February 2020 – The #adventuregang visits Universal Studios, California
Our first family vacation of the year was a semi-spontaneous trip to Universal Studios in California. In December, my mom and I had been talking about going on vacation together sometime soon… then 10 minutes later a trip was booked and paid for. I guess we don’t need much convincing if the timing and price is right.
7 of us crammed in to my mom’s little Pilot and drove to California on a Saturday afternoon. Surprisingly, there wasn’t any traffic so I think the universe knew how excited we were to get our butts to my Aunt’s house for some hugs.
PS – we stopped in Redlands and found a pretty delicious gem of a FAST FOOD vegan restaurant called Plant Power, you can read about it here.
Let’s be honest for a moment – the real reason that we wanted to go to Universal Studios was to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The girls are big Harry Potter nerds and this was going to be like Valhalla on Earth for them. We spent most of the morning there in awe at the detail that Universal put into this place. It was magical! My mom purchased interactive wands for the girls that can be used at different shops to make cakes twirl, bludgers wiggle, and cauldrons bubble. They really got a kick out of getting to use their magic outside of the house! There were two attractions – The Flight of the Hippogriff and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The Flight of the Hippogriff was a cute little roller coaster around Hagrid’s plot of land. I want to live in Hagrid’s house. I wish we could have gone in to explore. Hey Universal Studios, change up Hagrid’s house so we can go inside and explore. Do it. Do it now! Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was a strap-yourself-into-a-huge-seat-and-fly-around-inside-a-building-getting-chased-by-Dementors kind of ride. It made me nauseous but I still loved it. Everything was right in your face and I swear we were close enough that we could have punched a monster in the face.
Now I want to go to Universal Studios Florida to see Diagon Alley and continue our adventures in the realm of Harry Potter.
I grew up watching the Simpsons and it will forever have weird but special place in my heart. It was one of those times where our dysfunctional family would all shut the fuck up to just sit together, even if it was only for 30 minutes. So, the Simpsons land at Universal is like a trip back in time for me. The girl’s haven’t really watched the show, maybe a handful of times, so their interest was slim to none.
Of course we had to get a Duff beer from the beer garden because what’s better than riding roller coasters? Riding roller coasters with a glass of beer in your belly. Don’t worry though, we soaked up some of the golden liquid with a vegan burger from the Krusty Burger. It was pricey but delicious. I really sucked at taking food pictures this trip, so my mom sent me a photo of her regular cheeseburger to share. She said it was super juicy and could barely finish it. Also, fun fact – you can order a large pizza at Luigi’s with no cheese to make it vegan. I’m really excited to see more places offering vegan options like this!
One of my favorite things at Universal Studios is the studio tour, mainly for a few selfish reasons.
- We get to rest our feet and chill out for an hour while someone drives us around.
- Snacks. This is prime time to have a snack and eat it without having to walk through a sea of people.
- You can fit in a quick cat nap if you so desire.
**Disclaimer: Now this is not to say that the studio tour is boring, because it most definitely is not. There are just a wide variety of activities that can be done here.
The studio tour is an interesting tram ride because you get a sneak peak into the world where your favorite movies and TV shows are made. We got to see one of the yogurt shops and the clam chowder fountain (sans clam chowder) from The Good Place, we were hauntingly chased by Norman Bates after we witnessed him stuffing his mom into the trunk of his car, and then we were caught in a flash flood on the streets of Mexico. If that isn’t an exciting tram ride, I don’t know what is.
See ya later Universal, I have to go time travel!
❤ La Lady Valdez