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Old 06-06-2010, 07:31 AM   #121
dr&momto2boys
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May 9th, 2010


Today is Mother's Day. When my kids woke up they gave me some cards that they had made for me at home and a Disney cookbook. Nice! These three wonderful, healthy, beautiful children are the best present I could ask for, anything else is just icing on the cake!

The kids had made cards for their aunt and grandma too. We also had that t-shirt we made for grandma. We waited until we got back from our day at Universal Studios to give out the gifts since they wouldn't have anywhere to put them.


We all met in the lobby and had a continental breakfast. There is a coffee shop with cereal, muffins, yogurt and that sorta stuff. It was overpriced for sure, but convenient.




We took the boat to Citywalk and then a short walk to Universal Studios. Here's some scenery along the way.







This is the area the boat leaves from. I think it's funny that my boys, especially Jacob, are always looking at maps and trying to figure out where we are going next. It's like he thinks he's in charge of getting us there. In case the boat captain gets lost, Jacob can take over!






We didn't quite get there in time for rope drop, but it didn't matter. With express access we weren't in a hurry to get anywhere fast. We strolled through an empty Hollywood first.












Coming up: The Simpson's Ride and more U.S. touring

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Old 06-06-2010, 08:57 AM   #122
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As we continued our stroll. Here's a picture of New York and maybe San Francisco from across the lagoon. I can't tell where one ends and the next begins at least in this photo.


Here's our group minus MIL and me who are taking pictures. Isn't it crazy how empty the park is?


San Francisco from across the lagoon.


And we've arrived at our first ride of the day. The Simpsons Ride. Now remember Avery and Max are chickens. They wouldn't ride hardly anything. Somehow SIL talked Avery into going on this ride. (I don't think she really knew much about it.) Max decided since Avery was going on it, he would too. I like the measuring stick for this ride!--see Max measuring up?

We didn't even have to use our express passes, we walked right on the ride.
Here are some pictures inside the line/waiting areas:

This ride is similar in some ways to the old Back to the Future ride whose former building it now occupies. You get into a roller coaster-like car in a small room. The car rises up when the ride begins and moves (like a ride simulator) while you watch the action on a giant movie screen. The effect is really good. You feel like you're on a rollercoaster (at first) and then flying through the air or whatnot as the ride progresses. It's pretty intense for the little kids.

At one point, a giant Maggie Simpson swallows the car you're riding in and then spits you out and you get a little wet. Max is still talking about this! "I don't want to go on the ride where the big yellow baby eats us." He may need therapy because of this!
The shop for this ride is in, what else? Kwik-E-Mart. Cute.


Jacob was waiting out with DH and Ella. He decided, based on the other kids' reviews, that he would skip it. DH and I rode alone while the group headed toward Men in Black.


We had to pass back by the The Simpsons Ride on our way to the Woody Woodpecker's Kid Zone. Bart was there signing autographs.


More scenery. You can see Rip Ride Rocket in the background.

Another glimpse of Rip Ride Rocket. This part is the start of the ride where you go straight up! and then plummet down at an angle I am just not comfortable with! I debated all day about whether or not I would go on this ride. The only real draw to it for me was getting to choose your own music for the ride. Can I talk myself into it?

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Old 06-06-2010, 10:25 AM   #123
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On our way back to the Kid Zone, we stopped for more pictures and autographs. I like the way the characters often arrive in a mini parade. I didn't get a picture of the Madagascar characters arriving, but the second picture shows Curious George and Scooby Doo going to their meet & greets. I've seen the Mystery Mobile driving around there too.




It turned out that Woody Woodpecker's Kid Zone didn't open until 11am, so with a quick change of plans, we headed toward the Front Lot to Jimmy Neutron's Blast.




This is basically a movie with theater seats that shake and move slightly. Most our gang chose the stationary seats in front. They were really paranoid after The Simpsons Ride.
As you exit the ride, there's a photo op with SpongeBob.


It looks like photobucket is up to its old tricks. I have reduced these huge pictures down to medium size and it shows up that way on photobucket, but not here.

Next we got in line for Shrek 4D. We used our express access so we'd be let in with the next group. People had finally started showing up at the park and the line was quite long for Shrek. Max had to go potty just as we got in line so DH and he left and said they'd just skip the show. Well, right as they were letting us in, Jake had to go potty too, so I had to exit with him and Ella so our immediate family missed the show. Literally two seconds later, DH showed up with Max but it was too late.





While we were waiting for everyone else, Max was getting cranky! He always gets like that when he's hungry so DH got him a soft pretzel even though we would be going to lunch soon.



There is a store that the Shrek show exits out of, so Jacob and I went in and looked around still waiting for our group. Jacob loves funny hat photos so we killed a few minutes here.


Jacob is not afraid of his feminine side.




We actually met Shrek and Donkey on our way over to the Front Lot a little earlier, but here's a good spot to throw in the picture. Donkey is hilarious! He called the boys Smurfs because of their blue shirts and their being so little. I called out, "Ella" to try to get her to look at the camera, and Donkey started singing that song..."under my umbrella...ella...ella..ella." And when I said, "look over here, guys." Donkey said, "I am looking over there!" You had to be there!


Max was too shy to get in the picture with Shrek, but he thought this would be a nice place to pose for a photo of his own. Max would often stop somewhere and ask me to take a picture of him.


Finally our group was all together again and we headed over to San Francisco for lunch. (Coming next!)

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Old 06-06-2010, 11:30 AM   #124
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Great Updates I do not think I will be able to ride Rip Ride. That drop is just too much for me!! My husband & 2 DS's will ride it though.
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Old 06-06-2010, 11:50 AM   #125
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Great update! Now you really got me wanting to go there.

Doesn't it seem that vacations always start out one way and turn into something much bigger. Sounds like you are really going to have a good time in December. Hopefully it won't be as cold as last year.
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Old 06-06-2010, 02:30 PM   #126
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We walked to San Francisco for lunch at Lombard's Landing. I think it's mostly known for its seafood, but we're not seafood fans and it's our favorite restaurant in Universal Studios. I don't know that's really saying a lot because I think there are only two. Seriously, it's good though. I like the atmosphere and I like the Boursin Steak sandwich. Sorry, I didn't take a picture.





The light coming in the windows made it difficult to get a picture of the dining room. You can make out the large aquarium in the center though, right?






After lunch, my son Max was fascinated by the lizard on this post. He could have spent hours looking at! Go figure, here we are with something new and fascinating around every corner and Max is taken with a lizard. Gotta love it!


The Jaws ride was closed today. But Kyle was really looking forward to see a shark, so after lunch we headed to the Amity area so he could get a picture with Jaws. This area is decorated like they are having a 4th of July festival. It really makes you feel like it's the middle of the summer. Having just come from cool Chicago April weather, it's quite a change for my mind. It was plenty warm today too, so that certainly helps.







Jacob is so little it looks like he is hanging off of the shark's tooth.


Kyle got his picture taken in one of those photo booths too.


Kyle also had to find a souvenir here. He brought money from home he had saved up. I was surprised he made it through the Superhero souvenirs yesterday without blowing it, but he did end up buying a shark here.



Whle the kids shopped. DH took Ella into the shade and she fell asleep.


Time for the kids to head over to the long awaited Kid Zone finally. MIL and SIL volunteered to take the 5 kids while FIL, BIL, DH, and I went on Disaster, The Mummy, Twister, and Rip Ride Rockit. I don't think they actually knew how many rides we had planned!

Here are pictures from Disaster. This was revamped from the last time I was here. I enjoyed the changes and while it's a long show/ride, I think it is worth it!






Scenery on the way to The Mummy:


More pictures on the next post...


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Old 06-06-2010, 03:41 PM   #127
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So we are off to The Mummy. Last time (the only time) I went on The Mummy, I had to ride alone because DH and I took turns watching the kids while the other rode. I was so scared that I kept my eyes closed the whole time! I was determined to actually see the ride this time! Surrounded by people I know, I had the courage to keep my eyes open! It wasn't as bad as I thought!


This is what the street corner looked like when we went into the Mummy and when we came out, the Blue's Brothers had pulled up and were performing which drew quite a crowd.


Next up was Twister. We debated about whether or not to take in this attraction. DH and I hadn't done it since it first opened and FIL and BIL never had. I guess that's why we decided to do it. I'm pretty sure that's the last time I do it too. It takes a long time and isn't great, IMO.



And finally, Rip Ride Rockit.


I'm sure I would enjoy the rest of the ride, but that first drop made me chicken out. Honestly, I wasn't feeling the greatest and I was really feeling the time pressure of getting back to my children. So I opted out. So did FIL and we walked over to the Kid Zone where I knew the Barney show should be letting out any minute. I knew they were planning to go to that show so that's where we headed.

On our walk back, we saw the whole Simpson family walking down the street.










We saw MIL outside of Barney. She had waited outside of the show with a still sleeping Ella! What a nap! I went inside the Barney play area where I know the show lets out. I grabbed the kids' autograph books and met them inside where I knew they'd want to get Barney's autograph.


Then I watched them play in this inside play area for quite a while. It's a little nerve wracking watching 4 kids in here because there are two exits. One of the exits is a wide open area into a store, which I figure would draw kids, but it didn't draw mine, thankfully.


This sand and water (separate) play area is one of my kids' favorites. They spent hours here when the boys were 2 and 9 months old. That's how DH and I got to take turns riding the cool rides!




They loved the train and other activites too. And it's inside so it's air conditioned! A nice respite in the afternoon!


Ella finally woke up and joined the kids in here. The colored "stones" she was walking on light up and play a musical note. She loved them and would try to run back and forth, back and forth. She's wobbly running because she's only 15mos. old, but she didn't let that stop her!


One of the people who work there came up to my SIL and said, "I saw you and the kids in the show. They were very well behaved!" Nice! I like to hear that!


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Old 06-06-2010, 05:17 PM   #128
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I am enjoying your TR so much!!! Thank you for sharing your trip, family, and photos with us! You have me wanting to go to Universal for sure! Maybe next trip......... We leave for WDW in 12 days!

Stephanie
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Old 06-06-2010, 05:30 PM   #129
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DH and BIL eventually got back from their ride on Rip Ride Rockit and gave it high reviews! They said there was no express access though, so it took them a long time. Had we realized that, they would have gone first thing this morning. Oh, well.

Let me tell you what the kids did, while we were on the grown-up rides. Since Fievel's Playground was closed, they spent a lot of time at the Curious George play area.

(Sorry, didn't get back to take a pic of Curious George area.)

This is why the kids wore their swim truncks to the park today. The Curious George area is a big water playground where the kids can get soaked. For some reason though, the kids all had in their heads that they didn't want to get wet! Weird. I guess it's the few splashes of water on various rides and "4D" shows that have them against it now. There is also a big two story structure for shooting foam balls and vacuuming them into tubes and such. It's hiding behind the wet zone so I'm sure SIL didn't even know it was there until she went searching for the kids! That's where they spent all the time before the Barney show.

The kids could really play between these areas all day and never get bored!

We had our eye on seeing the Animal Actors show, so there was only time for a quick ride on the Woody Woodpecker kid's coaster before going to the show. I think Jacob took Grandpa on it. Kyle's not much for coasters and Max didn't want to step on any more rides today after almost being eaten by that big yellow baby this morning!


And here's the Animal Actors show...a cute show enjoyed by the whole family.






The E.T. ride was the only thing left on our list to do before taking a taxi over to our new hotel. So we did. And surprisingly E.T. was Jacob's favorite ride of the whole trip! (SIL's too!)


We saw a couple more characters...Woody and Winnie? I don't remember her from my childhood.


And Grandma told each of the kids that she would buy them one souvenir whenever they found one that they really liked. Max had to find something quick! While Jacob looked and looked and wouldn't commit until the last possible night.




Ella made up her own fun while waiting for everyone to ride E.T. and shop. She got so much attention, the girl was never bored!


We grabbed a snack as we exited the park. I think most of got a cookie of one type or another and we took the boat back to RPR where MIL had arranged a van to pick us up and take us to Bay Lake Tower! Did I mention we're staying in the Grand Villa?! I'm trying to get this post out of the way so I can get to the GV pics. So here are the remaining pictures as we left Universal Studios.








Here you can see the proximity of the boat transportation from US and IOA:




Look closely, there are 4 kids on that bench. And the real tricky part is they're all happy and getting along even after a busy park day!




Okay, that's it for the Universal portion of our trip! The next installment will have the pictures of our Grand Villa at Bay Lake Tower. In case, you don't know what that means, it's a 3 bedroom/4 bath two story Disney Vacation Club Villa at the newest tower of the Contemporary Resort. It's gorgeous! Unfortunately I'll probably leave you hanging until at least Wednesday. I've got a super busy week and even a convention next weekend. How am I supposed to get all my Disney stuff done, with all this work getting in the way? Sheesh!

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Old 06-06-2010, 05:49 PM   #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephanie239 View Post
I am enjoying your TR so much!!! Thank you for sharing your trip, family, and photos with us! You have me wanting to go to Universal for sure! Maybe next trip......... We leave for WDW in 12 days!

Stephanie
Thanks! Where are you staying? You must be sooo excited!
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Old 06-06-2010, 05:57 PM   #131
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Wow! You are really on the role with your TR. Sadly I think our trip in July will be our last to the World until we can get back to US/IOA. Lol.

You also have some great plans for December!
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:15 PM   #132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr&momto2boys View Post
Thanks! Where are you staying? You must be sooo excited!
We are staying at the Polynesian. This is only our second trip to the World. Last time, 3yrs ago, we took our RV and stayed at Ft Wilderness. It was great, but my kids begged to stay at a hotel/resort.....we had to live in the RV for a few months after Hurricane Ike! I think I'm more excited about our upcoming trip than anyone else in the fam!
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:23 PM   #133
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Your report definitely has me wanting to visit Universal sometime. The kids play areas look too adorable and they actually have quite an abundance of characters that I did not know were there. Can't wait to see what you guys thought of the new resort
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:17 PM   #134
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Great report! And I'm here just in time to see the Grand Villa pics!
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:27 PM   #135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadiMouse View Post
Wow! You are really on the role with your TR. Sadly I think our trip in July will be our last to the World until we can get back to US/IOA. Lol.

You also have some great plans for December!
I can't believe how long it takes to load pictures, resize them, and get it all in here! My DH took the kids to a birthday party and was gone 5 hours and I spent the whole time plus some on this! It makes me wonder what am I doing?! Then I stop and think, who else will willingly look at my 2400 vacation pics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephanie239 View Post
We are staying at the Polynesian. This is only our second trip to the World. Last time, 3yrs ago, we took our RV and stayed at Ft Wilderness. It was great, but my kids begged to stay at a hotel/resort.....we had to live in the RV for a few months after Hurricane Ike! I think I'm more excited about our upcoming trip than anyone else in the fam!
I love Poly! I know what you mean about being the most excited! I work my 5 year old up into a frenzy with all my excitement. He's the only one that even comes close!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mermaid764 View Post
Your report definitely has me wanting to visit Universal sometime. The kids play areas look too adorable and they actually have quite an abundance of characters that I did not know were there. Can't wait to see what you guys thought of the new resort
Universal is awesome! And you really can experience it all in 2 days. But we've taken week long Florida vacations and spent 4 days at US & IOA and a couple days at SeaWorld.

Sorry to leave you hanging on the new resort!
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