Day Eight: Universal Studios Florida
We met in the lobby at 7:45 (I forgot my phone in my room so I had to go back real quick – so I guess we actually left at 7:47) and headed out of the hotel parking lot. We got on I-4 and drove towards Universal.
We pulled into the garage (paid the $12 for parking!! I forget how much we save with the Annual Pass at Disney) and parked in Jaws 211. We walked through CityWalk, got our tickets printed at the Electronic machine, and lined up in the front of the queue. It was fun watching the employees tease each other and make fun of the other side of the gates employees. Our side had three older gentlemen who seemed to really like each other. They should make a sitcom based on them really, they were that funny.
The gates opened and we breezed right through. We passed Shrek and were told by a lone custodian wielding a big broom that the rest of the park wasn’t open yet and that we could not go any further. The female dressed in dress clothes, whom I took for a manager type, next to him was silent. I said, “Well, we’re not going in Shrek – it sucks.” So we planted ourselves on a bench and waited for the rest of the park to open. This poor custodian guy was trying to tell all the other guests that they couldn’t enter the park and I was fearful for his safety. I yelled at him that he should move closer to the Shrek entrance so that people knew what was going on. He then waved the crowd past him as I guess he changed his mind about the rest of the park being open. The Universal difference, for sure. Jeez.
So, we walked quickly to Revenge of the Mummy and were loaded into the first ride vehicle of the day. I didn’t enjoy this as much as I did last year, but maybe it was the element of surprise on my first time. It was still a lot of fun, but we didn’t feel compelled to ride it twice.
We then headed towards The Simpsons ride and my calves were burning from walking with such purpose. We waited for about 5 minutes to enter the first preshow area and were there for another five or so. I loved the safety video and thought the concept was great. It was in line with the quality of the show but I got motion sick during the ride and had to close my eyes for the 2nd half. I won’t do this again but I’m glad I got to see it. Back to the Future never made me feel that nauseous but The Simpsons was a nicely updated theme for this attraction.
We then walked over to Men in Black and neither Connie nor I remembered the preshow part where you waited to be let into the elevator last year. We walked right on the ride and Connie beat me by several thousand points. It also made me feel a little dizzy. So, of course, we rode it again. And Connie beat me again. So, obviously the ride is broken.
We then walked over to Jaws and they only had two or three boats running so the line was moving a little slow. Plus the Universal Express line was gumming things up pretty good. We were in the last row on the right side and I felt a little unsafe. I didn’t realize how “open” the boat felt. I guess I’ve always sat in the middle.
After Jaws, we saw Disaster. What a tremendous improvement! “Lonnie,” our host was funny and engaging and this is the kind of attraction that Disney could learn from. Universal doesn’t have “spielers” like this anymore and I so enjoyed the interactions between Lonnie and the “virtual Christopher Walken” on stage. He looked incredibly real. The last portion the show is the least impressive, really, but when they put all the scenes they shot together, it made for a good laugh. We really enjoyed this.
We then walked into the seafood restaurant across from Disaster and stood there for a few minutes, but no one came to seat us so we walked down to the Richter Burger Company. I got a double burger and it was huge! I was very impressed with the food.
We went to check out the queue for Beetlejuice, and we still had 35 minutes before seating so we wandered around the shops and the arcade for a few minutes. We decided that there wasn’t much to see so we went back to the Graveyard Revue theater and sat on a bench for a few minutes. Beetlejuice sure is raunchy at times; I wonder how many people are stunned by some of his jokes. We liked this very much.
Then we walked over to E.T., which had a posted wait time of 15 minutes. It felt about that long in the outside queue but once we were inside, we kept moving pretty quickly. I think this attraction is underrated as far as dark rides, go. It reminds me of Peter Pan, only longer and more elaborate.
Finally, we headed back to T2. We had about 10 minutes until the next show. We got the same Kimberly Duncan that we had last year, which surprised me a little. I like this show, but I think the non-live action portion of the 3-D movie goes on a little long.
We left the theater and headed back to Disney property. Connie wanted dropped off at the Magic Kingdom, so we followed the signs to Guest Drop Off and were impressed with the efficiency of this process. I headed back to the hotel for another of my famous naps. Connie stayed in the Magic Kingdom and I toyed with possibly joining her for Wishes.
I woke up about 7 and Connie reported that Magic Kingdom was as crowded as it was on Monday so I decided that my only journey would be to the Subway behind the hotel. I watched Family Guy and went to bed.
I’ll fill in more updates about Connie’s evening in the MK in tomorrow’s report.
TOMORROW: Islands of Adventure