4. Treat yourself to a butterbeer!
Harry Potter fans, as well as anyone else craving a tasty cool drink to beat the heat, will want to try out a butterbeer before leaving Universal. If you are a fan of the books, you are most likely well aware that this drink is mentioned countless times throughout, so it must be pretty darn good.
Although the recipe for the creamy drink is a secret, you can find countless recipes online attempting to mimic the popular treat. Here’s a few tasty butterbeer recipes to get started. This drink is alcohol free, and basically tastes like a mixture of cream soda and butterscotch.
5. Ride the Hulk Coaster
The Hulk is the coaster to ride if you are limited on time. Found at Islands of Adventure, this super fast coaster takes you on a thrilling adventure at 67mph as you race through 7 inversions in the blink of an eye. The runner up coaster award goes to Hollywood Rip Ride RockIt, a heart pumping coaster accompanied by music, and featuring a near vertical climb.
The high speed, special effects laden journey through the pitch dark via the Mummy coaster is also a blast. For a tamer coaster ride, be sure to check out the motion simulator Simpsons ride – a real unexpected blast the first time around!
6. Spend a night exploring CityWalk
Citywalk is one of Orlando’s top dining, shopping, & entertainment districts. There is just so much to do here, from themed restaurants, to fun karaoke bars, to mini golf and movie theaters. It’s a great place to kick back and relax after a long day at the parks.
As an alternative, simply enjoy Citywalk as a sole activity on a much needed day off from the parks. Must-do’s here include dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, dessert at the Toothsome Chocolate Factory, listening to live karaoke (accompanied by backup singers & a live band) at Rising Star, seeing the latest action flick on a giant IMAX screen, and enjoying a laid-back themed round of mini golf at Hollywood Drive-IN Golf.
7. Plan some time to enjoy all the great shows
Oftentimes, we are so busy with the rides (even repeating our favorites several times – Dudley Do Right’s & The Hulk for me!) that we forget about all the amazing shows. Must-see shows at Universal Orlando include Animal Actors on Location, The Blues Brothers Show, the Universal Horror Makeup Show, and Universal Cinematic Spectacular. Shrek 4D is also a blast. Skip Fear Factor Live and Poseidon’s Fury.
8. Enjoy all the spectacular water rides at Islands – don’t be afraid to get wet!
A lot of people skip out on the water rides because they do not want to walk around dripping wet all day. First of all, I recommend wearing workout apparel which will dry much quicker than jeans. Second, air dryers are available for a few bucks near the water rides if you despise the thought of being wet for hours. Third, it’s just so brutal out during the hot, humid summer months, that it’s worth getting wet to cool down for an hour or 2!
Dudley Do Right’s Ripsaw Falls at Islands is the ultimate blast. It’s the best water ride and you can easily get on a few times in a row early on in the morning, although it gets totally packed by late afternoon. Lots of little drops, twists, & teases until you reach the final 75 foot double drop. Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges is a fun circular whitewater rafting type ride with lots of twists, turns, and drops – great fun for big parties as it fits up to 8 adults. And don’t forget about the classic Jurassic Park river raft ride which features both fun animatronics and an exhilarating 85 foot drop!
9. Let the wand choose you at Ollivanders
One of the best souvenirs for Harry Potter fans is pretending to be a wizard for the day with your favorite character’s wand – you can even pay a bit more for an interactive wand which can be used to access special features throughout the parks! They carry a wand for any character you can think of, not just the main cast. Boxes and boxes of wands are piled high to the ceiling.
Although you can pick one up at multiple stores around both parks, it’s so much more fun to watch the wand ceremony at Ollivanders where you could possibly be randomly selected amongst the crowd for a personal wand reading. Be aware that only 1 person will get picked for a personal wand experience. However, it’s still a magical experience to be part of the show as a spectator. Just one of those little things that add a little something extra to the whole Universal experience! Wands by Gregorovitch pictured above also offers a sizeable collection of wands.