Day 13 – Fun & relaxation at Universal

It was hard for all of us to get up and moving this morning. I didn’t even wake up until 6.20am. So it was a case of rolling out of bed, taking my meds and hopping into the shower. Once I was done I woke up Christy so she could start her morning routine. Then after 7am I woke up Kevin so he could shower and get himself organised. Considering how much we didn’t want to get out of bed, we did well and were out the door on time at 7.30am.

We walked around to Islands of Adventure and arrived just as the gates were opened. Like yesterday we followed the crowds around to Hagrids and luckily this time it was operating. The line was already saying 40mins wait. But this was well worth the wait. What an incredible ride. We had not watched or heard it (on purpose) so it was a real surprise.

Kevin got himself a frozen butterbeer. There are now vegan ones available (they just have a different topping I think). I did have a sip of his, as did Christy, but we both found it too sweet. Kevin said he had to have one as it’s tradition.

Christy then did Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey (which is in the Hogwarts Castle). Kevin & I sat and waited, first in the sun, then moving into the shade when a seat became available. We were quite glad to just and people watch. She also rode Flight of the Hippogriff which she said was fun but very short.

We then moved into the Jurassic Park area and on to the Kong ride. This was pretty new last time we were here but this time there was only a little wait. I quite like this ride but found it, like many rides, to be too short.

We continued on around the park and into Toon Lagoon, stopping for Kevin to pose with the hamburgers like he does every trip.

The Marvel Super Hero Island. Kevin and I weren’t feeling like doing any thrill rides (he gets motion sick and I’ve been getting headaches), so we left Christy to it and went and found somewhere to sit outside Starbucks where we could people watch. Kevin went and got us a drink which we enjoyed while observing all the different types of people and families that were enjoying the day (for the most part anyway). Kevin had a pumpkin cream cheese muffin which he enjoyed and I had one of the shortbread cookies.

When Christy met back up with us we headed towards Seuss Landing – which is just so well decorated at Christmas time.

We ran into some people from Whoville as we entered so stopped to take some photographs,

before we continued around to go and see The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular. was so fun. The Grinch was such a great character and all loved seeing Max the dog.

We explored a bit more of Suess Landing, checking out some shops and going on The Cat in the Hat ride, which is very much a kids ride, but still cute.

By now it was after 1pm and time for us to leave the park and head back to the hotel for a rest.

Christy opted to stay in the room for a bit while Kevin and I got changed and went to the Bula poolside bar for lunch. We got a table with a lovely view of the pool. We were even visited by a family of ducks. So cute. We even watched them go for a swim in the pool. Kevin had a burger (which he had been craving) while I opted for Nachos. Not realizing quite how big the nachos were!!!! I really enjoyed them though.

With full tummies we then lay on some sunloungers (for which you could get a fancy towel cover along with your towel) and when Christy joined us we went for a swim in the pool. The pools here have all been heated so a lovely comfortable temperature for swimming. We did a lazy lap around the whole pool area before getting out.

Christy went back to the room so she could have a shower. Kevin and I relaxed and dried off in the sun. Having lunch and spending time in and around a pool is something that just screams HOLIDAYS to me. Even doing this at home makes me feels like I’m on holidays. Kevin ordered himself a fancy cocktail while we were there. While by the pool we also ordered some Voodoo Donuts to pick up later since we’d heard lots of good things about them (and they have vegan ones). Eventually we had to make a move and get dressed again before walking back to the park.

This time we walked through City Walk to get to the front entrance of Universal Studios. Our first goal here was to ride Men In Black. This is a shooting ride and Christy was super proud of herself for getting the highest score. Though Kevin later confessed that he’d had his eyes closed for half the ride to stop from getting motion sick.

On our way back to Diagon Alley we stopped to meet the Knight Bus driver & conductor. I always think this is a fun meet & greet.

Then back into Diagon Alley for Christy to use her wand to do some spells. Kevin & I had a wander around looking at the some of the areas we had missed yesterday, then found a spot to wait for Christy to be done. The sun was setting now so all the lights were starting to stand out more.

We left Diagon Alley expected to catch The Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmede in Islands of Adventure but even the express lane had an expected 40+ min wait. So we decided to just walk on over. We did hit a bit of snag when we got stuck behind the Macy’s parade – but it was actually kinda neat getting to see just a little of the parade.

We decided to stop by Voodoo Donuts to pick up our order to save us having to walk back later. Christy took the shorter way to Island of Adventure and we met her in the park.

We then took the shortcut to bypass Seuss Landing and made our way to Hogsmede (which is right at the back of the park). It was pretty busy here as we joined to back of the crowd waiting their turn to see The Magic of Christmas at Hogwart’s Castle. Eventually it was our turn and we made our into the area in front of the castle. I remember reading that near the stage was a good spot so we just stopped there. It ended up not getting to crowded and was easy to leave from so I agree it was a good spot. Others had done the same so the word is out :-).

I really enjoyed the show – there are projections on the castle and it’s really well done. At the end there are, of course, some fireworks. It’s definitely not a must-do but I’d recommend it, especially if you are going to get at Hogsmede after dark.

Our last goal for the evening was to ride Velicoaster in the dark. We got there around 6.30pm and there was an expected wait time of 30min. Unfortunately the ride went down while we were waiting so it more like 7.15pm (and after the official closing time of 7pm) when we got a ride. But what a fun, crazy ride in was in the dark. I’ve always loved dark roller coaster so that we especially great. And thankfully my head didn’t seem to get quite as rattled this time.

We were all complaining of sore feet by now so took a very slow walk back through Seuss Landing (which looks so gorgeous all lit up with Christmas lights) and out of the park and back to our hotel. We even took a few little breaks along the way. My legs were so sore by the time we got back. Later I discovered I had walked over 20,000 step today so no wonder I was feeling it. Kevin & I still needed dinner (since the ride had taken us past closing time) so we headed to the Tuk Tuk Market. There wasn’t a lot of choices that sounded good and Kevin wasn’t very hungry so we decided to share a cheese pizza.

Luckily it didn’t take too long (we just sat while we waited) and we were back in our room with our feet up for a proper rest. Even my calves and shins were sore at this point. The pizza was really enjoyable. I worked on a blog post while I ate. Then I read, like one page, before I fell asleep.

Day 12 – Universal Studios

I woke up at 4am today, which gave me time to finish off yesterdays blog post and work on a YouTube video. At 6.30am I woke up Christy and Kevin and went to have my shower.

By 7,30am we were all ready and out the door. Sadly the boats are running at the moment so we had to walk to the parks. Luckily it wasn’t very far. We were quickly through security, over the bridge and in line for early entry at Islands of Adventure. Christy had been feeling unwell on the walk over but luckily it didn’t last too long.

We only had to wait a few minutes before the park was officially opened around 7.45am and we on our way, with the crowds.

It was our intent to ride Hagrids but before we got there someone came back saying it was down, so we quickly turned back and headed towards Velocicoaster (we’d only just gone past the turn off). We were very excited to ride this. And after a quick walk through the line area, we put our bags into the lockers and almost walked on to the ride. And what a cool ride it is. And a decent length – when so many rides/coasters are super short. My only issue with the ride was I felt it rattled my head around. I noticed this on other coasters today – not sure it’s a new age related thing or from being post covid. Sadly it meant I was only keen to go on most things once.

Since Hagrids now had a wait time of 120mins Christy went back onto Velocicoaster while Kevin & I waited.

When Christy returned we continued the walk around to Hogsmede. Love the feeling when you first walk into that area – it never gets old. It’s beautiful with snow on the buildings.

We checked out a few shops (like the candy shop where Kevin bought a pumpkin pasty – which he liked but wasn’t impressed with amount of pumpkin in at.

At 9am, when the park officially opened, we caught the Hogworts Express over to Universal Studios. Such a fun ride / mode of transport.

We went to try and get a cup of tea but were unsuccessful so went into Diagon Alley to explore.

We visited some shops and then went into Knockturn Alley – the theming here is incredible, well it’s like that in all the Harry Potter areas.

We then went to ride Escape from Gringotts, however the ride had broken down so ended up with quite the wait – over 30mins I’d guess. The ride, when we eventually got on, was pretty fun – I didn’t remember it all so it was a surprise :-). It seemed very quick though.

We collected our bags once more from the lockers (nearly every ride requires that you use them), then went to The Leaky Cauldrun for a sit down and a cup of tea – though after ordering (via the mobile app) found out they didn’t have any soy milk !!

After our break we went back out into the main Universal Studios

and came across some street performers. We sat on the curb to watch. It singing Christmas songs acapela and were really good. It was also another nice little rest break.

Next up was The Mummy ride which only recently reopened after a refurb. We had around a 15min wait for this one. And as like always, I’d forgotten that it’s a dark coaster. Again a fab ride but again my head felt rattled around. Maybe I’m getting too old for roller coasters ??

While trying to decide what to do next, Kevin realized he didn’t have his phone. It seemed it was close by so he went back to check the locker he’d just used for The Mummy. It was there.

I happened to spot The Tribute Store, which we’ve never been in, but have seen in lots of Disney vlogs. It’s a cool store and obviously is currently all Christmas themed. I loved seeing the displays.

We then rode Jimmy Fallon – again with a rather long wait – well, longer than we’d like. This was cute and quite enjoyable and it was fun doing a new ride.

We then went in search of lunch – which was from Central Crepes. We must have arrived at a bad time however and was told it would be at least 40mins. But we wanted to try these so went and sat and waited a table nearby, then Kevin went back nearer the time they would be ready (but still had to wait about 2omins). Finally they were ready. I had the vegan berry crepe, which was delicious. Christy had a plain crepe with sugar which she really enjoyed. And Kevin had a strawberry hazlenut crepe which he wasn’t a big fan of since there were only a couple of strawberries and lots of hazlenut stuff.

With full tummies we headed around to ride ET. This was also having problems so wasn’t the usual walk on that it is. It wasn’t too bad though and I enjoyed this. So did Christy. Kevin said the best part of was getting off. Guess he’s not too nostalgic.

We had a quick look through the main store but only Christy bought some earrings for me for Christmas.

Our last ride was Minions. And another longer than expected wait. Kevin and I opted for stationary seats. This is quite cute but basically just another simulator ride.

Christy then rode Rip Ride Rocket while Kevin and i enjoyed a snack while sitting on the grass. Kevin had an icee and i had a packet of chips. I realized at this time (around 4pm) that I was really done for the day.

Yes I could push and do more, but then I didn’t know how I’d fair tomorrow. So Kevin and I left Christy at the park and walked back to the hotel. I must say it was so nice to sit on the bed and put my feet up. Kevin wasn’t too good by now and almost immediately fell asleep.

Christy turned up about an hour later. At 7pm Kevin went to the Island Dining Room, where we ate last night, to order some dinner for tonight. He had Wonton soup, and I had some spring rolls and gyozas. I enjoyed mine, Kevin not so much. Kevin had also ordered a pineapple donut for desert and it was HUGE. Crazy huge for one persons desert. Needless to say Kevin didn’t manage to eat very much of it.

I’d been on my laptop pretty much some coming home (having a a break earlier to do a bit of handwashing and refill our meds) and finally got this post finished at 9.45pm. So it’s now time to read a few pages and go to sleep.