Universal Orlando & Islands of Adventure Giveaway!

Universal Orlando Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed and the winners have been notified. (P. Kennedy and R. Smith). If a response isn’t received within the required time frame, new winners will be selected. Thanks for participating!

I recently returned from the trip of a lifetime…an all expenses paid trip for my family to Universal Studios Resort and the Loews Portifino Bay resort in Orlando, FL. I’m pinching myself that we were even asked to take part in such a great event.

I want to share a few highlights, in the way of a top 10 list, with you but don’t worry. There’s something in all this for you too! We’re giving away EIGHT 2-day passes, which includes tickets to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. We are breaking this up into 2 so TWO families have the chance to win 4 2-day passes! Each package of 4 is valued at $539.96. All packages together are valued at $1079.92. The prize is to be used by June 11, 2012, or winner will forfeit prize

Without further ado, here are my top ten highlights (in no particular order) from our trip!

1. Butterbeer

If you are a fan of Harry Potter, you’ve most likely heard of Butterbeer. Let me tell you this… I can’t get this stuff out of my mind. They only sell it in the Harry Potter part of Islands of Adventure and we did have to sneak away quite a few times just so I could get my Butterbeer fix. I may have to go back sooner than later so I can satisfy my craving! I attempted to get the recipe from the chef who created all of the recipes in Harry Potter land, but he wouldn’t budge. Darnit!

2.  The Rides

Oh my… the rides. I’ve been known to take the chicken exit a time or two in my life. You would be happy to know that I conquered the two terrifying roller coasters (The Hulk and Hollywood Ripride Rockit) pictured above as well as several others. What I loved about these two parks is there are rides for every age. From the rides at Seuss Landing to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there is something for every age at Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure! (I don’t know if other parks have this, but these two parks have “child swap” areas for specific rides, where you wait in line and then go into a room with child friendly movies. While one parent rides the other watches the kids and then you “swap” places once the ride is over. So cool!)

3.  New Friends

This was the first blogging trip I’ve been on that included my family and it was such a blast. The kids met new friends, my husband and I met new friends, and it was a fun experience all around! I think one of the best quotes I heard was from one of my sons new buddies when he said “This trip is kind of bad because you make all these great new friends and then we have to leave them.” I totally get that. It was so hard to experience this and then to say goodbye when the week was over.

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

4.  Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Orlando

The most luxurious, family friendly resort I’ve ever stayed at. Kid friendly, pet friendly, adult friendly… this hotel had it all. Gorgeous pools, incredible plaza area with entertainment, courteous staff and more! If you are planning an Orlando vacation, definitley consider checking out Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel! (The pictures above is the view from our balcony, overlooking other parts of the hotel and the plaza)

5. Blue Man Group

Short and sweet, but if you get the opportunity to see their show, go. Incredible and like nothing else I’ve ever been to!

UOR Food

6.  The Food

The food… oh my, the food. From the dinners created by the chef at Loews to what we ate while at Universal and Islands of Adventure to our date night at Margaritaville, we ate some good grub. There is a cocktail recipe I am hoping to snag for you… see that straberry cocktail in the pics above? Soooooo good!


7.  Luau Fun

I’ve never been to a Luau before, so being treated to a luau as part of one of our evening activities was a definite highlight. I left there completely beaming.  You know when you have those moments, looking around at your family, and things just seem oh so perfect? That was how I felt that night. Things couldn’t be any better. Such a fun experience!

8.  Flash Mobs

We had the chance to be live at the Universal Studios press conference where they shared some exciting news. Universal Studios is creating a ride based on the hit kids movie, Despicable Me (one of my favorite movies!) After the announcement, we were all outside and witnessed a Minion Flashmob. It’s hard not to smile when you witness a flash mob – especially when minion’s are involved.  You can find the Minion Flashmob at this link.

Summer of Loews Event


9.  Welcome Summer

Loews Portofino Bay had a wonderful summer kickoff event on our last evening there. Hula hooping, dancing, cup stacking, bean bag tosses, great food and fun. What a wonderful way to end a most amazing week at Universal Orlando and Loews Portofino Bay hotel.

Before I get to #10, I just want to say a huge thank you to the folks at Universal Orlando and Loews Portofino Bay for including us. We are so grateful to have been a part of this amazing group of bloggers. Our family will remember this trip forever…so many great memories were made. If there is such a thing as vacation perfection, this was it. We wouldn’t have changed a thing! Our most sincere thanks!

and now…one of the best parts of our Universal Orlando vacation is…

#10. Sharing it with you!!

As I said before, I am so excited to share this giveaway with you! We’re giving away EIGHT 2-day passes, which includes tickets to both Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure. We are breaking this up into 2 so TWO families have the chance to win 4 2-day passes! Each package of 4 is valued at $539.96. All packages together are valued at $1079.92. The prize is to be used by June 11, 2012, or winner will forfeit prize.

If you are planning a vacation to Orlando, I want you to know that I never thought of Universal Studios as a destination for our vacation. I always considered it as something to tack on to after planning a vacation to other Orlando destinations. We were so busy and had so much fun during our week at Universal…between the hotel pools and entertainment, the two theme parks and the City Walk, we still didn’t have time to get everything in. Next time we head to Orlando, our family has voted to make Universal Studios our destination!

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite vacation. Receive an additional entry for each of the following:

  • Tweet the following: I just entered to win a family 4-pack of passes to Universal Studios Orlando from @dineanddish & @uornews http://su.pr/86c9Hh (Leave a comment on this post letting me know you tweeted)
  • Follow @UORNews on Twitter (Leave a comment on this post letting me know you did this)
  • Become a friend of Dine & Dish on Facebook (Leave a comment on this post letting me know you did this)
  • Leave an extra comment on this post letting me know what your favorite color is – just for fun.

Winner will be chosen via Random.org. Entries must be received by midnight CST on Wednesday, June 1st 2011. Winner will be notified via email on June 2nd and will have 48 hours to respond. If there is no response, another winner will be chosen. Thanks and good luck!!

Universal Studios flew my family and I out to Orlando for an all expenses paid vacation and they are providing the prize pack for the giveaway. All opinions expressed within this post are my own.


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  1. says

    My favorite vacation was a trip to NYC with my husband. I adore the theater and I’m married to the sweetest guy who took me on my ‘dream getaway’ this past January filled with daily tickets to Broadway shows, shopping, and the best dining a girl could ask for!

  2. Dana Ramsey says

    I am trying to get this in before Midnight!!! ahhh! I will go next to twitter and facebook and follow/friend!
    thanks so much for this!!

    • Dana Ramsey says

      oh, just realized you’re on CST, so I’m ok on time…….

      My favorite vacation: Wild Dunes resort at Isle of Palms, SC
      just the name alone tells you it was pretty amazing:)

  3. Dana Ross says

    My favorite vacation was 7 years ago when my husband & I took our 3 kids to Universal & Islands of Adventure for 2 days, then met my sister & her family at Disney World for 3 more days there. It was so awesome!! The kids had such a blast with their cousins & we all had a fabulous time. We have been wanting to go this year to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure & also to Epcot to ride “Soarin” my family that have been lately & rode it said it is their favorite ride! I can’t wait to go back!

  4. Pam says

    Yippeee Kristen!!!!! I’m so excited to have been selected! Now I’m busy planning a trip to Universal in late July and early August. We can’t wait to go to the parks! Thank you Kristen and Universal for this amazing gift.

  5. Kimberly says

    We have two young boys, last time we went to Islands, they were able to go to Harry Potter and they almost lost their minds.

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