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Most significant others are introduced through loved ones, friends or even dating sites — but my husband and I… we were introduced through E.T.
We met as ride attendants back in the day at E.T. Adventure, where we became best friends and then, in November 2020, we got married! Because of our love story (and our love for theme parks in general as Orlando natives), Universal Orlando Resort has always had a special place in our hearts. And if we’re looking for a nice getaway — one where we can combine thrills and relaxation with some fun and romance — Universal definitely tops the list.
Here are our suggestions for a romantic spring break vacation at Universal Orlando:
WHERE TO STAY
This has to be our favorite hotel at Universal Orlando. My husband and I both have Caribbean ties (his family is from the British Virgin Islands; my mom’s side is from Jamaica) so staying at Sapphire Falls gives us all of the island vibes that feel like home. Everything from the tropical colors and decor to the towering waterfall and lush landscaping makes you feel like you’ve escaped to a Caribbean hideaway.
- If you can, try to get a water view room. It definitely enhances the tropical feel when you can look out of your window and see a scenic view of the lagoon or pool area.
- Strong Water Tavern is amazing! Not only does it have delicious tapas-style items for you to enjoy, but you can also sample different types of rums from all over the Caribbean. The outdoor patio also makes for a great spot to enjoy the sunset together.
- When you’re relaxing poolside or on the sand beach, make sure to stop by Drhum Club Kantine, which features an awesome menu, including seafood (which we love) and tasty tropical drinks. It’s the perfect place to grab a Pina Colada!
If you’re looking for the utmost in indulgence and romance, this is definitely the hotel for you. We love to stay here because it literally makes us feel like we’ve traveled to a picturesque, seaside Italian village — all right in the middle of Orlando! The architecture, the music, the food… it all intertwines so perfectly to create the perfect Italian escape and a great, relaxing getaway.
- You can spend some quality, relaxing time together with a couples massage at Mandara Spa – definitely a must-do!
- Take a dip at the Hillside pool – one of three pools at the resort. This one is cool because it’s a bit more secluded, so it’s a nice, quiet, and private area for you to relax with your boo.
- Dinner at Mama Della’s Ristorante is a must! The food is so delicious and the ambiance is very romantic and intimate. There’s even strolling musicians to serenade you while you have the ultimate date night.
- And what Italian getaway would be complete without gelato? Make sure to stop into the Gelataria to enjoy delicious frozen treats like gelato, sorbet, milkshakes, sundaes and smoothies. Now I’m suddenly craving a vanilla gelato with rainbow sprinkles…
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WHAT TO DO
We love to dedicate each day to a specific theme park. That way, we can take our time and really explore everything within that location. This helps us not to feel rushed during our trip so we can focus on having fun with each other.
Day 1 – Universal Studios Florida:
We’re a bit of a nostalgic couple, so our first day typically starts at the original park.
- We’re super competitive, so a spin on MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack is always a must. Loser has to buy the winner the first churro of the day!
- Next stop for us is Revenge of the Mummy. Not only is it packed with really cool special effects, but it’s a high-speed roller coaster that’s incredibly fun and gives you a great excuse to hold on to your loved one.
- For even more thrills, we head to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley to experience Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (the drop at the beginning gets me every time). Then, it’s time to heat things up with a selfie in front of the fire-breathing dragon atop Gringotts bank.
- And of course, we can’t make a trip to Universal Studios without going back to where it all began for us — E.T. Adventure. My favorite part is when you fly over the cityscape; you can actually see the cars moving below!
Day 2 – Dedicated Hotel and CityWalk Day:
- Start the day out by relaxing in a cabana at the hotel pool. We love to do this to unwind, and reminisce about the day and my amazing win on MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack.
- Use this day to check out your hotel’s amenities. Each one is filled with fun activities — from winding rivers and arcades to fire pits and even a bowling alley!
- Now, it’s time to head to CityWalk. I highly recommend traveling via the water taxi. It provides such a scenic, relaxing and romantic boat trip around the resort. We use it for all of our transportation needs around the destination.
- Kick back and relax with an afternoon movie date over at Universal Cinemark (they have those comfy seat recliners!).
- Head to Hollywood Drive-In Golf for another friendly competition with your significant other. There are two different courses for you to enjoy (our favorite is the Haunting of Ghostly Greens course).
- Surprise your significant other with a fun gift from one of the shops or kiosks at Universal CityWalk. Nothing says “I love you” like a cute plush of your favorite character!
Day 3 – Universal’s Islands of Adventure:
Now that we’ve had a day to kick back and relax, it’s time to get back to the thrills and adventure.
- One of our favorite rides of all-time is The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, so our first stop is helping our favorite web-slinger defeat the villains of the Sinister Syndicate. Keep an eye out for “easter eggs” throughout the ride (hint: you’ll see a familiar face driving the truck you narrowly miss after your first encounter with Spider-Man).
- Grab a selfie with a Jurassic World Velociraptor during Raptor Encounter. It’s also pretty entertaining to watch fellow-guest react to coming face-to-face with Blue. There are also some really fun selfie spots around Jurassic Park that make for great memories to look back on.
- Take a stroll into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade to enjoy all that this incredible land has to offer, including what I believe is the best ride ever, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. We typically play a quick game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ to determine who takes the sidecar and who takes the motorbike because they’re both so cool and we can’t decide. Afterward, make a stop into Hog’s Head pub for Butterbeer (I love the frozen; he loves the cold) and then into Honeydukes to stock up on sweet treats we can share later.
- I also recommend experiencing The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride in Seuss Landing. Some may think this attraction is just for kids, but it actually offers really great views of the park and is a great way to give yourself a break from the thrills of the day.
Day 4 – Volcano Bay:
Our last full theme park day is typically spent at none other than Universal’s Volcano Bay. It provides us the perfect balance of really thrilling experiences and laid-back relaxation.
- Spend some quality time with each other by listening to the waves as you lounge on Waturi Beach with a delicious cocktail in hand. To up the romance, consider renting a cabana, which will give you even more privacy and beautiful views of the volcano.
- Hold on to each other as you tackle TeAwa the Fearless River, which is like a fast-paced version of a lazy river. It’s a blast!
- The creation of the Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slide is based on an original love story, so it’s only right to take the plunge on these intertwining slides during your visit.
- While we walk around the park, we also love to explore the various interactive Tap to Play locations where we can set off water jets on unsuspecting fellow guests (or each other!) and even illuminate the inside of the volcano with just a tap of our TapuTapu.
- Take advantage of the picturesque park for photos of the two of you. The theming is incredible and makes you feel like you’ve really escaped to a South Sea Oasis. Where else in Orlando can you take a photo in front of a 200-foot volcano?
- The TapuTapu also comes in handy when it comes to photos – I recommend taking advantage of the stationed photo spots so you can grab those picturesque memories from your visit. This is especially handy if you don’t necessarily want to carry your phone or camera around with you in the park.
Day 5 – Repeat Your Favorites:
We use the last day of our trip to repeat any of our favorite experiences within the parks, CityWalk, or the hotels. This is typically when my husband wants to try to redeem himself on MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack.
WHERE TO EAT
There is no shortage of amazing food options across the resort. And what’s awesome about the selection is that it goes beyond the typical foods you would associate with a theme park, so there truly is something for everyone. Here are a few of our favorites:
- TODAY Cafe in Universal Studios has a great assortment of delicious breakfast food items that provide great fuel for your day in the parks — no matter if you’re looking to dine-in or grab and go. I highly recommend enjoying the Park Avenue Avocado Toast with a nice cup of the venue’s signature coffee blend.
- If you’re looking for more of a full-service breakfast experience, consider The Kitchen at Hard Rock Hotel to enjoy items like a Buttermilk Pancake Stack, the Elvis French Toast, your own custom omelette, and more.
- Mythos in Islands of Adventure is amazing and one of our favorites! The incredible cavernous feel of the restaurant combined with its vast menu that includes elegant options like Grilled Lamb Meatballs, Risotto and Pad Thai will make you forget that you’re dining in a theme park. Definitely a must on a romantic trip to Universal.
- Another one for the seafood lovers (like me)… Lombard’s Seafood Grille at Universal Studios is a great spot to catch lunch. Not only can you enjoy a ton of seafood favorites like crab cakes, calamari, salmon and fish & chips, but you’ll also get a pretty sweet view of the park as the restaurant is nestled along the lagoon. Don’t worry – if you’re not a big fan of seafood, there are also a variety of non-seafood options available for you to enjoy.
- At Volcano Bay, Whakawaiwai Eats is typically our go-to for lunch. I highly recommend the Jerk Shrimp Mac & Cheese, while my husband is a huge fan of the Pretzel Dog.
- If you find yourself in CityWalk for lunch, I recommend Bread Box Handcrafted Sandwiches, which features a variety of melts, deli fresh sandwiches (I love the BLTA), salads and soup. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a quick-service option so you can get back to the theme parks quickly for more fun and adventure.
- The ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley is a real treat and can definitely help cool you off on a warm spring Florida day. We love to split either the Butterbeer ice cream or the Clotted Cream ice cream on a waffle cone.
- When we’re looking for something on the sweeter side, the cinnamon sugar pretzel at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels does the trick. You can find Auntie Anne’s locations in CityWalk (across from NBC Sports Grill & Brew), Universal Studios (in the New York area) and Islands of Adventure (in Marvel Super Hero Island).
- If you can’t decide between sweet and savory, check out Central Park Crepes in Universal Studios to have both! My husband’s pick is always the savory Smoked Brisket crepe, while I tend to love the sweeter side and choose the Cookies & Cream crepe. We typically enjoy them while sitting on a bench in Central Park, overlooking the Universal Studios lagoon.
- You can’t beat the view at Bar 17 Bistro at Universal’s Aventura Hotel. My husband and I love to come here to unwind after a day at the parks, and enjoy delicious bao buns and cocktails, music and breathtaking views of the entire destination and Orlando overall.
- VIVO Italian Kitchen is our choice for a romantic dinner in CityWalk. It’s a trendy and modern space where you can actually see the chefs preparing entrees in the center of the restaurant. Add a lovely glass of vino to your delicious dinner entrée, and you have the perfect romantic dinner to cap your day.
- He loves burgers; I love sushi – so The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar in CityWalk is always a good choice for us. We love to sit outside on the patio (again, incredible views) and enjoy this unique twist on some of our favorites.
There are SO many great options, you can’t go wrong with a romantic getaway to Universal Orlando Resort. Let us know what you’d suggest for your romantic getaway – and don’t forget to share your photos with us on Twitter and Instagram.