We went to Orlando at the beginning of May for some fun in the sun! Mr. A had a work conference on the Disney campus a couple days before, so the kids and I joined him after his conference ended. We didn’t plan on going to Disney World this time around because I wanted to go to Universal Studios. I’ve wanted to go to Universal Studios for the longest time, ever since they announced they were making the Harry Potter area back in 2010. 6 years and 2 kids later we went and let me tell you it was fantastic! Since our kids are not in the school system yet we go on vacation during off-season times to avoid the crowds. Beginning of May was a very good time to go, it was warm on most days but not awful. My sister from California also joined us for a couple days and having the extra set of hands is amazingly useful.
Lets start with our plane ride. Since Mr. A was already in Orlando I had to fly solo with the two kiddos. It wasn’t as awful and horrible as I thought it would be, everything went as perfect as could be. I also have TSA pre-check so I didn’t have to take our shoes off or take out a baggy of liquids. I brought an umbrella stroller, which Ian sat in and I brought my Ergo which Jensen was in. I haven’t used this since Jensen could walk so to say he was less than thrilled was an understatement, but I didn’t care! Him strapped to me meant he couldn’t run free while I was trying to check in our bags.
We flew Southwest, I went ahead and paid extra for the Early Bird so I could ensure we had 3 seats together. We got strapped in and off we went, I brought both of their tablets, and their blankets on board with us. The flight is short from DFW, so didn’t have to stress too much about entertainment. Once we landed I was in such a rush to get out and get our luggage and catch the shuttle that I forgot to pick up the gate-checked stroller. Luckily they sent it down to the baggage claim area after I told them what happened. We got on the shuttle and were on our way. Jensen fell asleep.
Once we arrived at the hotel I was able to check-in early (we got there around noon) and got situated in our room. (I’ll have a separate post about our fantastic hotel) We waited for Mr. A to join us and we relaxed for the rest of the day. The next day I planned for us to go to to the Disney Art of Animation Hotel, I had wanted to stay here initially but we weren’t going to Disney World so it seemed a waste. (It’s good we didn’t stay here the taxi ride between Universal and Disney is outrageous). I wanted to stay here because they have the Cars cars outside. They have all of them from the original movie except Red and Lizzie. Ian was very upset Red wasn’t there, it’s all he wanted to see and basically was a butt about it the rest of the time.
If you visit Florida please remember to bring sunscreen, as you can see from the pics it’s very sunny in the sunshine state! Jensen’s favorite is Mater and as soon as he saw Mater he yelled “Mater!!” and ran over there. The pool for this area is surrounded by the orange cones which also serve as sitting areas. So that was the Cars area of the hotel.
Next to that cluster of rooms is the Finding Nemo section. When you start walking over there you’ll see the seagulls way up, you can see them in the picture above with Sarge. The buildings are painted like you are on the sea floor. This is the central area of the hotel and also has the main pool and a small play ground. We were very impressed by how immaculate these structures are, in fact when we were walking around we saw maintenance crew touching up paint on the buildings.
We let the kids play a little bit in the play ground that looks like a coral reef. Then we moved on to the Lion King area.
After we walked through here it was around lunch time so we decided to skip the Little Mermaid area, especially since neither of our kids were really interested in Ariel. So we took a free shuttle over to Disney Springs, which is a huge shopping area. They have a lego store, a mini train, which our children had to ride, and this huge hot air balloon. Along with a bunch of stores, you can spend all day here.
We decided to eat at T-Rex Cafe, inside has all prehistoric decor and every couple of minutes a storm comes through with lightening and thunder. Jensen wasn’t a fan of this and had to be held every time this happened…which was probably 4 times during the course of our meal. Really cool decor and the food was good, not cheap, but I do believe it’s part of the Disney dining plan.
After eating we walked around some more and passed by a row of amphicars. What is an amphicar you ask, well it’s a car that’s also a boat! So cool right? The ride costs $130, so we decided to skip this attraction. Still very cool to witness the car driving into the water and then floating away.
After this we walked and shopped some more and took a taxi back to our hotel. Where we attempted to go swimming, but it was actually too cold! Next up Universal Studios Day 1