Universal Orlando Travel Diary- Entry #4

This entry will consist of Days 4 and 5, since Day 5 was mostly a travel day. If you haven’t caught up, you can read Entry #1 here, Entry #2 here, and Entry #3 here!

DAY 4- May 26th, 2021

On Day 4, we planned to split the day into half Marvel, half Jurassic Park, to cover everything we hadn’t done yet. When we woke up that morning, Riley wasn’t feeling too good so Haley, Brooke, and I headed into the parks early while she stayed behind to rest.

First, of course, our morning couldn’t begin without a stop at Starbucks for breakfast. We didn’t have too many things we wanted to do that morning, so we felt free to take our time and not rush. We only really had one major goal we wanted to accomplish, which was to ride the Hogwarts Express from King’s Cross Station over to Hogsmeade in the Islands of Adventure park.

Early morning in Universal Studios!

We got our usual Starbucks orders, and headed right over to King’s Cross station to get in line for the train. The wait time was posted at 90 minutes, but we decided to take our chances.

Stacks of luggage! The attention to detail in the train station was incredible.

The wait ended up being only about an hour, which gave us plenty of time to eat our breakfast while in line, and the air conditioning wasn’t bad either!

A busy morning at Platform 9 and 3/4.
Hedwig ready for travel!

The platform was like being transported right into the world of Harry Potter, and I was absolutely amazed!

The train ride was worth every single minute of our wait. Hands down one of the best experiences of the trip. We got a car to ourselves, and had the best time watching the effects. We saw Hagrid, the snack trolley (accompanied by Ron of course), and even dementors.

the inside of our car.
Arriving at the station in Hogsmeade
The details were beautiful!

We got off the train at the station in Hogsmeade Village, ready to explore.

Fresh off the Hogwarts Express!
I love this view!
Do you think they have apartments for rent in Hogsmeade?

We had walked through Hogsmeade a few times on our trip, but hadn’t really taken any time to explore it yet. We decided to take a look around.

Zonko’s Joke Shop

We especially wanted to stop in Honeyduke’s, to check out the sweets collection 🙂

The cutest little storefront
Exploding Bon Bons and Chocolate frogs!
It took a lot of self control to not blow all my money in there
Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans! (I’m not brave enough to buy these, I’m too afraid of getting a bad flavor)
I can’t stop thinking about this tiny pink staircase
They had a sweets counter with candy apples, cupcakes, and fudge of all kinds
The Honeyduke’s Menu

After we left Honeyduke’s, we spotted the Hogwarts Express conductor out for a meet & greet, and of course we had to run over there for a picture!

After enjoying ourselves in Hogsmeade, we walked through the Lost Continent area of the park, basically just exploring anything we hadn’t seen yet.

I believe this was near the Mythos restaurant.
The fountains in the Lost Continent were gorgeous!
We found some fishies!

Next we walked through the Seuss Landing area, because we had only passed through it before. On a whim we decided to ride the Cat in the Hat ride, which was mildly terrifying since the animatronics haven’t been touched up since it was originally put in in 1999, but it was fun nonetheless.

Suess Landing
Spotted some truffula trees!

After the Cat in the Hat, we stopped to grab a lemon icee to share while we cooled off in the shade. It was already heating up quite a bit.

After a quick rest, we made our way into the Marvel Superhero area of the park to look around. We noticed a meet & greet with Wolverine and Cyclops, so of course we hopped right in line. We were lucky, because the attendant closed off the ropes right after us.

The characters were absolutely hilarious and so much fun to meet. We took turns getting pictures with them and talking to them. Cyclops told me to hit my Captain America pose (since I was repping Cap on my shirt) and of course we had to show of our super strength as well 🙂

The “Captain America pose” according to Cyclops
I fit right in, don’t you think?

We also wandered around the park for a little while trying to find photo ops that matched the superheroes the three of us had on our T-shirts.

Cap looks pretty angry here…
Notice the Fanny pick that matches my shirt…

After our superhero adventures, we walked over to the Toon Lagoon park to hop on a water ride since it was SO HOT outside.

We opted for Popeye’s Bilgewater Barges since it had the shortest wait line. We were hoping to not get too soaked, so we donned our incredibly stylish plastic ponchos.

Fashion icons for sure

Needless to say, the ponchos did not help much and we walked off the ride with very soaked clothes. At one point on the ride, the middle storage compartment started filling up with water and Haley and I had to frantically bail it out so our stuff wouldn’t be soaked!

Fresh off the Bilgewater Barges!

On our walk back through Toon Lagoon, we spotted Popeye, Olive Oil, and Betty Boop, but didn’t get to get pictures with them. We headed back into the Marvel area to hit up some souvenir shops. One of the shops we stopped in had signed pictures from some of our favorite Marvel actors, but sadly they were just a little bit out of our price range 😬

We also stepped into the Marvel “Choose Your Adventure” photo booth and came home with Guardians of the Galaxy comic book covers featuring our faces 🙂

We headed back to the hotel for lunch and a little break from the sun. We hung out at the pool a little more, and then got changed for an afternoon back in the parks.

Our first goal was to get tons of pictures in Jurassic Park, since Haley and I had special outfits for that park. There were so many cool photo ops around so we took advantage of as many as possible!

Welcome to Jurassic Park 🙂
I feel like my safari hat really completes this look, right?
She’s right behind me isn’t she?

After getting a few pictures around the park, we decided to see if the Raptor Encounter was open. (Because who wouldn’t want to meet a raptor right??) It had been closed every time we had passed it so far on the trip, but we got lucky this time and caught it right when it was opening. I have to say that this was my favorite part of the trip, hands down. The “raptor” was SO fun to meet and the pictures we got from it were PRICELESS!

meeting Blue 🙂 we don’t look nervous at all right?

Right as we were about to leave the encounter, we were supposed to say goodbye to Blue and she very nearly took my head off!

Safe to say I am not a professional raptor handler…

I seriously can’t even express how much fun the Raptor Encounter was, it was worth the whole trip for me 🙂

After our exciting experience with Blue, we were starving so we ate at the Burger Digs restaurant right in Jurassic Park. After enjoying the air conditioning and another much-needed break from the sun, we headed out to catch the Hogwarts Express back over to Diagon Alley and the Studios side of the park for the evening. I think I liked the ride back on the train even better than the first time we rode it, because this time we got to see the twins and their firework show for Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes 🙂

heading back to King’s Cross Station!

When we got over to the Studios side, we just wanted to souvenir shop and get any pictures we hadn’t managed to get yet. We hit the Simpsons area first, and I bought a few things to bring back to my dad and sister. (they are avid Simpsons fans!)

Last stop in the Kwik-E-Mart 😦

We also went in the Spongebob store because we hadn’t been in yet, and it was one of my favorite souvenir stores in the entire park. Like basically every other kid ever, I loved Spongebob and walking in the store was like stepping right into an episode of the show.

going Jellyfishing!
sitting on my throne 🙂
Visiting Squidward at home
can you spot Gary?

I spent more than a little money that evening, but it was worth it for all of the great souvenirs I got to take home. It was sad to close out our last full day at the parks, but we had so much fun!

DAY 5- May 27, 2021

Day 5 was mostly planned as a travel day, and we weren’t originally planning to go into the parks at all, but we had just one more thing to cross off our lists. We had ridden all of the big coasters except for the Incredible Hulk, and we felt like we just couldn’t leave without going on it at least once.

The Incredible Hulk!

We got on the coaster in no time at all! I don’t know if it was because we had ridden all the other coasters already or what, but that ride was so smooth and easy it was like nothing even happened. I kept my eyes open even on the upside down parts, which I normally can’t do.

After we got off, we decided to circle right back in line to go one more time before we had to leave. The second time, we got in the very back row which made the ride a little rougher, but still super fun. That is, until the very end when we got stuck for about 20 minutes 😂 luckily, it was right before the car stops anyway, so we weren’t stuck in the middle of a loop or hill at least!

After our ride we headed out of the park, satisfied with having done all of the big coasters. We went back to the hotel to pack up the car and head over to Disney Springs to spend some time before getting on the road.

saying goodbye to Islands of Adventure :,(
last bus ride!

Once we got to Disney Springs, we planned to do a little exploring and shopping before eating lunch. If you haven’t been to Disney Springs before, it’s like a huge outdoor mall with a few specialty Disney stores.

Free People, one of my favorite stores even though I can never bring myself to buy anything in there 😂
Mirror Selfies in Anthropologie!

In case you didn’t spot it, I wore my brand new tie-dyed Weasley & Weasley t-shirt that day 🙂

After a few stops in stores none of us can afford, we went into the gigantic World of Disney store to look around.

World of Disney
Quite the view

We ate lunch at Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming, and I ordered the fried catfish. Since it was about 95° degrees and we were eating outside, it was a little too hot for me to eat more than a few bites, but it was still delicious.

yum

After lunch we walked around for just a little bit longer, before we had to find some shade to cool off in. At about 3 in the afternoon, we finished up our shopping and exploring and loaded ourselves into the car to get on the road home.

on the long hot trek back to the car (thank goodness for Reese and her souvenir fan!)

The road trip home was mostly smooth, other than a little car trouble scare, and we were safely returned to our own homes by 3 in the morning.

I am so thankful we got to experience this trip. We had such a blast in the parks and just being together! I can’t wait to go back again and make good use of our seasonal passes 🙂

Thank you all so much for reading, and I hope you enjoyed following along with this trip with me. Once again, if you haven’t read my precious entries yet, they’re linked at the beginning of this post! Make sure to stay tuned for some more travel diaries coming this summer 😉

Stay sweet, Sophia ❤

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