Traveling with the family is great, but traveling with your girlfriends is necessary. And even though theme parks are family-centered, you might be surprised to learn that they are not just for kids! Moms looking for pampering, shopping, fantastic dining, and a few thrills need to check out this girlfriend?s guide to Universal Orlando.
Universal Orlando For Girlfriends
In recent years, I?ve been sneaking over to Universal to visit my boyfriend, Harry. Don?t judge: he?s totally of age now.
I?m ready to make our relationship known far and wide: I adore everything at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
While I started visiting Universal for the butterbeer, Ollivander?s Wand Shop, and the Three Broomsticks, I?ve quickly become a fan of all things Universal (on both coasts!). In fact, I think in many ways it can be better than Disney.
I?ve been dying to share this love with some of my best girls!
A Girlfriends Guide To Universal Orlando
The last weekend in February consists of my annual girls getaway.
Moms, if you don?t have an annual girls getaway planned, please consider doing so! I think moms need to get away with their girls, and I have five reasons why you should get away with your girlfriends.
Stay at a Universal Orlando Resort With Your Girlfriends
Staying onsite was an easy decision. Universal Orlando?s hotel guests get some sweet perks including early entry to one of Harry Potter sections every morning.
The hard part was choosing which hotel to check out.
Universal Orlando has eight distinct resorts to choose from to meet every budget and type of vacation.
- Universal’s Aventura Hotel
- Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
- Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
- Loews Royal Pacific Resort
- Hard Rock Hotel
- Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
- Universal’s Endless Summer Resort ? Surfside Inn and Suites opens June 2019
- Universal’s Endless Summer Resort ? Dockside Inn and Suites opens May 2020
Loews Royal Pacific Resort Is Perfect For A Girls Getaway
We chose to stay at the mid-range Loews Royal Pacific Resort (hey, we?re moms who like the finer things ? but on a budget!).
We were captivated from the moment the valet took our keys. That?s right, ladies: valet and bell services were helping us from the get-go.
Our room was lovely, with two queen beds and a separated bath area. The whole property gives off a South Seas vibe, and I was feeling it, y?all.
Since I haven?t made it to an island in the Pacific just yet, this will have to do!
From the window in our room, we all drooled over the stunning pool below.
And maybe some of us picked out our lounge chairs from there.
You know, the ones closest to the bartender at the poolside Bula Bar & Grill Grille.
Because this was absolutely happening.
While Tania attended to some work in the room, Amy and I attended to the pool bar. An hour of chatting in the sun with some girlie drinks was just what the doctor ordered!
You will find the staff ready to cater to your every need at this resort.
We had exceptional customer service from everyone we encountered and would recommend the Royal Pacific for family stays as well as adult only stays.
Tour The Parks At Universal Orlando With Your Girlfriends
Remember when I said staying onsite offers some nice perks? Not only do you get a head start on the offsite guests with early entry, but you can also score free Universal Express Unlimited passes.
If you ever want to feel like Wayne & Garth with backstage passes, this is how you do it!
Three of the hotels offer this perk, and it?s often worth the hotel upgrade from a strictly financial sense.
It?s always worth the hotel upgrade from a time-saving point of view.
With Express Passes, you can cut out most of the queue of each ride. This means a 60-minute wait might fall to 15 or so.
When you are moms on a mission, this is how you want to roll!
I?m sure the Express Passes saved us valuable time in line over the course of the two days.
But I?ll let you in on a little secret: we were laughing and talking so much we lost track of time and just enjoyed being together.
This wasn?t movie magic either; it was friendship and relaxation and just what we needed. (But, man, flashing the Express Pass sure made us feel good!).
Don?t forget to upgrade to the Park-to-Park tickets.
Since the parks are so close to each other, it makes it super easy to hop back and forth between them.
And if it?s important for you to ride the Hogwarts Express (and, duh, of course, it is!) then it?s a must.
Take Your Girlfriends To Universal CityWalk At Universal Orlando
I can?t leave out the food portion of this escapade. We ate a lot of yummy things, and much of it we found in CityWalk.
Oh my word, was it all delicious!
Most guests will travel through the CityWalk district to get to the parks from the parking garage.
Take notes as you do: you will find delights you won?t want to forget about later!
The vibrancy, dining, and shopping options are off the chain here.
Day or night, you are bound to find something to do here, eat here, drink here, or buy here.
We made a quick stop into Toothsome Chocolate Emporium because we heard it was a must-see location.
Inside we became literal kids in the candy store. The girls narrowed things down and walked out with a Salted Caramel Milkshake.
Yes. It was as good as it looks!
The big winner, however, was the night we dined at Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar.
It?s exactly what it sounds like. The menu offers sushi or burgers or a combination of both.
I?m still dreaming a little about the fried pickles and crab rangoon dip. Picture Homer Simpson when he thinks about donuts, and you have an accurate picture of us during this meal.
Come Back To Universal Orlando With Your Family
Even though we were on a girlfriends only trip, well, we never truly stop being moms.
With 11 kids between us, we are hard-wired that way. We spent a lot of time talking about what our families would enjoy the most.
Universal and Islands of Adventure parks have attractions for all ages.
Your young kids may not know ET, but they will love traveling with him to help save his planet.
Your older kids will be amped on adrenaline after a spin on The Incredible Hulk Coaster.
And everyone will delight in becoming a Minion.
And of course, there?s the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, an experience that has no comparison in terms of theming or immersion experience at any theme park I?ve ever seen.
I do love me some Harry!
Did we have a fantastic time without our kids and husbands? You bet.
Did we need this for all kinds of reasons? Absolutely.
Will we be back? Oh, you know it!
And we hope this Girlfriends Guide to Universal Orlando will help you visit as well.
All three families have plans to return to Universal Studios as a direct result of this girlfriends getaway research trip.
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Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)