Summer is nearly here, and Acadians are already planning their vacations to take advantage of the sun and fun. For many folks, the best place for a grand adventure is one of the country’s major theme parks; but what if you have already visited a certain famous mouse? Fortunately, there is another great option in Orlando, FL: Universal Studios, located about 18 minutes west from the airport.
Universal Studios boasts an enormous variety of exciting rides based on the studio’s many popular movies and TV shows throughout the years. Unfortunately, they have retired a few of their old classic rides, such as the Jaws encounter, Back to the Future, and the King Kong “Kongfrontation.” You can still find homages to these beloved rides in the park, though, so you don’t have to go home without a picture of your favorite man-eating shark. Some of the parks current standouts include an entire section dedicated to The Simpsons – complete with a life-size recreation of Moe’s Tavern and the Kwik-E-Mart – and Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride, where you’ll learn to appreciate the joys of escaping from an undead Egyptian horror. All of this is found in the Universal Studio’s Park, but that is not the only option. You will soon be able to visit Volcano Bay, a new water-themed park opening at the end of this month, or Islands of Adventure, the home of the World of Harry Potter. You can buy tickets for each park individually, or get a combo pass and explore all three.
Volcano Bay is still a bit of a mystery, but Islands of Adventure is very well known. It features eight different islands, each with it’s own theme: the Port of Entry, Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Skull Island, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent, Seuss Landing, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The latter has quickly become the most popular attraction in the entire park, and for good reason. Harry Potter fans will get to explore a fully-realized Hogsmead Village and Hogwarts School. The main attraction is “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” which takes guests through Hogwarts Castle to see scenes inspired by the books and movies. There are also two roller coasters: the larger Dragon Challenge and the youngster-friendly Flight of the Hippogriff. If you need a breather, you can enjoy a decadently sweet Butterbeer while you watch some of the performances that tend to pop up around town, like the TriWizard Spirit Rally. There is enough magic in the air for lifelong fans and first timers alike.