Three amusement parks in one trip
|Best Travel Date
|All year round
- Remember to bring sunscreen
- Be aware of the hurricane season for flight cancellation
- Disneyland Magic Kingdom is not fun for adults, but the firework is worth watching (you can see it outside the park too)
- Universal Studios Islands of Adventure is overall much better value for adults
- Look for online deal to save up to 50% on SeaWorld tickets, SeaWorld offers both many exciting rides and sea animal watching, also it’s the cheapest
- Universal Studios Tickets: $120-$170
- Disneyland Tickets: $120-$170
- Seaworld Tickets: $60-$100 (depending on whether you get a bundle deal)
- Hotel: $60 per person per night
- Dinning: $20-40 per person per main meal
- Transportation: $70 per person
- Plane Ticket: $200-$300
- Total: $1500-$1900
In our 5-day (supposed to be 4 days) trip to Orlando, we had lots of fun. But mostly we visited all the three famous parks, (obviously there’s multiple site for each theme park, and we don’t have the time to visit all of them), but we got a taste for each and in this guide I’m gonna break down how it all went.
These three different theme parks are:
- Disney: only 6 Disney location in the world (2 locations in US)
- Universal Studio: only 4 Universal Studios in the world (2 locations in US)
- Seaworld: only 3 Seaworld in the world (all in US)
We started our trip to Orlando with a lot of excitement, checking into the Candlewood Suites Orlando - Lake Buena Vista. It’s not in the perfect location as we liked it, but we already planned to take uber everywhere, so it wasn’t a big deal. Overall the hotel is okay in value, the room was pretty big, not very modernly designed. There’s a pool that we can use. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, hotels at Orlando are usually relatively cheap for vacation sites, but the price has increased compared 3-4 years ago.
First up, we headed to The Florida Mall for lunch. It’s a busy place, full of shops and people. We ended up eating fried soft-shell crab at this cozy spot. It was amazing – crispy on the outside and soft inside. Definitely a memorable meal!
After that, we walked over to the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets, which was just across from our hotel. It was way different from the Orlando Old Market Place we visited before. Vineland had loads of fancy brands, and we had fun shopping around for clothes and home stuff. The discounts on big brands were a nice bonus!
In the evening, we went to SUSURU, a popular Izakaya restaurant. We had heard a lot about it and were pretty excited. The wait for a table was long, about an hour, but we kept busy with some shaved ice and checking out souvenirs at the nearby Treasure Island gift shop.
The restaurant had a cool, traditional japanese vibe, but the food was just okay. It didn’t really live up to all the hype, but we could see why it was so popular, again, instagram worthy but that’s about it. The whole experience was decent, even if the food wasn’t as amazing as we expected.
On our second day in Orlando, we focused on Walt Disney World Resort and Magic Kingdom Park. We took an Uber early to skip the wait for hotel buses.
Walking into Disneyland, I was hit with childhood memories back in early 2000s. I was excited then, but this time it felt different. We went on all the big rides – Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Space Mountain. It was nostalgic, but somehow the thrill wasn’t the same as before. Rides like Buzz Lightyear, once my favorite, didn’t feel as fun now. I tried hard to get into the spirit during shows and parades, but it all seemed more for kids. The park looked great, just like I remembered, meaning it is well maintained through all these years. However, the “magic” wasn’t quite there for me anymore. Also, it’s quite hot this time of year.
For lunch at around 1-2pm, we went to Thai Thani Restaurant. It was a nice break from the park, with cool decorations and a relaxed vibe. Their Thai Tea was amazing (perfect for killing the heat), and the food was tasty and affordable. A good change from the morning.
The most special thing about this restaurant is that it is so extravagant, the decoration pieces filled the room with golden glow, it is as walking into a Thai palace and I mean that by no exaggeration. Every piece of art looks expensive and crafted with unique culture.
After lunch, we went back to the hotel for a rest, gearing up for the evening.
The fireworks at Magic Kingdom were the day’s highlight. They were stunning and brought back that Disney magic, making me forget any disappointment from earlier. It wrapped up the day on a high note.
We ended the night at Miller’s Ale House, close to our hotel. It was a cozy American pub, a great place to chill and think about our day of mixed feelings and fun at Magic Kingdom.
See my 3-day trip back in 2017 on Universal Studios in more detailed.
On our third day in Orlando, we hit Universal Studios Island of Adventure by 2 PM, all set for a day of thrill and adventure.
The most exciting things we did was hop on the new Jurassic Park roller coaster. It was such a rush, speeding through scenes with dinosaur roars all around us, that we just had to go twice (Also, for some reason the wait was not too bad, about 30 minutes).
We checked out all the big attractions, except the new ride at Hogwarts, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure which is a pity. We would have gotten in if we had booked in advance, which was a bad call. Just remember to reserve your spot first thing you get into the park.
For lunch, we ate at Mythos inside Universal Studios. It felt like we were in a mythical world, not sure if the theme is norse god, anyway it had such amazing decor and atmosphere; the whole dinning area is like hollowed out cave by man with unique shaping walls. The food was great too; We had pork chop and a pita bowl – really tasty and looked as good as it tasted. Eating there, with the cool views, was much better than eating the turkey leg budget meal from my last trip back in 2017.
Comparing Disneyland and Universal Studios, we liked Universal better. Disneyland is fun and magical, but Universal has more exciting rides and cool movie stuff. It just matched what we enjoy more.
In the evening, we went to Orlovista, a Chinese restaurant with a chill vibe and great food. The decor was a mix of modern and traditional. We loved everything we ate, especially the milk tea. It was a relaxing end to a day full of excitement.
We found a great deal online for tickets, which was a nice surprise. Since I was just about to purchase ticket at full price ($100 each) at the counter when my partner found an online deal about ($120 for two), I can’t tell you how much I love savings.
Our first stop was the Mako roller coaster. We’re big fans of roller coasters and thought we experienced enough, but Mako was something else. We went for the front-row seats and it was amazing – really fast, with lots (I mean a lot, a lot) of drops (no inversion as I recalled, but still very fun). It definitely added some un-expected, thrill to our day.
Then we hit Infinity Falls, which was super fun and we got soaked. Luckily, it was warm enough to dry off quickly.
One of the best parts of SeaWorld is the shows, and we saw an incredible orca show. It’s not every day you get to see orcas up close, and it was really special. I was told that the famous Killer Whale “Shamu” belonged to this very park and pool (It passed away a long time ago).
When lunchtime came around, we went to Gyu-Kaku for Japanese BBQ buffet. It was a bit pricey, but the food was amazing and totally worth it since we are starving; We had so many that we had a long nap…
We returned for more shopping before heading for dinner, we returned to Thai Thani Thai Restaurant. We’d been there before and loved it, so we had to go back since this is pretty much our last meal at Orlando (unfortunately not). It was just as good as we remembered. Anyway, I just couldn’t say good enough for this restaurant, as it left such a good impression.
On our last day in Orlando was an unplanned “surprise” – a tropical hurricane that canceled our flight (Thank you very much Spirit Airline). But we turned it into an opportunity to visit Disney Springs.
Disney Springs felt like stepping into a Disney money grabbing wonderland. It’s full of shops, restaurants, and entertainment, all with a “Disney” twist: expensive. But the buildings were a cool mix of modern and fantasy, like something out of a storybook. It was lively, with music and laughter everywhere.
We started at the World of Disney store, which was huge and full of all sorts of Disney stuff. We spent a lot of time there, but didn’t pick out souvenirs because of the price. Also, I don’t really have much mood because I was still worry about our newly booked flight from Frontier Airline.
There were so many places to eat at Disney Springs. We chose Morimoto Asia for our lunch, also not cheap, but it’s the only place with a wait. Sitting on the second floor overseeing the entire well-designed dinning space, we are brief relaxed.
We caught a return flight in the afternoon and that’s a wrap of our 4(5) day trip to my second visit in Orlando.
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