Rainy Days Are Fun Days at Universal Orlando

A bit of bad weather doesn’t have to be a Disaster! … you can just Ride It Out

Hogsmeade at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter(ORLANDO, FLORIDA) — It’s too much to expect perfect weather for the duration of your Universal Orlando vacation despite Florida’s reputation as a tropical, sun-filled paradise. The good news is that the rain is usually of short duration as in “hot, humid, in the low nineties with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms.” The better news is that there are enough activities to make you feel that you haven’t lost any precious touring time, as noted by Seth Kubersky and Kelly Monaghan, authors of Universal Orlando 2011: The Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Theme Park Adventure.

When making your plans, check the weather and keep in mind that these attractions are good bets if the clouds roll in. And don’t forget to bring a rain poncho, one that can be stashed in your tote bag or backpack.

In general, Kubersky suggests attractions that have covered queues and more lengthy indoor shows. Even though some of these attractions may get you damp, there’s fun involved, so it’s not like you’re walking around in a downpour.

The Jurassic Park Discovery Center, in Islands of Adventure, is a good rainy day choice. The science center cleverly blends fantasy and reality in which kids can watch a baby raptor being hatched, examine fossilized dinosaur bits from a rock face in the area of the North Sea, and create a dinosaur in their own likeness. All while staying dry!

Disaster!, at Universal Studios Florida, runs about 25 minutes plus the ride. The attraction starts with a tour of “Disaster Studios,” which leads to a casting call, a lecture on disaster film production by film genius Frank Kincaid, and participation in filming for the final production. The highlight, of course, is the simulated earthquake that takes place aboard San Francisco’s BART. For that you may need the poncho since San Francisco Bay appears to be pouring into the station at you.

Keep the poncho handy for Twister … Ride It Out back in Islands of Adventure. In the course of 15 minutes, you’re taken through scenes from the original Twister film on to the Wakita street where chaos ensues. According to the authors, you’ll be living through the vortex of a twister. Thrill seekers can take their positions dead center!

Poseidon’s Fury, in Islands of Adventure’s Lost Continent section, takes visitors through 25 minutes of chaotic fun, though the authors caution that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. It starts out as an exploration of Poseidon’s temple that culminates in a dramatic battle between Poseidon and Lord Darkenon that uses 350,000 gallons of water and 25-foot exploding fireballs.

But perhaps the best way to wait out the rain is in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The smashing new ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, boasts a long an fun-filled queue line which is an attraction itself. Your 45-minute wait to step on the ride itself will fly by and by the time you’ve flown around Hogwarts with Harry and friends, the sun may well be shining again.

Of course, the ideal rainy day activity is a good film accompanied by a bucket of high-cal popcorn.

Citywalk’s AMC Universal Cineplex houses 4,800 seats in 20 various-sized theaters. The digital 3-D experience, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound, and digital IMAX are featured, making film viewing a cut above your local theater. The authors suggest that a revival house would serve to highlight Universal’s connection to films stars such as Mae West and W.C. Fields and help educate the next generation of filmmakers. They applaud a “no-kids under age 6” policy for R-rated shows after 6 p.m.

Or… if it’s pouring and you’re staying at one of the three resorts, take the day to lounge around and enjoy your surroundings. They’re designed to be experiences in themselves.

To order Universal Orlando 2011: The Ultimate Guide to the Theme Park Experience at a discount, visit: http://www.intrepidtraveler.com/universal/