Last week, Justin and I took a long weekend and headed over to Orlando for some fun at Universal Studios.
You guys – it is December. Last weekend, it was around 80 degrees. I had envisioned wearing a coat, pants, and boots to enjoy the Christmas activities. Nope! Instead, I was sporting short sleeves, shorts, and cowboy boots.
Yep. It just seems a bit wrong…but at least I was comfortable! Whenever we visit theme parks, I have a challenge as to what to wear. Mostly, it is in relation to footwear – I just don’t like wearing gym shoes. Personal preference. But – thankfully there are some alternatives. I bought these cowboy boots back in college…for a sorority party. I spent all of about $20-$30 on them, and they’re still going strong today.
Don’t underestimate the awesomeness of a slouchy cowboy boot. They pair with so many outfits! You don’t need to don plaid and jeans to make them work (although you totally could)!
I decided on this flutter sleeved top because of the comfort – wearing tight fitted clothing is just not fun when you’re strolling the park and potentially sweating a bit (again – it was in the 80s!!! What the heck)!
So – let’s move on to the actual trip, shall we? We drove in to Orlando on Saturday afternoon and checked in at our hotel (Loews Royal Pacific – one of the onsite hotels at Universal). For dinner, we decided to hit up Roy’s for Aloha Hour.
Roy’s definitely has one of the best happy hours around – they offer a selection of small plates and cocktails for $6 each. It is a great way to get the amazing cuisine at Roy’s without forking over the bucks for a full meal. We enjoyed a few cocktails (you MUST try the 1988 martini – Finlandia grapefruit, SOHO Lychee, and Patron Citronage), some sushi (the Big Island Ebi roll and Tempura Crusted Spicy Ahi roll), Waygu beef sliders with garlic sweet potato fries, and some calamari. YUM!
Since we were staying at an on-site hotel at Universal, we were able to enter Islands of Adventure an hour early to enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We had visited for the first time back in October, and I was so excited to return!
It is so amazing to see the detail that Universal put in to the Wizarding World. My only complaint is that it should be bigger…oh wouldn’t that be nice? The ride in the Hogwarts castle is 100% my favorite theme park ride of all time…we definitely rode it four times over the course of the two days we were in town. Soooo good.
If you visit Islands of Adventure, make sure to head straight back to the ride inside Hogwarts…and then stand in line to go inside Ollivander’s wand shop. Although it is a presentation, not a ride, it is really cute to witness someone get selected from the crowd to have their wand chosen. And…funny enough…on Sunday I was chosen! Typically, the person in the wand shop will choose a teenager out of the crowd. When we entered, there were only small children and adults. I was taken aback when he pointed straight at me and asked me to step forward. He then asked my name and my age, and when I told him I am 27, he had a quick look of surprise and then commented, “well my dear, it seems like you’re 10 years late to my shop!” Ooops! To be fair, it is dimly lit in the shop, so perhaps he thought I was younger? Anyway, it was pretty cool to be the “lucky one,” but do you know what?!?! They don’t give that person the wand – you actually have to buy it for full price! I thought they’d at least offer a discount. I am just thinking about how many parents are put in a tough spot when their child gets chosen for the wand and then has to fork over $34 to buy it for them! Needless to say, I didn’t purchase my wand. Sorry, Universal…
We also had a bit of fun around the parks…including forcing Justin to ride the Caro-Seuss-el and embarrassing him.
…taking note that the parks were practically deserted during our visit. This is the main drag in Universal – do you see a single person on it? Nope. It was just us.
During the month of December, Universal Studios has the Macy’s Holiday Parade…we stayed around to enjoy the festivities! Very cute.
After a busy day at the parks, we loaded up on pizza at California Pizza Kitchen – I enjoyed the Sicilian thin crust pizza, and Justin opted for the classic barbeque chicken pizza. YUM! I definitely needed that after all that walking.
On Monday, it was time to head home. Before we did that, we stopped by the outlets for a bit of shopping, then enjoyed lunch at the new Burger 21 location in Orlando.
I am telling you – their turkey burgers are THE BEST turkey burgers I’ve ever had outside of my own kitchen. They use all white meat, instead of just ground turkey in general; they are light and juicy…and the toppings available are so yummy! Justin went for the burger of the month – a turkey burger with cranapple chutney, brie, honey mustard, lettuce, and tomato. My choice was their Cinco burger, with a turkey patty instead of the beef one. It contained lettuce, tomato, guacamole, salsa, jalapenos, and Monterey jack cheese. Be still, my heart. SO SO GOOD.
So…there we have it! Our long weekend in Orlando!
Have you visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter or enjoyed holiday festivities at a theme park? Tell me about it!