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Old 09-25-2012, 02:45 PM   #1
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Fred and Wilma - 'The Keys' to 'The World' - Day 10

Tuesday 21st August – Muggles and Muddles

Ouch! I woke up with a raging headache. Still, Islands of Adventure was calling so no time to dilly dally. After a quick shower, I felt a bit better and dragged Daniel out of bed and into the shower (not literally). I knew we would probably suffer today and be paying for his lack of sleep but I was prepared for it. Despite hangovers and grumpiness, we were ready on schedule at 7.30.

We should have collected our Express Passes the day before, when we checked in but had decided to leave it until this morning. In hindsight, that was probably a mistake. For those who don’t know, the Universal onsite hotels have a new system where your room key no longer acts as your Express Pass. Instead, you now have to use one of the kiosks in the lobby to print an Express Pass bearing your photograph. It took a few minutes to get to grips with the machine and adjusting the camera but, it has to be said, none of our pictures were particularly flattering as you have to look at the camera and press the button to take the picture at the same time. Daniel and I were both looking down, rather than at the camera, but never mind.

It is a short and pleasant walk from Royal Pacific Resort to Islands of Adventure and it was already beautifully sunny.

I'm NOT tired

While collecting our tickets from will-call, I suddenly felt really nauseous. I left Gary and Daniel stood at the kiosk while I ran off to the bathrooms. I wasn’t actually physically sick but was feeling very queasy. After about 10 minutes, I felt a bit better so came back out to find Gary and Daniel waiting for me. People were already streaming through the gates. It looked like it was going to be a busy day.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the only area of Islands of Adventure which is open early to onsite guests so we obviously headed straight there. Although most people head to Forbidden Journey, we decided to skip it since Daniel doesn’t really like it. None of us were too bothered about Ollivanders – we have now been to WWOHP three times and still not done it. As Daniel had been too small to ride Dragons Challenge on our last visit, he was more than ready to take on the Chinese Fireball and the Hungarian Horntail.

As it was still so early, the express lines weren’t open but there was no wait at all and we managed to ride each one a couple of times. Sadly, they weren’t running in sync with each other so, although we managed to get the front seat, it wasn’t quite as thrilling as it should have been. On our last few visits, now, the dragons have not been running in sync. I don’t know whether it is just coincidence but I hope so as it is such a great ride when the two dragons are meeting and crossing over each other.

After Dragons Challenge, it was time for another first (for Daniel) – Flight of the Hippogriff (formerly the Flying Unicorn). Daniel really loved this little coaster – it is surprisingly fast – and, after a couple of rides, Gary and I left Daniel to ride on his own twice more.

Hagrid's Hut

Choo choo

Walking back through WWOHP, we bumped into Zoe and family, who had just been to Ollivanders. After a little chat, we left WWOHP and walked towards Seuss Landing.

We stopped to check out the fountain outside Sinbad's - Daniel was convinced he was going to get soaked as this fountain usually sprays water on the kids and talks but I told him I didn't think the fountain was awake just yet.

Are you sure he's asleep Mum?

In Seuss Landing, Daniel and I rode One Fish, Two Fish. In traditional fashion, Gary refused to ride. I am determined to get him on that ride with me one day, if it kills me. Somehow I managed to get absolutely soaked, even though I definitely followed the instructions correctly.

Daniel was starting to get a bit antsy so we decided it was probably time for some breakfast. At Croissant Moon, we bought a Chocolate Croissant (Daniel), Cherry Turnover (Gary) and an Apple Danish (me) plus (obviously) a hot tea and a diet coke. The total was $8.17.

Breakfasty goodness

After breakfast, Gary and I both felt much better and Daniel was ready to take on the mighty Hulk! They had this really cool Hulk-mobile outside so we took a few pictures with Daniel posing.

Cool car

Don't make me angry!

The Hulk was another ride that Daniel was too small for last year and, after just one go, he declared it his new favourite ride. After riding three times, we went to experience the new HD version of Spiderman. This was awesome, the level of detail is amazing, a vast improvement on what was already a fantastic ride.

After a quick diet coke break, we rode Cat in the Hat and the High in the Sky Trolley ride. I love the view from up there!


The Lost Continent

Daniel and Gary both wanted to do the water rides but I had no desire to get wet. To me, there is nothing worse than having to walk around in wet clothes. I agreed to do Jurassic Park River Adventure but not the others, and we knew we would have to leave afterwards as Daniel couldn’t stay in wet clothes.

While walking towards Toon Lagoon, we spotted Popeye and Olive Oyl. There was nobody else around so we had a great chat with them and Daniel posed.

Ugg ugg ugg ugg

While I love Marvel Superhero Island for the music and atmosphere, I really love the cartoon appearance of Toon Lagoon. There are so many details and I discover something new every time we visit.

Water feature


We rode the River Adventure first, then I waited for the two boys to do Dudley’s and the Bilge Rat Barges. I had managed to stay reasonably dry on Jurassic Park River Adventure so, by the time they came back, I was completely dry. They, on the other hand, were absolutely sopping.

We headed straight to the exit, stopping only to have a brief (wet) hug with Woody Woodpecker.

Woody and Daniel

We quickly left the park and walked straight back to the hotel. The last thing we wanted was Daniel’s heat rash to flare up again. Back at the hotel, we discovered that the housekeeping staff clearly had a sense of humour.

Dogster and Pluto

On Zoe's advice, we had left a nice note for housekeeping asking if we could have some extra 'pods' of tea for the Keurig machine. We had left a couple of extra dollars tip and it had certainly reaped rewards...

Plenty of tea

We quickly changed into our swimming stuff and went down to the pool. We were a bit peckish so ordered some lunch at the Bula Bar. We shared two kids’ chicken tenders meals and an appetiser of teriyaki chicken strips. The teriyaki chicken was just the same chicken tenders which came with the kids’ meals, tossed in some teriyaki sauce. It was very tasty though and we polished off the lot with no problems. With three diet cokes, the check came to $38.96 (included an automatic 18% tip).

Chickie tenders

After eating, Daniel headed straight for the pool while Gary and I grabbed a couple of loungers and made ourselves comfortable. The entertainments staff were just starting a game of pool bingo when the announcement came that there were thunderstorms in the area and the pool would be closed. We were just gathering up our stuff when the rain started, quickly followed by an incredible display of lightning and massive claps of thunder.

Back in the room, I decided to take the opportunity to do some laundry while Gary and Daniel chilled out. I half hoped that Daniel might have a nap as he was still tired and a bit grouchy but the boy just doesn’t know when to give in. I spent the majority of the afternoon back and forth between the room and the laundry, managing to get a couple of loads done. Less washing to do when we get home, I suppose, although not my ideal way to spend an afternoon (particularly when on holiday).

Knowing that we all needed an early night, we decided to have dinner at Friendly’s. It remains one of our favourite offsite places for cheap and tasty food. Sadly, this experience was not the best we’ve had. Although the food was still great (for the most part), our server was completely useless. I don’t think she got a single thing right with our order.

Bunny ears

For appetiser, we ordered a combo of potato skins, mozzarella sticks and waffle fries. This was at our server’s suggestion but, despite suggesting it, she managed to only put through an order of mozzarella sticks – so that is what we got. For entrée, Gary had Ginger Chicken Stiry Fry, I chose my usual Honey BBQ Chicken Melt and Daniel got the Quesadillas.

Mini mozza sticks

The quesadillas were very disappointing. The chicken was well seasoned but it was literally just chicken and cheese, a bit boring even by my standards, and definitely far too uninteresting for Daniel, who ended up eating half of mine. Gary’s stir fry was good.

Uninteresting quesadillas

Healthy but delicious

Unhealthy but equally delicious

Again, when ordering, our server had persuaded me to get the combo meal which came with a drink and a 2-scoop sundae. I didn’t actually want the ice-cream so told our server that Daniel was going to have it. He ordered a scoop of cookies ‘n’ cream and a scoop of forbidden chocolate with hot fudge, and I asked if we could pay the extra for him to have Oreo pieces as well. She said that was fine. Gary ordered a vanilla Fribble shake, which he loves.

When Daniel’s ice-cream came, it had whipped cream on it (even though he had asked for it without) and Gary’s Fribble shake was just like a glass of pure ice cream. She took away Daniel’s sundae and brought another one with no cream on, together with the check. The check, of course, was completely wrong – we had been charged for the combo appetiser we hadn’t received and two sundaes, when we had only had one and that was supposed to be part of the meal. Eventually, we got it sorted out and paid the check ($37 inc tip).

In all the confusion, I didn't get a picture of dessert.

We were back at the hotel by 8.30 and in bed by 9. Gary and I watched television for a while but Daniel was asleep almost immediately.
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:06 PM   #2
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Great day, lovely pictures
They no longer have the dueling dragons in sync anymore.
Something from one of the riders on one ride, fell and injured someone on the other ride. Think it actually happened a few times before they changed it.
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:47 PM   #3
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Love the photos, shame you had a mediocre meal experience
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:39 PM   #4
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Ouch! I woke up with a raging headache.
That would be the "No Name" cocktail. I have no sympathy for you!

I love the walk from RPR to CityWalk. Sorry to hear you were tired. Not. (Did I mention I have no sympathy for you? )

I suddenly felt really nauseous.
Are you trying to make me feel guilty for having no sympathy for you? I'm actually starting to feel just a little sorry for you. Just a little, you understand. Don't be forgetting the names of cocktails in future, okay?

I was so excited about the opening of WWoHP. I can't believe that we ended up choosing not to visit when we were in Orlando last year and, even more so that we've elected not to visit again this year. I'm sure we'll get there eventually.

The one time I rode Hulk, I absolutely adored it. Like Daniel, I declared it my favourite ride. Unlike Daniel, I've never ridden it since! #toodarnedscared

Cracking up at Dogster and Pluto. Reminds me of some interesting postions the girls used to have some little figurines of Mickey and Minnie adopt. In fact, I think Minnie and Mickey may well still be in a compromising position!

I actually quite like the look of the Teriyaki Chicken Strips, even though I'm not normally a fan of breaded or battered and fried chicken.

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Old 09-25-2012, 06:20 PM   #5
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You got a lot done in the morning despite the hangover!
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:48 AM   #6
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I'm likeing the Hulk car, apart from the silly looking "eye brow/eye lash/hair line" whatever it is supposed to be.

We loved the Stir fry at Friendlys when we had it with you guys in Oct. The healthy option main makes you feel better about following it with the unhealthy dessert option.
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:58 PM   #7
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Loving your trippie, looking forward to reading more.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:07 PM   #8
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Love the Hulk car!

The dog photo is really funny
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:02 AM   #10
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Lovely day
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:50 AM   #11
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What a great day Joh! Except for the fact that you didn't feel well in the morning - not a good way to start your day. Getting out the door is always a challenge with my family so I would need to aim for an early start and see how that goes.

I so need to get Michael to US/IoA since he is a Hulk fan! The ride, the car, the merchandise... he would be so happy! Maybe our next WDW trip will have a few days at non-Dis parks.

Sorry your Friendly's server was less than helpful. Errrr...

Looking forward to 9 more days of reviews!!!

BTW: Michael is here and reading along and says hi to you, Daniel, and Gary! He really enjoyed meeting you guys as well.
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:36 PM   #12
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Ok I'm in! I came across your report, got caught up and what an awesome trip so far
I love the Royal Pacific, (especially the pool) so much in fact we are getting married there in May
I also love love Universal, I know it's not our beloved Disney but I still really enjoy the rides and I'm a big Harry Potter fan! I didn't know the changed the express pass system, I have to say I really enjoy it! I wish it was like that at Disney but I understand how much more difficult it would to accomadate 20 something hotels vs 3!
Your son is adorable and looks like he really enjoyed your vacation and his ice cream
Can't wait to read more
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:30 PM   #13
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Great day, shame about dinner being a bit of a shambles tho. A year or so ago when we were there someone lost an eye on Dragons after getting hit by something so they stopped sending them round at the same time then.

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Old 11-27-2012, 05:11 PM   #14
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Great report Joh ...... Not sure if it's already been posted but believe they stopped the synching when we were out there one August. Can't remember whether it was last summer or 2009 but remember hearing someone had a coin hit their eye from someone riding the other dragon .... Think I'm right, unless I dreamt it!
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:53 AM   #15
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One of my fav parks where as a family we have some amazing fun times.

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