We decided to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel. Why? Because it was:
- On Universal Property which meant we got to go to the front of the line on all but three rides
- The closest hotel to the theme parks
- Looked pretty cool
We went to Universal Studios after a swim in the huge pool. Our first destination was Shrek 4D. I was surprised that the pre-show actually scared the kid. She is normally unshakeable. The girl usually has no fear. And then we went on Jaws. This also terrified the kid. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that she thought they’d bring in a real man-eating shark for an amusement ride when she thought the real movies featured actors actually being eaten by sharks. Although, that didn’t concern her.
Luckily she got over her “fear” quickly. She ended up loving the kid’s roller coaster so much that we let her ride it over and over and over again. By herself even.
And then we headed over to Islands of Adventure to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This area was surprisingly uncrowded. We ended up checking out the shops – Zonko’s, Honeydukes, Owl Post, and Dervish and Banges. We also lined up and watched the Ollivander`s show – twice. It is a short re-enactment of the scene from the first movie where Harry gets his wand but they use an audience member. She really wanted a wand and we hoped she would get picked so that we wouldn’t have to spend hours analyzing the different wands. Alas, she was not chosen so we spent at least an hour wand shopping. And we ate at The Three Broomsticks. Turns out none of us really like Butterbeer or Pumpkin fizz.
We were at Universal for three days. On our second day, kid convinced us to buy her Gryffindor robes. Guess what she is going to be for Halloween? We had her wear them on our last day. We lined up for Ollivander’s show again. She wasn’t chosen but she was told to stay behind after the official show. At this point Mr. Ollivander helped a wand choose her. I think they saw that we paid $99 to buy her a costume and figured it would be easy to sell us another $30 wand. It was.
I guess it isn’t too surprising that the kid keeps telling us that on our next family vacation she wants to go to Universal Studios.