Thursday, July 7, 2011

Florida Vacation part THREE ~ Universal Save money and time TIPS

Universal Islands of Adventure
To read how I saved HUNDREDS of dollars at Universal, and how to get on rides super fast, without a fast pass, read the bottom of the post for all my suggestions, and tips.

As you all know we went down to Florida a couple weeks ago. We got to spend seven days in a wonderful resort. You can read all about the resort, and PART ONE of our vacation HERE. We spent a lot of time at the pool, and relaxed a bunch. On one of the days we went swimming with the MANATEES, which you can read all about HERE, that was an awesome experience. We were all burnt out from going to Seaworld last year. We had season passes, so every time we went to Florida, that's all we did, lol. 
This time the kids were begging to go to Universal, but ohhhh the ticket prices, OUCH. We kind of had 6 people, so I really wasn't looking forward to that. BUT the kids won, and we gave in, the last day we were there, we decided to go. Instead of leaving on Saturday, we went to Islands of Adventure, and got a room at another hotel, for one more night. We were all tired, and exhausted the next day, which was perfect for me, they were mostly quite on the way home, but I was tired too, which wasn't so good, lol. Anyway we made it home and everyone was happy. I'm glad we went!!!
This is the kids and acting all goofy, while waiting in line to go on the Pteranadon Ride. It was the one ride my older one couldn't go on, so it was kind of funny. It was also the LONGEST time we spent in line for a single ride, erghhh. The weather was cloudy, and it started to sprinkle just as we got on the ride. For a 10 second ride, (it seemed even shorter, lol) Dino loved it, but I will never wait for it again. 
We went on all the rides, several times actually. Go to the bottom of the post, and I will tell you how we did it, FOR free, no special passes needed. I am so glad we were able to enjoy all the rides, considering we were only there for one day. We choose Islands of Adventure, simply because the kids wanted to go on more roller coaster type rides. Which I had a blast on as well, YAY...

The new Harry Potter place was awesome. I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan, but I've seen a couple movies, so I kind of knew what everything was, but it was just so impressive. Everything looked so realistic, and I have to say my absolute favorite ride was the Harry Potter one. It was AMAZING, you totally felt like you were in the movie, flying up in the air, it literally was the coolest ride I've ever been on. I highly recommend it to everyone. I didn't have any butterbeer, lol. It just didn't sound to yummy to me, but people were crazy waiting in line for it everywhere. Also the line for the stores to get wands, was out of this world long. I bet they were waiting for well over an hour, just to buy something, WOW. 

We obviously spent a lot of time at Jurassic Park, where Dino D, was in heaven. When I say A LOT OF TIME, I mean it. Maybe several hours, between waiting in line, and getting stuck in line because of thunder, then spending a bunch of time in bathrooms trying to change out of wet clothes, dealing with the cheapest ponchos, and buying new sandals for the girly, because she got SOAKED, we really spent a lot of time there. Since we had nothing better to do, we also shopped at the store there too. Dino got some new dinosaurs, SHOCKER, and the kids all got a gun. my husband was thrilled he could sneak those guns past me, before I had a say. I hate guns, and don't like the kids pretending like they are killing each other, but even I had fun playing with these, darn. 

So that was our day, and the end of our vacation. Before I say goodbye, would you like to know some of the things I did to save some money while at Universal? I'll also give you a quick tip on getting on those rides faster, and not having to wait so long, ok. 


1. Bring snacks. You are allowed to bring snacks, drinks, even sandwiches, or something similar.
I brought beef jerky, nuts, bagels with cream cheese, string cheese, lunch meat rolled, baked cookies, baked brownies, grapes, and TONS of water.

2. Make sure to bring sunblock, hats, comfy shoes, an extra pair of sandals, a charged camera, and a RAIN PONCHO. We got ours from walmart the night before for 99cents each. Yes they were really cheap, and looked it too, but they served their purpose, and with summers in Florida, you need to be prepared. This easily saved me $60. Not having to buy them there.

3. Have a budget as far as spending goes. If you give yourself $100, don't go over it, NO MATTER what. It is way to easy to start buying, and not stop. My kids know they don't get stuff from every shop, or even from every place we go. I take tons of pictures, and that is how we remember our time there, not by an expensive something from a shop, that will probably be forgotten about soon.

1. My number one saving grace on all the rides was having a little one, so we could all go to the child swap area, and wait in a cool room, with a TV and hang out until everyone was off the ride, then we could swap. The way you are supposed to do it is, your party is supposed to wait in line then, when they get off they swap with you. The kids loved it, because they always got to go on the ride twice, once alone, then with me again. This was a real time saver, especially when wanting to ride again a second time.

2. However, you technically still had to wait in line one time, which meant hours and hours of waiting. SO if you've ever been there, you may have noticed a SINGLE rider line. We took this every time, and only waited at the most 15 minutes, even on the longest lines, it was AWESOME. So going in this line, we ended up riding alone, but who cares. I'd rather ride alone, than to wait 2 hours in line, you know what I mean. 

So utilizing the two above shortcuts, we were able to go on all the ride, multiple times, and we didn't spend an extra dime. Just for the record, to get FAST PASSES on the day we went, it would have cost us $80.00 per person, YES, PER PERSON. So we only saved $400.00, and to be honest, I'd say in many cases we got on the rides even faster than those with fast passes. So there you go, my little advice. If you ever go, and don't mind going on the ride alone, then by all means do what we did, and take the single rider route ALL THE WAY, and if you happen to have a little one with you, double score!!


  1. you are enjoying your trip smartly..Good :)
    well you know i m following you on twitter, come n follow me back honey :)
    have a nice day!!!

  2. Awwww-- fantastic pictures!!!


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In my spare time I enjoy cooking, and baking. In fact my mother and I have been making cakes for over 30 years. I also love gardening, traveling, and all things crafty. I struggle daily to keep my like organized, along with my never ending battle to keep the house clean. I adore my three kids MOST of the time, and can usually be found doing the mom thing from morning till night. I try to catch a few mommy moments, but those are hard to find in this wonderful life of mine. I am blessed and happy, and am thrilled you stopped by today :)