The Universal (Studios) Experience

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I have been posting this blog every Monday since December–except for last week. Because I was in Orlando, Florida. So what better way to pick back up this week than talk about my vacation?

First, let me just get this part out of the way: it was hot. Like, glistening-with-sweat-as-soon-as-you-leave-the-hotel hot. The sun beats down on you extra hard in Florida, and as a rule, I hate sweating. And normally, I’d avoid it at any cost. That being said, it’s the price you pay, and it was worth it. Universal is fun.

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Next, I think it’s worth making some comparisons to Walt Disney World. I’m not going to say Universal Studios is “better.” Because how can anything hope to be better than Disney? But, Universal is…

Easier. It’s a lot smaller than Disney, which means that we were able to go through the parks at a much more relaxed pace. It was still totally exhausting, and we were still foot-sore by the end of it, but you have to be a little more hardcore to experience all of Disney World in a week.

Cheaper. The thing about Disney is that it’s completely aware that it is the best, so it knows very well that it can charge anything it wants for every little thing. Universal’s prices, at least in terms of gift shops and such, were way more reasonable. But of course that means we bought more (and probably spent more money anyway), so you can decide which is worse.

Better in terms of dining, honestly. In between the two parks at Universal, there’s a spot called City Walk. We went to Hard Rock Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp, Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, Cowfish, and Voodoo Donuts. And that doesn’t even cover the nice places to eat inside the parks themselves.

Moving forward, let’s get into the subject you’d expect on a blog like this. In terms of what to wear to Universal Studios, there are basically two ways you can go.

The easy way or the fabulous way.

You’d think I’d at least attempt the fabulous way, since I’m trying to be an influencer, fashion blog and all, but oh no. It was the easy way for me.

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Greg and I at the Raptor Encounter.

The easy way means you dress for practicality only. I wore some version of that same outfit every single day. Shoes that were good to walk in, shorts, a t-shirt I didn’t mind sweating in, and sunglasses. No makeup. No frills. Just buckets of sunscreen. Ultimately, my comfort on this trip was more important than looking any particular way.

I will say this, though. As you can see in the picture above, I’m wearing a Ravenclaw shirt. I wore every Ravenclaw-themed item that I own on this vacation. Because when you’re visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you gotta have some House pride.

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This isn’t Universal, but this is the kind of posing I saw everywhere.

The fabulous way means you are there to photograph the experience. And I don’t mean just snapping some pictures on your phone for the memories. The quality of your photos can make or break an Instagram account (and some people are popular enough to make an actual living off of those accounts).

Everyone likes to scoff at this generation for taking selfies or posing for pictures everywhere they go. We have this reputation for being self-absorbed and unable to “live in the moment.” Well, if you want my opinion on that, it’s absolute bullshit. You have no idea the work and level of commitment it takes to present yourself out on the internet and actually be successful at it.

I saw so many girls at Universal who were clearly there for the aesthetic. Cute outfits, intense makeup, perfect hair… I really don’t know how they do it. I don’t know any kind of makeup/products that wouldn’t just melt right off in the Florida sun. I don’t know how they get their hair to behave like that in the Florida humidity.

All I know is that they all put in 10x the effort that I did while I was there, and I admire them for it.

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And speaking of dedication, let’s talk about the Harry Potter fans for a second. Because I saw people walking around in their House robes literally all over the place. Wearing fandom merch is one thing; everyone was doing that, but it’s another level entirely when you’re willing to wear the robes. In the sun. I can’t imagine how stifling that would be. Even young kids were doing it!

And here’s a pattern I noticed, for anyone interested: I saw all the House colors, but by far the most people who were wearing their robes were from Slytherin and Hufflepuff. Take from that what you will.

Easy way or fabulous way, either way the most popular thing to wear to Universal is the crop top, without dispute. Any variation that you could think of, every design that exists, they were all there. I’d never seen so many in my entire life, let alone in one place.

I don’t have any pictures of the actual people because I’m simply not comfortable doing that. And there’s nothing ethical about taking/posting photos of strangers anyway. So Google Images is just going to have to do.

But don’t go getting the idea that it was all just models with flat tummies. It was actually more common to see curvy girls, or girls with belly bulges. And I’ve got to say, that was incredibly uplifting.

You see, at Universal Studios, everyone is there for one reason: to have fun. And also, quite frankly, it’s just too hot there to judge anyone for showing their skin. I’m not going to lie; it all made me feel very good about myself. I’m in perfectly decent shape, but I gained weight recently, and seeing the numbers get bigger on the scale can be difficult no matter who you are.

I’ve always shied away from crop tops, even when I was 20 pounds lighter, and for what?  Seeing women walking around Universal with their big tummies, their cellulite, their confidence… I realized that I could do better for myself. That I should be owning more of my space. That I’ve been playing it safe in spite of my supposedly stellar self-esteem.

I bought myself a crop top while I was there, so I’m going to work on that.

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You know what else is fun about going to a place full of famous attractions? The international crowd. We spotted visitors from all over the world. Japan, China, England, Scotland, India… I heard people speaking languages that I couldn’t even guess at. They all had their own spin on the sort of minimalist style that’s necessary in such intense heat. And they were all there for the same reason as us: the fun.

Body positivity. Diversity. People having a good time. That’s the Universal experience.

I’d recommend it to anyone.

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Also, I hate roller coasters.

Have a beautiful week.

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