Despite being a veritable paradise for movie buffs, pop culture junkies, and ride-hopping thrill-seekers, Universal Orlando Resort has often played second fiddle to Florida’s reigning king of vacation destinations, Walt Disney World.
Understandable. It’s hard for anyone to stand up to the monopolistic superpowers and cartoon charms of the practically omnipotent House of the Mouse. Tourist families still under the sway of King Mickey’s cult of personality are missing out, though, because Universal Orlando is pound-for-pound just as good a vacation experience. Some (like yours truly) would even argue it’s a better one.
Blasphemy, you say? Maybe, but hear me about before you burn me at the stake. Before I’m done, you might very well find yourself tempted to follow my lead.
You’re a Wizard, Harry
It’s safe to say that no entertainment franchise has captured the imaginations of children and grown-ups alike quite the same way Harry Potter has. Whether you’re a fan of the books, the movies, or the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle, chances are you’ve found secretly (or not-so-secretly) fantasizing about receiving your very own owl-borne invitation to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Well, fantasize no more! J.K. Rowling’s world of magic and mischief comes alive at Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. Here, you can peruse the shops of Diagon Alley and wander the streets of Hogsmeade, gobble up Chocolate Frogs before washing them down with authentic Butterbeer, and even cast spells at wand-activated interactive hotspots throughout the park.
Potterheads in your party might find it downright impossible to leave. Oh well, better start looking at Orlando houses for sale!
Mardi Gras… in Florida?!?
Florida might be one of the most popular states for vacationers all across America, but it’s not alone. Come February and all those airplanes usually filled with Orlando-bound tourists instead turn their noses towards Louisiana, as revelers rub their hands in eager anticipation of the colorful chaos of New Orleans Mardi Gras.
For anyone feeling torn between spending their hard-earned money in The Big Easy or The Sunshine State, Universal has just the solution to your conundrum. Just like peanut butter and chocolate are two great tastes that taste even greater together, Universal Orlando and Mardi Gras are pretty much a match made in heaven. Every year, the resort celebrates the season with parades, parties, and live music performance, with admission free to all guests.
Other annual events include a summer concert series, multiple Christmas blowouts, and an unforgettable Fourth of July bash, and more.
Halloween Horror Nights
Confession time: when I wrote “and more” a few seconds ago, I had one very specific thing in mind I wanted to discuss. Another confession: I saved this one for last because it’s my absolute favorite. Okay, one last confession: I. Love. Being. Scared.
If you’re the same way, then there’s no better time of year than Halloween. And no one does Halloween better than Universal Orlando. Every October, when the sun goes down, the entire resort metamorphoses, werewolf-style, into a macabre wonderland of terrors packed to the gills with costumed performers, state-of-the-art special effects, an fully immerse haunted attractions inspired by all your favorite scary stories including Stephen King’s It, Stranger Things, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Beetlejuice, and many, many more.
You may not be used to feeling chills in somewhere as tropical as Florida, but Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights is sure to give you more goosebumps than R.L. Stine.