My family has been to Universal Orlando three summers in a row. The fun isn’t getting old and during each trip, my boys talk about “next year….” We know quite a bit about Universal, but on this most recent trip, we went on a VIP Tour, which not only allowed us to go right to the front of the line on all rides, but our Tour Guide, Jeremy, shared lots of information about the parks as we toured around both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. Here’s some of the coolest things we learned.
Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. Some of the buildings in Marvel Superhero Island are painted with special paint that looks like different colors, depending on which angle you’re looking at it from. So, Universal was playing this game way before that white/gold, black/blue dress went around.
Play the Adam game. The artist who created all the giant superhero cut-outs that you see all throughout Marvel Superhero Island placed his name (Adam) on all of the superheros. You have to look carefully to see it, but it’s there. This is a great way to pass the time if you have younger kids not able to ride some of the bigger rides in this area of the park. Our group got a kick out of it because we were traveling with an Adam, so if we couldn’t find the Adam on the superhero, we’d just point at our Adam and say “There’s Adam!”
There’s a reason Jurassic Park seems so much like the movies. There’s so much detail put into all areas of the park and the Jurassic Park area is no exception- it seems very much like the movies, with lots of Easter eggs to find. Some of this detail is owed to Steven Spielberg consulting on the creation of that section of the park.
A ride lockdown can be quite literal. We got to peek into the control room of Transformers- they watch all aspects of the ride very carefully. We noticed a large number of locks and keys on the wall and asked what they were for. Our guide told us that if a ride needs to shut down for some reason, those locks go on various controls and can’t be unlocked until the all clear is given, so there’s no way for it to be accidentally turned back on. It’s not like I imagined, where someone could trip over some giant lever and set a ride into motion.
Check your receipts. This is the first time we’ve bought the meal cards on our trips because our guide really broke it down for us and we saw what a great value they actually are. You get a meal, snack, and 2 drinks (and a Butterbeer counts as a snack!!!!). When you use your meal card and get your receipt, you’ll see at the bottom what is left on your card (for example: drink and snack). Make sure the right thing was removed from your card while you’re still at the cashier and refer back to it when you’re planning to stop for your next yummy treat.
Your wait isn’t that long. Escape from Gringotts is currently the newest attraction at Universal Orlando and is one of the few rides where you can’t use your Express Pass. While we were there, we saw wait times anywhere from 25-70 minutes. But, your wait isn’t that long compared to when it first opened, when the wait time was 600 minutes. TEN HOURS. This is actually my favorite ride in the whole park, so it’s worth the little bit of wait that there is now, but I don’t think even diehard Harry Potter enthusiast me could have dealt with 600 minutes.
There’s always something new. Sometimes it’s ride improvements, other times it’s entirely new attractions or a new island in Islands of Adventure. Fast and Furious is coming soon, as is Skull Island: Reign of Kong. Universal has new fun up their sleeves, planned out years in advance.
My family attended Family Forward at Universal Orlando. With our paid conference fee, we received discounted park admission, hotel, and experiences like the VIP Tour. All obsession with all things Universal is our own. We learned a lot more about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which I’ll share in a later post.