While Walt Disney World is the main attraction for many visitors to Orlando, and we agree that it’s a great place to visit, many people forget about the other awesome resort just up the road from the Mouse, Universal Orlando. With 2 parks, 3 resorts and tons of great dining and shopping experiences, we think Universal is pretty awesome. Here are 5 reasons why we love Universal Orlando Resort:
1. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
There is no experience on the planet that is better than this fantastic, magical, immersive themed environment. If you only visit one area of the entire Universal Orlando Resort, make this your stop. From the magic of Hogsmeade Village, to the delectable taste of Butterbeer, nothing is more exciting than actually experiencing the locations from the films. The star attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Joruney, will leave you speechless. The lineup for this ride is just as good as the ride itself. I mean, you get to walk to halls of Hogwarts! Make sure to visit Ollivander’s to pick your want, or if you’re lucky it will pick you! And take a little treat home for your friends by grabbing a bottle of Pumpkin Juice for them to try. Sadly, Butterbeer is not sold in bottles, so they’ll have to visit to taste it themselves.
2. Margaritaville at Citywalk
Nothing sets me in a better mood than sitting on the patio listening to Jimmy Buffet and sipping a carefully concocted margarita. The food here is great and you never know what impromptu entertainment will be taking place both inside and out front. Make sure to visit the inside portion of the bar to experience the hurricanes that happen every once in a while. They also have a massive Margaritaville Store where you can buy almost anything with the famous brand stamped upon it. My favourite being the Margaritaville Blender that comes in many variations, or the shot chiller that’s sure to be a hit at any gathering hoping to get to paradise.
From the magic of Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Macy’s Holiday Parade, to the yearly Mardi Gras celebrations, there is always something exciting happening at the resort. Universal Orlando knows how to party, and they get great bands to play at their special events (such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Smash Mouth for New Years), plus most are included with park admission. Even Citywalk has awesome events all the time. The Ellen Degeneres Show tapes their once a year, and random dance parties break out at Citywalk. Pretty awesome!
We know this is an event, but it’s so grand it deserves a mention for itself. This is the biggest and best Halloween event in North America. Each year during the Halloween season, they bring terrifying mazes, scare zones and shows to the resort. Each year has a brand new theme and new attractions. It’s not recommended for children, and personally we agree. If you’re looking for a legendary night out, or just need a little liquid courage to make it through the mazes, they have booze EVERYWHERE. In the lines, scattered through the park, and even shot girls dressed as nurses! The only place they don’t seem to have booze is in the bathrooms. Ok, so we like to party hard at this event. But even if you don’t drink, it’s our favourite event of the year because it’s just so cool to see the resort transform into such a different atmosphere.
5. It’s not Disney
Don’t get us wrong, we love Walt Disney World. It’s just sometimes, you can get tired of the magic and make belief of the place. I repeat, we still love Disney. Heck, some of us have worked for the Mouse. But Universal has a different atmosphere, it’s more adult oriented, which gives them license to be a bit more risque (Beetlejuice’s Rocking Roll Grave Yard Revue, for example.) and it’s just different than Disney. You can have a few drinks, hear some off colour humour and not worry about destroying the dreams of a 5-year-old by doing so. Universal is the place to visit if you’re looking for something that’s just as great as Walt Disney World, but isn’t a blatant wannabe.