Universal Orlando Travel Diary- Entry 1

About a week and a half ago, I arrived home from one of the best trips of my life. My friend Riley’s family took us all down to Universal Studios Orlando for the start of summer vacation, and we had the BEST time. I am so so soooo excited to be reminiscing on this trip with you guys, and I want to share every single detail. I’ve decided to dedicate an entire post to each individual day of the trip since we packed so much in while we were in Orlando. Without further ado, here’s day 1 🙂

DAY 1- May 23, 2021

Day one began veryyyy early in the morning. And when I say early, I’m talking 3-in-the-morning early. My friends Haley, Brooke, and myself spent Saturday night over at Riley’s house so that we could be ready to get up and go. We planned to power through the night and just sleep in the car, but we ended up crashing for a few hours because we just couldn’t stand it anymore. Right on schedule, we were woken up by Riley and we packed up all our luggage in the back of her mom’s car, and then packed ourselves along with it. Riley’s mom and little sister hopped in, and by about 3:15, we were officially en route to Orlando.

At this point we were only running on excitement for the adventure ahead.

The car ride mostly consisted of naps for those of us not driving. We slept on and off, only really waking for Starbucks stops and games of Harry Potter-themed “Would You Rather?” Oh, and of course breakfast at Cracker Barrel. It was a road trip after all.

we may look a little worse for wear here, but to be fair we were at least 7 hours into the car trip…

Late in the afternoon, around 3 or 4, we finally made it to our destination: Dockside Inn & Suites at Universal Orlando Resort. We were relieved to step out of the car, stretch our legs, and explore the hotel.

Our home for the week ❤

Obviously the next step was room keys, and I don’t think anyone does room keys better than Universal!

As soon as we were settled in the room and had unpacked, the four of us rushed to get ready so we could head into the parks for the first time! We were all impatient to get the trip started.

Of course we took advantage of the perfect mirror for daily outfit pics… why wouldn’t we??

Our first stop in the parks was the guest service booth to pick up one of the most exciting things ever… our brand new seasonal passes!! All of us decided to splurge a little bit on these passes so we could save money going back to the parks in the next year, and I already know we’ll be using them again soon.

four brand new official Passholders!

After a very long road trip day and no lunch, the most important goal for the evening was to get something to eat. I’m glad nobody else was around to witness the four of us that afternoon before we ate, because there was no way to describe our attitudes other than “hangry.”

Krusty Burger really hit the spot that night.

After some food in our system we felt completely revived and decided to hit up some of the rides. First up was the Simpson’s ride since we were right next to it. For my very first Universal ride ever, it was so much fun! I’ve grown up watching the Simpsons, and the entire ride experience was so fun and nostalgic.

The view from the top of the Simpson’s ride queue!
because what else do you do while waiting for a ride other than take selfies??

After that was the Men in Black Aliens Attack ride, which was also super fun and made my inner child so happy. The queue and ride were so detailed and made me feel like I was in the movies!

Look at those aliens hard at work…

After Men in Black, we headed toward the Diagon Alley area in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The four of us are hugeeee Harry Potter fans (anyone remember last year’s Harry Potter Halloween party?) so this was probably the part of the trip we were most excited for. Since this was my very first time at the parks, my friends couldn’t wait to get my reaction when I first saw Diagon Alley. Let me just say: it almost made me emotional. If you’ve ever been a fan of the books or the movies, and have ever thought about visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, my advice to you is to make the trip. It was worth every penny just for the attention to detail in both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

The Owl Post
The Hopping Pot, a butterbeer hot spot.

of course we couldn’t pass up an opportunity for some Frozen Butterbeer from the Hopping Pot. This was my first time having the real thing, and it was everything I’d always imagined it would be!

Weasley shirt & frozen butterbeer = a happy Sophia

Of course, I couldn’t leave Diagon Alley without a picture in my Weasley shirt in front of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. I’m sure my friends would tell you, my heart belongs to the Weasley twins, and of course I had to soak up every minute near their store… (To my friends- I’m sorry I talk about Fred & George so much guys I can’t help it)

This super cool t-shirt was made by my friend Brooke for my 18th birthday 🙂

While we were walking, we noticed the Revenge of the Mummy ride had an exceptionally short wait time, so we decided to book it over to the front of the parks to ride it. We ended up having to chug the frozen butterbeer (yay brain freeze) but we made it on the ride in under 15 minutes! That ride was hands-down one of my favorites of the trip. I love a good thrill ride, and this one had it all: drops, twists and turns, amazing effects, and fire!

trying not to waste that $8 butterbeer

After the mummy we made the long trek over to the Islands of Adventure side of the park to explore some more. We headed straight back to the Hogsmeade village area to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Oh my gosh, that ride had to have been my favorite queue. It felt like you were walking through Hogwarts school, and it was wonderful! They had moving and talking portraits, statues, and even Dumbledore’s office! The ride itself was fantastic, with giant animatronic dragons and dementors getting right up in your face! (Brooke got the brunt of the dragon and dementor, so if you want that experience make sure you sit on the far right 😂)

the entrance to Islands of Adventure was so cool!
a not-so-good picture of the inside of Hogwarts 🙂 I want my future house to look like this.

After Forbidden Journey, it was almost time for the parks to close, and the notoriously long wait for Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure was down to the lowest time we’d seen it. We hopped in line, walked through the super cool queue, and were able to get on the ride in basically no time! Now, I literally cannot hype this ride up enough. Hagrid’s is a roller coaster first and foremost, but does an amazing job taking you through the story, with Hagrid’s voice booking over the speakers, and some of the most amazing animatronic Magical Creatures! The ride is such a thrill and definitely has some unexpected parts too! (if you know, you know) 🙂

When we got off Hagrid’s the first time, it was only a few minutes before closing, and so we took the chance and turned right back around to get in line again. We were able to walk right back on and it was even better the second time! I can’t wait to go back to Orlando just for that ride alone.

happy little Orlando gals!

Day 1 was an epic start to our trip, and such a good sign for the rest of our week. I have to tell you how much I love writing these recap posts, because it lets me relive some of my favorite memories over again. I hope you enjoyed Entry #1 of our Orlando trip, and make sure you stay tuned for Entry #2 to see what else we get up to 🙂

stay sweet, Sophia ❤

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