Adventures in Your Own Backyard: Escaping to Universal Orlando Resort for a Weekend Away
Living in Florida has so many perks – great beaches, lovely weather and proximity to Universal Orlando Resort. I love how easy it is to escape the daily grind in Jacksonville for a weekend exploring the incredible thrills and fun of Universal Orlando.
For me, it is all about the rides. I can proudly say I have been on every ride in both parks, and I can’t wait to see what wild adventures the team at Universal will think up next.
My all-time favorite ride can be found inside Universal Studios Florida. It has twists, turns and drops that will make you scream for your mommy – it’s Revenge of the Mummy! It is a must-do on my list; check it out if you’re brave enough.
Universal Studios is also home to Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, an attraction that puts you in the path of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and his wicked cohorts.
Then right around the corner, you might encounter the Decepticons at TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D. There’s no shortage of surprises in this park!
Just next door you’ll find Universal’s Islands of Adventure, home to truly unique characters like velociraptors, wizards and Super Heroes. The rides and attractions here are amazing, but I love the photo opportunities just as much. Marvel’s superheroes make daily appearances, students from Hogwarts sing in the Frog Choir, and you can meet some of Jurassic Park’s friendly (or not-so-friendly) residents, too. It’s a park that truly lives up to its adventurous name.
The parks are jam-packed with world-class attractions, so it makes sense that the fun continues at the on-site hotels. Free transportation—either via water taxi or shuttle—plus scenic walking paths make getting around so convenient.
Feeling retro? Cabana Bay Beach Resort takes you back to The Beach Boys and high-waisted shorts (which might be back in style).
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel whisks you across the sea to the colorful Italian coast, where you can wander down cobblestone paths to outdoor cafes or take a dip in one of three pools.
It’s all about rock n’ roll at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando, where you’ll find rock stars (wannabe and legitimate) all over the resort.
For those who need a tropical escape close to home, Loews Royal Pacific Resort is like island hopping with the added benefit of park hopping.
It’s funny how a weekend getaway so close to home feels like a trip around the world.
Did I mention, when you stay at one of Universal Orlando’s on-site hotels, you receive Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Guests who stay at Portofino Bay Hotel, Royal Pacific Resort and Hard Rock Hotel also receive Universal Express Unlimited passes to skip the regular lines. I like to get to the parks early to explore all my favorite attractions, then I take the afternoon off and relax with a signature cocktail by the pool. The Florida life is so good!
For Florida residents seeking to unwind on their weekend escape, Universal CityWalk is the place to let your hair down at night. From unbelievably delicious eats at The Cowfish and Vivo Italian Kitchen to late night dance parties at the groove, I somehow always manage to have more fun than I bargained for.
In my last couple of visits, I have recently discovered a new favorite hot spot at CityWalk called Rising Star. With backup singers and a live band, suddenly karaoke has a very professional vibe! Even for those of us not blessed with golden vocal chords, you can always count on the fun crowd to cheer you on.
Those of us who are Florida residents, we really have it made—who else has such an epic vacation experience in their own backyard?! I’m getting so excited thinking about all the things to do at Universal Orlando, I think it is time to stop writing and go have some fun.
Pack a bag and join me for the weekend. Start planning today!