Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"Must-Do" Rides at Universal Orlando!

I recently went on vacation to Universal and I had a great time, as always! I stayed at Universal's Royal Pacific Resort, so my party had Express Passes. We were lucky enough to go on almost all of the rides multiple times, and we stayed for four days.
If you are planning to visit Universal, put these rides on your vacation bucket list! Don't miss these attractions!
 ALSO, check out my Etsy shop! I have recently added new merchandise. For example, this Universal Park Map Phone Case www.etsy.com/shop/ThemeParkTeen

Here are the five must-do rides at Universal Orlando:

5. Jurassic Park River Adventure
Jurassic Park is such an iconic movie series so the majority of people are familiar with the story (as opposed to Dudley Do Right, another Universal water ride). If you are not, life-like dinosaurs are still fun. River Adventure is a great way for the family to cool off during a day in the Florida sun, as you can be sure you will be wet. Don't be afraid of the drop at the end; it is over in about 3 seconds!

4. The Incredible Hulk Coaster
If you are a big fan of coasters, or you are feeling daring, take a ride on Hulk. the launch at the beginning is so much fun. After the launch you will corkscrew then drop 110 feet!
Hulk is closing is September for a few months!!! Universal's website

3. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
This ride is technologically advanced and is different from most other rides in the park. You will be wearing 3D glasses while riding along in a mine-cart style vehicle. The whole family can experience this ride. This is still fun for any non Potter fans because it is a great experience.

2. Transformers the Ride 3D
You will experience an exciting battle while riding Transformers! You can feel every motion that you see on the screen. Because it is a simulation, some people may feel sick.

1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
This is the best ride in the park. It is an unbelievable experience for Potter fans and non fans alike. You really feel like you are flying. Although there is no Express pass, it is worth the wait. Forbidden Journey's queue takes you on a fun tour of Hogwarts. The ride is also about 5 minutes long, which is more than most other rides.

Don't forget to experience these rides at least once on your visit to Universal Orlando Resort!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

What NOT to Wear to a Theme Park

I have already written an article about what to wear to a day at a theme park see blog post but in just in case you dislike the items I listed, or you still had questions, here is what to NOT wear/bring.

NO Flip flips!
I admit I find these shoes comfortable for the beach or pool, but they are bad for your feet when walking around for a long time. Also you would have to take them off for all the thrill rides.

NO long pants in the summer!
Florida is very hot all day so I can assure you that you will be comfortable in shorts.

NO swimsuits!
Although Universal and Disney have water rides, bathing suits tops or bottoms are not recommended and you might get some funny looks from other guests.

NO huge backpacks!
In my other post I recommended a backpack or purse, but only bring a reasonable sized one. You might have to fit it in the square lockers when you go on a thrill or water ride.

NO heavy items!
Leave the huge cameras at home if you are visiting a theme park for a family vacation.

NO new shoes!
Nobody wants blisters! Break in your shoes at home first.

Overall, just be comfortable. You went to a theme park to have fun so make sure that is your priority and you shouldn't have to worry about your clothes all day!


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

DIY Disney Nails

In the days before a vacation, I always love to get in the mood by adding themed accessories to an outfit or something of that sort. Before I went to Disney World in February I saw some creative and crazy Disney nail art on Pinterest. But I wanted to do something a little more simple but still impressive.
As a fun way to get psyched up for a WDW vacation, here's a tutorial for some Disney nails.

First start off by gathering/purchasing all the colors you will need.
I used yellow, red, black, and white (Mickey Mouse colors). I actually do not own white nail polish, so I used white acrylic paint and it worked fine!

Then paint each nail as shown below and let them dry completely.
Using the back of a small paint brush, paint 6+ dots on the two red nails.
Then paint three dots in the shape of a Mickey head on the black pinky nails and yellow nails.
Paint a red stripe on the bottom half of the remaining black nails. Add two dots to each of these nails.
Finish with a clear top coat to seal.
Terrible lighting, but this Mickey bracelet is for sale on my Etsy shop!

Now go show off your cool Disney manicure!


Friday, June 5, 2015

The Best Harry Potter Purchases from Universal

Now that Universal Orlando has two Harry Potter themed sections, the merchandise possibilities are endless! Universal features over 10 stores just like the HP books/movies. If you're on a souvenir budget you'll have to limit the purchases you make. Although this can be difficult this list of only the best things should help. I have bought all of these things :)

  • Butterbeer!!! Although you cannot take this home with you, any fan needs to taste this delicious drink. It is available in slushy form or regular, in a disposable cup or souvenir cup. This drink goes perfectly with a meal at the Three Broomsticks!
Also try Butterbeer Ice Cream from Diagon Alley. Yum!
Interactive wands! $40 With a swish and flick in a specific location, magical things can occur in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. 

  • T-shirts! $24.99 Show your house pride or tell everyone that you visited the Wizarding World in a fun HP shirt.

Lanyards and Pins! Lanyards are very functional during your stay in Universal and pins add a little personal touch. There are so many to choose from.

  • Hogwarts journal! I personally love to record fun things that I do and this journal is displayed in my room. Tip: Get a Owl Post stamp in the journal for free in Hogsmeade!
Even if you decide not to buy anything HP related, browsing the stores is still a fun experience! Each one is different and exciting.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015


I have recently added new merchandise to my Etsy shop!

The new items are all Harry Potter themed, so go check out my shop Potterheads!

 The original items are still for sale and are customizable. Everything is at a great price and great quality. Everything will ship within a week except for the shoes.

If you have a question or want to make a suggestion contact me through Etsy! I am always available through Etsy conversations.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sports Competitions at Walt Disney World

WDW is home to a huge sports complex, called ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. I was lucky enough to play in a field hockey tournament there, this past February (see photo below). WWS has many fields, stages, and more and hosts tons of sports competitions throughout the year. The facility is beautiful and playing here is a great experience.
WWS is on the WDW property and on-site hotel buses can take you there, but when I went we stayed off-site and parked the rental car there for the day. The complex is huge but you would only go to the field(s) pertaining to your sport. Many places to buy food are located throughout the place.
Spectators must pay a fee to watch their athlete play. But athletes receive discounted Disney theme park tickets, so I strongly recommend visiting at least one park while you are there.
A common question is will I have time to visit a Disney park while at a WWS competition?
Yes you probably will. When I played, even with my many games, I had time to spend a few hours at a park three out of four days.
If you are serious about the sport you play, many college coaches go to the Disney tournaments. Athletes get to play teams from all over the country, and may even win a medal!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Roller Coasters at Six Flags Great Adventure!

On Sunday 5/17 I visited Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ! This was my second time visiting this fun theme park. I will describe all of SFGA's roller coasters and I have ridden all of them except Kingda Ka because it was closed both times I went.
(my photo)
Kingda Ka
456 ft tall and top speed of 128 mph and the ride is only 50 seconds long. 0 inversions. This coaster is the tallest in the world! And the fastest in North America. No wonder the wait times are hours long.

230 ft tall and 80 mph. 0 inversions. This is great ride because it is 3 minutes long and the lines go very fast! I timed the wait from the sixty minute sign to the ride and it took 15 minutes!

Batman: the Ride
105 ft and 50 mph. 1 min 40 sec. 5 inversions. This is a classic inverted coaster and is very similar to Dragon Challenge at Universal.

Green Lantern
154 ft and 63 mph. 2 min 30 sec. 5 inversions. This ride is unique because you are standing up the entire time!

146 ft and 61 mph. 3 minute 15 sec. 7 inversions. This ride is certainly crazy. But watch out for the balls of fire and no floor on the coaster.

El Toro
181 ft and 70 mph. 1 min 42 sec. 0 inversions. As wooden coasters go, this is a really fun one. The drop is long and steep, but the ride broke down when I went to SFGA.

Superman: Ultimate Flight
108 ft and 60 mph. 2 min 25 sec. 3 inversions. This is exactly like Manta at SeaWorld and it is a lot of fun. But it is noticeably slower than all other coasters at this park.

Overall, my favorite ride here is either Nitro, because of the height and short wait, or Bizarro, because of the inversions. All Six Flags theme parks are a lot of fun and I recommend visiting one close to your home for a day trip!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Touring Plan: Islands of Adventure

Since there are so many things to see and do at Universal, it is hard to get to everything. To help you make the most of your time there, I have come up with a touring plan for Islands of Adventure.
Get to the most popular rides first, and where comfortable shoes for a long and fun day!

Remember: Get to the park when it opens! Even though you are on vacation, it is beneficial to wake up early and get there before the long lines.

Use the Universal App! You can see wait times for any ride, anywhere.

If you are staying at an on-site hotel, you have early access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Take advantage of this or get there as early as possible. Also on-site hotels come with Express passes! These are super helpful.

Here is how you should spend your day at IOA:

  1. Get a quick breakfast at your hotel.
  2. Ride Incredible Hulk Coaster.
  3. Ride Forbidden Journey.
  4. Ride Dragon Challenge or Flight of the Hippogriff (or both)
  5. Try some butterbeer.
  6. Walk to Jurassic Park.
  7. Ride River Adventure if you don't mind getting wet (see previous article)
  8. Explore Camp Jurassic or Discovery Center.
  9. Ride Ripsaw Falls and Popeyes Barges (also water rides, see previous article)
  10. Grab some lunch from Blondie's sandwich shop.
  11. Ride Spiderman.
  12. Ride Dr Dooms Fearful and Hulk again.
  13. Walk to Suess Landing and go on rides if you have little kids or like slow rides.
  14. Watch The Sinbad Stunt Show in the Lost Continent.
  15. Go back to any rides you would like to ride again.
  16. Eat dinner at the Three Broomsticks.
  17. Explore shops/visit City Walk.
Yes, this day may seem long and busy, but personally I like to experience as much as I can so as to make the most of the vacation.

Remember to keep in mind the likes and dislikes of everyone in your party so everyone enjoys themselves.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

CityWalk vs. Downtown Disney

Either after park hours, or during the day, CityWalk and Downtown Disney are very popular. CityWalk is on Universal Orlando's property, and Downtown Disney is in WDW. Both places have restaurants, gift shops, and more. Both places do not require a ticket for entrance.

Downtown Disney:
This area is much larger than CityWalk. You have many more places to choose from if you want to eat. DD features many quick service and sit down restaurants. There are also more than 35 places to shop. But, it is not within walking distance of any of the theme parks, so it is not as convenient. If you are here, you might as well stay for a while as opposed to a quick stop-by.
Located right next to both theme parks, CW is easily accessible anytime of the day. This area also has many restaurants, and places to shop. CW is advertised more towards adults because it has many bars and nightclubs.



It is hard to decide which theme park "extra area" is better. DD is much larger and has more options for shopping, eating, and entertainment, but, CW is more convenient located and is perfect for a quick visit to shop or dine. Both areas compliment their theme parks nicely.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Transportation in Walt Disney World

You probably took a plane to Florida, a cab to the hotel, and walked to your room. All of this transportation, without even arriving at the theme park!
Many options exist in Walt Disney World for travel to the parks.

Check out this helpful map! It is a little hard to read, sorry.

1. If you stay off-site, or live near WDW, you should drive to the park of your choice.
The parking is $20 and usually crowded. I have only driven to Magic Kingdom but it takes a while.

You must park, take a tram to the transportation center, then take a ferry or monorail to the entrance of MK. I personally love the monorail because it is quick and has a nice view. Remember, leave early in the morning to get to the park when it opens and take into account the travel time.

2. On-site hotels also offer a bus or ferry directly to each park entrance. This is definitely easier and more convenient, but is only available for Disney hotel guests.

Friday, April 17, 2015

What to Wear to a Theme Park

When choosing an outfit/what to pack for a theme park, you must remember that you will be active for a good part of the day. Universal and Disney require plenty of walking to get around the park.

First you should pack a backpack or purse. My mom usually carries one for my whole family. You will need to hold your park passes if each person does not have a lanyard.

Personally, I like to wear a t-shirt, athletic shorts, and sneakers to a day at a theme park.
Sneakers are a necessity if you plan to walk around to all the rides!

Another option is a little more formal but still comfortable. Jeans shorts and a nicer shirt is also a good option, as long as it is comfortable for you.
I do not own this shirt/sweatshirt but I honestly love it! plmonograms.com

Pack a backpack to hold your stuff.
Dress comfortably.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Water Rides at Universal Orlando

After being in the sun all day if it always fun to cool off. Universal Orlando, specifically Islands of Adventure, is home to three great water rides. But not everyone is happy to get completely soaked, so it is important to learn about these three rides before you go.
Note: Wear ponchos if you want to enjoy the rides, without being very wet!

  • Jurassic Park River Adventure - Jurassic Park
For any fan of Steven Spielberg's hit movie, this is a must-do ride.
You will definitely be wet, but not completely drenched.
The first half of the ride is a calm boat ride through Jurassic Park. Then you take a wrong turn and begin to ascend, where you see dinosaurs invading the area.
The ride finishes with an 85 foot plunge and a big splash! Lots of fun for the whole family, if they don't mind a big (quick) drop!

  • Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges
I honestly have no idea what "bilge-rat" means, but the ride is really fun! Passengers sit on a circular raft and float down a path of rapids. There is no drop, but you will spin around.
Everyone will be completely soaked! I advise only riding if you don't mind staying wet for a hour after the ride is over.

  • Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls
This a basically a classic log flume ride, and also very similar to Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom. The ride is calm and has two small drop before the 75 foot final drop. The plot is not interesting for me because I am not at all familiar with Dudley Do-Right.
You will not be soaked but still sort of wet, about the same as Jurassic Park.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

In Depth About Haunted Mansion

All you ever needed to know about Disney's friendliest ghosts, right here!
First, despite its name, Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion is not very frightening. You will see some ghosts and hear funny noises but nothing jumps out at you in a scary way. It is located in Liberty Square.

Kids through adults love this classic ride. It had been open in WDW since 1971!
As you enter the queue, you will see, obviously, a large mansion. Although it seems normal, 999 happy haunts lurk inside!!! The queue has some fun interactive elements.

Your ghost hosts leads you to the portrait chamber where the paintings seem quite odd, and appear to be stretching! You then enter the ride vehicle, aka the Doombuggy, which holds 2-3 mortals.
The ride then proceeds through a tour of a spooky mansion filled with funny characters and happy haunts. It is a nice and long ride so it is definitely worth the usually long wait. FastPass+ is available. I won't give away the whole ride but you will visit many rooms and possible find a hitching hiking ghost!

Haunted Mansion is always an enjoyable ride for the whole family. Enjoy!

Visit its gift shop, Memento Mori, after you survive the mansion tour.

Bonus: Buy the Clue game!


Sunday, April 5, 2015


Theme Park Teen is now on Etsy!
I will be selling handmade crafts and accessories. Some items are Disney or Universal themed, but others items are not.

Many of the items that I am selling are available to be customized so you can purchase something that you love! I spend time and effort on everything I made so it is sure to be great quality.

Go check out ThemeParkTeen on Etsy!


Thursday, April 2, 2015

FastPass+ or Express Pass?

Both Disney and Universal have their own ways of getting visitors to the front of the line faster. Disney's has incorporated FastPass+, while Universal supplies Express Passes. So which one is better?

Pros of FastPass+:
MagicBands and My Disney Experience app connect to each visitor's pass.
Available for every ride/attraction.
Available to book before vacation.

Cons of FastPass+:
Only useable once during the time allotted per ride.
Must use the app or kiosk to book each individual pass.
Many people book them before their vacation so their are not many available once you go if you have not already booked them.

Pros of Express Pass:
Comes with the purchase of a hotel room.
You can use it as many times as you want per ride at any time of day.

Cons of Express Pass:
Not available for every ride/attraction.
Very expensive if you stay off-site.

In conclusion...
I think Universal Express Pass is a better system.
Mostly because personally I don't like having a time where you need to go on that ride and you can't you a fast pass more than once during the time allotted.
For example, I had a FastPass+ for Tower of Terror at 2:10. I walked right on the ride at 2:15, but once I got off I had to wait in the regular line if I wanted to ride again. With an Express Pass I could have gone on TofT multiple times.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dining at Walt Disney World

During a full day of attractions and fun, you must take a break to eat! Like Universal, WDW has lots of delicious options. The attention to detail in the themes of each restaurant is fantastic.

As you walk around all four WDW parks, counter service/snack bar style restaurants are very common. There is most likely one in each land of each park. 
Example: Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies, in Tommorrowland, in Magic Kingdom.

My absolute favorite restaurant in WDW is Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary Resort. The immense buffet and character dining experience is excellent!

The best sit-down restaurants of Magic Kingdom:
Be Our Guest Restaurant
Cinderella's Royal Table
The Crystal Palace
Liberty Tree Tavern

Disney's Hollywood Studios:
50's Prime Time Cafe
The Hollywood Brown Derby
Hollywood & Vine 
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant

Le Cellier Steakhouse
Rose & Crown Pub
Chefs de France
Tokyo Dining
Liberty Inn
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
Nine Dragons Restaurant
La Hacienda de San Angel
Coral Reef Restaurant 

Animal Kingdom:
Rainforest Cafe
Tusker House Restaurant
Yak & Yeti Restaurant

Enjoy your meal(s)! :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Least Expensive Souvenirs

Theme park vacations can be very expensive, and not everyone can afford to spend a lot more money on souvenirs. Here are some fun and affordable souvenirs!

  • Postcards
For about $3 you can buy a colorful postcard to keep for yourself or mail to friends! I have a few postcards taped on my walls in my room.

  • Pressed pennies

For only 51 cents you can press a fun design into a penny. Machines are located all over Universal and Disney World so be on the look out for a pressed penny opportunity!