First let me start by saying as silly as this may sound – we went on way too many trips this year. I blame Carlos. He has no sense of scheduling anything and he’s all about decisions in the moment. Maybe this is one reason why I love him so much but it’s also why he drives me crazy. Carlos is a major fan of Jurassic Park and has been dying to make a trip out to Orlando to ride the Jurassic Park ride. Yes, you read that right, we literally went to Orlando, Florida for a ride….this my life people. On a whim, my love booked super cheap flights and we marked our calendars. I was actually a bit excited because we typically don’t get to go places by ourselves. I believe almost every trip this year we’ve either had the kids or other couples with us. So I was stoked about getting a chance to have a few days of us only time.
We soared through the skies on Sunday morning. Thankfully we had decent weather because I am terrified of flying. I think I spent $30 on the flight in booze (which isn’t hard to do to begin with) but I don’t think it really did much till the flight was almost over. All in all I survived. We ordered an Uber because it’s way cheaper than renting a car for our stay plus the hotel charged a parking fee to park there – not to mention we’re not from Florida so we have no idea where we’re going anyway. After arriving at our hotel and literally unpacking everything in 10 minutes, we were changed and ready to head out to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. We didn’t come to play around people.
Now I haven’t been to a park like this since I was a child so the nostalgia of family memories started to hit me when we got in through the gates and began our adventure. I like to keep things simple, so for 90 degree Florida weather it was a tank, shorts, and tennis shoes for me. Carlos bought a lanyard that carried out tickets, IDs, and cards so we were hands free to enjoy our time. Simply put it was awesome! Public service announcement: I DON’T RIDE ROLLERCOASTERS! I’m terrified of flying and I don’t do coasters! The last time I rode a rollercoaster was with my youngest brother in 2010 before I left for basic training. I figured I had already signed my life away so what more could I lose right!? Well Carlos wasn’t having it, and frankly who wants to stand outside every single ride and wait around for someone else. So I took the plunge and faced my fears and I am proud to say I was not disappointed.
Our first stop was obviously the Jurassic Park ride. Carlos all but ran full speed like a child to get in line. It wasn’t the best ride in the park but it was fun. The hulk ride was our favorite, I won’t spoil it but if you get a chance to go definitely put this ride on your list. The following day we went to Hollywood Studios. This one was my favorite! It amazes me how much detail really goes into your experience, down to the staff playing the characters, no detail is left unnoticed. The best part of this trip was the time of year we went. We literally went after school had started. For us this meant our wait time for a ride was about 15-20 minutes, sometimes shorter. The fast passes that were available were super expensive and not worth it for us. However, we both agree that if we had come in the summer time when wait times were double or triple that, the fast pass would have been a must have.
Our favorite ride at Hollywood Studios was the Mummy which is totally random but we rode it the most out of everything. And my most favorite of all…..Harry Potter land! It was so magical I could have easily spent a whole day there. We actually visited on two separate days just because I was so in love. We tried the butter beer and the butter beer ice cream which was super delicious. Everything about this place, even the rides were just amazing. There’s a new ride at Islands of Adventure, Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure, we waited about an hour for this ride, although the day before the wait was about two hours (remember this is close to the off season). Three words: So. Worth. It! I would have easily waited an hour again to get back on.
Our next adventure was the Kennedy Space Center. For this trip we rented a car for the day which ended up saving us about $40-50. It’s almost an hour from Orlando so an Uber is about $50 one way or a shuttle ticket runs you about $50 a person, the car rental with insurance was a little less than $60. Honestly this was my favorite part of the whole trip. There was so much to see, so much inspiration, so many feels – you have to visit sometime. The only word I have for this place is just wow!
Alright let’s get down to business and talk food. Being the foodie I am, I wasn’t here to eat just anything. However, Carlos and I have been changing up our eating lifestyle and trying to stick to a more all natural/Paleo menu. We wanted to stick as close to possible to our diet but also enjoy our time on vacation. The first place we had dinner was called The Mellow Mushroom. It was a 5 minute walk from our hotel and after a long day in the sun we were happy to not have to go far for good food. We ate a gluten free veggie pizza and shared their spinach and artichoke dip – so not disappointed. The pizza was delicious as was the appetizer and we left super satisfied. We ate there again on our last night in town. Our favorite place we ate was called TopGolf. I’ve never heard of this place before, apparently it is sort of like a take on Dave and Busters but instead of playing games, you play golf. Carlos and I don’t play golf and the reviews on their food were super tempting. So, we made our way to TopGolf and learned you don’t have to play to eat – win win! On top of the nachos we split, Carlos had a gluten free pizza and I got buffalo chicken sliders. OMG! The food was absolutely the best! If I had my way we would have eaten there our entire trip. (Note: I came home to learn we just got one in Mass at the MGM casino…..but they don’t serve food. Bummer! I am hoping that will change in the future.) On our last day we let it all hang out and spent $40 on chocolate at the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. No regrets!
Our Orlando trip was a huge success and now we’re planning one with the little ones. Tips for your trip?
1. Get a lanyard or carry a small backpack, no one wants to lug their crap around all day.
2. Dress for the weather and the rides, I don’t know how these chicks got away with full makeup and flip-flops – I was soaked by the end of the day (yes, in sweat) and was thankful I kept it simple
3. Skip the shops, the shits expensive! We bought the boys Harry Potter wands on Amazon for $20 vs. the $50-70 a piece they were going for at the park. I know I know, “when in Rome…” but still.
4. Uber or shuttle from your hotel, it will save you time and money.
5. Put your phone down and enjoy your time. I can’t tell you how many people I saw spending their whole time on their phone and taking pictures instead of just living in the moment – it’s a good time!