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One Teen's Guide to Family Holidays in Orlando, Florida

Our Teen Correspondent, Abbie, knows more about Orlando than most! She’s been on her family holidays to Orlando three times so she knows her way around it’s attractions. We asked her to tell us all about her experiences, her favourites things to do in Orlando and her top tips.

My guide to Orlando’s theme parks!

I went to Orlando, Florida with my family in 2014, 2015 and 2017. I was 11 years old when I first went and I can still remember it. We took a 7 hour flight from Dublin to Newark and then a short 2 hour flight to Orlando. I was most excited about the theme parks; I did lots of my own my research on them before we headed off!

We stayed in the Rosen Inn Hotels on International Drive all three times we went. My favorite hotel was the Rosen Centre Hotel (there are about 7 Rosen hotels). We stayed on the top floor – level 24. We had such a good view of Orlando from our room. The hotels are in an amazing location and close to everything. I would 100% recommend staying on International Drive as it’s close to the shopping malls and the theme parks. The Universal parks and Disney’s Magic Kingdom are about a 15 minute bus journey away. We went to Universal Studios and Island of Adventure. There is also a water-park called Volcano Bay, part of Universal Resort. Depending on the type of pass you have, you can do both parks in one day. In my opinion it’s worth making a full day out of Volcano Bay. 

Abbie by the Universal Globe

Universal Studios

Getting around Universal Studios is very straightforward. You go through security at the entrance, then walk past various restaurants, shops and even a cinema. It’s a short walk until you reach the left or right turn into the parks. Universal Studios is to the right, and Island of Adventure to the left (more on that below!)

Turn right to Universal, scan your card and you’re in for a guaranteed day of fun for all ages! We always went to Orlando between October and November; it’s definitely a good time to go because the parks are packed in Summer and at Christmas time. But in October the queues for the rides aren’t as bad. When you’re inside the park there’s so much excitement around the place that you’ll never want to leave. The first rides you’ll see will be the Shrek 4D ride, Despicable Me ride and the biggest roller coaster in the park which is Rip Ride Rockit. You’ll then walk around to the new attraction, the Fast and Furious ride, right beside The Mummy. The Mummy takes you through an unexpected speeding black out experience, also a surprise of fire breathing mummies! Definitely my favourite.

There are a lot of restaurants and shops as you walk around but it’s a good idea to bring your own lunch as it is quite expensive. There’s lots of places to go including Springfield, everyone’s favourite, and the classic alien-killing ride Men in Black! When you keep walking you’ll see the Harry Potter Diagon Alley which has a real train that brings you straight into magical Hogsmeade in Universal’s other park, the Island of Adventure. Of course, it’ll only bring you to Hogsmeade if you have a pass for both parks.

Island of Adventure

If you don’t want to go on the ‘magic’ train you can walk out of Universal Studios and back to the entrance, and turn left this time into Island of Adventure. You’ll first of all notice the newly improved Hulk roller coaster to your left which is definitely not hard to miss. Another great thing that’s hard to miss is the Cat In The Hat area which is filled with bright colors and memorable music, perfect for young children. I really liked the Hulk ride which looks and sounds terrifying – but you get such a buzz when you’re on it.

Past the Hulk is the Marvel Superheros area which really makes you feel like you are inside a superhero film! There is also a lot of live action ‘parades’ which is basically people driving around on superhero-themed mopeds which is really cool. You’ll come across one of my favorites in Island of Adventure which is the Dr. Seuss water ride. This is one of the most fun rides but you do come off soaked to the skin. Luckily they’ve got dryers nearby, which are about $5 to use. I’d probably save that one till last and carry on to the newly built King Kong ride which makes you feel like you are right beside King Kong himself! And for all you Jurassic World fans, just a few minutes walk away is the River Adventure. This is a water adventure that takes you through the story line of the movie and lets you see the different types of dinosaurs. Let’s just say it ends with a splash!

After going through the Jurassic World area it brings you into Hogsmeade and the very famous Hogwarts (which has 2 rides within the castle). It really is so magical as it features the talking pictures on the wall and virtual conversations between Albus Dumbledore, Hermione, Ron, Harry and more! In this Harry Potter area you can buy wands and the drink the famous butterbeer! It really does make you feel like you are in the Harry Potter movie.

Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay is a water-park which opened to the public in 2017. It is part of the Universal resort and is only about 10 minutes from Universal Studios and Island of Adventure. It’s known for the Giant Volcano in the center of the park which does have water slides going through it! When you go into the park you will get a wristband which tells you how long the queue is for the rides. The park itself has a Hawaiian vibe with lounge chairs on sand facing the Volcano. Volcano Bay is right beside the Cabana Bay hotel and the buses outside the entrance of Universal Studio bring you straight to the park. Your family will never forget the experience.

Overall thoughts

Orlando is the most amazing holiday anyone could do, that’s why me and my family went 3 times and hopefully more in the future. It’s something your kids will never forget growing up. I remember each time I went to Orlando, I remember how I felt on the roller coasters and the water slides of course. I’m 16 now and I’d go back any day, I just wish every person has the chance to go to Orlando it really is unforgettable. 

Don’t forget to check out our site for more inspiration! We have detailed guides available to all our top family destinations. 

Thinking of booking your next family holiday to Orlando? Check out the Cassidy Travel website for great deals on flights and hotels, or call us on 0818-332500 for expert travel advice!

About Cassidy Travel

This blog is powered by Cassidy Travel, one of Ireland’s leading travel agencies. Our team of over 100 expert travel advisors send 1000s of Irish holidaymakers around the world every year. And we love doing it! Visit our website to start planning your next getaway. If you’re Dublin-based, drop into one of our stores. With 33 years of experience we’ve mastered the art of easy booking. Whether it’s a city escape, US adventure or family holiday we’d love to help you plan, book and dream.

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