Universal Excitement: My Favorite Experiences at Universal Studios Florida

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Dragon on top of Gringotts bank

As we begin to tentatively crawl back outdoors one thing still remains out of reach for many: escape into the immersive world of theme parks. Being personally partial to Comcast’s collection of parks, I find myself thinking about my favorite experiences at Universal Studios Florida.

I’ve had the privilege of enjoying this movie and entertainment-based theme park since it first emerged in Orlando FL. While much has changed since opening day, my musings meander towards the much-missed magic that still exists presently.

Mayhem this way

Like many people, I simply cannot wait for it to be safe to return the fun and excitement of Florida’s theme parks.  I find myself especially missing the immersive and engaging experiences at Universal Orlando Resort.

From delicious dining at Vivo and Antojitos in City Walk, to Wizarding World wonders at both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida, I simply cannot wait to wander around and take it all in again!

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My Favorite Experiences at Universal Studios Florida

For purposes of today’s day dreaming, Universal Studios Florida becomes the subject of favored fun and adventure — Listed below, by category, are my five favorite, fearsome and fun experiences found at Universal Studios Orlando.

Favorite Five Refreshment Experiences

Refreshments are just as important as anything else when it comes to enjoying all that Universal Studios Florida has to offer.  Included below are a handful of my must-have-munchies enjoyed when visiting.

favorite experiences at Universal Studios Leaky Cauldron

Fishy Green Ale is a smooth sweet treat can only be found at Diagon Alley.  The slight hint of mint combined with small purple fish eggs (small fizzy-when-popped boba-like globes) is the perfect Potter powered beverage in my opinion.

favorite experiences at Universal Studios Fishy Green Ale

Hot Butter Beer tops the charts when it comes to variations on this Wizarding World Favorite.  Only available seasonally, this super sweet, butterscotch based beverage is well worth trying out.

Muggles MUST manage a visit to the Leaky Cauldron. Ambiance alone is worth the dining break.  A selection of British fare peppers the menu.  My go to treat to eat is the mouthwatering Toad in a Hole.

Toad in a hole

favorite experiences at Universal Studios Leaky Cauldron2

Jacket Potato, fully loaded, of course, is the perfect light meal that won’t break the bank.  Find these, in a few varieties, at a small service kiosk located in front of the entrance to Diagon Alley.

favorite experiences at Universal Studios Diagon Alley enterance

The first four food favorites center around Diagon Ally (yes, I am a big Harry Potter fan). However, my personal favorite feasting station is none other than the Universal Studios’ Classic Monsters Café.

Recently redecorated and featuring a new menu, this creepy cool café is must see for any horror fan, like myself.  While just about anything is temptingly tasty, I prefer a three-meat combo of barbecue roast chicken, ribs and brisket.

classic monsters cafe

classic monsters cafe

Top five personal best attractions at Universal Studios Florida

Intensely immersive experiences, better known as attractions, are the backbone of any theme park.  My five favorites from Universal Studios just can’t be beat for an engaging escape from reality.

favorite experiences at Universal Studios MIB

The Horror Make Up Show is one of the few remaining original experiences at Universal Studios Florida.  While it has changed a bit over the years, the presentation is both amusing and entertaining.  For me, the real highlight comes from the various monster make-up themed artifacts haunting this attraction’s lobby.

horror universal

Whimsical and absolutely engaging, MIB Alien Attack offers one of the best themed shooting gallery-style rides around.  On occasion there might even be an opportunity to explore further via the Immigration Tour.

favorite experiences at Universal Studios MIB immagration tour

Diagon Alley delivers one of, if not the best settings in any theme park.  Once inside, its like leaving the muggle realm behind and being fully immersed in the Harry Potter stories.

Dragon pulling fire through the mouth

With a fire breathing dragon atop this amazing area’s main attraction, Escape from Gringotts, who could ask for more?

While I still miss the Back to the Future adventure, I do love how the Simpsons Ride has morphed into an entire themed area.  I really love this motion simulator ride for its “hidden” jokes and jabs at other theme parks (especially found in the changing posters peppering the ride’s queue.


Revenge of the Mummy’s queue makes the transition to the thrill ride an easy trip to Egypt. An indoor roller coaster themed about a monster movie? With real fire effects! What’s not to love?

favorite experiences at Universal Studios Revenge of the Mummy

Spectacular Souvenir Shopping at Universal Studios Florida

Finally, tangible, memory enhancing objects – better known as souvenirs – offer opportunities to bring a slice of the excitement home.  For me, keeping an eye out for more unique and interesting collectables brings me to a few of the parks possibly lesser known boutiques.

favorite experiences at Universal Studios Monster store

When ambiance lends to the purchasing experience, I call that a win-win scenario.  Diagon Alley’s Borgin and Burkes not only stocks a fiendishly fun range of dark delights and Potter collectables, this dimly lit delight has much more on display that thrills my dark heart.

favorite experiences at Universal Studios Borgin and BUrkes

For unique, one-of-a-kind finds, Williams of Hollywood cannot be beat.  From historic pieces to scores of Universal Studios event signage and props, this place can quickly drain funds with its fun finds.


The Film Vault harbors a host of movie souvenirs, including my personal favorite Classic Monsters. Doesn’t hurt that Ghostbusters, JAWS and Stranger Things things also tempt the wallet as well.

Alternatively known as Pantages East, the Universal Studios Monster store takes my breath away. Even if just for a jaw dropping study of the amazing décor this Hollywood Boulevard boutique boasts the best content and environment around.

Of course, the fact Classic Monsters play a central role in theming, doesn’t hurt.  Of note: this particular much desired to return to destination may be gone by the time this story prints (making way for the attraction). Hopefully the spook-tacular shop is a sign of things to come at Epic Universe.

favorite experiences at Universal Studios Pantages East

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Finally, perhaps the ultimate in themed, “I want to live here” shopping experiences has to be the event-centric Tribute Store.  Favorably filled with frightful fun for Halloween Horror Nights this over-the-top immersive experience featured a New Orleans cemetery AND swamp for its first Mardi Gras appearance earlier this year.

favorite experiences at Universal Studios Tribute Store 1

Tribute Store 2

Reconnecting with favorite experiences at Universal

While there is no definite timetable for the safe reopening of Central Florida’s famous theme parks, that even cannot happen soon enough (safely, of course). While writing about these favorite experiences brings a smile to what passes for my heart, the longing to, once again, wander these wonders grows stronger every day.

Missing these attractions and experiences are a true testament to the dedication and talent poured into each and every detail at Universal Studios Florida.

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What are your favorite experiences at Universal Studios Florida? What will be your first stop upon reentering the park’s gates?

Source and images: Universal Orlando Resort, Michael Gavin

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