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View Full Version : Wot, no Walt! - USF(1)


Loftus
03-12-2002, 07:52 AM
All things considered we didn't sleep too badly. Woke up a few times but always managed to drop off again before finally rising at 5.00 am. I showered and dressed, by which time the boys were up and beginning the transformation from sleeping angels to squabbling little devils that was to become a feature of the mornings
When we checked in we had been given a voucher for 2 days free breakfasts and 1 dinner in the Japanese restaurant (as much chance of using that as of swimming to Tokyo), so we headed down to see what was what.
The breakfast room was light and pleasant. We were brought coffee and orange juice when we took our seats and the hot buffet had around 12 options. As well as this there was toast, cereal and fruit, milk and iced water. The boys managed to find plenty that they wanted to eat and if you sit me down with pancakes (or waffles or french toast), syrup and bacon I'm a happy bunny. The restaurant was quite busy as the hotel was full - they had been turning people away when we checked in - because it was the Daytona 500 weekend.
After breakfast we went through to guest services and bought 2 I-Ride weekly passes. DS2 rode free as he was under 12 much to his disgust. This has to be the bargain of bargains in Orlando. $7 gets you unlimited travel for a week on these clean and frequent buses with their knowledgable and often very funny drivers.
Phoned home to let DW know we arrived safely and then we were off.
It was a sunny and warm morning and so I decided we would walk to Universal Studios which was going to be our 'debut' park. It was a straightforward 15 minute stroll, the only awkward point on the route was crossing Universal Blvd to get to the pavement on the other side of the road, but we didn't see another person walking there - their just too wedded to their cars I guess. We went up the escaltor at the bus station and along the moving walkway to CityWalk.
Although we never came here in the evening I liked the look of CityWalk - very bright and inviting and with the glimpses of the parks beyond - and I think it provides a good opening vista of Universal.
We turned left and headed towards USF. There was a small queue at the turnstiles, which hadn't opened yet - it was about 5 to 9. The gates opened and we shuffled forwards until we reached the turnstiles where we had to sign our passes and I had to sign a multi-ticket form. My bag was checked by a security guard and we were in.
I had no real preconceptions about what I would find and I was very impressed. The theming was excellent and everywhere was so clean. If I was here with just the DW or by myself I would spend many a happy hour just wandering around drinking it all in or sitting people watching, they really do take you out of the real world for a while.
We turned left and walked briskly to the back of the park to make Men in Black the first ride of the holiday. A quick walk through the queuing area and we were on. What a fun ride and what a good start. Our scores were what you would expect of rookies but our car won - as it was to do the whole holiday - because of the efforts of our American co-riders.
We exited and got an express pass for later on and then went to Back to the Future. Waited around 10 minutes and had a very funny guy directing the queue - I don't know what he was on but I could do with some at work myself sometimes. Enjoyed watching the videos they show whilst you wait - builds the story up nicely. Thought the ride was fantastic. I had heard a lot about the motion sickness this can induce but we never had a problem and the way you are totally immersed in the chase is awesome.
We wandered in the sunshine around to Jaws. Another 10 minute wait. Our Captain was Oswald and he was very good and we enjoyed the ride. The problem is I guess that even before you ride for the first time you have a good idea of what will happen and I didn't feel the tension that would have added to the atmosphere. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it - I just wouldn't ride it again and again.
Quick break to sit in the sun and eat some chips and then onto Kongfrontation. Similar wait and I have the same sort of view of this ride as I do of Jaws - they are both must-dos but m,ust-do once's if you see what I mean.
Back to MiB to use the express pass - great again and then got a BTTF pass and used it to walk straight it. These two are definately 'again and again' rides for us.
It was quite hot now so we ducked into T-2 3D. There was a 30 minute wait for the next show but it was in a nice air conditioned building and the Cyberdyne videos are quite amusing so the time passed quickly.
Very impressed by this. Sat right to one side and DS1 was nearly landed on by one of the cast abseilling down from the ceiling. What is it about these shows. I know nothing will touch me but I still flinch and duck when the 3D images head my way. The way they integrate the live action and the film is very clever.
We got and express pass for Twister but didn't need it. The way they do this is very clever, and I know the flying cow was part of the film, but the model cow they use here spoils it for me and I reckon it's only there to justify all the cow souvenirs they sell in the shop afterwards! This is a once a holiday attraction I reckon.
Feet were getting sore by this point and so we grabbed some drinks, had a wamnder around and walked back to the hotel. We were back around 3.00 pm and we had a swim in the ever so warm hotel pool and I draped myself on a lounger and read.
Dumped our wet things in the room and jumped on the I-Ride to Pointe Orlando to hunt down a GBA game DS1 wanted. Enjoyed looking around the shops, particularly FAO Schwarz and bought myself a new wallet - don't think the old one will last the week here! - but couldn't find the game he wanted so it was back on the I-Ride to the Mercado. Another good look around but still no game, give up for now.
Back on the I-Ride and up to the Ponderosa opposite the hotel. Order steak for Dad, Fish and Chips for DS1 and a burger for DS2. This is a large (over large?) restaurant, more like a cafeteria. We are seated in the empty half and our drinks are brought to us. Wander to the buffet and get some salad and a few bits and bobs. Its a bit off putting as all the waiters are gathered chatting close to where we are sitting and you feel like you are being watched all the time. Food arrives, very nice a very good steak and the boys are pleased with their selections.
Wandered down to Sports Dominator after dinner where DS1 bought some mini Orlando magic basketballs for friends at home and then had a look in Bargain World where DS2 was quite taken with some WWF t-shirts. Then it was back to the hotel where we watched some TV and then bed.

CarolynU
03-12-2002, 06:19 PM
Goodness you have my untold admiration. What a hectic day, you packed so much in . Maybe i'm getting old, but I would find it hard to manage a fraction of that on my first day. I'm looking forward to more tales. Carolyn

Carol Ann UK
03-18-2002, 04:45 PM
Loftus

We stayed at the Rodeway in October, and thought it was a good basic hotel. Don't need anything too posh with my 2 teengage boys.

We also walked to Universal, and thought the Rodeway was ideally placed for Universal and shopping. Did you get the I ride lady driver who made everyone shout 'Yee Haaaa!!'

Sounds like you are having a great time.

Carol

Loftus
03-19-2002, 12:21 AM
Yep we got the 'yee haa' lady - I think in all the rides we took we only had one driver who wasn't a 'character' - a great service.

SpottyDog
03-27-2002, 05:18 PM
Doug, yer a lad after me own heart. That's a heck of a day yer packed in there,mate.