Universal Orlando has three separate sections: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and City Walk. You enter Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure (which both require park passes) through City Walk (which doesn’t require a park pass).
City Walk has all kinds of restaurants, bars and shops. Cabana Bay’s shuttles run until 2am, so going back and forth between the hotel and the City Walk for dinner or drinks is a perfect option. We ate at Red Oven Pizza Bakery and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, located in City Walk, and both were fantastic. The night we tried Red Oven, we were fortunate enough to sit outside and watch people stream out of the parks, while enjoying the fantastic pizza. Margaritaville boasts such a fun atmosphere and delicious drinks that you can’t go wrong.
For breakfast, we didn’t see many options besides Cinnabon. And we definitely did partake one morning! But it would have been nice to see a few healthier and lighter options as well. We were thankful that we had packed granola bars for breakfast for most mornings.
Universal Studios is set up with different sections mimicking city streets, including old town New York and London. It feels very much like walking through movie sets, which is surreal and fun. This park has one large roller coaster, the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. During the roller coaster ride, you get to choose what music you want to listen to. I picked “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band. It was awesome! But if that’s not really your taste in music, there are options in all genres.
We also rode the Men In Black, Simpsons, E.T., Despicable Me, and The Mummy rides. For the most part they were really fun. The Simpsons and Despicable Me rides were 3D. The rest were traditional rides, but not rollercoasters. The Mummy ride was surprisingly good, and had fantastic effects. The Simpsons and Despicable Me rides were really hilarious.
The one ride that we didn’t enjoy at all was the E.T. ride. Its effects are outdated, the ride is slow, the bikes are uncomfortable, and the ride is just lame. It’s sad, because I loved the movie and wanted to like the ride, but just didn’t. I don’t think that we were alone in disliking this ride. I overheard a boy telling his dad on the way out that it was the worst ride that he’d been on.
My favorite rides were The Mummy, Despicable Me, and Simpsons.
I also really enjoyed just wandering around in the Springfield section of the park. We of course had to pop into Moe’s, try Lard Lad Donuts (you know, the ones with sprinkles and pink frosting), and take pictures with all of the characters.
Islands of Adventure is a circular park. You enter through the Port of Entry, which is like a medieval style island port. After you walk through the Port of Entry you can either go right or left. If you go left, you walk through Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Hogsmeade), The Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing, and then back to the Port of Entry. If you go to the right when you enter the park, you visit these in reverse order.
The Spiderman ride (which is a 3D ride) had fantastic effects, and walking in to this ride really made you feel like you were walking into a comic book. The Marvel portion of the park also had many superheroes posing for pictures, so make sure you have your camera ready!
Toon Lagoon was just good old-fashioned fun. It’s based on the Sunday newspaper comics, and the rides (mostly water rides) we’re a hoot! Jurassic Park also has a really great water ride. We rode most of the water rides twice because the lines weren’t very long and we enjoyed them so much. See my previous post for tips on enjoying the water rides.
Seuss Landing is geared toward younger kids, but I liked it nonetheless. It took me back to my childhood seeing Green Eggs and Ham, Red Fish Blue Fish, and Cat in the Hat. Worth a walk through for all ages. And I do recommend the Cat in the Hat ride, even though it’s a little tamer, because you get to hear and see the whole story.
The Lost Continent has one big show. It was really quite impressive! I was surprised a number of times throughout. But do note this is not a ride, but rather a show that you move through and watch. The Lost Continent also has a number of shops and restaurants. And don’t miss the fountain located near the restrooms. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but we were entertained for quite a little while.
Check out Part Three of my series on Universal Orlando, where I walk you through the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
And if you missed it, also check out Part One, where I talk about Cabana Bay Beach Resort, and other great tips for visiting Universal Orlando.