Spotlight on Universal Studios Park (Orlando)

Unversal in Orlando has so much to offer, between 2 theme parks (soon to be 3), an amazing water park, amazing resorts for every budget, and Citywalk where you can shop, eat, and play!

For now, we’re going to start with their flagship park, Universal Studios. Universal Studios Orlando opened on June 7, 1990. The theme of Universal Studios is targeted at making guests feel like they are on a movie set with rides, shows, and attractions inspired by popular film, television, and music productions. The park consists of eight themed areas – Hollywood, Production Central, New York, San Francisco, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, World Expo, Springfield, and Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone.

Now, lets get down to it. Here is some of what you’ll find at this park:

Thrill Rides

Harry Potter Escape from Gringotts
Fast & Furious
Men in Black
Revenge of the Mummy
Rip Ride Rockit
& More

Family Rides:

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
Jimmy Fallon’s Race through NYC
The Simpsons
Men In Black: Alien Attack
Hogwarts Express (Park to Park only – I explain what this is here)
& More

Just for Kids:

A day with Barney
Curious George
Fievel’s Playground
Woody Woodpecker Coaster


Superstar Parade
Celestina Warbeck & The Banshees
Tales of Beedle the Bard
Cinematic Celebration
& More

Places to Eat:

Cafe La Bamba
Cletus’ Chicken Shack
Duff Brewery
Finnegan’s Bar and Grill
Krusty Burger
Lard Lad Donuts
Leaky Cauldron
Lombard’s Seafood Grill
Mel’s Drive In
Moe’s Tavern
The Hopping Pot
Claissic Monsters Cafe
& More

There are so many fun places to eat! Mostly quick service, with a few sit down dining restaraunts mixed in. Get a donut bigger than your whole head at Lard Lad Donuts, or enjoy a butter beer at The Leaky Cauldron!

There are also a ton of shops to get just the right souvenier. My boys’ favorite was Ollivanders to get magic wands. There are spots all over Diagon Alley and Hogwartz where you can use them to make your own magic happen!

Souvenier or Drink? It’s both!

If you love Harry Potter, you have to try this drink! It’s so fun and makes a really great souvenier. At Eternelle’s in Diagon Alley, you can make an elixir. They sell Gilly Water there, and then you choose a potion to mix in. Is it just a flavored bottle of water? Yes. But it’s so worth it for the experience. You just have to use your imagination. To save some money, you can use the elixir in your own bottle or cup of water as well, but then it is not so much a souvenier. The potions come in 4 flavors:

🔥 Fire Protection tastes like watermelon 🍉
☮️ Draught of Peace tastes like berry 🍓
🍺 Babbling Beverage tastes like fruit punch 🥭🤩 Elixir to Induce Euphoria tastes like pineapple 🍍

Diagon Alley

I’ve covered some of what you can do in Diagon Alley, but the details here are just endless! The food is authentic, the stores are just like you imagine them, and the magic is real!

You can park hop over to Islands of Adventure from here as well, via the Hogwartz Express, as I mentioned before. But you MUST have a Park to Park ticket in order to do this. Otherwise, no train ride for you.

Universal Studios is also the park where you’ll find the seasonal events like for the holidays, Halloween Horror Nights, and Mardi Gras. Let’s learn more about those!

Halloween Horror Nights

This special ticketed event includes:

🏚 Haunted houses vinspired by the biggest names in horror, including a twisted Beetlejuice haunted house.
🧟 Special scare zones
👻 Live entertainment filled with diabolical surprises
🎢 Some of the parks regular attractions will be available to ride
🍽 Special themed food and merchandise

This is a great way to add a fun, unique touch to your Universal vacation!

Beware: Halloween Horror Nights is not for the faint of heart. In 2021, they celebrated their 30th year of the event. Tickets for Halloween Horror Nights started at $70.99 plus tax, and it ran from Sept 30-Oct 31 on select nights. Express Pass is also available to add on to your ticket during the event, as well as two VIP tour offerings.

Christmas at Universal Studios

At Universal park, you’ll find tons of holiday treats and souveniers, as well as soak in Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s larger-than-life balloons.

Mardi Gras

Universal Studio’s Mardi Gras celebration runs from Feb. 5–Apr. 24, 2022 this year. You’ll enjoy a glittering parade and some of the biggest names in music live in concert. This event is included with regular park admission!

You’ll also find Mardi Gras food kiosks located throughout the park that feature foods, snacks, and drinks from the Bayou as well as around the world! And don’t forget the merchandise!

As you can see, there is SO much to see, eat, and do at this park, all throughout the year! If you have not visited Universal Studios Orlando, it is a must do for any movie fan!

Learn about Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay, too!

Contact me here to book your next Universal Studios vacation!

Published by Emily Trempe

I am a mom of 2 boys ages 11 and 14, and have been married to my wonderfully supportive husband, Brian for 14 years. I work full time in the billing department of a large opthamolgy practice in Michigan. I have not just a love for all things Disney that started from birth. My boys sometimes call it my Disney problem, but my husband and I fondly refer to it as my Disney passion. I have a side gig as a travel advisor. I can help plan almost any vacation, but as you can guess, I specialize in Disney and Universal.

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