The combination of coasters and creatures also works well at SeaWorld. You feel like you’re flying like Superman on Manta, soaring upside down and hanging off the ride.
The One Ocean killer whale show is good, but the behind the scenes tour is a must. You see turtles and manatees being nursed back to health and get to cuddle those penguins.
Holidaymakers could easily spend most of their stay just visiting Universal attractions. They have the Studios theme park, the Islands of Adventure including Jurassic Park, Toon Lagoon and Harry Potter, the Wet ‘n’ Wild waterpark and entertainment at CityWalk.
A great way to beat the rush is to stay at one of the three Universal hotels. You can get on to the popular rides such as Harry Potter an hour before other guests and use your room key to head straight to the front of the queues. The parks are within an easy walk, or you can jump on a water taxi.
Portofino Bay Hotel is a high class joint made to look like the Italian fishing village of Portofino – and it really does!
The Royal Pacific Resort is more for families, transporting guests to the lush tropics.
But we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, which is a little funkier. Music plays everywhere here and while I found a loud Aerosmith track blasting out over the breakfast table to be a little too much to take first thing in the morning, this is one cool hotel.
It’s built like the Hotel California, except you can leave this one if you really want.
Outside, there’s a fountain sculpted from guitars, while inside there’s rock memorabilia, from Jimi Hendrix’s rocking horse to Brummie Black Sabbath star Tony Iommi’s guitar.
Once you get into Universal, there’s a lot to see but the parks are fairly compact and you can get around the rides quickly.
The intimidating outline of The Hulk ride is visible from miles away. It goes from 0-40mph in just 1.9 seconds and is powered by its own generators, as the local grid is unable to cope with its energy requirements.
ET is sweet, for all the family, while The Revenge of the Mummy is scary. The Simpsons is witty and slightly nausea-inducing. You don’t actually move very far but you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster and then inside Maggie’s giant mouth – and there’s even a 4D element to the ride, with the addition of smells like baby power.
Spider-Man is an incredible simulator and was the best in the park until Harry Potter stole his thunder.
There are more thrills to be had at Orlando’s water parks – don’t miss out, as the Flex Ticket allows you unlimited entrance to Wet ‘n’ Wild and Aquatica. Here, the fun can be as adrenaline-fuelled as you want it. I reckon you need nerves of steel to endure Wet ‘n’ Wild’s Bomb Bay, waiting for the floor to drop away so you plunge into the water down a vertical tube. Far more my style was lying in a rubber ring as it gently swept me along a lazy river.
If you’ve any energy left after all this fun, the restaurants and evening entertainment on CityWalk are excellent, especially Rising Star.
This is karaoke on another level, with a live band and a packed audience in the bar to listen to your every bum note. On this stage, you really can pretend you’re the King. Whether that’s Elvis or a waddling penguin is up to you.
Roz Laws travelled to Orlando courtesy of Flex Ticket. The Orlando Flex Ticket Plus costs from £189 per adult and from £179 per child. Travel City Direct is offering seven night holidays in Orlando from £869 per person. Price is based on two adults and two children sharing at the Hard Rock Hotel for June departures and includes scheduled flights on Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick or Manchester. To book, call 0844 557 6965 or visit www.travelcitydirect.com. For more information on the Flex Ticket visit www.orlandoflexticket.co.uk