Family Forward: Universal Orlando Resort is at the Top of Our List
After recently attending the Family Forward Conference at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, we decided to go to some other local amusement parks on our trip. Never having been to Florida, we wanted to maximize our vacation.
Although we had a great time at the other parks, my husband and I kept comparing them to Universal Orlando. We realized that Universal Orlando just does things better and helps you enjoy every minute.
Why Universal Orlando Resort is a Top Theme Park
Here is our list of why Universal Orlando Resort should be top on your list when going to Florida parks:
- Express Pass—Universal Orlando has the option of purchasing an extra pass to enable you to go in an Express Pass line on almost every ride. This pass is also complimentary when you stay at one of Universal’s fabulous on-property hotels. I could not believe the difference the pass made! We would enter rides and see a 45-minute wait time and end up boarding the ride within 5 minutes. We visited every attraction we wanted numerous times. Other parks offer options to get individual passes for a few select rides, which you can only ride at certain times. I am surprised other parks haven’t copied Universal Orlando’s simple, time-saving, worth-every-penny option.
- Child Swap—We were surprised at the ease of Universal’s Child Swap program. They have signs telling you where the Child Swap is located and a room with seating and a kids' video playing area to entertain the little ones while you wait. We didn't have to ask permission to do the Child Swap, have the other parent stand in line again, or try to keep the kids roped in while we waited. My husband and I actually were able to go on big rides again, something we haven’t done in years.
- Location—While visiting another park, it took us 45 minutes to go from the parking lot to the main entrance. I had left my sneakers in the car, but quickly decided I was not going back to retrieve them. We also were not going to waste hours trying to go between different parks. Contrarily, Universal Orlando is conveniently located and easy to access. In between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure is an area called City Walk where there are restaurants and entertainment options. Universal wisely put the entrances to both parks easily accessible from the City Walk. Going from park to park has never seemed a wise option in the past because of all the wasted travel time, but at the Universal parks it only took a few minutes. One evening when we were finished at Islands of Adventure, we decided to pop into Universal Studios to ride Minion Mayhem one more time before returning to our hotel. It was easy to do and pacified our little minions. Additionally, when staying at one of the resorts on the Universal property, they have frequent shuttle boats that take you to City Walk within a few minutes. We even chose not to ride the boat on a few occasions in order to enjoy the beautiful river walk. Our walk was only about 7 minutes to a park entrance.
- Employees—Most employees at amusement parks are friendly and helpful. But Universal takes it a step further. They talked with us, offered ride and dining suggestions, and were always very helpful. We were also surprised when we exited our first ride and were applauded! At first I wasn't sure what to think of this, but as the day went by, it became more and more fun to have people clap for you. A new world trend is paying a professional to be your own personal “cheerleader.” At Universal Orlando, this is just included in your ticket.
- Blue Man Group—When looking for evening entertainment, seeing the Blue Man Group was the perfect end to an exciting day. We didn't have to try and find a spot an hour early on the cement or jostle through a crowd to try and see a show. My 8 and 6 year old boys loved the performance and we enjoyed sitting in a comfortable theater with great entertainment. The tickets are purchased separately from your park ticket, but since our trip was all about maximizing our first time in Florida, it was well worth it!
- Harry Potter—Do I need to say anything else? The magic of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter just can’t be beat. Strolling through Hogsmeade while sipping Butterbeer was the highlight of our entire trip to Orlando. Between eating at Honeydukes, looking at Sneakoscopes in Zonko’s Joke Shop and riding the Forbidden Journey, we felt like we were actually in Harry Potter’s world. Now we just have to convince our 8 year old that he really can’t go to school at Hogwarts!