The Holiday of a Lifetime: Universal Orlando Resort


At the end of last month we headed off to the fabulous Universal Orlando Resort for what turned out to be the holiday of a lifetime and one that none of us will ever forget!


Universal Studios Globe


We flew out on a cold grey pretty miserable looking morning from London Gatwick with Virgin Atlantic. We had never flown with Virgin Atlantic before, but I would definitely do so again happily. The level of service from the cabin crew team was on a whole other level to any airline that I have ever been on. I also loved the snacks and meals we got on the plane.


Virgin Atlantic


Food on a Virgin Atlantic flight


The little extra touches like activity bags for children on the way and ear plugs, eye masks and toothbrushes for everyone on the way back for the night flight really improved our experience on what was a very long flight and just added the personal Virgin Atlantic touch.


The individual screens for everyone on board with a huge range of films, games, music and television shows to choose from made the flight go a lot faster than I expected it to. I watched Baywatch and Wonder Woman on the way over, both of which were so good. Virgin Holidays offer brilliant packages to Universal Orlando Resort.


Another personal touch that we had on our trip was a personal transfer to the hotel with a really lovely driver (whose name I wish I’d remembered to write down) who drove us in a gorgeous massive car and chatted to us all the way. He was also amazing because he drove for 40 minutes later on to return my phone to me, which like a twit I had left in the back of the car and thought was gone forever as I had no idea where I had left it!


The reception staff at our hotel and the Universal Studios desk staff at our hotel were all brilliant at helping me to make phone calls to try to track it down as well. I know I was sent to review, but it did seem a slightly stressful way to test out their customer service skills – which were top-notch ha!


I won’t tell you too much about the hotel now, as I’m planning to do a whole separate post. However, we stayed at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which is the perfect hotel for families and right next to Universal’s Volcano Bay water park.


Volcano Bay


You can walk to Volcano Bay from the Cabana Bay Resort in about 5 minutes and also easily grab a shuttle bus to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and City Walk. We never once had to wait more than 5 minutes for the bus and the ride there was less than 10 minutes.


A major bonus of staying on an on site hotel other than the easy access to the parks, is that you also get a bonus hour in the parks in the morning as you can get in an hour before everyone else. This really came in handy for the Harry Potter areas of the parks, as they were definitely the most popular and busiest areas.


Cabana Bay Beach Resort hotel


I’m going to cover the parks more fully in extra posts soon as well, as if I told you everything that I want to tell you about Universal Orlando in one post you would get finger ache from scrolling down for hours! I apologise (not) for all the Universal Orlando spam coming your way.


Universal Studios


I wondered how the boys would get on with the rides once we were there as some YouTube searching beforehand showed us that some of them were pretty full on. I shouldn’t have worried though, it turns out we secretly had a pair of adrenaline junkies all along! The ride in the photo below is the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, which scared the life out of me and I only did once. The boys went on four times and Si went on three times and they all absolutely loved it.


Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit


I’ll be telling you all about our VIP tour which we had on our first day at the park in another post soon, but I just have to mention it here as Jimmy our tour guide was fantastic and deserves a bit of extra praise. The VIP tour meant that we completely skipped queues on that day – on the other days we had Express tickets which I really do recommend.


Jimmy took us around all day and really looked after us, the boys loved him and his awful (sorry Jimmy!) jokes and he really made our first day there very special so thank you Jimmy!


Universal Studios VIP tour guide Jimmy


The boys were smiling all week, pretty much bouncing off the walls and just loved every minute. It takes quite a lot to make an eleven year old and a thirteen year old THAT excited, which just shows how truly magical and fun Universal Orlando really is. Fin, my eldest is already desperate to go back again, as the new Fast and Furious Supercharged ride opens in the spring and he loves cars!


We spent our entire week smiling, laughing and in my case occasionally screaming and laughing simultaneously ha! We had the most amazing holiday and I don’t actually think there could have been anything to make it better, other than more of the same for longer.


Stevie x

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the holiday featured above. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.
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  1. 4 November 2017 / 10:00 am

    I Am so looking forward to all the posts!! It looked simply amazing

    • 4 November 2017 / 12:50 pm

      I keep overusing the word ha, but seriously AMAZING is the best way to describe it, we didn’t stop smiling all week!

      Stevie x

  2. 4 November 2017 / 10:35 am

    Ahh that’s so amazing Stevie! I’m really glad you had such a wonderful time, although of course I knew you would. I love Virgin Atlantic too, never had better customer service. I look forward to reading all your other posts soon.

    • 4 November 2017 / 12:45 pm

      Thanks Ray, it was seriously the best sort of holiday for all of us. Although, a second week just chilling by the pool for our feet to recover would be good for me ha!

      Stevie x

  3. 4 November 2017 / 1:10 pm

    I’ve been waiting for your posts, so glad you had a great time. Despite being to Florida three times, we’ve never made it to Universal, something I hope to change on our next visit.

    • 4 November 2017 / 1:57 pm

      Oh you definitely should! We had as much fun as the boys did, we didn’t stop smiling all week and we all want to go again at some point – right now if possible ha, that’s how good it was :)

      Stevie x

  4. 4 November 2017 / 1:18 pm

    I can’t believe you left your phone Hahaah awesome that you got it back so quickly though! The smile on your boys faces says it all – it sounds amazing and the VIP Tour has to be a real dream experience!

    • 4 November 2017 / 1:40 pm

      I know what a twit ha! I was in such a panic as stupidly everything auto logs in on it, so I had no idea how to get into my social media etc! Lesson learnt I’m now keeping a back up password list ;) The boys didn’t stop beaming the whole time, it was pretty special :)

      Stevie x

  5. 4 November 2017 / 4:05 pm

    I can’t wait to read your other posts Stevie!! Florida is top of our dream family travel list; I have such incredible memories of going there as a child (a couple of decades ago!!) and the thought of giving our kids those memories too is so incredible. So glad you had the best time xx

    • 4 November 2017 / 4:13 pm

      I was just smiling all the time and then when I looked at the boys and saw their faces I was beaming even more! Making special memories for them is just the best isn’t it?! Thanks lovely xx

  6. 5 November 2017 / 7:55 am

    This looks like an amazing week away, and I’m a little jealous of your flight. Looking forward to reading more. Claire x

    • 5 November 2017 / 11:13 am

      Considering how long we were in the air it really didn’t feel ridiculously long because of the cabin crew and of course the great films! It really was an amazing holiday!

      Stevie x

  7. 5 November 2017 / 3:57 pm

    It sounds like you all had the best time, I still remember visiting myself when I was about ten and can’t wait to return with my children. Virgin sound like a fab airline to fly with, I have never flown with them either but your meals look nicer then typical plane food x

    • 5 November 2017 / 6:08 pm

      I actually loved the food and that you had a few different choices to choose from too at meal times! It was amazing and my first time in the Us, I want to go back already!

      Stevie x

  8. 5 November 2017 / 5:19 pm

    I cant wait to read all of your posts, we have flown with virgin and loved it too, I totally agree with staying onsite it is so much better to get the extra hours and stay in the bubble xx

    • 5 November 2017 / 6:10 pm

      Thanks lovely and onsite is definitely good, it’s nice not to have the stress of traffic and trying to find your way around. It really was the experience of a lifetime… I just hope we get to do it again sometime ;)

      Stevie xx

  9. 5 November 2017 / 10:44 pm

    Oh Stevie, your boys look SO Happy! I can’t wait to read more about your AMAZING break! x

    • 5 November 2017 / 11:16 pm

      They didn’t stop beaming the whole time and laughing their heads off – same for us :) I don’t even have words for how amazing it was – but I guess I had better find them ha!

      Stevie x

  10. 6 November 2017 / 6:45 pm

    What an amazing opportunity, sounds like you had the BEST time, can’t wait to read more!

  11. 7 November 2017 / 4:37 pm

    Universal Orlando is on our wish list and you post just makes it look even more tempting! Looks like a brilliant way to spend half term xxx

    • 1 February 2018 / 9:46 pm

      It was just mind blowingly good, I want to go back especially now that it is so cold and drizzly here!

      Stevie x