Universal Studios Florida is located in Orlando, Florida and built around the entertainment industry, in particular movies and television.The park was opened in 1990 and year after year ranks in Top 10 most visited theme parks in the United States.
Universal Studios consists of six different themed areas: Hollywood (which will feature the new transformers 3D ride), Production Central, New York, San Francisco / Amity, World Expo and Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone.
Universal Studios Florida features many highly-rated movies- and TV-themed attractions of its own, including Shrek, Revenge of the Mummy, The Simpsons Ride and Men in Black Alien Attack.
Once you have walked through the rather grand gates of Universal Studios, you immediately arrive at Production Central. The Hollywood, Rip, Ride, Rockit roller coaster dominates the entrance to the park. There are two rides worth mention in this area of the park. The first is the brand new Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem ride (the recently opened high-def 3D and one of our favourites. I went 3 times). The second is 4-D Shrek (Another interactive experience that starts off from where the first film finished). The park also has two major roller coasters, including Revenge of the Mummy (simply one of the best theme park attractions ever created, as it’s half dark ride/ half launched coaster that ends in real flames) and the less enjoyable Rockit roller coaster (the idea is very good: you chose from a playlist the music you’ll ear on the ride – for instance, “I will survive” by Gloria Gaynor -, but the ride itself is uncomfortable, sorry…). Finally, you must stop at Men in Black, easily the best shooting dark ride on the planet (I always lose on these rides but i’m still hopeful that one day my luck will roll over).
In 2013 the park opens Transformers, the Ride, an interactive 3D attraction based on the movie franchise. In the Summer 2013 the park opened The Simpsons Springfield USA expansion with several brand new food outlets. Since then there were also intruduced several indoor rides, including the new Fast and Furious and Jimmy Fallon crazy rides.
But the major new addition to the park was Diagon Alley as part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed area
Diagon Alley’s flagship ride is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, a 3-D motion-based steel roller coaster dark ride based around Gringotts Bank, the wizarding bank in Diagon Alley.
At Diagon Alley you can also find many of the wizarding world’s most famous establishments, including the Leaky Cauldron dinner and
Ollivanders wand wizard shop
Some of Diagon Alley’s famous shops include:
Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, A variety of wizardwear from Hogwarts school uniform ties, scarves and jumpers, to authentic wizard’s robes and character costumes.
Magical Menagerie: A collection of plush animals, such as owls and Hippogriffs
Quality Quidditch Supplies: A wide assortment of apparel and equipment including Quidditch sweaters, brooms, Golden Snitches, Bludgers, Bludger bats, Quaffles and more.
Scribbulus: Authentic writing implements and products such as feather quills, ink and inkwells, bookmarks, journals, parchment paper, seals, stationery sets and postcards.
Borgin and Burkes: A wide variety of Dark Arts objects, such as Death Eater masks, skulls, and other sinister items.
Live events at Diagon Alley include the Knight Bus interactive show at the London waterfront; “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” and “The Tale of The Three Brothers,” which are puppet shows enacting stories from The Tales of Beedle the Bard; and live performances from musical group Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees
Just like in the Harry Potter books and films, you can travel aboard the Hogswart Express from London to Hogsmeade, where you disembark at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
We’ve made two visits to the park. Back in October, 2012 from all the attractions there were 3 we loved the most: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, The Mummy roller coaster and Simpsons, the ride (see video). Also the interaction with friendly movie characters is unique at the park (It’s me over there almost “kissed” by Marilyn).
At that time of year Universal Orlando hosts Halloween Horror Nights parties in 2012 dedicated to Fox’s Walking Dead series (and in February there’s also a Mardi Gras event). The shows and the actors were not so great but the park was opened at night on the weekends and you could ride all the attractions. As most parks in the Orlando area Universal attracts huge crowds (even in off peak season like when we visited) so just follow my advice and use the “Universal Express” entrances. Also you could bring a backpack because all major rides has lockers free for the waiting time of our ride.
In all our attention went to the Diagon Alley and with a good reason. The themed area and its connection to the sister park by a train ride is one of a kind and puts the park again in play with the Disney competion.
By Carlos Canaes, Ana Rita Mendes and Ana Alegria. Updated 01/01/2019
Tickets – From $110.00 Adults – $165.00 park-to-park
Park opens all year longTop Rides
Revenge of the Mummy, The Simpsons Ride and Men in Black, Alien Attack, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem