My family had the opportunity to visit Universal Orlando Resort as part of my son’s Make-A-Wish trip to Walt Disney World in June 2013. My son had Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. We took his Make-A-Wish trip after the end of his treatment, so it was a celebration for our family. Today, he is a healthy and happy seven-year-old.
Our trip included two-day park-to-park admission at Universal Orlando Resort. We were just as excited to visit Universal Orlando as we were to visit Disney World.
Especially for Make-A-Wish Families
You will receive a special Guest Assistance Pass for Universal Orlando through Give Kids the World Village. Be sure to take it with you to the park, along with your child’s Give Kids the World button and your letter with instructions to print your tickets at the kiosk.
Your Guest Assistance Pass includes:
- Free parking in a preferred section of the parking lot
- Front of line privileges on all rides
- Free wheelchair or stroller rental
- One free printed photo of your family
We felt that Universal Orlando was even better at helping Make-a-Wish families feel special than Walt Disney World. That’s saying something because Disney does a great job of making every visitor’s experience magical.
Universal Orlando Resort has two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. There is one huge parking garage for both parks and the entrances are within walking distance from one another, so park hopping is easier at Universal than at Disney World. However, both parks are large enough that we spent one full day in each.
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Florida is the original Universal Orlando theme park, and it was the last park we visited on our Make-A-Wish trip. Universal Studios was less crowded than Disney World and Islands of Adventure, and it was nice to have a more relaxed experience on our last day in the parks.
At Universal Studios, there are different “lands,” but they don’t feel as defined as those at Islands of Adventure or Disney World. Most of the big rides are based on a movie or TV show. Our favorites included:
- Transformers: The Ride 3-D
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- Men in Black Alien Attack
- The Simpsons Ride
Universal Studios also has an entertaining selection of shows. Disaster is a fun combination of show and ride that shouldn’t be missed. Shrek 4-D and Terminator 2: 3-D were also fun. Twister was an interesting display of movie magic that the older members of my family enjoyed, but that my six-year-old thought was too realistic and scary.
Diagon Alley opened in Universal Studios in Summer 2014. I’m excited for all the families who get to experience that! It’s on our list for a future family vacation, but it will never be as special as our Make-A-Wish trip. Enjoy!