Hey! Remember that time I started recapping my vacation? Ha. That went well… it was like a month ago and I only got through 2 days before other posts started filling up my queue. You can read part 1 here. Part 2 is DAY 2 of Universal Studios (and really, the day we accomplished the most in a park).
So Monday I woke up feeling even worse than I had on Saturday. Still thinking it was just climate change/ exhaustion, I sucked it up & got ready to head back to Universal with hubby at 9AM. We had discussed it Sunday night and decided that since the weather outlook wasn’t great, we would push off Magic Kingdom for another day so we could make the most of our time there. All the grandparents were going to hang out and take kiddo to the beach since the weather looked more promising on the coast.
Off we went to Universal, sunscreen slathered on & super anxious to see what we had missed on our previous trip. We ended up getting there around 9:30 and decided to start in Diagon Alley since that was one of the things we missed out on Saturday. I gotta tell you – Diagon Alley is boss. Hogsmeade is cool, but Diagon Alley FEELS like you would expect Diagon Alley to feel. All hidden & enclosed and simply magical. We bee-lined for Escape from Gringott’s, since they don’t take Express Passes for that one. We ended up waiting maybe 15-20 minutes to ride, but the whole line is like a tour of Gringott’s and it’s pretty immersive. I did not mind the wait & honestly could have waited longer (same goes for Forbidden Journey). The ride itself was a fun experience, but not as much of a thrill ride as I had heard. I would absolutely go again & again, though, just for the experience.
After that, we headed to the Leaky Cauldron for breakfast. Pro-tip, you guys – if you’re at Universal, only ever eat in the Wizarding World – the food is really (emphasize: REALLY) good and you actually get a decent amount of food for less than the outrageous prices you’ll find elsewhere in the park (never EVER get food in Seussville – $10 for a hot dog & chips is absurd). After breakfast, we wandered Diagon Alley for a little while, checking out shops before hopping on the Hogwart’s Express back over to Hogsmeade to ride Forbidden Journey & Dragon Challenge again – this time we got in the front seats on Dragon Challenge, and it was AWESOME. By then, it was already time for lunch and I knew EXACTLY where I wanted to go. Three Broomsticks for Fish & chips with a butterbeer – it could not have been a more perfect meal that day.
Once we were certain we had exhausted all of the magical experiences in Hogsmeade, we headed out toward the Marvel Superhero Island. I had no idea what to expect, but I definitely didn’t expect to like it more than Wizarding World – *whispers* but I might*. Superhero Island is freaking amazing, you guys. It’s like stepping into a comic book. There are little speech bubbles all over the place for photo ops, statues of favorite comic characters EVERYWHERE, and primary colors galore. Just being there makes you happy.
First thing we did was rush over to the Incredible Hulk Coaster, where we opted again to wait for a seat in the first row. This was quite possibly my favorite roller coaster ride of my entire life. It was perfect – corkscrews & loops & lots of drops that send your stomach into your head. It’s a really great thrill ride.
Our next stop was the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride. This is another one where the line experience is nearly as cool as the ride itself. Hubby was eating up all the comic & movie references as we walked through the offices of the Daily Bugle. The ride itself was fun, if not a little cheesy – what do you expect from a comic-themed ride, though? And I nearly lost it when Stan Lee showed up at the end of the ride. That is a seriously funny dude.
We decided to take a break from rides & explore some of the shops – starting with the infamous Marvel Comic Book Shop. I died in there. I found the House of M collection paperback & begged hubby to let me buy it, but we had already spent plenty of money on Universal Souvenirs. I could have spent hours in that shop & dropped a whole lot of money, had we any to spend.
By this point in the day, unfortunately, I was starting to feel pretty worn down. My throat was swelling up and hurt like a sonofabitch. It was only like 4:30 and I was in desperate need of a nap. Obviously that wasn’t an option, so we did the next best thing & grabbed a caffeinated beverage at one of the refill stations on our way out of Superhero Island. We started making our way back to Diagon Alley again, crossing through The Lost Continent, where I decided to get some henna done and then we took on the Poseidon’s Fury attraction (some pretty cool effects, but the best part was the tour guide – she was pretty hilarious). Once we made it back to Hogsmeade, it was time to board the Hogwarts Express for the 4th time.
Once we were back in Diagon Alley, we cruised the shops a little more thoroughly than we had in the morning, since we weren’t clamoring to get on rides. This is was maybe the most magical part of the day for me. We wandered around Diagon Alley, taking in all the detail & special touches, trying spells with my interactive wand, and just kind of hanging out with the wizards. We stumbled upon Knockturn Alley, which I didn’t even know existed in the park, and I was THRILLED to find Borgin & Burkes with all the dark Death Eater merch & a replica vanishing cabinet. We spent a lot of time hanging out in B&B and also right outside, where there’s a skeleton window display with a pretty awesome spell you can cast.
By the time we emerged from Knockturn Alley, it had started to rain for real – as opposed to the random light showers we had gotten off & on throughout the rest of the day – so we ducked into Florean Fotescue’s for some ice cream (I got lavender, yum!) and to keep dry-ish. With snacks in hand, we found a bench under an overhang & parked it there until the rain let up. Just eating ice cream & drinking a beer in the rain was pretty awesomesauce. And it helped my throat IMMENSELY. I hadn’t realized just how exhausted I was, though, until we were sitting there for a little while and my feet started to ache and I got really lightheaded… that’s about the time we decided it would be acceptable to call it a day.
We waddled our way through the park & back out into CityWalk to find some dinner (and yes, I waddled because my feet were DEMOLISHED). We ended up going to Cowfish for dinner because sushi + burger bar. Duh. This is quite possibly the coolest restaurant I’ve ever set foot in. The decor was super modern & playful. The restaurant spans 3 levels, with a bar on each floor & two balconies on the middle & top floors. We got lucky & got sat on one of the balconies, which was awesome when it started to rain again. We ordered some crab rangoon dip that was super to-DIE for & I was absolutely heartbroken to find that my throat was so swollen I couldn’t eat my steak-sushi. It was pretty miserable, but I wasn’t going to let the stupid swollen throat detract from how perfect it was to end the day with a gorgeous view of the parks from the balcony in the rain and a cup of tea.
(sorry for the vertical video – it was a Snapchat)
After dinner, the walk back to our car was pretty excruciating. Apparently I had a huge welt in the arch of my foot because I decided flip flops were appropriate theme park footwear. [Note: they are not. Especially when riding roller coasters. Duh]. We’d had an incredibly busy day – those Express Passes paid for themselves tenfold. We managed to hit every major attraction we were interested in & then spend some time just exploring and being spontaneous. It was basically perfect, aside from my body trying to ruin things.
The next day was less perfect. Significantly so. (to be continued…maybe)
Until Next Time-ish ❤