Friday, August 16

Florida: Universal Studios

As you may have seen from my last post, our first day in Orlando was pretty jam packed in the water waves of Sea World. We were soaked, splashed, and shattered before we arrived back in our villa.
But, the next day was a rather different day.
Instead of petting slippery skins, we were going to have the adrenaline rush of a lifetime.

Universal Studios is famous for its roller coasters, fast rides, and creative film inspired activities.
We tootled down the motorway in the early hours and picked up a couple of these handy passes which allowed us to queue jump the rides.
(This was ridiculously useful considering most queues were over an hour. Even though we British love a good queue, in the stifling heat this was definitely not an option.)

We trundled through the park, oggling at the sizes of the loop de loops before our eyes.
However we walked right on by, there was one special zone that we wanted to arrive at as early as possible.
Its mystery, magic, and wonder are famous world wide and by 9am the queue was already 40 minutes long.

So which zone is just soo amazing that I woke up at a ridiculous hour to avoid a hectic queue?? (Since fast passes unfortunately did not apply to only this ride and this ride alone! Not fair!)

For an hour, I felt like a witch.
Not just any witch, but a witch who was about to go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. 

Say hello to Harry Potter World!!

Yes, that is Honeydukes.
Yes, that is a replica of Hogsmeade.
And yes, that is a Hogwarts!!!

As you can tell, I was beyond giddy with excitement.
I was bubbling around like a child that was hyper on blue smarties in a candy store, (Honeydukes to be exact!)
I've never been the biggest Harry Potter fan unlike most of my friends. But I do admire and love the series with a great spur of British pride!

We darted around Hogsmeade, checking out the Three Broomsticks pub, Olivanders wand shop, the Owlery, and even just a few tiny additions on the side.
Hogsmeade was good, but 'The Forbidden Journey' ride built within the castle itself was mind blowing.
No understatement!
I won't ruin the surprise for any of you, but it involves incredible green screens, a broom stick ride like no other, and highly accurate detail.
If you can, go! Universal is worth visiting purely for this beautiful attraction!

Of course, when I saw that they were selling Butterbeer and pumpkin juice, I just had to give it a try!

The British workers stand along side the racks of glossy steins and delicately pull out each 'pint' from the towering barrel.
In the humidity, I chose the option of frozen whilst my brother, Ben, chose to have his cold.

And it emerged. Frothing, foamy, and oh so sweet!
Imagine an iced drink, soaking with caramel sweetness, and encompassing a foamy froth which inevitably leads to a milky looking moustache.
It was sublime! But one drink was way more than enough, they were just so over powerly sweet!

After blowing our minds in the magic and mystery of the wizarding world, we headed over to one of our favourite American eateries for some lunch.

Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. is a place like no other.
We found out about their incredible charm when we visited California a few years back, and were giddy with glee when we hunted them down in New York too.

Fans of Forrest Gump? Well you are going to just love this place!

The whole restaurant is decked out with memorabilia, old car signs line the walls with their bright & varied details, and Forrest Gump plays continuously on the big screen TV's.
Yet, it was these signs which were my favourite. Each sits helpfully on your table with its bright blue backing, but the second that you would like a waiter's attention you merely flip it over...

They soon get the message and bustle over to fill your every dying need!

Before we knew it our starters had arrived. We couldn't not order shrimp while we were here, and so we picked their Seafood Hush Puppies & their Best Ever Popcorn Shrimp.

Hush Puppies are golden balls of pure, delicious delight.
Little nuggets of shrimp, fish & golden corn, deep fried and served with a Remoulade sauce.

Golden nuggets to say the least!
A crispy, battery outside, and a soft fishy centre. They certainly pack a punch of flavour & I can easily see how they are a Bubba Gump favourite!

The Popcorn Shrimp were just as I had remembered them. A great balance between shrimp & batter so the flavour was weighted perfectly. Drizzled with some fresh & tangy lemon juice, the crumbly shrimp had a beautifully exaggerated flavour that has you craving more, and more... and more!

In my world, you can never have enough fish. I could happily live off of the stuff for a lifetime! So when this is in-twinned with my British nature, I inevitably picked Bubba's fish & chips.
I loved how it came out in 4/5 pieces of fish instead of a whole whale, it seemed to make the portion more bearable in size!

It might not have been the sort fresh from the British seaside, but I was still highly impressed with its crispy crumb and flavoursome fries.

To me, Bubba Gump's is a winner. Even at lunchtime the atmosphere was vibrant, bustling, and the queue stretching out of the door.
The decor is just so unique and quirky that it will stick in your mind with a fond memory, and the staff are all wonderfully helpful.
They even quiz you mid meal to test out your Forrest Gump knowledge!

But before long we were back walking around this busy wonderland. 
Despicable Me, Shrek, Terminator, Transformers, and even the Simpsons all seem to be making appearances here and before long you truly realise how diverse the Universal Studios network is.

We did see a lot of people walking round eating salted pretzels the size of your face, turkey legs as long as your arm, and popcorn tubs that could only be described as buckets!
American obesity? NEVER!

The shows kept on coming. Street performances of actors alongside the bright and colourful floats, rock & roll with Beetle juice and the horror cast, or even Fear Factor Live. There really is everything for everyone!

And that is Universal Studios completed in a day. Both parks had been trawled around, awed at continuously, and had each ride defeated (except for the Hulk roller coaster which was just unreal). My post is only really an insight, any of these parks would need a couple of posts to truly display them in their splendour, but hopefully these posts are just whetting your appetite for them!

Everyone needs some fast speed to pump up their adrenaline every now and again after all!



  1. Emily I have always always always wanted to go to universal but its not really my mums sort of thing.. so ever since I was little she's always told me I have to wait for my husband to take me. Luckily - in the meantime you've done these posts and I absolutely love them! I feel like you've taken me with you so thank you so much!!
    PS. Love your brothers exeter stash..! XX

    1. Oh you are missing out India! Well sod the husband, we can do a bloggers trip for group butter beers!!
      Haha he says say hello in Exeter! Bound to be with the rowing crew!! xx

  2. Wow, Hogsmead looks AMAZING.

    Been to the one near Watford, by why o why have we not got this here?!

    Hmm maybe...

    1. Oh I need to go to the one in Watford!! I hear that is more about how its made etc, so I would love, love, love to visit!! xx

  3. Definitely looks like an American holiday! So glad you're having fun. I desperately want to check out the Harry Potter world! Looks incredible. Thanks for sharing these pics!

  4. I always look forward to your posts, they are so happy and colorful! Bubba Gumps looks like a fun place, I've never been there even though I live a few mins from one but I think that might need to change soon! Are you going to go to Disney World next?
    Oh & Welcome to The other side of the pond =]

    A Golden State of Mind

    1. Aww thank you, I'm so happy that you like them!!
      Oh do! It is proper indulgent food, but it is the atmosphere that makes it special! DEFINITELY DISNEY WORLD! xx

  5. oh my word harry potter world looks incredible!!! i'm an absolute lover of everything potter and have been desperate to go ever since it opened. whilst that doesn't look like it's going to happen any time soon, your photos and blogging do a great job of filling me in x

    Saved by Cake

    1. Aww one day Rebecca! If it was amazing for me, it will be jaw dropping for a true Harry Potter addict. If only I got that letter from Hogwarts on my 10th birthday...xx

  6. I haven't ever been a huge Harry Potter fan either but that does look incredible!xx

  7. I am not a huuuuge Harry Potter fan, but this is so amazing!!!

  8. I feel like I'm also travelling while I'm reading your posts. Love it! :)

  9. Looks otherworldly!

  10. Wowwww I want to go here! Also, your hair looks ridiculously perfect in these pics :)


  11. That looks sooooo goood!! I really want to go to Harry Potter World
    Found this blog through Google+, keep the posts coming! :)


    Thia @ The Tale Thief

    1. Oh I'm glad you found me there! I didn't know if it was working or not! Hope you stick around :) xx

  12. Wow; Harry Potter World sure does look amazing -- sadly it opened after I moved from FL. Great photos!!!
    Did you stop by Disney World?

    Joy Michelle
    The Joyous Living

  13. Emily, this looks like so much fun - Harry Potter world looks insane. I know it would be way too much money, but someone really should re-create Hogwarts complete with moving staircases, picture frames and secret passages!

    Katie <3

  14. OMG OMG OMG! you went to Harry Potter World?! I am so jealous! and bubba gump shrimp?? ahhhhh!! Looks like you had such a lovely time =)

    Teffy { Teffys Perks Blog }



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