Living across the country from family, it’s rare that my husband and I get the opportunity for a proper date night with two young children.
It’s an even rarer occurrence to be able to go away overnight.
So when his family came to stay in Orlando with us for a week, we immediately began planning an overnight staycation getaway.
It’s no secret that we’re huge Potterheads. I mean, we are millennials after all, so of course, the first place to come to mind was Universal Studios.
Along the way, we gathered tips for other grown-ups looking to unleash their inner kid – minus the kid.
We’ve been making a trip to Universal Orlando every spring for the last four years, introducing various friends and family members to all of our favorite rides, but always with children in tow.
The idea of visiting the park without kids was just too good to pass up.
Plan Your Universal Orlando Adults Only Trip
Go All Out
In our mind, there is only ONE way to do Universal: Two Park Passes with a Universal Express Pass. It’s the only way to do it right.
The parks are equally fun and thrilling in their own way, making it so hard to choose just one. Plus, both tickets are necessary in order to ride the Hogwarts Express.
As for the Universal Express Pass, they’re not allowed on the Harry Potter rides but they’re good almost anywhere else, including our favorite rides of all time:
- Skull Island: Reign of Kong
- The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- Men in Black: Alien Attack
Visiting amusement parks with kids is akin to mice scurrying through a maze.
It’s the constant act of rushing from one attraction to the next in an effort to accommodate everyone’s wish list, and in one piece.
I can’t tell you how amazing it was to simply stroll leisurely through the parks choosing only our favorite rides while munching on churros and caramel apples along the way.
Ohh speaking of, definitely make time for and adult beverage.
Pro Tip: The Hog’s Tea ($10.50) at Hog's Head is a delicious long island ice tea with a twist. It's made with Pat O’Brien’s sour mix and real ice tea (instead of Coca Cola). Choose from raspberry, sweet or unsweetened tea flavors.
After crossing our favorite non-Potter rides off our list, we spent the rest of the day exploring The Wizarding World.
If you ever hoped to get an acceptance letter from Hogwarts, a day at Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure is like getting that letter.
With every visit, we find something new and unique that we hadn’t seen before.
On this trip, we followed a darkened corridor to what turned out to be Knockturn Alley – complete with unique shops containing dark arts apparel and souvenirs.
Eat a Real Meal
Just because you’re at a theme park, doesn’t mean you have to eat fast food, especially since Universal Studios boasts the CityWalk which is brimming with delicious culinary experiences.
We decided to take some time off from the rides to have a nice meal at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, CityWalk’s newest full-service steampunk restaurant, bar and confectionery.
Tip: Toothsome's does not take reservations so the wait can be up to an hour during peak times. Plan for an early dinner or late lunch for the shortest wait time.
I ordered the Risotto which was delicious but fell in love with my husband’s flatbread pizza. It was perfectly crispy with fresh mozzarella.
For dessert, the artisan milkshakes were a must. They’re huge!
We ordered the Rice Krispie treat and in addition to the milkshake, it came with a full-size treat – I mean, who doesn’t love dessert with their dessert?
Stay Up Late
One of the best things about Universal Orlando is the CityWalk.
Date night doesn’t have to end when the parks close down, it’s just time to the move the party.
To be honest, we had worn ourselves out with all of the excitement from the day and decided to grab some late night sushi at Fusion Bistro Sushi and Saki Bar before catching a movie at the AMC Theater.
For the more adventurous crowds, you can find nightclubs, karaoke, bars, tattoo parlors, and the Blue Man Group show to keep you entertained well past midnight.
Don’t forget to check out our pro tips for the best Universal Orlando experience.
A big thank you to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure for providing complimentary passes to my family, all opinions are ours.