No visit to the theme park capital would be the same without a trip to Universal Orlando. Whether you want to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, ride adrenaline-pumping roller coasters or make a splash at the Volcano Bay water park – Universal has it all.
It’s not all about famous rides though. There are a whole host of attractions that you may not even know about. Here’s a rundown of what they are and where you can find them.
1# There’s a second entrance to Universal Studios
The best secret of them all is Universal’s second entrance, a great tip for those who want to get into the parks as quickly as possible. This entrance can be found near the Blue Man Group, between the Despicable Me ride and the Studios Store. Compared to the regular entrance this one rarely has a queue. However, it does open slightly later (10am) than the usual park opening time, so if you want to be the first on the rides we’d suggest waiting in line at the main entrance.
2# ET’s Adventure is the last remaining original ride
Universal Orlando opened in July 1990 with a raft or original rides. Since then many of those rides have evolved into new ones. ET’s Adventure is actually the only original ride that still remains at the park. You can find this ride at Universal Studios park in the Woody Woodpecker Kid Zone. We’d recommend riding this extraterrestrial-themed attraction for some ‘out of this world’ fun!
3# You can’t see the real world in Diagon Alley
The Harry Potter-inspired attraction, Diagon Alley, is designed to look exactly how it’s played out in the movies. Located at Universal Studios, it features the film’s famous secret alleyways and quirky buildings including Gringotts Bank and Olivanders – plus many more elements to make it super authentic. In Diagon Alley all the buildings are at least 3 stories tall and the sky is part of the set. This means that when you look around you can’t see any part of the real world. This special effect makes Diagon Alley feel even more magical!
4# You can mail your letters from Harry Potter World
For Harry Potter enthusiasts, there’s something very special about getting your mail branded by the famous franchise. At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter you can post your letters at the mailboxes in Hogsmeade and they’ll be delivered to your recipient with a special stamp. How cool is that?!
5# Duff Beer is unique to Universal
If you head down to the Fast Food Blvd at ‘Springfield: Home of the Simpsons’ you can buy a pint of original Duff Beer from Moe’s Tavern. Taste-tested by writers of the Simpsons television show, the beer can only be purchased at Universal parks. Fast Food Blvd also features foods that you can’t buy anywhere else in the parks. The Clogger Burger and the Chicken & Waffle sandwich (with extra maple mayo on the side) are our favorites.
6# Souvenir mugs can be refilled for 99 cents
When you buy a refillable souvenir mug at any of the gift stores at Universal Orlando, you’ll be able to refill it with soda for just 99 cents. Whether it’s a Transformer mug, a Butter Beer beaker or any other refillable, just take it to one of the many beverage stations at the park and get it filled up with your favorite libation. This deal is valid all year round at Universal Orlando, plus you can refill your mug as many times as you want .
7# There’s a secret wall at Hogwarts Express
For all Harry Potter fans this is one of Universal’s must-see experiences. If you’re taking the Hogwarts Express train from Universal Studios’ Kings Cross Station, you can actually walk through a solid brick ‘wall’ to Platform 9 3/4 to catch the train. Once you’re onboard you’ll wind your way through scene of the British countryside before alighting at Hogsmeade Station in Universal’s Islands of Adventure. By the way, the brick wall isn’t really solid, it’s just a special effect!
8# You can become a DJ
If you love both roller-coasters and music, the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is for you. Once you’re on board you can choose your very own personalized sountrack and mix it up as you ride. Thirty songs are available from five different genres including rap, hip hop, rock, country and pop. The trick is to hold down the touchscreen on your safety bar and your special music show will start!
9# The Ministry of Magic are on speed dial
At Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, can you actually speak to the Ministry of Magic. Dial 62442 in the red phone booth outside King’s Cross Station and it will directly connect you with the Ministry. What people don’t know is that 62442 on an old phone translate to ‘MAGIC’ on a new one. Spooky!
10# You may spot a few special guests when queuing for rides
Most ride queues in Universal are located indoors as a way of helping visitors stay cool. As such, there are plenty of extra attractions in the queue lines. These include special attractions and themed video clips packed with fun facts and entertainment. At the beginning of the queue at ‘Revenge of the Mummy’ look out the gold King Kong statue which commemorates the old King Kong ride once located there. Over at the The Simpsons ride, you’ll see animated appearances of Doc Brown while you’re queuing; it may sound random but it’s a throwback to the Back to the Future Ride originally located there.
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