Universal Orlando Travel Diary

     If you follow my Instagram, @apocketfuloffaith, you might have noticed that I spent a long weekend in Orlando last week.  I flew to Orlando for a school trip to Universal Studios last Thursday night with my choir!  The trip was only a few days long, scheduled over a weekend to maximize time in Orlando while missing the least possible amount of school.  One of my best friends, Maddie, is in choir with me so we went together and it was so much fun!  (In case you were wondering, we didn’t go to perform.  My school’s choir takes a “just for fun” trip every year, usually to a theme park in Orlando or a big city, last year I went with the choir to Chicago!)  I take my camera with me practically everywhere so it obviously followed me into the parks.  While I was there I took a ton of little clips to piece together into a video!  Today I’m sharing my Universal video as well as daily recaps and a few of my favorite pictures from the trip.  I recommend watching the video in HD (enable by clicking the HD button in the bottom right corner).  I hope you enjoy!

This video was created using iMovie and all of the clips were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and a EF-S 18-55mm lens.  The background song is “All Night” by The Vamps & Matoma.

Thursday

     Thursday evening my choir group met up in the school parking lot at 6:00PM to load a bus and drive to the nearest airport.  We were required to get to the airport a couple hours early, since we were a group of approximately fifty, so once we got there we all talked, played cards, FaceTimed, etc.  Finally, we boarded our flight around 8:30PM and landed in Orlando around 11:00 p.m.  The flight was the first for many of our choir members, so it was fun to see their reactions and how the flight actually compared to their frightened expectations.  Once we claimed our baggage we loaded onto a charter bus.  Before getting to the hotel, we stopped by Walmart to buy forgotten toiletries, snacks for the long park days ahead, sunscreen, etc.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites – Waterpark, and in comparison to the ordinary, average rooms we stayed in when we visited Chicago last year, the suites were incredible.  Quickly upon getting into our hotel rooms around 12:00 a.m., we showered and went to sleep.

Friday

     We woke up to get ready for the day ahead around 8:00 a.m., then we met our group for breakfast at the hotel’s buffet at 9:00 a.m.  The hotel’s buffet was so good.  At 9:45 a.m., we all loaded onto the charter bus and headed to Universal.  We arrived around 10:00 a.m., then we were told where to meet with our chaperones at 4:00 p.m. before they set us loose.  When we split up, Maddie and I chose to go alone together, because we knew we wanted to do all the same things.  The first thing we did upon entrance was purchase Thing 1 and Thing 2 tee shirts in the first gift shop we saw because we had been talking about buying them together in Universal for months.  I wish I could tell you that we went to one section to ride all the rides, then the next, then the next, you know, in a logical manner, but we honestly just hopped from area to area depending on what sounded fun or what snack we wanted to try.  On Friday we tried the famous frozen butter beer in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which tasted like a Starbucks drink (I’m super picky and I was scared I wouldn’t like it, but I absolutely loved it!), met Scooby Doo and the gang (minus Daphne, she unfortunately wasn’t there), met Spongebob and Patrick, and rode about five rollercoasters including a couple in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Rip Ride Rockit, and the Hulk to name a few.  Meeting these characters was so fun, Patrick gave the best hugs!  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was so cool, all of the employees seemed so in character and the area was so incredibly detailed, it wouldn’t be hard to convince me I was in one of the books.  We ate dinner at Mel’s Drive-In, which offered chicken tenders (or a cheeseburger for a slightly higher price), fries, and a shake for $13.99 (if my memory is correct), which is not a terrible deal for theme park food.  We loaded the bus to return to the hotel around 9:00 p.m. and we fell asleep quickly after showering upon our return to our suites.

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Saturday

     Saturday morning we woke up a little late and joined our group for an earlier breakfast around 8:00 a.m.  We loaded the bus at 9:00 a.m. and got to Universal around 9:30 a.m.  The same discussion of when and where to meet the chaperones took place before we separated again. As soon as we got into the park, Maddie and I got in line for the Despicable Me ride, Minion Mayhem.  The ride’s line is set up to go through a room that looks identical to Gru’s home in the movies, which we thought was so cool!  The ride is really just a 3D simulator, but we still found it to be really fun because we love Despicable Me so much.  After you exit the simulator room, we were presented with the opportunity to meet/take pictures with a couple minions.  Maddie and I got in the line as soon as we saw it and after meeting them we continued into the Despicable Me gift shop where we purchased our “it’s so fluffy” scene inspired unicorns.  Once we payed for the unicorns, we decided that since it was short we’d go through the minion meeting line again to meet them with unicorns in hand.  Yes, I know it seems silly, but it was totally worth it.  After we left the gift shop, we tracked down the Despicable Me parade and met and got pictures with the girls (Agnes, Edith, and Margot), Gru, and Vector when their dance routine was over.  I just want to mention that if you’re looking to meet characters in Universal Studios, the employees in the green polos are in charge of the character meet and greets and are definitely the best people to ask about when and where!  After the parade we pretty much just randomly walked from section to section like we did on Friday.  We also met the Cat in the Hat, Thing 1, and Thing 2 that afternoon.  Maddie and I agreed that Suess Landing, the Dr. Suess based section, was our favorite.  The rides were all pastel and the area had a few adorable little book and souvenir shops that looked like they were straight out of one of Suess’ picture books.  We went back to the “Spongebob Storepants” store when we saw through the window that Patrick was in the store again.  That night we ate at Mel’s Drive-In again just because it was such a good deal.  We loaded the bus and left around 9:45 p.m. and again, we showered and fell asleep almost immediately upon our return to the hotel.

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Sunday

     Sunday was our last day in Orlando.  We ate breakfast around 9:00 a.m. again and then hung around the hotel for a few hours, enjoying the mini golf and packing.  We left the hotel around 12:00 p.m. and went to I-Drive 360.  I-Drive 360 is a small shopping center that consist of a few tourist shops, restaurants, the Orlando Eye, a Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, and a Sea Life Aquarium.  Maddie and I went on the Orlando Eye, got Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, walked through the wax museum and took pictures with our favorite celebrities, and looked through the aquarium before we left around 4:00 p.m.  We arrived at the airport around 5:00 p.m. then bought food and worked on our make up work while we waited to board the plane.  We got back home around 9:30 p.m.

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I had a great time in Orlando last weekend with my friends.  I hope you enjoyed this little recap of my trip, thank you for reading!  Be sure to check out my Instagram hashtag, #farawaywithfaith, for more pictures from my travels!

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