July 23, 2024

Universal Studios Trip Tips

 I wanted to quickly share some tips from our first trip as a Family to Universal Studios in early February.

I highly suggest that you stay at one of the resorts at Universal…   With your stay you get early access to the parks and you get Express Pass for all the rides (except one Harry Potter Ride – The Forbidden Journey).  We had such a wonderful trip thanks to our resort!

We stayed at the Portofino.  I felt like I was in Italy!  Since as a family, I doubt we will ever get a chance to travel to Italy together…  this was second best.  The Hotel is beautiful.  My kids (11 and 7) loved the pool.  They could have went down the waterslide all day.  The first two pictures are of the resort from the boat area.  One I took at night and one at day.  They have a boat that takes you to and from the two theme parks.  It’s about a 10 minute ride.

The third picture is a view from our room.  The rooms were huge.  I am a simple gal, so this room impressed me… The room is very large – including the large bathroom!!!  My kids loved the huge tub and the large separate shower.  Everything is very spacious and super clean!

wpid-20140201_183931.jpg wpid-20140202_102124.jpgwpid-20140202_094957.jpg When at Universal Island’s of Adventure….  Use your early access hour.  If you are a resort guest, you may enter the park an hour before they let others in.  USE THIS to ride The Forbidden Journey with virtually no wait.  When you enter the park… walk straight through to the back of the park to Harry Potter land!  Don’t stop and look at other things… just get to the Forbidden.  Hogwarts Castle towers over Hogsmeade village, and inside the castle is the “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” ride.  When you get to the ride you will need to check your bag in a free locker, do that and then head through the line.  The line itself is awesome…   Super details such as talking portraits, special-effects appearances by Dumbledore and other characters, and a filmed introduction to the ride that features Harry, Ron, and Hermione!!!  The Magic is perfect!  You may even get snowed on.   If you have the early access, walk through the line quickly and get on the ride and exit and go back through the line again.  Spend more time looking at the fun in the castle.  We used this method and did not wait.  Although when we came out the second time, the wait was 45 minutes since the park had opened.  By the afternoon it was up to a 90 minute wait (and this was the non-busy season)!

Then after your ride The Forbidden twice head to the Dragon Challenge dual roller coaster (you can use Express pass on this and the Flight).  My 7 year old choose not to ride the Dragon because it goes upside down.  Then walk back up to do the small-but-o-so-fun “Flight of the Hippograff“.   My 7 year old loved this coaster!

If you wish, you  can buy chocolate frogs in Honeydukes, or robes in Dervish and Banges…  Just walking through the stores is fun – they are themed based as well!   All of the windows on the streets are also themed based.  Be sure to take time to soak it all in.

My kids both had a butter beer.  I tasted it and it was yummy – basically a cream soda with extra cream at the top!

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My seven year old also enjoyed the Dr. Seuss themed attractions at  Island of Adventures.   My family enjoyed the rest of the park…  My son is a huge coaster fan, so my husband and I got to ride Hulk twice.  My 7 year old will not ride any ride that flips.

The Hulk was crazy!!!   I had to pop two Advil after the ride!


We made it to Universal Studios as well.  I was there about 15 years ago and lots has changed.  E.T. is still there.  Crazy rides like the Rip Ride Rocket is a new one…  My husband drew the short straw to ride this with our son!!!  My daughter loved the Mummy ride here.  This made me pop another Advil.

It’s a pretty park and even has a little Bit of San Francisco  in it!


We had a great three days!!!

Get the Express Pass and you will too!