Universal Orlando Vacation 2021
It’s been a while since we’ve gone on a full Universal Orlando vacation. A few years ago we spent two evenings at Halloween Horror Nights when we stayed at Cabana Bay Beach Resort, we had one whirlwind day during a Disney trip a few years before that, and it was way back in 2010 (on our honeymoon to be exact) that we stayed offsite and did two full days in the parks.
Since we had to cancel our March Walt Disney World trip due to Covid, we decided to splurge and add Universal Orlando to our itinerary when we rescheduled our trip to May. We stayed onsite at Loews Royal Pacific Resort (Express Passes! Woot!) with 4 day park-to-park tickets.
Let’s check it out.
It was so great to be at Universal Orlando again! Because we have annual passes to Walt Disney World, it’s cheaper for us to just spend our whole vacation there. But honestly Universal Orlando is such a great vacation destination, we really need to buy annual passes here as well. (Who am I kidding, we just need to move to Florida.)
We chose to stay at Royal Pacific for a few reasons.
- It includes Universal Express Pass. Royal Pacific is one of three Universal Orlando resorts that includes Universal Express Pass when you stay there. (You can purchase it separately if staying elsewhere.) It was also the cheapest of the three resorts for our dates.
- It is walking distance (or a short boat ride) away from the parks. It was pretty awesome when you get completely drenched on Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges to be able to go back to your room quickly to change clothes. We could hear the roar from the Incredible Hulk coaster when we were unpacking the car!
So I have one big complaint about this resort. Picture the layout of the hallway on our floor as a Y. From the elevator, our room was in the middle of the stem of the Y. Which means if you kept walking past our room you would eventually get to the end where it splits into two, with more rooms in both directions. Because so many people had to walk past our room, it was hands down the loudest hallway I have ever noticed while staying in a hotel.
I don’t understand why people feel the need to have loud conversations as they are walking past numerous room at night? I have come to sleeping with earplugs when I stay at hotels now, so I was prepared. But it’s just so rude. I wish people could just hold their conversation (or loud cackling) until they get to the elevator or to their room. It honestly sounded like the people were in our room with us when they walked past.
I would stay here again… but I would definitely request a room at the far end of the hallway.
As for Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure… we had a blast! This is a compilation video I made of our adventures.
While we were there masks were required indoors but not outside. We did not mind them too much. It definitely helped to be able to take them off outside in the heat.
We arrived later in the afternoon and decided to head to the parks for a few hours before dinner at the Hard Rock Café. Our first stop was the Bourne Stuntacular, which was brand new to us. We loved it! And if you don’t walk around with your fist in the air yelling “BOURNE!” after, you aren’t doing it right.
Also new to us this trip: Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure (MY FAVORITE!), The Incredible Hulk Coaster, VelociCoaster, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon,
Skull Island: Reign of Kong, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, The Cat In The Hat, Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, meeting Blue the Raptor, and Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show.
As for food, we had frozen Butterbeer and Butterbeer Potted Cream at The Three Broomsticks, lunch at Mythos, lunch and dinner at the Hard Rock Café (we had a gift card to use up), and our farewell lunch at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. (Watch the video to see all the food!) I don’t have a single complaint about anything I ate. New to us was Mythos, and it was fantastic.
Having Universal Express Pass was a dream. We rode Revenge of the Mummy twice in a span of maybe 20 minutes, all while passing the huge line out front. I don’t think I can ever go to Universal Orlando without Express Pass from now on.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter sections at both parks were incredibly busy, so we didn’t spend a whole lot of time there. We decided to mobile order to get Butterbeer because the regular lines were so long. We rode the Hogswarts Express only once, from Universal Studios to Islands of Adventure.
One thing we learned, the water rides at Universal Islands of Adventure are insane! We had so much fun riding Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges with complete strangers and we all could not stop laughing. Gary said he got more wet on Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls.
Surprise of the trip? How much we loved Suess Landing. We had Moose Juice and Goose Juice, rode The Cat in the Hat twice in a row, enjoyed The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! (my vote for best team member uniforms), and our most favorite ride of all… One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. 😀
We were also surprised that we got to ride the VelociCoaster! Our trip was the last week in May, before the official opening. Although right when we finally got on, the ride went down and they had us get out of seats and back in line while they did a few test runs. We eventually got to ride it and we absolutely loved it.
We loved our 4-day trip to Universal Orlando and we are excited to go back soon!
If you are planning a vacation Universal Orlando, I can help with that! Message me here.