Universal Studios Florida

Hey, y’all! You’re listening to Tourist in your Town! This episode features day 3 of my trip to Orlando. I’m going to tell you about Universal Studios Orlando and Harry Potter Wizarding World. In honor of Harry Potter, I’m currently drinking a Hagrid Imperial Stout by Mispillion River Brewing Company, located in Milford, DE. It’s 11% so this could go south pretty quick. The side of the can says “Full bearded, big boned man ISO magical creature who enjoys long walks in dark woods, loves animals, and tolerates children. I am dark, mysterious, and strong.”

I started the day early, once again trying for breakfast at the hotel. Nope. Another line, consisting of several families and some already annoyed people. Since I knew what waited over at CityWalk, I just headed over that way. I figured, a coffee and egg bites would be fine again. But the line for Starbucks was insane. I went for Cinnabon instead. The line was relatively short but I got tricked once again as the couple in front of me were ordering for several other people. Eventually, I got to order my coffee and cinnamon bun. The cinnamon bun was delicious. I don’t eat them often anymore, so I forgot how yummy they are. The coffee was too hot to drink, or touch, or even look at. I managed to score a table. While sitting there, I noticed a family looking for a place to sit. I let them sit with me. My good deed for the day, I guess. I finished my bun, tried to drink the coffee, still too hot and took off for the park entrance. I ended up throwing the coffee away because not only was it too hot to drink, the day was getting hot. I should have gotten an iced coffee. I got in line for the park. This time Universal Studios Florida. When you enter the park, they do a fingerprint scan. Just an fyi. My fingerprints often don’t work with those things and it tool several tries before it finally took. I’m always holding up the line.

Entry to Universal Studios Florida
Entry to Universal Studios Florida. That’s me in the hat

When you enter, you can go straight or to the right. If you go straight, it takes you into a small NYC. If you go to the right, it takes you to a mini Hollywood. Everybody else was going straight, so I went through Hollywood. I was there for Harry Potter, so I grabbed a map and headed that way.

I found myself unable to find it. The entrance is a bit hidden. I suppose just like Diagon Alley. I saw where the train drop off was and went into a brick doorway which seemed to lead nowhere. But instead it was a dark alley, with some random windows with magicy stuff in them. When I popped out, there I was at Diagon Alley. The best part about this moment is that it was not too busy yet. So, I got to see it without a million people in it. This made it worth it. I thought I’d do the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride, another 4d ride like the Forbidden Journey. Just the walk through to the ride was amazing. Again attention to detail was incredible. There are pics on the blog at touristinyourtownpodcast.com. Confession time, I walked almost all the way through and did not get on the ride. My stomach was not in excellent shape and I was worried about getting motion sickness. So I bailed. A small regret, but one I can live with.

When I came back, the wait was over 2 hours. I decided on a hard pass. I went over to Simpson land and got myself a Duff Beer and pretzel. Again, a surprisingly good beer for a theme park. This park is a visually nice. You can go through a very realistic NYC, a mini-hollywood, Moe’s Bar (the Simpsons), and tons of other cool things. There were several restaurants, sit down style. One I wanted to visit was Finnegans. But the line was always so long. I decided to go for a smoked Turkey Leg instead. So, I grabbed a turkey leg, after waiting in line for about 20 minutes, then over to the bar for another Duff. In the Hollywood area, they have a show called the Horror Make-Up Show. It’s a small theatre where they talk about horror make up in the movies. There’s also a little sketch comedy. This is what I wish these places had more of. But I suspect I am in the minority here.

After that, it was my nap time. I asked at the gate if I could return later. They said, of course if they have not reached capacity and they were very close. I walked back to the hotel and relaxed for a little while. Oh, yeah, they were doing a Mardis Gras thing. But I couldn’t tell that it made much difference. I guess maybe they were serving hurricanes at the full service bars around the park and some of the food was Mardis Gras style.

I headed back to CityWalk for dinner. This time I was hungry. I decided on Pat O’Briens. I got a small table in the bar. Service was excellent. I went with a Guinness and started with the Blue Crab Beignets – Blue crabmeat, mascarpone cheese, tarragon aioli. These were delicious. I could taste the crab and there was not so much breading that you couldn’t taste anything else. For my meal I had the Crawfish Etouffee – New Orleans sauce, andouille sausage, crawfish, white rice. I added hot sauce to it, as it was pretty bland. It was okay. I would not go out of my way to have it again. But I would hunt down those beignets. I took some of the beignets and a Guinness to go back to my room and got comfy. While you can take beer out of the restaurants in CityWalk, you are not supposed to take them out. But I took mine out and walked the mile plus back to my room without spilling a drop.

The next morning, I schedule my Uber without a problem. I got to the airport extra early. Again, got to enjoy the TSA pre-check! I stopped in at Port Paradise for lunch and a pre-flight beer. I had a burger and Sunshine Lager. I spoke with a guy from Bristol, TN who was into model trains. He was trying to find someone near him who could help learn photoshop so he could make his own backgrounds. Thanks for listening to Tourist in your Town. Be sure to visit the blog at touristinyourtownpodcast.com to see pics! Don’t forget to share with family and friends! Stay safe, stay hydrated, and pack light!

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