As mentioned in an earlier post one of the main perks of staying onsite at Universal Resort is the early access to the park. You can enter 1 hour before the rest of the crowds are admitted and we took full advantage of this on all the days we were there. Not all of the sections in the park were open, we tried to use the app to determine what we could ride but unfortunately, this didn’t match with what was actually happening in the park. For example, the app showed that Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and The Mummy were closed but both were definitely open so make sure if you have a favourite ride to have a little walk around to check out its opening times.
On our first morning there we headed straight to Universal Studios Park and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. This area opened since my last visit and I was *so* excited to see this. I had so many videos and photos and couldn’t wait to just walk around that red brick wall and enter Diagon Alley and the reality was just as awe-inspiring as I had hoped it would be. The detail in this area of the park is immense. Literally every small detail has been thought of and to top it all off, that dragon on top of Gringotts….just wow. We headed straight to ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride. I had purposely not read much about this ride and hadn’t watched any of the walkthroughs as I wanted to keep this a surprise. It was such a good ride, we barely waited at all thanks to the early park access. That first drop was so unexpected. Such good fun. This whole area of the park deserves your attention, make sure to take the time to explore. They even have a Knockturn Alley which is as dark as you would imagine and even has a Borgin and Burkes which sells all sorts of dark arts materials. If you have one of the interactive wands there are lots of things to activate although there were enough people doing it for us to still enjoy the special effects this created. Make sure to stick around though to see the dragon breathe fire, she’ll give you a few warning noises before she goes off so be sure to grab your camera ready to get that photo!
As we only had a few days at Universal we split our time between the two parks and dedicated a day to each so we spent all of the first day inside Universal Studios. We managed to cover everything that we wanted to see and go on all the rides we wanted to but the park wasn’t too busy that you felt rushed. It was a really nice day. We made sure to enjoy a refreshing alcoholic Duff from the outside bar in Springfield. I love this area of the parks, it’s so much fun but at the same time you can just take a step back towards the water and it’s so nice and peaceful to have a bit of a quiet break from the crowds for 5 minutes. We actually ended up eating in Springfield as well, my husband had Krusty Burger and I had something from Cletus’ Chicken Shack and they were both really tasty. When we came back to the park on a later day we made sure to take it a bit easier and grabbed some photos with Optimus Prime (no queue for this!!) and explore a bit more of Diagon Alley. If you are visiting the park then try to make the time to see the parade, we managed to catch the end of it but Spongebob was dropping some absolute moves!
There was another new ride at Universal other than Escape from Gringotts that we tried out and that was the Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon. I…er…well I didn’t get this ride at all. It wasn’t funny or thrilling for me, I guess if you are a fan of the show then yeah, maybe you would enjoy it. I put it in the same bracket of Minion Mayhem, it’s alright but would I ride it twice? No. The other new ride was one which only opened a few weeks before our arrival, Fast & Furious: Supercharged. Again another ride I didn’t particularly enjoy. I was a bit disappointed with Universal with their newer rides, it all feels very samey and lacking in any energy or adrenaline. That is of course just my personal opinion, you won’t know if you’ll like them or not until you ride them so give them a whirl and make your own mind up.
We rode The Mummy many, many times. Love that ride although sadly the fire part of the ride wasn’t working which kinda spoiled the effect. Still, it’s a good little rollercoaster and there was never any line, we literally walked on every time. A few of my other favourite rides in the park are Transformers, Men in Black and The Simpsons Ride. This park is a lot more family orientated and this shows in the types of rides in the park, if you want more thrill then I would head next door to Universals Islands of Adventure. The best way to get to this park? By train, and by train I mean take the Hogwarts Express. To ride this you do need to have a park hopper ticket but the train is actually a ride in itself and worth the time and money to try. Just hope you aren’t seated in a carriage with someone who films the whole thing with their flash on..! This ride drops you off into the other Harry Potter-themed area in Islands of Adventure, Hogsmeade but I will save that for another post.