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Old 12-28-2012, 12:40 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 11

Theos Universal Trip Report Day 2

Welcome back to Day 2:
We got up about 6:30 am and got ready. Since we are staying on property we get to enjoy parts of Islands of Adventure an hour early. We decided to walk to the park since it is not a bad walk. When we reached the entrance of the City Walk from our hotel we had our bags checked and ids checked. We then proceeded to the gates of IOA. There was a little bit of a crowd waiting for the gates to open up. We were there about 7:30am. They opened up the gates about 7:45am and we all started walking to Harry Potter section. It was so neat and so worth it to get up early and enjoy the atmosphere before all the crowds. We immediately went to Olivanders to enjoy the wand show. We were the second group in. Later in the day the lines were wrapped and wrapped - so we made the right call there. The show was enjoyable. While we waiting in line the members of the staff entertained us with Harry Potter questions. The day started out a little foggy, gloomy and it really added to the atmosphere of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts looked really neat. The details on the whole village were excellent. The shops were fantastic. It would be as if we stepped into the movie. Quite enjoyable. We next went to the Forbidden Journey. I had read a hint about not carrying anything with you if possible. I had cargo pants on that had button pockets so were were able to skip the locker lines and go right in. We literally walked through the castle and walked right on the ride. It was the most impressive ride I have ever been on. We really enjoyed the ride it incorporated everything from movie, to moving ride, to scene sets. It was really done well. In fact the whole Hogwarts entrance was so great in its detail from talking pictures to snowing in the classroom. Needless to say we rode the ride 4 times. I will say that I could see that the ride could cause motion sickness and may be a bit scary for children with dementers and spiders and you do tilt all the way on your back. So you might want to have someone you know try it first if you are doubtful. We only had a 10 minute wait at the most during that first hour. We then decided to visit the shops since they were not very crowded. We also took our pictures with the frog choir and the train conductor. We rode Hippogriff then - unfortunately that ride is way to short to wait in any kind of line. We did enjoy the scenery. Of course we did not have to wait but for 5 minutes to board the train. At this point we still had not used our Express passes. The Dragon Challenge was not opening until 11am so we went onto breakfast. We had a Cinnabon and Cinnastix. By this time the park had officially opened and there were people streaming in. We decided to go to Spiderman ride which was a lot of fun. We used our Express pass and walked right on. My husband and daughter then rode The Hulk a few times using the Express pass. We then went to Dr Doom Fearfall and rode that a few times. That was a surprising ride in the fact how fast you go up the first time. We walked through and enjoyed Dr Suess land. It is so incredibly themed. It was quite fun. We got to meet the townpeople from Whoville and the Grinch before the Christmas show. We did not go to the show but I can tell you there was quite a line for it. Since the day was warming up a little bit we decided to go try Jurassic Park before we had an early lunch. The ride was really a lot of fun and I believe they turned down the water jets a little bit because we did not get as wet as I believe we would have. We did get wet though so please keep that in mind. The couple in front of us had rain ponchos on to protect themselves. We decided to eat a quick lunch of brick oven pizza at the Crescent Moon restaurant. The pizza was individual size and very good. Since we had gotten up early we decided to go back to our room and take a nap. This is definitely a bonus of staying onsite! We were well rested and were able to enjoy a full evening of activities. We had park hopping privileges with the tickets we purchased (I would recommend that). We had dinner reservations at Finnegans at Universal Studios. First my husband and daughter had to try Rip Rocket which they thoroughly enjoyed. I stayed with both my feet planted firmly on the ground for that one. We then went to Twister which was fun (we live in Tornado Alley and have experienced real tornados - so there is fascination in how they would depict a tornado). It was good. We then went to dinner at Finnegans where we enjoyed fish and chips (I highly recommend this dish), chicken pot pie (again very good), and Guiness Stew (really good) along with a few pints of beer. The Macy's parade was going on at this time but we were only able to see the bands and floats that were in the street. We were going to Universal tomorrow night to enjoy the entire parade so we were not concerned. After dinner we enjoyed the live music at Finnegans and then went to the Mummy ride with Express Pass. I have to say that for the most part the rides were only 30-45 min wait for people without Express pass (with the exception of Forbidden Journey, Rip Rockit, Despicable Me, The Hulk - they were up to 60 minutes at one point on Saturday). They had the Nighttime Spectacular so we decided to get a table behind the pizza place in New York and have a drink and wait for the show. We were in the splash zone but we moved the table back a bit and did not get wet. We really enjoyed the show - the fireworks were good as well as the water screens. Afterwards we went back and changed and went to Pat OBriens. We got there before 9pm so we had did not have a cover charge and we had a Hurricane and listened to the solo piano player. After 9pm the dueling pianos started. They did ask if there were any remaining children because they get rowdy and a little nasty. Of course it was Friday night so the crowd really got going. It was a lot of fun and everyone was singing and laughing. It was a very enjoyable evening and the best part is that we were not driving and we had a boat waiting to take us back to our resort. It was a very late night and we had amassed a few glasses-we could start a bar collection from the Hurricanes that we consumed. It was a lot of fun and the piano players were awesome! So needless to say it will not be an early morning for Day 3.
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