Everyone needs a nice long vacation once in a while. My boyfriend decided to surprise me with a trip to universal Orlando Florida. I have never been and really wanted to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and be the Hufflepuff that I am.
I recently posted a blog about traveling and the basic tips I have to being organized. It helped out a lot to prepare for this trip since we were going to be staying for 4 nights, 5 days. If you haven't read thatclick hereto check it out!
I have bad anxiety when it comes to transportation and flying is the worst but I was just so tired from the flight being so early, that it didn't really affect me. We flew with southwest out of our small local airport and it was a nice flight. We actually ended up landing early which was pretty cool.
So we stayed at Cabana Bay, which is the hotel in the park. It has the coolest 60s retro theme that I just adore. Anything that is vintage I am all about. There was so much in this hotel alone to keep guests occupied and the staff was extremely kind. There was even a Starbucks and the girl who worked there actually remembered our names. (probably because we are Starbucks addicts and drink it all day). There was the Bayliner diner which resembled more of a cafeteria or buffet. There were different foods to choose from and a little fruit bar which I got from because I am just a plain vegetarian. There was also Galaxy Bowl which is a small bowling alley and restaurant. James and I ate there one night and the food was pretty good. We also bowled the day we were going home to kill some time. The hotel also has a pretty big gym that is dedicated to Jack LaLanne. There was a lot of different equipment to choose from, including yoga mats and exercise balls. And if you need even more entertainment than bowling and working out there is a small arcade which has the Injustice game. No one was in the arcade that much so James and I got to collect a handful of cards for when we go to Dave and Busters and wait for the line to clear to play there. The rooms were your typical hotel rooms. The one we were in had a nice orange and blue scheme which is my favorite set of complimentary colors so I was pretty happy.
James and I had a 3 day pass to universal to all 3 parks including, Volcano Bay, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. I want to start off by saying even before you get through the gates of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure is City Walk, which is filled with restaurants. But for now I am going to talk about the parks. We however did not go to Volcano Bay because our resort had a pool and we did not really feel like going to a water park, but it looks amazing from what we can see from the hotel. First we went to Islands of Adventure and when you walk in it is like Indiana Jones kind if. The buildings are made to look like ancient stone. And it is all just gift shops and some cafes like croissant bakery and Starbucks. When you go left you are going into comic book territory. You see the hulk roller coaster zipping around the walkway as you go over the bridge. The only ride we went on was Spiderman which is our favorite. Its so good and we went on it about 10 times. Spiderman is one of those rides where you are sitting in a car and the car moves through the 3D show of Spiderman and you are getting attacked by the villans.
After Spiderman James and I ventured through the old school comic and toon town theme which had Betty Boop and Popeye, plus so much more fun cartoons that I grew up watching and reading in the Sunday paper. But after this section of Islands of Adventure is the Kong ride which James said that is was the worst ride in the park. I didn't go on it so I do not know for myself but I trust James's opinion on it. Jurassic Park is after Kong and it is so cool. we took pictures with all of the dinosaurs around and looked through the shops.
Now after Jurassic park is something that I have been waiting to get to for so long. Hogwarts. Yes, the one and only school where I belong. Let me tell you... This secion of the park is the best. I love Harry Potter and the detail that went into Harry Potter is so amazing it tops any park I have ever been to. The Hogwarts ride wasn't my thing because it does tilt you backwards a little and spins. I don't feel comfortable with tilting backwards usually but it was a really fun experience. Just waiting on the line is an adventure in itself and Walking through Hogsmede is so magical. I love what they did with the snow and the windows of the shops were amazing and detailed. It looked even more amazing because we explored mainly Harry Potter on our second day which was pretty rainy and it just elevated the aesthetic of Harry Potter. The Hogwarts Express was a ride in itself and it was so enjoyable. You sit in the cabin and watch the window which is playing a video of what looks like you riding the train to your destination (whether it be Hogsmede or to Diagon Alley). You can also see silhouettes of the characters walking by on the windows of the door. Now Diagon Alley. Walking into this area will take your breath away. It feels like you are literally in the movie. Here when you walk through is the Leaky Cauldron where James and I ate lunch. It is so amazing how much detail is put into this park to make you feel like you are living in this story. It also helped that James and I were in "cosplay" I guess. We had on our house uniforms. There is a ride in Diagon Alley and its Escape from Gringotts. Which is my favorite ride in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There is a drop and a high speed at first which I do not mind but if you do I would avoid it but it only lasts like 2 seconds. This is also another 3D ride and Belatrix is in it who is one of my favorite villain characters. Another thing James and I were obsessed with getting is the Butterbeer and I also purchased my first collectable wand. I got Hermione Granger's wand because I liked the detail of it.
Even though there is so much to talk about Harry Potter there is also a lot more in Universal Studios which is where Diagon Alley is located. There is the Men in Black ride which is a fun interactive shooting game. I beat James the 2 times we went on it. There is also Springfield which is all Simpsons themed. I am not a fan of the Simpsons but James likes it. We saw the parade and Squidward waved at me. We met Beetlejuice and took pictures with the Delorian from Back to the Future. There is just so much to do it is amazing. Also going back to Islands of Adventure (through the Hogwarts Express of course) if you keep on going around you go through like this mythical section which has Poseidon's Fury which is a cute tour. It is great if you had kids and they liked little shows like this. There is a little art shop in this area where I purchased a button that says you don't know jack and there is a doodle of a jack rabbit on it. I completely forgot the name of the artist which sucks because I wanted to follow her on social media but I know she is like 14 or something and her mom makes like the scarves in the shop. If you know her name let me know 😊😊. There is a restaurant called Mythos which is apparently the best park restaurant in the world but I actually got sick and James didn't enjoy his experience either. Although the interior is pretty amazing.
Cat in the Hat is the last part of the park and it is so cute and colorful. It was kind of made for children to enjoy rides because some of the rides might be a little intense for smaller children but adults can enjoy the bright and fun atmosphere just as much.
So I left the best for last right. Food. There is so much to choose from to eat. Our first choice is obviously Margaritaville. We really like this restaurant and because we don't have one on Long Island, we try to make a stop when there is one near by. We went twice and I got the crab cake sandwich and then the coconut shrimp. Both were really good and I 10/10 recommend. We also went to the Hard Rock because they had some vegetarian options like a cauliflower burger and buffalo cauliflower. James got the buffalo and I got the burger but I was just so tired and not feeling well I didn't eat much of the burger but we took it back to the room to eat. We also ate at Bubba Gumps. I have never seen the movie but I think it is a really nice place to grab some shrimp to eat. I had popcorn shrimp because I just wanted something easy to pop into my mouth since I was pretty tired again. Our waiter was pretty cool too. He talked to us about Pokemon GO and was really friendly as was most of the waiters we had.
I am not the biggest fan of sweets but I just had to try Voodoo Doughnuts. They had a selection of vegan doughnuts which I love trying vegan things. It's amazing how something can be vegan and taste pretty good now. The doughnuts were pretty good and tasted really fresh so we were happy about that. James also got some chocolate desserts one night at the Chocolate Emporium, which is this steampunk themed restaurant/ bakery. He got 3 different things but my favorite was this chocolate dome cake with raspberries in it. I love fruit in chocolate. It makes it less heavy for me. He also got these chocolate espresso cups and a salted caramel cupcake. They looked cool but I am not the biggest fan of sweets so I was like eh.
There were some shops in City Walk that I got some things from. Fresh Produce is a cute hippie beach like shop that sold Pura Vida Bracelets. If you don't know what they are, they are really nice quality bracelets and they help artisans around the world. You can look more into it on their social media pages like on Instagram and Facebook or go to https://www.puravidabracelets.com/. I also bought "A Little Book of Happiness" which has so many quotes and tips and tricks about happiness and positive vibes. You can check out the website if you don't have one near you.http://www.freshproduceclothes.com. Another shop I went into was called P!Q. Inside were a lot of kawaii things like Hello Kitty and Pusheen, as well as a lot of art prints from various artists. I bought one of a panda eating a cupcake by the artist Michael Banks (@sugarfueled). If you want to shop this store without having to go to one they have a website where you can buy all of the gift trinkets as well as the art prints at https://www.piqgifts.com/.
In City Walk there is a mini golf place and its pretty expensive but it is a really cool interactive course. You can choose from ghosts or like aliens (I don't fully remember) and you can answer trivia questions while going around the holes and if you get them right you can get coupons. It's pretty fun and we really enjoyed it.
This pretty much sums up our vacation in Universal. We did go to Disney for a day. Visited Epcot and then went to Magic Kingdom, but we were so tired and it got really hot that we kind of left around 6pm. We did get there when it opened though so we spent a good amount of time there. I got my ears and went on the Ariel ride. I also purchased some really pretty Belle artwork done by Jasmine Becket-Griffith (@strangeling).
I know this was a bit of a read but I do enjoy writing lengthy and raw diary pieces. Let me know if you enjoyed reading this. I might write more travel blogs. I am going to Warped Tour this year. The last one, and I might be going on a road trip towards the end of the summer.
If you would like to keep up with my adventures you can follow me on my Instagram @_wildflower_vibes_ or if you are more into my art @creativelymaree
I post updates about on my Facebook @creativelymaree and you can even follow me on Twitter, I am sometimes on there @creativemaree
ALSO (last comment I'm sorry lol) I have a Red Bubble (CreativelyMaree) if you did not know. I upload my artwork and you can get them printed on a bunch of cool things like shirts and stickers.