Ok, typically we like to avoid the standard touristy places, but we recently purchased annual passes to Universal so we like to head that way fairly often lately.
So a few thoughts about Universal. If you have the money, and like theme parks, we have found the Premier Pass to be well worth the almost $500 we laid out for it. Some of the perks:
- free valet parking. This saves you $25 and a few minutes of walking every time you go.
- Express entrance on the rides after 4:00. If express is 10 minutes and the regular line is an hour… look how many more rides you can ride in one evening…. not to mention saving yourself the agony of the long waits.
- You can jump back and forth between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure (yay for the Hogwarts Express!).
- Early Admission
- Halloween Horror Nights free night
- Lots and lots of discounts
I think you only have to go three times to have well over gotten your money back.
Ok, beyond that… Universal is fun even if you are only going once. Any Harry Potter fans out there? Alan and I walked past Diagon Alley like three times thinking the entrance was a bathroom or something. We saw people going in, but there were no signs (of course!). But wow! Once you do find it… it is EXACTLY like it should be according to the books.
Yes, you are correct. I totally geek out with this stuff (And I didn’t even mention the Hogwarts side of the park!).
Ok, there is more than just Harry Potter.
There are a few secrets you need to know if you are heading to the Universal parks.
- Several rides have cool “secrets” that you have to ask for. For example, you can get a backstage tour at Men in Black if you ask someone just as you are getting off the ride. Then after the tour, they bring you back around and put you back on the ride again with no waiting. I’m told you can also get a backstage tour at Fallon, Mummy, Kong, and Hogwarts as well. Just ask.
- Join this Facebook group a week or so before you go. It will restore your faith in humanity again. Get this…There are people who hide things in the park for others to find… for free. REALLY! It’s the darnedest thing. Typically it is artistically painted rocks, painted to one of the Universal themes. At other times, it is hand made wands or other cool items. It then becomes sort of a scavenger hunt to find them. If you find one, you can keep it or hide it again (don’t forget to post it when you find one and when you hide one).
- Ok, here is another Facebook page. This one is intended for passholders, but others can join. In this group you can pick up cool tips like the ones I’m sharing with you here.
- There is a secret entrance for when the lines are too long. Here is a hint [under Rip Rocket] but full honesty here, I have not found it yet.
Here is the thing, Universal does a great job with the hidden treasures. Explore every corner, ask for extras, and have some fun!