No matter if you have come to Florida to escape the cold and stay warm, or just to enjoy the cool breezes; the time of year to visit Florida is not always relevant due to it’s relatively close temperatures all year round, which makes perfect for places like the beach or theme parks. Well skip the beach today and head on over to places in Orlando, the Theme Park Capital of the World! Orlando offers many different competing companies who each host their own theme parks, however I am biased on this issue and I must say that Universal Studios has the, not one but, two parks that are best worth your time and money. Not only that, but the parks are literally right across the street from each other, making it easy to visit both parks in one day if you’re able to land one of those Two Parks for One deals available, or just visit both over a couple of days. Alright, put on that sunscreen and pop that Dramamine, cause we’re going on a non-stop hop from ride to ride, which in my opinion, are the most important aspects of a theme park.
We’ll start off at the original Universal Studios which was made famous for “riding the movies”. Overcome your fears and take each ride’s terror with a grain of salt, because remember, it’s only fake… or is it? We’ll start off with the thrill rides that are based on some previous Universal films, such as Jaws! You’ve seen the movie, now take a boat ride out on the water where nothing is safe from the terror of the deep. Everyone thought he was dead, but Jaws proves he still very much alive and extremely hungry in this thrill ride for families and people of all ages. Like shoot ‘em ups? How about slaying aliens? Working for the Men in Black? Well here’s your chance to try and join their ranks by competing with your friends and family in a M.I.B. Training mission that goes wrong, pitting you up against evil aliens in order to save the world. The outcome of the mission/ride is determined by how high your score is, so become trigger happy. Earn enough points and they just might make you into an M.I.B. Agent!
Walking under the archway into Hogsmeade truly transports you into the mind of J.K. Rowling and the World of Harry Potter. The snow covered buildings of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts Express replica were just the start of how authentic this place truly is. If you’re any kind of Potter Fan at all, you have to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter where you’ll meet all sorts of ‘Potterheads’ just like you.
Next, we’ll discover the two roller coasters, my favorite type of attractions, which are located almost right next to each other for convenience. Venture deep into the desert, into the forbidden sacred temple, and unleash the wrath of the mummy! Fast, dark and scary, this ride becomes a sensory overload for anyone riding it for the first time where your adrenaline is pumping due to the combination of fear and excitement. This next ride drives people crazy. The new Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is a roller coaster designed to push you to the limit with the insane speed, loops and drops of a roller coaster combined with fast rock or techno music that you get to pick. The entire ride is videotaped and can be viewed afterwards to see your shock and awe.
The park also has many rides and attractions for the entire family, such as the E.T. Adventure, Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast, Terminator 2 in 3-D, Shriek in 4-D and the new Simpsons Ride! So come on down to Orlando and enjoy all of the excitement with your family or a group of friends.
Islands of Adventure
Our next stop is right across the street, and is by far, my favorite park and one of the top things to do in Florida. Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure has out-done itself and many other parks when it comes to making the scenery fit the theme of the rides of the areas it holds them in, and in this case, islands. Make your first stop to the Super Hero Island and take the job as a reporter in the Adventures of Spider Man, a 3-D motion simulator that takes your around the city as all of the Spider Man villains team up to overwhelm Spider Man and hold New York City for ransom. Jump to the sky and fall to the ground in Doctor Doom’s Fearfall. Then hit up the Incredible Hulk roller coaster which I’m sure you saw on your way into park, screaming at rageful speeds. This is a must ride roller coaster for any coaster jockey, as you go from 0 – 40 miles per hour in exactly 2 seconds. Speaking of roller coasters, head over to the opposite side of the park at some time during the day and face the Dueling Dragons! Choose your side, Fire or Ice, and ride your dragon as you face off against the other, blazing right past the other dragon in this dual coaster phenomenon.
Other must experience rides are Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, and Jurassic Park’s River Adventure. You will get wet and you will be scared, so be prepared! Some other family style rides would include The Cat in the Hat ride that pushes your mind to a whole new extreme.
Staying Safe at Florida Theme Parks
A friendly reminder from myself, a well experienced theme park explorer, to always follow a few simple rules when attending Universal’s Parks or any other Theme Park:
- Always wear sunscreen. You will burn without it or the shade.
2. Keep hydrated. Florida’s heat will keep you thirsty.
3. Bring extra clothes or a swim suit for those water rides.
4. Always pay attention to height restrictions for kids. These are for safety only.
5. Never ride more than you can handle. This will keep you from getting sick
With that said, I know you will enjoy your time in Orlando, especially when exploring these two fabulous theme parks at Universal Studios!