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The most rewarding birthday at Universal


Thank you, Universal Orlando, for making my five-year-old’s birthday the best ever!

Two weeks ago, we stayed at Royal Pacific Resort, which was great. Right away I want to give a shout out to our valet, Juan, for going over and above. Apparently he noted that the second day of our stay was my son’s birthday, and, after a long day at the park, we came back to our room to a plate of very yummy cupcakes. Sorry, I don’t have a picture because they were devoured immediately!

Back to the beginning: our stay started out with a couple hours at the pool. While my husband, Mark, and my son, Jayden, went swimming and shot water guns at each other, mommy was enjoying a tall cool Pina Colada and some much needed R&R.

Later, we went on a stroll to CityWalk, then back to the hotel for our favorite meal, sushi, followed by my absolute favorite desert that everyone should try, Banana Cream Pie from Emril’s Tchoup Chop. Trust me when I say that, once you have had this desert, you will hunt down every Emeril’s restaurant to have it again and again!

Afterward, our day wasn’t over, as we took the boat over to Hard Rock Hotel for a swim and a movie. They have a movie screen over the pool so you can swim and watch a movie… too cool.

Our second day started with a chocolate donut for the birthday boy and hot bacon-egg-and-cheese croissants for the parents at the hotel. Then we were off for our adventure at Islands of Adventure.

Since Spider-Man is the only thing my son loves as much as baseball, visiting that character was the main priority of our trip. Once inside Marvel Super Hero Island, we heard the superheroes were coming on motorcycles. We stopped to ask a team member where to go, explaining that this event was to be the highlight of our day, and he told us to view the motorcycles coming in and then get in line to meet Spider-Man. My son ran directly to the line so he could be first!

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Jayden met Spider-Man and, very much to our amusement, showed him how to shoot a web correctly. When we finished with the picture, a team member called to us to ask if my son wanted to meet all the superheroes (apparently this is a very special event not given to all). For Jayden, it was a chance of a lifetime! I can’t even begin to tell you how special this experience was for our entire family, and how amazing all the Universal superheroes were to us.

I know it sounds silly to some, but it brings tears to my eyes each time I tell someone: to see your child so happy, as we saw Jayden that day, is the most rewarding thing ever. He was truly glowing.

This day ended with dinner, a blinking light drink, a special “Happy Birthday” song, and balloons for our son at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Our last day was spent at Universal Studios Florida, where yet again the staff, attendants, and characters were more courteous and entertaining than we could have ever asked for. My son thought it was the coolest thing that everyone said “Happy Birthday” to him, and it was even announced on many rides.

I’d like to give another special shout out to Jennifer (I think that was her name). She was the attendant at the Transformers photo op where we got pictures with each character. She, too, went over and above. I truly wish I had a list of team members that were so wonderful to us, but there are simply too many, right down to the last girl at the photo shop.

We are Floridians, and we have done Orlando many times in our lives. While we have always enjoyed great experiences each visit, this was by far the best one ever.

As we were leaving my son said, “Daddy, I want to have all my birthdays at Universal.” So, see y’all next year!

– Virginia Stevans

Tell us how you celebrate special occasions at the parks below.


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About Taylor Strickland

Taylor Strickland is the owner of Orlando Informer, the internationally awarded independent resource for guests visiting Orlando. In this position, he leads the website's overall direction and day-to-day operations, working with a team of writers, editors, developers, and producers.

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