Day 4 or our Walt Disney World Marathon Trip started off dark and early with a 3am wake up call. It was the first of 2 races on the calendar…the Inagural Walt Disney World 10K. You can read about that race here. This blog post picks up where the 10K post ended. After our character breakfast at the Cape May Cafe, Brooke and I headed back to our hotel to shower and take a nap. In my plan before the trip, I had envisioned eating lunch at Universal Islands of Adventure theme park on this day. However, the nap we got was perfect and we decided to just eat at the End Zone Food Court at our home away from home. Also, before the trip, I had planned to take a Mears shuttle to Universal Studios Florida. However, when we arrived back at the All Star Sports, I asked about the shuttle only to learn that the shuttles ran in the morning only. That meant getting a cab to Universal Studios Florida. The price wasn’t horrible at around $40 each way. After lunch, we were off to catch the two Universal Studios Florida theme parks.
Universal Studios Florida is a very different place from Universal Studios Hollywood. The theme parks in Florida were clearly designed to be theme parks. Whereas the theme park in Hollywood feels like something that Universal decided to add to their working film studio lot as a way of getting some extra money. This was both Brooke and my first visit to these theme parks. So, we were really excited!
The first order of business was to get our tickets. I purchased discounted tickets through my work. What I got was a voucher that could be redeemed at the will call kiosks. Brooke and I decided to hit up Universal Islands of Adventure first because experiencing the Wizarding World of Harry was our top reason for venturing off Disney property. It may make me a bad Disney fan to venture off Walt Disney World property. However, both Brooke and I were excited to finally see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for ourselves. They are currently building a Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. With this visit, we will know first hand which Harry Potter themed land is better.
The two Universal Studios theme parks in Florida are close to each other. Kind of like Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. Only instead of being across from each other, they are side by side. In between the theme parks is the Hard Rock Cafe…
and the NBA City Restaurant…
We didn’t get to try either restaurant. However, I love the look of each on the outside. Plus, I’ve been to several Hard Rock Cafes before. Also, with both theme parks closing at 7pm, we wanted to get as much of the two theme parks as we could with limited time.
After making our way through the Port of Entry, we made our way to the right and walked around Seuss Landing. What a fun themed land!
Everything was very Dr. Seuss. It seriously felt like we had stepped right into the Dr. Seuss books!
I loved this sign as you left Seuss Landing…
After passing through the Lost Continent was what we came for…the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
Welcome to Hogsmead!
Right at the front of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the Hogwarts Express train.
All the bags have arrived and we were ready for our Harry Potter adventure!
The details of this land are very Disney-esque. Experiencing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time was much like the first time I experienced Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure. All I wanted to do was walk around and take it all in.
If you’re visiting for the first time, keep in mind that there are 2 Butterbeer carts in this land. Both will have long lines.
I don’t know why, but I found this to be cool. Instead of “restrooms” it’s “public conveniences.”
Look! A Gryffindor snow person!
The towering presence of Hogwarts!
Again, the details are just so impressive!
We were happy campers to have arrived at Hogwarts!
The line to get into Hogwarts and the main attraction Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was pretty long. However, the queue line has so much to keep you distracted that it’s sort of part of the ride.
There are so many cool things to look at inside as you make your way to the attraction.
Once you see the phoenix, you know that you’re not far from seeing this guy…
Professor Dumbledore himself talks with us.
Once you pass the fountain, you get closer to Dumbledore…
Then, we found this little detail…
No Muggles. We went along anyways. One thing I didn’t know before the trip is that you can go through the queue line at Hogwarts without going on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction. Neither my wife nor myself are great with motion simulated attractions. So, we didn’t really want to do the attraction. However, we wanted to see the inside of Hogwarts. When we got to the entrance, we were relieved to find that you can do that. When you get up to the loading area for the attraction, there is a sign that will direct you to the exit if you are not riding. The exit takes you to a retail shop.
Wizards Chess anyone?
The second Butterbeer cart! The line was long. However, I’ve heard so many people rave about Butterbeer that I had to try it out myself. While waiting, the Triwizard Spirit Rally began. Here is some of that show…
As you can see, it’s kind of a fun show that helped the wait for our Butterbeer pass by quickly.
There are two ways of getting your Butterbeer. The most popular is frozen. So, that’s what we got. Let me tell you, Butterbeer is every bit as good as advertised! It’s amazing!
Lovin’ the Butterbeer! Can’t wait for them to bring this out to Universal Studios Hollywood!
Once you leave the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the next “land” is Jurassic Park.
In the land are some props from the movies. As you can tell, we weren’t scared of the dinosaur behind us.
This looks like a scene out of the original Jurassic Park movie. Doesn’t it? Only, we didn’t have any dinosaurs chasing after us. So, it was safe.
Next up was Toon Lagoon. Brooke and I loved this area! It’s super fun with a camera time!
We loved these thought bubbles that you could pose for a picture under!
This was my favorite one!
Look! Popeye! That means one thing….
Yep. Wimpy was close by…
I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!
The last “land” is Marvel Super Hero Island. Look who is there…Captain America!
Okay, the theming of this land is off the chains! It’s like stepping into Marvel heaven! All the Marvel super hero’s are present in some way, shape or form. If should have made a video that captured this whole area in 360 degrees because all the buildings and scenery wove together. It is because of this land that you will not find Marvel characters in the Walt Disney World theme parks. There is no Marvel presence at Universal Studios Hollywood. So, that’s why you can have the Marvel characters in Disneyland. With the popularity of The Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor movies, I don’t think that Universal will be giving up their rights to use the characters at their Florida theme park too soon.
Some former Disney Imagineers were behind the creation of this attraction. It sparked a lawsuit. The technology used in this attraction is what is used in the Transformers attraction at both Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Florida.
Right outside of the Incredible Hulk roller coaster, there are several panels like this one in a circle. This was my favorite of the bunch.
The line for the walk around Captain America was too long. So, I got a picture with this guy instead.
I was loving the displays in this shop. Iron Man! By the way, you might notice, this Iron Man is slightly different from the one in the films. Look here at a picture I took at Disneyland in December…
Are there similarities? Sure. But, he’s not the same. The merchandise they sold in this store is not the same as the Iron Man merchandise you can buy at the Disney theme parks.
As we were in the store, we hear a lot of commotion going on outside. When we checked, the Super Hero’s were leaving the area in grand fashion.
Each Super Hero mad a grand entrance before going onto their vehicle.
See ya later Cap!
After the Super Hero’s left, it was time for Brooke and I to get out of Universal Islands of Adventure so we could check out Universal Studios Florida.
The Port of Entry feels a lot like Adventureland at the Disney parks.
I loved this sign towards the exit of Universal Islands of Adventure. The adventure of this day did live on as we headed to Universal Studios Florida. As far as this blog is concerned, the adventure will live on another day. Check back next week as I finish out my Walt Disney World Marathon Trip recaps. I’ll finish up Day 4 with recapping my visit to Universal Studios Florida. Additionally, next week, I’ll get to share about my trip to Senses Spa a the Grand Floridian Resort, the Art of Animation Resort, Downtown Disney, and the Magic Kingdom. Have a great weekend everyone!