About three weeks ago, I received an email inviting us down to Universal Orlando Resort over Labor Day weekend. Having never been to either of the Universal parks, we excitedly accepted. Before we knew it time flew by and we were on our way. It was a fantastic weekend where I had the chance to meet an incredible group of bloggers and their families and to experience Universal Orlando Resort with my family.
Bright and early Thursday morning we packed Kora & Logan up in the car and headed for the airport. We kept the trip a secret the entire time and they didn’t know anything about it until we pulled up to the airport. Once we told them they were so excited they jumped up and down did a few spins, twists and turns, and shouted, “Yes!”
We stayed at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort. It is gorgeous! The resort has a tropical island theme infused with history of the Royal Pacific. The room decor was lovely, the pool was incredible, and the grounds truly transported us to the island life. I enjoyed our stay here so much that I can’t wait to return one day and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a place to stay in the area.
I’ll be writing a review of the hotel resort soon, but here are a few of my favorite photos in the meantime.
Our first morning, the bloggers all gathered with some of the Universal Orlando Resort execs to learn about a fun and fantastic new Cabana Bay Beach Resort opening in 2014. It’s a 50’s and 60’s hotel inspired by Route 66, the A1A , and the Pacific Coast Highway with the idea of simple family vacations in mind. It will be a 4 star property with a lower price point. It will have 1800 rooms with one of the styles sleeping 6 with a kitchenette. It will be located adjacent to the Islands of Adventure.
After learning about the new resort we met up with our families and headed off to the parks where we were treated to a Superstar Character Breakfast. The food was delicious (I couldn’t get enough of the blueberry muffins!) and the characters were fantastic. They posed for lots and lots of pictures.
Next, we were off to Universal Studios where we had a VIP tour guide who told us about the history of the park, the rides, and the people. We were able to get right to the front of every line with no waiting. It was amazing! If you have the chance to ever take this kind of tour, I recommend it. Not only is it interesting but it’s a huge time saver as well.
Some of our favorite rides and attractions in this park included:
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- The Simpsons Ride
- Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride Starring You!
- Animal Actors on Location
- Curious George Goes To Town
- Fivel’s Playground & Waterslide
- Woody Woodpecke’s Nuthouse Coaster
- Rip Ride Rocket
We met up with the other bloggers and families for lunch where one of the Universal Resort chefs spoke to us about the many 300 and under calorie meal options throughout the parks. We also had the chance to not only hear from the Executive Director of Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, but we rode the ride with him as well! It was a real treat to be able to experience the ride with one of its creators and to see him smiling and enjoying it just as much as everyone else.
Minion Mayhem is a 3D HD motion ride that starts out in Gru’s house where the riders are being recruited to become minions. Of course, things don’t go quite right and soon you find yourself falling, flying, laughing, and smiling your way through the rest of the ride. It really is a funny and heart warming story line that ends with a fantastic interactive minion dance party.
That afternoon we all met up again for the new Superstar Parade. It’s a fun-filled and festive parade that features many Universal Studios characters. Kora & Logan enjoyed seeing their favorite characters walk, roll, dance, and hop their way on by.
We had a bit of family time which we spent it swimming and then the group gathered again for dinner at Lombard’s Seafood Grille. Dinner was delicious and the ice cream bar for dessert was a huge hit with the kids and adults!
We then went out onto the restaurant’s balcony to watch the new nighttime show, 100 Years of Movie Memories. In a mix of water, lasers, lights, and fireworks we were transported through Universal’s most iconic films all narrated by Morgan Freeman.
The next morning we were off to Universal Islands of Adventure. We met up with our VIP tour guide and he promptly took us to one of our favorite places in both parks – Seuss Landing. The area is bright, colorful, and a wonderful tribute to one of my favorite childhood authors. The imagination and creativity used in this park brought smiles to all of our faces.
Next up was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Our guide told us we had hit it at a great time because we could actually see the ground between us, which meant it wasn’t very busy. This area is spectacular. The attention to detail is incredible and it was so fun to see the books and movies come to life. We were excited to eat lunch inside Three Broomsticks and even enjoyed a frozen Butterbeer.
That day we walked by Jurassic Park and didn’t stop in but we were intrigued enough to do so the next day. Logan is not the thrillseeker of the family, so as soon as he said he wanted to ride the Pteranodon Flyers we made sure to fit it in. The ride is so fun! It’s as if you are flying over the jungle, it glides smoothly and really gives you a bird’s eye view of the park. Both kids enjoyed it so much we rode multiple times our last two days.
We were also excited to discover the Jurassic Park Discover Center. The kids played here for nearly two hours. With all of the rope bridges, cargo nets, water guns, tunnels, caves, slides, and shade, it was the perfect place to escape from the hot sun while still having a “safari adventure” as the kids called it.
Since it was so hot we were very thankful for the chance to cool off at the various spraygrounds and misters throughout both parks. They offered a nice break in our day and the kids had fun playing in them.
At the end of our day our tour guide told us he had a surprise for us. We went through an area that said “Do Not Enter” and the next thing we knew Wolverine, Spiderman, Captain America and other superheros were riding up to greet us! They shook our hands, had a chat, and we snapped a few fantastic family pictures.
That evening we went to the Wantilan Luau at the hotel. I was really excited! I’d never been to a Luau before. It was really fun, the food was flavorful and Polynesian, the music was so relaxing with such an island beach feel, and the show was very fun with hula and fire dancing.
After the Luau we were off to see the Blue Man Group. If you’ve never seen the Blue Man Group and get the chance we highly recommend the show. It was not only an amazing musical performance but it was very funny too. We found ourselves laughing as much as we would have at a comedy show. The show is very interactive with the audience as well which makes it all the more fun.
Flight, accommodations, meals, park tickets, gift cards, and goody bag provided. No compensation was received. The honest opinions are my own and those of my family.