Florida is always talked about as the spring break destination for college students. While I never did go on a Florida Spring Break trip, my college roomie and I thought it would be the perfect graduation getaway.
After not getting to graduate together we had to have our graduation getaway, especially because without college we won’t see each other as much since we live on opposite sides of the country. 🙁
The first thing we need to discuss is the beach. Whenever I thought of Florida I always imagined super bright sun and white sandy beaches. For it being my first time in Florida it did not disappoint.
White. Sandy. Beach.
A totally different experience than the beaches of California. The sand was just as white and soft and imagined and because we were at the gulf the water was SO WARM! The Pacific ocean is COLD, so this was a great difference.
The mid-part of our week away we spent at Universal Studios with the 2 park tickets, which we only bought because we wanted to take the Hogwarts Express.
I have been to the California Universal before but Universal Florida was a whole ball game. Two parks, actual coasters, and is built on one level plane. So less going up and down and way more things to do. Plus the Harry Potter World is doubly as good because it has DiagonAlley.
There are 3 things in Universal Florida that I thought were worth it and better than Universal California.
1. Harry Potter World, obviously.
DiagonAlley looked awesome and you felt like you were there. It even had Knockturn Alley and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, plus the Knight Bus and 12 Grimmauld Place are in London. My favorite part was Gringotts and the dragon on top that breathes fire throughout the day. I remember watching the commercials on tv that showed it was first built and wanted to go, and it was worth the wait. The Gringotts Bank ride is super awesome but the best ride in all of the two HP-themed parks is hands down Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure. If you can only do one ride in HP world, do that one. That is how good it is.
Of course, when you go, Butterbeer is a must-try treat and I will say frozen butterbeer is superior to all other butterbeer versions. To recap: do not get plain chilled butterbeer, just don’t do it, get the frozen one.
2. The E.T. Ride
Although I hated E.T as a kid because I thought he was totally scary, I wanted to go on the ride. You get to ride on Elliot’s bike with an E.T in front and fly through parts and the movie and I thought it was the perfect ride to go on after walking for a while. It reminded me of Peter Pan’s Flight in Disneyland. The shop at the end of the ride also had perfect souvenirs of candy bars based on different movies and E.T socks.
3. Men in Black
Men in Black is another ride not in California but it was really really fun. It’s basically the Buzz Lightyear ride at Disney but faster and Men in Black themed. The goal is to shoot as many aliens as you can and you compete with the person in the cart with you. Be warned: it does spin a lot. The ride is super air-conditioned and perfect for getting out of the Florida heat.
Another feature of Universal is the Marvel Superhero Island modeled after the comics where everything does look like it came right out of the pages. This is where they have a lot of Marvel-themed roller coasters. A Jurassic Park section where the King Kong ride is too. Plus the Mummy ride which they have in California but it is a little bit different and I think the California one is better.
I am glad I went. Especially because of how much there was to see that I couldn’t see in the California one.
Ringling Circus Museum
The last thing we did in Florida was go to the Ringling Museum. Located literally across the street from the Sarasota airport. It was the perfect ending to our trip. The museum had great information about the circus scene in the U.S. My favorite thing was the miniatures of the circus.
It has 2 museums, the Circus and the History of the Circus, and I thought both were interesting to go through. Plus the grounds were beautiful and had a ton of gardens to look at.
There is a decently sized Museum of Art, and my favorite place was the Ca’ D’zan mansion they have on the grounds that is right on the water. Everything about the house was stunning and I was sad that we were only allowed to see the first floor when I went. But just look at these photos!
If you ever find yourself in Florida I totally recommend you check it out.
I had a fantastic time and would for sure go again.
Have you ever been to Florida? What was your favorite thing to do?