On June 2, 2018, my husband and I attended the Orlando Informer Meet Up at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. We enjoyed every minute of the event and would encourage others to attend at least one event in the future!
First things first…. Why My Husband and I Went Away
One of my secrets to keeping your marriage alive as a new parent is to make sure you and your husband spend quality time together and even try to get away for a day or two. My daughter had just turned 14 months and we wanted to celebrate our 4 year anniversary to spend some much needed time together. I found out about the Orlando Informer Meet Up and it was a perfect mini get away for my husband and I to pamper ourselves! We only went away for 2 nights, but because of the Orlando Informer Meet Up, our mini vacation felt like a whole week long!
I’m sharing our awesome experience with you because if you ever need to get away for a mini vacation but still feel like you accomplished so much on a small budget, the Orlando Informer Meet Up’s are a great option!
Who is the Orlando Informer?
If you are unfamiliar with the Orlando Informer, they have a super helpful website with a ton of information about the attractions, hotels, and restaurants in Orlando. In their own words from their website Orlando Informer “is the world’s leading Universal Orlando vacation planning resource.” They have an amazing community including a blog and Facebook group that is encouraging and resourceful when planning a vacation. You can visit the official Orlando Informer site here!
What is a Meet Up?
A Meet Up is an exclusive event organized by the Orlando Informer that varies in activities. Some Orlando Informer Meet Ups are exclusively for the Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter (Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley) and some include the whole park or both parks. Each Orlando Informer Meet Up is unique. The Orlando Informer has had multiple Meets Ups in the past and is planning on creating more!
Last year I attended an Orlando Informer Meet Up event in September 2017 that included exclusive access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in both Universal Studios Hogsmeade and Island of Adventure Diagon Alley that included unlimited Butterbeer, desserts, ice cream, and little to no waits on rides. This year, the event was massive and included exclusive access to both full parks- Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure- and all of the rides in them including unlimited food and beverage service throughout both parks and unlimited butterbeer, desserts and drinks.
No further a do- here is our…
Experience at the June Orlando Informer Meet Up
(Please know that my opinions are my own.)
What was Included for this Meet Up:
All night exclusive access to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure including over 25 attractions including Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem™, Race Through Jimmy Fallon™, Incredible Hulk Coaster™, Amazing Adventures of Spiderman™, and more. With unlimited access to over 50 food and beverage options throughout both theme parks and unlimited nonalcoholic beverages. Included unlimited Butterbeer and Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour too!
The price for the Orlando Informer Meet Up is always, in my opinion, super affordable- especially considering the worth that you are getting for your money! This June 2018 Meet Up was $156 per person. My husband and I found that very reasonable considering that you are in the parks for 8 hours, with 6 hours of that time being exclusive to only Meet Up participants- and included unlimited food, snacks, ice cream, AND Butterbeer!
Upon paying for your ticket to the event you will receive a confirmation email at the time payment. About 2-3 weeks before the event you will receive a detailed email explaining the registration process and the details of the event. In our email, we received information about where to sign in to the event. The registration sign-in process was very easy and fast. We simply had to arrive at the check-in area, get on the line that had the first letter of our last name and show ID at the table. Then we received an information brochure about the evening and a special wristband that lit up. We were instructed to active the band to light up for the duration of the whole event so park security would know we were part of the event and any day guests without a band past a certain would be kindly asked to exit the park.
Hotel Group Rates:
Along with all the other amazing perks of the Orlando Informer Meet Up, they have amazing hotel discount rates for the Meet Up group. We never dreamed of being able to stay in the Hard Rock Hotel but because the hotel discount rate was so incredible we were able to stay for 2 nights at the Hard Rock Ho
hat offers complimentary Express Passes! There was also a discount rate at the Portofino Bay Hotel (which we plan to stay at hopefully at the next meet up!), and Cabana Bay. (You can read about our stay at the Hard Rock Hotel here!)
Food service began at 8:30pm in Islands of Adventure and 10:30pm in Universal Studios and ended at 1:00am.
The availability of food and the number of places offering food was tremendous! In every “land” of both parks there was at least 1 restaurant open serving a delicious variety of food. Some lands had 3 or 4 eateries open! Throughout the night we must have eaten over 7 times, including a number of desserts.
When the food service began in Islands of Adventure we were walking through the park just browsing and looking for rides to get on. We first had soft serve ice cream with toppings at Cathy’s Ice cream spot in Toon Lagoon. We then made our way to Marvel Super Hero Island and ate at the Cafe Four restaurant there having pepperoni pizza and Caesar salad. We then walked through Seuss Landing and had the famous green eggs and ham sandwich! We continued through the park and ended up in Mythos restaurant having a buffet of veggie pasta, burger sliders, and desserts. We ended in Hogsmeade getting Gilly Water and Pumpkin Juice!
After taking the Hogwarts Express we went to Diagon Alley and Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. We wanted to get on other rides and then come back to shop at the end of the night so we went to Krustyland/Springfield and got in line for some tacos but the wait was super long. We stopped by Mel’s diner to take some pictures and ended up in Richter’s Burger place to get a burger and chocolate shake. Before the meal service ended we were able to slip in a trip to Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream just before they closed the door and ordered some Butterbeer as well! The line for Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour was veerryyy long most of the time but there were ice cream parlour employees walking around Diagon Alley with single scoop Florean Fortescue’s ice cream, which was super helpful and allowed us to have unlimited ice cream without waiting on that long line all the time.
The food service was delicious! Everything we ate was the perfect temperature, the perfect size, and tasted amazing. We were able to try so many different things and went into so many different places that we didn’t even know were in the parks! There were some foods that I always wanted to try when I visit Universal Studios but never got around to actually trying it but at the Meet Up I was able to try it- for free!
Mind you, not ALL restaurants were open and not all restaurants open were serving a FULL menu. Each restaurant had about 3-4 things they were offering.
The number of rides open was unbelievable! It was like having full access to the park all alone! On some rides, we were completely alone and on others we walked through the line and straight on to the ride. The only mistake we made was being in the Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter for too long. Everyone had the same idea to go there first and ride Gringotts or the Forbidden Journey. We waited 25 minutes for the Forbidden Journey and 35 minutes for Gringotts. These were the longest times we waited for the night. But of course, the wait times are substantially less than a regular park day where the wait can be up to 80-100 minutes long. My goal was to do everything but as 11:30 approached I realized that was an impossible task!
Meet and Greets / Activities
Not only are there rides and unlimited food/desserts but there was these amazing little meet and greet opportunities! In Marvel Super Hero Island I met Dr. Doom and the amazing, neighborhood Spiderman! There were also street dance parties in different areas throughout both parks with live DJ’s. I was able to dance with Frankenstein and then jump on the Mummy ride- how cool is that?? During registration and check in they gave us an Orlando Informer Meet Up handout that included a map of all the available food, rides, and activity areas.
Amount of People:
When I attended the September 2017 Meet Up I thought that it was a good amount of people. This Meet Up, I felt the amount of people was decent, except for in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. A lot of people crowded those areas and it was very packed most of the time (which I’m sure was to be expected). But I understand that the capacity for this event was larger due to the fact that both entire parks were open. If people were spaced out evenly throughout the night I’m sure we wouldn’t have run into any issues with crowds. While Diagon Alley was packed and the line for ice cream was all the way down to Knockturn Alley, once you stepped outside into London or Krustyland the park was empty! So, considering the Harry Potter areas aside, the park was empty. Next time I would strategize better and go to the Harry Potter areas at different times than when we did. We didn’t get to do as much as we wanted in the rest of the parks because we had spent so much time in the Harry Potter worlds due to crowds and waiting in lines.
Time in Parks:
The amount of time we had in the parks included with the event was remarkable. We were able to go into the park starting at 5:00pm! Islands of Adventure closed to the public at 7:00 and Universal Studios closed to the public at 10:00. The event ended at 1:30 giving us 8.5 hours in the parks! We had 6.5 hours of exclusive time in Islands of Adventure and 3.5 hours of exclusive time at Universal Studios. I wish we had more time at Universal Studios because that was the park I wanted to do more in but didn’t get a chance to. But it was still totally worth it!
A Recap of our Night:
We started our evening at 5pm when the parks opened for us. We entered though Islands of Adventure and since we were staying at the Hard Rock Hotel we utilized the free Express Pass we got! The parks were still open to daytime guests and we didn’t have any special privileges until the parks closed to the public so we used our Express Passes to get on as much as we could before the parks closed to daytime guests. We got to ride the Hulk and the Forbidden Journey and then took the Hogwarts Express to Universal Studios to ride Fast & Furious for the first time. Then we headed back to Islands of Adventure because that park had closed to daytime guests and we took the opportunity to ride rides with no wait time. We were able to get on the Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, Amazing Spiderman, Cat in the Hat, and went back on the Hogwarts Express to Universal Studios. There we rode Jimmy Fallon Race Through New York, Transformers, Revenge of the Mummy, and Escape from Gringotts.
We then returned back to Diagon Alley where we waited for some more of Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream (pistachio soft serve is my favorite) and sat in the ambiance of the Diagon Alley to enjoy our ice cream and Butterbeer. We visited every shop and used that time to purchase souvenirs and take loads of pictures. By this time the area was almost empty and most of our pictures only had about 5 people in the background.
The Orlando Informer Universal Facebook group is by far my favorite group! They are encouraging, helpful and really funny. People post their countdowns to their next vacation and people who are at Universal post pictures for us at home to enjoy. If you’re ever feeling like you need a smile because you wish you were on vacation but you’re stuck at home or working- the Orlando Informer Facebook group is the place to go! Even before the Meet Up I was able to connect with others who were attending the Meet Up and when I saw them in person it was like friends reconnecting. It was a lot of fun!
We give the Orlando Informer Meet Up FIVE STARS! We ran into time issues because we didn’t plan our time properly and wasted too much time in areas that were crowded when we should have kept moving. But that is in no way Orlando Informers fault. We took each minute to enjoy our surroundings and even though we didn’t get to do everything (I know my expectations were crazy high!) the things we got done were so much fun. It gave me and my husband much needed time to laugh, rest, eat together, take “coupley” pictures and enjoy our time together!
The staff is tremendous and the effort they put into this event is huge. The Orlando Informer Meet Up is very well planned and executed.
We would absolutely, positively attend the next Orlando Informer Meet Up!
If you ever get a chance to go- I highly recommend it!
Want to remember this? Post this “Our experience at the Orlando informer meet up” article on your favorite Pinterest board!