When me and my wife were talking about our first anniversary trip, Universal Orlando was not our first choice. We had originally planned on taking a road trip up the east coast stopping in Washington, Boston, Philly, NYC, etc all while making our way to Niagara Falls. Somewhere between planning that and May, we bought a house. Buying the house ate up a large portion of our trip budget (mainly b/c of flood insurance since we live on an island). When my wife said that we should go back to Orlando and go to Universal, I remembered why I loved her. This would be her first trip to Universal Orlando ever and my first since The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened.
We are not big on planning trips to theme parks because we would rather go with the flow and see what happens. We began thinking about hotels. Of course, we would love to stay at one of the Universal resorts, but that was not in the cards for this trip. When we cannot stay at a resort at Walt Disney World, we try to get the Hampton Inn by Downtown Disney. We figure we would give the Hampton Inn Universal Orlando a shot. We were not disappointed. While the hotel is a simple hotel, it met all of needs and more. We were a short 2 to 3 minute drive to Universal property depending on red lights and we got breakfast every morning. If you are going down to Universal and are looking for a good hotel that doesn't break the bank, give the Hampton Inn Universal a shot.
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That gives you the basic background. So, onto some fun in the parks. Once we had arrived, we headed into Islands of Adventure. It was probably around 6pm. After entering the park, we headed directly to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for my wife's first ride at Universal.... she got sick. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a simply stunning ride. I know everyone has heard it before but it warrants all the praise it gets. It is unlike anything else in the industry. Even though my wife got sick on the ride, she had to ride it multiple times on the trip because it is so amazing.
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All pictures not marked otherwise were taken by my wife and me.