I and my family and guest just recently spent a day in Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.  Here are some observations for your consideration.

Universal has no Shame!

Well, of course, I knew everything would be more expensive than in the real world, but we paid almost $130.00 for a lunch for 6 people!  Really!   And that was the “cheap” place!  If you go, make sure you’ve saved your money, and keep your eyes shut as the total begins to rival the national debt.  Do not go if you can’t afford it!

Harry Potter is even worse!

You could not get a bottle of water in Harry Potter world (or whatever it’s called) for less than $4.30.  At least in the rest of the park, it was a mere $2.99.  Get your water before you visit the dragons.

Bring toddlers at your own risk

I saw many, many young children who had more fun than they could take, and it wasn’t even lunch time yet.  You know your children better than I do, but beware of how tired they can get.  Unlike Disney, Universal Studios is not aimed at young children.

Lower your expectations

Of course, you’re going to Universal Studios so you can have the time of your life.  Despite that, do not expect it to be heaven, because Universal Studios is firmly rooted on the planet Earth.  Our children wanted to go on the Gringotts ride.  They were trapped there for over an hour!  It never did work.  Universal gave them complementary speed passes for the ride of their choice, but it wasn’t an auspicious first ride.  Other lines were long.

Happy people are cranky people

Too many people (us included) got easily irritated when something didn’t go as they had planned.  Take a deep breath, because something will certainly not go as planned.  Grin and bear it!  Cursing doesn’t make it more bearable, just less pleasant.

Buy the Express pass

If you can afford it, buy the express pass.  After my children were trapped in Gringotts, I could see they would never be able to do all they wanted to do in one day — and one day was all we had.  I gritted my teeth and bought express passes for them.  Universal is not paying me to say this, either.  (If only they would!)  It makes it easier on everyone if you don’t have to wait 70 minutes between rides.

Can you do it?

Can you walk 4 to 6 miles?  If you can’t, reconsider going or get a scooter if you go.  (At an additional fee, I assume.)  Universal is a big place.  There are a lot of people, and all of them are talking, gawking, texting, and not looking where they are going.  There aren’t always places to sit.  Universal is not for the faint-hearted.

Do you have food allergies?

If you do, consider bringing your own food.  The more severe your allergies, the more difficult it can be to eat there.  Universal tries, but they are only human.  Our daughter has Hashimoto’s syndrome and can’t eat eggs, potatoes, dairy, gluten, sesame seeds, and lots of other things.  My wife is on a special non-sugar diet.  (All us guys are just going to die young.)  It may be very difficult for Universal to accommodate you, and you can’t expect them to do so reasonably.

Read the warning signs with a grain of salt

Is the Cat and the Hat sign really that dangerous?  If you read the sign, it sounds like it could kill you.  Apparently, Universal, in an attempt not to get sued, makes every ride sound like you could die if you have a heart condition, motion sickness, or any medical impairment.  It’s unfortunate they do this, because it’s hard to determine what ride may really be off limits for you.  I get motion sickness, but I can take some of the rides.  Probably, you can, too, but you’ll never know from the signs.  And it’s not like you can send the hardiest ahead of you to judge the ride on your behalf.  Use your own judgment.

A final warning

I don’t have allergies — except apparently in Universal Studios.  At some point, I got a red substance on my pants and hands.  I don’t know how I did it, and I don’t know where it came from — except it appeared at Jurassic Word.  It was a stubborn stain, and it kept spreading like the red stain in The Cat and the Hat Comes Back.  I thought no more of it until I went on the T2 “ride” with my family.  I had been at this ride 4 or 5 years ago without incident, and I was unprepared for what happened.  My eyes began to water.  It worsened.  On the way back from the park, the problem appeared to clear, then hit strongly while I was driving home.  I was in such distress that I had to pull over (in Orlando rush hour traffic) to let my son drive.  I could no longer see to drive safely.

If this happens to you, do what I should have done:  go to the first aid station.  Hopefully, they’ll be able to figure out what this is.  Remember, I don’t have allergies — or at least, I didn’t!

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