• Christian Grotewold

A Spooky Weekend


October is my absolute favorite month of the year, mainly because of Halloween but also because of the countless number of activities you can do around the world! I had never been to Orlando during these months, until a year ago. Having been here when everything is decorated for fall and Halloween was enough for me to decide to go back this year. This time, I went with a different group of friends - maybe next year the group will be bigger! So I am letting y'all know now... mark your calendars for next year if you wanna come with me! This was a weekend trip and since many of us had not been to either Universal or Disney, we had to do as much as possible in just two days. Make sure to read along for some tips in doing everything efficiently.

As we waited for the rest of the group to fly in, we went to Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney). Honestly, this is a GREAT spot to begin your adventures in Orlando. In has something for everyone - candy shops, a movie theatre, restaurants, bars, Disney stores, and shows. If you don't have gear ready for the parks, this is the place you should go to for cool official merchandise. If there is something I love, is seeing everyone give their own twist to Disney style.

On Saturday, we fully dedicated the day to Disney parks. I highly recommend getting the park hopper ticket option, this will allow you to go to all the parks in one day. Also, the night before make sure to plan what fast passes you want to take - you can only pick three so choose wisely! We began our day at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Having added two new areas, Toy Story Land and Star Wars Galaxy's Edge, we knew this is where we would potentially spend the most time, so we began here. I had never gone on the Aerosmith ride and I must say... my face in the last picture should sum up my experience.

I am a HUGE Star Wars fan and seeing the new area just made me feel like a kid again. The details were uncanny and really made you feel like you were inside the movies. The Millennium Falcon ride was definitely worth the hour wait, you have to work as a team to successfully maneuver the flight simulator. And the stores... oh my God the stores! I wanted to buy everything! I was so close to getting a personalized light saber... but I did not want to carry it all day. So, I decided to get the special edition Coca Cola bottles. Something simple, but iconic.

Once we were fully satisfied with Hollywood Studios, we made our way to Magic Kingdom... just to get the iconic castle picture hahaha! We really had our time very limited, so we had to choose what we wanted to do most. As much as we wanted to ride Space Mountain and Splash Mountain, Epcot was waiting for us to drink around the world.

Epcot is my absolute favorite Disney park, mainly because it is the "grownups park". This park has the best ears (as you can see from my chrome ears) and some countries have their flag as Minnie's bow for the ears! We did not ride anything here, we went straight to begin drinking around the world. We also happened to go during the annual Wine & Food Festival, so there were even more countries with specialty drinks and food. By the fourth country... we were drunk, but being the good Greek Life members that Maggie and I are, we finished strong. I do recommend saving Epcot for last, that way you can get drunk and enjoy the closing show fireworks.

Sunday was fully dedicated to everything at Universal: Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, and Halloween Horror Nights. For these parks, we got the park-to-park ticket and bought unlimited express passes for both parks. We did this so we would have time to ride EVERYTHING and have enough time to wait in line for the newest Harry Potter ride - Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike ride! We waited in line for over an hour for Hagrid's ride and let me tell you, it is a MUST! It is the best ride I have ever been on. Also, I would recommend really thinking through when getting the unlimited express pass vs. the single express pass. One lets you ride as many times as you want, the other once per game. Plus, Universal closes at 5pm to set up for Horror Nights and the express pass no longer works for that night - it is a separate one you have to buy. But, do not buy express passes for Horror Nights. The rides have much shorter waiting times than during the day.

Having done as much as possible at Islands of Adventure and getting SOAKED (make sure to bring a change of clothes), we took the Hogwarts Express to Universal Studios and were able to ride the Gringotts ride once before they closed down the park to set up for Halloween Horror Nights.

Finally it was time for the screaming to begin, Halloween Horror Nights! Last year, we only had the chance to go into two haunted houses (mainly because we waiting in line for Stranger Things for about 2.5 hours), but this year we did SEVEN houses. The stand out houses from this year were: Us, Yetti, Graveyard Games, and a Greek-themed haunted houses. I screamed my lungs out at every house though... and lost my voice in the process. But, I absolutely love the production of each house and the thrill of it is what makes me love it so much more! At the end of each house, I would be SWEATING and the people around me would be laughing because of my reactions to literally everything. I made some friends because of this haha. Honestly, this is the best time of year to go to Orlando and I encourage you to plan a trip now or for next year.

I will never grow old of going to Orlando, and going with friends makes it that much better! Thank you to my friends that decided to come with me and experience one of my favorite times of the year with me. Here's to making it a tradition and going again next year!

#Travel #Disney #Orlando #Universal #IslandsofAdventure #UniversalStudios #Halloween #HalloweenHorrorNights #Epcot #MagicKingdom #DisneyHollywoodStudios

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