Monday, October 22, 2012

SeaWorld and Universal Studios

Hey all! I visited SeaWorld and Universal Studios Islands of Adventure last weekend and I had soooo much fun! I had a really great experience at both parks, and I'm really excited to share my tips and tricks on enjoying both parks, as well as the many photos I took!

One of the best parts of our trip was going in the fall, it was beautiful weather- with temperatures in the mid-70s with light breezes. It wasn't hot, but it wasn't too hot that the water rides didn't cool you off. Above is a photo of my brother and sister and I in front of the Shamu Stadium sign. 

They have Shamu pretzels! Like, they are whale shaped pretzels! Isn't that amazing!

We went to the "One Ocean" show. It was very cool- although there was like five Shamus there. 

The trainers were very great with the animals. I would really reccomend you get to the stadiums at least 30-45 minutes before the show starts to get the best seats. If you are bored waiting, do like we did and raid the snack bar. We ate while we waited so we weren't distracted during the show.

Another thing that we did  (which I would definitely recommend) is visit the Dolphin Nursery. This is a quieter, cheaper, and less crowded alternative to the dolphin feeding station. When we visited the SeaWorld in San Antonio last spring break, we went to the dolphin feeding station and it was very crowded, not to mention it costs an obscene amount of money to purchase food for the dolphins. Since we had already visited the feeding station before, we decided to try the Dolphin Nursery in Orlando. It was great! While you don't get to interact with the dolphins, you do get to see them- including the tiny ones!

We also visited one of the Clyde and Seamore shows they have there. These are the "funny" shows that included audience interaction as well as sea lions, otters, and walruses. These are definitely better shows for younger kids as they are funny, relatively short, and include a wide variety of animals.

Here's a photo of the adorable little otter carrying the treasure map!

Here are the trainer/actors with the animals featured.

We also saw "Blue Horizons" which is a dolphin and parrot show. It's very "symbolic" and follows a "story line." Really, it's a very beautiful show with fabulous acrobatics courtesy of the dolphins. 

This was really a once-in-a-lifetime shot. It's really not the best photo I've ever taken, but it shows every part of the show- the five dolphins, the parrots, and the actors in the background. 

Here are travel tips that will make your trip at SeaWorld very enjoyable:
  • visit in the fall- smaller crowds and more enjoyable weather
  • plan around the shows- the shows are really the best part and really make the "SeaWorld" experience
  • snack throughout the day- it's much cheaper to snack throughout the day and save your money, then go to a restaurant outside of SeaWorld and get a huge meal, vs. eating all day at the park

Islands of Adventure (at Universal Studios)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is definitely the best part of the trip! This time around, we did everything- eating there, going to Ollivander's, and riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

It's really a picturesque park- it feels like you're walking into J.K. Rowling's books. 

Hogwarts. Ahhh....
Anyways, here "takes place" the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. This is only ride in the Harry Potter part of the park that does not allow you to use "Express Passes," so it's especially important to get to this ride early and have it be the first thing you do. It really is worth the wait! Speaking of waiting, the wait line is "in Hogwarts." You walk through the greenhouses, Dumbldore's study, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, and the hallways or Hogwarts. It's not a boring wait, but it can be a long one. I recommend if it's your second+ time on the ride or you are going by yourself, use the "Single Riders Line." While you don't pass through the above locations, you do get in and out in about 10 minutes.

Here's a photo of my brother, sister, and I in front of Hogwarts. If you're curios, my sister is drinking butterbeer (you HAVE to get it if you're there). They have both chilled and regular butterbeers, and while I liked both, the chilled was just a teensy-bit better.

Move right over to Jurassic park, they have this cute little photo-op perfect ride. My brother and sister both enjoyed it. 

We also ate at the Three Broomsticks in Harry Potter. The food was actually really good with decently priced kid's meals. It really completed the Harry Potter experience. 

Here's another shot of the restaurant. It looks a lot like it does in the movies!

Here are travel tips that will make your trip at Islands of Adventure very enjoyable:
  • visit in the fall- smaller crowds and nicer weather
  • spend the extra money and stay on-sight- you get easier access to the parks as well as a free express pass
  • if you can't stay on-sight, still purchase the express pass, it really is worth it, especially if you love going on roller coasters
  • while this post was mainly about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the other sights are fun too, like Marvel and Jurassic Park
Have you ever been to the parks above? Do you think I provided got tips? Did you like this post, anyways? :-)


  1. This is so cute, I wish I could have been there too! :)

  2. I know this is gonna sound crazy, but I WAS AT UNIVERSAL THAT SAME WEEKEND!!!!!!! My friend and I went for my birthday which was Monday the 22nd and I actually took the same picture you did walking into Harry Potter Land (the third picture of Universal). THATS CRAAAAZYY!!!!

    1. Really? I visited the 11th and were there at the same time? That is crazy?

      Happy Birthday!

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