BLOG: Playing like a kid at Universal Studios

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Alyssa Raymond

ORLANDO, Fla. (WTHR) —Chuck and I couldn't stop smiling as we ran around Universal Studios Florida like two little kids. While it was raining and slightly cooler than we would have liked it, the weather didn't stop us from having a great time.

For our first adventure, we explored the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. This place was magical! It literally looked like the "wizarding world" complete with Diagon Alley. You can purchase a wand and learn to cast spells at different interactive sites as you explore Hogsmeade. You can drink Butter Beer! You can even eat at a restaurant called the Leaky Cauldron. Universal Studios even built Hogwarts, and there's a ride inside the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It's called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. The ride is fantastic. My favorite part about it is that at one point you actually feel like you're playing Quidditch! (For parents: Universal Studios Florida does "child swap." This is one of the rides where one parent can ride while the other parent waits with a baby/smaller child, and then they can switch places so the other parent doesn't have to wait in line to ride.)

Chuck and Alyssa try Butter Beer
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
Wizard family
Wands
City Walk
City Walk
City Walk
Comic Strip Cafe
Funky Starbucks
Hard Rock Cafe
NBC Grille Lunch

After exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we checked out Jurassic Park. The Raptor Encounter is a MUST DO!! It is crazy cool how they're able to do something like this. You get to come face-to-face with Blue from Jurassic World. Chuck and I hammed it up. We weren't scared at all. 😉

I'm a thrill-seeker. Chuck on the other hand is not. So, I took one for the team and rode the Incredible Hulk Coaster. It was awesome! It's a quick start complete with a bunch of twists and turns. For a coaster, it felt like it lasted a decent amount of time. Definitely worth waiting in line for!

Since we were only at Universal Studios Florida for four and a half hours, we were nowhere near seeing what this place had to offer, but as we were heading out I loved getting to see the City Walk. The neat thing about this section of Universal is you don't need a ticket to get in here. You do have to pay for parking though. It's 20 bucks but free after 6 p.m. There are more than two dozen places to get something to eat, a ton of shops and places to satisfy any sweet tooth. The newest one, Voodoo Doughnuts, opened last year. You can walk out of there spending more than $5 just on one doughnut. Oh, and I have to mention the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. We didn't go inside, but I wish we would have so I could have taken a picture of one of their milkshakes. Some of them come with a whole cupcake on top!

We ended up eating linner (lunch/dinner) at NBC Sports Grill & Brew! We felt right at home!

Three Things I Learned About Chuck

  1. Chuck played in two bands.
  2. On February 13, Chuck's wife, Mary, and their dog "The Senator" helped with ICAN's Puppy Love delivery.
  3. Chuck's wife bought him a class ring, and he lost it on his wedding day.
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