Universal Studios Florida

Posted by lrbeetravel | 11:21 AM

One of the immediate differences you will notice when you enter the grounds of Universal Orlando is the huge parking deck. If you are driving this is where you will park. There is a cost to park in the deck. I believe it is around $10. Once you exit the parking deck you will find walkways (some with moving sidewalks) to get you over to the main park area. You will enter through CityWalk. This is the Universal Shopping and Entertainment area. (Think of a smaller version of Downtown Disney). Pass through CityWalk and bear to your right to enter Universal Studios. If you head to the left you will end up at Islands of Adventure.

Hopefully you have purchased your Universal Tickets in advance.

Tip=> Universal Studios has a feature called Universal Express. This is a separate pass that you can purchase that will give you front of the line access for all of the featured attractions. This is a little different than FastPass at Disneyworld. At Universal this is a purchase you can choose to make (it is not required) to speed up your wait time in the lines. If you have an Express pass you can go in a separate line at the attraction and be placed at the front of the line. The other way to get an Express pass is by staying at one of the 3 hotels on Universal property. If you stay at one of their hotels you can simply show your room card as your Express pass. Now, if your budget allows for this you can save a lot of time. I have done Universal both ways and with the Express pass it is better. We will discuss the cost of the Express pass in a little more detail when we discuss Universal ticket prices. However, just an fyi, the pricing is tiered based on time of year. Busier times the Express pass cost more. When it's not so busy the Express pass is less. The Express ranges in price from $26 to $53 per person.

Ok, so you have made it into the park. You will immediately encounter the Hollywood area to your right. In Hollywood you will find:

  • Terminator 2: 3-D

  • Universal Horror Make-up Show

  • Lucy A-Tribute
The Terminator show and the Lucy show are a must see in this area. Just be warned that the Terminator show is loud (includes a motorcycle being ridden inside a building, plus gunshots). Everyone in my family are fans of Lucy, especially my daughter, and that show is excellent. They have a Lucy store where can shop for Lucy souvenirs.

If you continue to your right, going counter clockwise, you will encounter the KidZone. My kids are older so we didn't spend much time here. However, it does appear they have beefed up the area a little over the last few years. They have Fivel, Curious George, Barney, and ET in this area, as well as others.

The next area is the World Expo which is where you will find the very popular ride Men In Black Alien Attack as well as the brand new Simpsons Ride (opened May 16 2009). I am going to be honest with you. I was never a fan of Men in Black and the line was always horrendously long, even with Express, and so I never did participate in this ride. However, from what I gather it is a more adult version of the Buzz Light Year ride you find at Magic Kingdom.

Next is the San Francisco/Amity area. Here you will encounter a version of the famous Fisherman's Wharf as well as the following attractions:

  • Jaws
  • Disaster
  • Fear Factor Live
  • Beetlejuice's Graveyard Review
Jaws is classic and it is a must do ride. Disaster is great as well. You will experience an earthquake equivalent to 8.3 on the Richter scale. Both of these rides are must do. Fear Factor was not there on my last visit and Beetlejuice is a musical type review featuring Beetlejuice and other Universal studios "monsters".

Next up is New York. Keep in mind that San Francisco and New York can be used as back drops in movies. These are quite elaborate areas. In New York you will encounter two other very popular attractions at Universal Florida:

  • Revenge of the Mummy the Ride

  • Twister Ride It Out

  • Blues Brothers
Twister is one of our favorite attractions at Universal Studios as it takes you inside the movie Twister. You get to see how the created tornadoes and some of the sets from the movie. This is very interesting attraction. During my last visit the Revenge of the Mummy Ride was new and we chose to skip it. It is an indoor roller coaster type of ride.

Finally as you work your way back toward the entrance you will encounter Production Central. This is an actual area of working studios for television and movies. The two attractions here are:
  • Shrek 4D

  • Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast
Both of these are good shows and worth the wait in line and are very kid friendly and entertaining for all ages.

Tomorrow we will talk about tickets and dining for Universal Studios Florida.

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