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Old 06-15-2011, 09:12 PM   #1891
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Good update. I find the dark side stuff really interesting as I've never been there.
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:59 AM   #1892
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Thank you for the wonderfully detailed info on IoA!!! Great pictures, too.

We are planning on eating at Mythos, too. When did you make your reservations? Everywhere I read says you don't have to make advanced reservations to most of the US restaurants, but coming from a Disney mentality- THAT IS SO WRONG!

I will probably plan our lunch there for our first full day at the park.

Your comments about Front of the Line passes have me really jazzed!

BTW- I know you're a Parrotthead. We have tickets to see JB on Saturday night. Always a fun show! I imagine we will hear "Boat Drinks"- his only hockey song, which was written as he was watching a Bruins game in a Boston bar.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:24 AM   #1893
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Wow! I think I might be smitten with The Dark Side.

I am a huge Harry Potter fan as well. I read each book as it came out and even attended a midnight book release party or two towards the end. Connor has read all the books, but Chelsea and Charles just watch the movies.

The theming is just incredible!!! Too bad you can't get rid of all those crowds and just wander about in quiet, soaking up all the little details! I hope you try the Butterbeer later on, and I love that you can choose your own wand -- Connor would be all about that.

Had to laugh about the Quaffle being heavy.

I am also very intrigued by the theming of the Lost Continent and the Superhero City. So cool! Connor would be all about that as well! Not to mention, Charles and Chelsea love roller coasters.

You are giving me lots of food for thought.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:19 AM   #1894
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Originally Posted by Happydog View Post
Great set of updates! Loved all the details and the info from WWOHP as well as the rest of the Adventure Island stuff... and of course Wack O Mole! We have that game on our phones!!! Helped us through TSM line last summer
Oh how funny! I am not a gamer at all and never think to put games on my phone (or let my kids play with it...sucks the battery life lol much to their disappointment) I can totally see how that would make the line go faster!

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I think the photos really capture the fun easygoing day you seem to have had despite the crowds. When you get up early you get that extra time to spare!!! Is this the first whole group "rope drop" you've been to??!! LOL!!!
It is! Isn't that funny? We did make it into the park for am EMH three times at Disney but it wasn't the whole group and not before it actually opened, in most cases 15-30 minutes into the EMH. I've still yet to see a single opening show though did at least see an actual rope "drop" on the girls trip.

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I love all the Marvel comics, and Spiderman is a cool ride I agree, I vaguely remember it myself... I think it will be interesting to see what happens with Disney owning the rights.

Great trip updates for sure!
Spiderman rocks. When we went in 04, I kid you not, my mom went on it 11 times!

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Loving this report Cynthia it is gonna help sooooo much for next year and my FREE Trip!!! I have been eying Mythos for a meal while there !!So can;t wait to read all about it !!! Also if the prices and the menu on AllEars are any where near close !!!
My mythos review will be up next Rosie!

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Originally Posted by glennbo123 View Post
This is great info. Cynthia! I don't know about any of this 'dark side' stuff. Well, I've heard of the Spiderman ride and of course The Wizarding World, but that's about it.
It really is another world. Not bad, just different! It's a lot of fun I have to say. We loved it in 04 and again this trip and experienced a lot more of it this trip. This is just the start!

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It seems like you're getting a lot of rides in with the help of that Front of the Line Pass. I think you've mentioned it, but I forget -- do you get that by virtue of staying at one of their hotels, or is it extra in addition to that?
We did really well with the combo of the FOL pass and the resort guest WWOHP early entry, which got us into the park around 7:45. Before lunch we'd done FJ twice, Dragon Challenge, Poseidon's Fury, Spiderman, Hulk, Whack a Mole and Jurassic Park and had some time to shop and get a drink.

The pass is available to resort guests. You can also buy one at the park but it's for that day only and is different. Somehow that one (supposedly, I've not actually tested it) is only good once on each ride. Without the pass there is no way we could have done as much. Spiderman in particular runs a decent wait most times, it was probably 30-60 minutes when we went on though I don't honestly recall.

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I love the "dark side" pictures!! Being so comfortable with Disney, I'm excited and nervous about trying Universal. Your tour is helping me get acquainted.
Lots more pictures coming over the next few days, IOA in particular. It really is a fun park. Very different but very fun.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:44 AM   #1895
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Great pictures of the "dark side" Cynthia. As I mentioned previously, the last time we were there was 2004 and we did Univeral and the kids did IOA. Therefore, we've never seen any of that stuff in IOA (I think I went to IOA in 2000 with Andy and his friend and the baseball coach as I remember the dueling dragon coaster). Unfortunately, we can't handle those types of "thrill rides" anymore, but I'm glald you guys had a great time.

I LOVE Whack a Mole! I always beat Mark and it really fries his you know what.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:27 AM   #1896
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i love a good game of whack a mole, did you know that at chuckee cheese they now have electronic whack a mole, where you hit a video screen easier for the kids but really not as fun.

maybe if he had a whip to go with his dr jones hat, he would have got those moles better than a whacker.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:35 AM   #1897
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Originally Posted by mom3sonstt View Post
Looooove Whack - a - mole!!! It's the one game I can beat my kids at.
that's a riot Tanya!

Let me tell you, Jeff was the driving force in wanting to play. Often we kind of refuse to spring for the carnival games but this one gets him every time. He was determined to beat Kendall.

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Originally Posted by tinacaplan View Post
Good update. I find the dark side stuff really interesting as I've never been there.
There are some great little kid places for Max's age. You won't see a ton of pictures of it but I do have some later in the trip. We took the boys when they were 4 and 5 and they had a blast.

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Originally Posted by natebenma View Post
Thank you for the wonderfully detailed info on IoA!!! Great pictures, too.
Lots more to come

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Originally Posted by natebenma View Post
We are planning on eating at Mythos, too. When did you make your reservations? Everywhere I read says you don't have to make advanced reservations to most of the US restaurants, but coming from a Disney mentality- THAT IS SO WRONG!
It is SO weird, isn't it? I think if memory serves, the earliest you can make them is either 60 or 90 days out. I did make them everywhere (Mythos, Margaritaville, Hard Rock, Jakes) simply because we were 6-8 people and even if you might normally not need reservations, we almost always do just based on size.

A couple of tips though. I haven't gotten to it yet but most everyplace at US (parks, hotels, citywalk) all offer a AAA discount on food AND shopping. So if you are a member, bring that card! Hard rock gives on on the all access card. I saved quite a bit using that AAA card everywhere.

Bear in mind though the reservation thing at Mythos is a bit loose...you might have to wait even with one so be prepared.

Quote:
Originally Posted by natebenma View Post
I will probably plan our lunch there for our first full day at the park.

Your comments about Front of the Line passes have me really jazzed!
During peak season it makes a HUGE difference. I loved having lunch there on our first day, it was nice to have a planned break like that.

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Originally Posted by natebenma View Post
BTW- I know you're a Parrotthead. We have tickets to see JB on Saturday night. Always a fun show! I imagine we will hear "Boat Drinks"- his only hockey song, which was written as he was watching a Bruins game in a Boston bar.
for Boat Drinks! Make sure you have at least one while watching Jimmy!

It is such a fun show, it's been too long for me.

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Originally Posted by Charleston Princess View Post
Wow! I think I might be smitten with The Dark Side.
It's a pretty cool place!

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Originally Posted by Charleston Princess View Post
I am a huge Harry Potter fan as well. I read each book as it came out and even attended a midnight book release party or two towards the end. Connor has read all the books, but Chelsea and Charles just watch the movies.
That's Jeff, and then he wonders why he's lost in the movies and didn't get some of the stuff in the park.

It was cute, Evan re-read them all before going and Eric made sure to finish them.

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Originally Posted by Charleston Princess View Post
The theming is just incredible!!! Too bad you can't get rid of all those crowds and just wander about in quiet, soaking up all the little details! I hope you try the Butterbeer later on, and I love that you can choose your own wand -- Connor would be all about that.
I can TOTALLY see Connor choosing a wand! Butterbeer will come up later in the trip. The really did an incredible job. I am glad we had more than one visit to it as it really has so much to look at and take in, you can't get it all on the first pass.

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Had to laugh about the Quaffle being heavy.
Medium heavy but more than that, big and so hard to pack to take back home! It's just an awkward thing.

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Originally Posted by Charleston Princess View Post
I am also very intrigued by the theming of the Lost Continent and the Superhero City. So cool! Connor would be all about that as well! Not to mention, Charles and Chelsea love roller coasters.

You are giving me lots of food for thought.
IOA has GREAT coasters between the Dragon challenge and the Hulk. US has some too. All around the theming is great, I'll have more pictures of Toon Lagoon and Seuss later.
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:00 PM   #1898
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Another fun update Cynthia. I personally LOVE spiderman!!!!! It's one of my all time favorite rides. And the Hulk - love that big green machine. So much fun! Can't wait to hear what you thought of the Simpsons!
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:17 PM   #1899
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Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post

for Boat Drinks! Make sure you have at least one while watching Jimmy!

It is such a fun show, it's been too long for me.
It has been 4 years for us since our last show. We took our oldest son, Nate, when he was 9. His first concert!
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:28 AM   #1900
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Cynthia, you had me playing around on the Universal website yesterday looking at hotel prices and tickets. I had never even been over there before to look at the options.
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:39 AM   #1901
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Originally Posted by KatMark View Post
Great pictures of the "dark side" Cynthia. As I mentioned previously, the last time we were there was 2004 and we did Univeral and the kids did IOA. Therefore, we've never seen any of that stuff in IOA (I think I went to IOA in 2000 with Andy and his friend and the baseball coach as I remember the dueling dragon coaster). Unfortunately, we can't handle those types of "thrill rides" anymore, but I'm glald you guys had a great time.

I LOVE Whack a Mole! I always beat Mark and it really fries his you know what.
That's a riot Kathy! Jeff was definitely on a mission to beat Kathy. There is a lot to see without going on any rides in Hosgsmeade, they really did a beautiful job with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FauntleroyFAN07 View Post
i love a good game of whack a mole, did you know that at chuckee cheese they now have electronic whack a mole, where you hit a video screen easier for the kids but really not as fun.

maybe if he had a whip to go with his dr jones hat, he would have got those moles better than a whacker.
this is why I avoid Chuck E Cheeses!

on the whip, that would have been a riot! I'm just glad he didn't lose that hat on the drop at Splash or Jurassic, that would have been BAD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MEK View Post
Another fun update Cynthia. I personally LOVE spiderman!!!!! It's one of my all time favorite rides. And the Hulk - love that big green machine. So much fun! Can't wait to hear what you thought of the Simpsons!
There really area some seriously great rides in both parks.

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Cynthia, you had me playing around on the Universal website yesterday looking at hotel prices and tickets. I had never even been over there before to look at the options.
They don't release package prices till Jan which is a bit annoying but it does pay to keep your eyes on things and look for them. For our dates were able to get a buy more save more package that really made a difference. All 3 resorts are really lovely, I will have pictures of the others coming up as we did visit them all.

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Originally Posted by natebenma View Post
It has been 4 years for us since our last show. We took our oldest son, Nate, when he was 9. His first concert!
What a great concert! My kids love Jimmy too
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:42 AM   #1902
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I am soo hoping we get that FREE trip to the Dark Side next year !!!
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:28 AM   #1904
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Holy Moley!

Arriving at Mythos, we checked in. Apparently a “reservation” at Mythos really isn’t that. At check in, I was told it would be about 20 minutes. A reservation means “priority seating” or I guess in this case, a 20 minute wait, instead of an hour. Is it worth it to make reservations ahead of time at Universal? Not sure. We were a big group and so I did, everywhere. Great at some places, not so at others. Word on the street (aka the “dark side” board) is that they aren’t really needed. I, of course, was too paranoid to go that route so had made them.

So we waited. And took the time to use the facilities, try to dry off, sit in the sun. Apparently this kept me so occupied I took NO pictures. Finally seated, for some reason, this was the first picture I took.



I think part of might have been that I was having a hard time getting anything that really showed the restaurant, to turn out. Which is unfortunate as the décor is supremely cool. Apparently this was the best my camera could do



We actually needed a table for 9, not 8. We’d gained an addition at Whack a Mole.



Meet Holy Moly. He was thirsty and probably happy to no longer be hanging from a post.



Eric looked like he needed a nap more than food but clearly Evan was weighing his options



You could see Toon Lagoon from inside, that might be Popeye’s boat



Soon, our food arrived. Fish tacos for me.



Someone’s burger



A Chinese chicken salad? I don’t have the menu in front of me



Some kind of sandwich, it was definitely Evan's and isn't portobello, looks like steak maybe. LOL. I really should look at the menu.



Whatever he’d eaten, he clearly liked







It was a nice lunch. I wouldn't say BEST THEME PARK RESTAURANT EVER as they billed it, but it was very very tasty and a very cool atmosphere. Service was just ok. Lunch over, bellies full and satisfied, we debated what to do next and headed towards the front.

Kendall, and Holy Moley (she’d creamed her dad) were busy texting her BFF.




Clearly we were waiting on someone



Jeff thought Holy Moley needed a ride in someone else’s chair (I did NOT endorse this)





Finally all together we headed towards the front of the park. A shopping stop had been requested and into Suessville we went. Eric was a bit big for this room.



I considered getting one of these



My who’s were a bit too big to ride through Whoville, or at least they thought so.



The shopping request had been from Kendall. She wanted a couple of these, for herself and her BFF



We then headed over to guest services. At lunch I’d remembered that AAA gave us a discount on everything, but I’d forgotten to pull out my card for the 2 purchases back in the WWOHP. I’d remembered at lunch but was hoping they could credit me on the 2 other purchases. Eventually they did but they were a bit crabby about it and it seemed to take forever. Still, it was worth it. 10% off on everything really added up and I made sure to use the card everywhere we went. It worked on food and merchandise, but not alcohol. LOL.

High on discounts, we headed into Margaritaville for Jeff to pick up a shirt for himself, Sandie and Paul some items and Evan a shirt, flashing my AAA card as we went. Cha-Ching! The rest of us looked and eyed some things for later.

Mission accomplished at least it really was time to head back for a pool break, it was almost 3:30!



Continued in next post

Last edited by eandesmom; 06-25-2011 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:33 AM   #1905
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Except someone wanted to stop here






The Lone Palm Airport. Home of the Hemisphere Dancer. Which just happens to be a rather famous old seaplane, 1956 Grumman HU-16 Albatross, owned by Jimmy Buffet. It had “landed” at the Lone Palm airport, directly across from Margaritaville at Universal City Walk and is an outdoor tiki bar. Jeff loves loves loves this plane. Which just so happens to have a great happy hour deal on margarita’s. Happy hour started at 3.

We decided to split up. Jeff, Taylor and I would stay at the Lone Palm and enjoy happy hour while the rest went straight to the pool. Which was good because this one didn’t want to move. He does love that plane!



I went for some distance shots



And a close up, you can never have to many pictures of the Hemisphere Dancer





Now at least he has a margarita to drink next to the plane



I admit, I’m a sucker for the theming here to. Definitely a parrothead.







While we were sipping our margarita’s, Taylor realized that a show he’d noticed inside the park would be starting soon. I guess it’s in the old Toon Lagoon theater.

Mat Hoffman’s Aggro-Circus, a show of extreme sports.

They have the stage and surrounding area filled with ramps, half pipes and even a motorcycle cage. Top inline skaters, motocross riders and skaters perform cool tricks and feats.

So we went back in!

Definitely up a teenage boys alley (though a bit hard to get pictures of). I mean, who doesn’t want to race a motorcycle around inside a cage?

























Taylor was definitely the target audience. For me it was just ok. Very very random if you ask me, doesn’t fit with the theming of the area or the park but whatever. We didn’t much care as it was nice for Tay to request to go to something. However…it was MISERABLY hot in there. Right up there with our Fantasmic Melt. No air movement, lots of flames, UGH. Unbearable really.

I did do some shopping on the way out. I’d noticed racks and racks of sundresses near the port of entry. It might seem like an odd souvenir purchase and heaven knows they were everywhere at both parks and the resort. I’d seen some at WDW but nothing like this and we’d all gotten one from the YC gift shop. But cute sundresses for next to nothing don’t really exist in Seattle. I quickly grabbed the one I’d spotted earlier, whipped out that AAA card, and we left the park, done with IOA for this day.

Continued in next post

Last edited by eandesmom; 06-20-2011 at 09:39 AM.
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