: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS & ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE



So let's talk about Universal, shall we? I am separating out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so that'll come in another blog soon but for now we're going to look at everything else in both Universal Studios, and Islands of Adventure. 
I decided to do both together just for ease - I feel like it's quite easy to talk about them in one breath, whereas if I included Harry Potter the blog would be a week long. For those of you who haven't been before or don't know - there are two main theme parks at Universal, both of which can be found easily from Universal CityWalk and if you have a park pass you can literally do both in one day. Which we did, on about three occasions. 


Universal Studios
So Universal Studios has a lot of studio-style rides and attractions - as the name may suggest. It literally feels and looks like you're walking around a film set based in different cities which I love. There aren't "areas" or sections, as there are in the other park really - there's a couple of them but it's not really set out in that way for the majority of it.

I would say both Universal Parks have a lot more thrill rides than the Disney ones, which I guess is why a lot of people said to us if we're going as a couple to do Universal, and if you go as a family do Disney (we did both, obviously). However, there's still loads for kids to do here as well as you have party zones where animated characters come and dance, a kid zone and 4D attractions like Minion Mayhem and Shrek 4D. 

You then also have the adult side, where you have epic thrill rides such as Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket and Revenge of the Mummy. Then there are rides for everyone, like Transformers, Simpsons, Men in Black and Fast and the Furious. And at the back of the park, you have one half of Harry Potter.

Universal Studios is somewhere you can literally go around in half a day (if the queues aren't too bad). We did chill a bit more the second time we went and actually spent probably an hour chilling in Moes bar in the Simpsons area - which is very, very cool by the way - we really enjoyed it. 






I would say my favourite rides in this park (excluding Harry Potter obviously) would be:

  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket - I can't remember this from 15 years ago, but it's probably the biggest thrill ride in this park and it's incredible. One thing I loved is you can choose the song you listen to as you go around the ride. I decided "I Will Survive" would be appropriate.
  • Revenge of the Mummy - I loved this when I came 15 years ago and I still love it now. It's unexpected, with some surprises but it's definitely a good thrill one and a must-do. 
My least favourite rides:
  • Fast and the Furious Supercharged - the most disappointing ride of the entire trip. It's a 4D type ride, and I just feel like they could have done SO MUCH MORE with this. I was expecting a drag race with Dom, but no. You're in a large party bus (would say about 20 people in there) and you just drive around a little bit and watch screens. It's the lowest-rated which I'm not surprised about. It was just a bit bleugh. We got to the end and just went "was that it?".
  • The Simpsons Ride - if you love the Simpsons then it is a must-do, however it ended up making both of us feel sick. So if you get a little motion sickness, might want to avoid this one.


Islands of Adventure
The second park and the one that I think gets a lot more hype than Universal Studios. Islands of Adventure is split into different areas, which I personally love, and each area has some incredible attention to detail where you feel like you're stepping into different worlds. Other than Harry Potter, my favourite worlds would probably be Jurassic Park, Toon land and Superheroes. Which is most of them to be honest.

Again, there's a lot of thrill rides here but also great ones for the whole family - and Seuss Landing is aimed specifically at kids with a lot of rides for them so that's worth noting. Again, it's a park that can be done in half a day really (if the queues aren't too bad), which is good as it means you can do it all over again - or head over to Universal Studios and do there too. 

There wasn't really any disappointing rides, or any I didn't like - there were a couple we didn't go on just because it wasn't our kind of thing, but otherwise I enjoyed pretty much everything I went on. What I did notice about both parks is there are a lot of 4D type rides, they are pretty much the default. Which is fine, but my personal favourites are actual rollercoasters and rides. 







Thrill rollercoasters:
  • Essentially this is just The Hulk (again, not including HP). Which is one of my all time favourites. I went on this a couple of times and came out with the biggest smile each time. 
Water rides:
  • Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls - you have to do it, and you will get soaked. I loved this when I came 15 years ago, and I still love it now. It's better than any other log flume type ride, and you're guarenteed to get soaked. You've been warned! It just combines water and thrill perfectly.
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure - if you like dinosaurs or Jurassic Park you will really enjoy this. If you're not bothered you can probably give it a miss. Essentially it's a little bit of a boat ride with a drop at the end.
4D rides:
  • Spiderman - one of the better ones, really enjoyed this. I did it before but couldn't remember it too much, and it didn't make either of us feel ill so that's always a plus. It's actually very similar to the Transformers ride in Universal Studios - very much the same sort of concept and ride, just a different theme and story.
  • Skull Island - for me I wasn't too bothered about it. It was fine, but I think because I'm not a huge Kong fan it was a little bit lost on me. 

Which is your favourite?
I liked different things about each park! I like having different worlds and areas so you can emerse yourself in it, and I LOVED Simpsons land. Being able to have a Duff at Moes was pretty special. I think there's more variety of rides at Islands of Adventure personally - but both are good. I would honestly say get a park pass for both because you can 100% do both in the same day and it's well worth doing.
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