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Trip Report 11 Days, 6 Theme Parks, 1 Monsoon, Lots of Characters, Lots of New Experiences, and Plenty of Memories.

Hello All,

My husband Matt and I just returned from the most magical vacation. We spent 11 days in Orlando. With time spent at Universal and Disney.

I hope you will follow along!



Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I am slowly but surely starting the process of organizing all of my photos! So lets get this report started!

Tuesday May 2nd, 2023 Travel Day

Our flight wasn't set to depart until 3:10pm this day so it was really nice not having to rush. My husband had to work a half day but I was already off work. I spent my morning doing some last minute packing and making sure our house was ready to go for the dog sitters.

We left the house at noon to stop and fill the car with the gas and get a little caffeine before our flight.

My dad offered to drive us to the airport and everything was smooth sailing.

This was our first time flying out of the new Kansas City airport and it was so nice.

We quickly got our bags checked and were through security in a breeze. Having TSA pre-check is a total game changer.

We noticed my best friend was in line for security when we had entered and we made plans for a quick meet up.


After our brief chat Matt and I went in search of some lunch.

It is so nice having an airport with options now.

Since we had time to we decided to sit down at a little City Market place that featured a few different vendors.

Matt had a burger from a place called Pigwich. And I had friend rice and egg rolls from Bo Lings.

Egg Rolls.jpg

After a delicious lunch we were soon boarding our plane.

It was a full flight but we left on time and had no problems.

When we landed we quickly rode the tram to collect our bags.

After getting our bags we were in search of where to get a Lyft. We made the mistake and went down to the first level where the buses are and had to retrace our steps.

Eventually we found our Lyft. We were staying at a Fairfield Marriott close to Universal just for the night.

We got settled in our room. Thankfully it was only for one night because it smelled like chlorine and must in our room.

Miller's Ale House was right across the parking lot so we decided to walk over there for some dinner.


We started with this pretzel. It was so good.
Millers Fries.jpg
Millers Mac.jpg

Matt had the Wings and loaded fries and I had the buffalo wings and mac and cheese. Everything was delicious. Except my meal came out freezing cold. It look a while to get the waitress's attention to send it back to be warmed. By the time I finally got it back Matt was done eating so I decided to take the rest to go.

We also got some desert to go.


This was called Captain Jack's buried treasure. They sell it by the pint. It was Oreo Crumbles and Heath bar pieces. Plus hot fudge. This was so good!

After our dessert it was time to go to bed.

We had our first hotel move in the morning plus our first time at Universal.
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Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Alright! Lets get to the exciting stuff!

Wednesday May 3rd. Our first Universal Morning

We both woke up pretty early thanks in part to excitement and how unbearably hot our hotel room was!

Matt ran across the street to Burger King to get us some breakfast and I got ready and packed up all of our stuff. (Did I mention that we had packed four suitcases and lugging them around was not fun lol)

We ordered a Lyft and pretty soon we were on our way to Loews Royal Pacific Resort. We chose this resort so we could get the included express pass plus the location and convenience.

We walked in and were immediately greeted with the best smell ever. I love the smell of any Loews hotel. We decided to just drop our bags off because we thought there was no way our room would be ready yet.

After dropping our bags off we went to the front desk to get our express passes and check in.

To our surprise it was like 9:30am and our room was ready at this point. We were in tower 3 on the 6th floor.

It was about as long of a walk as you could be from the elevator but the room was gorgeous.


Walkway when you enter the room

Very nice sink/vanity area


This was probably the best part of the room. The amazing shower.



Nice desk area

Very comfy sofa. I am assuming this also pulls out


Very comfortable bed (featuring Matt on the phone calling about something)

After a brief stop in the room it was time for us to head to Universal!

Our room location was amazing. We were about a 5 minute walk to the boats that take you directly to the parks.


Selfie by the boat station. Also something to note. I cut off about 8 inches of my hair before this trip. It was time and it made getting ready so much easier.

We decided to go to Islands of Adventure first.

Something to know about me. I am a wuss. I don't like a ton of thrill rides and I am perfectly happy sitting on a bench and people watching. With that said I think we did a good job of balancing rides that I would not do and rides that I would do.

First up Matt rode the Hulk coaster


He loved it!

After the Hulk we headed over to Spiderman! Holy moly. What a cool ride. I was amazed by the immersion and honestly and it had a pretty good level of thrill. It blew my mind.

After Spiderman Matt wanted to ride the Dudley Do Right Ripsaw Falls. He knew he was going to get soaked so he made sure to change out of his tennis shoes first.

I had fun sitting on a bench watching people come down the hill.


Matt got off the ride and sure enough he was soaked. Thankfully it was a warm day and he dried pretty quickly.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Wednesday May 3rd Continued..

We then made our way to Kong. Again the immersion of the ride blew me away. And that animatronic was incredible.


I will say that that we had a slight delay at the end of the ride and we were in the back of the vehicle. The Kong animatronic just goes still and it was a little creepy.

It was then time for the ride Matt had been waiting for. Velocicoaster.


He said it was terrifying but he had a blast.

We also had to stop and take a picture in our matching shirts. We had been taking selfies but a nice couple stopped and offered to take our picture if we took theirs!


It was then time to head to what I had been waiting for.

It was time to visit Hogsmeade.


We immediately had to get some Butterbeer. We tried both the frozen and regular. I think I liked the frozen better and Matt was indifferent.


I couldn't let Matt be the only one getting some thrills on this trip.

I had to go ride Flight of the Hippogriff. This was such a fun ride! But way too short.

After our Butterbeer and thrill ride it was time to take the Hogwarts Express over to Diagon Alley.

Coming up next: our day continues at Universal plus an After Hours Disney Event.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Wednesday May 3rd Continued..

I forgot to mention that before we hopped on the Hogwarts Express Matt and I had went over to Hagrids Motorbike adventure. He just wanted to see if he fit in the test seat and his plan was to come back first thing tomorrow morning to ride since the wait was like 75 minutes at this point.

He fit on the bike seat just fine and then some magic happened. The very nice team member that was by the test seat offered to walk Matt onto the ride. Matt was super grateful and ended up absolutely loving the ride and it saved him from having to wake up super early the next day.

The Hogwarts Express train ride was a very cool experience. I am glad we had the express pass and did not have to wait very long for it.


Diagon Alley was absolutely packed. This was the first and only time I felt overwhelmed at Universal. We were pretty lucky to have encountered pretty light crowds. I think that is because everyone was at Diagon Alley. You literally couldn't move without running into someone.

Matt went on Gringotts and I found a little space to people watch. I had wanted to explore Diagon Alley more but there were just too many people.

After his ride on Gringotts we headed over to the Simpsons area. Matt wanted to ride the Simpsons ride. I had heard that you have motion sickness to avoid this ride and I am so glad that I did. Matt even had a difficult time on the ride.

After the Simpsons Matt went and rode the Mummy.

While he was riding I saw the Blues Brothers Car


We then both went to ride Transformers. Again this ride was super immersive and definitely had a thrill factor. Unfortunately it gave me a bad headache and I was quickly losing steam.

We decided to head out of the park at this point. But not before stopping so Matt could ride Rip Ride Rocket. I found a bench with good view of the hill and enjoyed watching people ride.

We stopped to get a few pictures with the iconic Universal sign.


Matt ran to Auntie Anne's and grabbed us some pretzel bites and we headed back on the boat to our hotel.

We enjoyed some time at the hotel pool.

We were both starving and decided to order some room service.


Everything was delicious and it was a nice little treat.

Coming up next: Our third theme park of the day and is Hollywood Studios After Hours worth it?


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Wednesday May 3rd Continued...

After our Room Service we quickly freshened up and called a Lyft to take us to Hollywood Studios. We did the After Hours at Magic Kingdom a few years ago and loved it. When it was announced at Hollywood Studios we knew we wanted to do go. Unfortunately the date fell while we were at Universal but we still decided to go.

We got to Hollywood Studios around 8:00. The After Hours didn't start until 10:00 but we were allowed to enter starting at 7.


Just seeing this made me so happy!

The first thing we did was grab a little pick me up. We knew it was going to be a long night!


Even though my name was spelled wrong this was delicious.

Mickey and Minnie's only had a 20 minute wait so we decided to do that first.

We both really enjoyed the ride. It had opened a few days after we left Disney the last time so it was cool to finally experience that.

After our ride we headed over to Toy Story Land. We decided to mobile order one of our favorites.


The grilled cheese and grown up lemonade from Woody's Lunch Box.

It was getting closer to the event starting at this point so we headed over to Star Wars Land.

Rise had a 35 minute wait so we figured we should go ahead and ride and the event will have started by the time we got done.


This ride was amazing like always.

We stopped for some popcorn and to make a plan of what to do next.

I am not going to lie we expected wait times to be lower than they were. Alien Swirling was at a 45 minute wait. Slinky was 40. Tower I think was 30.

Midway Mania was listed at a 5 minute wait and we walked on. I forgot how much that ride is.

After Midway Mania we got a little ice cream treat. (Got to take advantage of Mickey Bars being included)



Bo Peep was out meeting and she had a pretty short line so we decided why not.


She was so lovely to meet and I am glad that we did.

After our meet and greet slinky had a 30 minute wait so we decided to hop in line.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We got to sit in the front for the first time!


I think a combination of it being dark and then not being able to see over Slinky's head made this ride even more fun.

After our ride we took a few more photopass pictures and made our way over to what I had been dreading all night.




It was time for the dreaded Tower of Terror. I tried to chicken out. I tried to back out but Matt was having none of it.

I was literally almost in tears in the pre show room. But I made good on my promise and rode.


It was definitely better than the first time I rode it and I am glad that I did.

It was nearing time for the park to close after we were done. We decided to order a Lyft and head out.

With all of the traffic we made it back to the Loews at about 2:00am.

Overall I think we were both slightly disappointed with the After Hours. We expected wait times to be lower. And judging from the normal wait times they definitely were but weren't total walk ons like we saw at Magic Kingdom.

That said we did get to ride everything that we wanted and I am glad that we did it once.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Thursday May 4th

When we got back to the hotel after Hollywood Studios we discussed what our plan would be. We decided we wouldn't set an alarm and sleep in and then think about what we felt like doing.

We both woke up around 10:30. We had some left over room service pizza for breakfast and began discussing our day.

Originally we thought about going to Volcano Bay and then hitting the parks again in the evening.

We ultimately decided we really didn't need to go back to Universal Studios but there were a few things in Islands of Adventure that we wanted to do.

We got ready pretty quickly and headed to the boats. Soon we were entering Islands of Adventure.

Matt went to go ride Hulk and I got us some Starbucks. Surprisingly Matt was done and off the ride by the time I got our coffees.


We enjoyed our coffees for a little bit and then came up with a game plan.

We decided to head over to Seuss Landing.

We rode Cat In The Hat and The Trolley Ride. Both were cute but definitely don't need to do again.

We then headed over to Jurassic Park. Velocicoaster was down but Matt wanted to ride the River Adventure. I totally chickened out. I also didn't feel like getting soaked.


While Matt was in line in actually broke down. He ended up waiting about 45 minutes all in all. It was great for me. I found a bench somewhat in the shade and was actually able to get some work done.


He finally got to ride and came off soaked.

We then headed to Hogsmeade. We wanted to get another Butterbeer and take some pictures.



I really wanted to ride Spiderman again so we headed there. We actually rode this twice in a row.

I don't know what is about that ride but it seriously one of my favs. And on the third time I actually kept my eyes open the whole time haha.


After this I decided to take the boat back to the hotel.

Thankfully Velocicoaster was back up and running and Matt got to ride again. This time in the front row.


On his way out of the park he decided to ride Hulk one more time.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Matt stopped at Voodoo Donuts and also got us some donuts to try. As well as an Italian Sandwich from the hotel to share for lunch.


The donuts were so good and definitely lived up to the hype.

We did a little relaxing in the room and took a nap. We had made a reservation for Jake's American Bar at 8:00pm.

It was a quick walk to dinner in the hotel.

We started out with of course a pretzel sticks. These were so so good.


For dinner Matt had a burger and I got the Shepherds Pie.

Both were amazing.

After our delicious meal we headed to the little quick service in the hotel for a sweet treat.


Matt got some peanut butter gelato and I had some mango sorbet. Both were very good.

We spent the rest of the evening packing and getting ready for the big move to Disney in the morning.

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