Living in Florida has afforded my family the opportunity to visit many popular theme parks. Every year we use our annual passes to enjoy Universal Studios theme park in Lake Buena Vista. My four children and I have almost memorized the layout of the park, and yet there is always something to surprise and amaze us every year.
Universal Studios is a park dedicated to "riding the movies". If you are a movie/television fan, then you will LOVE Universal. The park revolves around major motion pictures/shows made by Universal. There are six general areas: Production Central, Hollywood, World Expo, New York, San Francisco/Amity, and a Kids Zone (Woody Woodpecker). Within each attraction/ride there are gift shops, restaurants, and mini-shows dedicated to that one movie. For example, the Academy Award winning movie Earthquake (in the SanFrancisco/Amity section) sets the stage for one of the most popular attractions. There, your family will learn how special effects are accomplished in movies and will get to see actual props from movies like The Grinch and E.T. Then you are put in the middle of an "earthquake" on a ride that demonstrates all of the special effects used in that movie. My kids were scared, but it is fun. Exiting the ride, you can visit the Richter's (get it , Richter scale) burger joint.
Each of the main six areas has a ride or show that is a big draw. Amity features...what else? JAWS! Try not to scream or gasp when "Bruce" the shark rises from the water to rock your boat! Production Central features a Beetlejuice show and mini-attractions on movie make-up and costume secrets. The New York "movie set" is the home of the new Revenge of the Mummy ride! This is an indoor roller coaster, and here is a secret: watch for the "flash" at the end of the ride, as there is an automatic picture taken as you shriek your way through this adventure. Also, don't miss Shrek 4-D, Terminator, Jimmy Neutron, Men in Black, and Twister. You will feel like you are right there in the movies!
There are also street performers to enjoy as well as movie star look alikes that you will swear are the real people! My son has a picture of the Doc and Marty McFly look alikes with him, and you would bet that he was standing next to Michael J. Fox! Movie props, celebrity memorabilia and other things will interest all ages.
The night life at Universal Studios is exciting too. City Walk provides a hot spot for dining and entertainment for all. This is a 30 acre complex with live music, fine dining and even dancing. Everything from seafood, Italian, French and casual food are on the menu! And of course, how could it be Universal without the movies? A huge movie theatre with at least ten or more first run movies greets you as you enter.
Universal Studios has something for everyone. From Fear Factor Live to Hard Rock Live, you will be in entertainment heaven. For less than one hundred dollars a ticket, it is well worth an unforgettable day of family fun.