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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.