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Old 10-24-2008, 09:22 AM   #1
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My First Ever Trip Report - Day 3 - IOA, Aquatica & lots of steak!

IOA, Aquatica and Texas De Brazil

Part 1 - IOA

We headed out to Islands of Adventure today, I was so excited about this one, loads of coasters, Jurassic park and Dr Seuss all in one place! If I had been asked to invent my dream themepark it wouldn't be far off IOA!

We were up at about 7.45 but didn't leave until about 8.30 - I cant remember why - no doubt Em was messing about with her hair - and we stopped off at McDonalds fro Breakfast, as Em had been ridiculously excited about getting a breakfast burrito from Maccas since she found out where we were going!

I went for the bacon and egg Mcbagel and Em, despite dreaming of a breakfast burrito for 2 night, went for an egg mcmuffin . Which actually had some type of sausage in it hidden away too! The lady who served us also gave us loads of buy one get one free vouchers - which would come very handy later on in our trip!

We got to Universal at about 8.50 and parked up in Jaws, made the walk through City Walk and headed to IOA.

We didn't take any pictures as I was determined to get into the park as early as possible to maximise riding times! Why waste 10 seconds taking a photo when the Hulk is waiting to be ridden eh?

We headed straight to Hulk - I was virtually dragging Em by the hand, and we lockered up and walked the que. I was extremely happy to see no que for the main coaster and about 6 people in the que for the front.

We did the front, followed by the back and then one more time at the back. I love this coaster, and being at the front makes it so much better, the start of it amazing.

We thought 3 goes was enough, and our legs were feeling a bit wobbly as we walked off, and headed for Spiderman. Again, what a ride, I loved it so much, amazing technology, I properly ducked to avoid stuff 3 times! Marvel Super Hero Island is such a cool place, and I can only imagine how much fun it would have been to go there when I was 11 or 12, - but at 28 I still found it pretty amazing

We had done the Hulk 3 times and Spiderman once and it was only 9.45! We decided to head to Dueling Dragons before the park got busier so walked through Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park (where I finally stopped to take my first photo of the day!) I absolutely love the Jurassic Park films, and I must admit I got goose bumps as we walked through the JP gate and the music was playing....

I then got pretty excited when I saw this:

Only 2 years to go!!!

Anyway, we strolled through to Mythos to make lunch reservations (How weird that you book lunch on the day and not 6 months out - a crazy concept!) and then back to Dueling Dragons. The que was non-existent again so we rode the front of fire, the front of ice, then the back of fire then the back of ice.

I preferred Ice as there was more interaction with the other dragon, but Em was a fire fan. Lets be honest though, both are absolutely amazing!! Being at the front made a massive difference on this ride.

We then doubled back to Toon Lagoon and did Rip Saw Falls (where we qued for 20 minutes - the longest que of the whole 2 weeks!) where we got absolutely drenched.

I've never been so wet from a ride before. For about 10 minutes - as our next ride was the Bilge Rat Barges. When we got off it looked like we had just come out of the shower!!

Luckily it was a lovely day so it didn't matter too much - and as we were wet we decided to go on the Jurassic Park River Adventure. I loved this ride, the theming of it all is so cool, and the drop at the end is amazing! I don't think Em was too impressed but then again she hates JP (Crazy huh?!)

We were getting hungry but had a bout half an hour before our reservation at Mythos and so we went to Seuss Landing, which I absolutely loved!!

How good do these look?!

I just love all the bright colours and wavy lines all over the place, its such a nice, feel good place to be. We saw Thing 1 and Thing 2 and went over to get a picture with them but they ran away from us

We did get to meet the Cat in the Hat though

I really wanted to buy a cat in the hat t shirt but couldn't find anything for men (I could even squeeze into a XL Boys top but nothing there either!)

We walked around the shops until it was time to hit up Mythos


I had heard loads about this place, not least the fact it has won best theme park restaurant for like 8 years in a row, so I was expecting something good.

I really liked it inside, it is set in a 'cave' and our table had a great view of Marvel Superhero island from one window, and the other window had water running over it, which looked really cool.

I went for the Buffalo Chicken wrap and Em had the mixed baby green salad with shrimp. I also had a strawberry milkshake, Em went for Sprite.

Buffalo BBQ Fried Chicken Wrap - Spicy, sweet fried chicken with cheddar mashed potatoes and fresh greens wrapped in a grilled tortilla with french fries $12.95

Mixed Baby Greens - With marinated feta cheese and citrus dressing. $5.75
-- Add grilled chicken or beef $10.85 Add shrimp, scallops or salmon $13.20

The Buffalo Chicken wrap was amazing! the chicken had a lovely coating and the buffalo sauce was delicious. I was unsure about having mashed potato inside it as well but it worked really well, gave it a nice creamy texture to contract with the crunch of the chicken.

I really wanted to try some dessert but we were just too full so we left it there.

Total not including tip - $34.46


Ambience 7/10
Service 6/10
Food 8/10
Value for Money 8/10

Overall - 7/10


Ambience 8/10 (although she thought it was very cold!)
Service 7/10
Food 7.5/10
Value for Money 8/10

Overall - 7.5/10

I would definitely go back here again, and it really was cheap compared to similar places.

Over lunch we decided that we could come back another day to do the few rides we hadn't done, so we decided to go and check out Aquatica for the afternoon. (Even though it wasn't planned on the spreadsheet)

On the way out we checked out the main shop, and for some reason Em didn't think this hat suited me.......

Part 2 - Aquatica

I was really excited about this, as I remember going to Typhoon Lagoon when I was younger and thinking it was so great. I figured a brand new water park should be amazing - but I was wrong.

Don't get me wrong, its a lovely place, but considering its almost 20 years newer than Typhoon Lagoon and over 10 years newer than Blizzard beach, it was a let down. None of the rides even came close to the top few rides at TL or BB.

We arrived about 3, and by 5 we had done everything we wanted to do and made a move. The dolphin slide is a joke, its a standard flume ride and the part where you go past the dolphins lasts for less than a second, plus you are travelling really fast (which also makes the water spray in your face!)

I did really like the lazy river/ rapids thing which is actually pretty quick, and you don't have the rubber rings, but just a life jacket. That was good fun.There was a normal lazy river there too.

The grounds are nice, but not amazing nice. It looks like it would be a wicked place for kids, as there are loads of cool looking kid slides.

It was fun but I would much rather go to TL or BB given the choice.

One thing I did notice is that some of the signs around the place, esp the ones on the dolphin flume, were really old and worn, very odd considering its less than 6 months old!

After Aquatica we headed back to the hotel, finished our unpacking, then got ready for dinner at Texas De Brazil.

*Sorry about the lack of pics, we had a waterproof camera but forgot to bring it!*

Before we actually went in the restaurant, we did a spot of shopping in the Calvin Klein store next door, which we discovered had the best bargains of all the Calvin Klein outlet stores! It was ridiculous, I picked up a couple of pairs of trousers for $15 each and Em got about 2 massive bags full of stuff for about $100!

Part 3 - Texas De Brazil

If you haven't been to this place, all I can say is you have to try it, it was absolutely fantastic!

I had signed up to the Texas email club before coming away too, and so I had a buy one get one free voucher for my birthday

In case you've never been or never heard of Texas de Brazil, its pretty much a buffet, but with a difference.

You start of with the salad bar, which is the best salad bar I have ever seen in my life! It had sushi, nice cheeses, pastas, lots of delicatessen type food etc.

Then you start with the main course of .........MEAT!!

Gauchos (Brazilian Cowboys) come wandering around the restaurant holding skewers of freshly cooked meats, things like fillet steak, lamb, chicken etc.

Gaucho with Brazillian Sausage (which was soooooo good!)

You are given a little card which goes on the table next to you, one side is red, one is green. When you have the green side up, the Gauchos come over and offer you meat, when your card is red side up, they leave you be.

Its such a great idea but the best part of it is the food. The quality of the meat is so good, and there is so much variety, there were about 10 -15 different types of meat, and if you said no, they would often ask what you would like and then go and prepare some for you!

The actual restaurant is really nice too, there is a really nice atmosphere in Texas, it seems a lot 'posher' than you'd imagine, yet its also really relaxed and informal.

The price per dinner is $44.99, so without the voucher, it isn't cheap, and the drinks were pretty expensive too, but you get what you pay for and I would definitely recommend it as a nice restaurant to go to for a treat.

Total not including tip $74.48 (would have been $119.47 without the voucher)


Ambience 8.5/10
Service 9.5/10
Food 9/10
Value for Money 9/10 (with voucher!)

Overall - 9/10


Ambience 8.5/10
Service 8.5/10
Food 9/10
Value for Money 9/10

Overall - 9/10

Now, I know I said I was full after Le Cellier, but that was nothing, I could hardly walk after leaving Texas! I guess that's the danger of delicious food being brought to your table....

Tomorrow - My long anticipated return to Sea World and an evening of French Cuisine at Trip Advisor's number 1 restaurant in Orlando.....
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Thank you O' great Tag Fairy - You have made this Proud Redhead a very happy bunny!!

Last edited by raph_b; 11-17-2008 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:01 AM   #2
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Another great day - glad you enjoyed Mythos - we are hoping to go there again next year and your pictures of your food are great.

I'm afraid I didn't do justice to all the yummy meat in Texas De Brazil when we went - I seem to remember having too much salad and then I just had meat overload. My teenage daughter more than made up for my poor attempts though mind you that could have something to do with the dishy waiters!

Shame Aquatica didn't live up to expectations

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Old 10-24-2008, 11:41 AM   #3
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What a great day, you certainly got very wet at IOA

Ive never been to mythos, it looks yummy tho !
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:23 PM   #4
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wow, you did so much in one day- and ate soo much as well!
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Old 10-24-2008, 06:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by raph_b View Post
I had heard loads about this place, not least the fact it has won best theme park restaurant for like 8 years in a row, so I was expecting something good.
Again, I'm pleased this lived up to your expectations. The first time we tried it, we were a little bit disappointed. We were staying onsite at Universal somewhere (HRH, I think) and we'd made a dinner reservation, so went into the park mainly for that purpose. The floor of the restaurant was covered with a day's worth of theme parkers' leftovers and we were the only diners drinking wine with our meal - everyone else seemed to be on Mountain Dew! I'd read so much about it being "fine dining in a park" and it definitely didn't live up to that billing. We've been back many times since (always for an early lunch) and with lowered expectations, we now have a completely different perspective on it. For the price, it really is something different.

You two scrub up well.

I agree with everything you've said about Texas de Brazil. The salad bar is out of this world and it's so easy to fill up on that (it also includes a delicious lobster bisque) and not be able to take advantage of the great meat offerings (we were there with Tam and, as she says, her teenage daughter made up for the rest of us ). Maybe that's why the salad bar is so wonderful - it's probably cheaper for them if patrons do overdo that before starting on the meat. As you say, it has a very upscale vibe. And using the email discounts turns a fairly expensive meal into a much more affordable option.

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Old 10-25-2008, 03:56 AM   #6
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Great update Craig.

I am looking forward to trying Mythos in December. You certainly did get very wet on the IOA rides! I remember being surprised the first time I went on them....the only dry patch I had was under my arms!

Texas de Brazil sounds lovely too....might have to fit that one in next year!

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Old 10-25-2008, 12:39 PM   #7
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Excellent day Craig,i love IOA especially Seuss Landing .
We are hoping to try Mythos next year-the reports i always hear are very good about it.
Great pics+can't wait for another day.x.

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Old 10-26-2008, 07:00 AM   #8
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Wow Craig what an action packed day, the food at Texas looks great will have to try it next time
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Old 10-27-2008, 06:49 AM   #9
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Another amazing day by the looks of things. :D We got drenched in IOA as well and it was great not having to queue for things. Lovely pictures again.

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Old 10-29-2008, 04:26 AM   #10
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great pictures!

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Old 10-29-2008, 05:00 AM   #11
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Great pictures and report.

Bilge Rat Barges = great fun but you get soaked (all over!)...had quite a smug face on me last time I rode it, close to the end of the ride I seemed strangely dry, but the smugness was soon to be removed from my face as I was drenched shortly afterwards - much to the amusement of the rest of my fellow rider's. My son wears a poncho on this, naturally I didn't - the only way to ride it really.

Those toffee apples = very nice, but a bit tooooo sweet especially with the nuts on, not recommended after a steak dinner
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Old 11-09-2008, 05:17 AM   #12
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I'm always cold at Mythos because of being wet on the water rides, however we now always get an outside seat to dry off in the heat. I just love sitting outside eating in a restaurants and do it at any opportunity I can, obviously not in London in November though!!

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Old 11-09-2008, 06:30 AM   #13
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What a great day, you both look like you are having such fun!!

Texas de Brazil looks really fantastic, it's on my to do list!
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Old 11-25-2008, 06:14 AM   #14
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Lovely report and I am glad you enjoyed your day.

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Old 01-30-2009, 07:30 AM   #15
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IOA looked so amazing!! It's making me want the kids to grow up super-fast so we can go to WDW (I've said not until the youngest is 5!!)
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