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April 12, 2011

Navigating around Universal Studios Florida

The first time I visited Universal Studios was in California back in 2005. Though I never had the chance to visit the parks, I had the pleasure of enjoying a trek down Citywalk with it's iconic King Kong dominating the scene along the strip. Citywalk is definitely a feast for the eyes and one you won't easily forget! Compared to Downtown Disney, Citywalk evokes a flair that appeals more to the adults genre. A place that comes alive full throttle after the parks has closed. I had the pleasure of reliving this memories this year but not in California. This time it's in Florida!

Universal Studios Florida is a lot bigger than California and is evident at how far it takes to get to Citywalk from the parking lot. Thank God for the motorized walkways! We were on our way to visit both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and we were all excited to experience them!

Highlights:
Universal Studios
  • Their replication of Hollywood walk of fame was impressive. It was almost like walking along the real location. Something that I was happy with since I missed visiting the real locations in California last year. 
  • Their Meal Deal is a no-brainer! As you all know, food inside the parks doesn't come cheap. This option is absolutely great for families on a budget and those with 5 or more children. If you eat more than three times during your visit, you've pretty much gotten the utmost worth of what you paid for.  For the price of $68.96* (2 adults and one child for a 2 Park/ 1-day meal ticket) plus a 1-day meal souvenir cup for $8.99* (unlimited refill on both parks) that we paid for and the number of times we ate, it was worth every penny we've spent!
  • Rides and Shows. If it wasn't for the misleading ride descriptions, we could have done more rides. But in exception, my daughter and I immensely enjoyed Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast which we were privileged to ride before it apparently shut down on April 1st and permanently closing August 18th. Shrek 4-D was totally entertaining and highly interactive for both kids and adults. Animals on Location show was a little boring but for kids and adults who are pet enthusiasts, this one is a must-see.   
Look at what I found! 
Can you guess which country's flag this is?
Some quick tips:
Be forewarned. If you are visiting the park for the first time and not familiar with the rides, ask an attendant about it before taking the dare to ride any of them. Don't rely on the descriptions! It doesn't tell you if it's a mild, medium or extreme ride (this was brought to a research employees' attention) and the ride descriptions were all the same even for kid rides. One can get easily confused as we have personally experienced and paid for the price. Not pleasantly, so to speak.
We took the Men In Black Alien Attack ride which sounded "harmless" and seemed similar with the Toy Story Mania Ride at Disney except this ride had a twist at the end. No. More like a twister! The individual vehicles turns 180 degrees not once, but 3 times! If you have a bad case of motion sickness, and unprepared for it, it will wipe you out for good. In my husband's case, he was a dizzy fellow for 3 hours! Not a great thing when you are at the park on your first visit. It sure took most of the fun out of FUN.
In summary. Universal Studios is a whole different concept compared to Disney. There are great attractions offered inside the park and makes for a great alternative for the more daring park enthusiasts. Sometimes, a break from the Disney mentality can actually open your imagination to appreciate a whole new experience in different Theme parks like Universal Studios. Be it in California or Florida! And take note: They have a Starbucks shop inside the park! Now, THAT, to me is a BIG plus! Next stop? Universal's Islands of Adventure!

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**A media pass was provided by Universal Studio as part of their media marketing initiative.

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