My girlfriend and I visited Universal Studios (not the Islands of Adventure) on December 31, 2010. It was her first time ever and my third visit (the last time I was there was in 1994)
We arrived close to 10:00 AM and had bought the tickets from our partner hotel.
We were concerned about the large crowd because we were going to the New Year's Eve party at City Walk. But we were pleased that the majority of the crowd headed to Islands of Adventure to see Harry Potter.
A Fast Pass at Universal Studios was not necessary during this time since all of the rides at the park had about a 10-15 minute wait. We lucked out since there were few guests on this side of Universal Studios which made our visit even more pleasant since it gave the impression that we had the park to ourselves.
In an almost an unheard of experience, we were able to experience every single ride in a five hour window. This park is very friendly to child-free couples since most of the attractions seem to be directed towards adults rather than children.
ADVICE FOR GUESTS IN GROUPS OR FAMILIES: The Mummy Ride and Men In Black Alien Attack do not allow backpacks or purses on their rides. You have to put them away in a locker section next to the rides. The lockers are only big enough to fit one backpack and only offer 35 minutes for free. So if you are going to be in line for over thirty minutes you will have to pay for the locker use.
There is a small children oriented section in this theme park, but to be honest with you if I was parent I would not take children under the age of 10 to Universal Studios since all of the children there looked bored out of their minds.
Universal Studios may not be as popular as their younger sibling (Islands of Adventure) but it still offers very good rides and wonderful shows that are very entertaining. So if you wish to avoid a large crowd, I would recommend visiting Universal Studios during the day and save the trip to Islands of Adventure in the spring or fall seasons.
NEW YEAR'S EVE CITYWALK: This was a separate party that did not offer entrance to any park. Never have I seen such a wonderful display of customer service and fun provided for such a large and drunk crowd. If you have the opportunity to spend new year's eve at citywalk the money that you pay for entrance is well worth it. Many different foods and open access to every single club. You were also allowed to drink on the street as long as you had a plastic container. What really impressed us was that they had a large shrimp and crab section that was fresh and very tasty. A wonderful new year's eve party indeed. The only downside was the long wait for cabs to every hotel in the Orlando area.
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