Orlando Day 3: Universal Studios & Margaritaville

I’m sure these updates are getting a little boring.

I’m still in Orlando.

I’m still waking up early and going running.

This is me at the gym this morning. It was still dark outside.

My alarm went off at 5 am today so I could cover six Coach Cane-prescribed miles. Of course, at 5 am it was totally dark. That was weird.

So I reset the alarm for 5:30.

Still, it looked like this outside:

Dark. Scary.

Coach Cane’s plan included the following breakdown (and I, like a good little runner, followed it exactly):

  • 1 mile warm-up
  • 2 miles at 8:30 pace
  • 2 miles at 8:00 pace
  • 1 mile cool-down

Boom. You got it, Coach.

It was super hot out and my route (through hotel parking lots and around hotel pools and golf courses) was tragically boring, but I got it done and felt great.

By 7:30 am I was showered and out the door, ready for a day of fun at Universal Studios!

Hello, Universal. Thanks for having me today.

I love big roller coasters, so Islands of Adventure was perfect for today.

People, a bit of advice: Go to amusement parks the day after July 4th. The park was practically empty today. I rode The Hulk (the biggest, most awesome coaster there) twice — with no line at all, literally walked right on — before 9 am.

The adventure sure does begin here. Game on.

I loved the Dueling Dragons roller coasters — and rode each of them — and, since there were no lines, even did all the fun little kid rides, like The Cat And The Hat and the carousel. I basically acted like a little kid the entire time. Fine by me.

Hop On Pop was one of my favorite children's books
I did not go on this ride. But it looked cool.
True story.

Also, I’m no Harry Potter fan — I’ve never read the books or seen the movies and literally know nothing about the phenomenon — but I was pretty impressed with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I didn’t go on the main attraction because that’s where the longest line was, but I loved how that part of the park was put together. People were going crazy for it.

By noon I had ridden all the rides I wanted to conquer — multiple times — so I spent some time with my friend Jimmy Buffett at Margaritaville.

This is me after one delicious drink.

One drink turned into…more than one drink.

This is me after possibly three drinks. Look at those pretty eyes...


With a little afternoon buzz, it was time to get back to the hotel to get some work done. Good job, Ali.

Then I went on the hotel water slide.

Then I went in the hotel hot tub.

And now I’m doing a bit more work before heading to California Grill for dinner.

So now let me clarify a little something: Yes, I am in Orlando for work.

Of the four full days I’m here, I will work two and play two. It’s a nice balance. Tomorrow I’ll be at an event all day. No more play time. So yes, I’m incredibly lucky to be here, but going to parks is not my job. That would be awesome… Just wanted to clear that up.

Regular blogging about life and running and 16 Handles will resume soon enough. I’ll be back in NYC on Thursday. But until then, I’m soaking up all the Florida sun and heat and am actually feeling incredibly relaxed for the first time in a while.

Life is good.

I hope yours is, too.



0 Responses

  1. Nice job on the tempo run! That’s a tempo run…right? Ugh they confuse me. Your amusement park comment made me think about Shane saying the same thing for the day after Thanksgiving. One year he went then and there were no lines!

  2. I have sooo loved these Orlando posts because I am secretly a 5 year old child and am sort of obsessed with Disney World. I also love Dr. Seuss and think Hop on Pop is such a great name for an ice cream shop. Perhaps not as good as 16 Handles…but, ya know, close enough! Hope you continue to enjoy your time in FL!

  3. I would wait until it got a little lighter out too. Especially if I were in an unfamiliar area. Looks like you are having a fabulous time!

  4. So weird how dark it was there at 5:30! Haha, I was just about to ask the ratio of your working slash playing before I got to the end of your post. That is 900% better than all of my work trips, hands down. 16 Handles misses you, so don’t forget to come back soon!

  5. I am a Harry Potter fanatic so I am DYING to go to HP World! I will prob faint when I go there…seriously. I’ve been reading the books since I was 12. I actually had an idea of a park when I was young and, let me tell you, it was cooler than the one is now although I’m sure the real one (not the one in my head) is pretty freaking cool. I am such a nerd.

  6. Just catching up on your recent posts…your trip looks like a ton of fun! I wish I could go back to Disney, it really is so magical. You’re so lucky you get to go cool places for work. Hope you enjoy the rest of your time there, Ali! And if you can sneak back a Disney character on the plane, I think some of them would make great pets 🙂

  7. For next time, the Harry potter ride is super awesome and the queue area is filled with stuff to look at. Your posts have me wanting to go back to Orlando!

  8. Islands of Adventure is one of my favorite, if not my #1 favorite theme parks. Love, love, love Dueling Dragons. And I used to love Hulk until I went on it one time and felt myself fuzzing/blacking out. Low blood pressure + that ride = no more. =(

    Looks like you are having a lot of fun before getting down to bizness!

    Last time I was @ WDW was January, when I did the half down there. Total blast. They do great races.

  9. It is awesome that your job has landed you in a place where there is so much fun (while going to the parks is not your job.. its still cool that you are there!)

    I loved the Hulk (although it has been quite a while since I’ve rode it)

    I will make a mental note to travel to Disney on July 5th 😉

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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